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If two iPods can get a Vista driver article, imagine what two high-end video cards yields.  (Source: DailyTech)
When I used to review hardware, a slick gift was a polo shirt

I can't tell you the amount of USB thumb drives I've received over the last couple years.  It first started innocent enough: 128MB drives to hold 100MB presentations.  Unfortunately, over the last year or so the companies are more aggressive -- 1GB and 2GB modules "just for showing up."

"Keep the drive," the agencies say. "Our gift."

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.

Reviewers are certainly not shy about accepting such gifts. Hardware.FR proudly included two iPod Nanos sporting the NVIDIA SLI logo in a recent satire filler (English) regarding NVIDIA's Vista SLI performance.  It's a little unfair to single-out Hardware.FR, given that it took me no less than five minutes to confirm several other publications received the same gift.

It's bad enough when the rogue reviewer puts an unreleased next-generation video card on eBay.  It's even worse when someone starts hawking the lagniappe as well.

To the reviewers: C'mon guys, do you really need the money that bad?  Does anyone need proof of the effects of sloth and hubris on the tech journalism industry?

To NVIDIA: Shame on you.  If your presentation was not able to capture the attention spans of reviewers without placing it on a pair of MP3 players, it shouldn't have been sent out.

NVIDIA has an embargo lift on its GeForce 8800 GT (codename G92) on Monday.  The prudent reader should ask, "Am I reading a thoughtout analysis, or am I reading something coerced by two shiny new iPods?"


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Just like the med. industry
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/27/2007 9:17:59 AM , Rating: 5
This practice bears a surprising resemblance to what drug reps do for pharmaceutical companies in the medical industry.

Doctors are bombarded with free junk of "The makers of Prozac", "The makers of Lipitor", etc. A lot of it is cheap stuff like pens, calendars, etc.

However, if you start selling their meds, and you meet certain quotas and you endorse them, you can start to get nice perks like corporate vacations, free golf, dinners out, electronics, etc.

Anything to sell their product, even if they aren't soliciting your honest unbiased opinion.

Unfortunately, I've just come to accept that this is going to happen--apparently it's human behavior. You just have to try to keep yourself honest in these dishonest times.

Great blog, and I'm glad DailyTech won't stoop to such lows.




RE: Just like the med. industry
By Michael Hoffman on 10/27/2007 12:58:03 PM , Rating: 2
IMO that is a bit different than sending out free iPods to people who are supposed to be reviewing products in an unbiased manner. It typically is not uncommon (in any industry) to have a company try and hand out as much free stuff as they can to potential new clients... ethics be damned.


RE: Just like the med. industry
By TomZ on 10/27/07, Rating: -1
RE: Just like the med. industry
By JackBeQuick on 10/27/2007 1:58:55 PM , Rating: 2
It sure would be nice if some of the reviewers disclose some of that info though.

Any site that pays for its hardware out of pocket automatically moves up a notch in my book. This industry is old enough now that some of these reviewers should be doing that instead of buying their second Porsche.


RE: Just like the med. industry
By Thorburn on 10/28/2007 11:52:06 AM , Rating: 2
Porsches? For the majority of us we are on a pittance.

I just quit from a technical reporter role to find a new job as I could have been making the same money working in a supermarket stacking shelves.
Not only that, but it would have shorter hours and far less stress.


RE: Just like the med. industry
By JackBeQuick on 10/28/2007 12:06:27 PM , Rating: 2
Pittance.

Sure. I'm sure your boss wasn't hurting.


RE: Just like the med. industry
By Michael Hoffman on 10/28/2007 2:33:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm sure your boss wasn't hurting.
Although there are plenty of people running around who are able to afford to travel the world and buy shiny cars, the other half tend to get paid next to nothing for their services. :( This "new era" of online journalism tends to be really, really harsh for a lot of quality writers who simply will never be lucky enough to snag the type of position that will allow them to purchase a Porsche.


