Fueling the Fantasy Factory

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Next week, there will no doubt be tons and tons of hype about the GeForce3.

We’ve chosen not to be a part of that, and this bothers some people.

Their comments boil down to, “I agree with you, but review the card” or “I want to know about it even if I can’t afford it” or “Review it and then damn the cost.”

Some have even said it is our obligation to look at such products.

All this really brings into question what the role of a hardware site should be.

Designated Party-Poopers

Marketing is a party. Marketers presume that, for the most part, you’re really not too rational. You act based on your emotions and urges. So they aim at those emotions and urges, and try to loosen you up by appealing to those emotions and excuses.

Sure, they’ll toss in some facts and figures so you have some justification for your actions afterwards, but they’re really aiming at your id, your primal urges. They’re going for your most vulnerable point.

It wasn’t always that way in advertising. It wasn’t until about fifty or sixty years ago that marketeers found appealing to your gut worked better than appealing to your head, and began applying it systematically to advertising.

It works because people like the feeling of gratification. They like the feeling of being important, or being on top, or feeling better than others, or having others praise you for your buying decision.

Buying things make most people feel good. In some cases, so good that they get hooked on doing it again and again and again, just to get the feeling.

Just thinking or fantasizing about a purchase can make people feel good. Even items we know we’ll never have.

The problem is emotional highs never last, and people who get you high often take advantage of you when you are high.

There’s going to be a big party next week, and a lot of people are going to be spending a lot of money trying to get you high next week, and the weeks thereafter, and they have only have one thing on their mind.

All of us have done things at parties we wouldn’t have done otherwise, and usually, we got mad at the people who told us at the time that maybe what you wanted to do wasn’t such a good idea. We called them party-poopers, or something like that.

So should we just join the party, or be a party pooper? We think it is better in the long run to be the latter.

The Time To Say “No” Is When Everyone Else Is Saying “Yes”

We often feel like the designated driver in the midst of a party. We probably wouldn’t say “No” and loudly and forcefully as we do sometimes if there were more “Nos” being uttered.

We could have reviewed and said, “This costs too much.” We could have just ignored the product altogther. In a more sober and rational environment, we probably would have done just that.

But given the hype party coming up, we thought we needed to make a more forceful statement than that, just to counteract all the pressure coming the other way.

Some get offended and say, “You’re treating us like morons and children, not adults.”

Let me tell you, the marketeers are the ones who think you are morons and children; they just sugar-coat it with a heavy lacing of flattery while snickering behind your back. If you don’t believe me, find yourself some marketing textbooks.

We look upon this as being like someone dead sober telling his drunk friend not to do something. He doesn’t think his drunk friend is inherently stupid; he doesn’t do it when his friend is dead sober, he does it when his friend is under the influence and about to do something he’ll probably regret.

What we’re saying is for the people who are susceptible to hype highs; we’re just trying to get those people to think twice before doing something they might find foolish later.

Remember, these messages don’t have your name on them. If it doesn’t apply, it wasn’t meant for you. If it does apply, consider it.

We all are susceptible to this. We all fall prey to it. I bet I have, am and will make purchases those of you who know better would find just as foolish, and you’ll be right. The idea is to try to help each other out.

“This Is A Great Product, Don’t Buy It”

We don’t doubt the GeForce3 will be an improvement, or a good product. It sure ought to be for the price they’re charging.:)

But praising a product and damning the price inherently sends a mixed message to those susceptible to the siren songs. They’ll hear the parts they want to hear, and not the rest.

Nor do we fulfill our goal, which is to identify good value products, by doing something like that. That only serves to fuel fantasies, and there is already far too much of that going on.

If we were the only hardware site in the world, then maybe we would be depriving people of needed information. We’re not. If you want to be told how wonderful this $700 video card is, or how brilliant and important you’ll be buying a $700 video card, there will be plenty of places delighted to tell you just that. We won’t, because we don’t believe it.

We have a perspective and view, and we stick to it. We aren’t here to tell you what you want to hear, that’s dishonest to both you and us. We’re here to tell you what we think you should hear, and why. That leaves us honest, and you informed. In the end, you decide.

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