Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Reviewing free items

The practice of sending free stuff to reviewers doesn't result in the same kind of review as you would get from someone who had to pay for the item. A person who got a gadget or accessory or whatever for free will naturally place a different value on it from someone who paid. The reviewer who gets, say, a free Microsoft Surface Pro 2 just because a lot of people follow him, will feel like it's a pretty sweet deal. And why wouldn't he? He's probably also got so many other tablet computers that he's already got his whole family covered for Christmas. It doesn't even have to last for him, because he'll probably get the next generation for free when that comes out in a year.

Someone who paid for the tablet will need it to last. They'll need it to be worth what they paid, not just do cool stuff. He probably already resents the cash outlay he had to make and so starts with a negative impression that needs to be overcome. A reviewer who gets the same gadget for free is already grateful for that, so the minor quibbles are forgiven and forgotten where they might be a dealbreaker for everyone else.

I'm not saying free stuff for reviewers should stop, or else a lot of reviews will also stop. I'm just saying I'd like to know up front whether a review unit was free so I can calibrate my reading accordingly.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - If anyone wants to send me a free tablet computer to review, I'd be happy to do so.
PPS - Any make or model will do. :)

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