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Don't Trust Tech Bloggers
August 21, 2014 - 9:00pm

Below is an e-mail that I received this week offering me a free TouchPico if I would write about the product on IHE.  The offer was for a free TouchPico if the blog piece resulted in 7 people pledging on Indiegogo.

Initially I was going to X out the TouchPico name, as I don’t want to give this company any free publicity.  I decided to keep the company name visible because I realized that other bloggers are probably getting this request.  

My hope is that you will be wary of anything written about TouchPico, and that if anyone recommends this product that you ask what they are getting in return.

The fact is that bloggers are very susceptible to these sorts of conflict of interest.  Bloggers do not follow norms of disclosure that are standard amongst professional journalists.

The good news is that the editors at Inside Higher Ed hold us bloggers to high standards.  If I ever wrote about a product where I stood to personally gain from the review, and did not disclose this fact, I have little doubt that I’d lose my IHE blogging gig.  

Do other sites that publish tech blogs, or do self-publishing bloggers, also follow similar ethical guidelines to IHE?  

What should the standards of disclosure be for tech bloggers?

How influential are tech bloggers in shaping buying trends?

Am I making a mistake by giving TouchPico the digital ink? (And no, I will not be claiming any free device even if this post results in Indiegogo pledges).  

Here is the e-mail (italics are mine to distinguish that I’m cutting and pasting):

Hi Joshua,

I noted you as an influential blogger within the business and educational tech industry and wanted to reach out to you about TouchPico, a hugely successful campaign on Indiegogo right now.

In short, TouchPico will turn any surface into a giant 80 inch tablet-like touchscreen. It is pretty awesome... 

You can check out more info at:  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/touchpico-turn-any-surface-into-a-touch-screen

With that, I wanted to make you a special offer to write a feature and share it on your social media if you are open to it. Given your influence online, we wanted to give you a free TouchPico on delivery if you feature TouchPico and 7 people pledge as a result.

Again with your influence and followers online, you are almost guaranteed one as normal people sharing with their friends have gotten more.

For more details on how the tracking works, simply click the Thank You Program link at the top of the Indiegogo page linked above...

Let us know if you have any questions or post a feature, as we will share it on our social media for you too.

Thanks again, 

The TouchPico Team

 

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