My Blog Disclosure Policy

I Love Freebies

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is bringing in new rules that will have a drastic effect on Internet marketers and bloggers. According to the new rules, if you blog for money or received any free stuff that is associated with a blog post, you have to disclosed it. Failure to do so could mean fines of up to $11,000 per violation.

The easiest way to comply with the new FTC rules is to have a disclosure policy page that clearly outlines your relationship with readers and advertisers. The FTP only has power in the US. However, I have a feeling that these rules will eventually spread to the Canadian version of the FTC (whatever that is). To prepare myself, I’ve created the following disclosure policy and added it under my About page. If youโ€™re reading my blog, you should assume the following:

  • I make money from every post I put on this blog. If I’m not making money from every blog post, then it was an oversight on my part and it will be corrected soon.
  • Every link on this blog is a paid link. If it is not a paid link, then it was an oversight on my part and it will become a paid link soon.
  • Every product I write about on this blog, I get for free. If I didn’t get it for free, then there was a miss-communication with the company that sent it and I will be billing them for the cost so the product becomes free.
  • I make money from every tweet I send out on Twitter. If I didn’t make money on the tweet, then it was an oversight on my part and it will be corrected soon.
  • If you email me, all of the information in your email is mine to do with as I please, such as exploit for financial profit, use as blackmail, or quote on my blog.
  • The T-shirts you see me wear at trade shows. I get paid to wear them. If I didn’t get paid to wear them, then it means I ran out of paid shirts and had to wear a free one. In which case, I will go to the company that gave me the free shirt and ask them to sponsor it.
  • If something on the Net is making a lot of money, you can bet I will be in on it. If I’m not in on it, then it was an oversight on my part and it will be corrected soon.
  • Just because I get paid to blog, tweet, wear T-shirts, etc. does NOT mean I will give you or your company a positive review, blog post or endorsement. As a matter of fact, chances are pretty high that I might slam you.

Hopefully, the above statement clears up any misunderstanding you may have about my blog posts or Twitter tweets. If you have any questions, you can contact me at my contact page. Just remember what I said about emails.

This disclosure policy was sponsored by Market Leverage and Clickbooth. Yes, I make money on my disclosure statement as well!

Feel free to use this as a template for creating your own disclosure policy. ๐Ÿ™‚


78 thoughts on “My Blog Disclosure Policy”

  1. Wess Stewart says:

    That’s awesome. You forgot to cover comments, though. :p

    I need to get my site back up and start revamping my disclosure. Stupid FTC. lol

    1. I’ll have to work on my disclosure statement and come up with something equally as creative.

      1. Ms. Freeman says:

        Very creative and sarcastic, I have my statement up and ready to go. I like that you make money on every aspect of your blog. Super cool! ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

          Totally agree with you, John made money from more than 50% of what he wrote in this blog, I jealous of John now! ๐Ÿ˜›

          1. Ryan McLean says:

            I wonder when this will make it’s way to Australia? I guess it doesn’t make that much difference if all that you need is a disclosure statement.
            I think it’s dumb but thats the law

          2. Lee Ka Hoong says:

            I think soon everyone will need to have this statement in our disclosure policy soon. I can’t believe that we actually need to do this in online business and we will be fined up to $11,000 per violation.

            Going to add this statement to my disclosure policy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. John Chow says:

      All your comments are belong to me!

      1. Benjamin Cip says:

        that’s absolutely right, John. Since we comment on your blog, our comments belong to you…

        1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

          Yes, John has the right to modify or delete any comment in his blog. It goes same to us, we have the right to do so in our blog too.

          1. SEO Wizard says:

            Naaa. my comment is absolute.

          2. EarningStep says:

            john make money using his blog , all things come to this blog means money to him… clear….very very clear

      2. ProBlogineer says:

        And you make $$ from comments too..
        anyone image, how much he is making then ? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  2. Dave says:

    Funny post, thanks for injecting some humor into an otherwise drab topic.

    1. Bwahahahahahaaah……I’m finished……..I’m in stitches. This is definitely the kind of humour that gets you going on a Sunday morning! John, you’re a legend!

