By now some of you may have heard about the FTC regulations regarding bloggers and their relationships with brands. You can read all about it including the 80+ page guideline document HERE. Basically any blogger, regardless of their niche, must disclose if they received payment or a product sample in relation to a product review. They consider receiving a sample as a form of payment for the review. I haven’t spoken about this until now because I wanted to read all 80+ pages of the guidelines and any other articles I could find on the subject to see what is actually required and decide how I want to address it here.
Some of you probably care less about all this so feel free to skip this post. If you want to hear my long winded thoughts on what’s happening and how ALU will address the regulations please read on.
Bloggers Receive Product Samples
In case you were unaware, bloggers receive product samples and not just beauty bloggers. Mommy bloggers, tech bloggers, food bloggers, garden bloggers, etc. In regards to beauty blogs you’d be hard pressed to find a blog with a loyal readership and 6+ months of posting under their belt that hasn’t received a press sample(s).
Bloggers are treated the same as magazines, receiving samples of the newest products to test. How do you think we get collections before they hit shelves? Only for some reason the FTC feels the magazines don’t need regulating even though they are influenced by advertisers. You know those product recs to get the cover model’s look? Paid for! So really the fact that the FTC is coming after us is quite a joke! And I’ve heard a number of bloggers say F-U to the regulations. They aren’t abiding.
I Was Clueless Too
Here’s the thing. Like a lot of you, when I first started my blog or even before that when I was just reading blogs, I had NO CLUE that brands sent out samples. I thought those women were independently wealthy or about to file for bankruptcy. Being the first nail blogger on the scene, I never dreamed I’d get an email offering to send me product for review. I mean, who was I? Just some girl with way too much nail polish and an idea to focus on a niche that no one else was covering. I blogged for a really long time before that first email arrived and brands started to take notice of me.
Who Can You Trust?
The main rumbling I’ve heard is how can readers trust bloggers if they’re getting free product? Are their reviews biased because they don’t pay? How can they distinguish the “swag whores” from the true and honest fanatics? All I can say is trust your gut.
From the beginning, I’ve posted about what I want, when I want. I don’t make promises to brands regarding reviews. I don’t post only positive reviews. Look in the archives, you’ll see that not every color gets high praise. Yes, I do run ads as a form of income but I have no formal relationship with the advertisers or agreements in regard to my content. My ad network handles the management and sales aspect but my content is purely up to me.
How I Deal With PR
The fact of the matter is that every single day I get more press releases in my inbox than I know how to deal with. The majority are totally unrelated to my blog (hello designer bra straps!). With each press release is the offer of sample product. I’d say 95% of those releases go in the trash. The small percentage that do relate to ALU with things I think either you or I would like, I accept product for. But does that guarantee a review? Not by a long shot! If something doesn’t thrill me or apply well or just doesn’t meet my standards, I don’t review it. I’m not going to waste our time on that.
So no, I didn’t post the second half of the OPI Spain collection. Why? It didn’t excite me. I didn’t post the Essie Neons because they applied terribly and all I heard was complaints about the wear. I skipped Chanel Rouge Allure Laque because the colors were kind of “meh.” I’m not out to post every single collection on the planet because I only want to share with you the things I think are actually worth it. And even then, there are some stinkers in the bunch and I’ll let you know that too.
What Happens Now?
The regulations go into effect on December 1st. As of that date or prior to, I will have a formal disclosure page so that even if someone comes here for the first time, they’ll know the deal. Also, at the end of each post you will see a short disclosure statement letting you know how the product was obtained with a link to my disclosure page.
Why Are You Just Doing This Now?
I’ve never hidden the fact that I receive press samples and openly told anyone that has ever asked about it (and lots have). The first time I got a collection early I saw posts about it on MUA with members commenting that brands send out product to bloggers. I didn’t feel the need to brag or rub it in anyone’s face that I have the privilege of getting polish from brands to share with all of you. We all know it’s basically free advertising for the brands but for me, it’s the chance to share my passion for polish. I take that seriously which is why I don’t just post everything offered to me.
Let’s go ahead and open the floor for questions and comments. I want to hear what you have to say and am happy to address any concerns you have. If you aren’t comfortable commenting, feel free to email me directly editor[at]alllacqueredup[dot]com or use the comment form HERE.