Dr. Dobb's is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Channels ▼

Bob Stout

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Blogger endorsements

October 04, 2009

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Related Reading

More Insights

Currently we allow the following HTML tags in comments:

Single tags

These tags can be used alone and don't need an ending tag.

<br> Defines a single line break

<hr> Defines a horizontal line

Matching tags

These require an ending tag - e.g. <i>italic text</i>

<a> Defines an anchor

<b> Defines bold text

<big> Defines big text

<blockquote> Defines a long quotation

<caption> Defines a table caption

<cite> Defines a citation

<code> Defines computer code text

<em> Defines emphasized text

<fieldset> Defines a border around elements in a form

<h1> This is heading 1

<h2> This is heading 2

<h3> This is heading 3

<h4> This is heading 4

<h5> This is heading 5

<h6> This is heading 6

<i> Defines italic text

<p> Defines a paragraph

<pre> Defines preformatted text

<q> Defines a short quotation

<samp> Defines sample computer code text

<small> Defines small text

<span> Defines a section in a document

<s> Defines strikethrough text

<strike> Defines strikethrough text

<strong> Defines strong text

<sub> Defines subscripted text

<sup> Defines superscripted text

<u> Defines underlined text

Dr. Dobb's encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Dr. Dobb's moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing or spam. Dr. Dobb's further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | View the list of supported HTML tags you can use to style comments. | Please read our commenting policy.