Shane Ross over at Little Frog in High Def brought this Boston Globe article to my attention. In the interest of total transparency, based on my own personal principles (of all things), I’d like to come clean about all the items I’ve received for free to review products on this blog: zero, with one exception.
After writing about finalcutprotemplates.com from a link on Mark Spencer’s blog, I thought they were so awesome I blogged about them. I thought “Hey, what a great way to learn about building 3D templates. Just buy these and *presto* you’ve got project files to build off of and learn from.” After the fact, finalcutprotemplates.com sent me a free copy of their drop zones volume 1 as a thank you. I thought this was pretty cool. Unfortunately, my bevy of free 5dmarkii video tutorials have not inspired Canon to send me a complimentary 5D as a thank you. Have they helped sell some cameras? Maybe. From what I’ve heard, they’ve helped people who have bought the cameras learn how to work with the footage. And seeing a video that someone made better after watching my tutorials is the best thank you I can get.
The Boston Globe article has some good quotes in defense of bloggers receiving complimentary stuffs to review. Since my brother was formerly in radio, Ryan Spaulding’s rhetoric particularly piqued my interest:
Ryan Spaulding of Malden, who launched Ryan’s Smashing Life music blog (rslblog.com) in 2006, has no intention of complying, arguing that free CDs and show tickets are the tools of his trade. “I don’t look at it as payment,’’ Spaulding says. “It’s what it takes to get the job done.’’
And while I’m sympathetic to Ryan’s plight of needing to actually listen to the music before reviewing it, I believe there is intrinsic value in the audiophile who reviews after having purchased the music himself, as a consumer, as you or I would need to do it. Otherwise, your listening to the opinion of an insider who is motivated by swag or other compensation to continue reviewing goods and services. Ever hear of journalistic integrity?
I much more value the opinion of someone who forked over their hard earned cash to find out “Yes, the Euphonix MC Color is worth the 30 rounds of golf I did not play in order to purchase it,” or “I pawned my Tag Hauer for this Matrox MXO and at least my watch worked” are good examples of reviews I personally value. But I digress. The Boston Globe article concludes:
The bottom line? Readers need to understand the relationship between a reviewer and the company whose products are being reviewed.
Couldn’t agree more. So from here on out, if, or when, I receive any complimentary stuffs to write about or as thank yous for an already written review, I’ll tell you. Up front. Otherwise, you can trust that I spent the hard earned cash to deliver you a hard earned review.
proactively • you can take that to the bank • peter