Making Tablet PC evangelism wholly transparent

Having bloggers evangelize Microsoft’s Tablet PC is what Steve Rubel suggests as an answer to Robert Scoble’s vexation on the seeming invisibilty of the Tablet PC:

So Microsoft, if you want to save the Tablet PC please take the hundreds of thousands of dollars you might be earmarking for a new ad campaign and invest it in getting systems in the hands of non-geek bloggers/influencers who are leading business thinkers. Let them evangelize it offline and [on]. They will do a much better job of marketing Tablet PCs than an ad on ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox ever could.

All I would like to add to this excellent thinking is related to making sure such an exercise would be wholly transparent, leaving no doubt at all in anyone’s mind exactly what the deal is here.

Taking a leaf out of Marqui’s book with its pay-the-bloggers campaign would be my suggestion.

Quick recap: Marqui makes a communication management system and they pay certain bloggers $800 a month to blog about their product, where each blogger is wholly free to write whatever they like about the product, supportive or critical. Each blogger is required to clearly disclose his affiliation on his blog, and Marqui publishes a list of all paid bloggers on their website, including an index of all posts made by the paid bloggers.

No, I’m not suggesting Microsoft pays bloggers (but that’s an interesting thought…) to write about the Tablet PC and/or Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 (what a mouthful!). Rather, any blogger who gets a free Tablet PC as part of such a suggested evangelism campaign should very clearly identify that fact. Microsoft, too, would name all the names. Also bring in the providers of the actual hardware, the Tablet PCs themselves – get Toshiba, Acer, HP Compaq, etc, involved.

In such an open way – one that re-defines marketing and PR – the business benefits could be huge as with such transparency comes greater credibility and trust in the writing, the writer and the sponsors.

2 thoughts on “Making Tablet PC evangelism wholly transparent

  1. Oh, I would be blogging about such a new gadget if I would get one ;o)
    I also think this is not any problem in stating “i am testing this”. And: Most of the people would know if you tried to please someone or if you are authentic.

  2. Me too, Nicole!
    I think it’s all about transparency and being open. It’s interesting, though, as the concept of being ‘paid to promote’ (whether that’s €€€ or in kind) formed part of a discussion on blogging ethics in one of the sessions at the New Communications Forum 2005 conference last week.
    But, I really can’t see where an ethical issue lies as long as any arrangement is open and transparent.

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