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Full Disclosure

01.14.2010
Last month the FTC passed a new law that they may or may not enforce regarding bloggers. Tim Ferris, the author of 4 Hour Work Week, had a great take on the subject, so at his suggestion, I am basically copying his post. This will serve as my public notice to let y'all know that sometimes I benefit by blogging about certain items or services.

Sometimes bloggers get stuff for free. I blog, therefore I get free stuff. Right?

Sadly, no matter how much I talk about the new car I want to get, Porsche hasn't dropped off any keys yet.

But, from time to time, people send me stuff for free, hoping I'll like it and want to blog about it. I guess it makes sense... I have an audience... they want to advertise their product, perhaps in an indirect way and build up some viral marketing buzz. But guess what, there are lots of times when I get free stuff, and I don't like it, and I just don't mention it at all. After all, I am not willing to risk my reputation by endorsing a lame product, or maybe not even a lame product... but just something I don't use.

And sometime, when I blog about stuff, not only do I get it for free, but I may actually get a percentage of the sale. It's called affiliate marketing and it's not new. I often blog about the Totally Rad Actions that were developed by my good friend Doug Boutwell. If you click that link and end up purchasing his actions, I get a small percentage of the sale (thanks Doug, you are the best). Here's the thing though, if I didn't actually use his actions, i wouldn't mention them. I also get about 10 cents if you buy Tim's 4 Hour Work Week book at the link above. I liked his book and recommend it, so if they are offering a percentage of the sale, why wouldn't I take it? Amazon.com has a great affiliate program and they have tons of products and killer prices, so I like to my aStore all the time. You should get one yourself.

I am not getting rich off of it, but it adds up at the end of the month and makes it worth while. I guess the FTC thinks y'all are a bunch of morons and need to be protected from us evil, greedy bloggers. I've known about affiliate marketing for a while and thought it was pretty common knowledge. I also think the FTC gives bloggers too much credit... just because I mention something on my blog, doesn't mean people flood out to buy it.

I usually let people know when I am benefiting by blogging and I especially let them know when I give someone an over the top plug and I am not getting compensated in any way. But I am making this post to hopefully get the FTC off my back and to just make sure that y'all know where I am coming from. I'd hate for anyone to feel duped by reading my blog. That's not how I roll.

Lastly... there is also a difference between an editorial blog post mention and advertising. If I actually write words about a product or service, you can rest assured that I believe in what I am saying otherwise I wouldn't say it not matter how much I get from it. Advertising on the other hand... like the links under this post and at the bottom of this blog, are purchased by companies that I do not necessarily use. If you are interested on advertising on this blog, lemme know. (Or course I screen the advertisers and don't just let anyone buy an ad).

But, for the official disclosure, I'm copying a portion of Tim's post:

"If I interview someone and they grab the bill for lunch, I would need to specify this, as I would if I use an Amazon link that gets me 8 cents instead of an Amazon link that gets me 0 cents. If someone gives me a comfy t-shirt with a logo and I wear it in a photo, ditto. Disclaimers all over.

This would be tedious for me and a continual eye sore for readers. But rules is rules.

To cover my ass and preserve your reading experience, please assume that, for every recommendation, link, and product I use, the following all hold true:"

(illustrations by Jeannine Schafer & Louis Gray)
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