A news item caught my eye this morning. The Washington Post reports a new FTC ruling that all bloggers must disclose any payments they receive from the makers or publishers of products they recommend or face a fine of up to $11,000 per violation.
I don't know how anyone else here feels about this, but I think it's a fine thing. All too often in the past, I've refrained from recommending products because of the possible appearance of impropriety. With this rule in place, I can feel free to recommend products I really believe in with impunity!
For the record, the only commercial interest I have in anything I may mention here is in my e-book(s) - which as of this moment consists of Geek-Free Linux (currently working on the third edition) with others to follow. However I have other pseudo-commercial relationships:
- Since Walter Bright is an old friend who makes superior compilers which also happen to be MSVC++ compatible, I regularly use his compiler, along with MinGW32, when compiling Windows code. Because Walter is an old friend, he periodically sends me CD-ROMs of new releases for free - effectively a $42.55 gratuity, although the same compliers are available as free downloads from the Digital Mars website.
- I have much the same arrangement with Dave Burton who still produces the TLIB version control system which I use for all of my personal work. As with Walter, I provide both Burton System Software and Digital Mars with free advertising on the SNIPPETS web site.
- As a consultant and someone who's critically interested in software QA, I have bought enough copies of Scientific Toolworks Understand for various clients that the publisher has granted me a permanent personal license. This is the closest I have to an actual endorsement deal, although it happened after I had bought most of the client copies.
And there you have the extent of my business entanglements (but then, if I were a good businessman, I probably wouldn't have maintained a collection of totally free source code for the past several decades). All of these are excellent products on which I continue to depend for my work. Anything else I recommend (e.g. Total Commander for Windows file management, or SoftMaker for highly MS Office compatible applications which run under both Windows and Linux) is something for which I am only a satisfied user.