I think the Microsoft Vista giveaway is an awesome idea

Lots of people like BL Ochman are screaming bloody murder about Microsoft giving bloggers and other influentials free laptops loaded with Windows Vista. I personally don’t get it.

That is a GREAT idea. After all, how can anyone have a decent conversation about Windows Vista without having put a bunch of time on one of the machines?

Now, regarding blogger ethics. Did you disclose? If you did, you have ethics. If you didn’t, you don’t. It’s that black and white with me.

Did you sell your soul and you disclosed that? Fine. Now it’s up to the readers to decide whether anything you say is worth listening to. But you’re ethical.

Are you trying to hide that you sold your soul? That’s not ethical.

On Edelman’s side? Is sending out laptops ethical? Of course! That’s their job. Their job is to get the product and company they represent in front of as many influentials as possible.

For instance, the Edwards campaign has several journalists and bloggers in New Orleans right now. How many of them have disclosed whether they are paying their expenses or not?

The one thing I would have done differently is forced disclosure by those who get the laptops.

UPDATE: Now Microsoft is asking bloggers not to keep the laptops, according to Marshall Kirkpatrick.

Comments

  1. I’d take a free copy of Vista. It’ll take a long time before I get on it otherwise (next deskside purchase).

    Heck, what do I know? I only blog about Oracle related stuff!

  2. I’d take a free copy of Vista. It’ll take a long time before I get on it otherwise (next deskside purchase).

    Heck, what do I know? I only blog about Oracle related stuff!

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more. MS is damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Give laptops? “They are buying people.” No laptops? “They don’t understand bloggers.”

    If Google did the same thing they’d be lauded as the greatest geniuses who have graced this universe.

  4. I couldn’t agree with you more. MS is damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Give laptops? “They are buying people.” No laptops? “They don’t understand bloggers.”

    If Google did the same thing they’d be lauded as the greatest geniuses who have graced this universe.

  5. Robert,
    This is a very bad idea. Trying to buy influence is a very shallow approach. It is much better if people are excited about your product and want to promote it without them having to accept large gifts.
    If bloggers want to be respected as a reliable source of information they need to be very open about biases and that includes refusing to accept large gifts.
    I think it is wrong for the professional media to accept it and just the same wrong for an independent media to accept it.
    This includes not just laptops, but trips and other large gifts. If you want to keep credible I would suggest keeping gifts to small value, like under $100 and pay yourself for a laptop, software or trips.
    Mark

  6. Robert,
    This is a very bad idea. Trying to buy influence is a very shallow approach. It is much better if people are excited about your product and want to promote it without them having to accept large gifts.
    If bloggers want to be respected as a reliable source of information they need to be very open about biases and that includes refusing to accept large gifts.
    I think it is wrong for the professional media to accept it and just the same wrong for an independent media to accept it.
    This includes not just laptops, but trips and other large gifts. If you want to keep credible I would suggest keeping gifts to small value, like under $100 and pay yourself for a laptop, software or trips.
    Mark

  7. Robert is right and unfortunately I failed to meet the ethics expectations of me as a blogger. I failed to disclose immediately after posting I got the laptop thinking that it would be ok to discuss where the laptop came from in a later post. Big boo boo. And being completely truthful has only landed me in more trouble.

    Mark, you suggest keeping gifts to small value if accepting at all. What about the folks who cannot afford trips to events or worthy PC’s to blog about the latest technology?

  8. Robert is right and unfortunately I failed to meet the ethics expectations of me as a blogger. I failed to disclose immediately after posting I got the laptop thinking that it would be ok to discuss where the laptop came from in a later post. Big boo boo. And being completely truthful has only landed me in more trouble.

    Mark, you suggest keeping gifts to small value if accepting at all. What about the folks who cannot afford trips to events or worthy PC’s to blog about the latest technology?

  9. Why are people reacting as if this is the first time this kind of thing has ever happened? Microsoft have been open about this, and I honestly couldn’t care less if bloggers have or not (it’s only an operating system after all).

    They want to get influential bloggers using Vista to create some positive buzz before retail release so they had a choice:

    1. Give a copy of Windows Vista and hope to hell it works without a hitch on whatever system the blogger decides to install it on

    2. Give them a system with it pre-installed and known to have no problems at all.

    Smart move in my opinion.

    Wait… I’ve been blogging about Vista – where’s MY laptop? Maybe the naysayers should examine their own motives before objecting.

  10. Why are people reacting as if this is the first time this kind of thing has ever happened? Microsoft have been open about this, and I honestly couldn’t care less if bloggers have or not (it’s only an operating system after all).

    They want to get influential bloggers using Vista to create some positive buzz before retail release so they had a choice:

    1. Give a copy of Windows Vista and hope to hell it works without a hitch on whatever system the blogger decides to install it on

    2. Give them a system with it pre-installed and known to have no problems at all.

    Smart move in my opinion.

    Wait… I’ve been blogging about Vista – where’s MY laptop? Maybe the naysayers should examine their own motives before objecting.

  11. The Acer Ferrari discussion

    Get over it folks! Go read Scobble’s latest post on this: “I think the Microsoft Vista giveaway is an awesome idea”.

  12. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone that has written a blog entry or comment on this subject was sent a brand new laptop or computer loaded with Vista? I suppose then we could all see who is ethical or not. This party has been thrown and some are a little upset at not being invited.

  13. Mark: How is giving free laptops loaded with Vista “buying” influence? They are trying to get their product out there for some influential people to test. Unless Edelman had some type of policy where a bad review would result in the forced return of the laptop, nobody is forcing any of these bloggers to write positive reviews. Heck, are they even FORCING bloggers to write about these laptops? Edelman/MS is taking a risk by fronting the cost of sending these laptops out to people.

    It isn’t exactly like Microsoft gave the laptops to a bunch of pro-MSFTers … a lot of these people use Macs on a daily basis … Kudos to Microsoft for taking a chance by giving them to people who can truly give a side-by-side comparison.

  14. Mark: How is giving free laptops loaded with Vista “buying” influence? They are trying to get their product out there for some influential people to test. Unless Edelman had some type of policy where a bad review would result in the forced return of the laptop, nobody is forcing any of these bloggers to write positive reviews. Heck, are they even FORCING bloggers to write about these laptops? Edelman/MS is taking a risk by fronting the cost of sending these laptops out to people.

    It isn’t exactly like Microsoft gave the laptops to a bunch of pro-MSFTers … a lot of these people use Macs on a daily basis … Kudos to Microsoft for taking a chance by giving them to people who can truly give a side-by-side comparison.

  15. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone that has written a blog entry or comment on this subject was sent a brand new laptop or computer loaded with Vista? I suppose then we could all see who is ethical or not. This party has been thrown and some are a little upset at not being invited.

  16. Robert, you’re wrong on this one. There’s no way that someone who receives a $3000 gift can remain impartial, no matter how much they disclose. They’re always going to feel like Microsoft did them a little favor.

    I keep getting offers like this from Microsoft… the trips to Seattle, the Ferrari Laptop with Vista, etc., and I turn them all down. These absurd gifts are ruining the reputations of bloggers everywhere … since this started people are much more cynical about whether bloggers are honest. I can’t even write about a product I bought and love any more without a chorus of cynics chiming in about how I’ve sold out and how my blog is “bought and sold.” Doesn’t matter what high ethical standards I hold myself to.

    Anyway, this is a monumentally stupid move on Microsoft’s part, not because word will out, but because it’s a fantastic waste of money.

  17. Robert, you’re wrong on this one. There’s no way that someone who receives a $3000 gift can remain impartial, no matter how much they disclose. They’re always going to feel like Microsoft did them a little favor.

    I keep getting offers like this from Microsoft… the trips to Seattle, the Ferrari Laptop with Vista, etc., and I turn them all down. These absurd gifts are ruining the reputations of bloggers everywhere … since this started people are much more cynical about whether bloggers are honest. I can’t even write about a product I bought and love any more without a chorus of cynics chiming in about how I’ve sold out and how my blog is “bought and sold.” Doesn’t matter what high ethical standards I hold myself to.

    Anyway, this is a monumentally stupid move on Microsoft’s part, not because word will out, but because it’s a fantastic waste of money.

  18. Honestly, BL is full of baloney if you ask me. Someone said it perfectly above… If apple sent out a bunch of iPods to folks to get them talking about them, Apple would be hailed as marketing geniuses. But MS doing it? Well, the world has come to an end and MS is trying to buy peoples voices. Well, that is exactly what marketing is, corporations pay to get thier messages in from of you, this is just a not-so-new “new” way of doing it.

  19. Honestly, BL is full of baloney if you ask me. Someone said it perfectly above… If apple sent out a bunch of iPods to folks to get them talking about them, Apple would be hailed as marketing geniuses. But MS doing it? Well, the world has come to an end and MS is trying to buy peoples voices. Well, that is exactly what marketing is, corporations pay to get thier messages in from of you, this is just a not-so-new “new” way of doing it.

  20. Robert, this is exactly the kind of nonsense that makes people wonder if there is anything at all going on in your oversized noggin. As you can tell from the intelligent comments, anyone with reasonable thinking ability knows that ethics don’t turn on only disclosure, but on whether a party is likely to be influenced. Furthermore, even creating the appearance of a conflict of interest, as Microsoft has done, is considered unethical. Back to Ethics 101 for you.

  21. Robert, this is exactly the kind of nonsense that makes people wonder if there is anything at all going on in your oversized noggin. As you can tell from the intelligent comments, anyone with reasonable thinking ability knows that ethics don’t turn on only disclosure, but on whether a party is likely to be influenced. Furthermore, even creating the appearance of a conflict of interest, as Microsoft has done, is considered unethical. Back to Ethics 101 for you.

  22. Joel and Podesta: I get what you’re saying. But, note that I’m not saying there isn’t influence with this kind of freebie. The thing is, by disclosing it the readers can decide for themselves whether or not this will have a part in the believeability of what they are reading.

    I believe it will. Which is why PodTech is paying my bills (John Edwards’ campaign did offer to pay my flights and hotel rooms, we turned them down).

    I also don’t accept freebies anymore, unless they are short term loans so that I can try something out that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to purchase.

    As for wasting money. Microsoft spends billions of dollars on advertising. To me that’s just as much of a waste of money. If not more. Can you get a good look at Windows Vista from a SuperBowl advertisement?

  23. Joel and Podesta: I get what you’re saying. But, note that I’m not saying there isn’t influence with this kind of freebie. The thing is, by disclosing it the readers can decide for themselves whether or not this will have a part in the believeability of what they are reading.

    I believe it will. Which is why PodTech is paying my bills (John Edwards’ campaign did offer to pay my flights and hotel rooms, we turned them down).

    I also don’t accept freebies anymore, unless they are short term loans so that I can try something out that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to purchase.

