Recently, the topic of blogger transparency has become more of an issue as the fashion blogging community continues to grow.
But maybe instead of finger-pointing at bloggers who maybe-probably-could-be not disclosing sponsors or gifts, we here at IFB tried to tackle the issue with a different approach — by highlighting bloggers and campaigns that did it right, and showing exemplary practices that you can use as an outline for your own disclaimers.
First, what exactly is a disclosure?
A disclosure is the act of making something obvious. In other words, you are divulging the purpose and interests within a published post, whether it be written or otherwise.
By actively using disclosures, you maintain your freedom to write original content, but also maintain an ethical reputation with your readers by revealing whenever something is gifted, paid for, or sponsored. In the United States, there are currently FTC guidelines that state bloggers must disclose the following:
– When you receive a free product and review it
– When you link to the product’s website and receive a commission (called an affiliate program)
– When you receive money, product or services for posting about a product
– When you review a product or service that comes from an advertiser on your site
How does disclosure work? Well, for example, take a look at the Valentino all-red Rockstud shoes case study:
Recently, Valentino reached out to bloggers to show off his limited-edition (only 100 were made) all-red Rockstud kitten heels — as you can see below, here is how a handful of bloggers showed off their gift:
Grit & Glamour wrote: “The elegant house of Valentino gifted me with this extraordinary pair to celebrate the launch of the Valentino Shoe Room (aka your online Rockstud shopping Mecca). The site launches September 24, 2012—get clicking fast, and you could just snag a pair of these limited-edition, red-on-red Rockstud heels.”
Style Scrapbook wrote: “I came back home from London to find this incredible surprise waiting for me … HUGE THANKS to Valentino for my very own first Valentino shoes and to make it even more special, these are the red on red rockstud limited edition pieces, just in time for Paris Fashion Week. THANK YOU VALENTINO!”
Sandra's Closet wrote: “When I arrived at my house, a very special gift from Valentino waited for me that left me speechless: RED ON RED ROCKSTUD kitten heels designed by the house’s Creative Directors, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli for the upcoming launch of the ultimate on-line shoe shopping experience, SHOE ROOM.”
Liberty London Girl wrote: “And these arrived this morning: maybe the best gift EVER. A pair of a limited edition of 100 Valentino red Rockstud heels to wear at Fashion Week.”
Atlantic Pacific wrote: “Top: Equipment (also buy here). Skirt: Zara (old but similar here and here). Purse: Celine. Shoes: Limited Edition Rockstuds thanks to Valentino. Necklace: Saks 5th (old). Sunglasses: Dior. Jewelry: David Yurman, Sorrelli c/o, Hermes, Jcrew, Pomellato.”
Shoe Snob wrote: “Valentino has dropped a bomb, and in their case, that’s a good thing. A sultry, sizzling, tamale-hot good thing: limited-edition Rockstud slingbacks in fiery red! Only 100 pairs were produced, so a shoe hardly gets more special than this. I have the honor of already securing a pair, thanks to the generosity of Valentino, and they are now the single-most eye-catching pair of shoes I own, hands down!”
Another solid example is Glam Media's compensation disclosures. Often times they specifically list the purpose of the post and if compensation was received.
For instance, Style Bomb, a relatively new blogger to the scene wrote a sponsored post for Old Navy through Glam Media:
Here's another example — a sponsored post about Chevy Malibu through Glam Media from SheShe Blog:
Mashable also does a job well done when identifying sponsored material:
Notice the sponsorship is at the beginning of the post and is 100% transparent.
If you're still having trouble on what to write for giveaways/sponsored posts/gifted items, here are a few other suggestions:
- Review/Giveaway with no payment: “Financial compensation was not received for this post. A sample product was gifted from _______. Opinions expressed here are my own.”
- Sponsored and/or Giveaway post with payment: “Compensation for this post was provided by _________. Opinions expressed here are my own.”
- If you want to write a full disclosure for your website, but are having trouble, DisclosurePolicy.org let's you click the options that best suit you, and then basically writes the policy for you!
[Images credit to: Grit & Glamour, Yannis Vlamos/GoRunway.com]