This may be a boring post to some, but I feel it is very important to take the time to share some new Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") guidelines that go in effect tomorrow, how they will impact my blog, and how you can expect for me to respond.
First, the guidelines will mandate that bloggers that have a material connection to advertisers must disclose the relationship. Why? Well, according to what I can piece together, the FTC feels it's misleading for readers to remain unaware that bloggers may be receiving money or products for their posts. To some degree, I can understand that. What is going to be difficult, however, is determining the level of disclosures needed.
What I do know is that starting tomorrow – December 1st – all bloggers must disclose if they receive compensation (including products) as a result of their post, or they could be subjected to a fine of $11,000 per occurrence. That ain't no parking ticket, folks.
So I want to be very clear. I DO make money from this blog. How do I make money? Through my affiliate and advertising partners – Google, Amazon, LinkShare, Logical Media, SmartSource, JuiceBox Jungle, Coupons.com, MySavings, and Commission Junction. I have also received a nominal amount from sponsored posts. How much have I made? Well, that's a bit of a personal question, isn't it? I will tell you this. I make FAR less than minimum wage when you consider the amount of time I pour into this blog on a daily basis. I am by no stretch being "wined and dined." What I am is a blogger who is passionate about helping people save money, and a blogger who is frequently up hours after the kids have been put to bed. While I hope to continue to earn income from this blog, please understand that I could easily be making more money doing just about anything else.
And I will tell you this. If I were to be dinged even ONCE with this fine, I will be completely in the red. But I'm not shutting down this blog over these guidelines. I am going to abide by them and continue offering you the same deals and posts as I have been.
So am I a mindless blogger, selling my space and words off to advertisers? Not by a long shot. I want you to understand that I am fully able to CHOOSE which deals I post. For instance, Logical Media and MySavings offer me a variety of offers to share with you. I carefully screen each offer I share. In most cases I try the offer out myself first or only select promotions I am personally familiar with. I want to assure you that ALL opinions I post on this blog are fully my own.
I will be reviewing my Disclosure Policy and making updates I see necessary. Please understand that you will be seeing a LOT more disclosures on my posts. While this may seem like a nuisance, please remember – if not properly disclosed I potentially can be dinged $11,000 per occurrence. And that's not something I can risk.
Please let me know if you have any comments or questions on this topic. If you are a blogger who has posted something related on this topic, I'd love to see what you've written. Please be sure to leave a link. For more information, you can find the FTC guidelines here.