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A Look At Free Reviewer Swag 144

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the something-to-think-about dept.
chicl3t writes "It used to be that the lagniappes that came along with hardware for review were things like USB drives — makes sense, one 128MB drive for a 100MB presentation. But...iPod nanos? As in more than one? That's another story entirely. It's damn nice swag, of course, but at what point is it too much? A DailyTech writer talks about his experiences with swag."
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A Look At Free Reviewer Swag

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 28, 2007 @10:26AM (#21147997)
    As I write this on my beautiful Apple MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo Santa Rosa 2.4ghz with an ultrafast 4 GB of Corsair Memory and my always trustworthy Western Digital MyBook Pro 1TB World Edition backup. This marketing madness must stop.
    • Its easy to overlook the odd thumbdrive. It's not so easy to overlook an iPod Nano ... or two. At my old company, AnandTech, anything that cost more than the price of shipping went back to the vendor, including the unsolicited stuff.

      Sounds like somebody's pissed that they didn't get their share of the pie.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by StikyPad (445176)
      As a reviewer, I am under no obligation to promote the zesty, robust taste of Doritos brand tortilla chips, regardless of how great a snack they may be for lunchtime, munch time, anytime. It's illegal for my crunch money here to pay for the review, but it is legal for it to pay for my website, and the website can report on Frito Lay. Advert: "Eat them." Reviewer: "I just happen to like 'em."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 28, 2007 @10:31AM (#21148023)
    Does anyone actually bother reading those reviews? I sure don't. They usually tend to say nothing but positives about the products being reviewed, especially when the reviewer got them from the manufacturer free-of-charge. Of course, that's to be expected, since they want to get more such free products (which I don't doubt they use for themselves afterwards, until they fall apart a week or so later).

    The only reputable source I've found for reviews is Consumer Reports. Other than that, the pickings are slim.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rootofevil (188401)
      EHHHH

      Consumer reports not so much. Use them if you must. Ive found them to be a little too harsh on suff ive bought thats turned out to be fantastic.
      • by Kingrames (858416)
        Better that than the alternative.

        But the real lesson to be learned here is buyer beware.
        If you buy into a reviewer's opinion, make sure you can afford it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
      I've seen a lot of articles where the writer says they have to return the review unit too.

      Consumer Reports can be a bit odd at times, they've marked down things heavily things that are somewhat minor in my opinion. Sometimes they don't make allowances for the target market, such as marking down a sports car for it's rough ride when that's a sacrifice that needs to be made in order to get better performance.

      Even though they don't get their review samples, I've heard of one way that their no-ad system can b
    • I stopped relying on Consumer Reports when their gripe for a Mitsubishi eclipse was: "Trunk too small for a wheelchair."
      • by StikyPad (445176)
        I'm a wheelchair, you insensitive clod.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by fm6 (162816)
        Yeah right. You don't need to carry a wheelchair, therefore it's something nobody should care about.
        • Yeah right. You don't need to carry a wheelchair, therefore it's something nobody should care about.

          I would imagine that if you regularly moved someone with a wheelchair, that you would consider that when you take a look at the vehicle. Seems kind of, I don't know, important, for that type of person. Yet the vast majority of people will not need to stow a wheelchair in the truck of their Mitsubishi. Worth a mention, but not worth bringing down the score of a vehicle.

          The ability to store a wheelchair just
          • by fm6 (162816)

            Worth a mention, but not worth bringing down the score of a vehicle.
            But not having a lot of trunk space is.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The reason Consumer Reports can have reviews that point out the true merits and demerits is because of their ad-free model. Imagine you've got a reviewer who is sent some swag, but it just blows. He trashes the product, says it's inferior, points out all of the design and technological flaws, and so on. He then submits this to his editor. Trouble is, this particular manufacturer is a major advertiser for the magazine. Now what's the editor to do?
    • Journalists They would seem to rate a product based upon the giveaways. If the product supplier didn't like the review they got then threaten to not to advertise.

      5/5 amazing

    • HardOCP (Score:3, Informative)

      by bazald (886779)
      Read the HardOCP review of the iBUYPOWER P4 Custom Build [hardocp.com]. If there is a HardOCP review for something, I trust it more than any other review. They aren't afraid to rate something terribly, and to tell you everything that is wrong with it. They also go through the buying process and refuse any free stuff they are offered.
    • by sleeper0 (319432)
      Nope, I sure don't. I gave up reading nearly all hardware website reviews when I realized how non-ethical most web reviewers were. Of course, I had to do the same thing previously with most tech print publications. A company I was at got to read and suggest revisions to their review in infoworld twice before the publication. Something tells me the large full page ad in that issue and our multi issue commit didn't hurt.

