What’s The Buzz: Bloggers Must Disclose Freebies; HuffPo Does Books

In What's the Buzz by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Twitter is abuzz with the news that the Federal Trade Commission in the United States has released new rules stating that bloggers who write reviews must now disclose when they’ve received a free product from a company in exchange for promotion. Non-compliance, as Publishers Marketplace points out, can result in as much as an $11,000 fine. Among the other changes is elimination of the ability to use the phrase “results not typical” as a caveat when describing an extraordinary result from using a product. Drat. I’ve always wanted to use that in a review: “The sight of yet another Joyce Carol Oates novel doorstop landing on my desk this year made me want to rush immediately into the street and throw myself into oncoming traffic. (Results not typical).” Well, I guess that’s out of the question now… Check out #heyftc on Twitter for further (mostly sarcastic) commentary.

The Huffington Post has launched its new book site, adding to the variety of online, um, perspectives, online about books (of course, we’re disappointed they didn’t see fit to include us in their initial list of links). Proprietress Arianna Huffington writes by way of introduction: “My love affair with books is a long one. As a little girl growing up in Athens, I remember sending my friends home early from my fifth birthday party because all that celebrating was keeping me away from my books. Who needed friends and cake? I had my books! Since I was 21, there hasn’t been a time when I wasn’t researching or writing a book. Until now. So, instead of my signing another book contract, we arelaunching a Books section, in partnership with the New York Review of Books, where you’ll find the latest book-related news and blog posts, book reviews, all sorts of special features, and, of course, articles from the New York Review of Books.”

The irony is that this news comes (more or less) on the same day we get this from the Wall Street Journal: On the Internet Everyone’s A Critic, But They’re Not That Critical (the average review is 4.3 out of five stars). Of course, whether you’re a HuffPo fan or not, the relationship with the NYRB gives the book immediate literary street cred.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.