Disclosure

I was glad to see that the FTC unanimously approved new guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials. The updated guidelines affirm the principle that material connections behind endorsements should be disclosed. This seems like a great time to offer my own disclosure information.

I am currently an employee of Google. I receive a salary from them and I also own Google stock and options.

Other than compensation from Google, I don’t accept any money or other gifts of value from any companies or individuals. I don’t accept speaking fees, consulting fees, honoraria, or trips. I don’t accept free, discounted, or loaned products. When I receive unsolicited gifts of value from companies or individuals in the scope of work, I give away those gifts.

When I speak at a conference or event, I generally do not pay a registration fee for that event. Some conferences also waive registration fees for that event for one or more of my colleagues or a traveling companion. Either my company or I pay my own travel and hotel expenses when I speak at an event.

I do not run advertisements or otherwise receive any monetary compensation from the operation of my website.

Added January 16, 2010: A few years ago my wife and I formed a non-profit foundation. Neither of us are paid a salary from the foundation. Example groups that the foundation has donated to include the Electronic Frontier Foundation, MAPLight, Change Congress, the Sunlight Foundation, Free Press, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, Committee to Protect Journalists, Public.Resource.Org, Khan Academy, Code for America, charity: water, and Room to Read. The Employer Identification Number (EIN) of our foundation is 203865461. Added August 29, 2013: we closed our foundation last year. We transferred the remaining money into a donor-advised fund.

Also, I have invested in Perfect Third (the company that makes the WakeMate), Zencoder, Cardpool, Tasty Labs, Drchrono, Grubwithus, PoundPay, Apportable, Mailgun, and Parse. I have also invested in CircuitHub, PlanGrid, Pixelapse, ZenPayroll, Trigger.io, Zenefits, and True Link Financial.

I have also invested in Lowercase Capital (Lowercase Ventures Fund I), Y Combinator (Y Combinator Fund II), Lowercase 140, and Lowercase Spur.

78 Responses to Disclosure (Leave a comment)

  1. If you see anything that appears to be contrary to this disclosure, please let me know so that I can either clarify or correct the situation or update the disclosure. Thanks!

  2. Hmmm…somehow I never thought you DID:-)

  3. “Either my company or I pay my own travel and hotel expenses when I speak at an event.”

    Good to know that you sometimes pay out of your own pocket to do speaking engagements.
    Really shows your dedication to the Internet Marketing Community

  4. Sub in Endeca for Google and that works for me. I suspect that most employee bloggers are in the same boat–perhaps you could make that disclosure template available under creative commons. :-)

  5. How come you would pay your own hotel/travel expenses when attending an event at which you’d speak? The norm is for the event organizer to reimburse you for those expenses, and I don’t think that would fall under the realm of “endorsement” personally. Or am I misreading something?

    Also, not that I’m complaining (I’m really not complaining!) but why so many posts lately? You usually tend to space them out more.

  6. This might not be the right place for this question, but say I wrote a blog post with and affiliate link in it, do you think would I have to disclose right then and there(and every time) regarding our affiliate arrangement, or would a similar disclosure post like yours suffice?

  7. Maybe, perhaps, clarify the “give away those gifts” to friends/relatives/charity?
    Otherwise everything makes sense.

  8. Glen

    I don’t know Matt… You always have that shifty look in your eye. j/k ;-) Nice to see that ethics are still a priority in some parts of the world.

  9. Daniel Tunkelang, anyone is welcome to use this post as a template. Consider this specific post released into the public domain. :)

    I also like the disclosures that Kara Swisher, Walt Mossberg, and Jeff Jarvis have written.

