Your Blog and the Law: Disclosure Requirements for Your Posts
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Disclosure has been a hot topic this year as governing bodies like the USA's Federal Trade Commission crack down on brands like Lord & Taylor and Warner Brothers while consumer groups add further pressure to force celebrities and influencers to indicate when posts are sponsored. It can only take one disputed post to undo your hard work as a blogger and your reputation as a brand in all collaborations.
Read our guide for more information and resources from different regions to help you stay in the clear with future collaborations:
As a blogger working with brands, it is important that you meet and personally understand the requirements of your respective regions. We help you comply with advertising laws by adding our own requirements to Shopping Links collaborations:
- You must clearly tag @shoppinglinks in all social media posts for collaborations that have been secured as part of our platform.
- You must also include #ad and #shoppinglinks in all posts
- You must also declare the sponsored nature of each post that you publish on your own website. We recommend using one of these options:
- “Collaboration sourced via Shopping Links” or “Collaboration supported by Shopping Links.”
We also recommend these best practices to protect yourself from any possible disputes:
- Learn how to add the “nofollow” value to hyperlinks and make sure you add this attribute whenever a brand asks you to include a hyperlink.
- Keep in mind that by law in most regions, disclosure is required across all platforms, including Twitter. At a minimum, utilize the #ad hashtag.
- Include disclosure in every sponsored post. If you are running a series of posts on Instagram, for example, you must include #ad or #client in every post of the series. It's also important to know that abbreviations like #sp or #spon are not enough -- it must be clear that the post is #sponsored.
The most important thing is to simply keep transparency in mind. Your followers -- and brands -- will appreciate and respect your posts even more when they know they can trust your opinions. A simple nod to your brand collaborations will both keep you compliant with advertising laws and in ‘good standing’ with your followers, who look to you for honest advice. We always encourage bloggers to continue posting about the products they love without a sponsored collaboration (you never want your feed to become strictly advertising), and you do not have to tag content you post on your own, even if you have worked with the brand before.
If you're ever in doubt, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We cannot offer legal advice, but we are always happy to help you find resources that can help make your guidelines more clear.
Since brands are ultimately responsible for their paid content and the ones who will be reprimanded by governing bodies, it is crucial for you to know and understand advertising laws. It is never permissible to ask bloggers not to tag posts as advertisements or to otherwise discourage efforts to comply with the ad laws of their own regions. As we have stated, transparency and openness are alway key.
To put regulation in perspective, keep in mind the reasons you choose to work with bloggers in the first place -- their readers trust their honest opinions. If bloggers love your product and decide to post about it on their own, their readers will know they genuinely love your brand! We have always advocated genuine relationships between bloggers and brands, and openness with readers is an important part of that.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out for help finding resources for your own country or region.