I’ve been meaning to weigh in briefly about this article on the announced FTC plans to regulate blogger freebies. Of course, having a life and a couple of jobs tends to get in the way of those things. In case you were waiting with baited breath, however, here’s my take on this.
I’m a bit wary but otherwise indifferent to the whole thing. US laws should apply to all US citizens: salesmen, businesses, and yes – bloggers, too. I don’t really think we need to specifically include a group of people in the laws. They are US laws, yes? And we are US citizens, yes? Then certainly the laws of the country in which we reside apply to us – right?
As for myself, I try my best to remember to include a mention if the book I’m writing about was given to me as a review copy. I’m considering implementing some sort of graphic or icon system in order to be absolutely clear, so that may show up in the future. To my mind, it’s just good manners to tell people if you got something for free.
I’ve never let the lack of a price tag dissuade me from my opinions, however. I will strive to find something nice to say because that is the polite thing to do and the way that I was raised. One can manage to voice their disappointments in a product (or even a person) without tearing them into pieces. Although I must admit that it helps that I’ve rarely run across a book I didn’t like. I have run across an even half dozen in my lifetime that I could not finish, and only two of those do I blame solely on the book itself and am not planning to attempt reading again. (No, I will not name them here. Email me.)
I ultimately do not think the FTC will be interested in a tiny little blog like mine, which gets a few hundred hits a month. Not when the monetary value of the items I receive are far less than $50 – even in the case of hardcovers and promotional swag. (The literary value, on the other hand, is sometimes priceless. But I don’t envision the FTC discerning that fact.) Though I admit to some trepidation over the extension of supposed FTC powers into the Wild West ambiance of the internet. We’ll just have to see how it all plays out, I guess.
If you’d like a far more distinguished opinion than mine, you can read one here.