The gig is up!  The freeloading is over!  The shills have been shot down as the Federal Trade Commission demands bloggers must reveal if they are paid for a review or if they are provided free products in exchange for a review.

We were well ahead of this curve when, way back on May 14, 2008, in an article entitled — “Sniffing Out Sweetheart Site Hosting Deals” — we revealed the decaying underbelly of blogs, websites and other online writing that were nothing more than vested shilling for a company under the guise of being an independent voice.

Few online readers realized a writer was selling them something with an interest in promoting the company or the product in a quid pro quo for a good review.

I’m not sure how much bite the FTC will put on the bloggers — it seems the only thing that would need to be disclosed is that the product or service in question was provided for free — and I’m sure the better writers out there will spin their freebies into an everlasting and evergreen argument that they “cannot be bought or bribed” even though they live their life getting free stuff.

You can been keenly assured in knowing our policy in the Boles Blogs Network is, and has always been, to pay our own way for the products and services we choose to review and, if someone does us a solid, then we fully disclose that relationship in the article.

Can you hear the disquieting sound of company logos and product hotlinks being ripped from blogs and websites around America?  That’s actually a really good thing in the depths and it will shine the surface of reviewer integrity even brighter in the days to come.

We thank you, FTC, for doing the right thing to help protect online readers everywhere by freeing all of us from the shackles of backroom deals and shady trading.


  1. I say it’s about time the freeloaders get their due. If you get something in exchange for a review, own up and admit that fact.

  2. It does seem to make sense that you’d want to be as transparent as possible in a blogger’s reviews stream, Gordon. I know there were commercials sites that would “pay to play” with bloggers who reviewed products on their site. It was, at times, difficult to know if the review was genuine or prepaid — the clue was usually in the countable number of hotlinks required from the review back to the product page.

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