Q: I have a YouTube channel that focuses on hunting, camping, and the outdoors. Sometimes I’ll do a product review. Knife manufacturers know how much I love knives, so they send me knives as free gifts, hoping that I will review them. I’m under no obligation to talk about any knife and getting the knives as gifts really doesn’t affect my judgment. Do I need to disclose when I’m talking about a knife I got for free?
A: Even if you don’t think it affects your evaluation of the product, what matters is whether knowing that you got the knife for free might affect how your audience views what you say about the knife. It doesn’t matter that you aren’t required to review every knife you receive. Your viewers may assess your review differently if they knew you got the knife for free, so we advise disclosing that fact.