Write a disclaimer? I have to admit… when I tend to think of having a disclaimer on my blog I tend to think of the legal stuff we need to do for reviews. Something like what I have on the top of every post. Or the amazon one I have at the bottom of my website or the one I use with reviews. (see below). I wonder about the need to have anything more in-depth than that.But as I work to put my website together better, I am learning about having a broader disclaimer on my site (and no, I haven’t done this yet). … but it is DEFINITELY on my to-do list. What type of disclaimer? One that states that I am not a professional, this is my opinion only at the time of writing, my thoughts and opinions belong to me, and individual blog posts might not even truly represent what my blog is all about.
Why would I want to do this?
Because this is a sue-happy world we live in! I blog because it’s fun and if it makes me money down the road WOOT WOOT! (that is a goal) I don’t want someone thinking that just because I have a different opinion than they do, and they have an adverse reaction to it, or I recommend a book for a middle schooler with MY values in mind, and find their values are different and they get all mad at me. or someone makes one of my recipes without thinking it all through and gets sick… and then wants to sue me… well, that’s not something I want to worry on eh?
What have I learned so far?
The type of disclaimer you put up depends on what you do. For instance, I put recipes on my blog (on Saturdays) so in that post I should put something like “use at your own risk” cause I don’t know what people’s allergies or food tolerances are like. Seems a bit silly in some ways, but when teenagers eat tide pods…. you gotta watch out for the no-brainers right? Not meaning that in a bad way but sometimes people don’t think decisions through until after the fact.. I’ve done it myself! This means you want to include as much as you can to make it clear to folks that this is your blog and you can do with it as you will, and since it is your blog, you can do with it as you like. You have the right to change it, delete comments, change your mind, give your opinion on different matters or materials and such like. You just want to easily spell it out to people as you write a disclaimer.
What to include:
1. Your right to monitor and delete comments.
2. Your right to publish letters that people write to you, unless they specify that you cannot. Or you should at least tell them what you DO with the letters you receive (toss them, save them, use them for a book or a blog post, etc)
3. All materials are use at your own risk. You are giving your thoughts and opinions, sharing something you know about, but they are making the choice to come and use learn from you. It’s their risk if they take it. Your site is for educational as well as entertainment purposes, and not a professional service.
4. All materials on the blog are yours and others can’t publish or reprint it without your expressly written consent.
5. Explain that if someone buys something from one of your sponsors and has a problem with it.. take it up with the sponsor not you. All you are doing of providing a service, with your own opinions, not acting as the sponsor with ownership of their product.
6. Errors and omissions happen! Be clear with your readers that this can happen and not to hold you responsible for it. For instance, I’ve learned a lot about disclaimers but I don’t know everything that’s for sure, ergo if this post spurs on your interest to learn more or create your own disclaimer… do more research! 🙂
Make an easy to read disclaimer. Spell out everything you need to. Be serious or have some fun with in as long as you make your point well. Cover yourself… don’t get in trouble with others over not having a disclaimer. Better to save a headache then to create one eh?
If you do a search on-line you can find all sorts of disclaimers. Read what other bloggers do, learn from them, see what to add. Don’t make it too long (at least what’s on your blog feed), you can always refer people to your full disclaimer. You want it to be easily read and understood. Stay safe with your blog eh?
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