Last October, the Federal Trade Commission released an update to their guidiance on endorsements and testimonials. Reviews for which wines were submitted as samples, as it turns out, are considered endorsements.
"...the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service."
That's why you often see a disclosure at the top of many of the wine reviews here. (Yawn.) Even though the vast majority of bloggers (and even mainstream print media) abstain from this disclosure practice, we just figure it only takes two seconds and, well, it's the right thing to do.
But this requirement doesn't just apply to wine - it's pretty broad. Very broad. And so when I came across the disclosures on Tim Ferriss' blog, I laughed out loud. Aptly titled The Full Monty, Tim's disclosure page issues a blanket statement: "To cover my ass and preserve your reading experience, please assume that, for every recommendation, link, and product I use, the following all hold true..."
It's worth a second to check out Tim's disclosures. Besides the smart do-it-once-and-don't-bother-with-it-anymore thinking, they're pretty damned funny. Funny enough that they might be worth adopting here.
But this does beg one very important question: Does "writer got busy w/ member of story" adequately describe our review process?