Payola and the iPhone App



1- Professor Pybus believes there’s a conflict of interest operating when Vallez accepts money to write reviews for his website Crazy Mike’s Apps. What, exactly, is the conflict?

2- Vallez says that his actions do not cause a conflict of interest, only the appearance of a conflict.

ü What’s the difference between a conflict of interest and the appearance of a conflict of interest?

ü How could Vallez argue that in his case there’s only an appearance, and, on close inspection, there really is no conflict here?

3- Three standard strategies for alleviating ethical concerns surrounding conflicts of interest are

ü Transparency,

ü Recusal,

ü Organizational codes.

How could each of these strategies be applied to the conflict of interest issue at Crazy Mike’s Apps?

4- You develop an iPhone app and you pay Vallez to review it. He tries the app, likes it, and writes up a positive paragraph.

ü Make the case to defend the payment as an ethically acceptable gift. Are there limits to how much you could give before it would shift from a gift to a bribe? If there is a limit, how was the number chosen?

ü Vallez says that if he doesn’t like an app he returns the money and refuses to review it. Does this fact interfere with the possibility of justifying the payments as a standard, business-type gift?