According to the Federal Trade Commission, bloggers have to disclose any “material connections” between themselves and any products or services they talk about on their blogs.
Amateur reviewers who keep that free book they blogged about? Those bloggers are being “paid” for that review. And must disclose that fact, under the new FTC guidelines.
So in the interest of complying with the FTC regulations, I’m telling you guys straight up: I usually have some sort of “material connection” to anything I happen to post about.
I don’t actually review books very often. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a book for Absolute Write. But I might. It could happen. I’m an amateur blogger, in that no one pays me a salary to run this site or post links, reviews, rants, or hopefully helpful ponderings.
Sometimes, people send me software keys, hoping I’ll say something nice about their product. Generally, unless I’m really impressed, I’m not going to be interested enough to actually write about it. If you find a software review on this site, it’s a pretty safe bet someone got something for writing it. Sometimes, people pay to have sponsored links to their website or services. I also have a number of affiliate links scattered about. It all helps pay for this space.
People send me books. Publicists send me books. Publishers send me books. I keep them, unless I give them away. I have stacks of books sitting around that I’ve bought, stacks of books that friends and family members have given me, and stacks of books that people sent me hoping for some publicity.
I can’t really tell which books are which, for the most part.
I sometimes wheedle a book review out of a friend, acquaintance, or gullible AWer who is willing to agree to share what they thought, if I give the book away. I’ve been known to pay for those reviews, even, before the economy completely tanked.
If you find a book review anywhere on AbsoluteWrite.com, it’s safe to assume that, at the very least, someone got to keep a copy of that book as remuneration.
In fact, just assume that I’m a complete tool of those big-time corporate masters, who send mysterious trench-coated representatives around every few weeks with small, non-sequential, unmarked bills to make it worth my while to post whatever happens to pop into my tiny brain about writing and publishing, at any given time.
But you can absolutely trust that I’ll do my level best to tell you the unvarnished truth about any book, website, or product I review. I’m not ever going to ask you guys to suffer through a disinterested B.S. post, just because I got a free software key, self-help manual, or bodice-ripper.