Earlier this week I heard that the Federal Trade Commission has introduced new advertising guidelines, which amount to rules for bloggers who review products. A contact of mine also sent me a link to this information directly… I think the unspoken implication there was that they were aware I’m sometimes sent free things to review and that maybe I wasn’t being open about that.
Both of these events acted as triggers to make me finish this post, which has actually been sitting in draft state in my blogging client since… well… March this year. I can’t see that the FTC has any jurisdiction over my blog, but I’ve been thinking about this for a while, as a way of telling both readers and companies what they can expect from me.
It’s true that I’ve been given access to products for review purposes on occasion, and sometimes I’ve been able to keep hold of the products (or been given a full software license after the review period has ended). I’ve always been careful to point out where I’ve been offered a product for review, most recently for example, with the LG Arena mobile phone.
So here’s my standpoint.
- Firstly, and very importantly – I write here as an individual. I do not make a secret of who my employer is, and you are welcome to read all about me on the About page. However, my opinions and are my own and may or may not represent my employer’s views. I will not review anything here on behalf of my employer, I do so as an individual.
- If a company wants to invite me to review their product or service then I’m often interested in taking a look.
- I appreciate it when the company or PR firm actually takes the time to find out what I’m interested in and what I write about, rather than sending me a silly email. Do your research.
- If you send me something to review, you should expect an honest set of opinions. I will not sugar-coat what I think of it.
- If you send me something to review then it will be on my timescales. I have a life and a day job and both of those come before writing about your product, site of service.
- I will always disclose whether I was given / given access to a product in my review. If I do not call that out, then readers should assume that I own the product or am otherwise a personal user of that site or service.
That’s it. Pretty straightforward, really.