    Multi-Worded Adam, I figured I’d just state how things have worked. In theory I wouldn’t have a problem with travel expenses being paid for when I’m speaking, but it hasn’t been an issue because Google has been willing to pay. Of course, if I want to stay in a nicer-than-normal hotel or fly better-than-coach, that means that I can lose money when I do speaking engagements. As for blogging, I’ve just been in a blogging sort of mood recently. Maybe it’s because I’ve been avoiding my email. :)

  10. Matt, You forget one thing to add, that is:

    “And I HATE Microsoft: Just see my latest 30 day challenge and you will get the whole picture” ;)

    Also :idea: don’t just throw away all those valuable gifts. Simply send them to me and I will take care of the rest: here is my address:

    Blah Blah Blah Blah
    Blah Blah
    and Blah

  11. Your disclosure regarding compensations and gifts is refreshing, yet, somehow I doubt anyone ever questioned your ethics. Still, you are extended high regard around the globe and a slight mention of your name is a direct association with Google.
    For this reason, salary or no salary, I suggest you stop paying expenses out-of-your-own-pocket. Get with the program, Google can afford to cover those, can’t they?

  12. Mark

    Obviously Matt you’re on a good salary.

    As for the rest of us this isn’t great news :(

    We need all the gifts, endorsements and private sponsorship we can get our hands on!

  13. Me, I think it’s going to be sooooo much fun to see some of those disclosures… I predict some big name blogs losing readers in the future months… ;)

  14. Chris

    Goodbye freedom of speech. Hello big brother.

  15. I think I’m safe with the assumption that you’ll be speaking at other conferences events after the December 1st date. I also think it’s safe to assume you might recap or post something about those shows. When you do are you going to disclose in every post? While that’s clearly the safest way to go, depending on how often you do it, it could become an onerous practice. Or will you just put a link at the bottom of every post linking to your disclosure policy?

  16. so will Senators / Congressmen /Polaticians put similar statements on their websites. And will bloggers like Guido do the same in the UK.

    Not that I am cynical.

  17. Matt – Think some of these comments work together, particularly Michael’s. In your case, I can certainly see a need for the FTC ‘ruling/oversight’ (as in many others). It makes sense for high-profile bloggers and writers …. and for brand-new readers, also provides a small window into who you are. On the other hand, it’s troublesome that many others (and you?) might be actually forced to put the disclosure in the right column or a link to a page, which in my mind, unless you’re explaining who you are …. is somewhat unnecessary and maybe a touch of over-regulation. AllThingsD was years ahead of this with their ‘cookie disclosure’. Will that be mandated next?

  18. Does this mean that Google is going to make all of the AdWords advertisers who pretend to be consumer advocacy sites (but are really affiliates) come in to line?

  19. I’m from Europe, but I’m concerned as well. How about all the product reviews we write on our websites? We write them because we think that a product is good for ourself or for our sites visitor.
    That we earn a few cents if the visitor has bought a linked product is just normal… So this is not allowed according the FTC?

  20. Matt this is wonderful. I wish here in Italy we could have the same clear statements.

  21. Hey Matt; thanks for the great work and for leading by example.

  22. Y’know Matt, this reminds me of the time that Michael Jackson, who once said I was the best keyboard player he’d ever worked with, introduced me to Janet (his sister). She tried my revolutionary new weight loss pill, the shrinkydinker, and lost 30 pounds that same hour. Sure, the results were extraordinary, but I’ve helped thousands so far – so how can that many people be wrong?

    Seriously though, good disclaimer – not so sure about the actual policy. I can just see every internet article turning into a celebrex commercial.

  23. Matt, I had the same question as @graywolf, will you disclose on every reference to conferences who provide you with free admission (whether you speak or not) or cover with blanket disclosure policy linked from every page? Congrats on doing this, just as Privacy Policies help visitors understand the data practices of a site, Disclosure Policies like this can also help educate visitors who don’t read you regularly.

  24. Y’know Matt, this reminds me of the time that Michael Jackson, who once said I was the best keyboard player he’d ever worked with, introduced me to Janet (his sister). She tried my revolutionary new weight loss pill, the shrinkydinker, and lost 30 pounds that same hour.

    Is this why her clothes didn’t seem to fit quite right at the Super Bowl? I would like exclusive Canadian resale rights to the shrinkydinker and any other pills your fine unofficial pharmaceutical firm manufactures and/or distributes.

