On Accepting Free Stuff

By Deane Barker on December 29, 2006

Bribing Bloggers: This is a really interesting post from Spolsky about the ethics of bloggers accepting free stuff from vendors. Apparently Microsoft offered to send Joel a new Ferrari laptop pre-loaded with Vista, for free.

[…] I’ve decided that from this point forward I’m not accepting anything, full stop. Even if my moral logic is faulty, and there’s nothing wrong with accepting gifts, I personally feel that it’s not worth the reduced credibility. Who are the most trusted reviewers out there? Consumer Reports, probably. They don’t take anything from vendors. They even buy everything they review at retail, which is what I’m going to do.

I’ve taken some free stuff, but not much. And I agree with Joel that it does kind of force you to post on it.

Some time ago, I reviewed a book for Packt Publishing on phpMyAdmin. Luckily, it was a great book, and I wrote about it in those terms.

However, they have sent me one other than I didn’t like at all, and I told them so. I never wrote about that one. They also sent me the latest edition of the phpMyAdmin book, and I couldn’t find anything new and noteworthy to post about, so I mentioned that to them as well.

Just recently, they sent me their Drupal book. I haven’t had enough time to look through that one, but I’ll probably write about it because I have a post forthcoming on Drupal in general.

(Look through the above paragraphs: I just gave Packt several inbound links, which I would have had no reason to do if they hadn’t sent me something for free. Also, I didn’t link to the book I hated, and I can’t bring myself to out of some feeling of responsibility and obligation to Packt.)

Oh, who am I kidding? I still want free stuff.

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