I say, "bring it on." But only if you follow Guy's rule #1: have a great product to sell.
I was recently sent a pair of shoes from Royal Elastics (actually, I was invited to pick a pair from their web site -- even better). The first pair was a bit too tight, so I received the next size up. Perfect. Here are my new shoes:
No ties, great for airport travel. And they're quite stylish for tennis shoes. I'll be wearing them a lot. And the best thing is, I wasn't asked to blog about the shoes; they were a no-expectation gift.
So this is the next evolution of BzzAgent, but infinitely more risky for companies. Blogging is all about authenticity. If a blogger doesn't like what you send them, watch out. The nice ones will simply say nothing on their web site. Others will be publicly honest. But if you've got a good product, you'll get oodles of free publicity.
Part of me doesn't like getting put on the spot. But another part of me loves the fact that companies are willing to put their reputations at stake by sending products to people who speak their mind to thousands -- if not millions -- of people.
I will say, though, I hate getting press releases. I received two from the same company that were just plain bad, and I really wanted to make a public example out of them. Lucky for them, my computer crashed and I lost the emails. If you're going to send me a press release, send it directly to my email address with a brief , intelligent comment on why I should care about this topic. It should demonstrate that the PR person has read my blog and has a pretty good idea whether or not I'd find it interesting. Sadly, few actually do this, and they all end up in my spam folder.
Bloggers, what do you like to receive? What do you hate to receive?