The delicate symbiotic relationship between bloggers and industry has been an issue here a couple of times. Now here is an example how an invite to a trade show can turn into a blogger’s worst nightmare.
The Next Web reports how Samsung invited Indian tech bloggers to the important IFA show in Berlin. There were a few warning signs in the weeks leading up to the event, but it was only after they arrived in Berlin where they were told that Samsung expected them to wear their uniform and to be present at the Samsung booth on all days to present the company’s products. Refusal to comply resulted in the threat of return tickets being cancelled.
This is tech and not whisky, and I am not aware of a whisky blogging incident that would be even remotely comparable to the Samsung trip; nor do I believe that something of this scale is ever going to happen. But an incindent like this clearly demonstrates that bloggers are never invited by the industry out of pure altruism. They are treated to something special, but being multiplicators they also play a role in the company’s marketing strategy.
Bloggers should be very careful that accepting an invite would never compromise their independence. On the other hand, the industry should be just as careful not to instrumentalize bloggers to an extent that they become puppets of the marketing department. Or else it may seriously backfire on them.