I think I've mentioned in the past that I enjoy David Pogue's technology column in the New York Times. Today's article (also on his blog) is about some slightly old news. A few weeks ago Microsoft gave about 90 bloggers free $2,200 laptops so they could try out Windows Vista and (hopefully) blog about it (positively).
Pogue argues that keeping the laptops pretty much invalidates anything the blogger says about the product and that "real" journalists would not be allowed to keep the products they test and review and still retain their credibility.
Clearly, they’re exploiting the lawless, Brave New World of the blogsophere, where, since they’re Not Quite Journalists, they don’t feel constrained by any of those pesky journalistic ethics guidelines. Like the one that says, “You don’t keep $2,200 gifts from the subject of your review. You might think you can still write an impartial review, but it’s highly unlikely-and either way, nobody will believe it.”
This issue has been hotly debated in the blogosphere. Dave Taylor has a lengthly post and links to several others who joined in the debate. What's your take on the issue?
A few months ago, Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound, and Patsi and I offered a program on how to pitch bloggers. If you're considering approaching bloggers as part of a publicity plan, we suggest you listen to the program first.