Author: Lucio Cadeddu - TNT Italy
Published: June, 2020
In Part I I told you how difficult dealing with certain HiFi Companies can be. A capacitor's manufacturer asked us to purchase their caps in order to review them and, what's worse, they thought they were entitled to give their permission (or denial) for the publication, before this had to go online.
Many of you replied this was pure nonsense, but trust me, don't be too surprised, as this was just the tip of an iceberg. In these last 25 years of independent reviewing we've come across several offensive proposals or behaviors, both from members of the industry and from fellow reviewers. I'll just cite some example, without exposing the names of the culprits (you know who you are, my friends. And shame on you).
Members of the industry
A loudspeakers manufacturer, now disappeared into the far distance, asked us to remove the review of their world's best loudspeakers (a car audio coaxial driver installed in a simple cabinet) because they felt our review was unfair. Of course they threatened to sue us. Since we felt our review was going to give them free exposure (positive or not, it was public exposure) we decided to leave them in the dust. As a result, they disappeared. Pure scam.
Another manufacturer, reading of our reviewers' recruiting program, candidly proposed a member of their staff as reviewer. He would have been a truly independent reviewer, right? And they were surprised when we replied “Thanks, but no thanks”. Their surprise might imply that their proposal wasn't so uncommon. Frightening, to say the least.
Many manufacturers ask us how much should they pay to have their product reviewed on TNT-Audio. Or propose an affiliation program like this: you review the item, publish a link to an online store that sells the product, so when a reader purchases the product following that link, a small part of the sale goes to you. To be more precise, here's an affiliation program we received a couple of days ago:
The funniest (or saddest) part of the story is that when we reply there's no fee for having a product reviewed or that we don't accept affiliation programs these companies disappear. They don't even care to reply. Hence, dear readers, when you are reading a review and that review contains a link to a store where you can purchase the reviewed component (typically, Amazon or stuff like that) you can be 100% sure there's an affiliation program between the company and the magazine/website/blog. How can such a review be reliable? You tell me.
One shot reviewers are the rule. Audiophiles who pretend to be part of the staff, send a review and then disappear. How many of these have you seen come and go? Too many. And they are the hardest to avoid.
Then there have been fellow reviewers who started writing for another magazine (who paid them) but said nothing. Wearing a double-face jacket seems to be quite common nowadays. They sell their souls and asses for a couple of bucks. It is quite common, as well, to have reviewers who quit sending reviews or articles and do not even spend a minute to send an e-mail saying they can no longer write for us. Or why.
We also had a reviewer who founded a company, reviewed the first product he made, and...said nothing. Immediately discovered, he has been forced to quit and the review of “his” product removed from the website. Hasta la vista, baby. Where are you know, my friend? ;-) Crime doesn't pay.
We've had a reviewer who - at a certain moment - started writing several reviews, at an insane rate, of products of a new company. These reviews were, as you can guess, all extremely positive. I warned him this was not our usual code of conduct. As a result, he wrote another review of a just released product (of the very same company) where the one and only comment about the sound of the component was “It sounds fabulous”. Nothing else. And no, you won't see this review on our pages. And not even the name of the reviewer. Moreover, I've decided to prevent this company appearing again on our pages. We will never review their products for the years to come. This is what happens when someone tries to be smart with us.
Being truly independent, as you can see, is not easy, because human beings always try to exploit their position for a personal profit. I hope you appreciate our effort to be as transparent, loyal and honest as we can be, even when this means making unpopular decisions.
Copyright © 2020 Lucio Cadeddu - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.tnt-audio.com