I recently heard from an audio manufacturer that Srajan from 6 Moons requested payment to publish the company's review that was in-progress. I have used 6 Moons for many years believing them to be unbiased. It would be disappointing if this practice was widespread. Anyone know if this is "normal" business for reviewers? Have I just been naive? It would not be the first time.
It's true but what Srajan is asking each manufacturer is to "buy" an ad on his site which is in essence charging for the review. Since this was announced I've stopped going to their site. Most believe this will have little effect on how honest the review of the gear is but it still raises more questions and concerns than the way 6Moons was run before IMO only.
"Since this was announced I've stopped going to their site."
Where was this announced and how do you know that's really true? I just checked their website and looked at all their current product reviews. I didn't go over it with a fine tuned comb, but it looks like most, if not all the products reviewed, did not have ads posted on the site.
It's not as if they are the only ones that are asking for such a tit for tat. There have often, maybe more often than not, been certain, ahem, arrangements made with manufacturers like forever when a magazine decides to do a review. You know, such as how much a reviewer would pay if he decides he would like to own the thing under review. 6 Moons is being up front about it, that's all.
As Viridian points out, read Srajan's rationale for why he did it and just when he did it as it's been awhile since he's implemented it. Also, the review that's alluded to in the OPs post allowed for the manufacturer to be grandfathered in under the old policy at no cost to him. Srajan was quite eager to hear review his speaker.
Srajan just decided that's it's been going on for far too long having a small handful of manufacturers carry the weight of all the advertising. There have been multiple reviews of single makes products with no reciprocation whatsoever.
Srajan is not a trust fund kid with resources to spare. The whole gig is funded by advertising and those that do fully support his new program, all the while wondering why he didn't do it sooner as I imagine they didn't like carrying everyone's water, giving them a free ride.
Any professional (including reviewer) gets or at least asks for certain dough for what they do. Why it's so shockin' after all and why 6 Moons NOT supposed to charge for reviews? If I'm a professional writer asked to write a story or an article for specific journal, magazine or newspaper, should I do that for FREE? It's only in audio-dealer's stories and fairy tales reviewers writing from listening experience. In reality, they less-likely even touch or see that equipment. All you need to have is proper audiophile vocabulary to write these articles and you don't need to be EE or designer. Figure out. Math is simpler then science and there's no science without math.
I think Srajan has a valid point that advertising needs to support the cost of the editorial. Magazines and newspapers have used this model for generations. Websites are using this model as well. The way in which he is executing the plan will be seen by some as compromising his editorial.
Traditionally, the advertising side and the editorial side of a publication are separated like church and state. One does not interfere with the other in order to maintain integrity of the content. Journalism 101.
Some publications pretend there a separation between the ads and the editorial. Readers see that the ads match the publications reviews and credibility of the reviews diminishes.
The approach of requiring a company place an ad to get a review makes it easy to sell ads but hard to be objective. When a vendor pays for a review, it will be very difficult for a reviewer to say something negative about the product. It is a classic dilemma - particularly for publications that review equipment.
I appreciate the difficulty that Srajan discusses in generating advertising dollars. In my experience, selling ads requires a significant amount of energy and one or more dedicated salespeople. It is far more work to keep the advertising and editorial separate but that is the approach that other publications and websites have taken to maintain integrity in their reviews. Possibly Srajan is hoping to bypass the process of managing a sales effort by just requiring the companies reviewed to buy ads. I am not sure that will best serve the readers. Time will tell.
The bottom line, has there been any rave reviews by 6 Moons over terrible gear? If not, get over it. Business is business. Ultimately truth in reviews and integrity are what survive the test of time in this and other arenas. Read the reviews, then evaluate for yourself. Most of us have to pay bills. Trust your ears, pt
Anything that compromises subjective intellectual property is tainted and immediately suspect when it is offered free to the public. What I see are a bunch of broom closet companies trying to get attention in a crowded marketplace with too few buyers and they are willing to pay to get their product reviewed. When they prosecuted Alan Freed they called it payola, nowadays the consumer sheep don't care what gets wagged in their faces, as long as it is free.In my opinion, this guy has screwed the pooch and can't be trusted, regardless of his vision and intent. Just keep sending those shiny objects to him. The word is credibility.
The ethical issues are really dependent on how the publisher runs the operation, since the conventional model, as others have pointed out, doesn't really assure editorial integrity anyway. (Despite all the dirt thrown against the wall over the years about long-term loans of gear, cushy relationships among reviewers and manufacturers, etc. I think most mainstream reviewers try to get it right. Whether there is an inherent bias to always say something 'nice' is another question, but I seem to recall some less than stellar reviews in magazines like Stereophile). Why couldn't a site have a front end that is 'free' to users for capsule reviews and certain coverage, but a 'pay wall' for more in-depth reviews? Charge users a nominal fee for access per review? Like an iTunes charge- .99 cents? Not much, and those pennies add up. Advertising could still run on the 'free' part of the site to reach the greatest number of users. Frankly, while I skim most gear-centric websites and have an e-subscription to Stereophile, I rarely read whole issues or all of the reviews- just focus on the stuff I am interested in. And, eventually, the pay for access reviews could be migrated to the 'free' side of the wall.
There are pros and cons with everything. Sixmoons reviewers generally do a decent job of covering both. No reason to be negative about most products, rather, be agnostic, describe the product to just help people familiarize and decide if right for them or not and be done with it. Just being objective about these things is the key.
My main complaint about sixmoons is the tangents that the reviewers go off on with regularity. The reviews are seldom very concise. But on the other hand we all love this stuff right so why not just go with the flow, enjoy reading and wena what one might out of whatever is written.
I could complain about sixmoons all day probably, but bottom line is I;'d rather sixmoons and other write anything than nothing at all. This audio stuff does not get all that much attention these days compared to other newer and trendier areas of technology.
As part of my job, I "run" a "free" informational website that is supported, but not influenced by advertising. So I sympathize with Srajan. I think that his approach is reasonable. It is clearly stated, and the rationale clearly explained. Before implementing his policy, he gave time and space for debate. Etc. 6Moons is not a charity. It must be supported somehow. There are only a few ways: subscriptions, advertisements, donations. Srajan has always struck me as a fair and independent reviewer. I have not noticed a change.
I've had the opportunity to hear enough of 6 Moons reviewed components to trust their impressions, no integrity issues in my opinion. Srajan in particular has no problems pointing out negative findings or providing a word of caution regarding components. He gives much effort and time to direct competitor component comparisons and stating the differences (some other sites/magazines shy away from this aspect). Their audio reviews are some of the most informative and complete that I have read. I wish them the best. Charles,
People please: if you expect to read a review for free then expect the value contained therein to be worth no more than the price of admission. Where anyone believes they have any right of access to something of value without compensation is plain wrong. And if you do happen to be entertained, even modestly, by something you can read for free on the Internet, then be happy for what you have gained for little effort and time.
I am so sick and tired of this something for nothing attitude that is so pervasive in today's society.