Audiophile reviewers and disclosure.

A word of warning before you read this, if by any chance you review audiophile gear keep in mind that I’m probably not writing about you.
With that out of the way, I’m totally against people who say they are reviewers and make review blogs just to get free samples or even money for their opinions.

In fact this post came to be because I started to notice a pretty awful trend on so called headphone reviewers, most of them do it because they receive free stuff which they get to keep after their reviews.
Bloggers know it’s wrong and the companies who supply them often make a blind eye, because it brings them more customers already primed by word-to-mouth hype.
In fact this kind of marketing strategies were one of the reasons the FTC made US bloggers disclose any kind of endorsements or free samples.

No wonder we never read truly negative reviews on some audiophile sites or blogs.
Those writers refuse to review bad products because it would ruin their relationship with the merchant who’s giving them free samples! Sad but true.
Sure some bloggers will disclose they are receiving free gear but it’s all for nothing if they are reviewing just to receive the gear, thus they lack the main thing any reviewer amateur or professional needs above all, integrity.

I totally understand the rush of receiving new stuff on the doorstep, but these writers are literally selling their opinion to the lowest bidder.
Because of them most who are serious about their work or hobby are faced with the sad reality of being pressured by those very same companies for positive reviews. After all if one reviewer sells out everyone else will surely will!

I totally suck as a reviewer and I lack the necessary wine tasting vocabulary most use on their articles, but I do strive for honesty on my opinions.
For example in my KZ earphones guide I disclosed this:

– All earphones are bought with my money from various online shops.
– I’m not endorsed by KZ in any way nor do I want to be. 

I can fairly bash any KZ earphone I bought because of this, It’s my money and I’ll give my blunt opinion on the gear. Until now I never gave a negative opinion on any KZ product, but I don’t know what the future holds.

In this niche everyone has their fair share of blame for the problem.   
Some reviewers are addicted to free stuff and sadly some consumers need to confirm their purchases with positive reviews.
Reviewers are very important to the current consumer society but they are also accountable for their words.
It’s up to each one of us to understand what’s bullshit and what’s not.

Updates
10 Oct 2018 Yes, as of the middle of 2018 I also receive gear to review but I have some rules in place so I don’t derail from the main propose of this blog, having fun and enjoying the music.
I write because I enjoy it, not because I want to run to eBay and sell what I just received.

2 thoughts on “Audiophile reviewers and disclosure.

Add yours

  1. Well said! We used to refer to this sort of promotion in high end audio as “Profit Margin Distortion” when a reviewer or retailer would give favorable treatment to a product based upon his profit margin or being otherwise compensated by the manufacturer. Many of these such products were inferior copies of other manufacturers designs or outright fraudulent claims of performance. You do us a service Raphael in writing your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice article Raphael. Those practices are exactly why I started reviewing in the first place, with my blog coming about later mostly as a place to catalogue my work. Ps. You don’t suck as a reviewer.

    Liked by 1 person

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