Oct 6, 2009

U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Book Bloggers

Hot topic: Twitter, Book Blogs, and many book review sites are discussing new FTC guidelines re disclosure of free products, books, etc. given by publishers, authors, publicists and others, in exchange for an "endorsement" of said products.

It seems a bit complicated to me, but here's something from the FTC.

FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials
Changes Affect Testimonial Advertisements, Bloggers, Celebrity Endorsements
"The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service."
( from FTC Guides)
I'm already trying to comply by saying that an ARC or review book was provided by the publisher/author/publicist and hope that will satisfy the requirements. By the way, the guidelines won't take effect till Dec. 1 and probably only where the FTC has jurisdiction - the U.S.

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  1. I read about this on another blog yesterday. It seems like they should have more important stuff to worry about than this! JMO

  2. Diane, Charlie: a lot of bloggers are incensed over this. Head on ovr to Book Blogs to see what everyone's saying...

  3. Is this not one of the craziest things ever!? Oh I'm sorry, if I was a broker it would A-ok or something? WHat is this world coming to?

  4. I just read the comments on Book Blogs and, quite frankly, since no one really knows what is going on, they are having knee-jerk reactions.

    The FTC has never gone after doctors who prescibe certain medicines because they got them free from the drug companies.

    IMO, this is just more government B.S. that will go nowhere.

  5. I wonder if they have the same laws that apply to book/food/movie critics that work for a newspaper. I know book critics receive free books just like we book bloggers do.

  6. Booklogged: maybe they assume everyone will know the newspapers get them for free. Hard to tell.

  7. I've decided to just start icluding where I got each book I review, library, publisher, personal library, etc. It seems so stupid, but if I list where I receive them all I won't forget to specify the ones I got for free.

  8. Stacybuckeye: I included a general disclosure in the About Me section of my blog, in the sidebar, that I do not receive compensation or gifts for my reviews but do accept review copies from publishers, etc. A suggestion I got from a Book Blogs discussion. Seems like a good idea.

  9. Is this really directed at book bloggers?

    I read about this in the newspaper a few days ago, and got the impression that it was directed toward individuals making "phoney" blogs which really just endorse various products--not books. Book bloggers I know (including myself), are usually upfront about the free books (or other stuff) they receive and disclose this in their posts or elsewhere on their blogs. I think as a group book bloggers are already honest in this respect.

    (P.S. I have a blue and white button on my blog which says, "Blog with Integrity". Feel free to "steal" it from my blog and display it on your own.)


I love getting comments and your thoughts...