Nov 1, 2010

Be Careful What You Post
... or Don't!

While reading my friendly neighborhood New York Times Magazine (circa October 24, 2010), I learned something shockingly shocking: it is "reported that bloggers — regular folk expressing their honest opinions! — could face huge fines ('up to $11,000 per post,' asserted) for inadequate disclosure."

Wah!? So you're telling me that if I didn't mention that the kind folks behind Kosher by Design had actually sent me the book to review, some snoopy Big Brother could have turned me into the FTC and I would have been facing an $11,000 fine!? Hot dog. That's a hefty fine for non-disclosure.

Anyone run into any FTC issues for non-disclosure? I'm baffled. And wondering how this is actually enforced. I wonder if all of those hits on my blog from Washington, D.C., are really Big Brother checking in ... hopefully my reviews that I do on my own accord (you know, buying the products myself and reviewing them myself) are mistaken for undisclosed reviews and ... what if agents are around the corner!?


Kerri said...

It annoys me to no end that bloggers have to disclose, but newspaper and magazine reviewers do not.

Suburban Sweetheart said...

What Kerri said!

Jew Wishes said...

I have always stated on a review post if I actually own the book, "I personally own and have read this book."

If I don't, I credit the author or publisher for sending me an ARC.

Batya said...

This can be very complicated legally. I know; I once heard from a lawyer, but they never followed through.

Anonymous said...

simple solution. disclose. it's the right thing to do.

Vicki said...

The issue mainly came up because mommybloggers were shilling products that they weren't disclosing and made it seem like they LOOOVED Swiffer, etc. while really they were getting comped by the companies. I always disclose if someone sent me a book to review because obviously, even though it shouldn't, the fact that I got a book for free will alter my review of it.

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

@Vicki I don't think that getting free books alters what I'll say about them ... mostly because what's the worst to happen, they won't send me another free book? I got Susie Fishbein's new cookbook, reviewed it, said my piece about how irritating the design and layout was, and whatever. It was free, I griped. I believe in being honest. It *shouldn't* sway your review. I'm the same with food.

Jew Wishes said...

I totally agree with with the content of the far as the free book swaying my perception or what I write about it. I am honest in my review, and if I don't like a book, my review states that fact.

I normally won't accept a book for review that I don't think I want to read. There have been a few occasions when I disliked the book, and wrote my thoughts in my review.

Jessica said...

It's really assumed at all commercial magazines and newspapers that books, theatre or concert tickets and the like are in fact received free for review 99% of the time. As for other things, like trips, etc., it is the policy of most publications to either not accept or certainly to disclose.

The issue with blogs is two fold: 1, they don't have the funds to buy things themselves, nor the recognition that generally gets review copies. So many bloggers may feel indebted to those who send them books, and offer a positive review even if it wasn't solicited in that manner. 2, many blogs like to host "giveaways" and do not say where the product is coming from. This is not a concern at most print publications.

Bottom line: disclose. What do you have to hide?

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