Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The FTC Says We All Have Our Price...

No doubt, you may have heard about the new FTC guidelines that it seems will effect bloggers and a need for "full-disclosure". Certainly, it seems to be all the talk on Twitter and various web outlets. If you have not heard about it, here is a bit from the AP story

"The Federal Trade Commission on Monday took steps to make product information and online reviews more accurate for consumers, regulating blogging for the first time and mandating that testimonials reflect typical results.

The FTC will require that writers on the Web clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products...

For bloggers, the FTC stopped short of specifying how they must disclose conflicts of interest. Rich Cleland, assistant director of the FTC's advertising practices division, said the disclosure must be "clear and conspicuous," no matter what form it will take..."
Now, we have had this discussion before, as to whether, as book bloggers, getting a free book effects our reviews. I will assure you, for what it is worth, that it does not in my case. No matter what the source, if I like it, I like it and if I don't..you will know it. But bottom line, you either believe that or not and quite honestly, that is a decision you have to make for very review, of every product you see online. Is that true with every blogger? Maybe, maybe not. I am sure most of us can name a blog, most likely one we no longer read, where the relationship between the blogger and a publicist or publisher seemed to get a bit too friendly and the 'review' seemed more like an advertisement. You know the old saying...Caveat Emptor. Yes, Buyer Beware, on the internet, even more than elsewhere. I don't have a problem with that.

What I do have a problem with is that so-called "legitimate" news sources do not fall under these rules. Because these institutions have a code of ethics, it seems, and can be trusted to self regulate. Because, I assume, a reporter or an editor can't be bought with free stuff or gifts...right? Hmmmmm....

So, anyhoo, if anyone gives me a free trip to Disney World in return for a review {{hint, hint}}, I will say so. More realistically, I will be happy to make note every time a review is of a book that I was given for free...even if it is one that Bandit gave me for my birthday! He knows I love books but he always tries to influence my reviews...


  1. In Bandit's case, that little face might perhaps affect my reviews. In the case of a free book, it doesn't. I think most of us disclose when we are reviewing an ARC. And I would feel like was letting you all down if I said I liked a book I didn't. Personally, I am more than a bit irritated at the whole thing.

  2. How many treats was Bandit given to get him to pose so cute for that picture?

  3. Oh, how cute is Bandit???!!!

    On a more serious note, I have to say that I damn well write on my blog what I damn well choose. Within the framework of the law, of course. But since I have NEVER been contacted about free copies for review, I guess there really will not be a problem for me ;-) And those who DO review copies they get from authors or publishers always mentions it - or at least at the blogs I read :o)

  4. Sandy, as related to blogs, I think it is so, so silly. It seems to me the federal government has bigger things to be concerned about at the moment than ARCs I might get. But even Bandit can not influence my reviews.

    Kathy, are you suggesting that Bandit accepted a bribe? I am sure he would have acknowledged it if he had accepted any sort of payment for his appearance on my blog. I best alert the FTC!

    Louise, the answer is Bandit is as cute as can be...lol

  5. I only wish I had some kind of cozy relationship with someone giving me stuff that I could disclose about!

  6. Oh, you should put that pic of Bandit in your header somehow. (I know, easier said than done; he's just SO cute!)

    It will be interesting to wait and watch the publishers' reactions to the FTC guidelines. They've been pretty quiet so far.

  7. Jenners, if you find someone, give them my name too please. ;-)

    Dawn, I think Bandit's head is big enough as it is. anyhoo, he does have his own blog you know... http://theworldfromdownhere.blogspot.com/

    If I ever get a new header, it will be a lighthouse..or the ocean...or both...or a beach or....

  8. I must admit..it is a good one! Bandit loves the adulation...lol


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