Microsoft: Please add me to your Ferrari Mailing List

It’s time to rant. (If you could picture me right now, I’m wiggling my finger and grunting like Louis Black at his best.)

Much ado about nothing on the blogosphere right now because Microsoft sent out some Ferrari laptops with Vista pre-loaded to a number of A-List bloggers. People are freaking out. It’s like Microsoft is buying an election or something, or they’re behind the JFK killing, or they soldweapons of mass destruction to North Korea.

I’m with Scoble on this one!

Wake up folks, this is business! It is the primary duty of every marketer to invest money where it’s going to influence the most purchasers… period. You have a budget, you better make it work. Here are the exceptions:

  1. Microsoft makes demands of the bloggers (they didn’t make any)
  2. Ummmm, that was it.

This is no different than Shaq getting a new pair of custom made sneakers for every day of the year. Is every other kid playing basketball crying to their Mommies that Shaq got free sneakers but they didn’t? NO! Mom is forkin up the dough because Shaq is an influencer and she’s paying 8 times as much as she should for some crappy sneakers.

Ever see the end of a Nascar race? The driver puts on one cap, takes a drink of a brand name soda, throws on another hat (they both have big ass logos), and he starts every sentence with 5 sponsor names. “Well, I got a tell you Jim, this Dupont, Reeses, Toshiba, Levi’s, Chevrolet really ran good out there.” Is anyone walking out of Nascar screaming, “You’re trying to influence me with all of that brand advertising!”. No.

Perhaps Tiger Woods should have a disclaimer on his shirt that the clubs he’s using were actually given to him, or the balls, or the Cadillac. C’mon people, get a life. We’re not politicians. We’re not at a newspaper where the lines of journalism and advertising need to be separated because the spear of influence could decide an election. I haven’t taken an oath or sworn to anyone. I’m a blogger. I have 500 readers a day and my affiliate marketing doesn’t even cover the cost of my internet access.

The only person that has an obligation to their readers is the blogger, not Microsoft. The first bloggers got their laptops and the first thing they blogged about? Hey, I got this cool laptop from Microsoft. Guess what?! That was disclosure and now you know.

I personally WANT Microsoft to distribute the laptops and Vista. I want to hear about how it runs, whether or not it’s worth the money. Microsoft put me on your list! My readers want to know!

The only mistake made in this entire debacle was Microsoft’s back-peddling. Here’s how it would have gone with me doing the marketing:

Question from Blogger (whiny voice): Mr. Evil Microsoft! We have heard that you distributed some really expensive laptops with Vista pre-loaded on them to A-list bloggers. We think you’re trying to influence these bloggers with these lavish gifts in the hopes that they will be swayed to blog positively about their Vista experience. Is this true?

Response from Douglas Karr, VP Marketing of Microsoft (matter-of-factly): Yeah, dumbass. That’s my job.

Full Disclosure:

  • Microsoft has not paid me anything for this post. In fact, I’m posting it from a Mac.
  • I did get some Colts tickets one time from Pat Coyle. Is that okay with everyone? I’ve helped out a ton with his blog and he surprised me with them a few weeks ago. Are you angry at me? Have I misappropriated any of my page real estate in return? Maybe, I’m not really sure. He’s a good guy with a great blog so I often reference it. Go read it! Have you gotten their new Widget? It’s really cool, here you go:

  • This blog is created with PHP and MySQL and a bunch of plugins that were ABSOLUTELY 100% FREE. And I love them! Now go yell at them for giving it to me for free, will ya?!


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