  25. graywolf, I added a link to my disclosure in the header of my blog so it will be at the top of every page. I think most people assume that speakers at an event don’t pay a registration fee. I’m not aware of any conference that requires speakers to pay registration fees, and the FTC specifically mentions “connections that consumers would not expect” in their press release at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm .

    simo, you could start the trend in Italy! :)

  26. I really applaud this sort of movement in the blogging world. People tend to blindly trust what is said on the internet, and while that is safe on this blog, it can be not-so-safe elsewhere.

  27. yep, on my commercial website it’s already clear my client list and all my business connections.

    At the moment also on my experiments on affiliate marketing it’s written that the links in the article if clicked will bring some money to me, and each article should contain also “normal” links as an alternative to visitors.

    I would like to know if some clear statement about affiliate links, for example, would make a nice long term strategy, i believe that being sincere with my visitors will be also a commercial success, not just a personal motivation. For the moment I don’t have the stats to prove this, but if I gather enough data maybe someone else will follow.

    The problem is that in Italy we don’t have nice opinions on people whom sponsors something, everyone thinks that if you speak about a product you are just trying to get the money, even if the product is bad. Conscious of this fact, everyone who wants to sell even a good product must not speak about his connection to the product in order to keep active the sales.

    An help from Google to get things clear would be very appreciated (I wrote about this on Google’s GetSatisfaction page, but still didn’t get an answer, maybe it’s a stupid idea or maybe it a fault of my poor english, would really like your opinion).

  28. First Matt let me say that I’m a fan of yours and love your blog and content. I happen to be Anti-FTC on this one mainly for three reasons: 1) their ability to regulate around an area that is very ‘grey and fuzzzy’, 2) it’s not business friendly – a kinda Sarbox for blogging (not good), 3) the belief that it will stifle innovation to create an new ad solution for quality vertical publishers.

    It goes without question almost a matter of fact that the primary form of compensation display ads (cpm) and Adsense (cpc) fall short of providing compensation to any micro-publisher. In fact it promotes bad behavior in driving sensational or what I call train wreck journalism pageviews.

    Can you imagine if the fed regulated cpc in the early days with disclose statements – then it’s possible that Google’s ad prosperity never would have existed.

    I believe that you’re on the wrong side of this one. It’s ok we still love your blog and work.

    Disclosure: We don’t put adsense on our site at siliconANGLE.com because it would provide revenue that would fall way short of managing operations that is unless we eliminated the notion of proprietary quality content and replaced it with spam bots and screen scrapers to run page aggregators and SEM arbitrage.

    I’d happy to discuss this anytime with you or hear your thoughts.

  29. Stuart

    I would really like to see all those “web hosting review” websites abide by this. I think the average Internet user has no idea that those “top ten web hosting” review websites are nothing more than the “top ten highest paid affiliate” programs. I also know that at least a third of these review websites aren’t even from the USA, so I guess they don’t have to disclose.

    Will Google treat these websites differently (in SERPS) if they don’t disclose?

    BTW, here is a good disclosure those web hosting affiliates can use:

    We here at [insert URL] get paid a lot of money by referring you to web hosting companies. We only show you the ten highest paying or converting web hosting programs. We frequently make up fake reviews to point you to the web hosting affiliate that will make us the most money. We use redirect after redirect to make our links look natural to try and fool you and the search engines.

  30. Matt:

    Like the disclosure, my man!

    How’s the anti-MS going thus far? Day 6, right?

    RM

  31. Is Twitter now going to supply disclaimer space under your bio info? This will be fun to watch. :)

  32. AtlantaRealEstate, the time without Microsoft hasn’t been that bad. It helps when essentially 95% of your work is done in a web browser. :)

  33. When I receive unsolicited gifts of value from companies or individuals in the scope of work, I give away those gifts

    With your Wife on top of your give-away-list?

  34. It’s no wonder they say; The pen is mightier than the Sword

    Matt, no offence, but talk is cheap and ANYONE can write they are holier than thou.

  35. Just a heads-up for anyone viewing this in IE8…if you want the vertical scrollbar to appear on the page Matt linked to, you’ll have to view the page in Compatibility View (for the non-techies who read this blog or who don’t know what Compatibility View is, it’s the weird button that looks like a ripped piece of paper beside the address bar). I showed the link to a client today since it is newsworthy and they had this problem.

