TUAW Policy on products to review:

The US Federal Trade Commission has issued new rules and guidelines for bloggers [PDF link] who accept products of value and cash payments as a quid pro quo for product mentions and reviews. Although TUAW's bloggers are compensated by Weblogs Inc. & AOL, not by the companies we cover, we believe it is important to be forthright and transparent about our policies, our expectations of ourselves, and our obligations to our readers.

TUAW writers do not accept payment from companies that we cover. This is an obvious rule, but we state it explicitly here for clarity. Any compelling evidence of 'payola' or inappropriate compensation should be brought to the attention of TUAW management immediately.

Hardware and software products are often provided for TUAW review by vendors. This is necessary for our writers to cover these products.

In the case of hardware products, at the end of the review period the items are (at the vendor's option) returned to the company, donated to a worthy organization, or given away to TUAW's readers.

In the case of most Mac software, vendors generally do not want to have the materials returned (unless there is an associated hardware key or 'dongle') and it is usually impractical to transfer the review license to another party. TUAW policy is that bloggers who wish to continue using the software beyond the review period should purchase a license.

In the case of iPhone application promo codes, it is also impractical or impossible to transfer the application license to other devices. The question of whether to delete applications after review is left to the bloggers' discretion, although for high-value applications the expectation is that personal licenses will be purchased if the blogger intends to keep using the software.

If exceptions to these policies are made (in particular, with regard to travel or educational sponsorship that permits TUAW to cover areas of interest to our readers), those arrangements will be documented on each affected post to avoid any reader confusion or the appearance of a conflict.

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