      It's nice to hear you might actually be able to trust anandtech. They have always see
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by VolciMaster (821873)
      The best source of [business] hardware and software reviews has been InfoWorld: They either a) get samples from every manufacturer to compare head-to-head or (horror or horrors!) they actually *buy* one from each company and then test them.
      • by sleeper0 (319432)
        Is that really true? Granted, my experience was six years ago, however the firm I worked with at the time received a single vendor review, produced the product for free, and made an ad buy in conjunction.
        • Far as I know: every review I've read there indicates how the products were obtained, testing methodologies, etc. Plus, the [stated] policy is that advertising is handled by a separate group from the tech reviewers.
  • Lavish swag (swag by definition is lavish, eh?) is far from new - and far from news, making this topic a non-starter. And on the weekend when Leopard has been turned loose - tsk, tsk.

    And how 'bout those Rockies??!! Are they choke central, or what?
  • That's only a $150 device. $79 refurbished. Do they load it up with ads?

  • by ojs (93878) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @10:44AM (#21148119) Homepage
    First I hear of the terms http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagniappe [wikipedia.org] and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swag [wikipedia.org].

    On another note, isn't this comparable to the free gifts that pharmacutical companies give doctors on their conferences. It is just that this doesn't have the obvious connection to peoples health and well being and perhaps is a bit smaller in scope. A bit far fetched perhaps but the same principle or what?
    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @11:48AM (#21148469) Homepage

      On another note, isn't this comparable to the free gifts that pharmacutical companies give doctors on their conferences.

      Yes. It is. One of the interesting things coming out of some recent research [annals.org] is that even cheap trinkets (pens with blinky lights, post-it notes, etc.) subtly influence prescribing behavior. The drug companies know it. They've studied it extensively and will continue to do this sort of advertising as long as humanely possible. Unfortunately, as a species, we're pretty easy to influence, even if we think we know better and are above it all.

      (Goes back to reading Slashdot).

      • by Original Replica (908688) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @03:17PM (#21149893) Journal
        I read an article some time ago by a doctor discussing the fully sponsored "educational conferences" that drug companies have at tropical resorts. He had for a long time refused to even attend one of these free vacations, on ethical grounds. Eventually one of his colleagues convinced him to go on one. There were two or three, one hour information sessions that did in fact give the doctor a thorough understanding of this new wonder drug. The rest of the week he enjoyed the tropics with his wife. When he returned he was sendt a large number of samples of the drug. Even though he was fully aware of how he had been influenced and was ideologically against the bribery aspects of the junket, he found himself handing out samples and writing prescriptions for the new drug, because he had samples to give and knowledge about the drug. The doctor readily admits that he never would have written those prescriptions if he had not gone on the junket. Sorry but I cannot find the link to the original article.

        But to illustrate how bad the advert/bribery has gotten in medicine:

        >The drug companies spend about a third of their revenues on marketing ("selling and administration"). About $8,000 to $12,000 yearly is spent on marketing toward each individual doc per year total. There is one drug rep for every 4.7 office-based physicians. Residents are obviously more prone to influence: "residents in a psychiatry program in Toronto Attended up to 70 lunches that had been sponsored by drug companies and received 75 promotional items over the course of one year," notes David Blumenthal, MD, MPP in a special policy report in the New England Journal of Medicine. (351;18, 1887, 10/28/04).
        http://doctormental.blogspot.com/2004/11/doctors-and-drug-companies.html [blogspot.com]
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by KiahZero (610862)
          How is that bribery? From what you've said, it wasn't that the drug company had paid for the vacation / samples that influenced his prescribing behavior, but rather the availability of the samples and his heightened knowledge of how it worked. Thus, even if a neutral third-party had provided him with the information and the free samples, his prescribing habits would have changed.
      • by Tacvek (948259)
        I know that doctors get more than that. Pens seem to be the most common. But I've seen some more interesting items. I've seen wireless mice, Small USB hubs, and even a pen with a built in 64MB USB flash drive. (But as far as I can tell, it did not come preloaded with a copy of the prescribing information, or promotional material, which would make good sense to me.) I know that if I was a doctor and i received one of those bigger ticket items, I'd certainly take the time to research the Medication. Better a
      • by NIckGorton (974753) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @05:05PM (#21150869)
        Um... fuck research. They wouldn't spend it if it didn't work. So I refuse entirely to take any swag except for samples. I feel like the samples is a deal with the devil, but if I can circumvent the intent of the drug rep some, its not so bad(E.G. give all the advair diskus inhalers to supply my single patient without insurance and with severe asthma rather than the 'free starter' for multiple people that leads to further rxs for the drug companies.)

