Pammy Blogs Beauty: FTC Updates and Full Disclosure: Plus Alternatives for Google Reader!

Monday, March 18, 2013

FTC Updates and Full Disclosure: Plus Alternatives for Google Reader!

Nothing to Disclose
Photo inspired by
Raging Rouge and Phyrra

I am sure that by now many of you have already heard the news: the FTC has updated its policy on disclosures for bloggers. Many of my fellow bloggers and friends are speaking out about their thoughts on the new regulations. I will include links to their posts below and add my 2 cents as well. 

What does this all mean? Well, to start off, my posts might look a little different from now on. I am a rules-follower at heart and I want to take whatever steps needed to be within compliance of the new regulations. However, I am also a writer-at heart with a desire to have my writing flow well  and for my posts to compliment my blog design aesthetically. These new FTC regulations disrupt both the flow of my writing and my blog design. Plain and simple.

If you want a full and easy-to-follow detailed explanation of the changes and how it applies to bloggers, please be sure to check out my friend Carleen from Beauty and Fashion Tech's post. She explains everything so well!  

In the past, in accordance to the old FTC rules for bloggers, I disclosed if I got an item as a sample, if the post had an affiliate or referral link, or if I purchased the item myself. I noted this with text boxes at the bottom of my posts stating: "I bought it", "I got a sample", etc. Adding the text boxes at the bottom of the posts always seemed to flow well. It goes right down there with my signature, comments, etc. The new rules state that we have to note if we got a press sample or if the post contains affiliate links at the very top of the post (before any links or mention of the product). This feels so clunky! There is just no way to make this "flow" into the writing nor does it look aesthetically pleasing. 

After much discussion amongst my blogger friends both through emails and the Beauty Blog Coalition group board, the bloggers (myself included) have come to a consensus on how we are interpreting and implementing these new regulations. The bloggers on Wordpress hosted blogs are adding plug-in buttons at the top of their posts. These actually look nice and seem rather non-disruptive to the blog content. Unfortunately, Blogger does not have plug-ins that allow for these buttons. So, thanks to the help of my dear friend and all-around blogging Sensai Christine at 15 Minute Beauty, I now have some handy little text buttons that I am simply going to insert at the top of my posts.

The buttons will look something like this:

Nothing to Disclose I Bought It Sponsored Post Affiliate Link Blogger Ambassador

The actual verbage of the button will change depending on what I want to disclose. You will most likely see the "Press Sample" text button and "Affiliate Link" buttons on the top and bottom of almost every post.  Also, this is a total work in progress! As discussions continue, I might be able to find a "cuter" way to add these buttons. So, you might see some changes or me experimenting with different ways to add these statements/disclosures at the top. 

Press Samples:
I will note " Press Sample" with a button at the top right hand side of the post when an item came to me as a sample from a PR company or directly from a brand or store. This seems like the least-intrusive way to note a PR Sample at the very beginning of the post. In addition, I am going to insert a phrase somewhere in the body of the post (likely near the first brand name mention) that the product was sent to me for review/consideration or as a sample. This is the part that really disrupts the flow of my prose! I am going to attempt to do it as elegantly as possible. However, I will admit, it just does not seem to flow very naturally into my narrative. So, just bear with me as I stumble through that verbiage.

I am eternally grateful to all of the wonderful brands and PR folks that I work with! While I still blog about items that I purchase myself, more often than not, I am blogging about a press sample. The reality is that I simply do not have the financial resources to blog daily on new product releases that I purchased myself. My policy is to only accept press samples of products that I think I might *really* like. Usually this works out and I am able to write about items that I love. I truly do want to share great product finds with you readers! . I want ya'll to know that I really am writing about items that inspire me, regardless of the fact that the items came to me as a sample.

Affiliate Links:
I have Skimlinks installed and occasionally will use Amazon affiliate links. I am really just getting started with using Affiliate links at all. So, please let me know your thoughts on these! Skimlinks automatically adds links to my posts. When you hover over a Skimlink, text will pop up (I think?) letting you know that it is a Skimlink added link. I have no control over what Skimlinks will link. It recognizes brand names and auto-generates links. Amazon links are added manually by me when I think that the link will be helpful to you readers. I am a HUGE Amazon fan and shopper. I hope these links are helpful! I can earn a very small commission for clicks and purchases. Also, about a month ago, you might have noticed that I added some Amazon product selections in my sidebar. These are either beauty best sellers on Amazon or simply my all-time favorite products.

Keep in Mind:
Currently, with these new FTC regulations, bloggers are being held to a stricter standard than magazines and their websites in reguards to disclosing samples. Just keep that in mind next time you are reading a top product list in a magazine! Maybe things will change?

Google Reader:
Google reader is going buh-bye in July. For those of you who follow my blog and other blogs with Google reader, now is the time to find a new options for following! Personally, I am a fan of both Hello Cotton and Bloglovin. So, you can follow my blog through either of those! I am open to hearing other ideas! So, please share if you know of any other great options! 

My Fellow Bloggers Write about the FTC Update: Please be sure to check out these posts if you want to hear more about how the beauty blogging community is responding to the new FTC update! :) Plus, visit these blogs because they are amazing! :) If you are a blogger and you posted about the FTC update (and I didn't include you in this list), please leave your link in the comments below. :)

15 Minute Beauty Fanatic
Pink Sith
The Fabzilla
Beyond Beauty Lounge
Polish Galore
Vampy Varnish
Midnight Manicures
Painted Ladies
Primed & Polished
Portrait of Mai
Confessions of a Sarcastic Mom 
Beauty 101
Hello Dollface

I hope this all made sense as I am writing this late at night! :) Just when I was about to climb in bed tonight, these new FTC Disclosure rules were on my mind. So, I decided it was time to share it with all of you amazing readers! My goal is to always be upfront and honest with you readers!

As always, thanks for reading!


Beyond Blush said...

I completely agree, there is no "cute" way to integrate all of this info in to your post.
So glad that the Canadian standards are so tough! A simple "pr sample" at the end of a post, or an * beside a product name will still do for me :)


Unknown said...

@OPIAddict-You Canadians are lucky that you can notate a sample so easily. Wish we could do it that simply, too! Oh well!

Christine said...

OMG, I'm a sensai??? That sounds so cool!

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