Disclosures. Ironically, one of the simplest “do’s” for any blogger can also be among the most confusing. Yesterday, I enjoyed reading this post from Garance Doré on how she’s choosing to approach sponsored content, and specifically, how she will indicate when content on her site is promotional. It was a great essay that made it clear to her readers what they could expect from her over the long haul. And after all, that kind of publisher/reader trust is theoretically why a brand would want to compensate you to talk about them in the first place, no?
Inspired by her post, I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk a little bit about disclosures — how everyone handles them, what’s required of you, what’s not, and where the gray area is (and actually, in writing this post, I learned a lot of new things!). Also included below is an excellent FAQ section that I’ve re-purposed from the FTC website, and it even covers how to disclose affiliate links (um, rewardStyle anyone?).
Lucky for American bloggers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has two guides to help navigate these sometimes tricky waters. The first is .Com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising, which was just updated last year. The second is Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. This second one is especially pertinent for bloggers, since many times, we serve as endorsers more than we do direct advertisers.
Here’s the most important point to take away (this one’s from the .Com Disclosures guide):