The Giveaway

I find it humorous that after the Blogger meeting with Bill Gates–where he walked into a room of bloggers, all of whom were using Apple laptops–Microsoft works with Acer to send out Windows laptops to webloggers. As Jeneane notes, primarily male webloggers (and I’ve not seen anything among the ASP.NET webloggers about them receiving anything from the company).

It was a foolish move if, for no other reason, they sent laptops to many people who can easily afford to buy a laptop. More, the same people who get offered so much anyway, creating a strong divide between the tiny haves and the many have-nots. A better approach would have been to provide a random drawing, a contest, or some other event if they wanted to provide webloggers with Windows laptops. Then the event would have generated attention without the acrimony.

That’s that not the point, though. Microsoft wanted to influence the influencers, tossing a few machines to some on the edges more as distraction (“See? Not everyone we gave one to is an A Lister.”) It was a rather amateurish act, and I have to wonder about these PR companies and their inability to get things right.

I don’t begrudge the folks getting one who could not afford such, and more power to them. I hope they keep the machines, because it would cruel to make them give up something that has become a real and unexpected treat. If you know such, then back off and let them enjoy something delightfully unexpected.

I do wonder, though, at those who have so much already who continue to take and take. The words “gluttony” and “greed” come to mind, but I’m sure that such surfacing is purely coincidence, webloggers being the selfless bunch that we are.

I did get a kick out of the Slashdot comment, This is typical MS behaviour – entirely immoral and calculating … and where do I sign up?

No, I did not get a machine. The only times I’ve been offered a freebie is when Clay Shirky and Tim O’Reilly and others offered to pay my plane ticket to an O’Reilly tech conference, though I would have to pay for my own hotel and food. That was back when I first started pointing out the fact that O’Reilly conferences had few women. Blogher did the same, but I think they were working on seeing I was fed and housed, ungrateful pup that I was.

Microsoft did offer to give me the deluxe treatment at the Search Camp Spa, back when I had blogging cred. I declined, forever banishing me to the hinterland of “those who don’t get it”. Literally it would seem.

Oh and folks who followed the old Burningbird weblog site have helped me out from time to time so I could keep the site running. See? It’s all your faults. You could have gotten rid of me years ago.

Ooops. Oops. I forgot, I did get a free gift.

When I wrote about lens cleaning and pointed folks to Copperhill and their lens cleaning kits, they were nice enough to send me a DVD cleaning kit as a note of appreciation. It has the cutest little iPod screen cleaner you’ve ever seen — just like a baby felt covered squeegee.

Oh god, now I’m forever tainted. I’ve failed Scoble’s and Arrington’s criteria for ethical webloggers. I will be known for now and forever as the Woman Who Took the Baby Felt Covered Squeegee and Didn’t Disclose.

This sucks. I feel so ashamed.

This entry was posted in Stuff. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Giveaway

  1. dave rogers says:

    Perhaps you could stand on the street corner with the Baby Felt Covered Squeegee and offer to clean the iPod screens of the digerati and get your self-respect back? ;^)

    You could ask for “micropayments.”

    Maybe start a new meme: “Panhandling 2.0″

    I suppose it’s true that money can’t buy happiness, or love. Else why would a multi-millionaire feel “shitty” about not getting a free laptop computer he could easily afford to buy?

    I confess to taking a certain unseasonal delight in Scoble’s complaint that he couldn’t get any hi-def local TV signals at his nice new house.

    Oh, the burdens these poor unfortunate souls must bear. But then, suffering is the difference between the way things are and the way we want them to be.

    And life is suffering.

    It’s just hard for me to generate any compassion for rich people pining for free laptops (or validation from Microsoft), or hi-def TV signals.

  2. Shelley says:

    picturing a tall woman with mad eyes running up to Arrington or Scoble, felt covered baby squeegee in hand, breathlessly saying, “I want to clean your iPod! I must atone, I must clean your iPod!” But then, doesn’t Arrington now have three Zunes he’s been given by Microsoft? I’d wear the poor little thing out.

    Yes those who are always wanting and wanting and wanting and taking and taking and taking are wearing thin, mighty thin.

  3. Money can’t buy happiness, or love – but it can often buy serviceable substitutes. Like a whole lot of attention that wouldn’t be present if not for the money, in part.

    I doubt the issue is the raw cost of the laptop. Rather, I suspect it’s not being considered worth bribing :-).

    Oh, to be obvious: Democracy 2.0 – Where the “influencers” are bribed to market to YOU, yes, YOU!

  4. Well, no packages containing free laptops were delivered here recently, that’s for sure & as far as I’m concerned that settles it, when I get a new laptop in the spring, it’s going to be an Apple. It’s too damn bad I’m going to have to pay for it myself. And here I’ve been blogging away for five years.

  5. Doug Alder says:

    Alright Dave, where was the goldarn !!!COFFEE ALERT!!! warning in 72 pt type

    Perhaps you could stand on the street corner with the Baby Felt Covered Squeegee and offer to clean the iPod screens of the digerati and get your self-respect back?

    Now I have to clean all the coffee off of my laptop :-)

  6. hugh macleod says:

    I have no problem with Microsoft giving away free laptops [shock horror]. However, given all the flak they have gotten from it, I would’ve done it slightly differently.

    I wouldn’t have just given the laptops to “high profile” bloggers. I would’ve given them out to much lower profile bloggers as well. It would’ve made for a much more interesting story, methinks. By just focusing on the A-Listers, they sent out a message “We don’t care what you think, we just care about your Googlejuice”.

    But that’s something to learn for next time…

  7. Rich? It’s all relative. Anyone who lives in America is rich beyond belief when compared with billions of people in the world.

    But am I rich? Oh, I should just post my mortgage, my paycheck, and my credit card debts on the Internet and let you all see the truth.

    You don’t need to be rich to buy an HDTV, by the way. A $4,000 TV costs $120 a month if you get a BestBuy credit account (which is how I bought mine — I didn’t have the cash to buy it outright). Going to a movie with a family of four twice a month costs about the same. Or, taking Patrick to a sushi dinner (which he’s very fond of) costs almost the same.

    Or, did you miss that an average home in the Silicon Valley area runs about $900,000 lately?

  8. Pingback: Lazycoder » Microsoft Vista Ferrari Giveaway

  9. rev_matt says:

    I must not ‘get it’ either. I cannot comprehend why people read Scoble or Arrington (or most of the other ‘a-list’ bloggers). It seems like most of what they do is either pimp things they have a vested interest in or throw a bunch of links in a post and move on without adding any value. I find original content heavy blogs like you and joelonsoftware, randsinrepose, and the dilbert blog much more interesting and actually informative. I’ve tried reading the A’s, but just find them too boring.

  10. Audrey says:

    It’s the attention economy, as in “you pay attention to me and I’ll pay attention to you and we’ll all make money while those poor suckers drool at our feet”.