    As for wasting money. Microsoft spends billions of dollars on advertising. To me that’s just as much of a waste of money. If not more. Can you get a good look at Windows Vista from a SuperBowl advertisement?

  24. “The thing is, by disclosing it the readers can decide for themselves whether or not this will have a part in the believeability of what they are reading.”

    This is unbelievably naive. Look no further than politics for an example of how corrupting this is. Just because we have campaign contribution disclosures rules, does it mean our current political system is not debased and corrupted with what can only be called institutionalized bribery? Look in the mirror and convince yourself that this doesn’t fundamentally tip the scales for those who can buy their way in Washington…and Redmond.

    Do you think MSFT is stupid? They are not going to spend this kind of money if they didn’t think they can *buy* favorable publicity. Do you really think Joel would need to be bribed with a PC loaded with Vista to comment on the OS, if he wanted to? What exactly is the point of buying him a fully loaded set-up, if not bribery?

    And as perhaps an unsophisticated blog reader I cannot follow all the nuances of these money-for-influence schemes IF IT GAINS CURRENCY AS A WAY OF DOING BUSINESS in the industry. That’s why it’s both short-sighted and, let’s be clear, evil.

  25. “The thing is, by disclosing it the readers can decide for themselves whether or not this will have a part in the believeability of what they are reading.”

    This is unbelievably naive. Look no further than politics for an example of how corrupting this is. Just because we have campaign contribution disclosures rules, does it mean our current political system is not debased and corrupted with what can only be called institutionalized bribery? Look in the mirror and convince yourself that this doesn’t fundamentally tip the scales for those who can buy their way in Washington…and Redmond.

    Do you think MSFT is stupid? They are not going to spend this kind of money if they didn’t think they can *buy* favorable publicity. Do you really think Joel would need to be bribed with a PC loaded with Vista to comment on the OS, if he wanted to? What exactly is the point of buying him a fully loaded set-up, if not bribery?

    And as perhaps an unsophisticated blog reader I cannot follow all the nuances of these money-for-influence schemes IF IT GAINS CURRENCY AS A WAY OF DOING BUSINESS in the industry. That’s why it’s both short-sighted and, let’s be clear, evil.

  26. I don’t see that MS has done something wrong here. If they want to give stuff out free, that is their right.

    This goes go back to the question a question that comes up a lot, are bloggers journalists? Well, when they are getting sued, they certainly like to claim they are and that they should have all the same protection, but in cases like this they don’t seem to think they have to follow the same rules. The basic ethics of journalism say that you don’t take complimentary products for which you are going to review. Loaner? That is fine.

    So, which is it? Journalists or not?

  27. I don’t see that MS has done something wrong here. If they want to give stuff out free, that is their right.

    This goes go back to the question a question that comes up a lot, are bloggers journalists? Well, when they are getting sued, they certainly like to claim they are and that they should have all the same protection, but in cases like this they don’t seem to think they have to follow the same rules. The basic ethics of journalism say that you don’t take complimentary products for which you are going to review. Loaner? That is fine.

    So, which is it? Journalists or not?

  28. Lemme see.. I get a free laptop, no questions asked, in the hopes that I will blog “honestly” about a product, vs deciding to buy the product on my own and give an “honest” opinion about it. Hmmmm..wonder where my sentiments will lay.

    While this may be all above board, it’s not secret what the motives are here. Yes, it is “smart” in Microsoft’s behalf.

  29. Lemme see.. I get a free laptop, no questions asked, in the hopes that I will blog “honestly” about a product, vs deciding to buy the product on my own and give an “honest” opinion about it. Hmmmm..wonder where my sentiments will lay.

    While this may be all above board, it’s not secret what the motives are here. Yes, it is “smart” in Microsoft’s behalf.

  30. @13. Joel, for the record you have one of the best, most honest, stratightforward, and informative blogs on the net. Been reading you for years.

  31. @13. Joel, for the record you have one of the best, most honest, stratightforward, and informative blogs on the net. Been reading you for years.

  32. If you think that you can be objective about a product that comes with an expensive free gift, good for you.

    But this really isn’t about what you think. It’s about what your readers think.

    Microsoft would never do this to the New York Times or any self-respecting publication because they know it’s not acceptable.

    In that sense, this activity is an insult to all bloggers.

  33. If you think that you can be objective about a product that comes with an expensive free gift, good for you.

    But this really isn’t about what you think. It’s about what your readers think.

    Microsoft would never do this to the New York Times or any self-respecting publication because they know it’s not acceptable.

    In that sense, this activity is an insult to all bloggers.

  34. The opinions of someone who gets something for free are absolutely worthless to the masses of us out here who’ll have to pay for it. In any case, I would like to think that a blogger’s journalistic integrity is worth more than a free laptop, but then again maybe it isn’t.

  35. The opinions of someone who gets something for free are absolutely worthless to the masses of us out here who’ll have to pay for it. In any case, I would like to think that a blogger’s journalistic integrity is worth more than a free laptop, but then again maybe it isn’t.

  36. [...] Microsoft "Gifts" and Ethics Apparently, the web is aflame over a bunch of new computers. But the whole story hasn’t been reported on. Plus I intend to add my two cents. When I was at Gnomedex this year, I was discussing the Featured Communities program with the AMD rep that was there. He told me that I should “keep an eye out” because “some cool hardware would be coming to Featured Communities at the end of the year.” My thought? SWEET. I love trying out new hardware. Now, I don’t know if Microsoft is the one that initiated the deal, or if it was AMD. But what I do know is that it was initially an effort to get AMD computers in the hands of Microsoft enthusiasts, at a time when the processor wars are heating back up. Microsoft decided to add Vista after the fact. AMD decided to go beyond Featured Communities members, which is why others have gotten them too.  When I got the e-mail giving me a choice betwen a couple systems, I was told that I could either give the system away, or keep it for myself. Being the selfish greedy *** that I am, and having dealt with the crappiest Tecra M4 in the world, I decided to keep mine. So, some people think that’s bribery. Fine. Some people think the Holocaust didn’t happen, too. You get SWAG for going to a conference, why is this any different? I was a Microsoft MVP for 3 years, which was a reward for past efforts with Microsoft software, trips, and buttloads of NDA information. Is that bribery too? So why does accepting a laptop compromise ones integrity? Brandon and others have been brow-beaten for taking it… you think that their opinion of Microsoft was bought? Gimme a friggin break man. I, like the others that got a new toy, were pro-Microsoft LONG before we got said toy. We’ll be pro-Microsoft long after, and not because we “got free crap”. It couldn’t have been that AMD and Microsoft wanted to give presents to their friends at Christmas. So we should give them back. Then all of you should send back your Christmas presents, too. Because you’ve never tried to buy anyone’s love at Christmas, right? You can flame us all you want. Question our credibility if you want. Say we “sold our souls” for $2400. Fine. Most of you have been taken out to lunch for a business deal or interview. And most of you have made up excuses to have your company “comp” a trip to a conference. So get off your freakin high horse, you don’t have the moral high-ground. Read my blog, don’t read my blog. I don’t care. But don’t act like you’re so altruistic. Hopefully there’s no question where I stand on the issue. And thanks to AMD and Microsoft for the fantastic gift. It was one of the best Christmas presents I ever got… at least it will be when I pick it up tomorrow. But I still think the Core 2 Duo is better. Share this post Published Wednesday, December 27, 2006 10:24 PM by Robert McLaws Subscribe [...]

  37. As Thomas Hawk already noted in his blog that Microsoft made dammed sure that Vista would perform great on those laptops.

    But what about prospective users that are planning to upgrade to Vista using more humbler Ford Escorts than Ferrari’s ???.

    How then could these bloggers experience of Vista accurately reflect the experiences of their readership ???.

    I thought that was the whole idea behind blogs ???.

    If I wanted to read a slick PR dog and pony show then there are sites like CNET and others catering for that.

  38. As Thomas Hawk already noted in his blog that Microsoft made dammed sure that Vista would perform great on those laptops.

    But what about prospective users that are planning to upgrade to Vista using more humbler Ford Escorts than Ferrari’s ???.

    How then could these bloggers experience of Vista accurately reflect the experiences of their readership ???.

    I thought that was the whole idea behind blogs ???.

    If I wanted to read a slick PR dog and pony show then there are sites like CNET and others catering for that.

  39. Garth: again, if the bloggers disclose what they got, then you, as a reader, know that those aren’t the authentic experiences of said bloggers and you can unsubscribe or, at minimum, decide not to believe what you’re reading.

    By the way, Vista runs pretty damn well on that Macintosh that Thomas bought. Oh, and you do realize that Thomas gets thousands of dollars per month in advertising revenue, right? So, Google bought him a new laptop for his blogging quality.

  40. Garth: again, if the bloggers disclose what they got, then you, as a reader, know that those aren’t the authentic experiences of said bloggers and you can unsubscribe or, at minimum, decide not to believe what you’re reading.

    By the way, Vista runs pretty damn well on that Macintosh that Thomas bought. Oh, and you do realize that Thomas gets thousands of dollars per month in advertising revenue, right? So, Google bought him a new laptop for his blogging quality.

  41. When I worked at NEC we regularly sent laptops and other devices out to journalists. They were sent as “loaners” which got around the rules of accepting free equipment. All the biggest names in the business got this treatment. Most of them sent the equipment back after a reasonable length of time (usually three months).

  42. When I worked at NEC we regularly sent laptops and other devices out to journalists. They were sent as “loaners” which got around the rules of accepting free equipment. All the biggest names in the business got this treatment. Most of them sent the equipment back after a reasonable length of time (usually three months).

  43. Wow.

    This all confuses me. Folks who say Microsoft shouldn’t be handing laptops out to bloggers have good reasons why they shouldn’t. Folks who think that Microsoft has a right to do so also have good reasons.

  44. Wow.

    This all confuses me. Folks who say Microsoft shouldn’t be handing laptops out to bloggers have good reasons why they shouldn’t. Folks who think that Microsoft has a right to do so also have good reasons.

  45. It’s a long, long standing practice to lend products to journalists. Extending the loaner practice to bloggers is well within established standards of journalistic ethics. To my knowledge, only Consumers Union insists on going out to the retail market to purchase the products they review.

    I think, however, a line is crossed when the vendor makes an outright gift of the product. it’s not awesome. it’s corrupting. It’s sleaze. it’s dipping into the same well as bribing congress members with golfing trips to Scotland.

  46. It’s a long, long standing practice to lend products to journalists. Extending the loaner practice to bloggers is well within established standards of journalistic ethics. To my knowledge, only Consumers Union insists on going out to the retail market to purchase the products they review.

    I think, however, a line is crossed when the vendor makes an outright gift of the product. it’s not awesome. it’s corrupting. It’s sleaze. it’s dipping into the same well as bribing congress members with golfing trips to Scotland.

