Microsoft’s kept blogger, Robert Scoble, wonders why some bloggers (like myself) covered yesterday’s launch of Google’s private-domain Gmail service but ignored the earlier launch of a similar service by Microsoft last November. It’s a good question – personally, I was unaware of the Microsoft launch (though when it was brought to my attention I updated my post on Google’s service to note it) – but the answer he suggests seems like the fevered dream of a guilty conscience.
Why didn’t anyone write a headline like “MSN goes after Outlook?” Hmmmm? A little Google love going on in the blogosphere? What’s behind that love?
He suggests that the bloggers covering the Google announcement are somehow in bed with Google because we run AdSense ads on our blogs:
Oh, maybe we should talk about blogger ethics again? Remember those Google ads on Paul [Kedrosky]’s blog? How do we know they haven’t colored his judgment? Some of my blogging friends make more money off of Google ads than I am paid by Microsoft (you’ll note that lots of people in my comment regularly question my ability to report honestly about things Microsoft related, why don’t these same people raise heck when employees of Google — and that’s what you are when you put a Google ad on your blog — give Google better PR than it deserves?). I notice that the press loves to go into a tizzy everytime a company sends out a free product, or takes bloggers on a free trip, or signs them up for a director or advisory role. Why isn’t anyone looking into the effect of on-blog advertising on our belief systems and reporting quality?
Here’s a question: if Microsoft had announced that, wouldn’t everyone have also reported on what every other company in the marketplace is doing without just reprinting the Microsoft press release? (Every single blogger on that Memeorandum entry is sponsored by Google ads. Except one, which is the official Google blog.)
As I’m one of the bloggers in that Memeorandum entry, let me say that, first, I earn less than 50 cents a day from AdSense ads, which I assume is a tad less than Scoble is paid by Microsoft; the only reason I have an AdSense account, in fact, is to keep tabs on what Google is doing. Second, and more important, to say that putting AdSense ads on your blog makes you a Google employee is bizarre and ludicrous. How does it make you a Google employee? What effect does covering a Google announcement have on AdSense revenues? How is running AdSense ads akin to being a paid advisor or being treated to a free trip? Please explain.
If people like Paul Kedrosky and myself are suffering from Google love, we sure have an odd way of showing it.