I'll come up with something in a minute.

Pro tip

Stories like this warm the black lump of coal I havethe nerve to call my heart.

Today’s life lesson is “Do not fuck with the trannies.”

Sometimes, what looks like a sissy is really a pit fighter who will fuck you up.

Oh it makes the Baby Jesus giggle.

October 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Looking for clarity.

My biggest problem with the new FTC regulations going into effect Dec 1st of this year is that they seem to ignore a fact about professional reviewers. They claim that newspapers and TV reviewers are exempt from the rule because “the newspaper receives the book and it allows the reviewer to review it, it’s still the property of the newspaper.”

Well… no. Not always. I’ve known plenty of people who have been allowed to keep their review copies. I also know a lot of people who aren’t allowed to keep them, but let’s keep focused here. With DVD reviews there is sometimes a stipulation that the disc must be returned by a certain date, but just as often (by the whim of the studio) they can keep the screener forever if they like. They use books as an example, but remember that the rules can cover almost anything you might review. Professional reviewers are often given obscene amounts of gifts by studios hoping to influence the critic. Movie reviewers get free travel in the form of set visits, music critics get free blowjobs and smack, book reviewers get… I don’t know, coffee I guess. I suppose the books and the sexual favors of the authors do count if you have that mindset. Don’t give me that look, you know what writers are like! While some of these things are claimable under IRS guidelines, there are enough things that aren’t that sweeten the pot one way or another. Particularly, items that can’t be kept, food, smack, and sex, are hard to track. Bloggers work in pretty much the same fashion, some keep things, some aren’t.

My complaint isn’t in the rule, which would be fine if they kept to the spirit as they define it. My problem is that they won’t. I never trust a law that isn’t worded specifically and anytime the actual front man of an organization can’t even define the rule, you know abuse can’t be far behind. Well, not even abuse really. Since they don’t seem to be too specific, how can we call it abuse if it falls under the scope of the rule? Definition is my problem.

You’re going to have a hell of a time defining the terms “blogger”, “review” and of course “compensation” which is also tricky. I mean are I-Mockery’s movie reviews going to count as reviews? Are my reviews going to count? What about someone making a twitter post? Is that blogging? Am I a blogger, or a schmuck who babbles on the internet? Is there a difference? I sure as shit haven’t gotten any money, hookers or blow out of the deal. I got some DVDs on my birthday, and I still haven’t written reviews for any of them. If I get a free sample of ice cream and then make a post about the new flavor at Baskin Robbins, but fail to mention that I received my cone for free, am I liable? If I see an artist’s work that I think is really amazing, and I post about it, and I provide a link, and as a thank you that person were to send me something small and pretty, did I break the law? Must I point out that I have an enormous DVD collection and that all my retroflix reviews are taken from discs I already own? How can I prove that I didn’t get a screener copy? If a friend buys me a disc and I review it, then post a link to a store where a person can buy it if they found my review interesting, am I going to get hit with an $11k fine? I’m not joking here. It’s a serious question and one for which they don’t seem to have an answer. The interviews I’ve read have been extremely vague and focused on books while they clearly have other things in mind.

I also have a problem that they seem to want to ban Amazon Affiliate links. It reads that way to me anyway and even the suggestion that a blogger shouldn’t have those links is troubling. That is how bloggers make their money, isn’t it? All the professional reviewers I know that aren’t attached to news organizations have said so. Google ads, affiliate links, and donations. Saying that in a newspaper advertising is separate is spurious. Most blogs are one man operations and can’t have all their associated links outside of their posts. It makes things hard to find and the whole reason for hyperlinks is that it makes finding the things you want to buy easier.

It’s nice when a reviewer admits how they got the material and if they received it as a review copy. Most the reviewers I know of admit when they’ve been given something or if they paid their own money for it. It seems strange to demand each person present a receipt every time they mention a product they enjoy. They keep saying they don’t intend to go after individual bloggers, but there doesn’t seem to actually be anything that prevents them from doing so.

The thing is, as I understand it, this rule is meant to target the sort of people who run pre-paid phone scams and other such crimes. The sort of scams that lead to reoccurring billing without stating it clearly. There are a lot of fake blogs set up to advertise those things and suck people in. That’s something we need to defend people from and it’s a worthy cause. It’s the wording of the law and the fact that even in an interview, the guy who is going to enforce the law can’t really tell us what the law is. I guess my problem is that I’ve seen enough other badly worded laws end up being used way outside of their intended scope to trust that this won’t be. They’re still talking about “working out kinks” and this goes into effect in less than 8 weeks.

October 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment