“I receive an e-mail from Julie McCormick at Waggener Edstrom in which she extends a “special save-the-date” invitation to attend a “unique, invitation-only” event being hosted by the Windows Client team. She labels the subject matter as “confidential”…”
AS we stressed many times before, Microsoft’s interference with Web coverage is rarely done directly. Microsoft hires one of its several marketing agencies that are not tied to Microsoft, which makes them look relatively innocent [1, 2, 3, 4].
It has just come to our attention that this year's laptop bribes (for Vista 7) came from Waggener-Edstrom, not Edelman like the last time (bribes for Vista reviews). Edelman was almost boycotted by PCWorld for that incident, so why not Waggener-Edstrom? █
“I’ve been thinking long and hard about this, and the only conclusion I can come to is that this is ethically indistinguishable from bribery. Even if no quid-pro-quo is formally required, the gift creates a social obligation of reciprocity. This is best explained in Cialdini’s book Influence (a summary is here). The blogger will feel some obligation to return the favor to Microsoft.”