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?