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Disclaimers and Blogging

When at the blogger event that I went to today, we discussed why it is important to have a disclaimer for your blog. I don’t know if every PR rep reads disclaimers, but they should. And even more importantly, every blogger should have a disclaimer/disclosure policy!

Among other things, I state in my disclaimer that:
I accept products for consideration and do not guarantee reviews and I always state if a product was sent to me by PR for consideration.

The vast majority of items you see me use and review in my blog are purchased by me. I always give an honest review of how the product worked for me, whether I purchased it or it was sent to me for consideration.

What does this mean?
I make no promises on how long it will take me to write a review. It means that if I don’t like a product, I may not review it. It means that I have full editorial control (after all, it is my blog) and I will review products in whatever order I desire.

Until recently, I worked a very hectic schedule between my full-time position and my contract work, which meant that my ‘to review’ pile really grew. I’m now slowly working my way through it.

New bloggers often don’t have disclaimers or know that they’re needed. It is well worth it to take the time to write up a disclaimer. If you need help writing a disclaimer, please visit DisclosurePolicy.org.

 

Do you have your own blog? Do you have a disclosure policy? What’s one thing you consider critical for bloggers to do?

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    Phyrra is an award-winning cruelty free beauty blogger. She features cruelty free and vegan beauty brands. You can expect bright makeup, colorful hair, sparkly nails, alternative fashion and standard poodles.
    • http://brightlycoloredperson.wordpress.com/ Daena

      Oh this is really helpful to me! I haven’t gotten any items for review b/c my blog is new but I did win some items that I reviewed/swatched and tried to make it clear that the items were prizes but that my opinion was uninfluenced.

      • Phyrra

        I’m glad this is helpful! I think it can be hard to know what to do when you’re a new blogger.

    • http://alostgirl.wererabbit.net Misato-san

      I’ve got a blog and a little disclaimer… not a full page, sometimes I think of writing it but I’m not famous at all so I don’t think I need to add stuff to the ones I previously stated…

      • Phyrra

        I don’t think fame matters, but I do think that having a disclaimer helps to make everything clear and easy to understand :)

    • http://imperfectlypainted.blogspot.com Steph Imperfectpaint

      I’m glad you posted about this. I seriously thought I was almost a slave to PR companies before our discussion today. I didn’t realize I had a level of control in terms of reviewing the products sent to me. I knew I should always be honest, but I didn’t realize I had choices in regards to a time frame and what I chose to review or not. Thanks for sharing information on this, and I’m so glad we brought this topic up today. It was really helpful to me! :)

      • Phyrra

        I am SO GLAD this was helpful Steph! *hug*

        It’s so hard to know, especially when you’re new.

        And I realize that everyone wants their stuff reviewed ASAP, but it’s hard when you have to balance a full time job, family, friends, and blogging. So when you have more on your plate, like health issues or contract work, it can be hard to do it fast.

        • http://beautifulfrances.blogspot.com Kathleen N.

          I recently learned how difficult that balancing act can be. I have a disclosure on my blog but I am going to add something about expected time frames. Thanks for a super informative post!

    • http://cassykinsvstheworld.blogspot.com/ Cassy

      I honestly don’t. I should probably put something up, but I’ll never be the kind of blogger who gets items to review (so I haven’t been in a rush)

      • Phyrra

        I think any blogger in the USA is supposed to disclose, even if it’s ‘I have nothing to disclose’ or ‘Product purchased by me. All opinions are my own.’ so that they’re compliant with the law.

    • http://judixo.blogspot.com Judi

      I’m really grateful you posted about this as well! I’m not a well known blogger by any means, but being a newbie blogger doesn’t mean you’ll never come across free items. For instance: I have received gifts from Klout as well as Facebook sweepstakes, like Tom’s. Now that I’m going to these blogging events, that provides more more items to potentially blog about.

      I think a disclaimer might be in order for me. My job is incredibly taxing; it takes a lot out of me and leaves me unable to blog regularly. I don’t want companies to think I’m ignoring them if it takes me too long to post a review, but I also want it known I reserve the right NOT to review an item

      I’m really glad we brought up this topic as well and that you wrote about it for your readers. I am learning so much from you (and Brittany! :)

      • Phyrra

        Yeah, a disclaimer is good for everyone because it means you’re compliant with the law that was enacted in 2009. I wrote my first one in Oct 2009.

        http://www.phyrra.net/2009/10/my-ftc-thoughts.html

        Brittany is awesome! She has so much that she is teaching us.

