hi warrenh, have you considered the inverse, will a favorable review guarntee an advertising contract for a year ?
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The ads may be only part of the process.
The company has to GIVE the equipment to someone who is a reviewer, and that reviewer has to use it and then get ok to publish a review from the editor.
The co-incidence of ads and published reviews is more than just payola. The companies find out when the review will be published and often take out ads for that issue to reinforce the product.
I do not think it is a matter of who pays off whom.
Reviewing and advertising are handled by completely different aspects of a magazine. Reviewers don't know whose ads will appear till they see the their copy of the issue.
The stastics have been posted ad nauseum but people don't seem to care about facts that don't coincide with their misconceptions...
I heard directly from a manufacturer/owner, that his product was reviewed and it was going to be a favorable review. Then he recieved a call from the magazine and they said the only way they could gaurentee the review got published was if he agreed to an advertising contract. He did not and the review was never published.
People are confusing reviewers and editors here. Most reviewers don't have any inside knowledge about advertising because they don't actually work for the magazine. Almost all reviews in the audio mags are done by freelancers. And those freelancers don't decide what gets reviewed. They can propose something, but it's the editor's call.
And you can be very sure that the editors know perfectly well who's advertising in their publication, and how much. It's certainly been the case in the past that advertising has led editors to request review samples from a company. There's no guarantee, but a smallish, newish company can certainly up its odds by advertising.
That said, the primary purpose of reviews is to sell magazines. By and large, editors are going to want to review the products that readers most want to read about. Having an exciting or "different" product is a much better bet than advertising. If all you're offering is the latest iteration on the basic 12-gauge copper cable, an editor is going to yawn, no matter how much advertising you buy.
I know a guy who talked to a guy who used to be a roommate of a guy who worked for this audio guy and he said.........
I really don't have any reason to question the ethics of the audio magazines or reviewers. Although I, at times, disagree with them I enjoy reading the reviews, and forming my own opinions. I have never had a reviewer or editor do me wrong and until they do I will assume they are fine people, even Mikey. I know that they are not given free merchandise as I have Dynaudio Special 25 # 95 & 96 in my living room, the same pair that Stereophile reviewed on two occassions. So they must have given them back to Dynaudio. Unless there is some kind of a conspiracy??? Hmmm, I'm going to talk to this guy who knows this guy..................
Based upon a six edition run a quarter page ad equals multiple mentions in show reports, a half page ad equals a review, a full page ad equals a positive review and inclusion in a reviewer's reference system and a for a pair of Scarlett J.'s unwashed panties they'll create an A+++ category for your product in the recommended components issue.
I don't know why you think this is some sort of secret since the magazine freely publishes this exchange list. Go to http://stereophony/FAQ/bullshit&otherlies/php/$$$=paranoia.html
There is probably some validity to the idea that it "looks like something is going on" because one of the published criteria (by Stereophile) for selecting review products is that the company be well-established. This is common sense because they don't want to review products that nobody can find or won't be supported a year from now because the company turned out to be something of a fly-by-night operation. That being said, a good sign that a company is well-established is that they advertise in the major publications.
Mrtennis, the key word in your statement was "guarantee" and also the length of the advertising term, and the answer is still "NO". Because it may happen now and then is far from a "guarantee" in every situation... I hope you're enjoying your day. I am -- I just made a couple of minor adjustments to my system and it's sounding quite lovely. :)
This calls for an Oliver Stone movie.
I'm thinking Sam Tellig hung out with Oswald, who, besides collecting curtain rods, was into the same S.E.T.amps Sam liked in '63. That means- obviously- Sam and Oswald spent time together and Sam soon became a Patsy just like Lee Harvey. But Sam was an Audio Industry Patsy, having dropped out of the Fair Play For Cuba club.
In later years, Sam was sent to infiltrate the Stereophile staff,leading to the hiring of Art Dudley- an obvious communist.
Sam's love for SET means, as a Patsy, he's drawn to highly efficient speakers- like ZU!
See how it all fits together so perfectly?
Mags have to 'negotiate' with companies to get items to review. Even though the mag may be making lots of money, it never (almost never, whatever) thinks to go out and BUY a piece of equipment to review. No....too much of an expense. In what do these 'negotiations' consist? What is agreed to? One thing for d...sure...the readers' interest is nowhere to be found....
