Much ado about nothin.............Laptops given to bloggers

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I started reading about this issue of "Microsoft giving laptops to bloggers with Vista"  lastnight.

The question about this seems to revolve around ethic.  The perception seems to be that bloggers are journalists.  A couple of thoughts on this concept:

  • Journalists have always had a bias.  That bias is based on a number of different personal events in their life.  Its only human nature.
  • Bloggers are not journalists.  Bloggers are people that have a passion for something and post their experiences online in a journel type of format.  In this case, that passion is technology and Windows Vista.
  • Bloggers typically do not have the resources of a company that is traditionaly associated with journalism.
  • Bloggers do not typically make enough money from their blog to justify spending a large amount of money on their hobby.
  • Bloggers do not have the support staff of journalistic companies.  How do you return merchandise properly?  This doesn't sound like a big deal, but it is a major logistical issue.
  • I am not sure how this is a question of being objective.  Blogging is about a personal passion for something.  Having a passion for something is somewhat at odds with being objective.  Its not 100% at odds, but it is hard to imaging someone that  is passionate about a Mac, Windows, or whatever from objectively discussing the product or its alternatives.
  • How is this a question of ethics?  It may be a question of percieved ethics, however, I don't think that any blogger signed any ethics form before they signed up, at least i didn't.  At the same time, one does not want to hear/read complete lies.  A reader must remember that the person on the other side of the internet might be a dog.  Buyer (or is it Reader) Beware.
  • Scoble suggests that there is an implied set of standards that bloggers follow.  I don't know about that.  I don't remember signing up for one when I started a blog or podcast.  At the same time, I think that coming up with a list of rules that you will follow is an important thing.  Disclosurer of the rules you operate under is important.  I have a set of rules that I attempt to follow for my blog and for the ASP.NET Podcast.  I'll try and get that going over the next week.
There, thats some of my thoughts on the subject.  I'm sure I'll have more..........And I am sure that someone will whine about my thoughts on this.

Update: I don't know who B.L. Ochman is, but I do not agree with her.  I see nothing wrong with what happened:


  • I agree with you that it has nothing to do with ethical, it happens all the time, heck we too give free licenses to people who want to write about our work, a lot of companies do. I also agree that bloggers aren't journalists and shouldn't be seen as journalists, bloggers are opinionwriters, they share their own opinion.

    So what I think is the point is credibility: a blog is an expression of an opinion and a reader spends time reading that opinion.

    If that opinion is biased in such a way that the point made in the opinion is based on other motivations than what the writer of the opinion truly thinks, and the reader doesn't know this, what's the point of reading that opinion anyway?

    Take yourself for example. You are one of the few bloggers who dare to say that Oracle isn't that bad at all. I like that, because you didn't fall for the
    'Everything from Microsoft is preferable'-doctrine some people seem to be using. So because of this, I know your expressions here have a high risk of being honest opinions.

    If you would get a shiny laptop from Microsoft, and you'd stop blogging about oracle because of that, your readers would lose, and thus you will lose, because then your opinions here are just hot air, as valuable as Microsoft's own propaganda on their own site...

    So it's not 'nothing' this is about: it's about credibility of the bloggers who got the laptop, and the value of the opinions they ventilate. Often these people are at the root of a chain of 'did you hear?' conversations, which thus makes it about something.

    At least, in the case where you care about what you read is an honest opinion of course. If you like to read marketinggoo, then this is all about nothing.. ;)

  • All the hardware that Jerry Pournelle talked about. All the hardware you see reviewed at anandtech, or tomshardware, gaming sites, etc.

    All of that was given to them for free.

  • <Update: I don't know who B.L. Lochman is, but I do not agree with him.

    I'm a she, not a he, which you'd know if you read my blog, which has my picture on it. And my name is B.L. Ochman, not Lochman, which you'd also know if you read my blog.
    B.L. Ochman

  • BL, I have updated the post.

  • I don't see what all the fuss is about either.

    Person X blogs about subject Y.
    Company Z behind subject Y gives person X a laptop.
    Person X already blogged about subject Y, happily accepts the laptop.

    Person X carries on just like he did all the time before that.

    Yes, if person X suddenly changes all subjects he is blogging about, then he lost credibility. If he just keeps going like before, for me personally, he is still as credible as before :)

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