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So if every time a blogger writes about a restaurant, he/she discloses "we were comped" or "my desserts were free" -- then what? Then someone points out that there has never been a critical or negative story about any place where the blogger ate free? 5 times? 30?

How would that be a bad thing?

 

I think there should always be full disclosure of comps. Then the reader can make up their own mind whether the blogger was unduly influenced.

 

It would not be a bad thing. However, my question is -- to what end? Do you think this "full disclosure of comps" is the answer? Do you think that solves all of the issues we are talking about? My point was that those who want to will be spending a great deal of time "accounting" and keeping score, and in a sense, it might accomplish nothing. But, again, no it wouldn't be a bad thing.

 

What about barter? Soft-dollars? Advertising? More? You show me a guy who gets zero in comps and I'll show you a hundred other ways he can benefit. Like I said before, where does it end? No right or wrong answer as far as I am concerned.

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So if every time a blogger writes about a restaurant, he/she discloses "we were comped" or "my desserts were free" -- then what? Then someone points out that there has never been a critical or negative story about any place where the blogger ate free? 5 times? 30?

How would that be a bad thing?

 

I think there should always be full disclosure of comps. Then the reader can make up their own mind whether the blogger was unduly influenced.

 

It would not be a bad thing. However, my question is -- to what end? Do you think this "full disclosure of comps" is the answer? Do you think that solves all of the issues we are talking about? My point was that those who want to will be spending a great deal of time "accounting" and keeping score, and in a sense, it might accomplish nothing. But, again, no it wouldn't be a bad thing.

 

What about barter? Soft-dollars? Advertising? More? You show me a guy who gets zero in comps and I'll show you a hundred other ways he can benefit. Like I said before, where does it end? No right or wrong answer as far as I am concerned.

After all the worries about comps, etc., you still get down to whether the critic gets better food, service, "treatment" than the run of the mill customer. So best to assume all restaurateurs are trying to corrupt the critics and factor that accordingly.

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Perfection is impossible but disclosure of comps is a good start towards transparency. If the blogger has a personal relationship with the chef or the owner that ought to be disclosed too. That's standard practice is print journalism so we're not breaking new ground here.

 

Ultimately it's an honor system. Unless you follow a blogger around with an undercover detective you're not going to know about free meals, soft cash, hard cash, or whether the restaurant is supplying him with hookers and blow. You rely on the blogger to tell you anything that a disinterested party would consider germane.

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It would not be a bad thing. However, my question is -- to what end? Do you think this "full disclosure of comps" is the answer? Do you think that solves all of the issues we are talking about? My point was that those who want to will be spending a great deal of time "accounting" and keeping score, and in a sense, it might accomplish nothing. But, again, no it wouldn't be a bad thing.

 

What about barter? Soft-dollars? Advertising? More? You show me a guy who gets zero in comps and I'll show you a hundred other ways he can benefit. Like I said before, where does it end? No right or wrong answer as far as I am concerned.

It's a simple question of moral nous. If you have a relationship with a restaurateur or receive some material gain from him/her that might be perceived as resulting in a conflict of interest, you reveal it. It really is not difficult for anyone other than Perlow and Shaw.

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Of course, there are countless bloggers who find this difficult. But the discussion should really move on from whether it is necessary to whether or not the law should be changed back again. It's a done deal in the States.

 

Do the rules have any effect at all? Well, I've had to execute new contracts with my ad supplier because it needs to cover its own corporate ass: it does not want to run foul of the FTC because bloggers are surreptitiously endorsing free gifts from its client advertisers.

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It would not be a bad thing. However, my question is -- to what end? Do you think this "full disclosure of comps" is the answer? Do you think that solves all of the issues we are talking about? My point was that those who want to will be spending a great deal of time "accounting" and keeping score, and in a sense, it might accomplish nothing. But, again, no it wouldn't be a bad thing.

 

What about barter? Soft-dollars? Advertising? More? You show me a guy who gets zero in comps and I'll show you a hundred other ways he can benefit. Like I said before, where does it end? No right or wrong answer as far as I am concerned.

It's a simple question of moral nous. If you have a relationship with a restaurateur or receive some material gain from him/her that might be perceived as resulting in a conflict of interest, you reveal it. It really is not difficult for anyone other than Perlow and Shaw.

 

That's fine. I agree. And I think in simplistic terms, that's enough -- for some. Just not all. But again, I agree.

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It would not be a bad thing. However, my question is -- to what end? Do you think this "full disclosure of comps" is the answer? Do you think that solves all of the issues we are talking about? My point was that those who want to will be spending a great deal of time "accounting" and keeping score, and in a sense, it might accomplish nothing. But, again, no it wouldn't be a bad thing.

 

What about barter? Soft-dollars? Advertising? More? You show me a guy who gets zero in comps and I'll show you a hundred other ways he can benefit. Like I said before, where does it end? No right or wrong answer as far as I am concerned.

It's a simple question of moral nous. If you have a relationship with a restaurateur or receive some material gain from him/her that might be perceived as resulting in a conflict of interest, you reveal it. It really is not difficult for anyone other than Perlow and Shaw.

 

A simple, "I know the owner and he has comped me on occasion." Or, "we were recognized so our experience might not be typical." Or, "the chef sent out some appetizers for us to try because he knows who I am."

Edited by hollywood
accusations of dishonesty
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Jason doesn't need me to defend him, but singling him out for attack when the practices you describe (whether he has engaged in them or not) have been so widespread as to require action by the FTC sends me the strong signal that some personal animosity is at work.

 

Why don't we discuss the topic itself?

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