Today in Chicago, the BEA Bloggers Conference is taking place and the afternoon is devoted to a number of round table discussions. We are so excited to have some of the facilitators for those round tables joining us here at Armchair BEA! In fact, I am so excited to introduce you to our first guest, Felicia of The Geeky Blogger. She is here to share a few of her talking points and discussion questions regarding the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Guidelines.
Are you covering yourself on social media? If you say something positive did you properly give credit for sponsored content? If you got it free for review that is considered sponsored content.
Giveaways? Do you give a free entry? If not are you limiting the contest to only states/countries that allow lotteries? If you are running a contest- are you specific about the guidelines around the entry and what will go into the judging?
I know it seems like a lot to cover in those 3 points but they are good things to think about as you are planning your blogging and social media strategy. One of the main things to keep in mind is that you want to give your best effort. The FTC is not likely to come after bloggers now but that could change in the future. Bloggers are considered influencers now and with that comes a responsibility. This is the least fun part of blogging and influencing but it is super important to know so that you will not be fined down the line.
You can no longer just have an all over blog disclaimer. FTC disclaimer must be on every post where the product was given to you by a third party (company, author, publisher)
You must state the SOURCE below and above the fold in blog posts (this is due to many people reading on phones, tablets, and other mobile devices these days)
If you are saying anything positive in your social media about the object (book, device, tool, place) then you must state that it is a #spon #ad #advertisement #sponsored Tweet, FB, Instagram or anywhere else you may post it.
Book Bloggers: words like #ARC #EARC will NOT work in place of #spon or #ad as they are not generally known to the “layman”
Giveaways: These are specific to where you live and/or where you are running the contest. You need to know if you are running a Lottery, Contest, or Sweepstakes. Most of you should be running Sweepstakes (luck of the draw) because lotteries are not allowed in all areas. If you don’t have a free entry then you are running a Lottery (if it isn’t based on a talent) and you need to make sure you only allow people to enter from states and countries that allow lotteries. Free entries can be described as something that requires no purchase or commitment from the entrant (aka doesn’t have to follow, sign up, or promote the contest/author/blog). Additional entries have to be weighted the same as the free entry but those can require commitment from the entrant.
FTC updated the rules in 2013 so by now they expect bloggers to be following the guidelines. The update was heavily focused on social media and the impact of bloggers as influencers.
How I learned about this stuff: I am not a lawyer and some of the legal speak is above my head. I try to attend a blogger conference (not specific to industry) once a year in order to stay up with things going on in the bigger blogger world. FTC guidelines are something that applies to all areas of blogging but is not often talked about in the book blogging world. If you are looking to grow your social influence then I highly suggest attending a blogger conference from SITS, BlogHer, Blog Elevated that will give you a chance to learn about blogging in a more general sense. If you are a LifeStyle or Food Blogger this is even more immediate to you as your influence is a bit larger.
Links To Visit:
My Examples for Book Bloggers: http://www.geekybloggersbookblog.com/blogger-confession-ftc-new-rules-and-review-books-bookblogging/
Giveaway Specific Links: http://busybeingjennifer.com/2013/02/giveaways-official-rules-and-legal-stuff/
About Felicia The Geeky Blogger: I am just your average gal from Texas that loves Audiobooks and Libraries with a passion! I can wine them, dine them, and love them forever. My eclectic reading tastes include: Cozy Mysteries, Thrillers, Swoon-Worthy Romance of all kinds, Zombies, Urban Fantasy, Historical Fiction, and the occasional YA read. During my non-reading time you can find me hanging with my rescue fur children named after book characters: Lizzie a beautiful cattle dog mix (Pound Pup), and Cinder a beautiful Shep/Pitt mix (Pound Pup). Also whatever Foster Pup I have that moment #AdoptDontShop. I can also be found gathering with friends and family, attending conventions, watching movies/tv shows, rooting for the 49ers, and crocheting.
If you want to follow my DIY, Health, and Life adventures check out Mess to Best. You can also find me on Twitter (@TheGeekyBlogger), Facebook, and Instagram.