December 13, 2009

Blog Disclosure Policy

When the FTC made a recent decision “that ‘material connections’ (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed,” I had a choice. I could either go the route of The Field Negro and remove all paid links or I could comply and reveal the following:

Geoffrey Philp’s Blog Spot receives a percentage of the purchase price on anything you buy through links to Amazon, Shambala Books, Hay House, or any of the Google ads or Google Custom Search.

As you can see from the sidebar of the blog, I’ve chosen to continue endorsing books such as Natural Mysticicm by Kwame Dawes as an Amazon Associate, not because Kwame is my friend, but because Natural Mysticicm is one of the best books I’ve read about Bob Marley. In fact, all of the books at my online bookstore, Mabrak Books, are books that I own and recommend.

But, then again, I thought everyone knew about paid links. And I don’t need the FTC to teach me about ethical behavior. For example, the FTC ruling doesn’t require me to disclose that whatever reimbursement I receive is used for subscriptions to Flickr or for equipment such as digital cameras or camcorders so as to have a permanent archive of writers from the Caribbean and South Florida. I am also not required to disclose that most of the book reviews that I’ve written, for example, Caridad Moro-McCormick’s Visionware was done without the writer’s knowledge and that Visionware was purchased with my own money.

Now, of course, I could have written to the publisher and requested a review copy and they probably would have honored my request. But that’s not why I blog.

Geoffrey Philp’s Blog Spot exists not only to promote my work, but also to share with my readers the discoveries that I’ve made while reading books or other blogs. As an extension of my other forms of writing, my blog relies on the trust and the commitment that I have to Caribbean and Floribbean literature.

I’ve never believed in publishing for its own sake or for doing anything purely for material gain. I guess that’s why I took the “safe” route of academia so I’d never have to make the kinds of compromises that a prominent online agent decribed: “If a career is the path you choose then sometimes it’s important to remember that career writing, like any career, sometimes means doing things we aren’t necessarily passionate about, but that pays the bills.”

God bless ‘em. I know I couldn’t do that.

Life is too short to be wasted on useless cyber ink and I value my readers’ and my own time too much to blog unless I can, like Hemingway said, “Write a true sentence.”I’ve meant ever word I’ve written and I would never compromise that for a few shekels.

This is how I’ve always written and how I will continue to write. I owe it to myself and to you, dear Reader, to always give the best that I can give.


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