Today the Federal Trade Commission revised their “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials” (click here to download), urging bloggers who review products, from a book to a video game system, to disclose if they received the product for free when giving an endorsement. According to the Washington Post, breaking these new guidelines could generate up to $11,000 in fines. – Galleycat
Well, that certainly puts the tussle that went down earlier this year in a new light. About $11,000 of new light.
Earlier this year Heidi MacDonald went on a bit of a tangent, ripping on comics bloggers who included whether or not a book was provided gratis by a publisher in their reviews. Like adding the phrase “This review was based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.” to the end of the review. The comments section of that post heated up too, with respected newspapermen-and-women like Tom Spurgeon and Brigid Alverson coming down on opposite sides of the debate (Spurge openly-mocked the concept of noting when a book was provided by a publisher, Brigid wanted to cover all of her ethical bases). Well Guess What? Looks like the F T C came down like a sack of hammers in favour of fessing-up to your filthy filthy swag.
So, for example, if I were to review Taiyo Matsumoto’s GO GO MONSTER which I got in the mail today, or Inio Asano’s WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD which I got in the mail today, I’d have to…
Wait, wait, let me get a picture:
OMG… so beautifulllll….
Anyway, if I were to write a review about either of these fine books, I’d have to mention that these fine books were provided courtesy of the publisher, Viz LLC, or risk massive fines from the FTC! Well, if I positively reviewed… or ‘endorsed’ the books. I guess I could rip on them and not have to disclose that I got them for free.
Actually, I’m Canadian aren’t I? Fuck the FTC! They got nothing to do with me. I guess now this whole post is just me bragging that I got books early, from the pubs. Jesus, what a horrible lack of class, or tact, on my part. How utterly unprofessional. I don’t know why you even come here.
Meanwhile, as I imagined she might, Johanna Draper Carlson has all kinds of smart things to say on this very subject. Go read what she has to say.