RE: Just like the med. industry
By James Holden on 10/29/2007 1:53:00 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Although there are plenty of people running around who are able to afford to travel the world and buy shiny cars, the other half tend to get paid next to nothing for their services. :( This "new era" of online journalism tends to be really, really harsh for a lot of quality writers who simply will never be lucky enough to snag the type of position that will allow them to purchase a Porsche.

Believe it or not, people don't get into journalism because of the money. That's how it's supposed to be.


RE: Just like the med. industry
By Anh Huynh on 10/29/2007 6:16:46 PM , Rating: 2
That may be, but people still have to feed themselves and pay rent. Journalism isn't exactly the highest paying profession for the amount of work involved.


RE: Just like the med. industry
By James Holden on 10/29/2007 7:24:13 PM , Rating: 3
I spent the better part of my life as a researcher with DARPA, NSF and various universities. If I wanted to make money, I'd start a porn site.

I always assumed journalists wrote because they felt a desire for something other than the money, the same way I feel for this country.


RE: Just like the med. industry
By Anh Huynh on 10/29/2007 7:27:54 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, majority write because they enjoy it, which is why they do it. However, journalism requires a lot of time and effort. Daily news requires a lot of work.

I won't deny the world of tech journalism hasn't been corrupted by free hardware, handouts and such. But its hard to get a site started unless you already have the capital, which is where we're running into problems. A lot of the smaller sites can be bought out, because they can't afford the costs associated with returning everything.


RE: Just like the med. industry
By clovell on 10/29/2007 2:58:26 PM , Rating: 1
There are some strict laws in place that regulate pharmacuetical marketing. Not everyone abides by them, but they are there, and they are strict.


Mmm
By quiksilv3r on 10/27/2007 12:31:16 PM , Rating: 4
So apparently AMD sent Kris an Ipod Touch to write this article.




RE: Mmm
By JackBeQuick on 10/27/2007 12:47:28 PM , Rating: 2
No, it was a Zune. ;)


RE: Mmm
By jiteo on 10/27/2007 11:52:17 PM , Rating: 5
Microsoft should have sent iPods to Zune reviewers ;)


AnandTech & DailyTech ?
By BlitzAceYuna on 10/27/2007 12:57:36 PM , Rating: 3
Uhh.. Since it was mentioned in the article, can anyone tell me how AnandTech & DailyTech are related? I've actually been wondering for quite some time now..

Also, on a completely unrelated note, can anyone also tell how you rate a comment up or down? Or do only Mods and senior members get that privilege?




RE: AnandTech & DailyTech ?
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 10/27/2007 1:01:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Uhh.. Since it was mentioned in the article, can anyone tell me how AnandTech & DailyTech are related? I've actually been wondering for quite some time now..

I was the editor under Anand for several years. Anand and I decided to split AnandTech in half -- I'd get the news section and he'd do reviews. The two sites are separate entities now.

quote:
Also, on a completely unrelated note, can anyone also tell how you rate a comment up or down? Or do only Mods and senior members get that privilege?

After you've posted a few (good) comments you'll automatically get privileges to rate posts up and down. You cannot rate and post in the same article thread.


RE: AnandTech & DailyTech ?
By BlitzAceYuna on 10/27/2007 1:11:38 PM , Rating: 2
Ooh.. Thanks alot for clearing it up.

I'd always wondered why I couldn't find those big "+" and "-" buttons next to a person's comment that was supposed to affect his rating.


RE: AnandTech & DailyTech ?
By Alias1431 on 10/31/2007 9:34:52 PM , Rating: 2
About how long does that take?


RE: AnandTech & DailyTech ?
By Sunrise089 on 11/2/2007 9:53:43 AM , Rating: 2
Regardless of the behind the scenes issues involving ownership, I was under the impression a big reason behind the split was NDAs. Having two companies allows AT to sign a NDA and therefore work on a review before a product launches, while DT can report all the rumors and leaks they want since they don't sign one.


