Sunday, December 6, 2009
From the Editor: WARNING! Disclosure May Follow...
"The Federal Trade Commission has embarked upon a daft assault on free speech, specifically social-media users' endorsement of products or businesses. The FTC has propounded rules that will impose fines of up to $11,000 on bloggers, Facebook users, or Twitter tweeters (for whom surely we could invent a more dignified name?) who fail to disclose financial relationships with businesses they write about. Such relationships include the receipt of merchandise gratis--meaning that online critics who receive free books or press passes to a concert will find themselves in violation of federal law if they fail to satisfy Washington's disclosure demands. Such arrangements are longstanding custom and are of particular value to small, independent publications (print or electronic) that cannot afford to pay retail prices for access to the materials they review. And it ought to go without saying that the FTC has no business policing Facebook updates, period. That the FTC would make a federal case out of such a triviality suggests that this bloated and arrogant agency is overdue for a deep cut in staff and budget. If some unemployed bureaucrats become bloggers, all the better."
Thanks to Pastor Peter Bertram for keeping us at QBR up-to-date.
IF and/or WHEN such a rule arises, we'll probably need to "render unto Caesar" here.
I thought it may be interesting to our readers how the book review process usually works. I don't mind "disclosing" that.
Publisher's want high-impact, low-cost publicity for their books, CDs, DVDs, etc. Book reviewers receive complimentary (usually) or discounted (sometimes, if a budget allows) books in exchange for a published review. Sometimes reviewers request an individual book or type of book from a publisher. Sometimes the books arrive "unsolicited." "Tear sheets," or pages from a printed review journal are gradually being replaced by pdf copies of reviews. Publishers use these reviews as feedback and guidance for what is received well by various audiences. Reviewers get to keep the resource they review for their trouble in daring to share a critical opinion.
At QBR, our reviews have been made available electronically, also at no cost to our readers. It has been a pretty good business model we'd like to continue.
More reviews are coming soon.
Peace in Christ,
Paul J Cain