The Gravy Train Is Over 2354

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I looked at a Radeon 8500 review at a certain website today. Accompanying it was a big ad from ATI advertising the product.

Computer hardware manufacturers incorporate website reviews into their marketing plans. They send out product, and coordinate those
who get into a shock wave of reviews which they then quote on their websites.

Do you care about things like this? Does it matter a lot, somewhat, a bit, or not at all to you?

Why do you go to computer hardware websites? What do you most like about going to them in general? What do you most dislike?

Does the level of commercialism much affect what you think of a site? Do you not go to places that do things like that, or do you still visit them anyway?

Have you gotten to the point where you don’t particularly trust anybody all too much, whether or not they engage in such practices?

How do you personally determine whether or not a particular place is trustworthy or not? What are the most important factors in determining that? Whom do you find trustworthy and why? Whom don’t you find trustworthy and why?

If there’s a website you like, you regularly go to, and find valuable, what would it take for you to stop visiting it? Have you ever stopped visiting such a site in the past, and if so, why?

Do you personally find any websites are flat-out evil or close to it? Why do you think that, and if you do, do you find that you generally agree or disagree with what that website has to say?

Have you ever been persuaded by a website to change your opinion about a product or range of products? If a website disagrees with your opinion on a matter, how does that affect how you view that website? Does it make it more or less likely you’ll visit in the future?


This isn’t a poll per se, there won’t be a followup with the headline “48% Think XYZ Would Steal Candy From A Baby.”

It’s more like an email focus group to get general impressions of what’s OK and what’s not OK to do today.

One reason sometimes stated for preferring computer websites to computer publications is the belief that the computer publications have their opinions swayed by advertisements and the websites don’t.

Is that really a factor anymore?

Personally, I don’t see one bit of difference between a hardware manufacturer having a full-page glossy ad in a magazine in an issue where their product is being reviewed and a hardware manufacturer having a big banner on the site and/or webpages where their product is being reviewed.

If anything, I’d probably feel safer with the computer magazine, simply because they have a much broader base of ads from lots of different places rather than just a few, and also because they are far more likely to keep advertising and editorial work in different departments/brains.

You could call both magazine and website bad for doing that, or call both at least potentially OK, but you can’t give differing answers to the same thing under the same circumstances.

The impression we’ve gotten is that commercially-inclined practices by websites may negatively affect folks’ opinion of that particular website, but not usually their visiting behavior; they’ll still go to a place; they’ll just bring some more salt with them.

Again, not a poll, but perhaps the first step in putting together such a poll in the future.

Send me a note with your comments on the questions above. We’re not going to keep records, or name any names in any followup, or provide statistics. Again, just a sort of focus group; let’s see how this works.

Email Ed

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