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ProBlogger Disclaimer

I’ve been working on a ProBlogger Disclaimer Page for a few days now in order to be more transparent about this blog. As regular readers know, I receive a lot of both positive and negative feedback (more good than bad) to what I write here so I thought some sort of disclaimer might be helpful to increase the transparency of what I do.

I’ve decided to list both the things I gain from writing this blog and the costs I incur in doing so. I was tempted to leave out the costs but part of my philosophy here is to be as honest as possible about Professional blogging and I hope in showing the underbelly of what I do that readers will develop a realistic understanding of blogging that helps them to make informed choices about it as a possible endeavour. I hope it’s not too negative – but to be honest I’ve had a bit of a low blogging day and so the costs are written out of that context.

I’m sure I’ll add to it later as I think of more things but here it is (also linked to in the menu above). I’d appreciate your feedback on it in comments below.

Also I’m interested to know how many others have developed disclaimers like this for their blogs. Perhaps we could have a discussion below about what they should and shouldn’t include?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Mike Sigers says:

    Darren,

    I always thought OUR blogs were the lowest paying ones in the world…;-)

    We all have to decide what we do with our time….I’m glad we do what we do and I’m glad you’d rather blog than watch Seinfeld reruns.

    The disclaimer and all that you tell is nothing new to those of us who do, to a degree, what you do. For those that only read blogs, or have only one blog, it still won’t get them to cut you any slack or give any accolades. I know that’s not why you did it, but that is human nature.

    The best part of the disclaimer would be if every one of the 45,000 people that start a blog every day had to read it first. I believe it would be down to 4,500, because the other 9/10 would quit now, instead of blogging for 30 days and then quitting.

    I’ll be interested to see how the comments go on this one.

  2. yunasville says:

    I am totally with you on the “helping people” part. I don’t make a penny on my blog and yet I spend 30+ hours on my site trying to write something positive, fun and inspiring. People would ask me why the hell I do this if I am not gaining anything.. but sometimes money isn’t the only thing we get. A few comments such as “great post” and “great blog” give me the best reward as a baby blogger and if I know that someone has beneifted from my writings, that’d make my day.

    But like you said, the web is a brutal place and sometimes our best intentions are not always being appreciated by a few people who don’t think on the same line. I guess that’s something a blogger has to deal with, just like every other person who holds a profile in the public.

    I still believe that if you give, the community will eventually return the favor. I have seen a lot of great comments given by the readers on the site. So blog on Darren!

  3. Scott says:

    I really appreaciate the honesty of your disclaimer.

    Keep up the great work!

  4. Pat says:

    Darren,

    I read the section about “what does this blog cost me”, and I was really struck by how you give away all your blogging secrets, and in return people copy your stuff and steal your content. I think that’s just awful.

    You have helped and inspired me so much in the short time that I have been reading your blog. I am very grateful to you. I feel so bad that people are taking advantage of the good that you are doing.

    Don’t give up. You are doing a lot of good, and don’t let those bad apples get you down. I sure hope they are in the minority.

    I hope you write a great book and make a ton of money. And I hope those bad and lazy people who are ripping off your stuff run out of ideas and have their blogs rot in obscurity.

  5. Here’s the disclaimer I use on my blog:
    http://www.stevepavlina.com/legal-notice.htm

    What you’ve written, Darren, was great to read, but in my opinion it’s not really a disclaimer in the legal sense. I’d call it more of an exclaimer. :)

  6. Ken says:

    Here’s my take on all this:

    1.) I got started in blogging because of sites likes yours and they are truly a a benefit to us and the greater good of blogging. We all benefit from having our skills sharpened learning from mentors/gurus like yourself.

    2.) For those who copy your content, eventually, people will get wiser to this. They can’t keep up the charade forever.

    3.) I don’t understand why people have a problem with someone making money off blogging. As long as you are not directly paid for what you say, who cares? Adsense is literally putting code on your site and that’s it. I don’t see how that could bias what you say on your site. People either need to get a clue and/or grow up.

    4.) It’s because of your generosity that a lot of us come back and try to support you in whatever way we can. After blogging myself for a good 4 months now, I realize how HARD it REALLY is compared to other businesses. If you want to be successful, you gotta work hard at it, including learning and researching. Information is not free, especially good information but your site is a diamond in the rough. I’d pay for this info, other sites that I’ve paid for information honestly suck compared to the quality of ProBlogger.

    5.) It’s sad that everyone sees the value of blogging in $$$ only. For myself, the blog has helped meet others I would never meet without having a “presence” on the web and has led to being quoted in some publications which is another plus for me.

