Posted December 28, 2006 10:07 am by with 22 comments

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I wasn’t going to share my thoughts on Microsoft sending out free laptops to some A-list bloggers. I figured it was a dumb move by Microsoft, without first seeking the permission of the blogger. But now Microsoft has made a bad situation worse by asking the bloggers to return the laptops after they “review” them. Here’s part of the new request…

You may have seen that other bloggers got review machines as well…As you write your review I just wanted to emphasize that this is a review pc…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.

What the heck?

PR powerhouse, Edelman, was actually behind the backfiring initiative, but they really slipped-up by now acting as if they only ever meant for the recipient to review the loaded Vista OS and then return the machine. If that was the case, why not just send them a copy of Vista?

Edelman’s not had a good year when it comes to blogging. The company likes to think of itself as being at the cutting edge of blogging – especially with their hire of Steve Rubel – but they’ve had one stumble after another.

First rule of blogging screw-ups – admit you made a mistake. Edelman needs to come clean and admit they should never have sent out the laptops in the first place. Asking bloggers to now return (or give away) the machines is akin to throwing water on a pan of burning oil, in an attempt to put the fire out. If you’ve ever seen that demonstrated, you’ll know the mess Edelman just created.

  • MikeOK

    Hi Andy

    Can you give me your “evalution” PC?? Or am I just assuming you are an A-list blogger?

  • graywolf

    It’s very easy to “shoot yourself in the foot” in the blogosphere, at Edelman we help you move the gun closer and take better aim 😉

  • Bill

    Giving Vista away without the proper hardware could make for a poor experience.

    Acer is getting their ROI from having more people blog about their product than the original number of notebooks distributed.

    The bloggers that received the notebook will also benefit from the traffic they receive. Some might actually like the product and give it a good review.

    Looks like a great campaign in my eyes. The loudmouths trying to twist it into a failure are really helping the hype.

  • Todd Mintz

    Andy, you made a great post a while back about the value that a solid PR firm can bring to a business…what about the value that a bad PR firm can take away from a business?

  • Win2K_user

    “Giving Vista away without the proper hardware could make for a poor experience.”

    Yeah, wouldn’t want that to happen to anyone.

  • Jestep

    “Asking bloggers to now return (or give away) the machines is akin to throwing water on a pan of burning oil”

    I think it’s more like pouring gasoline on the pan of burning oil.

    One thing is for sure, they will get some PR out of the whole ordeal.

  • Andy Beal

    Great feedback. I really think PR firms that claim to be engaged in social media need to think long and hard about their strategy. I think Edelman could be accused of trying to be too clever in their attempts to engage bloggers. Honestly, if you have to give a blogger $2,000+ worth of incentive, you should already know that you’ve gone too far.

  • nettie hartsock

    Great post Andy! I totally agree that Edelman somehow thinks they’ll outsmart bloggers but all they’re really doing is making it so no bloggers buy into their “silly rabbit tricks”.

    They’re suffering under the flog scandal which they still have yet to really clear the air about and it seems now they’re suffering under the false conception that bloggers are stupid.

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  • Jeremy Pepper

    The glass house link says quite a bit. What happened to the days where we were behind the curtain, stayed in the background? Where we were bridgemakers, not gatekeepers? There are fundamental problems in PR, and this just adds to it.

  • C T Zen

    the people crying hoarse seem to be hypocrite. On one end you are trying to take a moral high ground saying that Micrsoft did unethical and on the other end you say that microsoft is doing wrong by asking back the machines. You are some greedy guys,who are full of hate for microsft and no ethics of your own as well. you don have rights to cry and blame others.

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  • Chris Clark

    I was amazed to read all these elegantly written Vista blogs when I was looking for answers about why my IE7 kept crashing. In favours outweigh the very direct wording of the detractors 4 to 1 on So Microsoft got their message across.

    I’m now amazed that Microsoft are pulling them all back. Nothing like giving an A-List Blogger a piece of real controversy to talk about.

    Could run for months!

  • stef

    i dont see what the big deal is. asking for them back is as weird as everyone making such a fuss about it

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