Dailytech and the news of the future
By Anosh on 10/27/2007 5:47:08 AM , Rating: 2
Now that we have stated this I hope I won't be reading about how dailytech accepted this and did that.




RE: Dailytech and the news of the future
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/27/2007 12:07:04 PM , Rating: 2
Kris prides himself on keeping DT articles clean (Not influenced by the companies), its unlikely to happen with him at the helm.


RE: Dailytech and the news of the future
By Proteusza on 10/27/07, Rating: 0
By ksherman on 10/31/2007 10:20:56 AM , Rating: 2
Just because Intel pays for advertising does not mean that Anandtech is in their pocket.


By TomCorelis on 10/27/2007 6:12:58 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed, DT's code of conduct is very strict about sources of influence.


The fine art of Bribing
By crystal clear on 10/27/2007 3:56:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
NVIDIA has an embargo lift on its GeForce 8800 GT (codename G92) on Monday. The prudent reader should ask, "Am I reading a thoughtout analysis, or am I reading something coerced by two shiny new iPods?"


Nvidia PR/marketing is crude indeed-such tactics work in Asia-Where such things are a normal practice & routine.

Nvidia should be more creative in their efforts in the USA-How ?

Sponsors an advert for a vendor on the target website.

Buy advert space on the site targeted.

All this a day or two before launch or expiry of the NDA

The art of Bribing is a delicate matter-needs to handled very carefully.

What works with one may not work with another.

As a bribe giver I should study the the bribe reciever,what works with him/her....the most delicate part is not make him feel he is being bribed.

I routinely give bribes & thus developed the art of Bribing.I call it
"As a Token of appreciation for your Time,efforts & wisdom"

Sometimes Flowers with a Birthday/etc card does the trick...
depends...

The ART of BRIBING is a very CREATIVE one....




RE: The fine art of Bribing
By crystal clear on 10/28/2007 5:19:57 AM , Rating: 2
Reminds me when Vista was launched !

M.S. gave out to many Eds/reviewers/anaylst FREE LAPTOPS loaded with VISTA for review.

The laptops were a gift from M.S. to them for......

Some got Vista Ultimate discs as gifts.....

Well Nvidia is not the first one to do this.


Jaded big time
By Misty Dingos on 10/27/2007 8:52:01 AM , Rating: 2
Well this took me by surprise. It shouldn't have but it did. What I find more shocking is how easily the tech journalism side of the equation has been seduced.

It is understandable that anyone that works in tech journalism has an interest in it. Just like someone that reports on sports would be interested in sports. But when you start bribing the reporters and that is exactly what this is, the reporter that allows themselves to be sucked in has gone from reporter to shill. If I were their editor I would certainly have to consider whether their journalistic integrity had been compromised. If it had then they need to be fired. Here is your iPod as a lovely parting gift.




I guess I'll do it...
By Aikouka on 10/28/2007 1:28:25 AM , Rating: 2
If you really can't take the unit, I guess I can painstakingly take it off your hands ;).




But does it really?
By TheBakachan on 10/29/2007 9:30:10 AM , Rating: 2
I have to wonder to what degree anything is actually affected by these little 'gifts'. I mean, sure, some people are probably going to go "zomg, a free laptop!" and kiss unbelievable amounts of ass... But I hold the reviewers on the big sites to the same standard I hold myself to: Free stuff is par for the course in many industries, they're just going to keep doing it, and it's not going to affect my opinion. Everyone knows that if I don't like something, I'll say so.




Booth Babes
By crimson117 on 10/31/2007 3:29:32 PM , Rating: 2
Is this any different that booth babes which offer a chat with a cute female as a reward for learning about a product?

I guess it's harder to place a value on a chat with a female.




ipods
By xsilver on 10/27/2007 9:58:22 AM , Rating: 1
Can anyone explain to me exactly the point of sending 2 ipods to the reviewer?

