My old mucker Trevor Cook points to a recent all-expenses junket paid for by Microsoft to hype its supposed ‘iPod killer’, the bizarrely-nomenclatured ‘Zune’. Like it ever has a chance! As if the iPod isn’t firmly entrenched in the vocabulary of the digital generation already… sheesh!
Plus it is mouth-wateringly beautiful in its design — and nothing so far, not even anything iRiver or anyone else has constructed — has come close to eclipsing the original and the best.
But that hasn’t stopped Microsoft engaging in what every other large/major company has engaged in from time immemorial — the fully expenses-paid, business-class junket.
Trevor is quite right to call this out for what it is — potential astroturfing — but let us not underestimate both the greed AND the honesty of the pundits Microsoft invited.
The blogosphere has proven itself remarkably adept at ‘outing’ vested interests and deception. What would stop anyone, post-Scoble, accepting the junket and then posting what their real views were.
As an example of this, I have just posted an ‘as I see it’ response to a question in that fantastic murky Aussie net underworld, Whirlpool. Someone asked about Dynamic Web Hosting and, seeing as they host my blog, I posited a response. I called it as I see it.
Why wouldn’t Microsoft be aware that the bloggers they had paid to check out the new Zune equally have that opportunity to ‘tell it like they see it’?
Bloggers are no different to journalists — a free trip, a lot of wine, a nice slap-up meal… it would put anyone in a more positive frame of mind. It’s called ‘Reciprocity’ and its an age-old psychological principle that, should you need to know more about it, Robert Cialdini gives the most erudite and powerful decryption of its power in his series of books on Persuasion. Give me, this blog, my main website and my training material a few positive reviews and I would probably post glowing reviews of your wisdom, perspicacity and insight, too!
…At least until evidence of anything opposite came to my attention. Then watch out…
As Trevor says,
…this Microsoft jaunt is just the tip of a very murky iceberg (mashed-up metaphors, yeh) as more companies recognise that many bloggers are up for a little wining and dining
Good heavens — if Mrs BetterComms took me out to dinner and wined me, no doubt I’d be willing to
%#^&(&$^(@^& [censored - Ed.] Why should bloggers be any different from paid journalists and the rest of the human race? Who is paying me to be arch and vindictive and spiteful and bite the hand that feeds me?
It depends on how I view the balance — the balance between Freudian ‘pleasure’ and ‘pain’ (it’s a fine line, as Chrissy Amphlett once noted); the pleasure of your company (oh, goodness, how many 80s aussie band references can I get into one post?) and the pain of writing something that may not sit as ‘the complete truth’ with me (and bugger the post-modern philosophical pretensions).
p.s. Andrew Duffield, if you get to read this — PLEASE get in touch, as YOU are the reason ‘Pleasure of Your Company’ was so bloody good (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, listen to the beginning of 79 A.D. to get a flavour of Andrew’s eclectic, wonderful style (mp3 snippet)).
ADDENDUM: and if anyone has a copy of So Red The Rose, without any vocals, please let me know. Because that would have to be THE keyboard/synth players ‘Album of the Century’. Many synth keyboardists I know, like myself, bow down at the feet of Nick Rhodes.