In case you were wondering: free review copies

The regulators have spoken and they require disclosure.  I would guess that about one fifth of the books reviewed here are advance review copies which I did not pay for.  They were sent to me for free, by demons who wish to addict me.  If am reviewing a book before its publication date, it is almost certainly an advance review copy, sent to me for free.

If I am reviewing a book past its release date, it is only rarely a free review copy. Very often I visit the free public library and walk away with ten or twelve books in my arms.  Just this week I ordered two new books for $40 a piece and I would not have bought them otherwise, but for my desire to please MR readers with my timely reviews (which are forthcoming). 

I hardly ever receive works of fiction.  I am never sent toys or given free trips to Disneyland.

It is reported:

For bloggers, the FTC stopped short of specifying how they must
disclose conflicts of interest. Rich Cleland, assistant director of the
FTC's advertising practices division, said the disclosure must be
''clear and conspicuous,'' no matter what form it will take.

Beware!  You have been warned in a clear and conspicuous manner that the demons control me and I do not in turn control the demons.

Addendum: You might wish to read Tyrone on free will.  The real scandal is that we (possibly) live in a frozen four-dimensional space-time block and that the content of my reviews has been fully determined by the initial conditions of the universe. 

Comments

If I review this website, do I have to disclose that you sent me the electrons?

Bill -I have often wondered why small businesses don't hype themselves with on-line reviews. Given that opening yahoo and gmail accounts is free, it would be very easy to hype a B&B, a restaurant, whatever.

What makes no sense about the new guidelines is that the FTC has admitted they likely won't be going after individual bloggers but instead after the advertisers themselves. Well how is that going to work? The blogger is the one in the position to make the disclosure.

Are companies going to be putting up notices on their websites that say "I know this is going to shock you, but we often give versions of our products for free to influential people. If you see someone mention it, we may have facilitated that."?

In other words, how could Harper Collins be held responsible for Tyler failing to disclose that they gave him the book?

my in-laws give me a present each year on fathers' day. then i go and have sexual relations with their daughter. what should i have disclosed, to whom?

oops, left out part of my post:

my in-laws give me a present each year on fathers' day. then i go and have sexual relations with their daughter. on occasion, this has conceived a child and caused the continuation of their genetic line and mine. what should i have disclosed, to whom?

What is the quid pro quo? More free books? I don't see the potential for conflict of interest unless the publishers are sending cash in between the pages or something.

Libraries aren't free; someone has to pay for the building and the books and the reference librarian salaries. But they're usually a very good investment by whomever pays the bill.

Full disclosure: I'm a librarian (university, not public) and while this may have been an inscrutable decree of God from before the creation of the world, I think it at least equally possible that human will was involved at some point.

unless you posit something supernatural, it's gotta be determined (even if it's not predictable and there's some randomness in coin tosses at the quantum level, that just means things are determined by the initial state of the universe and lots of coin tosses you can't control (i'm willing to be there's no true randomness, but it doesn't change anything regardless).

I think it an important form of disclosure. Your readers have a right to far warning at times when your review may be influenced by a predisposition towards justifying your purchasing decisions.

Disclosure: I have received money and services from the Federal government. Despite this, I still think it needs to be radically reduced in size and power.

I would like to see Tyler AND Tyrone review Disneyland.

I believe they have.

That disclosure is not good enough.

Or maybe it is. We'll let you know.

Or maybe we won't. You'll never know,

Unless we let you know, when we let you know.

Regards,
The Feds.

I think this is a corporate governance issue. Issuers are responsible for setting investor expectations and having the integrity to stick to their promises - whatever it takes (without excuses).

Market manipulators, such as hedge funds, need to be neutralized by disciplined actions of the issuers themselves. The issuer's board of directors can play a critical role in managing expectations and creating a corporate environment that is resilient to the cross winds of market manipulations.

Imagine the corporate governance function as being analogous to a ocean-crossing freighter. The bigger the ship and size of its cargo the more difficult it is to change its course (intentionally or not). Good corporate governance systems and practices should furnish the issuer with sufficient ballast to stay on course and enough foresight to change course as needed.

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