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Marc Writes The Opinion Piece For Enjoy The Music


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Don't know if this appeared elsewhere (apologies if it does) but Marc has supplied the Opinion Piece for the May edition of Enjoy The Music.

This item is in the premier place for the May edition.

Well done Marc!!

Here is the link http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/viewpoint/0521/Opinion_Matter_Of_Trust.htm

Enjoy the read.

Bruce

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Interesting read, thanks for posting, and thanks, Marc.

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Big apology!!!!!

I meant Marc.

Sorry about that.

Thanks for picking it up for me.

Good job.

Bruce

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Having been in the industry for 33 years, I would of liked to have been a fly on the wall in both those circumstances. But, being out of the industry for 6 years, I most probably wouldn't know who Marc was talking about anyway, come to think of it.

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A really good piece, which underlines the difficulty in maintaining the duopoly of fair and honest reviews, while still encouraging innovation and improvement in audio products by the industry itself.

 

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When I was young I took reviews at face value, and it was quite a shock when I found out that there was often a lack of transparency and even outright deception in the marketing.  I recall looking to buy a cassette deck, and a couple of retailers were heavy-handedly pushing a particular model, and they all had a sales script for the model which was conveying blatantly incorrect information.  By that stage I had enough knowledge to be able to see through their ploy, and conclude that it was a bad model that the manufacturer had been dumped onto the Australian market (as tended to happen in those days), and the sales script was designed to mislead consumers who didn't know better.  There must have been a huge profit margin and/or sales commission on those units! 

 

I've always found researching items a stressful process.  I want to read reviews and user feedback to get a balanced viewpoint, but can't trust it either.  I've gained experience reading between the lines to be able to identify some biased commentary, but it's not always easy. 

 

It is now rare to find writers and publishers who do have transparency, and celebrate it when it is found.  Marc (and his team) are certainly a rare oasis in the Audio/Cinema world, having the integrity to not only be open about their stance, but to have the courage to stand up to an industry that some parts have been known to intimidate and bully retailers and the media to less honourable behaviour.  SNA is a site - and a community - that holds it's integrity, and has my trust.  And I thank Marc and his team for having the courage to maintain their honour and transparency. 

 

 

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Thanks for the comments all.  I will call out the BS when I see it too. Even at the cost of advertising dollars if something is not right - and we have, a number of times.

 

I was flattered that Steven Rochlin enjoyed my opinion piece from a couple of months ago enough to want to syndicate it on his well-known global website. 

 

Thanks for sharing @BruceS :thumb:

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Good piece.

 

In all ethical reviews/reports/papers, financial or other connections are openly stated. 

If they are not stated, then the ethics of the reviewer/reporter/paper writer are compromised and their work cannot be trusted.

 

Harsh, I know, but decades in evaluating information has proven that to me.

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1 hour ago, GregWormald said:

In all ethical reviews/reports/papers, financial or other connections are openly stated. 

If they are not stated, then the ethics of the reviewer/reporter/paper writer are compromised and their work cannot be trusted.

 

For some time now, all our editorial pages have contained this:

 

image.png

 

I believe there are laws coming in soon that are more specifically related to social media and influencers, but I suspect they will also govern us small independent publications too. Even though it's not mandatory yet, we have decided to get onboard early. I look forward to some guidelines and regulations personally.

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Another step closer to use becoming the US

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Good piece Marc.

 

It's interesting, as I've only more recently gotten into reading Hi-Fi reviews online (I did buy HiFi magazines over 20 years ago if they appealed enough).  The parallels between this article and what I saw in the motoring journalism field was almost identical.  As an example there were rumours with scattered evidence that a brand which had a horse as part of its identity would only supply their vehicles for review under a stack of conditions that would put an encyclopedia to shame.  Even then cars were often only provided to reviewers which were more likely to favour them.

 

I was serious about doing an equipment refresh about two years ago and started delving into doing extensive research.  I'm talking about spending 2-3 hours per day on average for a year working out what to buy.  What I found baffling was the serious level of contrast between professional reviewers - that's not even taking into account people's opinions and thoughts on equipment on forums (no offence, but we aren't immune to this at SNA either).  How do you put a shortlist together based on such mixed reviews?  Which leaves me to the last and most important point.....

 

All most consumers end up doing is throwing their hands in the air and giving up.  The Hi-Fi industry ends up shooting itself in the foot and this means everybody loses in the long run.  People need to call out when reviews are not as independent as they appear to be.  I would go as far as saying that it should be a legal requirement to disclose when a review is not performed at arms length.

