So I came across an article found in Linux Watch which reports how Microsoft selectively sent out free computers with windows vista uploaded on them for bloggers to evaluate. In addition, I found another article by the Swedish Beauty where the beauty bloggers were given free treatment before they evaluated the new beauty enhancement treatments. Imagine someone asked you if wanted some free technology or a free medical treatment which could make you look fabulous. What would you do? Well, let me give you a few more important details and then tell you what I think.
What is important about the Microsoft computers and the Swedish treatments is that they essentially were bribes to significant bloggers in order to create a more positive review of their products. For instance, the computers were brand spankin new Acer’s Ferrari laptops valued between 2,000 and $2,400.00 for each blogger (90+). Upon recieving the computers the bloggers were told that they could keep them, sell them, or return them. But who really would return such a present after recieving it?
In the Q-med example, however, the bloggers on the recieving end would not even have the option of returning medical treatment (ie wrinkle removal, breast augmentation). How does one return a breast augmentation anyhow? Microsoft a software devlopment company and Q-Med, an biotech company which specializes in implants for “aesthetic and medical” are both using money to invest in “gifts” to journalist bloggers to increase positive coverage of their products.
Why This is Troubling?
Personally, I believe that the companies that entice bloggers with their “gifts” are just doing their job. It is the public relations job to entice people to keep positive news on their side. For instance, Microsoft maintained that the computers were only “review PCs“.
However the problem lies in the public trust placed in the journalist trade. The grayish color of ethics in this situation for the bloggers is troubling. Bloggers should not get caught in a stream of special interest gifts that affect the topics that they cover, and what types of reviews they give to them. Bloggers will inevitably rate the new technologies that come out better simply because they were given preferential treatment (i.e. not having to buy it and having it come already installed for immediate use).
What I propose it simple, If a bribe-gift-present- and/or promotional type of scenario arises with your blog you should cite how you came about getting your handy new technology, or you should not accept the “gift.” Do not let big companies buy you out for a measly two grand bribe – it simply is not worth it.
1) What are some other ethical issues you are concerned about as a blogger?
2) What is you view on accepting “gifts”/”bribes” as a blogger?