RSS: RSS Feed Icon

From an article in the Chicago Tribune on Mommy bloggers but I think it will apply everywhere:

The Federal Trade Commission has begun reviewing its advertising guidelines with mom bloggers in mind.

"Those who are compensated to promote or review a product" on their personal Web sites "are not exempt from the laws governing truthful advertising," said Richard Cleland, the FTC's assistant director of advertising practices, in a recent statement.

An ARC would be compensation, right? And if a third party is getting paid for your review, well. This bodes watching.

comments

Colleen,
I hear I thought a pot stirrer. lol Seriously, I'd like to hear how this turns out.

Honestly after reading this I mostly thought of myself. I've never stated if I got a book as an ARC or not when I reviewed it here (I think it is a given when reading reviews at Bookslut or Eclectica). I know a lot of other bloggers do and I think from now on I will as well. I'm not going to worry about it when I just mention a book or talk about its cover or something but if I review it then I'll say where I got it from. (It's actually a lot fewer ARCs here then you would expect though.)

The real question turns on "compensation" and what a person is getting.

An ARC has no real value; it's not for resale. So no, it's not compensation.

As for the final book, the only IRS case I could find said if you donate the review copy and take a credit for the donation, then you have to declare it as income. So, still with the finished book -- no, unless you're been counting your donations to charity as a deduction.

I wonder how many ARC or final book sellers declare that as income, especially as 100 percent income since the book was "free"?

Truthful advertising: it's like the fake-reviews/stories in magazines that have "advertising" on top. The question becomes, how much disclosures? So now I'm happy with letting people know where I got a book.

If bloggers cannot review from review copies, we would be seriously hindered in what we can review, always a permanent step behind 'traditional' media.

The FTC released the document last November so it's been around for awhile. Right now the FTC is just suggesting recommendations. Susan Getgood wrote a great summary of it last month - The FTC Is Not Gunning For Mom Bloggers.

I honestly don't think the changes are going to be nearly as dramatic as some of the news stories and blog posts are indicating it will be. I think we'll see more disclosure statements on blogs and more people indicating that they are reviewing based on a review copy/ARC but many book bloggers do that already.

I am probably more curious about the ARC/IRS issue. I'm Canadian but I know many people who have asked it and I don't know that I've seen a concrete answer.

I've been thinking about the ARC no value thing Liz - and I know you've looked into this - but I wonder if the IRS has ever considered that some ARCs go for hundreds on Ebay? So do some ARCs have value (can you imagine the value of HP#7 before it was published?)

I read this as thinking it will be about truth in advertising as you put it - which ties into a lot of the other discussion around her lately.

Yes, there's an ARC of A LA CARTE on sale at Ebay for $150. I have NO idea why, since you could buy the FINISHED book for far less. Which is a hardback. And has all the pages in order. And fewer typos, I would guess.

A good idea, I think, to say where the books came from.

Not to say you aren't a wonderful writer Tanita but WTF? How could anyone justify that price?

Too weird.

Post a comment