  3. Kalvster says:

    Pretty Evil ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

  4. That’s awesome!! Great one!

  5. LukePeerFly says:

    “I make money off every comment posted on my blog. If I did not make money then I will turn the comment into a banner advertisement.”

    1. Now, there is a possibility ๐Ÿ˜‰ SY

    2. Lee Ka Hoong says:

      lol! Then your comment section will be full of banner advertisement (if you have advertiser for that section). Great idea though. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. RichardM says:

    Oh damn I so needed that laugh this morning. The last one made me chuckle however its a sad state that the FTC think they need to get involved because sooo many people out there do give nothing but glowing reviews just for the sake of getting a few freebies.

    1. Welcome to the nanny state where the FTC thinks they need to protect everybody from everything. Maybe they should start a branch of government to protect us from themselves.

    2. FTC reasons is to protect costumers. ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. Who is protecting us from the FTC? They should leave their big noses out of blogging, it’s none of their business.

  7. Loved it the first time I read it! BTW, sometimes there are advantages in living in ye’ ole Europe! SY

  8. Ricky says:

    At least it is clear … oh no my comment is now your propertyโ€ฆ well no yet .. You did not disclose that !!!!! Do you endorse my comment lool you did not disclose that neither loool Iโ€™m playing with you โ€ฆ.

  9. Diabetis says:

    Good to know that the FTC rules are only for the USA. That means that I am not to be scared of the new rules.

    Anyway, I think that I would put some disclosing phrase whenever i am endorsing a product. It is much safer. Most of the paid reviews that I am getting doesn’t require to endorse the site or product. I just have to put the link on my blogpost and get paid for it.

    1. Mr Diabetis,
      If your not in USA you cant get fined by FTC, but if they really want to slam you, they will.

      Wanna go to the US for the holidays?
      customs will stop you.
      ect.

      1. Benjamin Cip says:

        Are you sure about it? How could they get your informations if you are hosting your own site etc? Plus, US resident are a priority for them, aren’t they?

    2. Guess again guys. Even if you just do business in the United States they can go after you, you don’t have to live here.

      1. … Mr Weight Loss Diet Plans…
        that is only if you have a business registered in the united states.

        Benjamin Cip,
        Anyone can get your info, go to whois.net

        Their goal is to PROTECT US resident.

        Since i am in australia, i legaly dont need to do anything yet.

        however, i would prefer to be able to go to the US and not get turned away at customs because the FTC got alot of complaints to them about my site (trust me, your competitors wont be shy to complain)

  10. Dave Doolin says:

    I *love* it! I did the same on my blog.

    You know, I feel freer now that this has all been clarified by the FTC. It’s either all in, or all out.

  11. Hahaha! You’re a star sir!

  12. The FTC is a nosy government monolith that is no friend of business and they wouldn’t know how to make a profit if they had to. No politician or FTC lawyer in this current administration has a clue how to run a business. Goons!

  13. Mama BoK says:

    muahahhaha!!! too funny john..!! you just made my day..!! no wonder even my 5.5 yrs old adores you .. because you make her mama laugh.

  14. Hehe, I like the tongue in cheek humour in your TOS / disclaimer text.

    BTW, I think it would be Industry Canada / Consumer & Corporate Affairs that would be responsible for similar oversight as the FTC in the US.

    Also, I notice that your property (site/s) are not compliant with linguistic policies in Canada and Quebec – Official Languages Act, etc. ๐Ÿ˜›

  15. Finally, you make your disclosure page — a great disclosure indeed. ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. Thanks for that. I’m going to post something similar on my blog, and hopefully make money from it.

    Great way to phrase things!

  17. moneca says:

    tanks for the insights. i am so grateful that i go to pho just so that i can start understanding what blogging is all about. since it is so new, it is all news to me. i love learning about this world of internet. yes i know, you own this.

  18. Orang Utan says:

    John, your disclosure policy is simply brilliant. Thanks for telling me that you actually make money from people like me. I wouldn’t know otherwise. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    FYI I also hope to make some money by commenting on your blog.

