Acer Ferrari laptop giveaway

December 29, 2006

Seems Microsoft stuffed up somehow, and I’m wondering how AMD and Acer are reacting to it all.

In the last few days, various bloggers around the world have received Acer Ferrari 64-bit laptops (preloaded with Vista of course) to review (not me mind you – I’m not in that class of blogger). They were told they could do what they liked with them afterwards – keep them, return them, or give them away. But of course, many people who didn’t receive them complained (presumably because they didn’t get them) and Microsoft promptly wrote back to say that they shouldn’t keep them.

I think it’s best described by someone who wrote a comment on a blog about this (I’d link to it, but I can’t find it right now). They were from a magazine who often receives hardware, software, miscellaneous stuff to review (and keep). The difference seems to be that they were given to bloggers (who potentially have a wider reach than magazines these days), and bloggers are a different kind of person to a magazine journalist.

A magazine journalist writes “The Acer Ferrari 1000 is an excellent machine….” without saying where they get it from. Everyone would assume that they got the machine to review from the Acer marketing department, and accept that it’s just part of the job.

A blogger writes the same, but precedes it with “A package arrived for me today…”, and therein lies the problem. They’re not a paid journalist, and no-one can really differentiate between themselves and the next blogger. But of course there is. Celebrities get asked to endorse stuff all the time and no-one questions it. I guess bloggers are the new celebrities, at least in the tech-world.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. alunj

    American law says, IIRC (and IANAL), that unsolicited goods through the mail are yours to keep and do with as you please.
    I guess some of the nay-sayers will tell you that celebrities are known to be biased in what they hawk – and of course, so are bloggers. The trick is to know what bias your chosen blogs have.
    Frankly, when I get free stuff, I say “thank you”, I play with it, and if I like it, I write good things about it; if I don’t like it, I write bad things about it and give it away or return it. I may even say “this is a great thing, but I wouldn’t pay the money they’re asking for it”.
    This is no different from magazines and newspapers, who are given freebies for review purposes – usually they are allowed to keep the review freebies.
    I think you can discern bias from reading the blog, regardless of whether the blogger received freebies or not.
    Now, of course, if the freebie was unrelated to the review product – “write a review about our product while you’re on this free cruise” – you could get reasonably upset.
    Me, if I’d received a Ferrari, I’d be giving it to a deserving computer user – my wife, say, or the company she works for. It’d be entirely coincidence that this is the same company I work part-time for. 🙂

  2. robfarley

    Yeah, I figure I’m entitled to be both jealous and congratulatory.

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