  47. [...] Of course Robert Scoble; the blogger everyone loves to quote chimes in with an original post that said – “Now that’s my idea of PayPerPost”; which he followed up with a later post of why it was a great idea – as long as the bloggers disclosed the gift: That is a GREAT idea. After all, how can anyone have a decent conversation about Windows Vista without having put a bunch of time on one of the machines? [...]

  48. But Robert Google is not expecting Thomas to “sell” Picasa to his audience and in fact they probably know that he his a CEO of a competitor service.

    I am well aware that some journalists by nature of their reporting get “loaners” for review purposes but then most as you have mentioned have rules regarding either returning or disposing of it in some other fashion.

    So if Edelman treat bloggers like journalists and what you and some others in the blogosphere are agitating for then they should better behave like journalists as well then , don’t you think ???.

    Here is a snipet from the NPR ethics guide which I think is revelant to the situation

    “NPR journalists may not accept compensation, including property or benefits of any kind, from people or institutions they cover.

    NPR journalists may accept gifts of token value (hats, mugs, t-shirts, etc.).

    Unsolicited items of significant value will be returned with a letter thanking the sender but stating our policy on gifts.”

  49. But Robert Google is not expecting Thomas to “sell” Picasa to his audience and in fact they probably know that he his a CEO of a competitor service.

    I am well aware that some journalists by nature of their reporting get “loaners” for review purposes but then most as you have mentioned have rules regarding either returning or disposing of it in some other fashion.

    So if Edelman treat bloggers like journalists and what you and some others in the blogosphere are agitating for then they should better behave like journalists as well then , don’t you think ???.

    Here is a snipet from the NPR ethics guide which I think is revelant to the situation

    “NPR journalists may not accept compensation, including property or benefits of any kind, from people or institutions they cover.

    NPR journalists may accept gifts of token value (hats, mugs, t-shirts, etc.).

    Unsolicited items of significant value will be returned with a letter thanking the sender but stating our policy on gifts.”

  50. Garth: so NPR isn’t allowed to take review units? In my experience that’s not true. OK, so they aren’t “gifts” but, rather are “loans.”

    And, not every journalistic outlet has the same ethics of NPR. In fact, that’s my whole point. I don’t care what ethics you choose for yourself as long as you disclose what those ethics are.

    So, if you’re selling your soul, just say so and we’ll leave you alone.

  51. Garth: so NPR isn’t allowed to take review units? In my experience that’s not true. OK, so they aren’t “gifts” but, rather are “loans.”

    And, not every journalistic outlet has the same ethics of NPR. In fact, that’s my whole point. I don’t care what ethics you choose for yourself as long as you disclose what those ethics are.

    So, if you’re selling your soul, just say so and we’ll leave you alone.

  52. Garth: >But Robert Google is not expecting Thomas to “sell” Picasa to his audience and in fact they probably know that he his a CEO of a competitor service.

    Microsoft is not expecting bloggers to “sell” Windows Vista to their audiences either (did you read the agreement?) and in fact they probably know that some of the bloggers they sent machines to are actually Macintosh advocates.

  53. Garth: >But Robert Google is not expecting Thomas to “sell” Picasa to his audience and in fact they probably know that he his a CEO of a competitor service.

    Microsoft is not expecting bloggers to “sell” Windows Vista to their audiences either (did you read the agreement?) and in fact they probably know that some of the bloggers they sent machines to are actually Macintosh advocates.

  54. “Microsoft is not expecting bloggers to ‘sell’ Windows Vista to their audiences”

    OK, Roberto, you’ve now entered the world of the absurd! Since when MSFT has become a charitable organization that just wants to help bloggers with their AdSense dollars? Are you serious?

  55. “Microsoft is not expecting bloggers to ‘sell’ Windows Vista to their audiences”

    OK, Roberto, you’ve now entered the world of the absurd! Since when MSFT has become a charitable organization that just wants to help bloggers with their AdSense dollars? Are you serious?

  56. I don’t think this is as simple as some of the commenters make out. I think Robert’s point might be right on the errr… money. The truth is: as long as the money-and other “influencing” stuff is disclosed, readers *can* make up their own minds.

    I suggest that comments along the lines of “taking gifts is unethical” are really just “box-ticking” comparisons with policies that many organizations have. But, box-ticking rarely get you to the right answer. You have to *think* about it.

    I would suggest the main reason many people find themselves working under policies like “you may not accept gifts over $100″ is not because accepting gifts is wrong or unethical. It’s because it is difficult for organisations to keep a check on who receives what gifts, and make sure that these are disclosed. There are also tax implications to accepting valuable items. So, it’s often easier just to have a blanket policy banning “gifts”.

    So, if you’re part of some blogging network that pays your salary, I think it’s reasonable that the blogging network might have a policy saying, “None of our bloggers can accept gifts.”

    However, all those policies as just there to make the house-keeping easier. Open, honest disclosure is what really counts in terms of ethics… IMHO.

  57. I don’t think this is as simple as some of the commenters make out. I think Robert’s point might be right on the errr… money. The truth is: as long as the money-and other “influencing” stuff is disclosed, readers *can* make up their own minds.

    I suggest that comments along the lines of “taking gifts is unethical” are really just “box-ticking” comparisons with policies that many organizations have. But, box-ticking rarely get you to the right answer. You have to *think* about it.

    I would suggest the main reason many people find themselves working under policies like “you may not accept gifts over $100″ is not because accepting gifts is wrong or unethical. It’s because it is difficult for organisations to keep a check on who receives what gifts, and make sure that these are disclosed. There are also tax implications to accepting valuable items. So, it’s often easier just to have a blanket policy banning “gifts”.

    So, if you’re part of some blogging network that pays your salary, I think it’s reasonable that the blogging network might have a policy saying, “None of our bloggers can accept gifts.”

    However, all those policies as just there to make the house-keeping easier. Open, honest disclosure is what really counts in terms of ethics… IMHO.

  58. “It’s because it is difficult for organisations to keep a check on who receives what gifts, and make sure that these are disclosed.”

    Listen to yourself! If this practice of “gift taking” was so good companies would NOT have to be tracking it now, would they? They do it NOT because of “house-keeping ease” but because it is absoutely corrupting. Just read the news to see endless examples, from politics to tecnology.

  59. “It’s because it is difficult for organisations to keep a check on who receives what gifts, and make sure that these are disclosed.”

    Listen to yourself! If this practice of “gift taking” was so good companies would NOT have to be tracking it now, would they? They do it NOT because of “house-keeping ease” but because it is absoutely corrupting. Just read the news to see endless examples, from politics to tecnology.

  60. For once I agree with you, Robert! I only wish Windows Mobile division of Microsoft could do the same and send some top notch Windows Mobile phones to bloggers too!!! If you know somebody from Windows Mobile division, please suggest it to them, Robert!

  61. For once I agree with you, Robert! I only wish Windows Mobile division of Microsoft could do the same and send some top notch Windows Mobile phones to bloggers too!!! If you know somebody from Windows Mobile division, please suggest it to them, Robert!

  62. Not everyone will receive such expensive gift, too costly for MS. Better luck next time for those bashing MS.

  63. Not everyone will receive such expensive gift, too costly for MS. Better luck next time for those bashing MS.

  64. This is yet another example of how influential blogs have become so more power to you all.

    About impartiality; of course it would be tough to remain impartial. But couldn’t a review model like this help break down some barriers and get a review from someone who is normally not going to give MS a chance? Couldn’t it get the proverbial foot in the door?

  65. Thank you for that 101 ethics class; I wish real life were that simple :P

    Anyway

    a) BUTT-ugly notebook with the little ferrari logo, I wouldn’t be seen dead with it
    b) a very strange tactic to promote your new OS
    c) a lame move to backpeddle like that if it is true
    d) not much else to see here

    Anyway, since I manage a considerable fleet of XP workstations I decided to review the lifecycle policy on XP here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle/default.mspx

    Hey, that is weird, I am sure that it said something different last time I checked. Lovely, a variable end-of-life policy? That is what your customers want!

    So thank a random deity for archive.org:
    200501:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20050106090308/http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle/default.mspx
    200601:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20060105060245/http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle/default.mspx
    200606: http://web.archive.org/web/20050601085951/http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle/default.mspx

    It changes every time!

    Here’s our corporate change plan: We won’t. XP delivers what the business needs: a relatively stable unified platform for people to do their goddamned job on. We turn off all the XP bells and whistles through group policy so it looks similar to and has all the configuration options in the same place as windows 2000 (whoever thought ‘redesigning’ the control panel was a good idea should be shot).

  66. This is yet another example of how influential blogs have become so more power to you all.

    About impartiality; of course it would be tough to remain impartial. But couldn’t a review model like this help break down some barriers and get a review from someone who is normally not going to give MS a chance? Couldn’t it get the proverbial foot in the door?

  67. Thank you for that 101 ethics class; I wish real life were that simple :P

    Anyway

    a) BUTT-ugly notebook with the little ferrari logo, I wouldn’t be seen dead with it
    b) a very strange tactic to promote your new OS
    c) a lame move to backpeddle like that if it is true
    d) not much else to see here

    Anyway, since I manage a considerable fleet of XP workstations I decided to review the lifecycle policy on XP here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle/default.mspx

    Hey, that is weird, I am sure that it said something different last time I checked. Lovely, a variable end-of-life policy? That is what your customers want!

    So thank a random deity for archive.org:
    200501:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20050106090308/http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle/default.mspx
    200601:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20060105060245/http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle/default.mspx
    200606: http://web.archive.org/web/20050601085951/http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle/default.mspx

    It changes every time!

    Here’s our corporate change plan: We won’t. XP delivers what the business needs: a relatively stable unified platform for people to do their goddamned job on. We turn off all the XP bells and whistles through group policy so it looks similar to and has all the configuration options in the same place as windows 2000 (whoever thought ‘redesigning’ the control panel was a good idea should be shot).

  68. I agree with the opinion that it`s just marketing and that if you want to talk about a product you should know about it. I was in on the beta test and rc test ( no, I didn`t get a laptop ) and so far I love it. I tell the people I do computer work for that I love it. If I had not used it I wouldn`t recommend it. Microsoft is just doing good business.

  69. I agree with the opinion that it`s just marketing and that if you want to talk about a product you should know about it. I was in on the beta test and rc test ( no, I didn`t get a laptop ) and so far I love it. I tell the people I do computer work for that I love it. If I had not used it I wouldn`t recommend it. Microsoft is just doing good business.

  70. Freebies handed out to reporters and bloggers are usually the product itself or a cheaper item related to the product. The laptops handed out by Microsoft represent a value many times higher then the product they are promoting.

    Depending on the context, this is either payment or a bribe. If these bloggers were reporters or buyers on somebody else’s payroll it would certainly be considered a bribe, and it would be improper to accept this “gift”. And most tax-collecting authorities on this planet will certainly consider it payment.

