It’s come to my attention that the FTC is getting more than a little concerned about paid bloggers. That is, bloggers being paid to review products or services without full and complete disclosure of any compensation that might be involved. I think that their concerns may be well founded so I’d like to offer a statement of policy regarding goings-on around here.
While I may live in Houston, I don’t believe in Astroturfing.
From time to time I review stuff. Sometimes I buy the item under review and act without the knowledge of the manufacturer or reseller. Sometimes I am approached with the offer of hardware on loan for extended review. Most typically such hardware is returned after the review period. Occasionally I am allowed to keep the review sample.
Sometimes the review period is very protracted. I never write a detailed review based upon first impressions. I always try to put the device in question into service for a month or more and try to truly achieve some experience of its use under real-world circumstances. Occasionally the device will remain in use long after the initial review so that I can continue to evaluate the evolution of the product.
I often warn manufacturers that I don’t work quickly. If that’s part of what they seek then they should look elsewhere.
There have been times when items have been offered for review and I have politely declined the offer. I try to stay focused on the needs of SOHO users like myself. If I don’t have a genuine use for a device then I’m not likely to be able to spend the time to evaluate it adequately.
There are no perfect products. When I find fault with something I write about it plainly and honestly. When I find something to be truly exceptional I present it in a similar fashion.
There’s no point in trashing a product or company. If I really dislike something a lot I probably just won’t write about it.
Never have I been paid by a manufacturer or their agents to craft a review. Nor do they get to see any review content prior to publication.
Longer articles are sometimes submitted elsewhere for initial publication. In such cases I do get paid a modest amount in exchange for 6 months exclusivity on the written work. After the six months have past the article is republished here, along with a clear statement that it was originally published elsewhere.
Sometimes PR agencies approach me about events that are just about to unfold. They sometimes do so under “embargo” asking that I not write about their event until a specific date. I honor such embargoes. As I see it nothing that I write is that urgent. Further, it gives me a chance get my thoughts collected about the event or announcement. It’s not a bad thing.
I have tried to provide links to helpful resources where possible, including links to the manufacturers sites, wikis, etc.
To date I have declined the offer of advertising for this site. That might change in the future, but for now I prefer to not run advertising.
I gratefully acknowledge several companies who sponsor the VoIP Users Conference. As acknowledgment of their support for that community I link to product pages on their sites where possible. Much of the proceeds from the VUC sponsors go into Kiva loans in third world countries.
Finally, I’m open to suggestions. Almost every post on this site allows reader comments, and I try to respond to them quickly.