    But overall, it’s just trying to raise the awareness and apprecation for certain crafts like photography that gives me satisfaction in blogging. I make no illusions about making 6 figures a year at this because that’s not my main goal. It’s a place to share my philisophy and knowledge from some years of experience to further what I’m doing currently.

    I’m glad to see the positive feedback here and hope more comes your way. Thanks again Darren. =)

  7. Lei says:

    I hope you keep blogging on, Darren. You’re doing a fantastic job helping others. The good karma can only help boost you higher! :)

    I have a various disclaimers and disclosures on my genetics and public health blog mainly so I don’t get in trouble. I don’t want anyone to think what I say is gospel and I don’t want readers to think I’m aligned with any big pharmaceutical companies. But basically, I just like to let people know where I’m coming from because it helps them decide whether to take me seriously or not.

  8. Lindsay says:

    I think your disclaimer works.

    Regarding criticism, I think it’s more about being a writer and publishing your work for an audience than the topics you choose. It comes with the business. Ask any author who’s seen his books trashed on Amazon ;) You just have to develop a thick skin (I know; it’s easier said than done).

    “Pay no attention to what the critics say… Remember, a statue has never been set up in honor of a critic!” –Jean Sibelius

  9. Gone Away says:

    The internet is the last place in the world where there is such a thing as a free lunch. To blog is to be prepared to be copied, ripped off, flamed, ignored, and idolised. The blogger does it anyway, giving his/her time away in huge chunks to a world that often doesn’t appreciate, understand or care. Some, a very few, are developing ways to earn a living by blogging; the vast majority blog because they love it and want to do it, without thought of monetary return. And good content is given away every day.

    It makes no sense at all but still we do it. It’s called blogging; love it or leave it. ;)

  10. I like the term “exclaimer,” too! I don’t think getting paid to blog is bad, either. I object to dishonesty in any form: I believe in full disclosure regarding ads and so forth. If I were a hired blogger, I’d want to make sure my reader knew and understood why my blog was worth reading. We all know money can corrupt and enslave, but it can also produce work of high value.

    Open source, cluetrain, etc., have shown us that giving it away, while counterintuitive, works. It just works in a different way. Online and consulting, the best way to show you know what you’re doing and to be seen as the go-to person is to give it away. Become the well-known (even better: well-liked) expert and people will flock to you. Opportunities come from that you can’t get any other way. Darren’s blog has been very inspiring to me and I’ve learned a great deal from him and his readers. I’ve seen direct results from applying his advice.

  11. I think you should remove this line: “Ok pass around the vomit bucket because I’m about to get a little gushy…” It detracts from a perfectly good piece of writing.
    Also, don’t tell people that your content is stolen. It actually encourages people who are borderline thieves, because they’ll say “Hey – other people are doing it – I’m not the only one!” Report stolen content to ISPs.

  12. tmtb says:

    Darren, as a new blogger I have to say that this blog is my authority for my business. It is like free coaching and mentoring. I hope that my blogs can pass some of that goodwill on, and if I’m lucky I will get to repay you personally. This is a fantastic resource and you should be getting all the praise and accolades for it. Thank you very much for writing.

    On the disclaimer issue, I wanted to put one up on all my projects just as a CYA, but I don’t want to rip someone else’s content. I didn’t know what to write in it. Can you give any info on what to put in a CYA disclaimer, or is this one of those “see your lawyer” things?

  13. FFL says:

    Darren,
    You are an inspiration and your “free advice” is used wisely and pushes me to continue giving “free advice” as well on my blog. I have those same days about whether it is worth it or not as well. But then someone comes along to say they love the site and all is good.

    I love your site! Cheers!

  14. Jason Gilman says:

    Darren, I’ve been blogging on and off for a long time, but you and your weblog have given me renewed interest in both my original weblog and starting some new niche ones in the near future. Thanks for all your efforts. You’re doing a lot to improve the blogosphere both with your quality content and the influence it’s having on other bloggers. Keep up the good work.

  15. Keep on blogging, keep up the great work and get satisfaction and any other positive things out of your great work.

    And I hope your disclaimer will be working.

  16. Darren, as a problogger you know that the blogs that make the big payouts are usually quite arid in content ~ lots of geeky, techy details about little shiny objects. Just to write that sort of stuff all day would drive you mad if you have any humanity. You almost certainly need to write Problogger because it connects you with others of similar ambition in a way where “bucks up front” are not involved. Problogger is your spiritual release from the necessary but dispiriting means of earning a living online. I think your disclaimer is a good douche of cold water for those who think it’s easy.