If you earn money from your site, write sponsored posts or reviews, or receive free goods or services, or any form of incentive or reward – then you need to disclose this to your readers. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) have published regulations requiring you to disclose your relationships with other companies and individuals relating to endorsement of products or services. You can find the full regulations here and the FTC summary announcement here.
The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that “material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed. These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other “word-of-mouth” marketers. The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.
You can get a very simple disclosure policy using a step by step generator tool at http://disclosurepolicy.org/
However, do consider using your disclosure policy page as an extension of your about page. It’s a chance for you to write about what you do and why you do it and get real and genuine with your readers. Take a look at my disclosure policy.
I try to make it clear that I only make genuine recommendations and my affiliate links don’t cost readers any more. I think given the subject of this site, that it is unlikely I’ll be sent goods to review – it’s just not that relevant to my readers. But if the right opportunity came up, I would certainly review products I was sent. But I would not, under any circumstances provide a positive review if it wasn’t my honest opinion. Would I publish a negative review? It depends on the product and why it was reviewed in the first place.
I’m not a funny person, not very creative or imaginative when it comes to my writing. I’m a facts kind of girl and my disclosure policy reflects that. But your policy should be a reflection of you and your personality – so write it in your own style and include your own words.
Great disclosure policies to check out:
John Chow – awesome! He even gets his disclosure policy page sponsored.
Don’t shy away from your responsibilities and legal requirements, and don’t apologise for advertising and hoping to earn a little for all of the hard work you put into providing the awesome content that your readers love.
Authored by: Deby at Moms Make Money