Blogging and secret endorsements are a no no!

You’d think this was a no brainer, covered under “being an honest, ethical person”, but bloggers are people too, and subject to the same moral lapses that plague anyone.

Someone says to you, “Hey, if you tell people how much you loved my product or service ‘X’, I’ll give you something. Money, a free product, whatever. Something. A free WoW Account. Just… don’t tell anyone that you’re getting this. Just act like you loved it and wanted to talk about it all on your own, spontaneously.”

That’s wrong. It’s misleading, it’s unethical, deceptive BS, and here in the US, if you’re a blogger, it’s actionable.

Here in America, the Federal Trade Commission, also known as the FTC, published new guidelines last October that makes it absolutely clear that such deceptive endorsement practises aren’t allowed, even for bloggers on the internet.

You can always endorse whatever you want… but you have to admit up front that you’re getting a kickback for doing it. That you were paid, whether in goods or in services.

For us WoW bloggers, if you want to talk about how much you love a particular mouse, ventrilo service, headset, a Ferrari, book, etc… you have to be clear to mention whether or not you have received anything for providing your opinion in favor of that product.

Per the posting;

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.

How will this affect the Big Bear Butt going forward?

Well, it won’t.

Despite what people who email me sometimes think, I’m not paid by anyone to write here, I’m not given anything at all by anyone. I don’t have ads, I don’t have paid link throughs, I don’t do paid endorsements, I don’t get services, nothing.

I did talk favorably about, and review, the book by Christie Golden called Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, but I didn’t even get anything for that. I received an advance copy to read to review, and as soon as I was done I gave it away. I also was alotted a certain number of books to give away as part of a promotion, and I was happy to do so, to benefit my readers, and I thought it great fun.

Doesn’t matter whether I got anything or not for that, of course, since I was up front about the whole arrangement. :) I be good with the FTC, dawg.

I write here for fun, and as I’ve said before, the day it’s no longer fun is the day I close up shop.

If someone were to ever wish to hand over any money to me, they don’t even get to hand me money for nuthin’… they have to get something for it, by buying a shirt or mug over at the Cafepress Store on my sidebar. :) And even if you decide you don’t like me anymore, at least you’ve still got a shirt to cover your naked bod or a container with which to hold your hot, steaming beverage. That’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick!

So, there shall never be any secret money-making shenanigans here at the BBB.

That being said, however… if anyone out there IS a Ferrari dealer and wishes me to endorse your product, you can reach me at tigerlordgm AT yahoo DOT com.

Just sayin’.

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10 thoughts on “Blogging and secret endorsements are a no no!

  1. So all bloggers just need to put a statement in front of their blogs like infomercials,” The following review was paid for and may not reflect the actual view of the blogger.”

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  2. ::snickering:: Sorry, I’m not a ferrari dealer… :) And for the record, you were entirely up front about the Arthas book thing, and I enjoyed your review a great deal and added my own comments and thoughts after reading the copy I bought.

    Now I’ll just go back to sighing over the ending cutscene… Wow….

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  3. I’m not really a blogger, I just play one on the internet. Nobody gives me *anything* for it. (Well, some people give me grief, some give me headaches, but I digress.)

    Tangentially, I work for a game company, and occasionally promote my place’s games… but they don’t give me anything for it. I mean, if nobody buys our games, I don’t have a job, but there’s no kickback for promoting it.

    It makes me sad that the FTC has to be uppity about this. I guess I keep thinking that people are more honorable than they tend to prove to be.
    .-= Tesh´s last blog ..A World of Keflings =-.

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  4. A side affect of this post was that, in all of the times I’ve read your articles, I have NEVER noticed the Cafe Press link on your blog before. And I LOVE the “Bears Don’t Wear Plate” art, so I’ve got a mind to pick up a t-shirt at some point. :)

    Thanks, BBB. This was a thought-provoking article for this fledgling blogger, and I appreciate your insights.
    .-= Russ´s last blog ..Snowy Saturday odds and ends =-.

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