Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How will new FTC rules affect book reviews in blogs?

THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION voted 4-0 on Monday to require bloggers to clearly disclose any payments or freebies they receive for reviewing products. Many bloggers routinely review books that are sent to them by publishers. Apparently, under this new rule (81 pages of legal twaddle), these reviewers will need to disclose that they have received a free book in order to comply with the new rule, as if the reader wouldn’t know that if you want your book reviewed you need to provide a copy to the reviewer.

Oddly, if the reviewer returns the book, the new rules don’t apply. The rule seems to be aimed more at bloggers who review such products as computers or toys and who are allowed to keep the product reviewed. Most traditional journalism outlets either pay for the product or return it after it is tested.

There is no formula how the disclosure must be made other than it must be "clear and conspicuous."

What effect this might have on book reviews remains to be seen. I’ve reviewed some books on this site but they have all been purchased from regular retail outlets. However, if anyone would like to give me something I’d be happy to review it and, of course, make the proper disclosure.


  1. I hadn't heard about the new ruling, and I can't imagine all the teen bloggers posting disclaimers with their reviews. It will be interesting to see what happens.

  2. I have reviewed a couple of books on my site but they have been books I purchased and really enjoyed. So I guess that I wouldn't be doing anything that needed to be disclosed. Feel free to check out my reviews and author interviews at www.virginiagruver.com

  3. Frankly, I'm willing to do car reviews and I'll be happy to disclose who gave it to me.


  4. I'd like to review a condo in the south of France.