There’s been an amazing batch of announcements out of Berlin’s IFA expo, which is essentially the German CES, but the strangest one had nothing to do with product announcements. Clinton Jeff, a blogger for Indian publication Unleash The Phones, won a contest sponsored by Samsung India to bring him all the way to Germany to cover the event. He was assured he would be covering the event as a ‘professional blogger’, but when he got there, well, things got weird…
Yes, not longer after arriving at his hotel in Berlin, he was told to show up for a ‘uniform fitting’ and that there would be an orientation in the morning. Jeff, a blogger had been recruited to become a booth babe and present Samsung’s products to other journalists. And, for the most part, he complied. He couldn’t afford to fly back home on his own dollar, so it was to a bit of a shock that as soon as he stopped working with the Samsung Mob!lers group (yeah, it’s a super dumb name), he was quickly informed that his flight back home would be cancelled. Within minutes, he received an e-mail that it had.
But the Big Guys know what’s going on and The Verge’s Joshua Topolsky was quick to rain down on the guy.
And then further explaining…
Now for smaller news-reporting organizations like his, or even those domestically, being offered flight and accommodation by a publisher or tech company to cover one of their events is a welcome relief. You get access to the products at the same time (or perhaps earlier) than the Big Guys that are going to have that content locked up weeks or months ago anyway. It’s a fight to get exclusives. Giant Bomb’s Jeff Gerstmann has mentioned that their site has taken trips from publishers to cover events they wouldn’t (or couldn’t) have otherwise. They’re not shameful of it, but they do disclose the nature of their coverage. For full disclosure, FleshEatingZipper has paid out of pocket for all its travel expenses.
You can read the whole story below, which I highly recommend.