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.
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.