So the FCC won’t let me be
Or let me be me so let me see
-Eminem, ‘Without Me’
It’s kind of strange, because I can see the point to both sides of the issue. If at Anime Diet we get a review copy of something, well, review copies are par for the course. We wouldn’t think of running a specific disclosure statement, any more than the New York Times Book Review would disclose that they got a review copy of a book on every single column. It’s assumed.
However, being paid by the company, as blogs are via services such as BlogStar, definitely invites corruption. I feel that this is a distinction that the FTC could have made that they did not. At Anime Diet we disclose anything we get that isn’t actual review material – for example, at NYAF Tokyopop gave random audience members Tshirts and I disclosed that I got one, even though it is three sizes too small and I could never actually wear it (it’s going to charity.) We would never take payment to plug their stuff because that would be a gross violation of journalistic integrity, but we could accept manga because we would review it without our judgment being affected. Freebies which are neither review material nor payment fall in between.
So on the one hand, it’s a little silly to have to disclose review materials. On the other hand, everything that isn’t review material had damn well better be disclosed, and I am glad that this stipulation has the weight of law. I just wish they had understood the difference.