Full Disclosure – FTC Regulation and the Blogosphere

The FTC is in the process of placing new standards on bloggers who review products for compensation. They do not distinguish between monetary compensation and compensation by way of product samples. I’m not sure if product samples that are then given away as prizes will be included in this forbidden zone of review topics. I have done this several times in the past , reviewed a product for my blog and then passed along the review copy to my readers in the form of a giveaway.

I’m all about full disclosure. If Laylee were providing me monetary compensation to blog about how cute she looked in her ballet recital, I’d for SURE let you know. It’s kind of the other way around though. I think I paid about 3 million dollars to see her in that green tutu for 5 minutes and it was worth every penny.

If a company is compensating me to write about their products, I sure as heck am not going to act like I just happened to discover this lovely $200 set of maternity clothes by happenstance. Your trust is more important to me than that. But if I gush about it, the gushing is sincere.

This blog is primarily the documented journey of my life as a mother, a woman and an attempted humorist. Within those roles, there are often products I use and love and want to tell you about. Sometimes I do. Nearly every day I am also offered free products to talk about on my blog. I say “no” to the VAST majority of these offers either because I don’t think I’ll like the product, I feel like my blog is turning into something too commercial (It was never meant to be a “product review” site.) or because I just don’t feel like doing it that day.

My policy is this —

I will never review a product for monetary compensation. I personally believe that being paid cash to endorse a product on a personal blog is not in line with my values or the intent of this writing outlet.

I will never accept free product with the understanding that I will write a positive review about the product. First of all, I try not to accept a product unless I think there is a good chance I will really like it and want to tell my readers about it. On the few occasions that I have received a product I did not particularly like, I have either offered to send it back to the company, given it away with no review attached hoping someone else would like it, or given a review that points out its failings.

Where book reviews are concerned, I do not talk about books I do not like unless I’m trying to offer a buyer-beware type of warning. I do not always point out that a particular book was sent to me by Harper Collins or some other publisher as a review copy, because of the low price of the items and the frequency with which they are sent to me, but I only review about 1 in 10 books sent to me. I don’t want to waste my time talking about a book that I wouldn’t recommend anyway. Now you know. Some of the books I review are sent to me by authors, book publishers or publicity firms. I will give honest reviews regardless of how I obtained the book.

The practice of receiving something, reviewing it and then giving it (or one of its clones) away has three benefits:

1. I can give an accurate review of a product only if I actually get my hands on it and try it out. Isn’t it nice to hear that I wore those maternity clothes and washed them a ton and they still didn’t ball or pill?

2. When my readers get free stuff, I usually get a boost in readership, which I like.

3. I love to get great free stuff and therefore love to give it away. Isn’t it so much more fun to plan and pick out the gifts you’ll give for Christmas than to see what you’re going to get. I, like Oprah before me, really enjoy finding something great and giving it away to someone who’ll love it. I believe my serotonin levels rise when someone who desperately needs a stroller gets one for free because I was able to give it away on my blog.

So there you have it. All reviews and giveaways on this blog express my actual and true opinions. If I say I really like something, I really really like it. I do not pretend to be an expert in consumer safety so if your little Jimmy wins a trike on this site and then the handlebars fall off, resulting in catastrophic facial injury, I am not liable for his sad demise. I am not Consumer Reports or an independent safety testing agency. I did not, for example, attempt to light my maternity clothes on fire to see if they would burst into flame.

I just periodically want to tell you about stuff I like.

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4 Responses to Full Disclosure – FTC Regulation and the Blogosphere

  1. Jessie says:

    It’s so SAD that you have to have this disclaimer at all! It’s just getting crazy ridiculous.

  2. Did your lawyer make you write that? (wink)

  3. Amanda says:

    I just think it’s all bonkers – can the government please leave my Mommy Blog alone?

    (PS – sorry to hear you have to take the 3-hour! There are just no positives I can feed you about that horrible, horrible drink. BLECK!)

  4. jd says:

    Crazy! But I do blame your “review goodness” on my obsessing over the kindle and it’s older brother kindle 2.

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