Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Disclosure and Review Policy

Title: Disclosure and Review Policy

As a responsible and ethical blogger who believes in transparency and authenticity, this is my disclosure regarding my review process and any potential bias and conflict of interest. Of course, this is due to the FTC guidelines, but my policy also serves as a general resources for readers, publications, and vendors

1) Generally all products reviewed were provided at no charge by the manufacturer or the manufacturer representative. This is a common industry practice Some companies allow the reviewer to keep the product while others ask for it in return. As a blogger, I don't know whether the product will be asked for in return.

2) Unsolicited products are occasionally sent to me. This is not due to any existing relationship with the company nor is it payment for any previous, current or future reviews. If I receive such items I may choose to review or decline to review. That is my choice. Due to the time constraints, I cannot tract down unsolicited items to return them. It's the responsibility of the sender to provide return instructions if they wish to receive it back.

3) Under no circumstances will I agree to review an item in exchange for direct or indirect compensation. A key example of this quid pro quo arrangement is "You must agree to review the product in exchange for a review copy of the product." That creates a conflict of interest that is unacceptable. Providing a product for review in no way obligates me to review the product and I as the reviewer will determine the timetable for review. Of course, the provider of the product may ask for it back at any time.

4) Under no circumstances will I accept compensation for a review. This includes reimbursement for buying the product or accessories as well any "gift" for reviewing the product. An unsolicited product is not a gift.

5) Any item reviewed has actually been used by me, often for an extended period of time. I do not "review by press release." Any books reviewed were actually read by me. Occasionally I will read other reviews of products for ideas of features to look for or consider in the review.

6) On occasion, for items I enthusiastically enjoy, I might continue use past the review date. Since the item is a review, most manufacturers can't accept payment for an item nor will they accept an item back that has been used. If I continue to use the product after a review, I will update or provide a new review if I find a major defect that would impact the original review.

7) Any products received by me are never sold to a third party, but they may occasionally be donated or gifted. Frequently, I give these as raffle items for the Lawrence Apple Users group. I might donate these items to non-profits or given to friends in need. Items at end of life are always recycled responsibility.

8) Reviews I write may be quoted as testimonials, but I do request notification of that fact. In spite of a product being given for review, these should not be considered paid testimonials nor endorsements.

9) All NDA's and embargoes are completely respected and adhered to. I use reasonable measures to protect against such disclosures, but with the nature of the Internet of course, email is not a fully secure method of transmission.

10) As someone with over 30 years experience in the technical industry, I develop a wide variety of industry contacts and relationships. While these relationships may bring certain items to my attention, I will decline to review or report on anything that may cause me a conflict of interest with those people or I think the review and the relationship may suffer because of it. Generally these contacts provide me unique industry insights and perspectives, but all the guidelines above apply. That includes such mundane things as a "dinner" thanking me for review or covering a story.