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Home » Books & writing

My Fake FTC Disclosure

Submitted by on October 12, 2009 – 7:00 pm 12 Comments

You may have heard by now that the Federal Trade Commission has revised their guides about full disclosure of “material connections” between advertisers and endorsers. Many blah blah blahs aside, this means that starting December 1, bloggers will have to reveal if they received a free product for review. Even if they received no money, the product itself is considered material goods.

I get it—this is to protect consumers from the biased testimony of paid endorsers. But when I (and most bloggers I know) receive a book or CD for review, we’re never told what to say or how to say it or even to say anything at all. Most publicists just say they hope we’ll consider the product for coverage, whatever kind that may be. When I don’t have time for a book, can’t finish it, or if it’s just not right for my blog, I don’t write anything.

Some people have written very intelligent replies to the FTC’s actions, like this article in the Wall Street Journal, but my first reaction was wanting to write a really inappropriate disclosure statement instead. (That, and wondering how long Oprah’s disclosures will be every time she talks about her favorite things.) I guess this comes from the part of me that doesn’t like to be told I have to do something.

Here’s the rough draft I’m considering:

My Review Policies

I won’t even consider reviewing your book/CD/DVD unless you send me $5,000 in $2 bills, a year’s supply of goat cheese, and a personal Mariachi band comprised of hot Latin men who will perform with no shirts on. Shoes are acceptable.

If your product is a giant turd (i.e. something starring Vin Diesel) but you want a rave review from me, that’s going to cost you a house in Malibu, preferably next to Pierce Brosnan but I will accept Suzanne Somers. Speaking of Somers, throw in a couple Thighmasters and Buttmasters, too.

When I do my review, I will use simple, monosyllable words to appeal to the lowest common denominator. If you prefer an intelligent write-up using a more advanced vocabulary, please send a bucket of chicken for every word I use containing more than 3 letters. I also need a back scratcher for itches in places I can’t reach that drive me crazy at night. Oh, and several packets of only left-footed socks (some must be toe socks) to replace all the ones the dryer monster has stolen from me.

If you don’t follow these policies to the letter, I will not only trash your product but punch you in the liver. If you adhere to these guidelines, we can have a long, meaningful relationship that can start tonight with drinks at the Polo Lounge. Anything more than that, my rate is $69 a night.

So, do you think that’s clear enough? Any questions about my intentions as a reviewer? If you’re also a blogger, what demands would you make from providers?

12 Comments »

  • Poncho says:

    LOL!! I can’t stop laughing!

    Well… I don’t get any “endorsement deals” and my only reviews are from stuff I pay with my own money. And besides, there’s no law in Mexico regarding that -at least none that I know.

    But I would probably ask for something similar (I would trade the hot Latin Mariachi band for a crew of hot Eastern European and Japanese masseusses, for starters).

  • I can always count on you for entertainment, PCN ~ you are hilarious! {And now I know what to put on your Christmas list, too. A back scratcher and toe socks, I can do.}

    I’ve never been given anything free to review, but I keep hoping I’ll start receiving luxury goods {preferably French} that I can illustrate enchantingly.

    For the record, I’d be delighted to know you were scoring some freebies, considering the amount of time, dedication and creativity you pour into your posts. But if you manage to get some naked, hot Latin men as well ~ even better.

  • le0pard13 says:

    I love it!

    For me, it would start at college tuition (of a university of my choosing) for my oldest.

    Now this is the way to start a day! Thanks, PCN.

  • Jen Forbus says:

    Geez, I think I’m selling myself too cheap! LOL This is hysterical. Thanks for the good laugh this morning, PCN! 🙂

  • Ybnorml says:

    Nice disclosure. Of course I think you need to add that readers of your reviews should also be sent hot Latin men with no shirts on. They don’t even have to be mariachis! And of course a couple hot European or Japanese masseusses for Poncho.

  • Julien says:

    Thanks for the very funny post, PCN!
    I already had an inkling that you were bribed to write such positive reviews about some books or movies. But I couldn’t imagine your rates were so high! 😉
    Wow, you must be overloaded with chicken and goat cheese! But at least you can feed all those hot Latin men of yours for free. That’s smart.

  • Diann says:

    Hey Elyse,

    Since hot Latin men are already on order, maybe you could request a couple of Flamenco guitarists (just for variety) and a few pitchers of sangria.

    I needed a good laugh this morning. Thanks!

  • GMR says:

    LOL. Great post! This whole thing with the FTC is just crazy…most bloggers already listed where they got the book from….and hello? We don’t sell ARC’s…let’s face it. If we don’t give them away (with permission) in a contest, we KEEP THEM. (We’re readers….we’re greedy!) =0)

    My “fake” demands…oh boy…I like the money option of course…more for a bad book because let’s face it, who really has time for the REALLY bad ones? My house demands would be a bit more extensive. I want one personal ski lodge (no, I don’t know how to ski, but that’s where the cute instructor comes in!), one homestead in Italy, and one in Hawaii….nope wait one more in my home state (not current one, the one I’m originally from). Other than that, I would have to list a “may change at will” clause… =0)

  • Pop Culture Nerd says:

    Poncho, if Japanese and Eastern European masseusses are not available, will you accept pedicurists from Bulgaria?

    Shell, Van Cleef & Arpels really should send some jewelry for you to illustrate. Then you can do a giveaway and give it to me! Please make sure the back scratcher is extra hard and extra long for those hard-to-reach places. Thanks!

    lp13, why stop at tuition? How about a set of wheels to help your child get around campus?

    Jen, NEVER sell yourself too cheap. When I first started blogging, I was offering myself for $31.99 a night and found that unsatisfactory. My sense of self worth has increased dramatically with the new jacked-up rate.

    Ybnorml, sorry, only bloggers get the hot Latin men since we work so hard. Readers will have to settle for pictures of Julio Iglesias.

    Julien, I hadn’t even thought about sharing my chicken and cheese. Maybe I need to order a whole goat!

    Diann, Flamenco guitarists would be welcome, as long as they sing songs all about me. I’m sure they’d have nimble fingers, too.

    GMR, yes, of course bloggers are greedy. I’ve been hoarding a ham in the freezer since 1989. After you get all those houses, I’m going to visit you and maybe stay a few years. How does that sound?

  • Reader#9 says:

    I’d be willing to do a column for the occasional trip to the Greek islands.

  • Cara Powers says:

    I’m chuckling at work. It’s a good thing my cubicle neighbors are already gone.

    I want my house in Malibu. Contributions to my medical school debt area also acceptable.

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