A thought occured to me as I was waiting for the Ortiz – Liddel fight. I hope I can type this out quickly enough before the fight starts.
Let me tell you something. If Mae Rivera, PR head of Microsoft Philippines gives me a free laptop to review Windows Vista with, then I would do the following in this order: 1. thank my lucky stars, 2. thank her, 3. thank Microsoft, 4. tell the world about it via my blog, and 5. go and review Vista with it.
Doing so, I think I would be doing the right thing which are (again in numeric order. Sorry, I like trying to organize my thoughts): 1. Thank all those responsible for giving me a gift. 2. Tell everyone about it, just because it’s an interesting thing to share, and 3. Review Vista with it, and share it with as many people as possible (regardless of your opinion being positive or not) which is the least you could do.
Of course, not everyone shares this pov. And that’s fine. If you wanna give it to charity, return it to Microsoft, or lambast MS with their marketing technique, so be it.
However, let me be frank in saying that if you think Microsoft is trying to buy your opinion with it, then you are stupid.
First of all, you’d be stupid if you were in the business of writing good opinions based on receiving freebies. Doing such taints your reputation, and your value as a reliable source of reviews will sink like a stone. Second, the reason Microsoft gave you a laptop is precisely because they consider you as someone with an opinion important enough to be given one. If you had previously sold your opinion in exchange for a doodad, then Microsoft will not want to deal with you after having tainted your name doing so. And third, Microsoft is not stupid. I know that because I know people like Mae respect the press, and as such the press respects her back. If she were to tell me that reciept of such a gift is contingent on a favorable review, then I, as well as the other press, would make sure her statement would be on the news faster than PGMA’s Cha-Cha revival. It’s the farthest thing MS’s PR would do.
I’m not even gonna mention the fact that since it’s a gift, it behooves the recipient to do whatever they wish afterwards. Hence, should they decide after a thorough review that Vista is worthless, then they are free to say so in complete transparency without worry of retribution from big old bad MS.
By giving those laptops, MS is counting on the possibility that you might actually like it, and take measures to say so. If it does happen to be an exceptional product, then you are doing people a favor by telling them which will surely be appreciated.
Wait, I think I should probably add that to the list. If you are an IT professional whose opinion has some weight in this world, neglecting the opportunity to educate people on a good product, especially something as influential as a Microsoft Operating System, is stupid.
Ok the fight’s about to start..
It’s 1:53 and the fight’s over. Here’s more:
And guess what, here’s another one. If you are not going to accept the laptop because you are afraid of “what people might think”, then again you are stupid, because you are already allowing your opinion to effectively be shaped by others. If you are afraid that people will think you’re a sell-out, then you already are, except you are not selling out to Microsoft but to these people’s opinions.
If you are afraid that the ‘blogosphere’ will be tainted by Microsoft, Mr. Stupid is again knocking on your door, getting comfy on your couch, switching on the tube, and reaching for the phone to order coffee and doughnuts. It is YOUR opinion that counts, not the ‘blogosphere’ (whatever that is), not the press, not your neighbor, not the guys who frequent your blog, nothing. If you are influential enough to be worth attention from Microsoft, you will take your opinion and guard it even further, because apparently people value it.