I have been blogging for a little more than two years. I am not in the least an expert blogger. I’m still learning the tricks of the trade. But I just had an experience from which I think we can all learn.
What I want to talk to you about is on the importance of disclaiming in the blogging world.
I have been researching on a particular subject. I found this blog of a person who claims to be an expert in the matter. I found a post where this person shares information which was pretty much what I had been looking for. To be clear, this person just wrote sort of an intro and finished by reblogging the same information found in an article on an online magazine. I had a couple of questions on the information. I had already asked the author on the online magazine, but since this other person claimed to be an expert, I thought I had nothing to lose by sending my questions to this person as well.
I had the option of leaving a blog comment but thought it would be faster and more one on one if I contacted this person by email. I sent the email with my questions and as I expected got a reply really fast. On the reply this person basically told me the following:
- Respect my knowledge and the fact that it took me years and money to learn what I know.
- I don’t give free advice.
- Make an appointment, I charge $75 per hour.
To tell you the truth, I felt insulted. A lot of the so called knowledge posted was copied from another article online. My questions were not that complicated to answer. I was just expecting an answer like: “Yes you could try that or no, I don’t recommend that.” But I took it like a grown up and replied, saying that I respect this person’s knowledge and right to answer or not, thanked for the reply and said I was going to keep researching on my own.
Immediately this person replies saying that if I have a credit card I could get online answers to my questions. I didn’t reply. Got another email form this person urging me to pay online, which I also didn’t reply.
This is the thing, if you are going to blog about anything, giving FREE advice online and claiming you are an expert in the matter, it is obvious you should expect people asking questions. If you are not going to be willing to answer any questions for FREE, it is simple: DISCLAIM IT.
A simple sentence on the site: For further inquiries, contact me to make an appointment, my fee is $XX.XX would’ve made things clear. It’s that simple. Good fences make good neighbors.
What I learn from this is:
Be it charging for answering questions, referral links, affiliate links, experience/professional knowledge on a certain topic, etc., whenever necessary: disclaim. In my opinion, it is what makes you an authentic, transparent, honest, trustworthy blogger, it is what makes a first time visitor to your blog, a constant visitor, it can save you from legal claims, it helps you have a cordial relationship with your readers, it can save your readers’ time and it keeps your blogging life happy.
I hope this little tip helps you, I know I will be reviewing and editing my online disclaims from now on. In the meantime, to end with a fun note, I leave you with a collection of disclaimers from someecards, as absurd as they may seem, they make a clear point and are even lifesaving! 😀
images via Someecards.com