I’m not trying to be a fear-monger here. But as bloggers get treated more and more like journalists, we will need to obey the regulations that the Federal Trade Commission places on journalists.
According to Phillips Givens, LLC, the Trade Commission is proposing changes to their Consumer Product Testimonial and Endorsement Rules.
If you have ever blogged a book review after receiving a promotional copy, you must read this. If you host blog tours (like my friend, Tina, who hosts the best blog tours), you must read this. Wait. Was that an endorsement? Let me be clear. Tina has never sent me money, but I have participated in her blog tours and received a free book or two.
Since I’m an editor, receiving a free book is not as exciting as it might sound. My desk is stacked with free books.
Now I have to be very clear when I review books. My plan is simply to always explain where I got the book. Was it free? Did I buy it? Did I buy it on Amazon? Explaining how I received the book is now part of every review.
This is a little odd. The New York Times Book Review is no doubt reviewing copies their journalists received for free. And yet the FTC isn’t requiring them to state clearly that they read a promotional copy. In fact, the New York Times Best Seller list is hardly the objective list of financially successful books that it appears to be, according to some publishing folks I know. Wait. Was that some kind of libel?
Ack! These stupid rules make me paranoid. But don’t worry … if you are honest … if you are trying to do the right thing… if you are looking for truth and beauty … if you aren’t allegedly scamming people to buy Acai Berry with German stock photos … then you are probably okay. Don’t try to win a quick buck. Be yourself. Share what you think about products. Don’t be scared, but also don’t be a fanboy or fangirl of every free book that comes your way.
Phillips Givens explains the relevant stuff for bloggers who review books:
In the new proposed rules, The Federal Trade Commission also addressed advertising in new media (Web 2.0). Essentially, if an advertiser pays a blogger to write a review endorsing a product or service, the advertiser and the blogger must disclose the financial relationship. In addition, both blogger and advertiser both will be liable for any false or unsubstantiated claims regarding results of products or services.
HT: to Guy Kawasaki‘s Facebook status for this one.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Bestseller List 2.0 (mediabistro.com)
- Proposed FTC Endorsement and Testimonial Ad Revisions Add Blogs, Message Boards, Street Teams (seobythesea.com)
- Acai Berry weight loss blogs under investigation (inquisitr.com)