Nathan Weinberg Defends Bloggers Involved in Microsoft's Laptop Fiasco
In a January 1, 2007, post at at Inside Microsoft headlined Ironic: Free Vista PC Arrives Broken; Plus, The Last Word, New York-based blogger Nathan Weinberg offers the most vehement defense I've seen to date of the 90 bloggers who received from Microsoft either a Velocity Micro Media Center PC or a $2,200 Acer Ferrari laptop with AMD chips and loaded with Windows Vista.
Weinberg commented on the fact that the machine sent to 18-year old Australian blogger Long Zheng, who "didn't get a Ferrari laptop, but a Media Center PC," arrived damaged. He said "Long Zheng "seems very disheartened over this Windows Vista free PC blogger fiasco'." He describes what happened to Long's machine and said, "After all the crap Long has to go through, he didn’t even get a computer out of it. Crazy."
That was followed by this:
I was talking with one of the bloggers who got a free laptop, and I feel like I shouldn’t save the way I feel for just IM conversations. Here’s the fact: There is nothing wrong with bloggers accepting free stuff. Major news organizations have policies about not accepting swag because reporters fight over this stuff, and because there are lots of dishonest people who literally trade products for positive reviews. That is their fault. The readers of this blog know who I am, and if they don’t trust me, they shouldn’t be reading here.
Any blogger who feels he could not accept a free laptop and remain impartial is a blogger I’m not interested in reading. If you don’t have enough confidence in your abilities as a journalist to not be blinded by a laptop, then why should I, or anyone else, have any confidence in you? You don’t have to accept the laptop, but if you don’t believe in yourself, then neither do I.
Weinberg said, "The worst part about this is that it is bringing out the worst elements of the online community. The haters, the flamers, the assholes who only comment when they are mad. These aren’t the regular readers of Scott Beale’s blog. These people don’t hang onto Long Zheng’s every witty remark. They don’t rely on Brandon LeBlanc, they’ve never heard of Mitch Denny, and they don’t care how hard Ed Bott works. They hang out at community sites, working on their post counts, fighting with the moderators, and only venture into the blogosphere when something pisses them off."
There is more, but I've quoted enough. You get the picture. If you agree or disagree with Weinberg's opinion, feel free to leave a comment, if you think its worth discussing.
By the way, this whole affairs reminds me of the payola system that was once prevalent, and still may be, in the record industry. If the influential bloggers receiving machines do a review of Windows Vista favorable or unfavorable, I recommend they label them sponsored by Microsoft. Isn't Microsoft hoping the recipients will feel obligated to offer a review in return for the gifts?