In 2009 the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) updated their guides to bloggers regarding endorsements, opinions and reviews in the light of brand relationships. That all sounds like legal speak, it has been put in place to ensure that the reader of any blog or similar site is aware of any relationships the site may have with brands.
We believe that when you visit our websites, you should know how we can offer content for free. This is only possible by us working with industry partners who advertise with us, and in some cases, they ask us to create content to highlight the products they make. To offer transparency, we want to explain what this means.
A partner can ask us;
To write an article to highlight a new product or to give examples of how a product or technique can be used.
Ask us to make video tutorials, or a video showing tips and tricks.
Ask us to explain general principles or techniques such as loudness or room correction.
A partner can sometimes share content from their website, but it is clearly shown in the top left of an article and shown as 'Posted by', if it's an article written by them then it will show the brand name.
A partner can't;
Tell us what to write.
Tell us to review a product. We choose which products we review and test.
Ask us to edit an article or product review, The only exception to this is correcting factually incorrect information.
To be clear, our partners enable us to offer high-quality content to our readers that would otherwise be impossible. What they can't do is pay us to say something we wouldn't otherwise say and any revenues earned from brands will not influence our editorial content.
From time to time we are supplied (generally for a limited time) product to review. If you were unaware this is standard policy and practice for all magazines and websites who review products; the term for software is often called NFR (Not For Resale) product. When it is a hardware product we are reviewing, we are usually provided with the product on loan.
We do not endorse product based on either, complimentary product supplied, on the placement of advertising or sponsorship, or if we work with a supplier on a project either paid or voluntarily.
If you are a manufacturer or supplier, please be advised that our reviews are impartial and you should not supply review product or place advertising expecting anything else.
If you are a reader, please be assured that your experience is paramount in our minds, if a product is good then we will tell you, or if not then we will explain why we think so.
Reviews are not an endorsement, or a warranty implied or otherwise.
For both end user and manufacturer, we promise to be fair to the best of our ability. If you are a manufacturer and you think we have been inaccurate, please email us, and we will try and put inaccuracies right.
This industry is tiny, and much of what takes place is based upon relationships. In a further effort to be transparent to the community we want to disclose that we have relationships with many brands and organisations across the industry (this can be anything from the fact that we’ve had a few drinks with them, to being Facebook friends) in some cases they have engaged us in a professional capacity. We are also BETA testers for many brands, but our NDA forbids us from speaking about this.
Our independence is the thing that has created trust with our readers and were we to lose our integrity then we would lose our readers too.
Thank you for your continued trust in us, it is not taken for granted.
Other magazines and websites may have similar policies so check with them about their precise arrangements and industry connections if you have any concerns.