As a publisher that occasionally reviews products, there have been times when I try to be particularly cautious about reviewing a product, especially when I have a financial relationship with the company that produces the item reviewed.
Guitar International has PRS Guitars as an advertiser and when I reviewed the PRS Mira guitar, I had to make certain that the review was honest and not biased toward a company that had paid me advertising dollars. To help remedy any motivation to promote our advertiser’s product, I asked five guitarists without a financial interest in Guitar International or PRS Guitars to steer the review. The Mira was given a high thumbs up by virtually all guitarists that had “hands on” experience playing the guitar and checking it out in person.
The Federal Trade Commission has constructively recognized the “bias factor” in such instances and has issued a new Disclosure policy for websites to follow. I think it’s important for all of us, as consumers of on-line information and product reviews, to be very aware of dishonest or slanted assessments of products. I will go back to products that we have reviewed and where we have advertising commitments and add a disclosure statement to each, in order to proactively comply with the new law, that will take effect later this year.
Guitar International has a policy to not accept any cash or in-kind payment for reviews of any product or service.
To read the new FTC rule, please go HERE.
All the Best and keep on plucking!