One Thousand Scents

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Standards and Practices

You must have heard about the new Federal Trade Commission ruling that bloggers have to disclose any free merchandise they receive and subsequently review. All the perfume bloggers are talking about it: over on Now Smell This, of course, and on Perfume Shrine. has a thoughtful piece about it. If you think about it for even a few seconds, you will naturally begin to wonder why bloggers are being held to a different standard than other media, and will ask questions like these: Will fashion magazines (which famously receive samples of every new product under the sun, including fragrance, and never ever write a bad review of said products) be held to the same standards? If not, why not?

Since I'm Canadian, I am fairly sure that the long arm of the FTC doesn't reach into my home, but in the interests of full disclosure, here goes. I'm on the mailing list for Bond No. 9, so they send me samples of everything they do, and I review pretty much all of them (still working on their back catalogue): as it happens, their aesthetic kind of meshes with mine so I generally like what they produce, although if something of theirs is not good, I'll say so. I've received a small number of samples from other companies (Ormonde Jayne, Andy Tauer) or blogs, but always as the result of a contest. I've gotten some more samples from swaps with other bloggers. Everything else I have ever written about is something I bought with my own money (since I have hundreds of bottles of various sizes, hundreds more samples, and no self control whatever). Nobody's paying me to say nice things about their products. Why would they? It's not as if I have a readership of millions. I do this entirely for my own pleasure and, I hope, that of people who happen to stumble in here.

That's not to say that if the marketers of the world want to besiege me with samples, I won't take them. In an ideal world I'd try everything that comes down the pike*; I don't know how long it would take to get royally sick of the parade of new scents, but I'd like to give it a shot.

*Yesterday while out running some errands I sniffed, but did not even bother to ask for samples of because I knew what the answer would be, Armani's new Idole, Guerlain's new Idylle, Marc Jacobs' new Lola, and YSL's new Parisienne, and the reaction was the same in every case; Nah. Lola has a terrific bottle but otherwise no. Parisienne in particular is fairly awful, with a gigantic cranberry note stuck way out in front. Maybe it fades later on, but why is it even there in the first place?


  • I had the same thought: why are blogs being held to such a higher standard than any other medium? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I think the FTC will be challenged in court on this by one or more of the deeper pocketed blogs.

    And just so you know, I always look forward to reading your blog.

    By Anonymous Aparatchick, at 9:14 PM  

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