The Federal Trade Commission has new guidelines that will require bloggers to disclose when they’re being compensated by an advertiser to discuss a product. If you read them, you’ll see that most of the language pertains to advertising, so for now, you’ll have to read between the lines. The guidelines don’t define a “payment,” for example, and don’t specify what incentives other than cash must be disclosed to readers. See this Cnet story for more.
This is old territory for me, a former magazine editor who made and enforced rules about reviewing. Ethics rules have existed for years but are hardly uniform. At my magazines, I thought I knew which reviewers received and returned which products, but I probably never had the whole picture. I hired a full-time editor whose job was to sift through press releases and write up products. He often hid from me the expensive gifts