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by Diane

Why is it Important to Disclose your Affiliate Relationship?”

January 26, 2011 in Blog Education by Diane

Having a game plan as a blogger, also means knowing when to be able to adapt your plans for whatever reason.
The business of Ethics, Blogging Ethics
Case in point, I had intended to continue with the series Having a game plan today, but because of a question being asked on the Megatraffick.TK forum, I have decided to answer Dorothy Sander’s question here.  Dorothy by the way, is a very cool lady who owns the Blog Aging Abundantly.  she is a great writer which will either inspire you or will give you food for thought.   That by the way was my plug for Dorothy and my disclosure is ” I am not getting paid to say nice things about Aging Abundantly and my association with Dorothy and her blog comes from just liking her/it
Disclosure..an interesting topic that is being talked about by many people and most recently by Danny Brown on his blog.
Yesterday on MegaTraffic ( a ning forum that I like going to), I had posted about Danny Browns post titled “Why Affiliate Vendors Need to Start Taking the Rap“.  to me it was a very important post not just to bloggers but also the vendors who should be telling their affiliates to make sure they disclose what they are doing.
In that forum Dorothy wrote: “I have a question: Why is it important to disclose your an affiliate relationship?
It was such a good question that I decided to answer it here, rather than on the actual forum.
Funny enough back in 2008, On Success BlogNet I had written a post on the very topic of disclosures, which I then updated this last November (2010) The title was “Disclosure Policy – A Tool – A Necessity!” and while this post is an important read and to my way of thinking a necessity, it does not answer..at least not properly, Dorothy’s important question “why?
So here is my answer Dorothy ( long and drawn out – lol, but I got there).   To me it is important to disclose what you are doing because it gives you credibility, it gives you authenticity and it is showing that you are being transparent in all that you do in your blogging life.   In plain and simple language it is all about ethics and being professional.
From the standpoint of a blogger, here is a great explanation about what this all really means to you Dorothy and to everyone else who is blogging and was done by Whitney Hoffman on her blog Reading Whitney on Oct 6,2009.
This is a longish post by the way, but a MUST read to fully understand the scope and the meaning to understanding about endorsements and disclosure.
In part what she says is: no longer as bloggers can we go around saying this or that and get paid for doing it (or be given gifts) and NOT SAY ANYTHING  We need to be and act as  professionals just like any big time company.
“The whole point of having FTC guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials is to try to ensure truth in advertising, so that if the typical consumer sees an ad on TV, in a magazine, or online, they are aware it is an ad, and that the information contained within it is reasonably truthful and reliable.”
When you become an affiliate in any way, then just  do the right thing, disclose, disclose….DISCLOSE!
Have I explained well enough… Do any of  you have any questions?

by Diane

Disclosure Policy – A Tool – A Necessity!

September 29, 2008 in Blog Education, Blog Tools by Diane

November 12th, 2010

**** This is an update to the original blog post that was done On Sept 29th, 2008s****

Full Disclosure

Full disclosure

Part of success BlogNets Mission is to help and inform Bloggers of different aspects of blogging one of them is having a disclosure policy on their blog.
Many people will ask why do they need a disclosure policy  or feel that disclosure policies  are only for business blogs, corporate blogs or  for those bloggers who are  the super bloggers with hundreds of readers.
The fact is that regardless of what kind of blog you have, whatever niche you are in or even how many readers/subscribers you have… you need some kind of disclosure policy!
Federal Trade Commission
Disclosure policies were a big topic when in 2009, the Federal Trade commission released its new guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.  For the very first time, the guidlines included blogs as well as other social media and stated that bloggers have to reveal ANY connection between themselves and any company they affiliate with, which might affect what a person says about a companys product or service.
Why should any of this matter to you?  when you are asked by a company to write a review of a product or service and in exchange you will get something, then this might affect what you write about any said product or service.  Case in point, General Mills recruited bloggers to to review different products and enabled these people ( mostly moms) to run giveaways on their blogs. General Mills recuited more than 900 bloggers to do these reviews and said “: “If you feel you cannot write a positive post regarding the product or service, please contact the MyBlogSpark team before posting any content.”   A question that could be and in fact was asked… If the intent is to have only positive reviews, then how can a potential consumer have a way to get an objective feel for a product, when in essence people are getting paid to say positive things?
There is some great information about when or what bloggers should say in their disclosures:
If you you are needing to understand the FTC’s changes then you can go to Disclosure Policy.org and watch the videos by Mary Engle from the Federal Trade Commission, that are well done and easy to understand.
Writing your own disclosure policy need not be a lengthy affair and you can write is as a page/subpage on your blog or you can write it as part of any post you create that is a paid post.
Create your Disclosure Policy
If You want you can go to Disclosure Policy.org where they have created a very simple way for people to protect themselves and make their blog transparent to the reader and what is great is that it is a free service.
Take the time to protect yourself…even if you do not live in the United States, having a disclosure policy is just good sense and good business.