Writing Tips at GarySpeer.com

Tips for writers and musing about writing and life

How I would write about health issues, market health products online

I’ve been giving some thought — as you can tell from the last few articles I’ve published here — to how I would approach marketing health related products or giving health “tips” on a website. My overriding concern would be that I might give someone bad medical or health related advice, opening them to harm and myself to a lawsuit. So, for what it’s worth, here are some things I would try to do if I were to market diet pills, nutritional supplements, weight loss products, or even personal fitness equipment online:

1. Have a really good disclaimer statement. I would be certain that this statement indicated I am NOT a medical professional, that any information here was purely for entertainment and/or opinion, and that anyone reading information here or using products mentioned here should do so under the advice and/or guidance of a doctor or other medical professional.

2. Make sure visitors can easily find that disclaimer statement. I would not hide a link to it in the footer of the website or some location “below the fold,” i.e., anything lower than the first screen length in the browser. I would not put up a disclaimer statement without linking to it.

3. Give advice or market products and services only if I believe in them. Obviously, if I have a website to market vitamins and supplements as an affiliate of a major company, I cannot (probably) try every product. But I want to try some; and I want to be confident that the company and the products they make aren’t going to harm anyone or rip them off.

4. State clearly and frequently throughout the site that I am NOT a merchant. This is true of any affiliate marketing you do. I’ve found over the years that people who order through my affiliate sites simply don’t understand that I am not supplying and guaranteeing the product/service/merchandise. I am merely helping them find the product, then passing them along to the merchant who sells it, ships it, and handles customer service and merchandise return issues. But you really, really have to make statements like that in your “About Us” page, and your “Privacy Statements” page, and in any “Disclaimer” page you have.

How would you handle such issues? Or how DO you handle such issues with a blog or marketing site you have? Leave a comment and enlighten us, please.