Is Our Dear Harriett immune not only from Amazon rules (and general accountability) but also from the latest FTC requirement?? In short, the FTC recently announced that reviewers must clearly state that they're getting free review copies (in whatever form) from the publishers. It makes sense. The FTC wants readers of reviews to be able to differentiate "I bought this book with my hard-earned cash and now that it's too late for me, here's what I think," from "I got this book from a publisher and, man, am I glad I didn't lay out my own money for it or I'd be even more ticked."
I've been reviewing for years. I started at a website and then went off on my own and started my own blog. Publishers and authors send me review copies all the time. It's noted at the top of my blog, on the front page, that my copies are provided by publishers. What is actually says is "Books provided by publishers and authors." It also says "Fashions By Dicker & Dicker of Beverly Hills" so sue me for having a sense of humor.
Just a random sampling of HK's many reviews posted lately show NO SIGN of this disclaimer. I think it's obvious to anyone with a functioning brain stem that she's not paying to purchase every copy of every book ever published. They're being provided to her, for free. Which is fine. But why is she immune to this rule, too? Or is she? Is this what will finally trip her up and get her faux-reviews banished? Or at least marked as 'not a paying customer review' on Amazon?
PS, because lots of people ask... No publisher or publicist or marketing person has EVER, EVER asked for a 'good' review. They ask if I'd like to review something. The content of the review is totally up to me. I've reviewed a few real stinkers, and said so, while keeping in mind how my Mom taught me to be polite while still being clear. And I've reviewed a few great things. Most books fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Great, bad, indifferent, I've never heard a single word of complaint about what is, in the end, my personal opinion about any given book. (I did have one author flip out on me and threaten to blacklist me for a mediocre review. I just forwarded her emails to the publicist who was sending out her books. I never heard another word from the author, and I still get every new release of hers, in hardcover, which I never review. Because I am that petty.)