    Matt, you won’t be able to verify this to be true until after October 30 due to your little challenge thing, so you’ll just have to take my word for it…or you could cave in and go to the dark side. MS has cookies (they even have a folder for them!)

  36. Sorry…the “this” in IE8 is the FTC.gov site, not Matt’s blog. I had that in there originally, but I typed over it by accident. My bad.

  37. That’s why i liked this blog… You don’t need any money or gifts, you own a stock from Google anyway.

  38. Matt, I’m afraid that your endorsement of the FTC’s actions regarding bloggers is . . . well, misplaced.

    I’ve written my opinion on this, and while I hesitate to post a link here of all places (ie, PLEASE don’t “nofollow” me), I think you might like to check out what I’ve said on the subject, and think about my background vis a vis the way I’ve come to my conclusions. The short of it, by the way, is that it’s a) not enforceable and b) it’s a government agency making rules that do less to address the issue than existing corporate rules already address better.

    Does that leave the sad reality that bloggers are (often) not corporate-controlled and therefore not falling under these rules? Yes, of course. But to that I simply throw out: “let’s allow people to be responsible for their own actions”. Do you REALLY want the government getting into the regulate free speech” business? My guess is no.

    Anyway, here’s that link: http://answerguy.com/2009/10/06/fcc-regulates-blogs-business-change-11000/

    Thanks,

    Jeff Yablon
    President & CEO

  39. Should this not cover politician to if it does great but i think the people who need to ware racing endorsement stickers is politicians as said so well by my favorite late comedian George Carlin.

    Where is the outrage from our great community about this injustice?

  40. Matt, I think in the context of your personal disclosure it would also be worth pointing people at Google’s general Code of Conduct for employees and board members:

    http://investor.google.com/conduct.html

    It’s great that this is made public and that each and every Google employee and board member can be held accountable to it.

  41. Nicole

    Matt, we’ve been debating this issue in the office this week. We have, in the past, contacted bloggers and inquired about having the blogger post content we provide on their blog. In some cases, the blogger requires payment. A small number provide a disclaimer to the effect of “Miss X from Company Y contacted me and asked that I share the following info with you. The content below is not necessarily endorsed by me” etc. etc. But, some do not, and our content is posted, without any disclaimer or indication that we paid the blogger to post our content [and yes, there are hyperlinks within the content to our website]. My question is: if a blogger posts content that includes links to our website, does this constitute as an “endorsement” of our website? If so, then this blogger COULD be penalized under the revised FTC endorsement regs, right? We’re just trying to understand how these regulations could impact our practices.

  42. Matt do you own any online businesses yourself?

  43. It’s wonderful that you are good with the new FTC regs. I heard about the endoresement rules last week. Sounds like more rules from the boys in Washington and no real teeth behind them.
    Wonder how many blog owners will be following these new rules?

  44. “Other than compensation from Google, I don’t accept any money or other gifts of value from any companies or individuals.”

    Well gosh, Matt, it must be hard to buy you birthday presents.

  45. All the more reason to be a Matt Cutts groupie ;)

    Thanks for the transparency, Matt. There’s not enough of that these days despite the the clamor for it.

  46. This is great because it makes you totally unbiased and objective. I don’t know how much you make at Google but I’m sure you’d make quite a lot if you monetized this blog, your fame and your expertise. Did you ever thought of that?

  47. I’m actually rather sad that not a SINGLE one of you seem to understand that this ruling made by the FTC is a violation of the 4th, 5th, and 1st amendments of the United States Constitution. In one way or another.

    You can see how I handled disclosure here: http://www.surveyseeker.net/privacy/

    Its just a rough draft until I get the wording exactly how I want it.

    You might think that I am against this mandate, however in all actuality I am not. It is a good idea except for the fact it is most likely unenforceable upon those with the money to fight it in the justice system.

