Attention all Classic Film Bloggers!
You may have noticed that in the past year or so several classic film bloggers, including myself, have been getting free books and DVDs for review (or giveaway). I work in the book industry and we are no strangers to blogger reviews. And because I work with some bloggers in my day job I know a lot about process of product reviews on blogs. I just want to relay some important information to those of you who are classic film bloggers and are either already reviewing products or want to review products in the future.
If you receive a product for free from a company and you review it on your blog, no matter what it is, you are obligated BY LAW to reveal the source.
As of 10/15/2009, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) published updated guidelines concerning endorsements and testimonials. The update reads:
Bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.It is really important that when you write a review about a product that you must reveal where the product came from. It can be as simple as thanking the company or person that sent it to you. Or you can include a standard disclaimer in your post that is always the same except for the source. I know some book bloggers who will go as far as to reveal where they got every book even if they bought it themselves, borrow it from the library or a friend, or got it in a swap. Just note this is for product reviews. There is a difference between reviewing a movie versus reviewing the DVD/Blu-Ray and package it came in.
I have made sure that any of my reviews after October 2009 include Full Disclosure and I highly recommend for bloggers out there to do the same. It's being fair to your readers. For more information about the FTC guidelines on Full Disclosure, make sure you visit this page: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm
So how does one get free products for review in the first place?
1) They'll contact you. Warner Bros. has been doing extensive blogger outreach. While you can't contact them for reviews, if you know someone who has a contact at the company ask them to recommend you.
2) Contact them! I really wanted to review a couple of titles from Northwestern University Press so I asked them if they could send me a book. And they did! It doesn't hurt to ask.
3) Sign up for a PR service. There are numerous PR services on the web that allow media outlets to contact publishers (including bloggers). You chose which category of pitches best suits your blog and you'll start to receive pitches via e-mail. Depending on the service you chose you may get a trickle or a flood. Just don't feel obligated to jump on every opportunity. Be selective.
4) Sign up for giveaways. For example, Goodreads, a booklovers social networking site, runs giveaways daily. Recently they had copies of the new bios on Frank Sinatra and Sal Mineo up for grabs. Also, Warner Archive runs several giveaways on Facebook and Twitter.
I've been very overwhelmed with pitches and products for review and have decided to scale back. There are so many pitches I pass over on a regular basis. I've decided to start sharing those pitches with other classic film bloggers who want more opportunities to review products. I'll pitch the pitches on my Twitter account @QuelleLove or you can contact me via e-mail if you want me to look out for something in particular for you.
Reviewing products is not as glamorous as it seems. Yes you do get the products for free and that itself is a great thing. I'm relatively poor and still trying to pay off student loans from Grad school (I can't even afford TCM) so it's nice to receive a book or DVD boxed set that I wouldn't have been able to purchase otherwise. However, when you get a product to review you have a deadline. Publishers and Distributors want reviews up around the time of the products release to the public. If you take too long to review a product or don't review it at all, they'll keep that in mind and pass you over next time. If you have too many products to review, then you don't have time to read or watch what you want. It will eat into your leisure time. It's basically like blog homework. However, as classic film bloggers, our opinion about these products count. A lot. So it's really good to get your opinion and voice out there because a good or bad review really does matter.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or inquiries. I'm always happy to help out a fellow blogger.
*apologies for disallowing comments for a while. I was getting some opportunists leave shout outs. I'm allowing comments for now but I will be deleting any ones I feel are inappropriate.