A PR firm recently invited me to review their client’s product, saying that if I did review it I would be entered into a prize draw with other ‘qualifying’ bloggers to win an iPad 2.
It was a product I might ordinarily have covered, but this approach made me reluctant.
Here’s reason number 1: I asked myself whether the PR firm will have made the same approach to print journalists. I doubt it. Why? Because it would have raised obvious ethical issues, and questioned the journalists’ professionalism.
So were they assuming that bloggers had different ethics? I doubt they thought that hard – more likely was that some bright spark thought that eager, amateur bloggers would jump at the chance to get anything for their hard work.
Here’s reason number 2: other bloggers will have been approached with the same offer. If they saw me review the product they would assume that I had done so in exchange for this prize draw ticket. They would see me as unprofessional, unethical, or both.
In PR terms, then, the approach was counter-productive: it actually made me less likely to give their client coverage.