Oct 14, 2009

Peeking Through the Fog of Full Disclosure

Things are heating up in the blogosphere regarding the upcoming US FTC ruling basically telling bloggers that if we write about something we received for free with the intention of writing about it (promoting it) on our blog, then we have to fully disclose that information. If I review a book or cd, I have to tell you what compensation, if any, I am receiving for doing that review. It's actually an age-old concept: Truth in Advertising, it's simply applied to social media now and the good news.... social media is now being taken seriously. Click here to read the best blogpost I've found that explains it all in detail. (and no, she didn't pay me to say that)
In the course of my blogging career, I've done several reviews. Passing on stuff I love is one of the founding blocks of my blog and my twitter account. If I like something, I want to share it with you. The books and music I've reviewed are often ones I get at the library, hear on the radio or buy off itunes. Several months ago, I began to review books for Thomas Nelson Publisher also. The only compensation I receive is a free book. I get nothing else. In return for a free book, I read it and write about it. If I don't like the book, I say so. If I do like the book, I say so. I want to be true and will always be true. Thomas Nelson also wants me to be truthful.
Recently, I was approached by One2One Network and asked if I'd like to review products and promote the products I like through my blog and twitter. In exchange, I receive the book or cd free and usually before the release date, which is really nice. However, with One2One, I am also entered into a drawing to receive a gift card -- a "monetary value" I guess you'd say. I don't automatically receive that, I am just entered into a drawing and might receive that. Again, I will only tell the truth when I review One2One's products. I will not promote a product that I don't like. Thus, with that attitude, I signed on to review some products and am about to do a post for one - the Brandi Carlile cd.
Apparently, if I love a product and tell you about it, I must also tell you if I received that product for free. To me, that implies you think I'll lie about it and tell you it's great just so I could get it for free. I don't like that implication. Therefore, I may not continue reviews for free products. I will most definitely continue reviewing books and cd's and passing on the ones I think are great and I will continue to share information that I think you'll like, as I do with my travel section. If I receive anything in exchange, I'll gladly inform you of that. I hope you trust me to be true and honest. This whole thing has been feeling "icky" lately and I don't like that. I've almost quit blogging because of it.
I haven't decided what course of action I'll take. I may quit with One2One and Thomas Nelson, I may not, it's all under consideration. But I won't quit giving my opinions. And I hope you will continue to leave comments; actually, I hope you will increase your comments, it's been really quiet lately.
Thanks for your visits, I really appreciate all of you and hope you get some benefit from my blogposts.


Renee said...

Personally, I would never think you lied about something & said you got it for free when you didn't just so you could get it. But I can see how in the world that we live in, people would think that, & that's sad. Keep up the good work! :)

Anonymous said...

Go directly to jail, do not pass go, big brother is watching! I will probably be a violator someday if I can convince anyone to consider paying me. Lets get Rush off the air too!