Saturday, June 19, 2010

Well, That's Interesting: Disclosure Policies for Bloggers

I'm a blogger: obviously. I've never been paid to write a review of some product or service, but that could happen. In fact, I've been looking into how to set a paid-review situation up.

On the other hand, I couldn't be paid to write favorably - or unfavorably - about something.

That's where "disclosure" comes in.

As far as I know, "disclosure" like that isn't required in America yet: but there's a chance that it will. Either way, I think it's a good idea.

You have the Right to Remain Scuzzy

Outside of parts of the entertainment industry and some political subcultures, there doesn't seem to be much room for sleazy people. Not at the 'success' end of the pool, anyway. Anyway, I don't want to be the sort of disreputable person who'd take a few bucks to say good things about a shoddy product.

Part of that disinclination is what I suppose you could call my self-esteem. Part of it's simple self-interest. I plan to be around a few years from now, with folks reading what I write - and that's not going to happen if I earn a bad reputation.

So, even if it's legal (for now), I'm looking at developing a disclosure policy.

'I Read About it Online'

I found what appears to be a pretty good guide to developing a disclosure policy after reading a Tweet on Twitter, which led me to a blog post, which - - - the links in that chain are at the bottom of this post.

Here's a pretty good rationale for doing "disclosure:"
"...By disclosing the purpose of a blog, bloggers are letting readers know more about the information they'll be reviewing. Bloggers retain the freedom to write original content, as well as select which advertisers they will represent in exchange for gifts or money. Any ethical concerns will remain where they've always been - on the individual level. Because it is a blogger's freedom to select which topics will bring them payment, he/she remains responsible for his/her own reputation...."
Works for me. has a simple, one-size-didn't-fit-me, easy-to-use set of forms for generating a disclosure policy. Here's what I got, after filling it out:
This is not my disclosure policy!

It's a sample. Not a real policy.
This policy is valid from 19 June 2010

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. For questions about this blog, please contact Brian H. Gill at P.O Box 93, Sauk Centre, Minnesota 56378.

This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

The owner(s) of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

This blog does contain content which might present a conflict of interest. This content may not always be identified. We are employed by or consult with: Oasis Productions. We blog about people to whom we are related. The most interesting such people are: Aaron McWilliams, Executive Producer at Oasis Productions. We have a financial interest in the following that are relevant to our blogging: quite a few businesses operating in the United States and around the world.

To get your own policy, go to has this good advice:
"We suggest that you place a text link marked 'Disclosure Policy' for your readers on the side or bottom bar of your blog in an area that can be easily located by your readers. This link should link to your disclosure policy on a separate page of your blog/site in a fashion similar to a privacy policy link."
Looks like pretty good advice. That boilerplate copy from their form has to be tweaked a bit, but it's a good starting point.

They've got a nifty couple of badges, too. Here's the smaller one:

A tip of the hat to "dragonblogger, on Twitter, for the heads-up on his post, which led to the rest.

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