A word to the wise – blogging and declaring payment

The ASA has again issued advice/a warning to bloggers who accept payment in return for viewing products and endorsing brands.

I read a great article on this subject in PR Week, written by PR professional and blogger Rich Leigh. In general it’s good news for bloggers (and PR’s) so I’ve taken Rich’s 4 key points to share with you;

1. If a blogger is paid to say something positive then it becomes an advertisement and they must disclose it. Bloggers can and should make it clear if their blog contains paid-for content by signposting it as ‘ad’, ‘advertorial’ or ‘sponsored content’.

2. Bloggers must not falsely present themselves as consumers, i.e. giving a view that appears to be opinion but that is actually paid for. This is a Trading Standards issue as well as one for the ASA to investigate.

3. Although the blogger would be named as part of any ASA investigation into misleading advertising, the buck stops with the advertiser. If a paid-for entry on a blog wasn’t disclosed the ASA would investigate and hold the advertiser accountable.

4. The rules DO NOT prohibit PR companies sending free gifts or samples to bloggers in the hope of receiving a positive review.

One final thing to mention, if you do review a product or endorse a brand, you should really add a ‘no follow’ link on your page, to comply with Google’s rules.

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Picture credit: Stacey Nelson (sadly not my desk!)

If you are a blogger who receives product for review and want to know more, here are the links to the original article and to the ASA website.

http://www.asa.org.uk/News-resources/Media-Centre/2013/Blurring-advertising-and-blogs.aspx

http://www.prweek.com/article/1221222/paid-for-bloggers-note-advice-asa-guidelines

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