Wednesday, October 1, 2008

NDAs: Signing Your Life Away for New Products

NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) have been a part of the journalistic process for a long time now. Manufacturers will provide a "sneak-peek" at products prior to them hitting store shelves, and will sometimes even supply review samples ahead of time. The catch? You must sign your life away, so to speak, promising that information won't be published prior to the product's official launch date.

I find the entire process interesting, especially in the wake of the Internet and Web "leaks" that often occur when people dig for secret development information on products, or employees release confidential information anonymously for the thrill of it. It's good to know, however, that in the age of swarms of blogs and Websites that thrive on disclosing confidential information, real, journalistic integrity still exists.

We'll often go to events or receive products or product information under NDA, and, in some respects, it creates an air of excitement in the office. Think about it: we get to see this product or that before the general public does. How cool is that?! More importantly, from a publishing standpoint, it's also essential for business so that when a print issue hits the streets, we can include the most up-to-date information as possible. Even on the Web side, it's useful to have information ahead of time so that a review or details on hot new products can be covered ASAP the day they're released. Granted, this isn't always possible. But when it is, it sure helps the cause!

On that note, I've been receiving a ton of NDA information as of late as I prepare for an upcoming vacation (and naturally, need to finish up articles way ahead of schedule, which means that I need information way ahead of schedule). Today, for example, I got to preview the cool, new Elmo Live tech toy that will be hitting stores later this month. The company is being very "hush-hush" about some of the cool features this latest Elmo has, quite obviously to create hype prior to the launch. After seeing it in the flesh, I'm confident it'll be a hit with the holiday gift giving crowd. Stay tuned later this month for a video of the new, very lifelike, Elmo. It'll definitely have you in stitches! I wish I could reveal more, but, well, I've been sworn to secrecy, and if I told ya, I'd have to kill ya!

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