Posts Tagged ‘disclosure’

Disclosure and the Syndication of Content

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Many bloggers syndicate their content using Twitter, FriendFeed, Google Buzz or other services. The headline or excerpt from your post automatically posts to one platform and then to another. It’s an effective method of getting your links out to multiple audiences however few have taken steps to ensure their syndication strategies are disclosing properly.

Most bloggers place their disclosures at the end of a post, well outside of any excerpt range. No bloggers disclose in their headlines, and nor should anyone start. But as these posts flow out to the other platforms – or even an RSS feed offering only limited content – it is leaving a lot of posts with material connections and no matching disclosure statement.

Bloggers should ensure that their disclosures occur early enough in content that it is picked up within the RSS feed and disable their automated syndication and manually feed info to other networks so the proper disclosure can be made where necessary.

DisclzMe offers a possible solution allowing you to maintain automated syndication to other platforms. A link to your professional DisclzMe account automatically appended to your syndicated content would ensure a disclosure is made without sacrificing many characters. Linking to a full statement of your disclosures with each syndicated tweet ensures that your audience knows where you stand and ensures you are being open and transparent. You will need to ensure that your particular blog platform allows you append additional content for syndication, although beginning your posts and excerpts with your disclz.me url may also be sufficient and would ensure it’s inclusion within the RSS feed.

What You Need to Know About the FTC and Disclosure

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

In October of 2009, the Federal Trade Commission of the United States announced an update to the Guides Governing Endorsements and Testimonials. These changes incorporated changes which address endorsements by consumers, experts, organizations, and celebrities. Effectively, anyone within the United States with a platform for public discorse falls under these guides.

Posting to your blog? Updating your facebook status? Sending out a tweet? Then you may fall under the guidelines.

What do the Guidelines Require?
You need to disclose your material connections. If you are writing about a company or brand that you have a connection to then you need to let your audience know the connection exists. Failure to do so can result in a fine.

A fine – OMGWTF?!
Relax. Don’t fret that the slightest mistake will result in FTC agents smashing down your door. Unless you’re purposefully out there with intent to cheat folks, the FTC is likely to leave you be. They are concerned with hitting egregious uses of online media to dupe folks and the companies that are urging bloggers to deceive at their behest. Regardless, adhering to the guides are simple and should be common practice: if you have a connection, then you disclose it.

What is a ‘Material Connection’
If you’ve had any sort of benefit, or think you may receive any sort of benefit, from your connection to a company then it is material.

If you are an employee or an investor there is a definite material connection. You stand to gain through the promotion of the company, and as such, you need to disclose that connection.

If you have recieved gifts, samples or any sort of in-kind payment that is also a material connection. A discounted price would fall under material connection if that discount is not generally available.

Further information:

A Word About Compliance to Disclosure Rules

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Disclosure shouldn’t have to be a regulated necessity. No one needs to regulate you to hold the door open for someone with an armload of packages. No one needs regulate that you don’t pass gas in a crowded elevator. There aren’t any federally mandated laws against urinating in the swimming pool. We just know that kind of behaviour is not acceptable. We simply don’t do it.

Being upfront and honest about your connections shows that you respect your readers, your audience, your friends.

What we’re trying to do with DisclzMe is to make it easy for you to share your disclosures and make it clear to your friends, readers and audience where your connections, affiliations and potential biases lie.