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.
Update: I don't know who B.L. Ochman is, but I do not agree with her. I see nothing wrong with what happened: http://www.whatsnextblog.com/archives/2006/12/edelman_doesnt_give_a_crap_what_you_think_about_their_ethics.asp