I often tell my friends “don’t ask for my opinion unless you REALLY want it”. If nothing else, I am honest.
On the internet, if you ask for an opinion, there’s a public record of the response. And I guess there’s some value in doing some research ahead of time to get some kind of idea what that opinion could be, or deal with a bunch of negative responses.
Such is the case with Real Networks, which launched an online petition at their Freedom of Choice Site, targeting Apple (eWeek article here). RN had to make some changes to the site after they got flamed by a bunch of Apple/iPod devotees. Ouch!
It was a risky move and I think the idea is in the right place, so props to RealNetworks for that. But perhaps next time, they should do some customer research before they launch so broadly. Just a thought.