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2 hours ago, qik_shift said:

... The parallels between this article and what I saw in the motoring journalism field was almost identical.  As an example there were rumours with scattered evidence that a brand which had a horse as part of its identity would only supply their vehicles for review under a stack of conditions that would put an encyclopedia to shame.  Even then cars were often only provided to reviewers which were more likely to favour them...

It would be interesting if the "stack of conditions" that manufactures give reviewers were leaked on the internet so their deceptive superlativeness is on public display (in the auto and audio worlds, and other industries). 

 

2 hours ago, qik_shift said:

... I was serious about doing an equipment refresh about two years ago and started delving into doing extensive research.  I'm talking about spending 2-3 hours per day on average for a year working out what to buy. ..... All most consumers end up doing is throwing their hands in the air and giving up. ...

Been there, done that (but not with quite the same dedication to research as you have done). 

 

 

2 hours ago, qik_shift said:

... People need to call out when reviews are not as independent as they appear to be.  I would go as far as saying that it should be a legal requirement to disclose when a review is not performed at arms length...

Agreed, but where can people call out the reviews as not being independent?  It is unlikely to be published as a "letter to the editor", and posts on website forums disappear quickly.  And tere is also the risk of deformation being brought against and individual, with the guilty publisher being smug knowing that an individual is unlikely to be able to be able to meet the legal costs with such a case.  It is one of the many "shoulds" that our legal system ethically needs to address, but like in a similar way there is an ethical need for political donations, perks and advertising needs to have disclosures it's unlikely to be legislated. 

 

 

 

 

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@audiofeline Good challenge on how independence (or lack of) can be publicised.  I think if it was made law then it would be a requirement for the disclosure to be clearly made to the audience. For example on theage..com.au there is a section call 'from our partners' and if the article is sponsored in any way it's clearly marked right on the front page.  Things like this has to help.

 

All we can do in the meantime is do a lot more of what Marc has done - continue to call it out and publicise it on forums, perhaps somehow influence google search results so the callouts reach consumers?

 

 

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On 01/05/2021 at 11:18 AM, BruceS said:

Big apology!!!!!

I meant Marc.

Sorry about that.

Thanks for picking it up for me.

Good job.

Bruce

 

Fixed it for you ;)

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Thanks Mod Squad.

Good job.

What an idiot I am!

Never thought of correcting it!!

Thanks again.

Bruce

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@Marc thanks for writing this, good to know. I cant see it as anything but damaging for the  distributor and their brands and hopefully not too much collateral damage for others. The meeting was bizarre sounding and pointless as they were clearly not interested in supporting SNA anyway.  If thats how they treat their industry colleagues I shudder to think how customers will be treated.

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Posted (edited)
On 02/05/2021 at 9:10 AM, audiofeline said:

When I was young I took reviews at face value, and it was quite a shock when I found out that there was often a lack of transparency and even outright deception in the marketing.  I recall looking to buy a cassette deck, and a couple of retailers were heavy-handedly pushing a particular model, and they all had a sales script for the model which was conveying blatantly incorrect information.  By that stage I had enough knowledge to be able to see through their ploy, and conclude that it was a bad model that the manufacturer had been dumped onto the Australian market (as tended to happen in those days), and the sales script was designed to mislead consumers who didn't know better.  There must have been a huge profit margin and/or sales commission on those units! 

 

I've always found researching items a stressful process.  I want to read reviews and user feedback to get a balanced viewpoint, but can't trust it either.  I've gained experience reading between the lines to be able to identify some biased commentary, but it's not always easy. 

 

It is now rare to find writers and publishers who do have transparency, and celebrate it when it is found.  Marc (and his team) are certainly a rare oasis in the Audio/Cinema world, having the integrity to not only be open about their stance, but to have the courage to stand up to an industry that some parts have been known to intimidate and bully retailers and the media to less honourable behaviour.  SNA is a site - and a community - that holds it's integrity, and has my trust.  And I thank Marc and his team for having the courage to maintain their honour and transparency. 

 

 

Personally i think everything you read in print and electronic media should be taken with a pitch of salt, here (sna)  included 

Edited by cafe67
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So, who's the writer and who's he/she working for?

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Not too hard to work out who it was.

 

Having had a peek at the reviews in question they are a bit lame, not much more than an expanded press release with a bit of opinion.

 

Not in the same league as a proper review whether on here or another proper review website.

 

BUT as Marc alludes to they are not marked with any identifier that they are NOT from a third party independent review site.

 

Having said that I'm not sure many would be fooled into thinking they were a serious review.

 

All a bit of a waste of time on their part as the comment/opinion contained within carries no weight at all.

 

Part of the value of a product review for the maker or distributor is that it is a third parties opinion, I assume?

 

All very strange really.

 

 

 

 

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