Monday, October 27, 2014

The Business of Blogging: What the Federal Trade Commision Has to Say About Blog Endorsements (Part 2)

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the US government in charge of preventing business practices that are anti-competitive or deceptive or unfair to consumers; enhancing informed consumer choice and public understanding of the competitive process. The FTC says its mission is to accomplish the aforementioned without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.The FTC is in charge of protecting consumers from fraud, deception, and unfair business practices in the workplace. Think: online counterfeit sellers and the like.

 The FTC recognizes that bloggers that work directly with fashion retailers and brands refer a lot traffic to the retailer website which turn into sales. Social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter enable bloggers to endorse and advertise brands and retailer products. "This is done through likes, comments, retweets, replies, brand mentions, shares, and increases in in-bound and out-bound links," WWD reports.

First, let's explain how shopping through social media works. The old school way was seeing an item on a celebrity or blogger and going to find it by yourself. But now Instagram is shoppable through LiketoKnow.It, a daughter company of RewardStyle, a Dallas, Texas based company that monetizes blogs. Instagram sends users an email with the shopping information of the items inside the Instagram photos they like. Users then sign up with in order to buy the item. Think bloggers like Sincerely Jules and celebrities like Lilly Ghalichi and Lauren Conrad. Sites like LTK include startups like Soldsie, Chirpify, and Hashbag. via

So what rules and regulations do the FTC have in place for the business of blogging? Well, in March 2013, the FTC published specific rules and regulations in .Com Disclosure, How to make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising.
  • Endorsements and Advertisements
    • Bloggers must make all online endorsement disclosures must be clear and conspicuous.
      • considerations of "clear and conspicuous" include the placement of the disclosure and it's proximity to any claims, the prominence of the disclosure, whether the disclosure should be communicated repeatedly as consumers travel through the site; and whether there are audible and visual messages that will distract consumer's attention from the disclosure.
  • Fraud and Deceit
    • Advertising must be truthful and not misleading; must have evidence to back up their claims; and cannot be unfair. 
It is amazing to see the way that fashion increasingly evolves through technology. This concludes our series on the Business of Blogging.

Talk to us and let us know what you think on the business of blogging and the monetization of social media sites.

The Business of Blogging: Bloggers, Fashion Brands, and Retailers (Part 1)

Brian Grey-Yambao of BryanBoy Blog makes $100,000 annually
Today, there is a blog for just about anything from fashion and beauty to lonely Cheetos (random Cheetos left on the ground... no don't ask us and no shade from us either). It all starts with an interesting subject or hobby and some free time. But now, blogging is a full time gig and paying career for many people around the world. These bloggers form a relationship with retailers and fashion brands when they send the bloggers items to advertise, or send them to specific locations to blog on site and or make appearances. 

We even found some bloggers pulling in six figure incomes from so today's post is dedicated to the business of blogging. Now in fashion law form, we will definitely inform you of some of the laws that surround blogging such as defamation, endorsements, and advertisements- you can never be too careful. But we will leave that for part two of the business of blogging. Since blogging is a lucrative business for some of the one million blogs that exist, we want to highlight some of the highest paid bloggers.

 According to WWD, designers and fashion brands pay anywhere from $5000 to $50,000 to work with bloggers. 
  • First they choose a highly influential blogger, someone who's blog has major traffic and many followers and can drive millions of page views a month on the blog and on the brand's website
  • Then they send them the products in exchange for posting commentary and driving sales. Think: clothes, shoes, technology, and cosmetics.
    • Of course the blogger has to jazz up the look and is responsible for styling, hair, makeup, photography, art direction, retouching, copy writing, and posting, which WWD says takes a magazine 20 people to pull off. Therefore, it is going to cost the retailer or fashion brand.
    • Note: since the blogger is officially advertising products, they must follow FTC guidelines and make any and all endorsements "conspicuously and clearly" (found out more information in part two of our series).
  • Next is the optional stuff like hosting an event. This can cost up to $50,000. Think: airfare, hotel, and entertainment.
Now just who are some of these millionaire club bloggers? According to RewardStyle, a Dallas, Texas based invitation-only web tool that helps top tier style publishers find and monetize their content, the top five bloggers are:
The bloggers listed obviously do more than the "pay per click" advertisements. They are out and about making appearances at store openings and events. But there are rules and regulations that go along with endorsing fashion brands and retailers which we will cover tomorrow in part two of The Business of Blogging. 


Friday, October 24, 2014

Dolce & Gabbana Not Guilty of Tax Evasion

Hot off their Instagram press, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbanna of Dolce and Gabbana have been found not guilty of tax evasion by the Italian Supreme Court of Justice.  Remember when we told you the the Italian fashion power house had been under a 6 year investigation for allegedly hiding millions of euros from Italian Tax Authorities and sentenced to 1 year and 8 months in jail? If you don't, then read the story here.

In celebratory fashion, D&G took to Instagram to post the great news saying they had always been honest, thanking the court.

Viva l'Italia!