        Its still a big risk... now I know how much easier it is to get an asthmatic to take advair than cheaper albuterol plus QVAR. So I am probably more likely to rx in the future because of that knowledge. But that is a moral choice I pay for my patient.

        Other than that, I don't eat a cookie, take a plastic pancreas, or write with a Viagra pen. I don't even like to look at the time on a Tequin clock.
        Nick
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AikonMGB (1013995)

      English is my first language and I consider myself to be relatively well-spoken; I still didn't know what a lagniappe was.

      Aikon-

      • by PReDiToR (687141)
        I first came across the word in Piers Anthony's Cluster [wikipedia.org] series.

        Very old SciFi books, but entertaining 16 years ago.

    • by sheldon (2322)
      SWAG means Stupid Wild Ass Guess

      It's how most of us in the industry do estimates on IT projects. :-)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tshetter (854143)
      Those little trinkets arent half of it, not even close.

      My mother works in a semi-small doctors office. They have 4 docs one is cardio the other neuro, and two might be a more general practitioner doc. Dont know the specifics. About 12 more support staff as well.

      They have Pharm Reps (Drug Reps) they came in atleast twice per week. They give little presentations on new drugs, but also new tools, devices.

      Every time they come, they dont bring just pens, note pads and posters.

      No, no no....

      They cat
      • by reddburn (1109121)
        When my wife was in med school, they treated an entire fucking section (75 students) of third years - with guests - to dinner and an open bar at a four star restaurant to plug their new wonder drug for cholesterol.
    • by Nurseman (161297)
      On another note, isn't this comparable to the free gifts that pharmacutical companies give doctors on their conferences. It is just that this doesn't have the obvious connection to peoples health and well being and perhaps is a bit smaller in scope

      I always thought those free pens and pads were cool and harmless. Then I found about a pharm company sponsored ski trip, that has some glitches in the travel plans. When they surgeons came back, they refused to prescribe any of the companies antibiotics for one

    • by RobBebop (947356)
      English speakers to! Maybe it is because the American school systems suck, but I've never heard Lagniappe either.
  • by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Sunday October 28, 2007 @11:01AM (#21148219) Journal
    And some Slashdot militants complain that critical thinking isn't taught in the US school system (or White House press conferences)!

    This is a fine example of critical thinking being rewarded. In their heart of hearts, Corporations only want people to understand the benefits of their products. And writers... well we all know how hard it is to grind out paragraphs for which someone wants to pay. If writers have to EBay their lagniappes for food and rent money, are you going to oppress them with your sanctimonious principles, you cruel prescriptive bastards?

    Besides, the reviewers are not receiving bribes. They are lagniappes. If I were a politician, I would be open to receiving lagniappes. It sounds like something you get at a fine soirée, like canapés and other words with French accents in them.

    Message texted from pew #7 in my church using a Blackberry from a review I did earlier this year.
    • by Nastard (124180) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @11:41AM (#21148419)
      You talk of critical thinking while surfing (and posting to) Slashdot in a church?
      • by 0xC0FFEE (763100)
        They must be handing out free donuts and coffee.
      • He must have forgotten to accept the common anti-theistic dogma one is supposed to adorn while posting on Slashdot. How terribly un-critical of his thinking.
      • by tompaulco (629533)
        My pastor one Wednesday night just before the service wrote in his blog "the first person to read this during the Wednesday night sermon will receive $20." About halfway through the sermon, someone stood up and asked for the $20. Yes, he did get it.
    • by darjen (879890)

      This is a fine example of critical thinking being rewarded. In their heart of hearts, Corporations only want people to understand the benefits of their products.

