Oh gawd not another fucking blog post about monetization and disclosure?! Yes, yes it is.
I choose to monetize this blog. Whether you choose to do it to yours or not, or read sponsored posts is as of much concern to me as which footy team you support. Each to their own, and all that shebang, unless it's the West Coast Eagles in which case EWW (aaand I just lost half my WA readers).
There has been a lot of discussion on disclosure lately and I had thought I'd always been up front about it. Turns out, not everyone thought so. I would always put right at the top of a post if it was sponsored, and for me sponsored meant money had changed hands and usually, but not always, the client had requested copy for review before publishing, normally to make sure delicate little me hadn't said fuck too many times.
I have always put a disclosure down the bottom when I'd received something for free and it always meant that there no money was paid, there was no copy sent for approval and sometimes even no obligation to blog. It might seem weird but sometimes companies will send you fabulous things or to amazing events just hoping you'll love it enough to write about it. I pinch myself when I think I've been sent interstate twice (once to Sydney and once to Radelaide) by companies who included a "no obligation to blog" in their invites.
It was "the way" to do it, recommended to me by other Bloggers and at conferences. So I did it and thought nothing more of it.
I find it annoying when I read all the way through a post only to find out at the bottom that the writer was paid cold hard cash... what I hadn't realized was that some people find it equally annoying getting to the bottom and finding out that there was a freebie involved. I've never found it an issue, but I can understand that some would so I decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to change.
So where do we draw the line? Does a packet of $3.50 bandaids require a disclosure? Is it only on posts that have to be approved by a PR consultant before pressing the giant publish button? Are the rules different for blogs with a few hundred readers a month versus a few hundred thousand readers a month? Is it OK to not disclose if you don't monetize but take on unpaid reviews? What are the rules?
Well, there are no rules. Not yet, anyway. I will sing a long and grateful tune, complete with interpretive dance and spirit fingers when disclosure laws for new media are passed and we are all on the same page. But for now, I will disclose everything up the top. EVERYTHING. Which is more than magazines do, more than TV shows do - and they're getting a shed load more cash, I don't earn enough money from this blog for it to be considered anything more than a hobby by the ATO (yep, I've had long chats with them - they kinda laughed at me for wanting to declare the pocket money I make on here).
Short of writing a freakin' novel on top of every post, I've come up with my own blog disclosure policy and after sharing it around for opinions and having a few Bloggers come back to me asking I'd mind if they do something similar (I don't mind, go for it), I think I'm on to a good thing... but it could always be improved.
What hasn't changed, and will never change, is that it is always my honest opinion. These "post codes" (geddit?) will appear on all posts where I received anything at all: a product, a launch invite, money or vouchers - even product I don't actually get to keep. There are times when I receive nothing... so looks like I need to update it already.
So tell me, whaddya think? What have I missed?