With all of the talk about how Microsoft sent a bunch of Bloggers an Acer Ferrari laptop with Windows Vista preloaded on it in hopes that they would talk about Vista on their respective Blogs, there seems to be a renewed discussion around the topic of ethics, bribes and other treason-nesque public relations challenges when dealing with Bloggers. How does the following story make you feel?
I received an envelope that looked like an invitation from Apple. There was no name on it, just the Apple logo on the front of the envelope and the iTunes Customer Service address on the back with a Canadian return address. Inside the envelope was what looked like an invitation, but when opened, it holstered a fifty dollar iTunes Music Card.
The weird part was that there was no note, no message, no business card attached, no nothing. So what was the point? Was it because I had Blogged positively about the new Apple iPhone and Apple TV? Was it because they are just randomly picking people with Blogs and are sending them a gift? Was it a bribe? (ok, clearly, it's not a bribe).
So here I am shocked and surprised (I wonder what Andy Nulman would have to say about this over at Pow! Right Between The Eyes?).
Why would Apple iTunes not include any message whatsoever? Maybe this is the exact expectation - someone would get the gift card and Blog about it, therefore creating some "free" recognition for iTunes. That one doesn't sit right with me either.
Is this a new form of grassroots marketing, was it just a mistake or is Apple really listening to the Blogosphere and rewarding those they appreciate?
Thoughts? ... and when I say "thoughts," I'm also open to suggestions on what to spend the fifty bucks on ;)