The New FTC Guidelines: 3 Tips for Bloggers

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I am behind on getting this post published, but, swarming across the web are the FTC’s updates to the Dot Com Policies regarding advertising. I hope that if you blog you already know that you need to add a full disclosure when you have received payment, in any form, for content on your site. Whether that be cold hard cash or even a product valued at $.99 that you reviewed.

The new guidelines put a tighter rein on the requirements by giving an example of blog review and stating that a disclosure at the bottom of the post is not adequate because some readers may click away or stop reading before they get to it. The new guidelines also clearly state what is and is not acceptable on social media platforms and confined spaces, such as mobile applications.

I am not a lawyer, these are only tips based on my opinion. Please seek further consultation to be sure you are fully compliant with the law.

1. Move your disclosure to the top of your post.

This doesn’t mean it has to be the very first thing in your post. In fact, I would suggest that you put the introduction of your post first, omitting any links to the review/sponsorship/affiliation until after your disclosure. By placing the disclosure just below your opening statement, you are not interfering with search results for your post.

2. Make your disclosure a graphic.

It will catch the attention of your readers faster than a small written blurb will, ensuring that the disclosure is clear and conspicuous. It will also help your page rank, as it keeps you from having the same phrase repeated on multiple pages.

3. Tag your post accordingly.

You know that when you post on your social network you need to include #Ad or #Sponsored at the beginning of your post to be compliant with the FTC guidelines. But, many bloggers (myself included a lot of the time) forget about all of the wonderful platforms and services that will automatically tweet their post for them or send it to their other social networks. To ensure your automatic updates are compliant, tag the post accordingly with the #Ad or #Sponsored tag and set your automatic service up to pull in those tags.

Do you have any other tips for dealing with the FTC guidelines, what are they?