    I’m not suggesting malicious intend on the part of Microsoft, nor those who accepted the laptop, but it simply is what it is: they’ve been payed around $2000.

  71. Freebies handed out to reporters and bloggers are usually the product itself or a cheaper item related to the product. The laptops handed out by Microsoft represent a value many times higher then the product they are promoting.

    Depending on the context, this is either payment or a bribe. If these bloggers were reporters or buyers on somebody else’s payroll it would certainly be considered a bribe, and it would be improper to accept this “gift”. And most tax-collecting authorities on this planet will certainly consider it payment.

    I’m not suggesting malicious intend on the part of Microsoft, nor those who accepted the laptop, but it simply is what it is: they’ve been payed around $2000.

  72. I’m actually having trouble tracking down a copy of Vista; I’m hoping to be able to do a review of it for HardOCP (assuming that the editors approve the project – which is very likely) before the release date of Jan. 30. Otherwise, I’ll have to camp out – I’d really like my review to be as in-depth as other evaluations I’m doing which means I’ll need a long time to conduct it – I’m looking at 30 days, minimum.

    The fact that some bloggers got laptops along with Vista for “hard work” in promoting Microsoft’s products is just stabs the knife in harder. Oh well, I probably should detail the retail experience as well.

  73. I’m actually having trouble tracking down a copy of Vista; I’m hoping to be able to do a review of it for HardOCP (assuming that the editors approve the project – which is very likely) before the release date of Jan. 30. Otherwise, I’ll have to camp out – I’d really like my review to be as in-depth as other evaluations I’m doing which means I’ll need a long time to conduct it – I’m looking at 30 days, minimum.

    The fact that some bloggers got laptops along with Vista for “hard work” in promoting Microsoft’s products is just stabs the knife in harder. Oh well, I probably should detail the retail experience as well.

  74. I started on the ethics side of this, but in following the discussion had come to agree with Robert’s perspective. The only issue I have is if the recipient recieves a “gift” which is not disclosed and then attempts to describe themself as objective.

    If you follow the discussion at Brandon LeBlanc’s site (who has been severely chastised) and then actually review his site, it’s a Microsoft fan site. That’s what it’s about. I don’t have a problem with him receiving the gift as long as he isn’t trying to describe himself as a balanced and objective reviewer. The issue he’s facing comes down to some ensuing explanations that people just started picking apart – a no win situation.

    BTW…I feel he responsded to the whole situation maturely and responsibly and showed some mettle. But yikes did it get ugly fast. Good life lesson for him though.

  75. I started on the ethics side of this, but in following the discussion had come to agree with Robert’s perspective. The only issue I have is if the recipient recieves a “gift” which is not disclosed and then attempts to describe themself as objective.

    If you follow the discussion at Brandon LeBlanc’s site (who has been severely chastised) and then actually review his site, it’s a Microsoft fan site. That’s what it’s about. I don’t have a problem with him receiving the gift as long as he isn’t trying to describe himself as a balanced and objective reviewer. The issue he’s facing comes down to some ensuing explanations that people just started picking apart – a no win situation.

    BTW…I feel he responsded to the whole situation maturely and responsibly and showed some mettle. But yikes did it get ugly fast. Good life lesson for him though.

  76. The ethical issue is that bloggers receiving the “gift” laptops were not required to make disclosure. And *none did,* until Long Zheng broke the silence, wondering if he was the only one who got the computer.

    Microsoft makes software, not computers. There would be no issue if they’d sent out review copies of the software.

    Edelman is the PR firm advising on this campaign. Neither they, not Microsoft, thought this through very well.

    And, what about the tax implications? Did they send W-9s or 1099s with these gifts? Nobody mentioned getting one.

  77. The ethical issue is that bloggers receiving the “gift” laptops were not required to make disclosure. And *none did,* until Long Zheng broke the silence, wondering if he was the only one who got the computer.

    Microsoft makes software, not computers. There would be no issue if they’d sent out review copies of the software.

    Edelman is the PR firm advising on this campaign. Neither they, not Microsoft, thought this through very well.

    And, what about the tax implications? Did they send W-9s or 1099s with these gifts? Nobody mentioned getting one.

  78. Nothing new here, buying votes, wining and dining future customers, courting journalists, worm feeding the crybaby bloggers. Only an outcry, as the ‘have-nots’ putting on the false coat of ‘ethics’.

    Maybe John Edwards can bridge the have/have not divide here, ‘tax fairness’ and all.

    In the best broken Southern drall, “I won’t rest until all bloggers get free Vista laptops. Two Americas exist in our country today: one for people on the A-List who have everything they need, yet continually get more goodies and inbound links, and then one for everybody else, struggling to get by, lucky to even get a mere link from an A-Lister. It’s just not fair. If you elect me, this all will change, the dead will rise, stem cells will make it so, and Walmarts will be full of PS3′s, and all bloggers, we reward work and not just wealth, will have free Vista laptops.”

  79. Nothing new here, buying votes, wining and dining future customers, courting journalists, worm feeding the crybaby bloggers. Only an outcry, as the ‘have-nots’ putting on the false coat of ‘ethics’.

    Maybe John Edwards can bridge the have/have not divide here, ‘tax fairness’ and all.

    In the best broken Southern drall, “I won’t rest until all bloggers get free Vista laptops. Two Americas exist in our country today: one for people on the A-List who have everything they need, yet continually get more goodies and inbound links, and then one for everybody else, struggling to get by, lucky to even get a mere link from an A-Lister. It’s just not fair. If you elect me, this all will change, the dead will rise, stem cells will make it so, and Walmarts will be full of PS3′s, and all bloggers, we reward work and not just wealth, will have free Vista laptops.”

  80. I vote for disclosure, use and return. A loaner is ethical, accepting an expensive gift is not.

    If your goal as a blogger to to establish journalistic credibility, some kind of professional behavior is part of the package. What is expected of Pogue and Mossberg? If any blogger is going to get Pogue-level respect she/he ought to aspire to his standards.

  81. I vote for disclosure, use and return. A loaner is ethical, accepting an expensive gift is not.

    If your goal as a blogger to to establish journalistic credibility, some kind of professional behavior is part of the package. What is expected of Pogue and Mossberg? If any blogger is going to get Pogue-level respect she/he ought to aspire to his standards.

  82. Oh oh, Microsoft and the WalMart Flog Agency, now want them back, turns out they are now supposedly “review units”…backpedal serious.

    Nary a PR stunt Microsoft can’t royally screw up…and what’s with the “give it away” stunt? Asking extreme geeks to donate laptops to charity? Hah, good luck with that.

  83. Oh oh, Microsoft and the WalMart Flog Agency, now want them back, turns out they are now supposedly “review units”…backpedal serious.

    Nary a PR stunt Microsoft can’t royally screw up…and what’s with the “give it away” stunt? Asking extreme geeks to donate laptops to charity? Hah, good luck with that.

  84. In the music industry, giving something of value in order to get publicity is called “payola.” It’s illegal, and in the 1960s dozens of radio personalities lost their jobs because of it. Why shouldn’t it also be illegal in the computer industry? Send out copies of an application for review is normal and fine. Paying with a computer is just another M$ criminal act.

  85. In the music industry, giving something of value in order to get publicity is called “payola.” It’s illegal, and in the 1960s dozens of radio personalities lost their jobs because of it. Why shouldn’t it also be illegal in the computer industry? Send out copies of an application for review is normal and fine. Paying with a computer is just another M$ criminal act.

  86. I agree with many comments here. Both Robert annd others who disagree with him. But…

    “Oh, and you do realize that Thomas gets thousands of dollars per month in advertising revenue, right? So, Google bought him a new laptop for his blogging quality.”

    ROFLMAO! Thanks for the laugh Robert. This has to be you top idiotic quote for the week.

    You do realize that there’s a bit of difference between “giving” a free laptop and “paying” commission and allowing somebody to spend it however they please, right?

    Sometimes you argue your point in suchh a way as to make me wonder just where your head is at.

  87. I agree with many comments here. Both Robert annd others who disagree with him. But…

    “Oh, and you do realize that Thomas gets thousands of dollars per month in advertising revenue, right? So, Google bought him a new laptop for his blogging quality.”

    ROFLMAO! Thanks for the laugh Robert. This has to be you top idiotic quote for the week.

    You do realize that there’s a bit of difference between “giving” a free laptop and “paying” commission and allowing somebody to spend it however they please, right?

    Sometimes you argue your point in suchh a way as to make me wonder just where your head is at.

  88. [...] Vervolgens komen er reacties van de mensen die geen laptop hebben gekregen. Waarom hij wel en ik niet? Kan hij nog wel objectief zijn met zo’n mooi cadeau? Webloggers die direct een mededeling deden over het cadeau dat ze hebben gekregen worden beschuldigd dat ze niet meer objectief zijn, webloggers die het niet meteen gemeld hebben worden beschuldigd dat ze dingen achterhouden en niet meer objectief zijn, etc. Vervolgens laat Microsoft weten dat de bloggers de laptop toch niet mogen houden en wordt aangeraden hem aan de bezoekers van de site weg te geven of terug te sturen. [...]

  89. @ B.L. Ochman

    “The ethical issue is that bloggers receiving the “gift” laptops were not required to make disclosure. And *none did,* until Long Zheng broke the silence, wondering if he was the only one who got the computer.”

    Did you bother reading my blog entry linked from Long?

    I disclosed this on 10th December, a full two weeks before Long post. You obviously missed the date reference in my post.

  90. @ B.L. Ochman

    “The ethical issue is that bloggers receiving the “gift” laptops were not required to make disclosure. And *none did,* until Long Zheng broke the silence, wondering if he was the only one who got the computer.”

    Did you bother reading my blog entry linked from Long?

    I disclosed this on 10th December, a full two weeks before Long post. You obviously missed the date reference in my post.

  91. How is this any different from exercise companies giving free sneaks to Shaq, or Golfers getting free clubs? I don’t get all the hub-bub. This should be EVERY software and hardware manufacturer’s strategy.

    I’m not a Microzombie… but if they cave to this, I’m going to lose some respect. It’s a brilliant strategy.

  92. How is this any different from exercise companies giving free sneaks to Shaq, or Golfers getting free clubs? I don’t get all the hub-bub. This should be EVERY software and hardware manufacturer’s strategy.

    I’m not a Microzombie… but if they cave to this, I’m going to lose some respect. It’s a brilliant strategy.

  93. This is it! The rapture! I see the seven horsemen on the hill coming for us all! The blogosphere has been attacked by an evil of unimaginable proportions and we will all rot in our own feces for it.

    …or this is nothing new. You choose.

  94. This is it! The rapture! I see the seven horsemen on the hill coming for us all! The blogosphere has been attacked by an evil of unimaginable proportions and we will all rot in our own feces for it.