    The above is as far as I will go with disclosure. My reputation on the Internet has an honest and sincere marketer is important to me and for that reason alone I have stayed away from many products and tactics which I consider manipulative and questionable in nature. For those reasons alone I’m still struggling to make a full time income on the internet, but at least I know it is a moral and ethical one.

    One’s reputation is the only thing you really have and after spending years building up my online personality I never plan to risk my integrity on products that are not solid values for my readers. However, I will only go so far in revealing my business dealings to the government.

    So far our government has given the banking system which clearly engaged in out right FRAUD somewhere to the tune of 3 trillion dollars now. Fractionally banked out that comes to 30 trillion to a system where several thousands of people should have went to jail and / or bankruptcy court, not to the bank to cash a check. And now they want to pull this BS?

    No, I’m not interested in helping government and big business take over the new marketplace like they did the brick and mortar real world businesses and destroy small business here as well. At some point and time you have to draw a line and stand on it or people with money and authority will treat you however they wish, and that has got to stop.

    I’m not a radical, nor an extremist, just a man who demands his government act within its established mandates and otherwise stay out of my personal and business affairs. I’m quite sure many of you will disagree with me on this because there is a huge chance to spin this in a way that will leave all of you smelling like roses in the end by claiming your so very upstanding because your following a law your employees handed down to you. You did know that the FTC, funded by congress are both your employees right? All power of the government is derived from the people, not the other way around.

    If the people you outsourced your work too told you I’m not doing it your way, this is the way its going to be and your going to like it, you would fire them right? Well that is the exact way I feel about the FTC and congress as well for acting beyond their established function.

  48. Matt,
    Wow, I guess you Google stocks and options keep you warm. No matter what, please, keep up the excellent work. And keep those videos coming… Thanks.

  49. Whey they got to crack down on Bloggers of all people! Geez

  50. Great to see this Matt coming from you. 8) Being a former investor of a paid linking service (am I reformed?) this was an interesting topic relevant to past conversations and past conference rants. I interviewed Ted Murphy from IZEA and Michael Gray back in the summer about the FTC regulations and how this will possibly effect the “paid link/conversation/post/etc. industry. http://www.tmprod.com/blog/2009/michael-gray-ted-murphy-ftc-regulations-blogs/

  51. I wonder if the disclosure will be required on paid links? I’m guessing nofollow isn’t considered a valid disclosure – hehe. Maybe if the FTC fined $11, 000 per paid link, that might might pay for health care? – (I’ve just heard through the grapevine that some people people pay for links ;)

  52. Obviously you are in good position right now.Like me, i dont think it necesscary for disclosure since i earned only small amount of money from online.

  53. Matt, let me first say thanks for your blog. I love it, and read it often. I appreciate your frankness. :)

    With that disclosure ;) I can’t help but wonder if subconsciously you like this because it will push people even more towards paid advertising with google? Eliminating one paid advertising market will no doubt free up dollars and force folks into more constrained advertising mediums.

  54. Russ

    Can anyone please clarify a couple of things with this new FTC enforcement?

    1). Will sites or blogs with just adsense on them be required to add a disclosure?

    2). If I sell my own product and dont use testimonials, am I good to go?

    3). What about articles with affiliate links hosted at goarticles or ezinearticles.com etc, are these subject to this disclosure?

    Thanks

    Russ

  55. Is that why Google cut back on SWAG and employee perks? Only kidding of course. It’ll be interesting to see how they enforce this. This seems to be excessive.

  56. this whole ftc thing has been a bit confusing hopefully it will get more clear as the months go on

  57. So if I buy a drink and just place it on the bar near where you sit… and look away…

  58. Joshua Kallio

    Matt,
    Lately at work we have been having debates around SEO and page optimization as it pertains to our product pages. I was hoping that some time in the future you could clear something up.

    Our product pages have content about the product and in addition we show video and user reviews. As that content grows on each product page we start to get lots of repeating words whether it is the titles for each reviews stats like Date, Author or Rating or in the reviews themselves that may detract from the subject of the page. My thinking is that because that content is not in the title, description or h1 tags and repeated in such a manner that it is fine as it is while others think that we should try to ajax it in.

