How to avoid a fine of $11,000 for blogging or even posting on FaceBook.

Blogging-fine

Did you know that you could be fined $11,000 if you post any opinion about any product or service (unless you follow the declaration rules correctly), on a blog, or even on social-media ? . . .

“People who blog, tweet or use Facebook to post opinions about consumer products could be fined $11,000 for repeat violations of new federal disclosure rules.” (according to the Public Relations Society of America). This also applies to affiliate links on a blog or if you might get paid (or even sent a free review item) to review anything.

But don’t worry, it is easy to comply with the rules and avoid any chance of problems. You just need to comply with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) rules for declaring any such relationships :

Disclosure A) No Material Connection.

This is a disclosure you can use if you don’t have any embedded links or a relationship with any of the products or services I have mentioned in the content :

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this content. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclosure B) Affiliate Links.

This is a disclosure you can use if you have  affiliate links in your content:

“Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this website are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I might receive an affiliate commission. However, I only recommend products or services that I believe will add be of benefit to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclosure C) Review or Sample Copy.

This is a disclosure you can use if you reviewing a book or other product that you have received from someone in the hope that I will review it:

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned here for free in the hope that I would mention it in my content. The opinions I express here are my own and I only recommend products or services I believe will be beneficial for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclosure D) Sponsored Post.

This is a disclosure that you can use when someone pays you to write a post about a product, or service :

“Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, my opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I believe will be of value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclosure E). Employee/Shareholder Relationship.

This is a disclosure you can use if you write content about a product or service owned by company you are a shareholder or.

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the CEO of the company that owns the product/service I am writing about here. Regardless, I only recommend products and services that I believe will be of real value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

One good place to put such declarations is as part of the “about us” page on your website, which you can then call something like “about us and FTC declarations” (as I have done on this site). For information on how an “about us” page, as well as such FTC declarations, can make you more money, see my SEO guide here :

 

PS. for anyone who reads this and thinks they have the “right to free speech” and so should ignore all this, note that such rights to not apply to commercial speech !

PPS. Why not get ALL of my internet-marketing guides, and more, for the price of ONE . . . click here for more info.




 

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