Beginning December 1, 2009, the Federal Trade Commission began requiring bloggers to provide a disclosure whenever there could be a hidden interest or an unspoken bias in relation to recommendations.
I’m a book reviewer and have a shop, so people send me a lot of cool books and gardening gear hoping that I’ll love them enough to want to talk about them here or on Amazon, where I’m a Top 500 Reviewer, or sell them in my shop.
Obviously, I’m not going to rave about something I don’t like just because I got it for free. Free junk is still junk.
But the FTC requires me to make a disclosure every time I may know somebody involved in a business, know the author of a book I’m reviewing, have gotten the product for free to try, or will make some money on a transaction if you buy an item I mention.
I think that’s tedious and can quickly become an eyesore when you’re trying to research or read an article. On my organic weed control article, for example, I’d need like 15 disclosures to let folks know that if you buy organic weed spray through my Amazon links, I make a profit (a very small one), and also, I’ve had a nice conversation with the maker of an organic weed control, and have gotten to try three types of organic weed controls from different companies for free (some of which I don’t mention because they didn’t work)… I’m tired just thinking of explaining that for every post on my site.
So here’s the deal: For every item I review, mention, link to, or recommend in my Gardening Tools page, you can safely assume that one or all of the following is true:
- I have an undying crush on the owner of the business or author of the book. (Of course, that would only apply if I am linking to my partner Trevor’s sites!)
- The owner of the business or author of the book may have fed me delicious appetizers or cocktails, or if I got really lucky, both.
- My mailman was grouchy at having to yet again knock on my door to provide me with the cool free books or gear someone sent me.
I love to hook up awesome local businesses with people who might like to buy their things. But I’m a recluse. So most of the people I know, I know because they’ve paid me money to do their gardening work. That relationship is likely to continue, because hey – I rock, they rock, and mutual admiration societies are fun like that.
If I direct you to Amazon or another online store, it’s likely that I will make a small percentage of whatever it is you bought.
I won’t say I like something if I think it stinks. I usually won’t mention it at all if that’s the case, or if it’s good but only for some people, I’ll highlight the narrow person that the item may be good for while being perfectly clear about what purposes the item is not good for.
I won’t blog about something because someone paid me cash, gave me a freebie or offered a giveaway. Nor will I link to something because someone offered me cash, gave me a freebie or offered a giveaway.
The only reason I will link to or mention a book or product is because I love it and use it myself.