The Last Podcast Opinionated Web 2.0 News and Commentary


28 December 2006 @ 12pm


Microsoft Wants Its Notebooks Back

The Laughing Squid yesterday reported, Microsoft’s PR firm Edelman sent him a laptop, with “no strings attached” and on another blog, a Microsoft employee left the following message:

“Full disclosure – while I hope you will blog about your experience with the pc, you don’t have to. Also, you are welcome to send the machine back to us after you are done playing with it, or you can give
it away on your site, or you can keep it. My recommendation is that you give it away on your site.”

I hope this information helps. We want to be fully transparent about what we are doing here.

Aaron Coldiron, Windows Vista

Now today, Marshall Kirkpatrick reports that Microsoft wants the laptops back.


No good deed goes unpunished, right? You may have seen that other bloggers got review machines as well. Some of that coverage was not factual. As you write your review I just wanted to emphasize that this is a review pc. I strongly recommend you disclose that we sent you this machine for review, and I hope you give
your honest opinions. Just to make sure there is no misunderstanding of our intentions I’m going to ask that you either give the pc away or send it back when you no longer need it for product reviews.

Thanks for your understanding, and happy reviewing,
Aaron ***

Clearly, if everybody received that first message, then this was NOT a review PC. It wasn’t meant to be one. It was a gift (an unethical one, but a gift nevertheless). Had I received one, I would do two things: a) not mention it on my blog and b) keep it, just to spite Microsoft.

What a disaster for Microsoft. Just after getting a little bit of love, they find that Edelman has messed up once again. If anybody has a contract with Edelman, make sure that whatever they do, they do NOT include blogs in their strategy – it is – almost by definition – going to backfire on you.

I wonder if the basic lesson here isn’t simply that buying word of mouth can’t be bought (at least in the blogosphere).