Check Blogging Ethic - How to Handle an Equipment Review Request

(Kim Possible...one of my daughter's favorite cartoons)


My mouth about hit the floor when I saw this hardware review offer come in (anonymized for now):

My name is [removed], and I am an associate with [removed], an award-winning social media consultancy, and one of our strongest client relationships is with [removed], the PC manufacturer.  Our goal is help promote[removed]’s new [removed] all-in-one desktop PC while also assisting participating bloggers in creating original content that is useful to their readers.  This approach is fundamental to how [removed] operates and has been the root of our success – in other words, we do not craft marketing programs for our clientele that do not also support the aims of our influential blogger partners.
Having reviewed your site, your voice is clearly an influential one in the education space; as it happens, the product is targeted at the medical, finance and education markets, being that it’s touch-enabled with a 23’’ screen, full HD capability and Intel I-series processor.  Consequently, we think that the [removed] may be of interest to your audience – you can find further details to verify this in the attached spec sheet.  For convenience, we’ve secured separate evaluation and promotional giveaway units, so you’d have a PC for long-term (read:  indefinite) review and a separate, clean unit to give away to readers via a customized promotion.
We will be beginning this program after the new year, and would love to have your participation!  
Thanks for considering our offer and feel free to reply or call with specific questions.   I look forward to hearing back from you!

Wow, pretty awesome, huh? A unit for indefinite review AND, more importantly, a unit to give-away. Here is my response, and I would love your critique. What would you have said? What else should I have said? This is my first rodeo with reviewing hardware that is valued at $1000+ as a blogger.

My response:

Thanks for your email! I'd love to review the product as you propose... As an independent blogger, I have to adhere to a few self-imposed rules:

  • Transparency - I'd share the offer below with my readers and fully disclose the benefits of reviewing the product.
  • Honesty - While I would do my best to review the product, sharing my experience with it over an indefinite period of time with links, I would want you to understand that I would write an honest review--positive or negative or a blend as appropriate.

Those points aside, I'd love to participate and make the offer available to readers! 
Some suggestions:

  • Please provide a link that tracks visitors from my blog, plurk/twitter/facebook sites. That's about 4400 folks.
  • I would also share your information and my reviews with my education colleagues (e.g. technology directors), so any information you have that would be of benefit to them would be welcomed!
  • Please share deadlines and word limits (if any), rights to photograph and share my experience, and anything else you think would be helpful.

What are our next steps? Oh, and I didn't see the spec sheet attachment. Would you try sending it again?

Thoughts? Am I violating the blogger code in some way? One point I also have to make...my review would not influence any purchasing decisions for my job. In fact, I'd probably recuse myself if it came up.


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Comments

Mr. Byrne said…
Miguel,

First, I'm very happy to see that Google restored your account.

As to your question about accepting a tangible product from a company, I think that you've already answered your own question. As long as you clearly disclose to readers that you got the product for free and you make it clear to the company that you will not filter your review because they gave you something, I don't think you're violating any code of conduct.

Richard

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