What disclosures and disclaimers should every blog include?

[intlink id="2567" type="page"]Click here to enter the 2010 Blog Salad Web Design Giveaway Contest! [/intlink] Deadline to enter is 31 May 2010.

Happy Saturday, Blogarinos! On [intlink id="2437" type="post"]Day 10[/intlink] of the Blogathon, amusingly-named blogger Su-sieee! Mac posted a comment here at the Blog Salad:

Hoo-boy! Came over tonight to check out your blog. You got me hooked on Day 4. So far I’m up to speed on skills. I can hardly wait for the day when you’ve taken me into unknown territory.

Naturally, being a former teacher and a Mr. Know-It-All, I felt disturbed by the fact that I’d sputtered away ten days with nary a new piece of information imparted upon one reader. No blogger left behind, I say. Actually, that’s the first time I’ve ever said that, but I like the sound of it, as long as it doesn’t come coupled with insipid educational policies founded around culturally and socioeconomically-biased standardized testing.

Wait, come back. I’m off the soap box. In fact, I’ve emptied the soap box and placed its contents next to hotel bathroom sinks. Please stay with me a little longer.  I’ll give you some soap!

Here’s what I did: I emailed Su-sieee!, explained that I sometimes involuntarily shout her name like I’m an extra on Hee Haw, and asked her what she’d like to know. Her list was fabulous and today is the first of three posts dedicated to answering her questions.

Question #1:

What disclosures and disclaimers should every blog include?

Answer #1:

A Copyright Notice. Every blog needs that seemingly silly little copyright notice at the bottom of the page. Blogging is a true form of publication—your Publish button isn’t messing around—and the the minute you publish, you own the copyright to your post.  You don’t need the little © symbol, necessarily, but some indication that the words on your site belong to you will go a long way if a legal battle ever ensues.

And that’s it, really.  If you’re a professional blogger, however, there are a few additional pieces to the puzzle:

Disclaimers. Some corporate and media sites, advertisers and sponsors will require a disclaimer at the bottom of each post that ensures readers understand that they had nothing to do with the wacky nonsense you’re spewing each day.  If you’ve never been asked to add a disclaimer, odds are good that you don’t need one—unless you are speaking on behalf of your employer without approval and they don’t know about it.

Disclosures. I wrote about this last October. As of December 2009, all bloggers are required by the Federal Trade Commission to disclose any compensatory or complimentary relationship with a product or business you are reviewing.  In other words, if you’re a food blogger and you got that soup for free, you must tell your readers; if you’re a tech blogger and get free products to review, you must disclose if you kept the product; and, most importantly, if you’re being paid to write artificially favorable reviews of any product, business,  or person, you must disclose the relationship.

So there you go.  No poll today, because the FTC has spoken and I’m not letting my silly readers vote to make me break the law!

In fact, Blog Salad came clean with its entanglements two days after the FTC announcement, long before the law took effect.  [intlink id="2136" type="post"]Click here to see Blog Salad\’s full disclosure statement.[/intlink]

What other disclaimers, disclosures, or warnings have you put into effect on your blog?  What’s the most expensive item you got to disclose?  Leave a comment below.

Su-sieee! (whose name would make quite a secure password) likes to tell stories about middle-aged men picking up “chicks” at the farmer’s market, among other entertaining oddities at her blog entitled, aptly, This and That. Here and There. Now, Sometimes Then. Check it out!

6 responses to “What disclosures and disclaimers should every blog include?”

  1. Su-sieee! Mac

    Uhm, your post today was a big surprise. Kinda like the time I went stumbling drunk into a restaurant and found my friends all gathered to wish me happy birthday. I didn’t come to your blog drunk, but sleepy. Not sleepy anymore.☺ Thanks for the mention, Ron. You almost give me incentive to finally update my Web site, or, at least think about finding my to do list that clearly shows its priority. Been putting it off because I must relearn how to do everything. Bad business person me.

    Thanks, too, for answering my question. Now I can’t plead ignorance in the future to what I should’ve disclosed and disclaimed.

  2. Babette

    I loved your disclosure post…made me have to wrack my brains trying to think what I’ve gotten for free: press trips? Anything I’ve written about while traveling as a food/wine writer…because, frankly: I cannot travel to those places…Ah, ever the problem for the food/wine/travel writer…too poor to actually travel, but can’t accept a trip…(media rates have started to help…)

  3. Jackie Dishner

    Nothing to add about disclaimers, disclosures, etc. but I did just have a thought for your tag line:

    “Tossed just the way I write it”

    That’s it. That’s all she wrote.

  4. Jackie Dishner

    Or how about this?

    “Tossed just the way you like to read it.”

  5. Babette

    I like the first one, Jackie…Very good work!

  6. Lisa Jaffe Hubbell

    I need to put disclosures on?

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