    And, I wouldn’t be sending you any emails anytime soon. Unless you opt in for my invisible free newsletter.

    Keep it up, John.

    The Malaysian Life

  19. ET says:

    Those are the best TOS’s I have seen in my life!!

  20. I can only say that I try to do what John Chow dot Com does.

    1. Did I make any money off that comment?, Or this one? Gee! This is a lot of work.

  21. I hate u johnny, even though i am mean and much more greedy, but i am not such a famous online personality.

  22. Greg Ellison says:

    Nice disclosure policy John. I think I need to make one for my blog. Thanks for reminding us. Greg Ellison

  23. Just because I get paid to blog, tweet, wear T-shirts, etc. does NOT mean I will give you or your company a positive review, blog post or endorsement. As a matter of fact, chances are pretty high that I might slam you.

    Bwahahahahahahaaaaah! That was the final straw. Corporate lawyers should really be schooled in the art of humour when crafting their “stuff” imagine how much fun reading the small print could be!

  24. Oxbargain says:

    I could not help laughing out loud. This was more like a guilt confession. Loved it. Quite informative.

  25. Melvin says:

    man’ probably the funniest post i read in this day.. VERY unique disclosure policy.. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  26. Benjamin Cip says:

    Does the FTC rules is only for English spoken countries like USA, CANADA, AUSTRALIA etc, or do bloggers from Europe who are blogging in English have to write a disclosure as well?

    1. Funny, comment! FTC is the US FTC, not anybody else’s!

      I think a few hundred million native English speakers would be quite annoyed otherwise, ie. Canada, UK, Australia, NZ, SA, etc, etc.

      Saying that … it’s a good idea to have some kind of disclosure.

      1. Benjamin Cip says:

        It’s kind of a handicap for US residents. How about your main target is American… Imagine an American blogger is writting his blog in a language other than English, and target people from outside the US, does he have to write a disclosure in English? It would sound quite strange…

  27. Just a quick question to clear things up, does “based” in the US mean that if it’s hosted on a US server it[s technically based there or just from the location you live in.

    Personally I’m from the UK but my hosting isn’t, I will probably add a disclaimer anyway to cover my back but was curious on my legal stand on the issue.

    Thanks

    1. Benjamin Cip says:

      I’m from Europe but my hosting is hostgator. Should I write a disclosure even I’m not from the USA?

    2. Cam Birch says:

      Yes the FTC can get nosy if they wish for anything located within the US. This includes hosting in the US. That doesn’t really do much but since they can shut down your site you might as well write a small note and stay safe. Since something like 50% of the Internet is in some way located in the US this rule affects a lot of people. Also BTW, ICANN is located in the US so the FTC could have the power to pull your domain name if they wished.

      If the FTC someday grew a brain about the “Internets” they may also try to do evil things to “bad” people like instructing Google to de-list them or similar crap. That I think is pretty unlikely though since the FTC is more of a reactionary group rather than pro-active.

      1. Benjamin Cip says:

        Thank you for your reply Cam Birch, I was about to write a disclosure anyway. It’s just very difficult to write one so I’ll take example on John’s one, without plagiarizing of course.

      2. Maybe the FTC should protect us from Google. That would be nice since Google is so evil.

  28. Dean Saliba says:

    Yet another example of the governments of this world trying to stifle people.

    1. Cam Birch says:

      Every (or almost) government has advertising laws. This protects us from companies saying that their clothing will make you loose weight or a chew-able vitamin can give you laser eyes. I wouldn’t say that advertising laws are really that strict they mostly require that an advertiser uses a little bit of honesty in advertising.

      Until now those laws were unable to apply to the Internet, this has really just been an oversight of the law writers. Making advertisers, aka blogs, or other people who advertise and make money, responsible to the public is something that should have happened all along. And in all honesty any legitimate advertiser like John Chow has been following the spirit of the FTC’s policies since before it was an FTC lawyers wet dream.

