The Right Way to Disclose Sponsored Content

photo credit: Mr. T in DC via photopin cc

photo credit: Mr. T in DC via photopin cc

As a blogger who does product reviews and sponsored postings it is always a struggle to know what is the best way to disclose sponsored content under the more stringent FTC disclosure guidelines. Mom Central Consulting is one of the blogger networks in which I participate regularly. They provided this article as a condensed guideline for disclosure on blogs for sponsored posts.

Lately, you probably noticed I’ve been using an image as my disclosure. After reading through this guideline and the FTC document linked within I realized that this may not be adequate. On mobile devices the image is either too small to read clearly or does not show up at all if the reader is using a mobile theme on their device. Drat! So I’m going to be changing this. . . again. What may be easy for me is not what’s best for my readers (or the FTC). Personally, I like the organic disclosure within the post. It seems to me to be the least obtrusive. I just have to remember to make sure it comes before any links that may take the reader away from the page.

Also, there are some guidelines within the FTC document for proper disclosure in a limited text context like on Twitter. Basically, you better leave room for the FULL word “sponsored” either as a hashtag, within brackets or parentheses or at the very beginning of your status update followed by a colon because for the FTC #spon is not good enough. Gulp. Keep this in mind also if your Facebook Fan Page or Profile posts auto syndicate to Twitter – You need to make sure that “sponsored” shows up in the first 140 characters of the post – before the first link. Now if what you are posting is not a product review or sponsored post, but more like an affiliate advertisement the hashtag #ad or ad: is OK (it just does not fit the sponsored content profile as well).

Needless to say, you are going to be seeing some changes around here. So even though the FTC disclosure rules are not a law they are an enforceable guideline. God knows no one wants to be pinpointed by the government for any reason whatsoever.

If you have a blog, how have these new FTC disclosure rules affected the way you write & disclose?

On any social media platform, please ensure your disclosure statement precedes any hyperlink or link. The FTC requires that the relationship between you and the brand or program sponsor, occur before a reader is redirected to another site or page. Therefore, you must disclose before any links. The disclosure statement must appear within the content; the disclosure itself cannot be a link to another page or site. You have the following options for blog posts: Include disclosure statement at the beginning of your post. Weave disclosure into the opening sentences of your post. When posting campaign-related content to Facebook and Twitter, please use “sponsored” and make sure it appears before any link. The abbreviated version “spon” falls short of the FTC’s revised standard. The other FTC option “ad” doesn’t accurately represent the context of our campaigns. The complete FTC policy can be seen here . The FTC’s example #17 (on page 46) and example #21 (on page 51) help provide context and best illustrate what not to do. As clarification comes with real examples, we’ll keep you updated on any future changes for our campaigns.   Please feel free to email me at [email protected] with any questions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.