There's a mini-storm a-brewing that maybe just four or five of us care about, but what the heck, I'll jump in. First, IAEM starts up a blog for its Expo! Expo! show. Cool—you may have noticed I went a little gaga over ASAE's show blog earlier this year. And like ASAE, IAEM wants to encourage people to comment on the various posts, so they're offering a chance to win an iPod Nano for those who register and comment.
Rich from the TSMR blog calls it "bribery" (and objects to the marketing effort itself as pretty lame). Jeff over at the Tradeshow Blues Blog likes the idea so much that he has (sort of) started his own comment giveaway contest—only in his version, everyone's a winner, just not of a Nano. Then the Expophile, whose company is managing IAEM's blog, chimes in to defend the giveaway (look in the comments section).
I guess I'm kind of with Jeff and the Expophile on the bribery issue. For some reason, people who read the few blogs out there for this industry for the most part aren't into commenting for some reason, and I have no problem with giving a little incentive if that would encourage more participation. After all, it's not like a hotel offering to give a Jaguar to meeting planners that book X amount of business with them. But Rich is right on one thing for sure: The announcement was pretty bad marketing.
Is this unethical? I don't think so. It's more like an exhibitor holding a raffle for those who stop by the booth. It's just a way to encourage a little conversation, and conversation is always a good thing.