Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Behind the scenes at MMORPG.com's hardware reviews

The most irritating thing I see posted in the comments after my reviews is The Accusation.

The Accusation is always this: I am biased. Company X pays me/MMORPG.com to say nice things about it, or they advertise with us so we have to say nice things, or they give us stuff to give away so we have to say nice things.

I wanted to clear up this misconception. I do not get paid by anybody, EVER to say nice things about their product. Period. It has never been offered, and I would never have accepted if it had been.

If I like a product, it's because I genuinely like it. The opinion is mine. I don't even have contact with the people responsible for advertising on the site. I don't know what we make from advertising, I don't care. Is it possible a bad review might make us lose ads? I guess. Like I said, I have no contact with that side of the business. It's not my job to worry about that.

My job, such as it is, is to check out new PC hardware that might interest MMORPG gamers, and write a review about my experiences with it. That's it. If I don't like it, I will say that I don't like it. If I like it, I will say that as well.

I'm also not sure people realize how we go about getting review samples. Companies are not lined up around the block asking me to review things for them. In fact, I can think of only three things that have been offered to us:

The Killer NIC and the Killer K1 - because my former editor previewed their release in an article about a convention, and I called BS. The guys at Bigfoot wanted to prove to me that they had a good product, so they sent me review samples. Guess what? I actually did like it, and they changed my mind.

The Evoluent Vertical mouse - and I'm not sure why we we're offered this, but I'm working on the review anyway.

That's it. Everything else I have reviewed? I have to go out and do legwork. I have to find out who to contact at a company, and then I have to get in touch with them and ask for a sample. Most of the time these people don't ever get back to me. MMORPG.com? Not classy enough for them. It's a pain in the ass, and I'm grateful to the companies who agree to work with us, or I'd be looking for something else to write about.

BUT, that still doesn't mean I am going to automatically give them a good review. If a product is s**t, you will read about it being s**t. I'm not going to gloss it over to gain favor with anybody.

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