      Yep, of course it's all the evil corporations fault for wanting us to buy their products. That's why I usually wait for awhile until a good number of actual user reviews get published. And you can usually find them in forums after googling around for the product number a bit. Amazon is also very helpful in reading user reviews. I bought the N800

  • by WPIDalamar (122110) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @11:02AM (#21148221) Homepage
    Please email me for my latest free service "Swag Removal". I will provide you with an address that you can ship all of your unwanted swag valued at over $20. I will then make sure that swag is "properly handled" to provide you with an ethical solution to the problem at no cost to you other than shipping.
  • ...apparently I am in the wrong line of work.

    -F
  • "Lagniappes?" (Score:5, Informative)

    by agentkhaki (92172) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @11:06AM (#21148253) Homepage
    "Lagniappes" is a word I've not come across before. For anyone else who couldn't figure out the meaning via context, or who's looking for a proper definition:

    lagniappe (lan yap)

    noun

    something given as a bonus or extra gift.

    ORIGIN Louisiana French, from Spanish la ñapa.
    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @11:50AM (#21148485) Homepage
      Thanks for that. It was just too damned hard to select the word, right click on it and "search google".

      Oh, I've got it, you don't have a right mouse button. My bad.

      • by dkleinsc (563838)
        Hey, I'm using Lynx, you insensitive clod!
      • by iphayd (170761)
        No right mouse button here...

        1) Two fingers on trackpad
        2) click
        3) select "Look up in Dictionary"
        4) ???
        5) Profit!
      • by PineGreen (446635)
        Dude,
        you need to go to one of those presentations where they hand out mice for free...

    • I wonder if the /. effect might be possible to achieve on indirectly linked site, like dictionary.com--as thousands of /. readers all search the same word.

      It appears from the comments that most folks don't use dictionary.com as their first reference point for words that they don't know, and use either Google or wikipedia. Interesting.
      • I use google to get to dictionary.com or the Urban Dictionary (depending on the word). I have dictionary.com in my dropdown search box, but usually it's faster to get there by clicking on the google hit, as opposed to selecting the dictionary.com box and then clicking. This is all in Firefox; not sure what you can do in IE. The new version of IE probably has tricks of its own.
        • by jlarocco (851450)

          No idea on IE, but Konqueror has a similar feature to Firefox. I can double click the word, right click, and get a small menu with the options "Search for '%s' with Google" and a "Search for '%s' with >" option that brings up a list of all the search engines I've added. The "Search for '%s' with Google" uses the default search engine, it just happens to be Google in my case.

    • It appears in Shelby Foote's Civil War history (in the second volume -- it's much easier to find in The Beleaguered City in Ch 1), and seems to be a Mississippi/Louisiana dialect word. I can't find it -- there are a LOT of words to skim through! -- immediately, but it's there someplace.
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @11:07AM (#21148257) Journal
    I got a really nice computer backpack in 1998 from attending (against my will, but at the behest of The Powers That Be) an SAP conference. And before that I got a Palm IV (!!!) for free, and all that was WAY more expensive and WAY more useful than a fucking iPod nano.

    At another convention, I got a guitar tuner, and a really nice long sleeve Moog Synthesizer T shirt. ANY old dump can crank out cheap short sleeve shirts - you know you're getting a better deal when they dish out heavier quality long sleeve T shirts. That's much better swag. I am a swag seeker. I have original Napster Golf Shirts. I have Macromedia mouse pads, I have all kinds of this crap in my garage. I even have a heavy duty cotton button down collared Fontographer shirt. Really nice shirt, and a prized possession. I have a long sleeve "ready Set go" shirt, too.

    But iPod nano? BWAHAHAHAAAAA!!! Don't make me laugh. That it such junior league material - intro stuff like my shirts and mousepads. When they give away the giant 160 gig iPod, then we're talkin' quality swag....

    RS

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      > And before that I got a Palm IV (!!!) for free, and all that was WAY more expensive and WAY more useful than a fucking iPod nano.

      Considering that Palm never released something called Palm IV, you either got a Chinese knockoff PDA or something non-existent. I think I'd take the Nano.
      • by Briareos (21163)

        Considering that Palm never released something called Palm IV, you either got a Chinese knockoff PDA or something non-existent. I think I'd take the Nano.
        I guess he meant he got a free Palm shoved up his vein - that's gotta hurt...

        np: Prefuse 73 - Smoking Red ft. John Stanier (Preparations)

      • D'OH - typo - Palm V. Thanks for noticing.