    Any thing you can add to this subject would e greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Joshua

  59. So if I buy a drink and just place it on the bar near where you sit… and look away…

    A cheap trick in a sequined chiffon named Steve will slip between you and Matt, pick it up, down it, and offer you a night you’ll never forget…even if you wanted to.

    (Man, people are right…I do have a vivid imagination.)

  60. Seralathan

    Its frustrating to see Google’s handling of duplicate content.
    Here is an example :
    for the query “difference between plant cell and animal cell”
    The fifth results is http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Difference_between_an_animal_cell_and_a_plant_cell
    answers.com user generated content which is an exact copy of this article
    http://www.differencebetween.net/science/difference-between-animal-and-plant-cells/
    but the original article is no where to be found in the SERPS. How easily Answers a trusted site could live off the hard work of a pathetic individual.

  61. John

    Matt, you have to be kidding? We need to keep the federal government out!

    Most of our careers were built in a very libertarian environment. Our communities (Google, your social network, your email list) do a fine job policing what is real and what is spam, who is trustworthy and who is not. There is no epidemic except of people working for themselves, which is what they really want to quash.

    We don’t need big brother encroaching. They never stop!! Then again, I hear Al Gore is helping you guys with “search quality” like the overlords “help” you with it in China, so maybe I’m wasting my breath on the Dept. of Google. When it comes to central planning, “do no evil” has no place.

  62. First of all, I think your cat is delightful. Second – I have a gift for you which I am sure you can accept. It comes in the form of a “thank you.”
    Thank you for helping out with some of the site issues many of us have to deal with. It’s nice to know there are trusted sources of information out there in the blogosphere.
    Noah

  63. I see something very CONTRARY here. Why DONT you run ADS and give the money to CHARITY —- unless you have a problem with running ads ( I did..and even now am reluctant because of conflict of interests, etc but grad students dont get paid much :( or think it lessens the impact of your blog ,eh?

    A simple CPC multiple can tell you how much free charity you can do ( for nothing– just the Adsense code)- and Christmas is already here…

    Happy Diwali to you as well and I hope you got some Diwali sweets

    Regards

    Ajay Ohri (from Decisionstats )

  64. How is this going to be engforced?

  65. Imagine if government employees had to provide disclosure? Can you see the laws with an *next to them *this law was paid for by the following lobbyists….

    The following congressman went on long vacations compliments of the following companies…

    If you have ever doubted the power Google holds today, look no further than this new law, this is exactly what Google wanted. No longer are paid posts sold text links against the Google webmaster guidelines, it is now against the law in the United States of America.

    The interesting part about this is, that as long as your website is hosted outside of the US this law does not apply to you, and is unenforceable (I assume). Therefore one would think the indexing and ranking of websites that clearly are breaking this law could fall on the search engines displaying this content?

    This is quite a massive move in the wrong direction by our government; one would think that our policy makers had better things to do with their time. How is possible that the US government is going to police this? How can they confirm that a disclosure is indeed required? Maybe lots of people like to blog about lots of various topics with lots of out going text links?

    Since this would only apply to US based websites, I guess Google is going to place additional value on US hosted domains out going text links? Is Google going to devalue links from all other countries?

  66. I just now saw this post, and if anything, I’d imagine it’ll make you more respected than ever. I know for me it jumps you up a bit in my book – I wish more people had the business integrity you show. Very cool.

  67. This would make it almost impossible to write what you really think and be creative in your blog, just commenting on a site/company you randomly visited could potentially have all sorts of ramifications years later – even with a disclosure (I am happy being a no-body, I still have the freedom of speech and blog…)

    “The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.”

  68. Just found this on a blog I read – definitely a step in the right direction. transparency builds trust and trust is becoming a much bigger issue now we all get to discuss the companies we buy products from.
    I see this as an opportunity rather than a threat.

  69. Hey Matt,

    Seems you give stuff away that companies give you…if apple sends you a macbook remember me ;).

