Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Disclosure Statement for My Blogs

Disclosure Statement for My Blogs

To comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials 16 CFR Part 255 I share the following information, prepared December 1, 2009.

This disclosure applies to both of my blogs:



I publish my blog posts on blogger.com under the pen name ChristineMM.


For The Thinking Mother blog only, I am a member of BlogHerAds. One ad for BlogHer appears in my blog’s sidebar. I receive monetary payment not based on the content published on my blog but for showing their ads in my blog’s sidebar. BlogHerAds has strict rules regarding the content I publish on my blog and I am bound by contract to adhere to their rules. For example, I am prohibited from posting any reviews for which I’ve been paid money to write. I am prohibited from blogging a review of any product or service valued at over $40 which I have received free for the purpose of using to write the review. At the present I am not allowed to host “blog book tours” or give-away’s for promotional contests with product supplied to me by a third party (i.e. a book publisher or a publicist). For more information about the BlogHerAds policies, see their website.

If I prepare a review that violates the BlogHerAds agreement it will either not be published by me on any of my blogs or it may appear on my second blog which is not bound by the BlogHerAds contract: christinemmatcs.blogspot.com.

Other Ads

My blog does not accept other advertising, such as being paid by a company to show a specific ad in my sidebar, even though this practice is common in the blogosphere.

Amazon Associates Program

Since the fourth quarter of 2005, I have been an Amazon Associate. Purchases made through Amazon affiliate links on this both of my blogs (listed above) yield a small referral fee. This applies to all purchases made on Amazon regardless of whether the product the consumer purchased was mentioned by me or not. The consumer’s purchases are confidential; I don’t know who has purchased items using my blog’s Amazon Associate links.

Amazon Vine Product Review Program

Since mid-2007, I have been a member of the Amazon Vine review program. Amazon.com invited me to participate in this program. If I so desire, I may select a certain number of products per month (usually a maximum of 4) from a list that Amazon.com offers me. I may choose to not receive any product or I may leave the program at any time. I do not receive monetary payment for participating with this program. The product received is either a small sample size (i.e. one can of beverage or one granola bar) or a demo copy (scaled down copy of the real product i.e. DJ Hero video game). Books are usually in the form of an ARC or bound galley and many times are not the same edition of the book that a consumer would buy. These products are not owned by me, they are owned by Amazon and per the agreement I must return them to Amazon.com if asked to. I can submit reviews to Amazon.com which are clearly marked as Amazon Vine reviews. I do not have to review these products but in order to be eligible to receive more product I must maintain a 75% review level. I publish these reviews on my blog ONLY if doing so does not violate the terms of agreement I have with BlogHerAds. All of my Amazon Vine reviews are clearly marked as such on both Amazon.com. I am not persuaded to only write favorable reviews, Amazon.com encourages our honest opinions and asks us only to comply with their review policy (i.e. no use of profanity and some other general etiquette guidelines to encourage professionalism).

Not all of the Amazon Vine reviews I write are published on one or both of my blogs.

To be clear, my review arrangement with Amazon Vine is for reviews published on Amazon.com and clearly marked as being Amazon Vine reviews. Any reviews I wrote for Amazon Vine that I choose to also publish on either or both of my blogs is done of my own free will and was not published on my blog(s) at the request of Amazon.com. I receive no compensation for any Amazon Vine review that also appears on my blog(s).

Lastly per the Amazon Vine agreement I cannot resell or give away my promotional copies, ARCs or uncorrected proofs. The items therefore have no resale value to me, I cannot make money off of selling them .

See “Amazon Associates” section for more information.

Amazon Customer Reviews

Since 1997 I have been submitting customer reviews to Amazon.com. May Amazon customer name is ChristineMM. I receive no compensation from Amazon.com for writing these reviews. Since starting my blogs I sometimes publish the reviews on my blog(s) also. These blog post reviews are items are either purchased by me with my own money or borrowed from a public library or borrowed from a friend, unless they fall into one of the other categories mentioned in this disclosure statement. The source of the product will be mentioned in each blog post.