        RS

      • by bgat (123664)
        They're bundled with Duke Nukem Forever CDs.
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @11:22AM (#21148313) Homepage
    > It's damn nice swag, of course, but at what point is it too much? A DailyTech writer
    > talks about his experiences with swag.

    If you are a reviewer nothing is too much. If you are a consumer anything at all is a bribe.
  • I'm a reviewer... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by darien (180561) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [neirad]> on Sunday October 28, 2007 @11:22AM (#21148319)
    I'm a reviewer for a UK-based PC magazine, and I have to say, though companies do tend to give out freebies at press events, I've never been given anything remotely as interesting as an iPod. Normally it's a USB thumb-drive and a branded pen or two. For major launches you might get a rucksack.

    But be that as it may, surely giving out gifts of any size is only a problem if it actually influences reviewers. And on that count I see no grounds for concern at all. I think anyone who works in this industry quickly develops a healthily cynical regard for manufacturers, and if we feel like a company's being unusually nice to us our immediate instinct is to wonder why, and to look at their product with extra suspicion. The magazine market's just too competitive for reviewers to get away with endorsing lousy products: readers aren't stupid, and I think most of us love our jobs far too much to sell out our reputations for a few hundred pounds' worth of free stuff.

    (That's how it seems to be with print journalism, anyway. Web reviewers... well, I can't speak for them.)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Off to a music event this week, everyone who attends the conference gets a free iPod 80GB supplied by Apple. Oh, and it's £80 for the conference.
    • Your hypothesis could be easily tested by counting the number of critical articles done by reviewers receiving swag.
    • Re:I'm a reviewer... (Score:4, Informative)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @11:56AM (#21148515) Homepage
      Look at this review [annals.org] (from 2002) from the medical field. I can't find some of the other references in the open literature but basically, even cheapo freebies (my nurses just love the idiot pens with flashing LEDs in them for some weird reason) can influence behavior.

      Sadly, we're all bought pretty cheaply. Ohh, shiny!

    • by fm6 (162816)
      Jeez, remind me not to rely on your reviews! You're refusing to acknowledge any of the most basic ethical rules of the journalism, and yet you claim you can be trusted because "people are cynical". Gee, I wonder why?
    • I think the UK magazine culture is somewhat different to the US. In the UK we just laugh at freebies and do a damning review if that's what it deserves. In the US, people are far more likely to turn an advert in to advertorials - often the reviews are supplied by the manufactures. They can't get away with that in the UK though.
      FWIW, I get to keep nearly all software and probably 70% of hardware but it's never influenced me - indeed, several items have got slammed when I reviewed them but they still supply
  • Almost all review swag I used to keep, from vapourware under NDA to released products. Products such s motherboards, cases, CPU's, video cards, RAM etc I would just keep for later reviews, or make to some good use.

    I remember NVIDIA sending five GeForce 4 cards when they were vapourware to the public so we could overclock them to smithereens. Of which, two died and the other two made up machines from other review equipment that was kept.
  • review freebies (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2NO@SPAMearthshod.co.uk> on Sunday October 28, 2007 @11:39AM (#21148409)
    Doesn't the value of the freebies awarded to the reviewer depend directly upon the number of stars awarded by the reviewer?
  • Aren't those the older-style iPod nanos with the small screens? I bet AMD got a hell of a deal on them.
  • Yes, manufacturers are going to try to give journalists gifts and maybe this is to try to sway what they write. Whilst I'd have thought very few journalists would be influenced directly, maybe when you're thinking of the no-name builder of the next nVidia gpu you're going to review, your mind might more quickly leap to the one that's written on the flashdrive in your pocket - and you may give their PR a call first.
    Bit thaqt annoyed me about the article was the notion that journalists are paid enough, witho
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @01:52PM (#21149275) Journal

    That is the only real way to seriously review a product. Buy a real version of it from a real retailer who had no idea who you are. That is how consumer watchdogs do it, they want to avoid any potential that the producer tries to influence the results.

    We all seen the stories about reviewers being send special versions, geared to do really well in the used benchmarks.

    Do it like the pros do it. Seperate yourselve completly from the people whose product you are reviewing.

    Offcourse, that means the public has to start A paying the reviewers B wait till the product has already been released before the review can be done. Not going to happen, I am afraid.

