Cancel The Riot

Science fiction bloggers are always looking for the next thing to foam at the mouth about, but I don’t think this new FTC ruling ought to be it:

The F.T.C. said that beginning on Dec. 1, bloggers who review products must disclose any connection with advertisers, including, in most cases, the receipt of free products and whether or not they were paid in any way by advertisers, as occurs frequently.

Are you kidding? There is nothing SF writers and fans love to do more than brag about the free books publishers have sent them.

How many times have you seen a reviewer lead off, not with the title of the novel or the name of the author, but an oh-so-casual mention that the book came gratis from the publisher?

John Scalzi lovingly photographs the heaps of books as they arrive.

SF Signal fills entire posts with thumbnails of incoming freebies.   

Fans don’t need any prodding from the FTC. They can’t stop themselves!

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7 thoughts on “Cancel The Riot

  1. That second post is an interview with an FTC official and appears to have solid information. The enforcement plan sounds very passive, par for a non-tax agency.

  2. I don’t get the snark in this post. I mean, I literally don’t understand it. Why is it obvious that if someone mentions getting free books from publishers, they’re “bragging,” “oh-so-casually” or otherwise?

    Publishers give away tons of free books. It’s part of our core mission: making the public aware of particular books. It’s about as glamorous as washing dishes. When Scalzi or Scott Westerfeld post pictures of their recent free-book stacks, I figure at least part of the point is to say “please cut me some slack if I don’t have something to say about your new book immediately.” It doesn’t strike me as “bragging,” any more than it would be “bragging” if I posted a picture of the stacks of paper on my office floor. (Though perhaps if I did, Mike would accuse me of being falsely “oh-so-casual” about something or other.) Clarification of the rules is clearly needed here; I can’t keep track.

  3. What’s to get? There isn’t any snark in this post. Bragging about freebies is a commonplace, harmless vanity that’s certainly fair game for humorous commentary. May I recommend the blue pill followed by a comfortable draught?

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