February 25, 2014

Blogging: Why Disclosures Are So Important



I've been meaning to line up a new blogging post for so long and just seem to lose all track of time. Today's topic is one that I've been thinking about a lot lately and felt like it was worthy of addressing. As I always say with these posts, I'm by no means an expert. I'm simply speaking from what I know and what I've experienced first-hand having this blog. One of the criticisms of bloggers that I consistently see is that disclosures aren't explicitly stated and sometimes, aren't stated at all. Open your mind for just a minute, there are lessons to be learned from those criticisms - I stand by that one hundred percent. And today's topic is one pulled from my research. Readers want (and deserve) details when it comes to collaborations, partnerships, advertisements, etc. Disclosures are vital to our integrity, as a community. Did you get that top from company X in exchange for a review? Are you getting paid to blog about company X's newest product? Here are the details about disclosures. . .

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This really is the bottom line of it. Yes, FTC regulations require bloggers to make it very clear to readers when something is gifted, you've received compensation, etc. The disclosure statement must be visible and not buried within a post or webpage. This also includes any social media promotion that is tied to the collaboration - #Ad or #Sponsored must be used. Also, I think it's only good practice to let your readers know if you use affiliate links and that if they purchase something via those links a commission will be earned. Seems fair to me. I keep that disclosure posted on my blog sidebar. You can read more about the changes that were made to FTC regulations for bloggers in 2013 right here.

You have a right, as a reader, to have access to this information. And honestly, I don't understand bloggers who don't disclose. It's valuable, as a reader, to know if a blogger is sharing this brand/company/product because there is compensation tied to the collaboration. That's why, as a blogger, it's so important to work only with companies that you truly love and support. That way your readers know that what you're saying/writing is genuine and honest.

This one is rather obvious, right? Regardless of it being legal or readers having a right to know, no one likes shady business. I can tell you, there's someone out there who will call you on it. (Ps - If you ever feel like I've presented something on my blog that was misleading, please email me!)

Don't you want to be known as an honest, straight forward, awesome blogger? Yes, I thought so. Even if legalities weren't a factor, it's just good practice to keep your readers in the loop. As a blog writer and reader, I appreciate transparency. We're all in this together, after all.

Image: The Glitter Guide

7 comments:

Carroll said...

Thanks for this important post, Julie! I always feel that you are very clear if you are working with a certain company or organization. :) Thank you!

Alex Carreno said...

What a great post! It's always important to remember these tidbits while blogging. Much appreciated! xx

www.adoredbyalex.com

Grace - Stripes and Sequins said...

This drives me bonkers!!!

Kelly Marie Keating said...

Really love your perspective on this. And as a new(ish) blogger, I appreciate hearing your honest opinions on these topics!

Meredith said...

I appreciate this post. Great perspective!

Nicole said...

I really need to be better about this. I almost want to make it a part of my signature, so that I always remember that it needs to be there. Good tips & reminders!

KB said...

Yep, couldn't agree more Julie!