Folks, don’t be ‘The Dick’! Be ‘A Dick’

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11/10/2016 by The Sorcerer


I get to know a lot of things about how other reviewers. I like hearing about it since it reflects where I stand when running a tech website Vs. how they run tech websites. I appreciate it because I learn from it to be better. Compared to the earlier days, things have improved because I don’t communicate with certain people and I also don’t connect with other reviewers.

But some things are very sad to know its still happening. It sucks more because its done by the people you know and met- and had respect for such people. The way they send back the review units is the most common thing I get to hear. The major issue is that most brands and agencies have only 1 media sample for everything- expos, sales meets, power user meets, fan meets, expos and for reviewers. Depending on the current situation, you may get it soon or later. Keeping an eye out for new releases is kind of a pain seeing that this isn’t a well-paying line of work to justify the ‘eagle eyes’ mode and few companies/ agencies can’t identify good ROI even if it’s staring right at their faces.

This is a problem. Some practically trash the boxes which I don’t understand how. I am not sure how a 2-4 week old product whose box looks as if its dumped in a storage covered in dust and rat poop (okay, not really rat poop but you get the picture) with roughed up edges. Some website owners don’t even talk about packaging or contents. The product at times are in a very bad condition that I need to clean and restore it.

A few years ago, 1 particular agency used to send me things in dusty condition. It was so regular that it looked as if I got it after everyone was done because I clean it. It turns out another reviewer from a mainstream tech website observed the same. Another situation I found a pubic hair when I dismantled a mobo chipset’s heatsink. I remember getting a mini PC and I could hear screws moving around inside it. The worst was Corsair’s dream PC which was worth 1.53 lakhs at the time, just to see an aluminum full tower completely trashed beyond repair.

I would love to mention those website names but the problem is that it would not resolve the issue. The action is more important than the person for this discussion. There are so many new blogs are coming up and some of these guys don’t have the love or pride for what they do. It’s just too much ego especially when some sites don’t generate 4-figure monthly page views. I mean come on- if one reader says that your website is the only one that only published GALAX GTX 1070’s review despite a couple of them published it before, how is that even possible? How can it not come up on google search? The website is at least few years old.

The worst are the ones who ask for hardware without justification. Traditionally, small websites don’t get to keep things. Larger websites do because they get millions of page views per month and they use it to make more content- build guides, build logs, etc. Smaller websites that I’ve seen (including mine) work on reviews. Build logs? Well.. they just take stock photos of the models of their preferred brand and put it together. One mainstream website did it too. One thing difficult is that if you get one component from brand A, getting associated component from Brand B is a headache. I liked doing motherboard reviews earlier but now I hate it. Intel and AMD India is hardly involved. Motherboard companies cannot do much about it unless they give their own CPU. I have an LGA 2011-V3 CPU which makes it easier. I know the max it can do with air cooling is 4.7 GHz. So when I review multiple boards and if it needs more Vcore or produces less OC, it helps me to form a perspective. But if I take a processor from Brand A, I’ll get another one for Brand B. Which is not going to help. OC potential is different. On the bright side, it can be ‘reviewed’ without comparison. Alas, a review without comparison is just stupid. “Something should be there”. It’s a minor thing for some, but it’s important. I don’t have a graphic card so testing X99 despite with my chip is still tough. I would love to ask one, but for some reason, I don’t. If I take something, I need to have a plan. Luckily I am in Mumbai so in a pinch, I can ask at least 1 out of 2 companies to loan me something even if it’s something older. There’s no point in hoarding a lot of things when you’re testing something once in a blue moon. But if it’s a regular thing, it helps. CPUs. RAMs. a couple of SSDs. 1-3 CPU cooler of different form factor, a power supply. I have a ram, a couple of SSDs and at least 6 CPU coolers. It helps. Because it enabled me to save money to buy things for making youtube content- slider, lights with batteries, tripods, microphones, etc. It’s still tough. But on the bright side, it gives me a room to expand. I wish I could reduce the time taken to do motherboard reviews. Its very discouraging.

But a lot of content creators don’t think that way. When they ask for supporting hardware, they ask with no reason. They know who they are. And they should know it’s wrong because you’re not doing it for expanding the website for quality content and higher ROI. It’s so obvious. You’re just doing it for personal use. If you can’t do it right, you should either change or quit. Please don’t pollute this line of ‘work’.

Some companies indulge them. Which is fine. Their wish. The problem comes with such people expect other brands to follow suit. They’ll just say ‘dude, wtf! I don’t need you!” and that’s bad. When you get things regularly to review whether it’s a standalone product or a component, you are getting an opportunity to create unique content. I see a lot of blogs that write reviews using stock photos and specs/company marketing dialogues. What’s funny is that such writeups are beginning to look better than the ones who actually get review units. Ouch! Now that’s very insulting as a writer. Your content also reflects favouritism towards a brand without having that neutral tone. That makes it worse. You can’t fool people. Everybody can make a guess. And once that company realizes its hurts them, they’re going to cut you off. Who needs a liability?

There’s a title for such people. Its called “The freebie collector”. TechinAsia made a bunch of illustrations. This pretty much sums it up! It is a conflict of interest since its obviously for personal use. You can fight it if you want to. But its useless. Its like an owner of the website which posts reviews works for that same brand. As said by one reviewer from a mainstream tech media site/magazine, “that guy shouldn’t call himself as a reviewer/journalist”. The art of being a sellout without being a sellout. But not very subtle so…sellout!!!

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Sure, it’s not ethical. But such is the case. Be a content creator for the people. Companies will come accordingly. It becomes a respectable connection. Be “A” dick. Be “The Man” or “The Woman”. But don’t be “The” dick. Its not long term. And people will make a face when they see you or hear your name. If you don’t care about your readers, you should care about yourself.

I like writing these stuff out. Why did I not write about the cakes for so long? Very relaxing. Now I can concentrate on work. No rant blog is truly dead. No cake truly expires. Well…

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