    …or this is nothing new. You choose.

  95. What I don’t get is why they bothered with the laptop in the first place.

    Easier to just give away 3000$ to the same people, ask them to write, or not, about Vista and to do whatever they wanted with the money.

    The whole laptop sending thing seems too complicated to get to the same results… ;)

  96. What I don’t get is why they bothered with the laptop in the first place.

    Easier to just give away 3000$ to the same people, ask them to write, or not, about Vista and to do whatever they wanted with the money.

    The whole laptop sending thing seems too complicated to get to the same results… ;)

  97. Sorry, but the commenters supporting Robert appear to be wrangling for their own free Ferrari, either that or they’ve loaded so many links in their comments that they are already obviously unconcerned about ethics.
    There is not enough discussion here of the obvious spin in this campaign: If they had sent review copies of Vista sans computers, they would have run the risk of getting bitched out about the entire process of installing this crap on existing machines. So they controlled the buzz by giving people machines pre-loaded.
    I’m with Joel- this is bottom of the barrel, flack marketing from an agency whose ethics are already in the toilet.
    Guys, if you aspire to be treated seriously, you can’t keep the goodies…

  98. Sorry, but the commenters supporting Robert appear to be wrangling for their own free Ferrari, either that or they’ve loaded so many links in their comments that they are already obviously unconcerned about ethics.
    There is not enough discussion here of the obvious spin in this campaign: If they had sent review copies of Vista sans computers, they would have run the risk of getting bitched out about the entire process of installing this crap on existing machines. So they controlled the buzz by giving people machines pre-loaded.
    I’m with Joel- this is bottom of the barrel, flack marketing from an agency whose ethics are already in the toilet.
    Guys, if you aspire to be treated seriously, you can’t keep the goodies…

  99. Book publishers send review copies out to journalists and bloggers all the time. Those pretty much never get returned; and those books get savaged by the reviewers as often as not. Do we stop believing book reviews?

    Full disclosure: two years ago, Microsoft gave me a Tablet PC, so that I could participate in an influentials workshop where I would be learning Tablet PC programming. I already had one with all necessary software installed, but many of the influentials didn’t; so MS decided the simple way to get them coding was to install the software for them. And did I turn it down or give it away? Heck, no! Will I still slam them when they deserve it? Heck, yeah!

  100. Book publishers send review copies out to journalists and bloggers all the time. Those pretty much never get returned; and those books get savaged by the reviewers as often as not. Do we stop believing book reviews?

    Full disclosure: two years ago, Microsoft gave me a Tablet PC, so that I could participate in an influentials workshop where I would be learning Tablet PC programming. I already had one with all necessary software installed, but many of the influentials didn’t; so MS decided the simple way to get them coding was to install the software for them. And did I turn it down or give it away? Heck, no! Will I still slam them when they deserve it? Heck, yeah!

  101. It was *almost* a great idea… the problems are:

    1. They should have given them a free license of Vista, and let the bloggers install it on their own hardware. *That* is the experience most users are going to have… not being shipped a loaded 64-bit machine with it already installed. It’s a misleading experience.

    2. Disclosure. Granted, they were sent (apparently) unsolicited. But it sure seems to me (an average consumer) like Microsoft was trying to *buy* good reviews. Again, that’s not a good PR move.

    Now, it seems, MS is making a mistake worse by asking for the laptops back (or to be given away)… as if.

    Would it have been a good idea to have bloggers review Vista? Absolutely! Could Microsoft have executed this in a way that gave a more realistic and accurate review of end-users experiences? Absolutely. Could Microsoft have done this in a way that didn’t seem like they were trying to *buy* good reviews? Absolutely. Did Microsoft instead alienate most of the blog world and lead to all kinds of speculation about their motives? Absolutely.

  102. It was *almost* a great idea… the problems are:

    1. They should have given them a free license of Vista, and let the bloggers install it on their own hardware. *That* is the experience most users are going to have… not being shipped a loaded 64-bit machine with it already installed. It’s a misleading experience.

    2. Disclosure. Granted, they were sent (apparently) unsolicited. But it sure seems to me (an average consumer) like Microsoft was trying to *buy* good reviews. Again, that’s not a good PR move.

    Now, it seems, MS is making a mistake worse by asking for the laptops back (or to be given away)… as if.

    Would it have been a good idea to have bloggers review Vista? Absolutely! Could Microsoft have executed this in a way that gave a more realistic and accurate review of end-users experiences? Absolutely. Could Microsoft have done this in a way that didn’t seem like they were trying to *buy* good reviews? Absolutely. Did Microsoft instead alienate most of the blog world and lead to all kinds of speculation about their motives? Absolutely.

  103. joel spolsky posted about this whole thing (http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/12/28.html) and he thinks that you are wrong, that sending out laptops to bloggers is “corrupting the medium”. i disagree. how does this differ from any other form of advertising? sure, it reveals bias, but that is what advertising is all about — presenting your product/service in the best possible way. the biggest difference i see is that with these laptops, the bloggers who received them have the opportunity to use them and to write their honest opinion about the product — good or bad. at least that way you get the testimonial of a real person as opposed to some ad agency. i wouldn’t care if someone sent me a free ferrari… if it broke down the first week i had it, you better believe i’d be telling everyone i know how much ferraris suck.

  104. joel spolsky posted about this whole thing (http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/12/28.html) and he thinks that you are wrong, that sending out laptops to bloggers is “corrupting the medium”. i disagree. how does this differ from any other form of advertising? sure, it reveals bias, but that is what advertising is all about — presenting your product/service in the best possible way. the biggest difference i see is that with these laptops, the bloggers who received them have the opportunity to use them and to write their honest opinion about the product — good or bad. at least that way you get the testimonial of a real person as opposed to some ad agency. i wouldn’t care if someone sent me a free ferrari… if it broke down the first week i had it, you better believe i’d be telling everyone i know how much ferraris suck.

  105. [...] Scoble thinks it’s a great idea and so do I.  It’s no different from Cell companies handing out phones to press and bloggers.  Probably the biggest problem that it is running into is the transparency of the  blogosphere.  If it were still old media, that transparency wouldn’t exist and nobody would have said anything about getting a laptop from Microsoft.  But us bloggers have a little pride and want to be transparent.   Somebody said something about a laptop from Microsoft in the mail and all of a sudden, every one is a leper or some such. [...]

  106. The only place I go to to get reviews and recommendations that I absolutely trust is Consumer Reports by Consumer’s Union.

    You know why? Because the take no free gifts, no loaners, they insist on buying all the products at retail.

    Anything less is wrong. Lobbyists giving congress members fancy dinners and yacht expeditions is wrong. Why is this any different?

  107. The only place I go to to get reviews and recommendations that I absolutely trust is Consumer Reports by Consumer’s Union.

    You know why? Because the take no free gifts, no loaners, they insist on buying all the products at retail.

    Anything less is wrong. Lobbyists giving congress members fancy dinners and yacht expeditions is wrong. Why is this any different?

  108. [...] With the recent kerfuffle over Microsoft giving laptops to bloggers so that they might try out Vista — and then quickly letting them know that they were NOT gifts after all (but had to be given away, or sent back) has gotten the blogosphere all riled up during this quiet inter-christmas-new year time period. Quite frankly, in spite of all the righteous outrage that got Microsoft to retract their offer (or change it, as it were), I’m not sure where Microsoft was wrong in all of this. [...]

  109. [...] Nobody has reported turning down the gifts, this campaign clearly demonstrates how influential the impact of blogging is considered. It would cost peanuts for Microsoft and would ensure word got round quickly in blogshere and to the man and woman in the street. As Robert Scoble says, if you disclosed it, you have ethics; if you didn’t, you don’t, it’s as simple as that. [...]

  110. Microsoft Giveth then Taketh Away

    File this one under What were they thinking?! As has been reported all over the place, Microsoft had a great idea to seed the blogosphere with souped-up laptops running their new operating system, Vista. The bloggers received these gifts in

  111. Clearly MS realizes how important the bloggers opinions are becoming. That’s positive! But, how the bloggers respond to the temptation of freebies will determine the future of ‘citizen reporters’.

    In a past life, I saw the HiFi audio critics become totally corrupted by the ‘gifts’ bestowed by marketers. They were corrupted to the point where they lost all credibility of their readers.

    This is a test. We’ll see how these bloggers respond.

  112. Clearly MS realizes how important the bloggers opinions are becoming. That’s positive! But, how the bloggers respond to the temptation of freebies will determine the future of ‘citizen reporters’.

    In a past life, I saw the HiFi audio critics become totally corrupted by the ‘gifts’ bestowed by marketers. They were corrupted to the point where they lost all credibility of their readers.

    This is a test. We’ll see how these bloggers respond.

  113. Citizen journalists? Or citizen flaks?

    This is graft. If it came out that a major magazine’s editors got free laptops, and ended up recommending Vista, there would be hell to pay.

    Blogging won’t become citizen journalism until the citizens act more like responsible journalists.

    There isn’t a respected publication in the Western world that would allow a reviewer to accept such a gift. They can’t even accept PAID LUNCHES with flaks, let alone a PC.

  114. Citizen journalists? Or citizen flaks?

    This is graft. If it came out that a major magazine’s editors got free laptops, and ended up recommending Vista, there would be hell to pay.

    Blogging won’t become citizen journalism until the citizens act more like responsible journalists.

    There isn’t a respected publication in the Western world that would allow a reviewer to accept such a gift. They can’t even accept PAID LUNCHES with flaks, let alone a PC.

  115. No problem with it, just disclose it. Then I’ll just take any opinions with a grain of salt.

    It’s clear freebies do influence good feelings towards a product (companies simply wouldn’t do it otherwise, it’s not scientific analysis they’re promoting), but I don’t think most bloggers are sophisticated enough to realize this on a fundamental level. (Scobleizer excepted – he’s very sophisticated and knows exactly what he’s doing!)

    I don’t care that much as it’s usually obvious anyway. Look at all the extremely positive Zune comments that flooded the blogosphere. For a case study, this was typified by the way Microsoft bought advertising with the Diggnation kids, then threw in a couple of units for them to keep.

    Unsurprisingly, Kevin and Alex were initially extremely positive about the product. Then they realized it wasn’t going to be such a hip thing to identify with after all and backtracked. Alex is now trying a more sincere “I really do like it” approach but after this, I don’t trust their advice on anything.

  116. No problem with it, just disclose it. Then I’ll just take any opinions with a grain of salt.

    It’s clear freebies do influence good feelings towards a product (companies simply wouldn’t do it otherwise, it’s not scientific analysis they’re promoting), but I don’t think most bloggers are sophisticated enough to realize this on a fundamental level. (Scobleizer excepted – he’s very sophisticated and knows exactly what he’s doing!)

