Microsoft’s review laptop fiasco

December 28, 2006

Seems the marketing and PR world just keeps stumbling on itself on how to deal with bloggers. I see all these PR seminars on how to “pitch” bloggers like you pitch MSM reporters. Well, bloggers aren’t like most MSM where the rules of what is right, above board and ethical have been pretty well worked out.

Apparently, Microsoft and AMD sent a bunch of laptops to bloggers for them to review. Their PR agency is Edelman and Edelman is positioning itself at the forefront of online PR strategies–at some pretty high cost I would say. Robert Scoble weighed in and said this was great as long as the bloggers divulged they got a free laptop out of the review. Joelonsoftware vigorously disagreed. He may be right.

Apparently Microsoft and AMD got some feedback that by doing so they were clumsily trying to influence how those products are reviewed (let’s see, sending products for review to publications has been a pretty well established practice I believe). But they forgot how self-righteous, ethically pure, and petulant many of the bloggers can be. So when Microsoft decided they had made a mistake by offering such a bennie to the bloggers they tried to backtrack and suggest that the bloggers shouldn’t keep the laptops after all. Now they are finding out just how petty and angry some of these bloggers can be. Here’s a dandy.

A lesson to be learned by all those PR types trying to figure out how to deal with bloggers. My suggestion: use kid gloves. They can be a touchy bunch. And a word to Edelman–pioneers have to take a few arrows.

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3 Responses to “Microsoft’s review laptop fiasco”

  1. vandewille Says:

    Seems to me that this has more to do with the lax ethical standards currently en vogue in the “real” journalistic world than any sort of bizarre attitude on the part of bloggers, ie. not “playing” the “PR game.” Ferrari laptops? Free of charge? Presumably to try out Vista? Sending out review copies of Vista, perhaps with a dedicated suport line for install problems? That’s PR. Meeting Bill? That’s PR. Sending out free Ferrari laptops? That’s bribery. This has nothing to do with the wavering ethical standards of bloggers as journalists. This has everything to do with poor PR advice, and the depths to which many mainstream reporters have sunk that this kind of practice would be considered normal. If they are accomplished tech bloggers, I have to assume they have the minimum technical requirements that Vista asks for. So send them the software…

  2. JamesBruni Says:

    Richard Edelman should get the St. Sebastian award for all the arrows he saw coming his way in 2006. Best wishes for a Happy New Year to Crisis blogger.

  3. gbaron Says:

    Thank you James, and a Happy New Year to you. Patrick, you too.


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