See “Amazon Associates” for more information.

Library Thing Early Reviewers Program

Occasionally I request and receive an ARC, review copy or a promotional copy of a book from the LibaryThing.com Early Reviewer program. My LibraryThing account name is ChristineMM. I receive no compensation for participating in this program. I am not bound to write the review and am not persuaded to write only favorable reviews either. If I do review it, the review appears on LibaryThing.com. I may choose to also publish the review on my blog. The source of the book will be clearly noted on those blogged reviews.

See “Amazon Associates” for more information.

ARCs, review copies, promotional copies from other sources

Occasionally I will accept ARCs, review copies, and promotional copies from authors, publishers or publicists. As of 2009 this is not something I frequently do. I am not bound by contract to write these reviews nor do I receive compensation for doing so. Some of these reviews are published on my blog while some wind up never being reviewed (as in the case of a bad book that I couldn’t manage to finish reading). These blogged reviews will be clearly marked with their source.

See “Amazon Associates” for more information.

Other Reviews and Comments Made on My Blog

Since starting my blogs I sometimes publish reviews on my blog(s) or mention various products on my blog which are all relevant to the topics discussed on my blog, mainly, parenting, homeschooling, education, art, crafts, handcrafts, photography, gardening, housekeeping, cooking, baking, nonfiction books for self-education and fiction pleasure reading. I sometimes review a product I own and love or discuss a movie I watched or own a copy of.

These are items are either purchased by me with my own money or have been borrowed from a public library or borrowed from a friend, unless they fall into one of the above categories, in which case they will be clearly marked as to their source. Sometimes I may discuss a product I would like to buy but have not yet purchased or consumed. I do not receive any compensation from any source for mentioning these products on my blog such as the publisher or the product manufacturer.

See “Amazon Associates” for more information.

Prepared by ChristineMM, published 12/01/09 7:45 pm EST.


LivingByLearning said...

This seems like an exceedingly comprehensive disclosure statement. Is it necessary? I thought that we only had to provide one if we received compensation for reviewing an item.

On my blog, I also have Amazon Associates links, but I've never earned enough to receive a payment. And I have a Blogher ad. I didn't think I needed a disclosure for that, but if so, may I copy your statement?

christinemm said...

Take what you want from this and customize it as necessary.

I modeled this after another blogger's.

I saw a few others that were more detailed listing all ways the person gets compensation for their job. One referenced listing out the stocks they own so conflicts of interest could be seen.

My intent is not to bog down every single post but to refer people to this big statement.

As of today also I'm going to use the tiniest font for my disclosure like the companies do in writing and the fast-talk at the end of certain commercials.

I was thinking this is like on the TV shows when they are required by law to list at the end, who has given free product, who donated the suit the news guy wore, who donated the items for the game show etc.

Frankly I'd now like to see journalists and all print publications giving disclosure statements. Why overly-monitor private citizen bloggers. How about letting us know which journalist received a $1000 value dinner (or whatever it is) at the White House at that state dinner? Which journalists are given free admission to this and that big social event in order to cover it? Which magazine's feature's sections talk about a $700 pocketbook and praise it after getting one for free?

I feel this is overstepping boundaries and is impinging on free speech. Every time I mention a product I need to disclose. Ridiculous. Oh, I'm blogging that I stayed at the Hyatt during a homeschool event for my son now I have to say I paid for it myself. IMO blogging is like me talking to friends but it is in writing instead of just being oral communication.

And after spending 28 hours reading a book and writing a review what's wrong with me making 40 cents *IF* one person actually buys one copy of the book from an associate link I have from an advanced reading copy uncorrected proof that I got for free, which can't be resold or given away? The gov't is being ridiculous. Big Brother is here.

LivingByLearning said...

It IS ridiculous, but I guess in our litigious society you can't be too careful. But, I HATE thinking that way, and living that way!

I guess I'll follow your example to get this done with minimal effort. Putting the statement in a link on the sidebar is brilliant as well. I'd do tiny font, but my formatting won't allow that. Oh, well.