      If telling people that they are not allowed to lie about advertising, is stifling people then governments have been doing that for a lot longer than you have been alive. Suck it up, become a little bit less of a greasy criminal and deal with it.

  29. Thanks for the heads up John

  30. Buzzlord says:

    Good news.

    The FTC and other regulatory bodies could make the internet a much better place to do business with a little more regulation.

    It would be nice to get rid of the perception that everything online is a scam….

    1. you don’t really want that much regulation from the government. People do have to use their intelligence a little here. If it’s too good to be true, then it is. Does someone really need to be told that when they click a link an an internet marketing blog, that blogger is going to make money? Ridiculous.

      1. Cam Birch says:

        You are quite correct. In most instances regulation will actually have quite the opposite effect (aka negative). Regulation normally hurts the good guys far more than it hurts the bad guys. Some regulations are required (anti-SPAM, a certain amount of truth) but beyond some rules people need to be educated.

        The public at large is using the Internet more and more all the time. Schools are now teaching Internet use and we are finally starting to see a more educated public. The fact that people see everything as a scam is a testament to how good the scamers really are, you can’t easily tell the difference. Over time, with education, the Internet will become more mature and the public will be more discerning. That will be when the Internet really becomes excellent. Right now we have to hold on and ride out the growing pains.

  31. Greek SEO says:

    Hahaha…

    That’s an inspiring disclosure policy

    In fact you must be the only guy that makes money from his disclosure policy as well

    I am gonna definitely use it for one of my blogs ๐Ÿ™‚

    keep it up john

    1. I guess he might since there were a couple affiliate links in his policy.

  32. Mystery says:

    Holy crap! I have a feeling Canada is next.

    No one can stop this s***?

    I do have a privacy policy page, but I ain’t gonna put more details.

  33. Lee Ka Hoong says:

    Sounds cool! lol! John, so it’s not enforced in any country other than US right?

    Btw, I love your disclosure policy, may use it as a base of my disclosure policy too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Wrong. If you sell in the US regardless of where you are from, the FTC goon squad can go after you.

      1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

        Oh I see, thanks for telling me dude. I’m going to add this in my disclosure policy too.

      2. Cam Birch says:

        The FTC definitely sees themselves as a kind of worldwide police. They are very big and slow though so the chances of them going after the little guys who are actually doing things legitimately is super low.

        On the other hand though, 10 minutes of time invested to save yourself months of legal hassles if the FTC does decide to take a crap on you. Heck for 95% of websites out there the disclosure policy is likely their most profitable time spent.

      3. Do you have any site or source that could help me understand how this could be factual?

        It just doesn’t seem legitimate is all and I’d like to find out the facts because I’ve seen a lot of commentary saying the same as you’ve said.

        I just don’t see how a local, domestic government department can assume international jurisdiction over every trade or financial transaction that takes place in the world each day.

  34. Wow, your sponsors must love ya ๐Ÿ˜€

    -Mike

  35. Nice disclosure…Your in Vancouver, your ok….I think…for now

  36. This whole thing is being blown way out of proportion. People aren’t going to read this disclosure pages, they just want a quick bit of info and them move on. I like the directness.

  37. izzat aziz says:

    you should add “all link on johnchow.com’s comment section if a freebie by me and be grateful”

  38. Since the announcement of the FTC policy changes I’ve seen a lot of disclaimers go up on blogs but none as entertaining as this.

    I have a question for you though. I’ve reviewed the new guidelines and the FTC makes it very clear that these are simply ‘guidelines’ and that no changes to the legislation were made. Guidelines are what we should do whereas legislation is what we must do.

    Given that they are guidelines and not legislation, why, in your opinion does there seem to be such a panic about it all?

  39. My disclosure policy has been in place for the last 29 years — I have two of them, actually. One on each hand.

  40. odeskguide says:

    Hi! I live in the Philippines, one of the country in Asia. I will be having a domain and host it in Bluehost. Am I also subjected to create this disclosure policy? Can FTC charge me or do something about my blog if I don’t follow them?

Comments are closed.