Should I or shouldn’t I?

93

Here’s the thing…

There’s a particular upscale car rental company that I’ve been eager to try out.  And, as luck would have it, I’ll be traveling to one of their supported cities over the holidays.  And, I’ll need a rental car.  And, all of the other rental car companies are outrageously expensive during that time so this company’s fixed pricing scheme works out nicely.  Perfect!

Should I or shouldn’t I? Fork in road

But…

A representative from this particular company made me an offer: they would cover my rental car rate if I would agree to write about my experience afterwards.  This is a new one for me.  Should I accept the offer?

I know that many bloggers get similar offers all the time from hotel chains, airlines, and more.  Some of these bloggers routinely turn down these offers.  Many accept thes offers and fully disclose the arrangement in their subsequent posts.  Some accept the offers, but do not tell their readers.

The problem with accepting offers like these, whether the arrangement is disclosed or not, is that the relationship can bias the blogger in favor of the company in question.  Even if you try hard to remain unbiased, I imagine that its hard to give bad reviews to those who have paid your way.  So, I should clearly say “no”, right?

On the other hand…

If I’m aware of the potential bias (I am), I should be able to counteract it.  In fact, if I accepted this offer I would probably over-correct: I would try harder to find fault than I would have if I paid my own way.  Plus, I most likely would have written up my experience with this rental anyway, so why not get the car for free?

Except…

Agreeing to write a post in exchange for a free rental is basically the same as being paid to write a post.  I have been approached a couple of times before by companies that asked to pay me to write about their products or services.  I’ve always turned down those offers without hesitation.  Isn’t this the same thing?

What do you think?

I’ve already made my decision, but I’m not going to tell what it is… yet.  I’m curious what you think.  I don’t want to bias your input by declaring my decision.

Please comment below.  Should I or shouldn’t I?  Why?  Why not?

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