do you have an editorial policy?

by grechen on August 4, 2009 | RSS | FOLLOW ON TWITTER | FACEBOOK |

I had been meaning to re-publish my editorial policy for quite some time (it disappeared moving over to the new site), but was given a swift kick in the ass by miss Ashe Mischief and her excellent post over at IFB: Defining & Publicizing your blog’s advertising policy.

I finally published it last week, linked through a “shortcode” inserted at the end of every blog post saying (example here):

want to know more about the links within posts, how I do reviews, or choose advertisers? check out Grechen’s Closet editorial policy

and since I think we can learn a little from everyone and everything (and because Ashe shared hers & inspired me) here’s my editorial policy

Editorial integrity is and always has been my MOST important consideration when writing blog posts across all of my sites: I write ONLY and ALWAYS about things I would buy, things I want to buy, or things I have bought (which is a lot as you know LOL), and I have NEVER, nor will I EVER NOT EVER accept money or goods in exchange for writing a positive post on a designer or boutique, disregarding my own opinion.

In the interest of full disclosure though, I’d like to elaborate a little on how I make money (this is my full-time job) and what goes into my Reviews.

First, many of my posts contain affiliate links (I earn a commission from the boutique whenever something is purchased using my link). Hint: if the link doesn’t have the name of the website in it, it’s an affiliate link. I only work with affiliates I respect, worked with before they became an affiliate, would buy from, or already have bought from (like Shopbop, Revolve, etc…). Affiliate links are usually afterthoughts in a post though, not the main focus, I never craft a post specifically to promote affiliates. But, if I’m writing a post about James Perse, for example, and items I want to feature are available at sites I’m “affiliated” with, I’m going to use those links in my post.

With regard to reviews, I do sometimes receive product from a designer or boutique to review. Any products I receive are not returned and are considered an appropriate “trade” for the time it takes me to write the review, take photographs, etc. There are absolutely no expectations that I will write a positive review – if I don’t like the item, or find problems with it, I’ll write about them. If I really hate the item, I will usually not review it at all. Contrary to what a lot of people seem to believe these days about bloggers, free stuff doesn’t cloud our judgments, influence our opinions, or magically compromise our editorial integrity. I, and all other independent fashion bloggers I know, consider our relationship with our readers to be more important than anything else, and would never risk losing your trust or loyalty for a buck or two, or even a pretty handbag.

Finally, I’m sure you’re aware of the advertisements I serve on all of my sites. As with affiliates, I only work with advertisers I respect, have bought from or would buy from. I have full control over all the ads on my sites, I don’t work with any ad networks, and have even stopped displaying google ads on most of my sites – I’m sorry, but if I see one of those RIDICULOUS weight loss ads being served by google on a blog I happen to be visiting, I’m leaving quickly and not going back.

I’m also willing to share my Advertising/Media Kit if it would help anyone, not that I’m an expert or anything – just for an idea on how to create one, leave a comment below and I’ll send you the password via e-mail. PLEASE don’t share :-)

And, I’m totally open to any input/criticism on my own editorial polcy – maybe I didn’t address something that’s important?

Do you have an editorial policy yet? Do you want bloggers you read to disclose EVERYTHING about how they make money & write posts? or does it matter to you?


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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashe Mischief August 4, 2009 at 11:49 pm

I really enjoyed reading yours– especially with the information about a shortlink at the end of each post, and outlining so clearly your use of affiliate links. I love how yours is really focused on the "I" aspect and that makes it really personal… it makes me want to revisit mine for more clarity and to make it more personable.

(And as i get closer to making a media kit, pursuing more advertisers, I may hit you up for advice!)


grechen August 4, 2009 at 11:54 pm

thanks ashe :) you know, in the beginning, i wrote posts in first person, but not information on my company/websites – i tried to keep them all "corporate" and formal and used "we" all the time – even though there was no we LOL. i think your advertising policy is very good…and personable…


Ashe Mischief August 5, 2009 at 2:30 pm

I originally had mine in the 3rd person, and would say "Ashe Mischief likes this… Ashe Mischief believes this…" and I was like, "Why are you talking about yourself this way?! There's no one else writing this page for you dear…"

So I totally understand the sounding corporate & formal aspect ;)


Sadie October 6, 2009 at 10:17 pm

I actually don't think it's ethical to accept products as a "trade" for time to write a review. It's still taking a form of payment to write a review. I don't care if the blogger vows to be honest with their thoughts on a product, it's taking payment for a review, end of story. If I know a blogger accepted a free product they're reviewing I tend not to take their blog seriously.

Writers that want to make money on their writing should be doing so with ad revenue and that ad revenue should be totally separate from the editorial process. FYI print journalists do not take products as a "trade" they return any samples they request.


grechen October 6, 2009 at 10:33 pm

you know, people keep throwing out there that print journalists return EVERY sample…really? i don't believe that, but i'm very cynical. i mean, what about beauty products? print journalists and magazines DO NOT distinguish very well between what's advertising and what's strictly editorial – there is no editorial! look through any magazine, you'll see the print ads that are clearly ads, then in nearly every feature or editorial, you'll see a product or two mentioned from those companies who are advertising. is that ethical? what is it?

i don't know…i write my 100% honest opinion about everything and sometimes i receive products for free to review. so maybe i'm not to be taken seriously…


Liberty London Girl November 7, 2009 at 4:46 am

I hate to say it but Sadie is on CRACK. And I speak as the ex executive fashion editor of huge national newspaper style magazines on both sides of the Atlantic . Clothing samples get returned, everything else stays. A beauty editor gets BUCKETS of stuff to use That's the whole point – to try it.. Why on earth wld it get returned regardless of review? Hello publicist: here's a half empty bottle to send on to the next editor. Come on.

And why does everyone treat beauty etc differently from books or cinema tickets? No wld expects a book reviewer to return a book or a film critic to pay for film tickets.

I'd be very interested to see yr media kit: wld you mind? I'm at libertylondongirl at

My editorial policy is, for the mo, at the end of my blog & is remarkably similar to yours, esp with reference to affiliates. I use em all the time – but only because if I have to link to a store hell why not one that'll give me commission? Not that I make much. Only a few quid from Amazon really.


grechen November 7, 2009 at 10:11 pm

LOL llg – i agree with your statement about the other commenter. i just need to repeat what i said before, i really think that the FTC guidelines and attack on product review bloggers is all a "made up" issue, and started when some mommy blogger got her panties in a bunch….


Rachael April 15, 2010 at 5:22 pm

I know I’m really late to the game on this but I totally agree with Liberty London Girl. I know people who work for major men’s magazines who get free stuff all of the time to review and they don’t return anything.

I came across this post through Ashe and I’m really interested in your full media kit. I’m trying to develop some standard rates but really struggling as to what is reasonable. You can reach me at Rachael.keck at



Tina May 27, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I can’t say that I think it is a completely made up issue. I think that there are people out there would will write anything for the right price. However, I don’t think it is a widespread situation where no blogger can be trusted. That’s just ridiculous.

I just found your blogs today and so far I find them all fascinating.

I would love to see your media kit – tminustplus (at) gmail (dot) com

.-= Tina´s last blog ..Sushi is so deep, Man =-.


Yoonmee March 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Hi Grechen! I know you wrote this back in 2009, but hopefully you’re still willing to share your media kit. I’ve been following your blogs for years and am thinking about starting my own blog, so I’m going through and reading all your wisdom! =)

Email: hampsonyoonmee at gmail

Thanks so much!


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