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Should a reviewer be rewarded for a good review, and who pays for samples?

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#1
glossywhite

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Okay. This is a thread for Paul, preferably, or someone else in the profession of doing professional reviews of tech devices - if you want to give an opinion then fine, but don't cast judgements or aspersions - they are likely to come forth, but serve no purpose. My questions are these:

1/ Should a good reviewer be rewarded for a good review (I mean a YouTube review, full HD, no silent Charlie Chaplin-esque nonsense with just someone's hands fumbling an "unboxing" in 360p).

2/ When high profile PR agencies hand out sample stock of handsets, who pays for the samples? Are they factored into the manufacturer's corporate marketing budget?

The reason I ask this is that I have reviewed many things over the years - I was once given almost £1,500 of Mac Pro RAM to review, and afterwards told to keep it. Likewise for a graphics card I reviewed, a games console... etc etc. I know some companies ask for stock back - I'm just wondering if they'd be less inclined to do so if the review were a really good one (note: by "good" I do not mean intentionally favouring the device [lying] JUST so I get rewarded - I mean even if it turns out the device is terribly bad, an honest review can still be a "good" review - well constructed etc).

I don't expect to be rewarded, I am merely asking what Paul and others think about one's time spent on doing a review - I am about to do a review of a VERY cheap handset, and the time it will take is negligible, but the publicity it will provide for the manufacturer will be good for their sales (my YouTube channel has well over 1M hits - not massive by YouTube standards, but nothing to sniff at!).

How would you approach the company, post-review, to see if I get to keep the device? If I have to give it back, that's cool - just wondered.

Thanks :)

Edited by glossywhite, 16 October 2012 - 01:13 AM.

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#2
awarner

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Some people do reviews just to get their hands on the latest tech other because they generally like a product and want to share their experience.

If the profile is high enough ie page hits etc and the quality of the review is well written and preferably not biased to cover certain aspects then it will get noticed by manufactures or suppliers and so be approached in the future.

Regarding handsets this can be more complicated, depending on the site or person in question and the budget of the company department at the time will govern if the review item will be a loner or one to keep. Some devices are passed around to a few people and if you are at the end on the line you may also be lucky to keep it.

The one factor you did not account for is quite a few sites and reviewers actually buy their own devices to review and then rely on advertising or donations to cover the costs.

It can also be who you are and being in the right place at the right time.

Remember these companies get hundreds of begging letters asking for review devices, getting your foot in the door is the hard part. Once you have a device if will normally be discussed about returning or keeping it, some companies will only allow you to have a device for a few days.

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#3
PaulOBrien

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1/ Should a good reviewer be rewarded for a good review (I mean a YouTube review, full HD, no silent Charlie Chaplin-esque nonsense with just someone's hands fumbling an "unboxing" in 360p).


What do you mean by rewarded, and by whom? I wouldn't really expect the reviewer to be rewarded by the company in question. It is up to the reviewer themselves to determine their motivation for doing a review, be that financial, exposure or something else. For example, you might do a review on YouTube and use their tools to monetise it, post a text review somewhere with ads or use it as good exposure for your 'CV' or similar.

2/ When high profile PR agencies hand out sample stock of handsets, who pays for the samples? Are they factored into the manufacturer's corporate marketing budget?


They are generally speaking supplied by the manufacturer who yes, probably factors them in to the marketing budget.

Two things to bear in mind. 1 - if you want a timely review, pretty often nowadays you're better off sourcing a device yourself rather than waiting for the PR people to get you one... companies are notoriously bad at putting their PR co before their customers. :) 2 - pretty much nobody allows you to keep devices. They are sent to you on a loan basis for you to review, then sent back and sent on to the next person. In some very rare cases you might get a device to keep, but that is a VERY rare case.

By far the best way to review devices is to find them cheap, use them a bit while keeping them in mint condition, write the review then sell them on at hopefully no loss to fund the next review device. That's what I generally do now.

Finally, bear in mind that a lot of publications don't allow reviewers to keep devices for ethical reasons, another reason why it's a generally accepted practice that they are returned.

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#4
glossywhite

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Thank you "awarner", thank you Paul; your advice is valuable to me :)

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