Earlier this week the FTC released new guidelines for the blogosphere. You can download a PDF here.
Every blog must now disclose whether or not a product they review was given to them by the manufacturer to test and keep. Getting free product to review is a common practice in all media as I was a video game and music critic for a newspaper I got to keep everything I reviewed. It was a form of payment because guess what? Journalists make diddly squat.
However, if I still wrote for a newspaper I'd be exempt from the new rules because the FTC views them as legitimate publications that police themselves with internal ethics, which is true from my experience.
Because this site is partially about me testing out stuff that keeps dads sane including gadgets, music, games and cars it's probably beyond prudent that I follow these guidelines.So, below is the official policy of the Dad Therapy blog regarding and then my rant on the FTC rules. Here's a hint; it's not what you think.
As sole publisher and editor of Dad Therapy and www.dadtherapy.com I stand behind all reviews published. No product written about has been given to me for review and all food, meals and beverages have also been paid for. Any archival reviews of video games and music may have been supplied by manufacturers but the age of those posts leads me to leave them untouched. And to those wondering, yes I did actually buy that brown Zune a few years ago, it was not a freebie!
As of today, October 8, 2009, if any review product is given it will be fully disclosed.
There you go FTC, that should cover my ass so you don't take my kids college fund with a $11,000 fine.
As for the rant?
I LOVE these rules! In fact, I think full disclosure should also be forced on all traditional media as well. The common web surfer searching on Google could easily come across a paid for, glowing review in a blog they've never been to before and be mislead. As a trained journist I've read way too many glowing blog reviews — especially on mommy blogs — that I could tell were influenced due to the allure of more free stuff to test.
The fine of $11,000 seems steep but is likely that high as a deterrent. I think a better penalty would be to have the offending site shut down and the editor monitored from launching a similar one.Of course for such action the infraction would have to be grievous and done in full knowledge of the rules. I'm sure a few moms or dads out there are too busy to be keeping up on FTC guidelines.