You have probably read about the Ferrari laptops Microsoft sent to a bunch of people, mostly bloggers, so they can conduct adequate reviews of Vista. If not, check out Scoble’s thoughts on the program. I agree with Robert that it is a good idea and I know that all of the bloggers I follow and read will give an honest opinion about Vista and not let the possibility that they get to keep the laptop sway their opinion. If they were overly enthusiastic and gushed praise where we know there are issues then it would be obvious, but I think the blogosphere would call them on that too. It sounds to me like a bunch of bloggers who weren’t included in the program are ticked and jealous so they are spouting off.
It seems these vocal bloggers may have forced Microsoft to change their deal a bit and now they apparently sent out emails encouraging folks to either give the laptop away at the end of their evaluation or return it to Microsoft. Most every blogger I know writes for the love of writing and sharing with the community and many do it in their spare time so I don’t see a problem with letting them keep a small token from Microsoft, as long as that is fully disclosed to the readers. Most tech enthusiast bloggers are not journalists who get paid to write as a job and I don’t think ethical writers can have their morals purchased for a couple thousand dollars. If they can, the I won’t read them.
We usually get to keep the small accessories we review for mobile device related evaluations and if you have read my reviews, I tell you the pros and cons of everything I review. I often give away these accessories to family and friends or to people who buy my old devices.
Maybe Microsoft should have sent out the laptops the way Nokia does with the Nseries Blogger Relations program. These devices are sent out with a FedEx label so they can be returned when the blogger is done checking out the device, has no further need for it, or doesn’t want to evaluate it. I tried to send back the Nokia N70, but then was told the N73 was coming and that I should hold onto it to take comparison photos, etc. so this program is very open and understanding. I was a bit critical of the Nokia N90 in my review and even though it was the first device I was sent and very cool in many respects I didn’t give it a Geek.com pick. Readers want my honest opinion and my worst fear as a product reviewer is that someone takes my opinion and buys a product with their hard earned money that in reality has major problems. I want to be truthful and have found that companies respect that more than false praise for a product. Honest feedback helps improve future versions of products and is valuable to companies and readers.
I primarily use my MacBook Pro for most work with my Samsung Q1 UMPC for Tablet related tasks. I would love to try out Vista and specifically how well it works with mobile devices, but as of now I haven’t been sent a laptop from Microsoft and am not complaining in the least bit.
Do you think this is a good marketing tactic?