What Should Be Included in Blog Disclosures?

Ann All

The effort is only about an hour-and-a-half old, but @jowyang's (Jeremiah Owyang's) request for folks on Twitter to submit what they think are the best blog disclosures and to tag them #blogdisclosure to make it easier for people to find them is already yielding fruit.


The idea is a result of the Federal Trade Commission's release of its new guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, which I wrote about yesterday. For the first time, the FTC guidelines include blogs and other social media, requiring bloggers to reveal any connections between them and companiesthat might affect what they say about a company's products or services.


Owyang points to All Things Digital blogger Kara Swisher's disclosure, which as he says, includes "more info than I'd care to know." Much of it centers on her relationship with her spouse, who works for Google, a company Swisher regularly writes about, and who also happens to be a woman. (Thus Swisher's admonition to keep any comments on how her marriage might affect her coverage civil and free of "attacks related to my sexual orientation, which will simply not be tolerated and will be removed immediately.")


Good on her. Swisher's disclosure also explains her relationship with site owner Dow Jones Media (a company at which I leveled some criticism for its overly strict social media guidelines for its reporters), whether she accepts any kind of freebies or discounts from companies she writes about (no), her personal investments in companies she covers, and how her work relates to advertising on the site and at All Things Digital conferences (advertising and editorial are separate).


Another incredibly thorough (and unexpectedly funny) disclosure mentioned by Owyang comes from Buzz Machine blogger Jeff Jarvis, who includes takes on his religious and political leanings along with relevant business relationships and personal investments.


If you've got good disclosures, please consider sharing here as well as on Twitter. I'm also interested in what kinds of information you think bloggers should disclose? I'd agree with these four blog disclosure guidelines from a 2007 ReadWriteWeb article:

  • Any financial association (including investments)
  • Employment
  • Competition
  • Personal involvement

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