What is a “disclosure statement” anyways … and why do I have to have one on my blog?
The “why” first:
Not only is it required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that bloggers who reside in the United States have one. It also shows my readers (YOU!) that I am being straightforward and honest about the information I am presenting on my blog.
Furthermore, I believe in a future of a free and open internet, in which people have at their fingertips networks of trusted sources, experts, and other people with whom they feel a connection. I value these connections, for example with you all — my readers — very much and appreciate your trust. A disclosure statement with this kind of transparency, is integral to building trust. My integrity is important to me and I would never want you all to think otherwise.
Essentially, if I am benefitting in any way financially from anything I do on my blog — whether it’s a review, a giveaway, a sponsored post, an affiliate link — the FTC wants me to disclose that clearly and transparently.
COMMISSION VIA AFFILIATE LINKS
Posts and pages on YarnAndChocolate.com (also known as Yarn & Chocolate, which is owned by me — Tamara S. Ring) contain affiliate links to various affiliate programs. If I like a product and that product has an affiliate program, then I will link to that product using a referral link.
What does that mean for you? Well — if you click on a affiliate link and purchase an item within 24 hours or so (some programs differ the time frame may be longer or shorter), I will receive a small commission — at zero cost to you! The cost does not change based on the fact that you are a “referral.” Cool, right? 🙂 So — this means that the companies themselves are the ones that pay me the commissions, out of their profits. I think of it kind of like a “thank you for sending me a customer” bonus.
Rest assured, I only recommend products or services I use personally use and / or believe will add value to (you) my readers.
This small amount of commission helps to pay for things like web hosting, domain names, and the time I spend keeping this site updated. Thank you for supporting the brands that supports me and my blog!
REVIEWS AND SPONSORED CONTENT
I like to eat, shop, read, watch tv shows and movies, and tell you all about my experiences. I usually pay for my own stuff, but regardless of who’s paying, it won’t influence my post — I’ll always tell you the truth and give you my honest opinion. Ex. I was a Julep Maven (just because I wanted to be). I paid for my own subscription. While I was doing the subscription I wrote a post about these products because I liked them.
From time to time, I may be compensated in one way or another to provide my opinion on products, services, websites or other various other topics. Even though I (the owner of this blog) may receive compensation for certain posts or advertisements, I always give my honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. First and foremost: the views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.
It should be noted that in any arrangement where I provide my opinion on a product, service, website or other various topic for compensation — only I control the content of the post. And, I will always disclose this type of content at the beginning of the post, with full details at the bottom of the post. I will never write about anything that I wouldn’t use or purchase for myself, and I won’t falsify information to make a product seem better than it is. If I don’t like it — believe me, you’ll know ;-).
FREE PRODUCTS / REVIEWS
One really cool thing about having my own blog is that I can reach out to my favorite brands and they may send me a free product (which saves me a bunch of money). Because I am my own boss and own this blog, there is no such agreement that says I can only use that particular product (and not their competitor’s) or that I have to like their product either! So, as I said before, if it sucks — not to worry — I’ll let them know and you know! 😉
So something like this might work out like so: I might think of a product I want to use or think there’s something you all would like. Then, I’d reach out to the brand or company and see if they’d be interested in sending me the product . . . Hopefully they do because it’s good for them too: I talk about their product in my post to all of you (with photos!), and I talk it up (err hopefully) on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
On the post where I actually do the review I will put something like this:
I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
Sponsored / Paid Posts
Some brands are willing to pay me (like real US dollars 😎 ) to help cover my time, materials, labor, etc in exchange for having their brand attached to that post. Sometimes they’ll want a certain product of theirs included in the post (though I always maintain my own views and opinions).
On posts like these, I will put something like this:
Paid Posts (where I am paid to write about a particular topic/company/product, etc):
This post is sponsored by XXXX. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
– or –
I was financially compensated for this post, but the opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
– or –
This post is sponsored by X. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.
– or –
Review / Giveaway (where I was compensated):
I was sent X to review and was compensated for my time to write this post. All opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.
– or –
I was compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.
I DON’T LIE
Why? Well, besides being really bad form, I’m also really bad at it. I am passionate about what I believe in, and trust is one of my core values. I say what I mean. My views come from the heart. If I like something, I’ll say so — and if I don’t, I’ll let you know that too! It is really important to me that my readers (you!), be able to count on me and the information I provide.