Monday night, I read a very interesting article on edrants.com, an interview with the FTC’s Richard Cleland. The interview follows Monday’s announcement that effective December 1, 2009, bloggers are expected to disclose any tangible connections. Basically, if I read the FTC’s policy correctly, the big idea is that if you review a book from a publisher’s blogger program and keep it (particularly if that review is positive), the book could be considered compensation. Essentially, you’re being paid with a book to give them a good review.
I’m sure the gang at Thomas Nelson would be disappointed with my last couple reviews then [insert canned laughter for unfunny joke].
Here’s a particularly interesting bit from the article:
“The primary situation is where there’s a link to the sponsoring seller and the blogger,” said Cleland. And if a blogger repeatedly reviewed similar products (say, books or smartphones), then the FTC would raise an eyebrow if the blogger either held onto the product or there was any link to an advertisement.
What was the best way to dispense with products (including books)?
“You can return it,” said Cleland. “You review it and return it. I’m not sure that type of situation would be compensation.”
If, however, you held onto the unit, then Cleland insisted that it could serve as “compensation.” You could after all sell the product on the streets.
In the article, Cleland goes on to say, “If there’s an expectation that you’re going to write a positive review…then there should be a disclosure.”
Now, I have no problem with adding a disclosure to any review I write on a book received through a blogger program or at the request of a publisher, but I do find the idea of returning a book to the publisher a bit… silly. [Read more…] about Books as Compensation? Considering the Hubbub with the FTC