To demonstrate to the reviewer the effectiveness of SLI?
eg. it is as effective as joining 2 ipod together like in that link.

and AMD/ATI can respond by sending Ruby in a box along with their cards? that will sure get them ahead :P




So
By The Jedi on 10/27/07, Rating: -1
RE: So
By Anh Huynh on 10/27/2007 11:50:05 AM , Rating: 2
NVIDIA picks up the bill for flying journalists out to its tech days. But even then, back in my day over a year ago, all I got was a beach towel, some NV chapstick and a dozen Corsair shot glasses.


RE: So
By EarthsDM on 10/28/2007 10:14:18 PM , Rating: 2
Do you still have all twelve? How much do you want for them? I'm not the biggest fan of Corsair (I have some of their RAM, though) but I like novelty shot glasses, esp. in sets.


RE: So
By Anh Huynh on 10/29/2007 6:18:31 PM , Rating: 2
It's not a set, I just ended up with 12 of them. This was before my DT days :). They get their use around here :D.


RE: So
By Myrandex on 11/2/2007 4:15:42 PM , Rating: 2
I <3 Corsair :)


RE: So
By AmberClad on 10/29/2007 7:51:18 AM , Rating: 2
Shot glasses, I can sort of understand (although...in Corsair's case, a bottle of Captain Morgan's would have seemed slightly more fitting). But chapstick...that's a bit baffling to be honest.

Oh, and Anh, you seem to be missing your normal DT icon.


RE: So
By EarthsDM on 10/29/2007 11:59:34 AM , Rating: 2
Good point about the Morgan's, but BioWare is the only company I know of to give out alcohol at their events (see link.) I was actually thinking of using mine for Gosling's, but Morgan's makes a good rum at a good price so I'd probably wind up using that, too.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2000/05/17


RE: So
By Anh Huynh on 10/29/2007 6:20:39 PM , Rating: 2
Typical tech day events from ATI or NVIDIA will have an open bar or an unlimited supply of alcohol in the evening during dinner.


RE: So
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 10/29/2007 12:52:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Oh, and Anh, you seem to be missing your normal DT icon.

Anh is no longer with DailyTech.


RE: So
By Anh Huynh on 10/29/2007 6:19:29 PM , Rating: 2
The shot glasses were filled at first ;).

But as Kris said, I am no longer with DailyTech. I have since exited the online world of tech journalism after my seven year run.


RE: So
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 10/27/2007 12:29:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And I appreciate your integrity, but doesn't travelling out to Santa Clara cost you money out of pocket?

DailyTech doesn't usually travel (or even get invited) to those sorts of events. If we do, we pay for it out of pocket.


RE: So
By James Holden on 10/27/2007 1:12:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The relevance of course (the author knows this) with the iPod is that PortalPlayer makes the display chip, and nVIDIA bought PortalPlayer.

No, Apple dropped PortalPlayer for the iPod Nano a year ago. And you know this as well.

http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-6063346-7.html

Not to mention that an iPod Nano has *NOTHING* to do with SLI does it?


RE: So
By The Jedi on 10/30/2007 10:57:26 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
No, Apple dropped PortalPlayer for the iPod Nano a year ago. And you know this as well.

That's news to me, for all I care.

quote:
Not to mention that an iPod Nano has *NOTHING* to do with SLI does it?


Y'know, they give out gifts like T-shirts, pens, hats, and other trinkets often at press events and conventions. Personally I wouldn't own or use an iPod. I just thought I'd raise my PoV that if it is... bordering on buying a review, currying favor, providing just enough positive tilt, y'know an adult like Kristopher sees this, but he doesn't necessarily have to mail it back. I figure nVIDIA has their connections so it wouldn't cost them a lot.

This blog calling this out is significant, and necessary. I was just thinking more about the cost of travel.


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