Lots of people like BL Ochman are screaming bloody murder about Microsoft giving bloggers and other influentials free laptops loaded with Windows Vista. I personally don’t get it.
That is a GREAT idea. After all, how can anyone have a decent conversation about Windows Vista without having put a bunch of time on one of the machines?
Now, regarding blogger ethics. Did you disclose? If you did, you have ethics. If you didn’t, you don’t. It’s that black and white with me.
Did you sell your soul and you disclosed that? Fine. Now it’s up to the readers to decide whether anything you say is worth listening to. But you’re ethical.
Are you trying to hide that you sold your soul? That’s not ethical.
On Edelman’s side? Is sending out laptops ethical? Of course! That’s their job. Their job is to get the product and company they represent in front of as many influentials as possible.
For instance, the Edwards campaign has several journalists and bloggers in New Orleans right now. How many of them have disclosed whether they are paying their expenses or not?
The one thing I would have done differently is forced disclosure by those who get the laptops.
UPDATE: Now Microsoft is asking bloggers not to keep the laptops, according to Marshall Kirkpatrick.