So as you have probably read, starting December 1st, the F.T.C. is requiring bloggers to disclose any gifts or money they receive for reviews. Of course, there are a number of bloggers who are upset about it. Personally, I’m delighted to read this.
From a blogger standpoint, this is something I already do. I haven’t written any reviews for pay, because I don’t like them. Even if I’m writing a paid review of something I love, if I’m paid for it, you the reader have no idea whether or not I’m being truthful or I’m writing a glowing review because of the check I will get for it. And if I review something I’ve received, as part of my deal with BlogHer, I can’t keep it – so I give it away to you. Everyone wins.
To me, it’s not worth lying just to make a few bucks. And if someone wants me to review something, they have to accept that if I hate it, I’m going to be honest about that.
But I am absolutely delighted to know that starting soon, other bloggers will be required to reveal when they’re being paid for a review. When I’m thinking about a purchase or trying to learn about new products, I often do a websearch to see what others are saying about it. Sometimes, it’s very easy to spot the paid reviews. Other times, it’s not so clear.
Now, that’s not to say that paid reviews are bad. A lot of reviews are done because a company will send their product to a blogger to try out. That makes perfect sense to me, but is considered a compensated review by this new ruling. And I want the blogger to tell me that they got the product for free – that they hadn’t heard of it, but hey, were willing to try it out. I don’t know that it changes how I view the review – especially if it’s not a completely glowing review. I just think that full disclosure is always the best bet.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.