Monday, June 22, 2009

Full disclosure...starting now

Hi gang,

The reason I started Cinnamon Kitten a couple of years ago was because I was tired of deciding what to buy based on fancy TV commercials and slick magazine ads. I lov interacting with fellow beauty enthusiasts and finding out about new products and getting to know your opinions and favourites as well as sharing my own.

I've never been paid to do a review, although I have received samples of products to review. I've never been anything other than honest in my reviews, and before I even any free samples, I always inform the companies that although I appreciate the samples, my reviews will always be fair and honest.

Well, apparently, now I can get in trouble for posting reviews!

Under "new guidelines, expected to be approved late this summer with possible modifications, would clarify that the agency can go after bloggers - as well as the companies that compensate them - for any false claims or failure to disclose conflicts of interest. It would be the first time the FTC tries to patrol systematically what bloggers say and do online. The common practice of posting a graphical ad or a link to an online retailer - and getting commissions for any sales from it - would be enough to trigger oversight." (quote from Canoe - read the full article here.)

Ugh.

Now, as I said before, I have NEVER been paid to do a review and would never agree to write a positive review for a product in return for money or free stuff. I started this blog so that we could all get honest opinions about the beauty products we buy and I would never jeopardize my relationship with my readers in exchange for a free sample!

I do have a few paid ads on the sidebars of my blog, but I'm only paid for the ad itself and do not receive any commissions from any purchases my readers make if they click through these ads. This blog is just a hobby for me and the money I make from these ads is basically enough for me to run a few contests for my readers and nothing else. Much as I would love to be one of those bloggers that the article mentioned above who earns thousands of dollars from their blogs a month and does it full time, this definitely isn't the case here!

In order to further encourage transparency, I will now add a new line into each review, revealing if the item was paid for or given free to Cinnamon Kitten to review.

I love my readers and you are the reason I write this blog! I am definitely not doing this for the money or the free products, but for the chance for all of us to make better buying decisions.

What do you think of this new blogging crackdown?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

this is the biggest crock of bull i've ever heard . your blog i read daily -is excellent . i think all the readers want an unbiased opinion of products written by someone who clearly enjoys her hobby and gives honest reviews. who these people think they are to scrutinize this and any other blog written fairly and honest without any pay beats me. it just isn't right they can do this to anyone sharon m

Anonymous said...

oh wow!!! this is outrageous!

I'm glad to hear that your reviews are honest and unbiased! The beauty industry is so powerful these days that it is really hard to see through all the faulty claims and get honest opinions!

i support you and your blogs! i love reading your blogs ;)

Anonymous said...

Actually, I don't think this is necessarily a bad idea. I love your blog and I'm certain you're 100% honest, but I can think of at least one beauty blog (who shall remain unanmed) where I am convinced the blogger is giving products glowing reviews because she gets freebies. (I've worked in the advertising business, so I've learned how to read between the lines).

Marmot said...

I'm not a reader of yours -- I read political and science blogs for the most part -- and I don't understand why this FTC step is controversial to beauty bloggers and readers. Is it insulting to you, this implication that you're shilling?

In fact, the substantive concern is that when anyone receives industry swag, they are much more likely to support the swag-giver. It's not too difficult to see the ethical problem with that.

In any case, I support your decision to plainly state when the product you're reviewing came free-of-charge. That way, your readers can most fairly judge your reviews.

Cinnamon Kitten said...

Marmot - Yes, I am a little insulted that all bloggers are blanketed with this rule that we all are biased based on the freebies. The article specifically lists bloggers that get vacations, lots of cash, etc, which most of us would never receive.

But I'm more concerned about the words "go after". What does this mean? How are they going to prove that I'm being biased or not being biased based on what I'm receiving? Are they going to start doling out huge fines to bloggers for receiving free samples?

What worries me is that many bloggers are going to be more hesitant to write ANYTHING because they are going to have to worry about someone "going after them".

I don't have any problem with disclosing when I get free samples (let's be honest, I would not be able to afford the amount of beauty products I actually review on this blog if I had to buy everything), but I don't want to have to look over my shoulder all the time or make sure that I write all the "proper legal words" in order to avoid fines or punishments.

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