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Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and I don’t play one anywhere.

What I am is, having a lot of trouble parsing the new FTC guidelines–how exactly does it affect people like me, who review books online?

Jane at DA fears it will make bloggers vulnerable to petty and malicious attacks–and given what we have seen about how the regulations set in place for the protection of children (i.e., the Michigan case, my neighbors in Florida) are abused by grumpy neighbors, I don’t think it’s a stretch that bloggers who believe every other person who disagrees with them, hates them*, or that bloggers who rejoice over other bloggers’ personal hardships**, would indeed gleefully abuse the new guidelines in order to make life difficult for people like the gals at DA or Karen.

(Yes, it’s a long sentence, deal)

From what I’ve seen/read so far, the FTC (or whatever interest group behind this asinine BS) only has an issue with positive reviews, equating them with “product endorsement” Does that mean that if I only post snarky reviews then I don’t have to explain where or how I got the book?

Or perhaps I could just go one better and post the following at the top of every review:

In compliance with FTC regulations, allow me to explain that what follows is a review–NOT an endorsement. A review is at its heart the expression of the reviewer’s opinion–in this case, my opinion. Regardless of how the book in question ended up in my hands (or computer), I will not insult your intelligence by assuming that you will blindly buy any book I like, or that you’ll avoid reading any book I don’t like. Instead, I’ll give you credit for making up your own mind, and buying and/or reading whatever you think you’ll enjoy.

Do you think that covers my (admittedly large) ass sufficiently?

The preceding is just my opinion and it is not endorsed by Karen Scott or Karen Knows Best.
*You know who I mean


  • I think a blanket policy saying you receive ARCs and use affiliate links will suffice. To me, the reaction from book bloggers was over the top. Jane’s update seemed to imply that it’s not as bad as she first thought, so I’m hoping the discussions around this issue will be more reasoned in the coming months.

    I’m interested in jurisdiction. Karen doesn’t live in the US–does she need to comply if, for example, her site is hosted in the US, or do you (AztecLady) need to comply because you’re in the US?


  • Janet W
    October 7
    2:04 pm

    http://www.bostonbibliophile.com/2009/10/guest-post-ftc-faq-for-book-bloggers.html … check this out … and the comments towards the bottom of the looooooooong trail over at Monkey Bear reviews.

    I liked one question posed though? Who is speaking for the consumer (or was it thinking like a consumer?). Coffee calls! Since you’re almost see-through (in a non-skanky way, of course) you’re so transparent, I would imagine for you, it would be business/blogging as usual.


  • I followed this yesterday at DA and to be honest, much ado about nothing. Not to diminish concerns but it needs to playout before anyone can assume it’s a disaster.


  • I’ll add one more thought… if the concern is about transparency and the abuse of positive reviews, where is the problem for sites like DA or SB? Both are up front about where they get their books, their affiliate links and their reviews are honest.

    Though she’s not a blooger, if anyone should be a little anxious **tongue firmly in cheek here** it would be Harriet (I never read a book I didn’t luv) Klausner. And, honestly, poor Harriet doesn’t need any more abuse.


  • It seem to me that all you need to do is say, somewhere, “I sometimes get free books.” No biggee.


  • While I love your disclaimer, I don’t think this is a big issue. Perhaps a quick disclaimer (the author sent this to me, or I bought this on my own) might be necessary, but as a publisher this will not affect how I send out books to review sites, and as a reviewer (vine voice for amazon), I think I’m covered since I have the vine badge, and usually say “I chose this book through the vine program” or something like that.

    After all, it’s not like you’re reviewing the latest, never been tested, company is out to make a buck $100 weight loss pill, or something dangerous like that. Which, to be honest, I think is where the FTC guidelines were trying to head.


  • I’m also baffled by the outrage. I get that people think it infringes upon their privacy, right to free speech, and so on. But what’s so wrong in expecting someone who publishes a review on the internet to disclose the source of the product reviewed?


  • I do not think there is anything wrong with expecting honesty and transparency. I think there is every possibility of abuse in the way these guidelines are both vague and broad.


  • missed it… guess I will need to go see what the to do is all about


  • Amie Stuart
    October 8
    3:08 pm

    I will not insult your intelligence

    *ggg* I love you guys. That is all.


  • YES, AZL, I DO think you should post that disclaimer. Oh, not necessarily because it will cover your ass with the FTC, but because its snarktastically full of WIN. ;-D


  • Bev!!!!!! *tacklehug* Where have you been, woman????

    And thank you–I was afraid nobody had gotten the snark 😀


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