Saturday, October 10, 2009

FTC - Disclosures and New Review Books


Sorry to beat a semi-dead horse, but as must of you have heard there are changes in the air which potentially will affect us book bloggers.

In new guidelines released Oct. 5, the FTC put bloggers on notice that they could incur an $11,000 fine if they receive free goods, free services, or money and write about the goods or services without conspicuously disclosing their "material connection" to the provider. The FTC guidelines extend even to Facebook and Twitter posters. If you received a gratis novel from the publicity department of a publisher and posted a tweet about it without disclosing that the book was a freebie, you become an "endorser" in the FTC's view. It could—in the name of consumer protection—hit you with a fine. The 81-page guidelines will take effect December 1.

So even though it's only October 11th, I decided to let the world know: "I have accepted review copies of books from publishers and media organizations in the past". 

Receiving a free review copy has never swayed my review in any way.  I tell it as I see it when I review a book -- regardless if the books is good, bad or just so so. Just because someone sends me a free review copy, does not mean they can expect a glowing review. If I can't even relate to the book, or have difficulty finishing it, I won't even post a review about the book.  

What happens to my review books when I'm done with them? Do you even care? Well I donate them to the library or senior center in my area.  On occasion,  I may give the book to a friend or another book blogger as a giveaway. Am I violating a law?  I hope not, because if this ridiculous proposed law is enforced, maybe we will all have to stop accepting review books??

Until then I'd like to share with my fellow bloggers and the FTC some the review books that arrived at my home this week:


So now when I post a review based on a "free review copy" I've received, there will be a NEW visual added to the post. Hopefully, considered conspicuous enough:




My book review rating symbols will remain unchanged!

19 comments:

  1. Good to know that the FTC has that kind of free time while they let all the corporate fat cats run off with everything that isn't nailed down. Great use of public money - and it will get crushed by the first judge who sees it land in his courtroom.

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  2. Thanks for posting this, Diane. I've read little bits & pieces but didn't know what the FTC actually said. This is ridiculous but if we just have to disclose where we got the book, I can do that. I can't believe they have nothing better to do with their time!

    Love the picture you're using!

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  3. Diane, I read about this a few days ago in the newspaper. I'm not sure it's really directed at book bloggers. But most of us "blog with integrity" anyway, and mention if someone sends us a book.

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  4. I live in Canada, but it probably won't take long for our gov't to sniff out something like this as well! Ugh.

    As for The Ice Chorus.. I LOOOOOVED IT!! I can't WAIT to read your review of it! Mine is here: http://bookblabbing.blogspot.com/2009/09/review-ice-chorus-by-sarah-stronich.html

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  5. I hadn't heard about the rules affecting twitter too. How do you fit a disclosure in a tweet?

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  6. That's a cute button, Diane! I've read about this from another friend's blog. I'm not sure if it extends to non-American bloggers.

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  7. Thanks for posting this info, Diane. And I really like your Thank You button, too.

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  8. Hi Diane,
    I think this is a lot of BS. How in the world are they going to keep tabs on all the bloggers!! That's near impossible. Love the thank you badge, cute! Have a great day!

    Sherrie

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  9. Okay, someone is always trying to ruin our fun!

    Thanks for the heads-up.

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  10. I love the thank you picture. Isn't this ridiculous??? There is so much going on out that and this is what they focus on. Love the books you received 'FREE'...enjoy all of your free books!!

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  11. I think as long as we disclose that it was a review copy then we will be fine.

    Love your review button!

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  12. I'm not sure there's much I can add to this discussion but this is an interesting new policy that raises a lot of questions. For instance, how will the FTC know that a book was received freely or purchased? They might make a mistake and charge incredible sums of money just out of stupidity. And how will they regulate it in the case of anonymous bloggers (and many are indeed anonymous)? Will paid, professional reviewers be forced to adhere to the same rules? And what does this imply about bloggers and the collective integrity of book bloggers? Thanks for this post. I expect to see this issue heavily discussed over the next few weeks...

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  13. I am now disclosing which books have been given to me as review copies as well, but I think this whole situation is a little bit ridiculous. There are so many other important things that the FTC could be focusing on instead of trying to be punitive with bloggers. Oh well, I guess it's something we are all going to have to deal with. By the way, I love your graphic!

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  14. What a great group of books! I too have Children of The Dust and cant wait to get to it!

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  15. Alice I have Been looks like a good book.

    I think its funny that the FTC will have all this time to police book bloggers...really?! LOL

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  16. Love the thank-you pictures..so cute!

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