If someone offers you the keys to a free Porsche, do you say no thanks? I didn’t think so. Neither do we!
In early October, the commissioners at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted unanimously to approve new guidelines that requires web-sites like FlatSixes.com to disclose any freebies, swag, or other form of payment we get from companies whose product(s) we review or write about. The idea behind the ruling makes sense and is designed to make sure that consumers (that’s you) don’t get duped by wildly skewed testimonials (“even though I’ve never raced before, once I used Product XYZ on my Porsche, I won every race I entered!”) or overly enthusiastic product reviews (“this is THE best Porsche product on the market and you MUST buy one!”). In theory, this is a great idea. In practice, the guidelines simply aren’t that clear.
The new rules went into effect on December 1, 2009 and could result in a fine of up to $11,000 for offending web-sites. As you know, this site is published for FREE and we have more expenses than income (more on this later) so we decided to err on the side of caution and point out what we think is otherwise obvious…
1. FlatSixes.com has sponsors
Those sponsors are clearly labeled as such and if we write about them – which you can be sure we will - we’ll remind you. If you want to be a sponsor, let us know and we can talk more about how we decide on who we accept.
2. We get free stuff, including Porsches
In addition to our sponsors, FlatSixes.com gets free stuff and other swag (including the occasional Porsche press car). As the site becomes more popular, the amount of swag we’re getting keeps increasing. Most of this stuff is Porsche related and we will review most of it, eventually, here on the site. If it’s not somehow Porsche related, we either give it away in a contest or donate it to a worthwhile cause.
3. We make money when you buy stuff
FlatSixes.com belongs to affiliate networks from companies like Amazon and Commission Junction. These type of programs provide us with a small payment in the form of a commission anytime someone purchases a product from those links or after clicking through to the site. Not every link on our site is an affiliate link, in fact, most are not. However, it’s a safe bet that any link to Amazon or similar retail sites are a link that we will get a commission from if you buy a product while there.
Why do we do this?
FlatSixes.com is a labor of love and we publish it for FREE. If you’re not familiar with our story, I encourage you to learn more about us. As the site has become more popular (freakishly so) it incurs expenses at a level we never imagined (things like bandwidth, hosting, design, promotion, etc.). We’re not complaining, in fact, just the opposite, we enjoy it! However, all these expenses add up and they usually add up to more than we receive in return (at least monetarily). By accepting sponsors, joining these affiliate programs, and selling unsolicited stuff we receive on eBay , we’re able to continue publishing the site and offer it for free to all of our readers. We are very particular about our sponsors and the products we choose to promote (you would be amazed at some of the offers we’ve received) and hope you think so too.
If you want to support FlatSixes.com, the easiest and best ways are to simply keep reading, tell others about the site and encourage them to subscribe, visit and support our sponsors and, if you’re going to buy something for your Porsche, or something Porsche related, do so from our site using links like this one from Amazon or the Tire Rack (you don’t pay a penny more and it supports our efforts).
What does all this mean to you?
Simple, if you read a product/book/car review on FlatSixes.com you can pretty much guarantee the manufacturer, publisher, artist, etc. sent it to us for free. Sometimes we ask them to (as there is stuff we’re interested in and think you will be too) and sometimes they send it unsolicited. If we review something we paid for ourselves, we’ll probably let you know that too. If enough people like that particular item we’ll probably contact the manufacturer, publisher, artist, etc. to see if they want to pay us back.
But, and this is a big BUT, regardless if we received the product for free or not, we always review it the same way- objectively. We consider our readers our friends and we will not willingly or knowingly steer you toward a product we don’t believe in, use ourselves, or like. In fact, every time we review a product, book, car, etc. we will always try to point out the pros and cons (nothing’s perfect, not even Porsche's cars).
Thanks again to everyone who subscribes and reads our posts. Your comments and continued support are all the encouragement we need. However, clicking through to a sponsor or buying something from one of our links doesn’t hurt either...