At this point you've probably seen a TON of post BEA recap posts
(including my first one ;)
As to not overwhelm you with ALL THE WORDS, I've broken up my BEA experience into a couple of posts (you know, because more is less ;)
I've also broken down my posts into bullet points because I like them :)
Today I bring you my thoughts on:
BEA Blogger's Conference, Blogging and the FCC
All of these points are taken from the Ethics Forum Luncheon and please keep in mind that I am NOT an expert on any of this! I have read the FCC's rules and I've tried to be an informed as possible. This forum added to my knowledge of the situation BUT I urge you to seek out answer of your own regarding how you operate your own blog. For example, I do nothing with paid advertising or affiliate links or the like so there are some 'issues' I never need to think about.
People on the panel:
Jane Little - DearAuthor.com
Richard Newman - Hinch Newman LLP
Professor Geanne Rosenberg - Baruch College
Most of the notes I took came from what Richard said as he spoke the most regarding the FCC.
With that said - these are the things I took away from the Forum.
*The FCC is concerned with the consumer
This means that they care about how a product is portrayed and how that portrayal effects what people pay money for. All rules and regulations in place follow this guideline of protecting the consumer.
*ARCs are freebies
Whether you agree with this or not - it's how the FCC sees things and it's how a lot of non bloggers see things as well.
You are getting something for free in exchange for a review -- the true retail value of the object (in the case of ARCs this is $0) doesn't matter.
Which leads into my next point...
*It's all about appearance
The FCC doesn't care how you got that book but they do care about what you say about WHERE you got that book.
Got it for review from the publisher? Tell your readers this in your review.
No magic words to use in your disclosure. A simple "I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for this review" works.
As long as you remember that...
*Where you put your disclosure is important
One blanket statement about how you receive products in exchange for reviews posted to your side bar? - Not good
A small footnote at the bottom of your review? - Also not good.
The FCC actually gives specifics on where your disclosure should be. As their interests lie in making sure the consumer is well informed they believe a disclosure should go up top and be easy to read (lots of things about mobile devices and not having to scroll anywhere to see it) and it should be placed before any hyperlinks (because we all know we love to click away whenever we can!)
But really we aren't talking about every review you post because...
*Negative reviews are 'critical' reviews and the FCC cares not
Really these rules I've talked about apply only to positive reviews.
Critical reviews - or negative reviews or non positive reviews or whatever you want to call them don't count.
A little weird but it makes sense if you think about it in a black and white sort of way.
People are going to buy what other people say is 'good'. The FCC wants to make sure people yelling 'good' are being fully upfront about everything.
People don't buy what other people say are 'bad'. No one is buying it, there is no consumer, the FCC doesn't care.
Does this reflect real life? Not really.
Is it easier to just disclosure the source of the books you are reviewing in every review you post? In my opinion - yes.
I've always had a little 'disclosure' statement at the beginning of my review posts stating where the book I read cam from, even if I bought it myself. I see no need to change this although I might format it a little differently.
Like I said before, how you operate your blog is up to you! Do you really have to worry about the FCC? Probably not but it's better to be safe then sorry and it doesn't take all that much to comply with their rules and regulations.
For more info on my BEA experience:
BEA Book Haul
BEA Blogger's Conference Part 1: Keynote Speakers and YA Blogging
Up tomorrow -- Blogging Platforms!