There’s a bit of a hullabaloo going on out there in the blogosphere about Edelman mailing out free Ferarri laptops with Windows Vista to bloggers. Scoble thinks it’s an awesome idea, and Joel Spolsky thinks Scoble’s completely wrong on the basis that this laptop giveaway constitutes an unethical arrangement, and that it is destroying the nascent credibility of blogs everywhere:
This is the most frustrating thing about the practice of giving bloggers free stuff: it pisses in the well, reducing the credibility of all blogs. I’m upset that people trust me less because of the behavior of other bloggers.
Whatever is right or wrong in this case, Joel stated something after this that rankled me beyond belief:
Joel on Software is really a non-profit, advertising-free site
Meanwhile, right next to this is a HUGE friggin block informing you that you can find cool jobs on the Joel job board, or post them for only a few hundred bucks.
You can also try out FogBugz, a product made by Fog Creek Software, of which Joel is CEO.
Or, you can even play around with Copilot, which costs ten bucks a day. Or buy the associated DVD. Or buy Joel’s two books.
Do you see the hypocrisy? I don’t mind that Joel pimps the hell out of Fog Creek on his blog. In fact, I expect it. It’s the best advertising Fog Creek could possibly get, and all it really costs is hosting fees (paid for by Fog Creek?) and Joel’s time. I only wish Joel would remove this one statement from his post. He is not running some little rinky-dink blog as a labor of love; it is a seriously valuable piece of advertising that also appears to be a labor of love.