Grumpy Indian tech bloggers are peeing all over the place- thanks to Indiblogger/Samsung Galaxy Tab contest.3
26/09/2011 by The Sorcerer
Fish fingers with custard!!! I bet a lot of people tried that when The Doctor said that in S05E01.
Most of you guys know about my opinions about “tech” bloggers …well… most of them. I am the last person who thought I would do this because it’s all….”custardy“. Started by putting reviews of whatever stuff I buy in forums…one thing left to another and then our good friend Harshal sent the first media samples from Gigabyte and then after few months one thing left to another, started krystal projekt blog as a dump for my reviews and then I went “Geronimo” and Hardware BBQ. If all things goes well, Hardware BBQ is going on a major revamp this december…hopefully.
It’s a continuation of Indiblogger thing I posted when it started, where I objected about the contest solely because of this “giveaway”:
It’s not limited to tech bloggers at least it doesn’t say. Okay, so giving 20 tablets is pretty neat. Saying “Samsung will send you all the latest Samsung devices for review” pretty much means you’re banking on naïve reviewers to basically write good things about you. It’s not rare its common. I was offered Rs. 65,000 to do a positive review on the forums some tier 3 cellphone. I not only refused, but I also said that if anyone on the forums post an ass-kissing review, not only the “Attempt to bribe” emails will go public, but eventually people will question the mainstream media reviews. As it is most of us read India mainstream media “tech” content with a pinch of salt. They didn’t apologize, just a “misunderstanding” saying that most of the Indian sources say they will take some stuff for free and/or advertisement revenue should they need an article.
This is wrong. Reviews is not publicity stunt and reviewers are not advertisers. Companies send media samples so that we can test and give feedbacks, at the same time post about it so that if its good enough, people will know about it and turn into sales. We do for the people and we have the keedas for it. Its mutual. But the beauty is that its neutral because at the end of the day, people can read and make a choice if they want to buy it or not. Older and Wiser gen PRs (lets say… mid-to-late 20s-30s. no I am not saying YOU guys are old, it’s just that you guys are pretty chilled out and now it should be done)- after all they are consumers at the end of the day. We all need a neutral entity. Everyone is a consumer even the suits. So why do this?
I did tell Renie, owner of Indiblogger- not to use this as a sad excuse to bump up hype in my own usual sweet words. If this is Samsung’s idea then I am shocked. For a tier 1 brand who also owns Flash NAND and controller business (hence SSD) and hordes of good business in galaxy S2 and tablets doing all this? Now this will make some people suspicious if you’re giving freebies in exchange for favourable reviews. Do you see how this works? You break that cycle and rape review field like this, it’s not only going damage those review sources, but worse its going to hit you back BIG TIME!! Tempting people as a giveaway for review samples is a bad bad idea. You’re being watched by a lot of people. hose whiners will cry but your brand is getting beaten up in the process.
So the results were out. Out 220 people who participated, 20 won. 5-8 tech bloggers went for public whining. I won’t post the links (basically some SEO junkies say creating/writing on controversies generates back links) of their blogs, bu but basically they said Samsung is “Scamming“.
Brilliant, I never heard of a scam where it involves giving 20 real working tablets with each worth 32k on retail as a contest giveaway. Some of the names of these blogs are Tech2Date, Tech Junnons, todayontech and all that jazz. So one of them writes as if they are “representing” the entire community. Like all people who wanna be cool they blogged about it (yeah yeah yeah I couldn’t resist- besides people read the cake blog for the lulz rather than to gather facts!!) and the owner of Indihooters (uh uh…whopps Indibloggers :P) written a big-ass speech about it.
So Indiblogger is a punching bag and I bet Samsung suits didn’t expect this. Again, they could have done the same contest with 1-5 tablets but they didn’t. Credit to Samsung. Indiblogger didn’t include this only to tech bloggers and didn’t say it (in flowery language) to kiss Samsung’s ass to win goodies. Tempting people for review samples pretty much creates a doubt which overshadows both of them.
For a blogger who says that, he doesn’t know that you need to benchmark to test notebooks and then write conclusion. It’s as funny as a particular “overclocker” who reviewed a board after destroying it.
Yeah!! We know how this works. People randomly “selected” by the suits to write “reviews”. I remember one case when a product manager of a brand said “Reviews are not supposed to be negative”. Yeah right. Reviews are neutral entity and always should be treated that way. Unfortunately we have a “media pvt. Ltd” and now we have such people to “pucker up!”.
I remember a couple of weeks ago, one of many PRs who is friendly with me (nah…all are friendly..well- most of them anyways) said that they wouldn’t have even considered to be in contact with me if it weren’t for one of the people in their HQ in asking me to be in touch with. She went on and on about how tech bloggers are sending countless emails, sending screenshots of daily views, offering “positive reviews” in exchange of “free stuff” (I am assuming they haven’t said it directly I hope they haven’t said it directly because that’s now how it should work). She is right. It doesn’t matter who because its one of those blogs where we don’t know it exists. Its one of those blogs where it doesn’t matter if you comment or not because they moderate out constructive criticisms. Besides, the so-called reviews that they posted is basically product PR shots and basic specifications written as 100 word essay. Yeah!!! Cakes are salty as it is.
Then we have bloggers who review for money!!!
There are those who will review you, kiss you on your forehead, give you a ROFLCOPTER and even arrange like contest, till the time you stop exchanging hugs with them and then they openly bash your products. That’s another side-effect not being with a neutral entity. But yeah, you’re right. Reviewers, bloggers and journalists need to stop doing that. As PRs you will obviously do what is good for the company at all costs and we as those who do it for the good of the public shouldn’t damage our own field. Indian tech scene has a very VERY long way to go.
Seeing all this, I do not wish to be deemed as a tech blogger. I am only using blog format because its very very very VERY easy to do content management. I don’t even understand how that SEO crap works. It’s basically like chinese (yes, I know it’s either Mandarin or Cantonese but the reason I said that is because there’s no such language). I am just one of those guys who got some resources to review for forums, then used blog as a temporary dump and then something wibbly wobbly happening and you end up running a site for no reason or thought how can you monetize it.
Some people expressed genuine concerns about me and how will I monetize BBQ. Yeah, but then if you see most of the people who started such blogs and went big basically without having any idea how to monetize it.
In any case, reviews and articles will be irrelevant with promotions and all that as far as BBQ goes and will always be independent. I think it’s about time we have a well-deserved neutral review source in India. I will try to help people and few advises to companies who genuinely make an effort and have something great. She’s going to take some time, but I am now confident that I can do it, even though I have a shitload to learn. Full speed ahead, ensign!
Edit: Apparently a lot of people have changed their blog title, but their URL pretty much shows the “review” and “reviewed” word- and on Indivine’s Title. Also some people have put up rather convincing blog posts in a marketing sense- also bashing ipad 2 using the paper specs. Ofcourse Samsung didn’t say you need to “review” it, but it shows how desperate tech bloggers are. If you want the list of the entries, there ya go!
Hands-on impression? If you have actual hands-on experience and provided you’re honest about it its all good. Comparing the paper specs, well as long as you do not judge the soup before its served its all good. Giving reasons to buy a brand against another without testing it yourself properly? its called marketing. Reviewing without actually getting a media sample to review/overexaggerating paper specs/hands on experience into a 100 word essay and using product shots: Dude, the cake is a lie!!!1