You may have recently read about Microsoft’s recent marketing promotion where they have given out pimped laptops to several big name bloggers. It has gotten a lot of response, both negative and positive. But the stupidest response I’ve read thus far comes from Joel – one of the high brow bloggers that was sent a laptop.
His article about Bribing Bloggers is the most high horse article I have read in a long time. He talks about how is it low, shady, and down right unethical for Microsoft to send out free laptops as a promotion because it degrades the credibility of bloggers. He seems to think that handing a blogger a free Ferrari laptop makes them obligate to write good things about Microsoft on their high traffic blogs.
I think this is a silly claim because the entire point and purpose of blogging is to write about your experiences. It doesn’t matter if that experience is with a smokin’ new laptop or a spindle of twine. Bloggers write about what happens to them – good or bad – just because it happened.
If I was given a free laptop (I wish) you bet your batooky that I would write about here. Why? Because it happened to me and it is pretty fantastic – I mean, a free laptop! But I wouldn’t be writing about because I thought I owed something to Microsoft as a thank you – that’s just stupid. And frankly, if the laptop sucked or broke, I would write about that too.
He seems to think that when bloggers are given free stuff to talk about and review it cheapens the value of what is written. I hate to burst your bubble Joel, but there are more bloggers out there than just you, and most of them are NOT getting laptops dropped on their door step. So when it comes to reading about products or experiences, the quality of reports will even out. Those that are writing good because they feel obligated will be on one side, and those that hate everything on the other. In the middle lies us little bloggers that write honestly about what we experience, regardless who has given us what and how.
I got a freebie once because I blogged about it. Actually, I wrote about before “blog” was a word, but on the old Moogman.com I wrote about a commercial I saw on TV for a 2-disc set titled Mullets Rock. I wrote about how the commercial made me laugh and how at first I thought the commercial was a joke…until the 1-800 number appeared on screen.
Much to my surprise, shortly after I posted that article the guy that made the Mullets Rock CDs e-mailed me and was sending me a the set for free to talk about on my site. Free!? Seriously? Awesome. So I got the set and gave it listen and reviewed it. The set was pretty good, a mix of some great classic rock tunes – but there some not-so-good ones too, and I said that.
Point being, I wrote about the entire experience, not just a five star review for an album regardless of quality. Fortunately, the album was good, but had it entirely sucked, I would have said. It’s not like the guy is going to come take the free album back. Any press is good – because someone’s complaint is another’s selling point.
If I thought about the whole free-things-to-bloggers scenario enough, it might inspire me to write more and improve my writing in hopes that someone will send me more free stuff! And more shared experiences can only be a good thing for everyone.
Contributing to a blog is about sharing experiences and telling stories. If you’re writing only to get free things and sell your products then you don’t run a blog, you run a business. Good for you, but let the rest of us write in peace without worry about yourself. Sheesh.