    I don’t care that much as it’s usually obvious anyway. Look at all the extremely positive Zune comments that flooded the blogosphere. For a case study, this was typified by the way Microsoft bought advertising with the Diggnation kids, then threw in a couple of units for them to keep.

    Unsurprisingly, Kevin and Alex were initially extremely positive about the product. Then they realized it wasn’t going to be such a hip thing to identify with after all and backtracked. Alex is now trying a more sincere “I really do like it” approach but after this, I don’t trust their advice on anything.

  117. Microsoft and Edelman have been sprung trying to do an end-run past the normal review process by bribing bloggers they judged to be gullible and pliant.

    Most of the recipients still don’t seem to realise what this says about how they’re viewed by Edelman and Microsoft.

  118. Microsoft and Edelman have been sprung trying to do an end-run past the normal review process by bribing bloggers they judged to be gullible and pliant.

    Most of the recipients still don’t seem to realise what this says about how they’re viewed by Edelman and Microsoft.

  119. Whats the difference in Mike Arrington getting a $3000 laptop (not to mention the cost of Vista and Probably office 2007 and what ever else other software) to do a review and lets say me taking $5.50 to talk about a Realestate software package?

    Answer: Nothing!

    JMTC
    Molly

  120. Whats the difference in Mike Arrington getting a $3000 laptop (not to mention the cost of Vista and Probably office 2007 and what ever else other software) to do a review and lets say me taking $5.50 to talk about a Realestate software package?

    Answer: Nothing!

    JMTC
    Molly

  121. “On Edelman’s side? Is sending out laptops ethical? Of course! That’s their job.”

    Robert, do you realize that your logic about declaring something to be ethical just because it is someone’s job is equivalent to mafia’s logic when they kill someone and say “it is not personal, it is just business”?

  122. “On Edelman’s side? Is sending out laptops ethical? Of course! That’s their job.”

    Robert, do you realize that your logic about declaring something to be ethical just because it is someone’s job is equivalent to mafia’s logic when they kill someone and say “it is not personal, it is just business”?

  123. I think the giveaway is great! I only wish I had been chosen for it. Everything I have heard about Vista has made me quite intrigued to try it. I see nothing wrong with Microsft doing this. I think people would be more upset if Microsoft only gave out Vista for people to try on their own computers, which may or may not work on their systems. In my opinion, those who are complaining are just jealous that they did not recieve one to try!

  124. I think the giveaway is great! I only wish I had been chosen for it. Everything I have heard about Vista has made me quite intrigued to try it. I see nothing wrong with Microsft doing this. I think people would be more upset if Microsoft only gave out Vista for people to try on their own computers, which may or may not work on their systems. In my opinion, those who are complaining are just jealous that they did not recieve one to try!

  125. Robert:

    Being biased about something does not mean you are dishonest. I’m a huge Microsoft fan but call them on the carpet for the things they get wrong. In this case, I think it was a great idea. If nothing else, look at the conversation they got started with it.

    BL and Joel: Get over yourselves. Blogging and Blog consumption is more about entertainment than it is about cold hard facts. You both blog with a bias, regardless if you received a “gift” or not from a particluar vendor. You should be required to put a disclaimer on your blogs about everything that inlfuences your viewpoints for the sake of full disclosure. Wouldn’t want to mislead all us gullible, non thinking back woods hicks with your fancy words now wouldya?

  126. Robert:

    Being biased about something does not mean you are dishonest. I’m a huge Microsoft fan but call them on the carpet for the things they get wrong. In this case, I think it was a great idea. If nothing else, look at the conversation they got started with it.

    BL and Joel: Get over yourselves. Blogging and Blog consumption is more about entertainment than it is about cold hard facts. You both blog with a bias, regardless if you received a “gift” or not from a particluar vendor. You should be required to put a disclaimer on your blogs about everything that inlfuences your viewpoints for the sake of full disclosure. Wouldn’t want to mislead all us gullible, non thinking back woods hicks with your fancy words now wouldya?

  127. [...] Anstatt Lobeshymnen auf den edlen Spender aus Seattle gab es von den Bloggern aber überwiegend Hiebe. Das einzige was bei den Bloggern überwiegend gut ankam waren die Ferrari Logos auf den Laptop. Was jetzt aber wirklich einen die langweiligen Fernsehabende versüßen kann ist der Streit der daraufhin unter den US Bloggern ausgebrochen ist. Es wird wie wild darüber diskutiert, ob man solche Geschenke überhaupt annehmen darf, oder ob es das ist, was sich Scobleizer unter Pay per Post vorstellt. [...]

  128. [...] There’s a big “scandal” going on around the blog scene about how Miscrosoft and AMD gave away a bunch of laptops pre-loaded with Vista, so that they can evaluate Vista. (Check out this story here for updated info: http://scobleizer.com/2006/12/27/i-think-the-microsoft-vista-giveaway-is-an-awesome-idea/) Lots of people have been crying foul because apparently originally Microsoft said they could just keep them or give them away or whatever they wanted to do. Who cares what people do with things a company gives them? On top of that, who’s going to go out and buy something just to review it? Companies have to get their products out there to evaluators (it’s called marketing). In this day and age, people rely on blogs for lots of their information, so it makes sense for Microsoft to get it’s products to those people. In the words of Bryan Friedman, “get over it.” [...]

  129. [...] On the one hand we could always take the approach that everything is compromised in this way in the world in which we live. Even if we take the industry that has the most influence over our perceptions of what is true and what is not – the media industry – we see that they all have (un)known angles that they are peddling or protecting. The logic goes that if there is full disclosure then all is ok. On the other hand, as Joel points out, it is important that we take some sort of a stand at some defined point and his opinion was that this was a step beyond that point. [...]

  130. [...] Rather than jump into the controversy over whether Microsoft’s offer of a free Vista-loaded laptop to bloggers, I decided to watch from the sidelines for awhile to gather my thoughts. (Disclosure: I’m one of those bloggers who was given a Ferrari laptop by Microsoft. My employer, b5media, plans to give it away as part of a contest). The Vista issue is fascinating on a number of different levels. One, it puts the spotlight on whether bloggers need to be editorially “pure” like journalists so the content they produce is seen as objective. It’s an interesting concept as blogging evolves into a mainstream medium read by people looking for information and insight. As Joel (on Software) Spolsky argues, trust is a key consideration for many bloggers who wants their posts to be seen as credible and authentic. Perhaps what the Vista issue does is continue the fragmentation of the blogosphere. There will be bloggers who will write and behave like journalists – and expect to be treated as such by companies, PR firms, conference organizers, etc. There will be bloggers who have little interest in being treated as a journalist because it’s not a job, and they get paid little or nothing to write their blogs so how’s a freebie here and there really going to matter. Then, there’s the Pay-Per-Post crowd. Truth be told, no one is really pure – not even journalists, particularly high-tech reporters who operate in a PR-happy world of product trials, demos and evaluations (and this comes from a decade as a high-tech newspaper reporter). I would hazard to guess, for example, that the majority of Microsoft XP CDs sent to journalists in 2001 were never returned to Microsoft even though we’re talking about $350 to $500 product. In general, I would imagine the majority of hardware/software sent to reporters is never returned, and everyone carries on their merry, objective way. And what about when a source takes a reporter out for an expensive lunch, or a PR firm invites a group of journalists to a concert or sports event, or a company takes a reporter(s) on a junket/conference and picks up the flight and accommodation expenses? Where do you draw the line on accepting freebies? It’s a very tricky game. That said, Microsoft’s offer – albeit generous – strikes me as over the top given we’re talking about a $2200 product. It’s awful tempting to keep something so shiny and new but to me it doesn’t seem quite right (maybe this comes from nearly 20 years as a journalist). If I were Microsoft, I would have asked for the laptops back and donated them to charity, or asked the bloggers to donate them to the charity of their choice after three months. For more thoughts, check out ex-Microsoft employee Robert Scoble, who thinks Microsoft is doing something awesome, Web Worker Daily, and BL Ochman, who provides a snapshot of the controversy. [...]

  131. I think the giveaway was a great idea, not to happy now that they’ve taken it back and said instead of keeping them they want you to give them away. That was all because they didn’t like the bad publicity. They did great here though getting the word out, they sparked lots of comments on this that will go around the net for at least a week or more. Myself, I wasn’t sent the email. :( Wish I had been, I would’ve taken the computer and wrote a review, not sure if it would’ve been good or bad. I’ve had a bad experience with a computer and told people about it, I’ve also had a good experience and spoke of that. So either way, if it sucks they’d know.

  132. I think the giveaway was a great idea, not to happy now that they’ve taken it back and said instead of keeping them they want you to give them away. That was all because they didn’t like the bad publicity. They did great here though getting the word out, they sparked lots of comments on this that will go around the net for at least a week or more. Myself, I wasn’t sent the email. :( Wish I had been, I would’ve taken the computer and wrote a review, not sure if it would’ve been good or bad. I’ve had a bad experience with a computer and told people about it, I’ve also had a good experience and spoke of that. So either way, if it sucks they’d know.

  133. The fact that quite a few people are on the “this is incredibly unethical” standpoint negates Robert’s view that it is absolutely fine. If it was *absolutely* fine, no-one would be up in arms, would they? If you value a reputation as being objective then obviously you shouldn’t take the laptop.

    Joel’s point that Robert’s actions have a ripple effect is not a valid one. Joel, if someone flames you with accusations of bias and impropriety on the basis of *no evidence whatsoever*, do you really care about their opinions? Might they not just find another ill-found reason to flame you?

  134. The fact that quite a few people are on the “this is incredibly unethical” standpoint negates Robert’s view that it is absolutely fine. If it was *absolutely* fine, no-one would be up in arms, would they? If you value a reputation as being objective then obviously you shouldn’t take the laptop.

    Joel’s point that Robert’s actions have a ripple effect is not a valid one. Joel, if someone flames you with accusations of bias and impropriety on the basis of *no evidence whatsoever*, do you really care about their opinions? Might they not just find another ill-found reason to flame you?

  135. I would take the laptop, as I am poor. I, however, do not think the underlying intent is ethical. First, Edelman did not force disclosure. In fact, you can bet that it did not want disclosure. Its actions serve its client well, but does not address ethics which is a issue larger then whether it is serving its clients needs. Second, the law does not force disclosure, which is not surprising, but nonetheless shameful. The government should protect citizens, before corporations trying to sell a product.

    Disclosure is the key, and without that, the give away stinks. It is false that no strings are attached. Many bloggers are going to feel compelled to write nice things to perhaps get more expensive gifts in the future. I know I would. That is the implicit string: write something nice, and perhaps you will be remembered in the future.

    Many of these same bloggers will also feel compelled to not disclose the gift. This 1) does a disservice to blogging as a whole, and 2) to consumers who rely on bloggers as an unpaid reliable source for information. People will start to wonder, well is this a paid for opinion?

