No Disclosure Necessary

Hey, check it out. After all the recent hoopla about the FTC’s revised guidelines affecting bloggers who write reviews, PublishersWeekly.com ran this article stating that an FTC attorney, Mary Engle,

said Saturday someone with a “personal blog, writing a genuine or organic review,” did not need to disclose how they got the book or assign it a value.

Engle also says clearly that the guidelines, “which don’t have the force of law” behind them, are aimed at advertisers and paid endorsers, and that the FTC has no desire to police the blogosphere or individual bloggers.

To this, I say, Yippee! Not that I was concerned before about getting fined up to $11,000 (seriously?) if I didn’t post a disclosure. The whole thing sounded ridiculous and that’s why I ran this fake statement instead. But I was annoyed by the previous news and here’s why.

I didn’t want to see people forced to make disclosures that basically say, “I’m a really honest person with loads of integrity. I’m not a greedy bastard who accepted a gym bag full of cash just to get you to buy something that sucks more than a colonoscopy. If you were on the fence before about whether or not to trust me, this statement should erase all doubts, right?”

C’mon. I trust we all have the sense to recognize when a review sounds “organic” and credible as opposed to coming from a paid hawker. (Hint: If someone wants you to send 3 installments of $9.99 to a P.O. Box in Richmond, VA for a teeth-whitening product that changed their lives, that’s probably an advertisement.) If you find me or anyone else suspect, you can just stop reading our reviews. We shouldn’t have to put up statements trying to persuade you to trust us. I am not a used-car salesman.

So, in light of this clarification (but more because I’m lazy), I won’t be posting a disclosure statement with each review. I’ll let you determine how credible I am.

Before you decide that, though, can I interest you in a gently used 1982 Fiat with a refurbished cassette deck and window cranks?

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Poncho
    October 20, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Great!!, PCN. I didn’t fully understand the whole point about the disclossures in the sense that there’s supposed to be something called “freedom of opinion”, and I think that freedom extends to personal blogs, personal diaries and so on…

    There’s no FTC here in Mexico, so there isn’t anybody getting fined any amount of money for writing whatever the frak they want to write about (‘though sometimes I think some people should be obliterated from the face of the earth on evidence of the sheeeze they write about).

    Anyway… I’m glad you’re glad!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      October 21, 2009 at 9:39 am

      I do appreciate what the FTC does and would rather have them around than not. I just don’t like nonsensical things which cause mass anxiety among people who are writing out of sheer passion and for no monetary gains.

      I agree with you re: the sheeze mongers! (Like Shell, I’m stealing your “sheeze.”)

  • Reply
    le0pard13
    October 20, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Glad to hear it, PCN – albeit I’ll miss those creative and clever FTC disclosure statements you’d have come up with. Oh, well. Now, all I have at this moment to entertain myself is canceling that fraudulent teeth whitening scam you’ve just clued me in on. Where were you a week ago?!? Criminy!

    At least I have that free Xbox comin… Ah, crap!!! Thanks, PCN.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      October 21, 2009 at 9:47 am

      A week ago, I was using the teeth-whitening product. That’s how I discovered it was a scam. It turned out to be Shout stain remover in a tray and made my breath smell like dirty laundry.

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    October 21, 2009 at 1:08 am

    I’ll be adding Poncho’s noun, sheeeze, to my vocabulary.

    Like leOpard13, I shall miss your disclosure statements, but I’m relieved to hear that common sense has been given a vote of confidence by the powers that be.

    {Does that Fiat come with a bucket of fried chicken?}

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      October 21, 2009 at 9:53 am

      Not only does the Fiat come with a bucket of wings, I’ll throw in two breakfast burritos if you test-drive today.

  • Reply
    Jen Forbus
    October 21, 2009 at 8:57 am

    I wish they’d make up their minds about what they want to do for crying out loud!! LOL Good lord!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      October 21, 2009 at 11:08 am

      I think bloggers should put up guidelines that say: “If the FTC doesn’t use clear language, it must pay a fine of $1,000 and a Snuggie to every blogger who writes reviews.”

  • Reply
    GMR
    October 21, 2009 at 9:08 am

    LOL. Your posts are always so fun…and yet informative! It’s nice to hear this whole FTC thing clearing itself up. I will still list the line stating where I received the book from if it was somewhere other than my TBR pile…mountain…box…(you get the point)….but it’s definitely a weight off the shoulders of many that would have listed something a lot more long winded. For crying out loud, IT’S A BLOG! They are suppose to be places you can rant, you can rave (hey, is that what I’m doing now?)…you can basically put what you want. Most bloggers either put the time in to make a personal review or they put up a quoted summary from the jacket (etc.)…regardless of how they got the book, I agree with you….you can tell the “rockers” from the “fakers”. (Whew, done now! Sorry for occupying SOO much comment space!) =0)

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      October 21, 2009 at 11:12 am

      Rant away! Take up as much space as you’d like any time! As you said, I think that’s why blogs were invented.

  • Reply
    Reader#9
    October 21, 2009 at 9:13 am

    The internet is basically the wild west all over again. There’s not much you can do. It is too vast to try and regulate and I pity the idiots who try. They might have a few small victories, but it’s a losing battle. Bloggers, hackers, scam artists and porn distributors will always be the ones with any kind of power. If they combined their forces as some sort of union or society (something like BLOCKER CON) they would be unstoppable.

    What I’m think I am rambling on about here is that I wouldn’t worry about it, PCN.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      October 21, 2009 at 11:22 am

      Please don’t give porn distributors and scam artists any ideas.

      Um, do I sound worried?

  • Reply
    EIREGO
    October 21, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    This seems to have become a lively conversation. And quite funny as well. I’m getting popcorn and sitting back to read all the comments.

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