Blog Rules and Sponsorship

I just heard a news story on the radio that the FTC has approved new rules applying to blogs that review or recommend products in relationship to commercial activity and potential sponsorships.

I don’t know if I have to make a statement if I DON’T have any sponsorships, but I’ll restate it just in case:

Solveeczema.org and Solve Eczema’s Blog are entirely volunteer and non-profit.  I have never received any payment for listing, suggesting, reviewing, or linking to any product.  I have never even received any product samples, despite their having been occasionally offered!  (Wait, I have received some free samples at the local farmer’s market, but I have not listed that vendor’s products on my site or blog — though I may, once I have a chance to properly try them out.  If so, I will comply with rules to state that they were samples, but it will not affect my review in any case.)  All of the soaps on Solveeczema’s Blog Master List, for example, were purchased by me prior to my trying them.

Although, Jill Schoff credits Solveeczema.org as the inspiration for her book Green Up Your Cleanup,  I did not receive a free copy of the book (and I haven’t asked for one, small press authors have to pay for copies they give out from their own pockets — but I will unapologetically hint that I would happily accept one if offered!)

To be absolutely nitpicky about disclosure:  one of the soap flake makers I list on Solveeczema.org made a donation when I asked on Solve Eczema’s Blog to help defray expenses to keep my site online — which helped and for which I was grateful — but it did not in any way change my recommendation for the product or my site.  It was a similar order of magnitude as private donations from parent-users.  I had been recommending that maker for years already, without any contact with them and I personally actually use a different brand of soap flakes (which is clear on my site).  To this day, I have not tried that maker’s products, but based on the underlying issues outlined on Solveeczema.org, I will continue to recommend them — especially since I have heard from parents who have used that maker’s soap flakes in their eczema removal process and I have heard only good feedback about them.

Not that I haven’t considered monetizing the site.  There is a lot of money to be made from Google ads and sponsored links, especially where allergy and eczema are concerned.  I frankly still mostly pay for the expenses of this endeavor out of my own pocket and have thought a lot over the years since it began how I could monetize it so I could afford to do more with it to help far more people.  If I ever monetized in any way, it would be clearly announced and spelled out on my site — regardless of the FCC and their rules.

Lastly, in case people aren’t aware, per WordPress rules, WordPress.com bloggers are not even allowed to have sponsored links or ads, it’s a condition of getting the benefit of their free blog software.

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