  136. I would take the laptop, as I am poor. I, however, do not think the underlying intent is ethical. First, Edelman did not force disclosure. In fact, you can bet that it did not want disclosure. Its actions serve its client well, but does not address ethics which is a issue larger then whether it is serving its clients needs. Second, the law does not force disclosure, which is not surprising, but nonetheless shameful. The government should protect citizens, before corporations trying to sell a product.

    Disclosure is the key, and without that, the give away stinks. It is false that no strings are attached. Many bloggers are going to feel compelled to write nice things to perhaps get more expensive gifts in the future. I know I would. That is the implicit string: write something nice, and perhaps you will be remembered in the future.

    Many of these same bloggers will also feel compelled to not disclose the gift. This 1) does a disservice to blogging as a whole, and 2) to consumers who rely on bloggers as an unpaid reliable source for information. People will start to wonder, well is this a paid for opinion?

  137. @57 Because Shaq and Golfers don’t purport to be unbiased observers of the sport. They don’t question themselves when they take free product. Now, if bloggers want to be beholden to specific companies that’s fine. The other distinction is, these athletes sign contracts with these companies an agree to shill for these products at the expense of all others. Will these bloggers then commit to ONLY writing about Microsoft products and vista specifically? If that’s the case then, by all means sell yourself out.

  138. @57 Because Shaq and Golfers don’t purport to be unbiased observers of the sport. They don’t question themselves when they take free product. Now, if bloggers want to be beholden to specific companies that’s fine. The other distinction is, these athletes sign contracts with these companies an agree to shill for these products at the expense of all others. Will these bloggers then commit to ONLY writing about Microsoft products and vista specifically? If that’s the case then, by all means sell yourself out.

  139. Hey, send one of those laptops my way. I don’t blog much on tech issues anyway, and I can find several deserving non-profits to pass it along to.

    Plus, I’ll disclose. Isn’t that a part of life, the disclosure?

  140. Hey, send one of those laptops my way. I don’t blog much on tech issues anyway, and I can find several deserving non-profits to pass it along to.

    Plus, I’ll disclose. Isn’t that a part of life, the disclosure?

  141. ——-
    From,
    http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/12/28.html

    “..
    Google donated a Search Appliance to provide search for Joel on Software, also mostly as a community service on their part, which was very nice…”
    ——

    If Google donates a search appliance, its “Community Service” but if Microsoft does it, its “evil”, “bribe”, etc..etc..

    I am not opposed to people hating Microsoft. Atleast, lets be a little rational and hate them for them right reasons :)

  142. ——-
    From,
    http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/12/28.html

    “..
    Google donated a Search Appliance to provide search for Joel on Software, also mostly as a community service on their part, which was very nice…”
    ——

    If Google donates a search appliance, its “Community Service” but if Microsoft does it, its “evil”, “bribe”, etc..etc..

    I am not opposed to people hating Microsoft. Atleast, lets be a little rational and hate them for them right reasons :)

  143. [...] Nope, I didn’t get offered a Microsoft laptop either While on the subject of paying for coverage, give Microsoft credit for one thing: they know how to get people to talk about them both good and (mostly) bad. They handpick (?) bloggers to send Acer Ferrari laptops loaded with Vista as review loaner copies. Some of the bloggers think they are gifts and complain when Microsoft points out they want them back. And then there are all the bloggers who didn’t get them and writing about not getting them (and giving Microsoft more free press). Some seem to be hurt like Dave Winer, some are envious, some think it’s an awesome idea and others don’t care one way or the other. [...]

  144. We also have received a fully loaded Media Center PC from Microsoft as part of this campaign. People need to stop complaining – in reality, it really seems that those complaining are those who weren’t chosen. It is COMMON PRACTICE from companies to get their products into the hands of those who review said products, prior to a launch. How else are you supposed to review them before they are available to the general public? This isn’t just for the tech industry – Ebert and Roeper see movies – for free – before they are available to the public. Any problem there? Probably not.

    Plus this is a part of something bigger that Microsoft is doing – the Vanishing Point game, where Loki is the one “planning” these giveaways.

  145. We also have received a fully loaded Media Center PC from Microsoft as part of this campaign. People need to stop complaining – in reality, it really seems that those complaining are those who weren’t chosen. It is COMMON PRACTICE from companies to get their products into the hands of those who review said products, prior to a launch. How else are you supposed to review them before they are available to the general public? This isn’t just for the tech industry – Ebert and Roeper see movies – for free – before they are available to the public. Any problem there? Probably not.

    Plus this is a part of something bigger that Microsoft is doing – the Vanishing Point game, where Loki is the one “planning” these giveaways.

  146. However, if Microsoft said, “We’ll send you a free laptop if you say Vista is grand,” that would have been unethical. So would demanding laptops back from anyone who might have trashed Vista. (And, oh–this controversy is getting them all kinds of exposure!)

  147. However, if Microsoft said, “We’ll send you a free laptop if you say Vista is grand,” that would have been unethical. So would demanding laptops back from anyone who might have trashed Vista. (And, oh–this controversy is getting them all kinds of exposure!)

  148. This is very good marketing on Microsoft’s part. And I agree with your post – it is only unethical if you don’t disclose it. Besides, it’s not like they are forcing you to use it…. Too bad they only give it to the more popular and influential bloggers, and not to “small fry bloggers” like me.

  149. This is very good marketing on Microsoft’s part. And I agree with your post – it is only unethical if you don’t disclose it. Besides, it’s not like they are forcing you to use it…. Too bad they only give it to the more popular and influential bloggers, and not to “small fry bloggers” like me.

  150. Free Laptops creates furor in Blogworld!

    Ok, a bit dramatic I admit, but still a pretty good attempt at those headlines of old, you know the headlines that screamed “War!” or “Aliens Invade Washington!”( oh wait that is just the new Congress).
    One of the blogs I am mak…

  151. Hey
    You PR firms should know that many influencial bloggers are using Mac like those bloggers invited to meet with Bill Gates. This is not a good representation of window user and developers.

    Microsoft did the Vista Install Party at Silicon Valley Code Camp but I didn’t hear any reporting afterward.

    Why Microsoft don’t approach Silicon Valley Tech organizations where most members are using PC. Pitch to the right choir, Silly! Check out Silicon Valley Web Builder.

  152. Hey
    You PR firms should know that many influencial bloggers are using Mac like those bloggers invited to meet with Bill Gates. This is not a good representation of window user and developers.

    Microsoft did the Vista Install Party at Silicon Valley Code Camp but I didn’t hear any reporting afterward.

    Why Microsoft don’t approach Silicon Valley Tech organizations where most members are using PC. Pitch to the right choir, Silly! Check out Silicon Valley Web Builder.

  153. Bribery 2.0

    A lot of people are talking about
    Microsoft’s recent giveaway of fancy
    new laptops (preloaded with Windows Vista) to influential bloggers. Some are calling it a
    terrible breach of ethics by both Microsoft and any accepting bloggers. I don’t ag…

  154. I see it as an admission of failure by MS. Apparently they were unable to generate enough enthousiasm (be it based on actual features or mere hype) to get the blogosphere to *want* to review Vista.

    So now they have to resort to shoving it under people’s faces to get them to take a look. The negative fallout may or may not have been foreseen but probably not a big deal to MS. At least everybody is talking about Vista. They probably should have moved this closer to the Leopard unveiling.

  155. I see it as an admission of failure by MS. Apparently they were unable to generate enough enthousiasm (be it based on actual features or mere hype) to get the blogosphere to *want* to review Vista.

    So now they have to resort to shoving it under people’s faces to get them to take a look. The negative fallout may or may not have been foreseen but probably not a big deal to MS. At least everybody is talking about Vista. They probably should have moved this closer to the Leopard unveiling.

  156. Hello,
    Sounds to me like MS wants to get the product to ordinary users vice IT’s. Right now Vista is getting the shaft from the IT Community, because it’s basically a Flashy Version of XP. They spent so much money into designing/making the product, and stating it’s the most secure OS they’ve ever made. Well that was shot down last week when Security Holes were found in the OS. Now they want to get the product out, and into the hands of people who have (hopefully for them) not much computer knowledge. This way the user gets the laptop with vista, and can hopefully brag about how good it is compared to XP.

  157. Hello,
    Sounds to me like MS wants to get the product to ordinary users vice IT’s. Right now Vista is getting the shaft from the IT Community, because it’s basically a Flashy Version of XP. They spent so much money into designing/making the product, and stating it’s the most secure OS they’ve ever made. Well that was shot down last week when Security Holes were found in the OS. Now they want to get the product out, and into the hands of people who have (hopefully for them) not much computer knowledge. This way the user gets the laptop with vista, and can hopefully brag about how good it is compared to XP.

  158. >

    Well no not really. Every University business major or MBA has been drilled with the definition of ethical behavior in at least one of their classes and simply declaring that you are “doing your job” does not mean it is ethical. People seem to forget this or dismiss it as “textbook knbowledge” which I guess is a testimonial to the state of corporate America today. There are three criteria for judging oneself’s behavior as ethical or not. 1) Is it legal 2) Is it balanced 3) how does it make me feel about myself – the third one when elaborated on inculdes reflective questioning like: Am I embarassed if my friends and family find out? My clients? My peers? My competitors?

  159. >

    Well no not really. Every University business major or MBA has been drilled with the definition of ethical behavior in at least one of their classes and simply declaring that you are “doing your job” does not mean it is ethical. People seem to forget this or dismiss it as “textbook knbowledge” which I guess is a testimonial to the state of corporate America today. There are three criteria for judging oneself’s behavior as ethical or not. 1) Is it legal 2) Is it balanced 3) how does it make me feel about myself – the third one when elaborated on inculdes reflective questioning like: Am I embarassed if my friends and family find out? My clients? My peers? My competitors?

  160. [...] You’ve not doubt heard that Microsoft sent a number of high-end Acer laptops to various influential bloggers such as Mike Arrington of Techcrunch and Crunchnotes. These laptops were loaded with the new Windows Vista operating system. I supposed Microsoft had hopes these bloggers would test the new OS and then write about their experiences. Some people like Scoble thought it was a brilliant idea. A few like Dave Winer felt left out. [...]

  161. Yes yes, whenever they criticise anything this MUST mean the’re just jealous. Seriously, it’s such unbelievably shallow and short sighted thinking yet it’s so common. The scary thing is that otherwise very smart people tend to fall for that. That’s sad.

  162. Yes yes, whenever they criticise anything this MUST mean the’re just jealous. Seriously, it’s such unbelievably shallow and short sighted thinking yet it’s so common. The scary thing is that otherwise very smart people tend to fall for that. That’s sad.

