FTC - Federal Trade Commission logo.It really doesn’t bother me too much that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) decided to be a little more strict in how U.S. website owners write reviews about different products and services, NOT!!! I’m just kidding, it’s really for the consumers. I mean I know there are bad people out there, I just never thought of myself as one of them. Now we all have to suffer a little bit more for the errors of others.

So how do we as bloggers and website owners follow the new FTC guidelines correctly?

I searched all over the Internet for some good straight forward answers on whether I should simply put a disclaimer at the end of my blog post if I make money when someone signs up through my affiliate link that I wrote only good things about. Or instead, should I be able to do a site wide blanket disclaimer for everything? I’m not sure.

Here is all that Mary Engle, the Associate Director – Bureau of Consumer Protection, says about what you need to do.

According to Mary Engle it shouldn’t be too complicated. But my concern is before I go through all my websites and their corresponding pages (over 1,000 pages be honest), I want to make sure that I am updating them correctly.

It looks like the FTC is leaving it up to us to be creative in how we disclose our relationships with the websites and products we write about.

If you write a review about a website or product and you make money off people signing up or purchasing, we simply need to disclose this in our own unique way to our readers and visitors.

Even after looking through the new FTC guidelines I was unable to find a really good example. So I can only assume it really is up to us.

I believe the best way to disclose that you are either making money off of a product you are writing about or have received some sort of compensation for writing about a product or website is to simply leave a note at the bottom of the blog post or page it was written about on.

There are no real rules on how you can do this, none that I’ve found anyway. Please let me know if I’m being an idiot on this one or not.

Example #1

You just wrote a review about a website using a referral link from the advertiser’s website. At the bottom of the page or blog post you could simply write something like this:

Disclaimer - An affiliate link from Company "XYZ" is used on this page.

You could add more to this, but according to the FTC, they only expect you to be straight forward and open, they don’t give any other instructions on how to disclose your relationship with the website or product you just wrote an article about.

Example #2

You just wrote a review about an Amazon product using your Amazon affiliate link. At the bottom of the post or page put:

Disclaimer - The product link on this web page is an Amazon affiliate link.

That should do according the the FTC’s vague guidelines.

Example #3

You wrote an article about a video game that you were given free from the gaming Company in order to say good things about them. At the bottom of the page or post simply put this:

Disclaimer - XYZ Company gave a free copy of this video game for reviewing purposes.

That should do. Notice how I’m not referring to myself in these disclosures, I’m just letting the readers know someone is making money off of it whether it is me or not.

Are you getting where I’m going with this? The FTC didn’t set any strict guidelines on how you disclose your relationships with the advertisers you write about. So as far as I see it, you just need to disclose it somewhere on the same page and you should be good to go.

Good luck on the December 1st, 2009 switch over!

Tags: , , , , , ,

10 Comments to “Examples on how to follow new FTC guidelines for bloggers”

  1. collegegirl says:

    all your blogs are pretty nice, good tips as well,
    Excellent Just now I vote for you in BCA 2009. and I recommend my friends also to vote for you. Hopes that you will grace me with your precious Vote in all categories.


  2. Nice and simple advice here. People are getting so worked up over this FTC “crack down”, but the chances of them coming down on the average affiliate are less than zero.


    mywebmastertips Reply:

    Yeah I know. Hopefully the FTC won’t be as strict as they are making all this out to be.


  3. Josh K says:

    You should be free to post your products anywhere and anyway you want to.


  4. A sample disclosure used in my blogsite:
    Disclosure: You should assume that the blogger(s) of this blogsite is an affiliate for providers of goods and services mentioned on this website. The blogger(s) may be compensated when you purchase after clicking on a link. The blogger(s) may also have received the product for free. Perform due diligence before purchasing from this or any other website.


  5. Dmitry says:

    Good information, thank you very much.


    mywebmastertips Reply:

    Thank you Dmitry!


  6. Thankx for sharing this info


  7. Jerry says:

    You know it’s funny someone might think that with a disclaimer like that on their website that they will lose sales. The fact may be though that when someone sees the disclaimer it may make the webmaster seem more honest and therefore may help increase their sales.

    Just a thought.


    mywebmastertips Reply:

    Good point Jerry, this is one thing that makes me feel good about the guidelines as well.


Leave a Reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>