Blog Ethics: Writing a Disclosure

Do you need to write a disclosure for your blog?

I’m not running a disclosure on my blog. I decided not to but changed my mind.

I am only running one paid ad in my sidebar. I don’t have a personal connection to the company the ad is from or the agency who pays me to run the ad. (Thank you to them however).

I do have three ad spots with ad exchange networks. I don’t count those as ads in the usual way. Any payment is very mimimal, not enough to buy a latte once a month. They are based on an exchange, not monetary compensation.

Also, I am not in the US so the FTC isn’t very relevant to me.

However, a disclosure is not all overkill, even for a blog like mine.

If you run posts which you were paid to write to endorse a product or service, you should write a disclosure. I don’t write these types of posts and could add that to a disclosure if I wanted to make it clear.

If you write book reviews, even if you are not paid in money, you should write a disclosure policy for your blog. Having free books from the publisher is payment of a sort. A disclosure would help your credibility as an unbiased reviewer.

You might write a disclosure note about linking to other sites and blogs. In a disclosure you can make it clear they are not paid links but freely linked of your own choice.

If you write a disclosure post it as a subpage in your blog. Or, run it with the post itself if you want to make it really clear with a paid post. You don’t have to leave a trail of neon breadcrumbs leading readers to your disclosure. It just has to be findable, which is a lot of leeway.

What should it say?

More Information:

  • ReadWriteWeb: Blogging Ethics: When and What Should Bloggers Disclose?
  • OJR: The Cost of Ethics: Influence Peddling in the Blogosphere

Here is the Disclosure I ended up writing:

In the Interest of Writing a Disclosure for Word Grrls.

First of all, I write my own posts. They are not promoting any business, product or service for payment. In the past I have considered offers but it never fails that the offer comes with far too many strings attached to be worthwhile.

If I write a review (of a book or anything else) it is my own opinion and will be as unbiased as I can manage to be. I’m not perfect. Don’t even have the desire to live up to all that being perfect would entail.

Sites and blogs I link to are by my own choice. They are not paid links. I don’t do link exchanges for pay.

In my sidebar I run one paid text ad and a few blog network ad exchanges such as CMF Ads. These are the only paid content in this blog. I do not have any personal connection to these, other than being a member and posting in the forums of CMF Ads.

End of Official Word Grrls Disclosure.

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