    • Ollie

      As a reader, and conscious consumer, I enjoy reading blogs and expanding my horizon to whats out there; tips, tricks, and having fun getting creative in all sorts of media. Now and days I save more money than before by reading blog reviews and making decisions based on them, it gives me a better idea of what claims are met and what to expect. I appreciate that someone with interests like mine are taking the time of their busy schedules to do this. I’ve never read magazines because I know persons in the press and do not trust all their articles. I used to, still do, like to hear from trusted individuals.

      Sometimes it aggravates me that a company’s PR would call a blogger a bed dweller and ‘not fit to give opinion for lack of expertise’, and while that may fit the bill regarding some items. Many of the products on the market do not require special credentials, and those that do are purchased by those that do:) hi cosmoprof
      They send bloggers items to review and get upset that they didn’t perform up to par with them, and if an “average joe consumer” doesn’t seem to like it, then I probably wouldn’t like it either

      Of course it’s always nice to see a disclosure statement because transparency matters to me. I read blogs that never seem to purchase any of the items reviewed but they state so, and they critique them in the same manner as those that were purchased. Then there’s bloggers that sadly seem to like a company so much that they take it easy on their reviews and I can’t trust those reviews

      So I think they’re important..sorry for the essay Phyrra:3

      • Phyrra

        No, I appreciate all your thoughts on the subject!

        It does sometimes feel like blogging is a thankless job. We’re providing entertainment, advice, etc and spend a lot of time and energy on our blogs. Yet companies are not always happy with us, nor are readers. But for many of us, this is not our full time job, so we do the best we can.

        One of the biggest reasons I think it’s so important to discuss why I don’t like an item or why it didn’t work for me is because I think that just because it didn’t work for me, it might work for someone else.

        A great example would be that if someone found a foundation to be drying on her dry skin, it might be perfect on someone else who has oily skin. So reviews, no matter if they are positive or negative can have an impact.

    • The Peach

      I don’t have one because I wouldn’t accept any items for review. Guess that is just my personal take on it. I don’t want to feel obligated to write a review on a product that may or may not interest me. But I couldn’t agree more that bloggers who do accept PR items should have a good disclaimer!

      • Phyrra

        I think you still mention something like that on your blog though, right? That you purchase everything you review? If so that covers you :)

    • http://www.emilyhudspeth.com Emily Hudspeth

      Thank you so much for this! I really appreciate this post. I wasn’t sure if I needed a disclaimer and how to word it but now I have a starting point.

      • Phyrra

        You’re welcome Emily! While I’m not a lawyer, I think everyone needs a disclaimer, even if it’s something as simple as ‘I don’t accept products for consideration. All products you see in my blog are purchased by me. All opinions are my own.’

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    • http://www.beautybycatblog.com/ Catherine

      Thanks so much for the information, I definitely need a disclaimer. I will be working on one ASAP!

    • http://samariums-swatches.blogspot.com/ Sarah E

      I have a disclaimer, but I had NO idea that I could choose not to review something, or about making the time frames. It can be so nerve wracking at times I feel the pressure husband get to review but I also like to ENJOY the products, not just swatch them and be done you know? It makes me feel guilty like I’m not doing it fast enough. But hey I have a toddler (TERRIBLE twos!) And my husband gets out of the Army May first and movers come in 5 days I am busy as hell! In fact I haven’t slept yet at 6 am.

      lol But i’ve had this tab open over a day and figured I should respond!
      I love your blog so much!

    • http://manicuredslayer.blogspot.com ManicuredSlayer

      Thank you so much for this advice and the link! I’ve never had an “official policy” but always stated if something was sent to me for review. I started to make a short statement for my book reviews, but again, nothing official.

      I feel a bit better knowing I’m not the only one who gets backlogged. I have *so many* books to review and as they started coming in fast and furious, my Complex Migraine Disease took a turn for the worse, and reading has been very difficult for long periods of time.

      I am definitely going to use that link to formulate a policy so that the authors who send me books know I may have a very long timetable until a review can be published.

      I also like how you said you don’t always review if you don’t like a product. I accepted a product for review and there were strings attatched that I didn’t care for, that were told to me AFTER I got the product. Product–good. Strings–not so much.

      You always rock :)