Posts Tagged ‘FTC’

Undue Influence

Monday, October 26th, 2009


I tried not to head the words being whispered to me about the new FTC endorsement rules (it’s an interesting read), but I did. I have decided to excitedly embrace these new rules. Here’s a basic rundown of my thoughts on it.

Basically the new rules say if a blogger decides to comment on a product they received complementary then they need to disclose it. When I first read it I was all for it. Later though as I considered the implications on my writing I began to waver. After all, if I go to a bar where I’m friends with the bartender and get a comp drink am I supposed to disclose that when I talk about how great the bar is? The more I thought about it, the more I hated it. I even said something to this effect on Beervana when Jeff posted on it. After all, I consider myself smart enough to not try something just because a blog or review tells me it’s good. Others should be then. (Yet I still will use recommendations from brewing forums, go figure.)

Lately though I’ve been pondering whether or not I should full on love or hate these new rules (an email I received yesterday didn’t help me stay negative either). I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried a beer, thought it was horrible, logged on to see if others thought so too, and found a gushing review. You guys probably know the ones I’m talking about. They usually say something about how the brewery just sent them a new release to try. They’ll follow this with a basic taste description that focus’ on the beers highlights (but not it’s lowlights), and then end it with a positive endorsement of, “It’s a very drinkable beer.”

70%-80% of the time I read these reviews they’re of beers that may be drinkable, but really fall in the mediocre to ok category. The annoying part of this is that many of these bloggers don’t have the guts to say so. Are they honest? Yes, but they tend to sugar coat or skip over the bad parts. These well intentioned bloggers also tend to be what the ex DR Wort used to call “beer cheerleaders“. They will put their thumbs up on almost any beer that’s just better then average. If they get it free they even will leave out a few of the slightly more negative parts. After all, if a brewery I liked sent me a free beer to try I’d be honored. Heck, I know I’d be tempted to be more positive about the beer too. So all you bloggers please stop whining. I no longer care if your integrity will be questioned when you give a free beer a positive review. With the kinda beers that get positive reviews in our state someones credibility needs questioned.

As a side note the only free beer I recieve is when I drink with friends and they buy, or visit breweries and try samples. Since I don’t really review beers though I guess this doesn’t apply