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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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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.


"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer














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