On 'Gadget Site Reviews'

Ben Brooks, on the lack of honest opinion in most tech reviews:

[T]hat’s the point of reviews on major sites like the ones above: they don’t want to tank a rating, and they don’t want to be too opinionated. Doing either would hurt their business.

Yes, it would hurt their business to be honest.

Why? Because if they piss the company off that makes the devices they review, then they may not get press invites or review units — and that may in turn seriously hurt their revenue as they are based off of ad sales. 1

This is exactly right.

In my view, the rating system The Verge uses is stupid. For instance, if one Android phone is rated a 7.4 and another one a 7.6, does it mean that the latter is substantially better than the former? Is the former substantially worse? By the same token, why do so many gadget sites bend over backwards in trying to find something nice to say about a product? If a product is shit, just say so.

The “we’re afraid to express an honest opinion” mentality is pervasive among sports analysts as well. They’re so afraid of getting blacklisted from future interviews that they’ll put a positive spin on anything to make a team or player(s) look good. To my knowledge, no one is ever called crappy or mediocre anymore, even if crappy or mediocre is the truthful assessment. Of course there’s such a thing as tactfulness, but the media needn’t walk on egg shells for fear of breaking a few or hurting feelings.

If the Q10 sucks — and it does — just say it sucks. Tell people not to buy it, and let BlackBerry suffer the consequences of making a shitty product.