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What’s so wrong with Microsoft’s Acer Ferrari gift?

A lot of people are screaming bloody murder with that Acer Ferrari laptop loaded with Vista which Microsoft sent as gifts to top bloggers. What is so wrong about that?

A gift is a gift is a gift. If Google is sending their top Adwords customers and Adsense Publishers gifts every Christmas, and hardware companies sending tech forums (like AnandTech) regular review copies of new video cards or processors, how is that different from the one Microsoft did? Intel actually did a similar marketing earlier with their Intel Blogger Challenge — a free Core Duo or Core 2 Centrino laptop in exchange for blogging about their experience with it.

I didn’t hear any scandal over that one or did I just missed it?

I think it’s because this time, it was Microsoft that did the attempted bribing. Had it been Steve Jobs sending out Apple Macbook Pros to bloggers asking for a review in exchange of the free laptop, we’d been hearing cheers and jeers for a brilliant marketing ploy.

I guess it’s not always what you do but who you are that determines the ethics of the deed.

Likewise, do you ask your doctor which drug companies are sending him gifts before buying those prescriptions he wrote for you?

Again, if you’re too picky, treat it as advertising. Don’t tell me you’d send back a new Mazda 6 Lancer GT 2007 from Mitsubishi or a brand new house & lot at Valenza from Crown Asia if they send it to you as gifts in exchange for a review or endorsement.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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11 Responses

  1. Carlo says:

    I don’t think there’s something wrong with it as long as the giver don’t ask for a Positive Review in exchange of the gift. If they ask for a review then that’ll be fine as long as they’re OK with impartial review ;)

  2. kid says:

    politics in the blogosphere. hehe ;)

  3. Marc says:

    Teka Mazda 6 from Mazda dapat :P

  4. Heathen Dan says:

    By calling them “gifts,” you’ve already succumbed to the naysayers’ framing of the topic. They’re not so much gifts as they are review units. Reviewers can opt to keep the laptops after they review Microsoft’s products, or they can return it. They can even donate it to a charity if they’re feeling charitable. That’s pretty much standard in product reviews.

  5. Miguel says:

    In principle, I agree with Joel Spolsky, formerly of Microsoft: Bribing bloggers.

    In practice, I’m not sure I can refuse!

  6. jhay says:

    Agreed. Ethical lines may be blurred but we still know what a bribe is from a generous gift. Besides, ethical standards varies across countries and cultures.

  7. KK says:

    Just call it a “free sample” given to select lucky people. Bribe is too strong of a word– only reserved for corrupt government officials ;).

  8. Jerome G. says:

    Last Aug. 2005 I received a laptop from Canonical ltd. to test the milestone development snapshots of Ubuntu for 3 release cycles. The test lasted for more than a year and it was worth it. After the Oct. 2006 release the laptop was completely mine. The only thing I did was report bugs, help test beta code, and report back results. The aim was to make an almost perfect laptop support for Ubuntu and not for review purposes (although it didn’t stop us from reviewing the support in Ubuntu). However, I think this is a much more welcome methodology instead of just spreading machines then get flack from those who didn’t receive one.

  9. Miguel says:

    Yeah, had Microsoft done it through the beta program or MSDN, no prob.

  10. markku says:

    I’ll take the Mazda6 or the Lancer. Hell, I’d even grab a Picanto or a Getz. Hehehe.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with receiving a gift, especially if you disclose it.

  11. angelo remigio says:

    a gift is a gift, theres nothing wrong with that!!! you don’t have to give different meanings regarding on what ,how ,when these generous company give free laptops.besides everyone is praying to receive one.don’t you?

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