Can I take a moment to express my deep-seated hatred for stock review disclaimers?
In one sense I blame the reviewers; in another the Federal Trade Commission; but whoever’s to blame, these disclaimers are dreadful!
Let me backtrack for a moment.
There used to be a time when you could get a product for review and just talk about it but in 2009 the FTC came along and said they were worried that folks would endorse products just because they got them for free.
But this was an issue for whatever reason and they demanded that people announce that they had received the products for free.
Somewhere along the line someone thought to suggest that the reviewers announce that they received the product in exchange for an “unbiased review.”
I loathe that term.
To start, every—and I literally mean every—review is biased. That’s one of the points of a review, i.e., for the reviewer to share his/her impressions of a product.
Now I personally have a page where I keep with the FTC’s guidelines.
I do not feel the need to repeat myself at the beginning or end of every review.
If I felt such an obligation I might give up reviewing products that have been provided for free.
And on my page I note that “Providing free review copies in no way guarantees the publishers/authors favorable reviews in return.”
I think that’s what the “unbiased review” disclaimer is supposed to communicate.
Also, thanking the publisher (which should always be done) for the product is the disclaimer that it has been provided for free.
The following review will then reveal the biases of the reviewer.
And that’s okay.
I’m not telling anyone what to do with their reviews; I’m just saying I hate stock disclaimers.