  70. It is very refreshing to see that ethics are alive and well in America. I am a Sydney based web designer and I refuse to join the resellers program of my favourite hosting company for the simple reason that I don’t believe that I could strongly recommend the host if I took a cut for doing it. I applaud you for your strong moral standing. Great to see Matt – and thanks for the cool tips that I have picked up from your site recently. —> (sorry about the spelling, I am Australian and we spell a little differently).

  71. Shiva

    Can you please help me to find out whether the below site is fraud or not?

    Well, this is the story:

    I read online about the Next generation TLD’s and thought it would be best to get .xyz domain (similar to .COM, .NET..)

    It was late evening and found a website http://www.nextgentlds.com and I got a mail from cs@mabuhayhosting.com – that they are about to register that top TLD – and they belong to the Approved and Accredited by the Internet Names Authorization & Information Center (INAIC) – http://inaic.org

    Just minutes (just minutes) after paying online I felt so stupid that there was no contact numbers from them and called Chase – they mentioned they took care of it – finally to find today that the money $1026.78 is gone. I am filing for a dispute and sent mail to both Mabuhay, and the money was taken by ZYZTM Research Division Europe #10 B.V. through RBS World pay.

    Do you have any idea on these guys? Have you heard about these scam? I have Norton anti-virus installed – so when searching google – it always mention which sites are harmful – though I am at fault in this incident – I wish Google could do something to track these guys and warn or better yet just not to index them.

    I am following some legal actions and filing complaints to International crime websites. Hope something happens.

  72. Matt,

    I think your policy misses the point somewhat. What you’ve written is great, but I don’t think it actually covers the issue (for your blog), which is, as I see it:

    Does Matt Cutts write about products because he wants to, or because he’s asked to (Whether indirectly because of his employment by Google or by A.N.Other company who may well ask you to write about their product even if they don’t give you anything of value).

    For Google products, while your policy makes it clear that you receive income from Google, but it’s not clear whether that relationship has any bearing on what you post about, or the opinions posted on your blog. (I think since you’ve declared your salary/stock from Google we can all take a guess at the answer – but this is about clarity right?)

    For non-Google products while you’ve clarified you don’t receive any benefit for writing about them – it’s still not clear that if you wrote about product X it would be without influence (Maybe the CEO of the company is one of your high-school friends for example)

    I think a simple statement such as:

    “This blog represents the personal opinion of Matt Cutts and I always give my honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on topics or products.”

    or an alternative, if the above isn’t 100% true (and by the way, for anyone who has a blog that is even vaguely related or includes posts about their employer I’d expect this to be the case)

    I should note that, as others have said, I respect your professional, and personal integrity greatly, and I’m pretty confident that I know where you stand, but I do think the policy as-is doesn’t cover this important point.

  73. Looks like you’re so generous. :)

  74. Great disclosure cut from Matt Cutts!

  75. Jonathan

    Don’t give in to the state’s demands.

    Failing to disclose that you’ve received financial compensation for endorsing a product is not an unjust act. You’re not selling the product, and therefore it is up to the readers to decide whether or not to believe you. It’d be nice if you chose to disclose it, and I’d obviously prefer it — but no one, especially not the state, has the right to force you to disclose it.

    It’s kind of like if you get a random phone call from someone who says that he knows who will win tomorrows football game. It’s up to you as to whether or not to believe him. If you choose to believe him, and bet some money and lose… well, that’s on you. Sure, the guy was a jerk, an idiot… but you chose to believe him.

    If a company misrepresents a product in order to get a sale, then *this* is an unjust act, and therefore you are entitled to financial restitution from the company.

    Interesting, too, that when you pay the fine, the state gets the money, isn’t it?

  76. Matt,

    Thanks for posting so frequently lately. I hope you enjoy our feedback to your posts. I’d like to think that is what keeps you engaged :-). I Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  77. I think its overdue that the web is cleaned up by the regulators. Plenty of abuse by others that gives us honorable & honest online merchants a bad name.
    Can I put my name on the list for the stuff you give away. : )

    Cool site.

  78. Hey everybody, given this this is a disclosure page rather than a “proper blog post,” I’m going to go ahead and close comments on this page.

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