The FTC Goes After Bloggers

5 10 2009

There was once a time when you could find my articles on the front of Beckett.com and even on their blog. Of course, that was when Eric Jahnke was running the blog and doing a mighty fine job of it.

Today, out of the blue I received an e-mail from Eric with a link to a very interesting story. As it turns out, the Federal Trade Commission is now going to go directly after advertisers who cross the line with free gifts & money for bloggers who write reviews.

For the record, I have not received one penny for my work with Wax Heaven. Both Upper Deck & Topps have been very respectful and have never asked for anything more than a fair, honest review which is what they have gotten in return. The same goes for Tristar and most recently, Panini America.

On the site we have reviewed over 100 different products. Mr. Scott of The Wax Report and Shane of the ‘Man on the Street’ have purchased all their boxes, while I have purchased about 40% of the products reviewed. My goal is to give my opinion, while opening the forum to anyone who wants to add their two cents.

While Beckett’s Tracy Hackler has been having a blast taking shots at me though Twitter, I have not changed my review style one bit. In fact, in 23 months of writing reviews, I’ve only given out one “D” grade and usually set my focus on the good of every product rather than bashing away at everything I do not like.

If anyone ever has any questions regarding the sponsors, box breaks, or anything else, feel free to contact me 24/7 through e-mail at Waxheaven@gmail.com. Furthermore, I am giving away everything I receive on the Wax Heaven Social Network. Make sure to join!

Wax Heaven & Beckett Media?

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12 responses

5 10 2009
Baseball Dad

They just can’t leave anyone alone can they ? !

6 10 2009
RobertS

>the Federal Trade Commission is now going to go directly after
>advertisers who cross the line with free gifts & money for bloggers
>who write reviews.

If UD, Topps, Tristar, or Panini get spooked, it looks like the end of the line for you getting boxes to review.

You may have not received a penny, but you have received “free gifts” in the form of boxes to bust and review, so the FTC action would affect you in some way if they go after the manufacturers.

6 10 2009
rosschrisman2003

“regulate blogging”. i don’t like the way that sounds.

6 10 2009
RobertS

regulated blogging makes sense for some things. What if a blogger was paid money behind the scenes — or given a years supply of product — to “review” and rant and rave about some “natural” health supplement that is nothing but a ripoff and doesn’t work and a lot of people trusted that bloggers’ opinion and got ripped off?

6 10 2009
Bryan

what about the fuggin’ hand loaded boxes Beckett reviews all the time?!
That’s way worse, b/c it’s false advertising.

6 10 2009
Mario A.

Bryan, they busted Ballpark Collection just yesterday and pulled a button AND a 1/1.

6 10 2009
JBob

Nothing says pull no punches like getting 1/1’s in every box @JBob

6 10 2009
James

Is it me, or doesn’t the government have better things to do than see who’s getting a free box of baseball cards? It seems pretty ridiculous to think they are now going to spend time finding out who got a few baseball cards for free.

What’s next? If I get free show tickets and twitter my opinion, does the production company owe a tax on that value of the ticket?

If they do start cracking down, I agree with RobertS. Bloggers and Beckett have received free goods in exchange for the reviews – I would think that exchange means it should be regulated?

Thanks for explaining the tweet directed at you and I in the screen cap.

6 10 2009
Gellman

In fact, in 23 months of writing reviews, I’ve only given out one “D” grade and usually set my focus on the good of every product rather than bashing away at everything I do not like.

I would actually see this as negative. Why only focus on the pros when the cons are just as important? I think its important to be honest and state opinions as they are rather than overlooking them to preserve the supposed fragility of a product’s image.

In fact, one of my professors at school was let go because his average grade was an A. If there isnt going to be a bottom of the curve, there is not a reason to grade with letters.

As for the FTC part of this, I took it as more a regulatory body for bloggers who dont say that their product is given to them by the manufacturers for review. You have always been clear about that, where other outlets have not. I think we all know who that is.

6 10 2009
ToddUncommon

I’m still not terribly impressed with Beckett’s Box Busters videos. I give them credit for having improved them a bit since their early forays in an office conference room on a folding table.

There’s still so much that can be done, so much better (with not much more effort), and with better camera presence than an odd couple of loud (Hackler) and soft (Olds) seen-it-all, know-it-all-ism.

Where are the Angry Video Game Nerd videos / podcasts for the card hobby?

6 10 2009
James

Here’s a good write-up on the Blogger Payola issue in today’s “Advertising Age.”
http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=139457

Thanks to VOTC for giving me the scoop on this newsletter.

6 10 2009
Kris

This is a terribly interpretation that’ll undoubtedly be rescinded. I see what they’re trying to do, eliminating the proliferation of misleading results, but the implementation is going to negatively effect legitimate companies while the true offenders will sneak around it.

Let’s say a new product, Penis-Enlargertrex sends free pills for review to a blogger in the united states, who is hosted in a different jurisdiction, and the company of course, isn’t an American company. The jurisdictional shit-show that’d ensue would be epic, and of course the FTC couldn’t do a damn thing.

Now, a legitimate company, let’s use the Game Console example from James’ link, get’s screwed.

A reviewer must state that he received a free xbox from Microsoft, but what if Sony of Japan sends him a console? As the advertising’s on the internet, it hardly falls under the realm of advertising to Americans.

Companies owned and operated in the United States get screwed.
Web hosting companies in the USA are going to feel the pain as bloggers abandon them for greener, less repressive, pastures.

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