You know, I think I do remember the 1GB Fireball being a trooper. But that takes a back-seat alongside my own ancient Seagates, as far as meaningless anecdotes go. There was also a time when the Fireball name was taken derogatively (like Deathstar) because the drives turned terrible, and then came the [fucking] Quantum Bigfoot abomination.
Which again, just backs up what I said, although I'm going to have to modify my stance a bit I'm still on the same soapbox: Your sampleset is good, but without a proper study or a basis for comparison, it's just anecdotes and confirmation bias and a story.
Mostly I've replaced Seagates professionally, too, but then most of the units I work with were populated entirely by Seagates from the factory.
I always replace them with low-end WD Purple drives because the speed is adequate and the caching algorithm is allegedly optimized for this use-case.
Eventually, the Seagates will all be gone and 100% of the drives I replace from then on will be WD (although of MTBF is to believed, some of these Seagates will outlive me by a long shot).
If most of the cars on the road are Fords, then most shops will see Ford cars needing repair.
I've had an old BMW daily driver for over a decade. People say that they're expensive to work on (they aren't), and that they're unreliable (mine isn't). Exceptions: Small-town mechanic sees a fancy-pants red BMW roll up and starts thinking about "boat payments." Mechanic then realizes that his local Autozone rep can't get many parts for it, so they assume that they'll be paying someone to drive an hour to the nearest dealer for whatever it needs. The price (and therefore perceived unreliability) begins to multiply.
And so, folks become biased about it.
A smart, good mechanic (I know exactly one) can figure out how to get quality, OEM (literal OEM, not OEM-like) parts rather cheaply. But what I usually do when I get in over my head working on it myself, I chat with my mechanic about it on the phone for a bit, I order the parts myself (saving him the hassle of working out of his network), and he simply charges me his hourly shop rate to do the work. I don't quibble over the bill. My mechanic is, to me, unimpeachable.
And so, I'm biased differently than a lot of other folks.
None of us are right. We all have our stories, but that doesn't make us right. It just means that we have stories. We believe them because they're true -- after all, we were there -- but that doesn't mean that anyone else needs to place any value on them. Be it my own Seagate stories, or my long-winded car analogy, it's just a story like any other.
And there's nothing wrong with that, I suppose, as long as we take them at face value.