    • This is part of why I love Tom's Hardware. They do pan hardware, they detail how they tested it, and they do their best to avoid getting special shipments rather than retail versions. It's sometimes difficult to avoid a special shipment when you're reviewing something that hasn't been released yet. They admit, in clear print, that it's a pre-release.
    • by tompaulco (629533)
      Your post makes me wonder how restaurant reviewers are able to review a restaurant. If the restaurant knows they are a reviewer, which they probably will if the reviewer is at all well known, then the restaurant will obviously try to get better dishes to the reviewer than to a normal patron. If I was a restaurateur, I would not know where to draw the line, as I would not know how far other restaurants go above their normal service level. I guess that is just the way life works. If anybody cheats at all, the
  • The idea is game sales correlate directly to game reviews. It's in the companies best interests to bribe the hell out of the reviewers. The best example of this was with the PC Gamer review of Doom 3. They got a lot of negative feedback from their review of the game, so they felt it necessary in the next issue to print an article defending why they gave Doom 3 such a great review. They said things like 'People expect games these days to be able to cure cancer while riding a unicycle wearing high heels and
  • Is my Matlab brand Rubik's cube, with different pictures on each site. I can't even bloody solve it without The Internet to help. I don't keep it at work any more in case of more coworkers picking it up going "that's clever".

    The Simulink control graph is cute though.
  • by gamer4Life (803857) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @02:34PM (#21149547)
    I think that's a bigger form of swag - actual money, disguised as an indirect business deal.

    I'll bet the people in charge of certain magazines or blogs have enormous incentive to put the products of their sponsor companies in a positive light - or at least in a non-negative light.

    At the same time you have to wonder if they'll spin the product of a competitor to their sponsor's product in a negative light.

    For instance, I remember back in the day, Microsoft products would get reviewed much more favourably than WordPerfect or Lotus 1-2-3 or any other competitor based on subjective criteria such as "ease-of-use". Of course, Microsoft was the heaviest advertiser in magazines such as PC Magazine, and you wonder if their executives talked and made an agreement of money for good reviews.

    At CNet, many of their reviewers have written books about Microsoft products, gathering information from people close to Microsoft - how they can maintain an unbiased opinion on any review with a Microsoft gadget is beyond me.

    There are many blogs where the PS3 gets bashed over anything, from calling it a George Foreman grill, to bashing Sony's "evilness", to it's lack of backwards compatibility to it's price. However, the XBox 360, a product by Microsoft, doesn't get bashed nearly as much over it's failure rate, Microsoft's "evilness", overcharging for non-standard components and online play, it's non-backwards compatibility, and so on... - not surprisingly, Microsoft does a lot more advertising on these sites than Sony.

    My point is, bribes go much further in the tech review/news industry than swag...
    • by jonbryce (703250)
      Well Sony is more evil than Microsoft. Sony rootkits are deliberately designed to impair your computer, whereas Microsoft problems are merely the result of poor programming practices.

    • The head of Valve stood up recently at a developers conference and said in front of everyone that the PS3 was a waste of everyone's time. it's not popular amongst game developers. It's a bitch to program and Sony are incredibly unhelpful compared to MS. Ask them both a tech query, MS get back to you same day, often with a code snippet. Sony wait 2 weeks and tell you to read the docs.
  • Like this is new??? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @03:54PM (#21150241) Homepage
    I remember a compiler comparison in Info world. The text of the review did not match the score card. I spoke with the author and found out that the scorecard he submitted was different from what was published. The scores apparently were based on the amount of advertising purchased by the compiler vendor. While doing some writing for the DPMA and BCS, I got a little swag (along the lines of free software). I did attend a few presentations with nice meals for the press.

    It didn't effect my reviews or commentary. I still slammed the companies I got freebies from.
  • Its easy to overlook the odd thumbdrive.

    That sort of bullshit is what separates casual bloggers from real journalists and reviewers. If you pretend to be a journalist and have any professional ethics at all, you don't accept freebies from the people you're covering and reviewing. Period. Not a thumb drive, not a T-shirt, not a voucher for lunch at McD's, nothing, zilch, nada. Real news organizations fire the asses of reporters who accept freebies. If bloggers want to be taken seriously, and claim the same privileges and legal protections that "r

  • Not so much. There's a local telecom company that formerly gave out Nano's to hear their 'pitch' for your phone services.
    This year, they're giving out PSPs.

    I originally thought this was ridiculous, before I booked my $1000 flight, $100 hotel, and rented a $100 car to go to a pointless 3 hour meeting at one of MY customers.

Blinding speed can compensate for a lot of deficiencies. -- David Nichols

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