Musings on Photography


Posted in ethics, web issues by Paul Butzi on September 22, 2007

Simon Minshall comments:

Does HP or your rep know you’re writing about your experiences about their product? I’m about to buy a 17″ printer and really only considered Epson since i’ve seen it’s output.

As direct result of your writing and the type of experience you’re having, i’m now looking into HP as an viable alternative. The fact that there are a number of negative comments serves, to my mind, to reinforce the validity of your opinions and earns my trust as a reader.

Now this blog could, and i’m not saying that i think it is, but it could be seen by the more cynical among us as a clever marketing scheme.

In any case, I’m enjoying following your story. If HP do get new business as a result of your publicity then YOU should be compensated.

These are good insights, and some excellent questions.

Responses, in order:

I don’t know if HP or my rep know about or read what I write here. If they do, they haven’t let me know. I would like to think that I’m so prominent and influential that the entirety of HP hang on my every word, and that my whims move worlds. But I sincerely doubt it. The readership is just too small, here. Folks like Michael Reichmann, over at Luminous Landscape – now he does seem to get good treatment from companies. Me? I just sit here and feel lonely and neglected.

No, that’s not quite right. I sit here, and I get the same service that my printer rep (JVH Technical Services in Bellevue, WA) gives to all his customers. If I have a problem, I call John, and he helps me the way he helps all his customers. I don’t take money from any manufacturer based on what I write. I’ve been offered free stuff to review. Strangely, this hasn’t worked out well for the people who offer me free stuff, and I’m a little skittish about that now. And when I get a free thing to review, I make it clear that I got it for free.

I’m glad that what I write helps people to explore all their options and make better choices. As you search for a 17″ printer, remember that a lot of what I love about the z3100 (in particular, the built-in profiling) might not be in the printer you’re looking at. I hear a lot of pining for a 17″ version of the z3100, though, so there’s hope. Myself, I wish printer manufacturers would build a 36″ printer model, in between the 24″ and 44″ models. Nearly all of the printing I do I can do on a 24″ printer. 90% of what can’t be done on a 24″ printer could be done on a 36″ printer. Only a vanishingly small portion requires the full 44″ width.

I like the idea that this blog is a stealth marketing scheme. Really, that’s good. It’s wrong, of course, but it’s so fiendishly clever and so similar to the astroturfing idea in the political sphere that I think it will be just a short while before we see such things. There are probably sites like that now. And, while I assure you it isn’t the case here, can you really trust that statement? (cue: music from The X Files)

On the idea of compensation if I push some business toward HP – that’s a two edged sword. Does it meant that I also should have to cough up some dough to Epson, because I’ve driven business away from them?

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