Tuesday, October 6, 2009
New FTC Guidelines--What's all this, then?
Dear Cool Moms;
I don't know if you are aware that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has updated their guidelines, requiring bloggers and advertisers to disclose compensation received for reviews, etc.
Apparently, some bloggers are finding the new guidelines "controversial".
Not me! I support disclosure 100%.
I really think it's important for bloggers to let their readers know if they received an item in advance to review, and if they were compensated in any way for their review.
My personal policy has always been to let you know if I get a review copy of an item to help me facilitate my review. I am always honest in my reviews and my assessments, which is why I don't just take compensation in exchange for a positive review. I feel, personally, that that is unethical. Of course, each person should decide for himself/herself.
I turn down lots of review opportunities because I don't personally believe in a product or service. Sometimes, I think I will like something and I don't, and I'm honest about that, too. Other times, I like something I was initially reluctant to try.
I have agreed to take part in blog tours and then had my blog dropped out of all the links for the blog tour because I did not have a positive experience with the product and I reviewed it honestly, indicating that to my readers, rather than either posting a positive review I did not believe in or choosing not to review the product at all.
And I'm okay with that.
Because, look, if I can't give you an honest opinion, what good am I to you? I'm putting myself out here as a Mom like you, letting you know how my experiences are going, so you can weigh that in the balance when you make your own decisions.
Of course, you shouldn't just run out and buy something because I personally enjoyed it, which is why I'd invite you to check out more than one review before you make a purchasing decision. I link to other Mom reviewers who I think have ethical review procedures as well, and of course you can (and should) do research on your own.
Anyway, I just want you to know that I have always been in favor of disclosure. I will continue to let you know whenever I receive a review copy ahead of time.
I've also, after the recent FTC changes, given some of my more recent posts an even closer scrutiny, just to be absolutely upfront and clear without a shadow of a doubt.
For instance, sometimes I will get a review copy of, say, a DVD, and the people who put out the DVD will offer a copy up for a giveaway, too. They might send me the giveaway copy and have me award it to the winner, or they might send it out to the winner directly.
It doesn't really make a difference to me, except I have to pay the postage if I send it out myself. I don't make a profit from the blog, as I've said before.
But I'm still going to let you know, not just in the body of the post where I say, "I got a copy of this to check out" like I always have, but also in italics at the bottom of the post, where I am putting all my disclaimers now, so you'll never have any doubt whatsoever about what's going on.
As you can see, I'm a real stickler about this stuff! ; )
One last time, for the record: I am fully behind disclosure and think my readers deserve to know where I am coming from.
For me? That's the only ethical way to go.
at 9:33 AM