  163. Im really not sure what the fuss is about. Lots of people who do things like book reviews get sent free copies from publishers – but it doesn’t stop you from saying if the book is bad. I guess at the end of the day you have to be true to yourself. If you can be bought for a $2,000 laptop then you are selling your opinions fairly cheaply.

  164. Im really not sure what the fuss is about. Lots of people who do things like book reviews get sent free copies from publishers – but it doesn’t stop you from saying if the book is bad. I guess at the end of the day you have to be true to yourself. If you can be bought for a $2,000 laptop then you are selling your opinions fairly cheaply.

  165. A couple final thoughts on this:

    1.) This was possibly the dumbest PR strategy every concocted in the blogosphere. First the gift was far to generous, to the point that it was easy to consider it a bribe. Bribe isn’t a good word in a headline, period. But that’s what they ask for and its what they got. Second, because the gift was so over the top, the company couldn’t possibly have expected people to believe positive reviews of Vista by the bloggers. Furthermore, if the reviews were negative, the fact that the bloggers snubbed the gift-bearing MSFT would lend even more weight to the negative reviews. Essentially, MSFT threw away money on this little escape.

    2.) Bloggers who got and kept the laptops and didn’t say so are evil.

    Bloggers who got the laptops, owned up but kept the machines have hurt the credibility of anything positive they write about Vista or Microsoft in general. Their readers will trust what they say about these topics less. That’s all.

  166. A couple final thoughts on this:

    1.) This was possibly the dumbest PR strategy every concocted in the blogosphere. First the gift was far to generous, to the point that it was easy to consider it a bribe. Bribe isn’t a good word in a headline, period. But that’s what they ask for and its what they got. Second, because the gift was so over the top, the company couldn’t possibly have expected people to believe positive reviews of Vista by the bloggers. Furthermore, if the reviews were negative, the fact that the bloggers snubbed the gift-bearing MSFT would lend even more weight to the negative reviews. Essentially, MSFT threw away money on this little escape.

    2.) Bloggers who got and kept the laptops and didn’t say so are evil.

    Bloggers who got the laptops, owned up but kept the machines have hurt the credibility of anything positive they write about Vista or Microsoft in general. Their readers will trust what they say about these topics less. That’s all.

  167. hmm.. It’s interesting how companies do better from negative PR.

    It makes me wonder if this whole give away was a planned strategy by the PR company to get bloggers up in arms and talking about Vista and MS.

    How many people would be talking so passionately if it was merely a software license that was sent to the bloggers or the more standard full page advert in a national paper?

    It seems that they (Edelman) have earned their pay on this one… and people… we have played into their hands, good on them :)

  168. hmm.. It’s interesting how companies do better from negative PR.

    It makes me wonder if this whole give away was a planned strategy by the PR company to get bloggers up in arms and talking about Vista and MS.

    How many people would be talking so passionately if it was merely a software license that was sent to the bloggers or the more standard full page advert in a national paper?

    It seems that they (Edelman) have earned their pay on this one… and people… we have played into their hands, good on them :)

  169. Hardware sites regularly receive products for review and pretty much common to them, who can afford to test and review the latest hardware or software than the manufacturer to send them for free. I think its brave for microsoft to send a laptop to bloggers who used different platform(mac and linux) for them to experience the difference between what they are using and vista. As long as there are full disclosure where it came from. You really cant please all the people..Damn if you do..damn if you dont. IF GOOGLE OR APPLE DID THIS EXPECT THOSE DAMN BLOGGERS TO PRAISE THEM FOR INVENTING IT…

  170. Hardware sites regularly receive products for review and pretty much common to them, who can afford to test and review the latest hardware or software than the manufacturer to send them for free. I think its brave for microsoft to send a laptop to bloggers who used different platform(mac and linux) for them to experience the difference between what they are using and vista. As long as there are full disclosure where it came from. You really cant please all the people..Damn if you do..damn if you dont. IF GOOGLE OR APPLE DID THIS EXPECT THOSE DAMN BLOGGERS TO PRAISE THEM FOR INVENTING IT…

  171. [...] Lastly, I’ve already got a few posts queued up and ready to go tonight as embargos lift… so you’ll probably want to check back. Three of the announcements are particularly interesting: One is a little early and wireless, I expected it next year (someone jumped the gun, so I was cleared to post last night). One is little late and somewhat different, I expected it last year. One is right on time, but it’s really two. And NO, none of these are the iPhone and Microsoft didn’t give me a Ferrari laptop. [...]

  172. Free MacTablet With Leopard Preinstalled!?

    There’s a lot of poop flying about regarding the thousand or so laptops Microsoft’s PR company has sent out.
    First… Whoop Dee Doo! Good for those thousand or so chosen few. I’m sure there will be plenty of good, constructive thi…

  173. I think it is a good idea to give people Microsoft Windows Vista free.I just bought my computer a year ago and I can’t afford to go buy another one just so I can have Windows Vista on it.I sure don’t have the money to go out and buy Windows Vista.

  174. I think it is a good idea to give people Microsoft Windows Vista free.I just bought my computer a year ago and I can’t afford to go buy another one just so I can have Windows Vista on it.I sure don’t have the money to go out and buy Windows Vista.

  175. I understand Microsoft fears people will make uninformed comments on Vista. And downloading it and setting it up takes time. Being given a sexy free laptop with it on the other hand and they’ll definitely play around with it. But those they give it to loose credibility. To get the moral high ground they could have made the laptop one of those $100 for all kids on earth lap tops and collected it a few weeks later for a donation. And if Vista performed well on one of those then we’d all be truly impressed.

  176. I understand Microsoft fears people will make uninformed comments on Vista. And downloading it and setting it up takes time. Being given a sexy free laptop with it on the other hand and they’ll definitely play around with it. But those they give it to loose credibility. To get the moral high ground they could have made the laptop one of those $100 for all kids on earth lap tops and collected it a few weeks later for a donation. And if Vista performed well on one of those then we’d all be truly impressed.

  177. Vista actually comes with a money back guarantee. I was able to send it back nd get re-imbursed (shipping too!) At least they make it easy to get a refund through the MS money back guarantee program.

  178. Vista actually comes with a money back guarantee. I was able to send it back nd get re-imbursed (shipping too!) At least they make it easy to get a refund through the MS money back guarantee program.

  179. [...] I think the Microsoft Vista giveaway is an awesome idea ? ScobleizerThe more important idea is much more subtle. Think about how you use your web browser. You probably think that you are just visiting web pages. … [...]

  180. [...] I think the Microsoft Vista giveaway is an awesome idea ” Scobleizer Go read Scobble’s latest post on this: “I think the Microsoft Vista giveaway is an awesome idea” … In this case, I think it was a great idea. … [...]

  181. There is not enough discussion here of the obvious spin in this campaign: If they had sent review copies of Vista sans computers, they would have run the risk of getting bitched out about the entire process of installing this crap on existing machines. So they controlled the buzz by giving people machines pre-loaded.

  182. There is not enough discussion here of the obvious spin in this campaign: If they had sent review copies of Vista sans computers, they would have run the risk of getting bitched out about the entire process of installing this crap on existing machines. So they controlled the buzz by giving people machines pre-loaded.

  183. I agree with the opinion that it`s just marketing and that if you want to talk about a product you should know about it. I was in on the beta test and rc test ( no, I didn`t get a laptop ) and so far I love it. I tell the people I do computer work for that I love it. If I had not used it I wouldn`t recommend it. Microsoft is just doing good business.

  184. I agree with the opinion that it`s just marketing and that if you want to talk about a product you should know about it. I was in on the beta test and rc test ( no, I didn`t get a laptop ) and so far I love it. I tell the people I do computer work for that I love it. If I had not used it I wouldn`t recommend it. Microsoft is just doing good business.

  185. I couldn’t agree with you more. MS is damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Give laptops? “They are buying people.” No laptops? “They don’t understand bloggers.”

    If Google did the same thing they’d be lauded as the greatest geniuses who have graced this universe.

  186. I couldn’t agree with you more. MS is damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Give laptops? “They are buying people.” No laptops? “They don’t understand bloggers.”

    If Google did the same thing they’d be lauded as the greatest geniuses who have graced this universe.

  187. I understand Microsoft fears people will make uninformed comments on Vista. And downloading it and setting it up takes time. Being given a sexy free laptop with it on the other hand and they’ll definitely play around with it. But those they give it to loose credibility. To get the moral high ground they could have made the laptop one of those $100 for all kids on earth lap tops and collected it a few weeks later for a donation

  188. I understand Microsoft fears people will make uninformed comments on Vista. And downloading it and setting it up takes time. Being given a sexy free laptop with it on the other hand and they’ll definitely play around with it. But those they give it to loose credibility. To get the moral high ground they could have made the laptop one of those $100 for all kids on earth lap tops and collected it a few weeks later for a donation

  189. FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE STUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!!!

  190. FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE STUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!!!

  191. Gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME IGMME !!!!!!!!!! BLAH BLA BLAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH GIMME!!!!!!!!

    please

  192. Gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME IGMME !!!!!!!!!! BLAH BLA BLAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH GIMME!!!!!!!!

    please

  193. I agree with the opinion that it`s just marketing and that if you want to talk about a product you should know about it. I was in on the beta test and rc test ( no, I didn`t get a laptop ) and so far I love it. I tell the people I do computer work for that I love it. If I had not used it I wouldn`t recommend it. Microsoft is just doing good business.

  194. I agree with the opinion that it`s just marketing and that if you want to talk about a product you should know about it. I was in on the beta test and rc test ( no, I didn`t get a laptop ) and so far I love it. I tell the people I do computer work for that I love it. If I had not used it I wouldn`t recommend it. Microsoft is just doing good business.

  195. That statement invalidates all the ensuing arguments. I’ve heard it often, because it is easy to blame everything on some Evil Empire being greedy. I started the FontFont label 16 years ago and still have to work every day. Nobody has become a millionair designing type. It takes at least 100 hours to design and produce a family of 4 weights. So much for recreating Garamond, Bodoni et al. Go ahead, have fun!

  196. That statement invalidates all the ensuing arguments. I’ve heard it often, because it is easy to blame everything on some Evil Empire being greedy. I started the FontFont label 16 years ago and still have to work every day. Nobody has become a millionair designing type. It takes at least 100 hours to design and produce a family of 4 weights. So much for recreating Garamond, Bodoni et al. Go ahead, have fun!

  197. Probably the biggest problem that it is running into is the transparency of the blogosphere. If it were still old media, that transparency wouldn’t exist and nobody would have said anything about getting a laptop from Microsoft. But us bloggers have a little pride and want to be transparent.

  198. Probably the biggest problem that it is running into is the transparency of the blogosphere. If it were still old media, that transparency wouldn’t exist and nobody would have said anything about getting a laptop from Microsoft. But us bloggers have a little pride and want to be transparent.