In April there was a lot of noise about mommy bloggers being authentic…or not. There were arguments about who is cashing in on whom, the differences between journaling and owning a monetized site…and if there are differences. One of the best things to come out of what in the end turned into a meaningful discussion is the change in how bloggers disclose.
In the end, many bloggers beat the FTC to the punch because of the discussions in our own community. While I fully believe that online media is being scrutinized unfairly in comparison to other media, I’ve got nothing to hide…so why not disclose? I updated my disclosure policy and created a product provided button. Since then I’ve received many requests for a similar button and for permission to borrow the idea. One Twitter friend even suggested that I create other styles of buttons for other bloggers to use.
What is a Product Provided button?
While my disclosure policy states that I often receive product in exchange for review, there are also times where I may receive a set of tickets to a show, an item of “swag” while at an event, or similar non-monetary compensation. Even if I write in the body of the post that these things were given to me, that may not be clear enough. I decided that a graphic at the end of a post showing that something other than a kind word was given to me prior to the post was a very clear, visual way to remove all doubt from the readers’ mind. I am not suggesting that this is necessary, nor do I believe that the FTC will suggest that bloggers use such a button. However, this is about my peace of mind, and the few moments it takes to place a little button into my post is well worth knowing that the situation is clear to anyone who may read that post.
The Situation Room
A couple of weeks ago I received an e-mail from a woman at CNN working on a piece about the FTC and blogger regulations. She had been searching, God bless her, for examples of blogs that were already disclosing according to the new guidelines if not more so. Once I finished cheering the fact that this reporter chose to look for a positive report and not for blogs breaking the rules, I realized that she was asking for permission to include this site as an example on The Situation Room on CNN.
Nobody is perfect and I am sure there are a million things I could fix about my own site, but when it comes to disclosure, I know that I’m on the right track.