Sunday, October 25, 2009

One of the most disturbing things I've ever read

Now, this is something I never hoped to hear.  Ever.  And it disturbs me greatly...

In response to a thread in a public forum on a particular piece of software, a well-respected MVP asked:

MVP: I only wish they gave it for free for MVPs...

to which I replied:

HiltonT: Aahhh, what’s wrong with paying for good software?

and then came the most disturbing thing I've ever read in a technical forum:

MVP: Nothing wrong with it.

However, most things can be accomplished by either freeware products and/or stuff you can get for your own personal use for free (=NFR licenses).

Actually, except one software, anything that is installed on all my personal computers is either free, or NFR licensed, or through MSDN/Technet (which, for MVPs = free).

Actually, if I find something that looks interesting enough for me to use, and if I see that they do not have some sort of MVP-related program (many do), then I ask them if they would like to consider having one. If they agree, then the entire MVP community wins, and (usually) the software company wins as well. If they refuse, then I will look for an alternative.

So nothing wrong, nothing at all.

And my reply:
HiltonT: Wow – Honestly, I find that kind of thinking rather short sighted and disturbing – if people won’t give you their work for free just because you are an MVP, then you will look elsewhere? WOW! I wonder how many MVPs think like this (hopefully very, very few) as this isn’t a good way to build trust in your recommendations or opinions on any piece of software that you comment on as an MVP – It makes me wonder if you (and others in your position acting under the same beliefs) are therefore very skewed in your reviews, recommendations and information.

I’m literally sitting here stunned by what you just said! :(

Now, Susan Bradley informed us after the above post that in the USA (at least) there's a new FCC rule that MVPs need to disclose if you got free software as it taints opinion.  And going on this previous discussion, she's 100% right.  This is honestly disturbing to read the MVP comments above and it makes me now seriously question anything I hear/read from an MVP relating to software recommendations because it may be badly tainted by the vendor either having or not having a "free to MVPs" program.
That's not good in any way, shape or form.
The Outspoken Wookie


Wayne Small said...

You can't take what is the personal opinion for ONE person and condem the entire MVP community with the same brush. While we are at it do we not look at the reseller community. I've heard resellers say that they won't recommend a product unless they get free NFR for themselves... therefore do you believe what your fellow resellers are saying?
Many vendors make software available to MVPs as NFR software in the same way as they do to their own reseller channels. The purpose is to use it to evaluate it and then decide if you want to buy/sell/recommend it. It's not there for you to abuse and run your business off.
Personally - I don't recommend a vendor because of the free software, but I will say that a vendor that won't let you test out their software properly is one to be wary of just the same as if you are buying a car that you can't take for a test drive.

Also - given that the email you took that information from is public I believe you should be correctly quoting the specific person who made those comments so that the community is under the correct impression as to who said what and where. Not quoting the source is leaving it open for interpretation and that's not good enough.

Hilton Travis said...

G'day Wayne,

OK - I'll ask the original poster if I can quote them as the source of this quote and see what the response is.

As to the content of the post, it was not only the post that was seriously disturbing, but the response that the original poster thought they were posting in an MVP list, not a public list, as an explanation for the post that was disturbing.

I also know resellers who expect NFR product for free which is a little rude, if you ask me. Sure, having an NFR program for your resellers makes sense, but the request here was not for resellers, but free for all MVPs, which as Susan Bradley commented, needs to be declared now under the FTC due to the tendency or at least possibility for this to taint the opinions of the MVPs.

As for resellers getting products cheaper than normal buy prices - not necessarily for free - as you said, if you can't test out their software properly, how can you make a recommendation of the product?

Now, taking the opinion of a fellow reseller and taking the opinion of an MVP who is promoted as being a respected member of the community who has reviewed and/or recommended software based on whether the vendor has an MVP-related discount program of some sort is a totally different thing and we all know that.

James G. said...

Hilton, being on the list and reading the post, it is my opinion that the original poster is still waiting for an apology for taking his innocent post and turning it around to look like he's done anything wrong, not to mention the entire MVP community.

Amy - Harbor Computer Services said...


I wish that you had either been more specific as in "I have a problem with this guy" or more general "should software companies give it away to influencers" and not called out the Microsoft MVP program members for a crime not committed.

Hilton Travis said...

G'day Amy,

I have no issue whatsoever with a company giving *any8ne* software for free or at a reduced price, but I have an issue with someone in this MVP's position claiming that unless a company gives them (and therefore all MVPs) this benefit, they won't review/look at their software.

Sure, maybe I could have been a little all-encompassing with regard to the MVPs, but as I stated, I was rather stunned by the post from this MVP and I blogged my response. :)

And James - I have nothing to apologise for. He posted his comments and I posted mine! There was nothing innocent about either! :)