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Interesting Tidbit for Reviewers

Rating: 2 votes, 3.50 average.
While browsing some sites today I came across The Book Smugglers site. This little disclaimer caught my eye.
[QUOTE]In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, The Book Smugglers would like everyone to know that while we do purchase our own books for review on occasion, you should assume that every book reviewed here at The Book Smugglers was provided to the reviewers by the publisher or the author for free unless specified otherwise.[/QUOTE]

This is the first time I've seen a [B]OBVIOUS [/B]disclaimer about this on a book review site/blog. There a quite a few peeps out there now with blogs trying to garner ARC's from publishers and some have been very successful. When they receive their first few ARC's they tend to thank the publisher in there review but after awhile they tend to just skip over that they have received the book for free. Those of us with no life who follow these blogs know that they are receiving them for free but random people have no idea.

Can a person who starts a blog with the aim of receiving free books stay unbiased and give a balanced review about a book given that it's cost them nothing except time? That's a question for a different post and from memory has already been discussed elsewhere.

The point of this post is to make you reviewers or would be reviewers aware that there are guidelines concerning this and even though they are USA ones in the interests transparency you should stick that disclaimer or something very close to it somewhere on your blog and with the actual review if you post your reviews in forums around the web.

[URL=""]FTC Guidelines[/URL]. I'll site the relevant example(I think) to save you time.

[I]"A college student who has earned a reputation as a video game expert maintains a personal weblog or “blog” where he posts entries about his gaming experiences. Readers of his blog frequently seek his opinions about video game hardware and software. As it has done in the past, the manufacturer of a newly released video game system sends the student a free copy of the system and asks him to write about it on his blog. He tests the new gaming system and writes a favorable review.

Because his review is disseminated via a form of consumer-generated media in which his relationship to the advertiser is not inherently obvious, readers are unlikely to know that he has received the video game system free of charge in exchange for his review of the product, and given the value of the video game system, this fact likely would materially affect the credibility they attach to his endorsement. Accordingly, the blogger should clearly and conspicuously disclose that he received the gaming system free of charge.

The manufacturer should advise him at the time it provides the gaming system that this connection should be disclosed, and it should have procedures in place to try to monitor his postings for compliance."
Read more... [/I]

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  1. expatrie's Avatar
    It's a tech blog thing. The FTC decided all those free hardware 'raves' were a little shady and should be disclosed, and declined to give a minimum dollar value for gifts or free stuff that needed to be disclosed. It's been pretty common for tech folks to review hardware and either give it back or keep it and it was pretty understood they hadn't bought the product to those familiar, but.. on the side of protecting the consumer, they decided it was necessary to disclose. It's carried over onto the book folks from there... So that's where the rule came from.