There are some great resources out there for finding out more about the new FTC Regulations. Some are on fellow blogger's sites, and some may be found other places. I thought this would be a good place to start a "list" of those sites. Feel free to add links to the discussion.
I'm also confused, but hopefully soon there will be a list of what we can and can't do. For now I'm just thinking a disclosure will be the way to go. If the consumer has been provided with information on how a site gets its material then they would then be "informed" and can make their own view on the relevance of the sites information and how they make their purchases.
What about companies that review movies - Like Fandango? They get a ton of promotion with big bucks from movie companies?
In the case of my website - Night Owl Romance - we get free books from the publishers, authors and publicists. We don't guarantee them a book will be reviewed - nor that it will be a glowing review. We also have to in most cases provide quite a heafy expense when it comes to shipping books from our office to the reviewer’s houses. It actually costs the site to review a book!
It’s not like we are hiding anything from readers. Most review companies get their books from the pubs and authors.
I think a reviewer should have the right to keep the book they review. They spent their time reviewing it and it was a volunteer act on their part. . Keeping the book is just a thank you for your time…not money to put a meal on the table or to pay the rent. I also think the website has the right to make some money to cover the rising costs of shipping, website design time and upkeep, domain costs, hosting costs and just all the time it takes to answer emails and requests.
Yep - I'm still trying to decide how I want to word my post discosure and my general disclosure (I'd rather say "courtesy of ___ for review" as opposed to "received a free copy from ___ for review". . . just sounds nicer), which will be on the bottom of my blog and in my About Me & Policies section. :) That is why I started this group though - I thought it would be a great way for us to help each other stay safe while blogging and learn from each other. I figured we'd be able to collectively come up with a short blurb that would cover all the bases here.
I'm trying to figure out what exactly we need to disclose:
Got it for free (no brainer here)
How I disposed of it (don't really want to have to do this as I often still have the book when the review is written/posted
Not receiving any other form of compensation (do we REALLY need to say this on all the posts, or just a blog policy? There seemed to be some question of if a blanket policy would suffice in the interview and I'm pulling for that)
How about saying that you got the book "in kind" in exchange for your HONEST review?
I just recently added a disclaimer on my sidebar too. I'm wondering if I should change my wording from Disclaimer...to Disclosure?
I know that publishers will have their lawyers on top of this...so hopefully they will be posting some helpful information.
From the interview with Richard Cleland, it sounds like either Richard does not have a good understanding of the new FTC regulations, or he despises book bloggers. First off, it is NOT different for me to receive a book and for a newspaper to receive a book. The reviewer would work for the newspaper - so the newspaper should have to return/dispense with the book to be compliant.
I have no problem with disclosing that I got the book for free and why/how, but I feel it is wrong for them to say I cannot link to my own Amazon Affiliates account without disclosing how I got the book, etc. My only income is anything I would get from that as I am currently unemployed. I get all of my books, using what little money I do get, via places like PaperBackSwap or if someone sends me a book for review. Also, I feel Cleland was sadly mistaken that publishers send those books looking for good reviews. Certainly they hope to get them, but they do not expect them - they want honest opinions not opinions influenced by the fact that the books were free.
Really after the interview with the FTC employee I see no confusion for me - I either have to disclose on every review where I got the book from and why or I have to pull my blog down.