It would appear that when the all mighty $ is involved, (and when isn't it in this case) impartiality, agenda, whatever, is going to come into play. I would love for Zucable to get one of their speakers reviewed by one of the big pubs. It would be wonderful for Zu and audiophools to boot. If it does happen, I just wonder (I'm sure Stereophile would lie to the death) if the Zu boys would get one of their babies reviewed without a full page spread. Don't get hung up (my fault I suppose) on "guarantee." How's strongly influence? Ya know what I'm getting at...
I remember a number of years ago when Stereophile reviewed a Velodyne speaker. It wasn't a very good review. In the Manufacturer's Comments at the end of the issue, Velodyne made their displeasure known. They further said they would stop advertising in Stereophile for the forseeable future. This was about eight or ten years ago. I haven't noticed whether they are still holding the grudge and continue to avoid advertising there.
So there is no question that reviews and ads are correlated. However, this documented correlation is in the opposite direction to what was proposed in the thread question.
I do not have any evidence that the correlation works in the direction of an ad leading to a review. I have certainly noticed ads from certain companies appearing in magazines around the time of a review, and then tapering off a few months later. However, this is not conclusive proof that the ad lead to the review. It is equally plausible that the manufacturer is simply trying to leverage the increased awareness of their product that the review produces.
So riddle me this...
Let's suppose for a moment that those sneaky manufacturers are actually throwing not only free gear but advertising dollars at magazines in the vain hope of letting us know their products exist and are available
And let's suppose that those completely unprincipled magazine reviewers, editors and publishers are busy trading editorial coverage for free gear and advertising dollars...
Do you support the manufacturer that you've never heard of and can't find?
Do you automatically ignore any review which carries a manufacturers ad?
Help me out here - I too desperately want to do the right thing!
One of the basic truths in advertising is that ads are more credible when the brand or product is supported by public relations - especially in the form of third party endorsements (real or implied) such as a review.
Meaning that manufacturers know that running an ad in an issue that carries a review provides a measurable way to leverage their investment.
At the same time, as Pableson pointed out, publishers know that people read magazines to find out about the latest and greatest - this is especially true in the world of buff books (specialty or enthusiast mags)
So a model has evolved based on this "synergy" - the third leg of which are the tradeshows where each year the hot new things are discovered and the review calendar is planned for the year.
Along with hifi, I am into photography, sailing, gardening, cooking and wine and I assure you this same model is at work in all of them.
as someone with a strong economic background, it seems obvious to me that an ad reinforces a positive review and a positive review reinforces an ad as far the probability of increasing sales of the product reviewed.
thus, a manufacturer would be smart to place an ad in a publication which has presented a positive review of one of its products.
it also makes sense that a publication with a large enough readership with appropriate demographics would be an ideal venue for an ad, even in absence of a review.
the question asked is there a quid pro quo, before an action is taken, namely if there is coercion to obtain an ad with the inducement of a positive review ?
to the extent that such an event happens, it nullifies the validity of a review.
when you consider what a review is, it is a very subjective and hence highly opinion-based undertaking.
as has been said before, reading them for entertainment purposes probably is the best approach for dealing with issues of ethical lapses.
While reviewing and advertising are handled by different groups, the editor, who has to answer to the big shots of the conglomerates that they report to knows all about both, or else he's not there for long.
The conglomerates that bought these rags did so for one reason - to make money. If the mags don't make money the editor is quickly replaced.
What do advertisers want? They want positive exposure, either in reviews or editorials (think Stereophile and Musical Fidelity).
To think that a mag is going to work hard for the benefit of a non-advertiser is bsurd. The more pages, the harder they'll work for you - or the more inclined they'll be to cut you a break, like not print a marginal review.
Look, this is pretty simple guys - you know, take care of those who take care of you.
Anyone who believes it's all benevolence and one-hand-not-knowing-what-the-other-is-doing between advertising and reviewing needs a serious reality check. Ask any editor of any specialty mag.
I have had several of my products reviewed and published, even though I have not bought an ad in any of the magazines, nor did I ever ask anyone to review my products (nobody asked me to buy an ad, either). Reviewers have purchased products from Herbie's Audio Lab just like anyone else would and written reviews. Haven't had reviews in "Stereophile" or other big print mags, (have had reviews in Bound for Sound, Positive Feedback Online, The Absolute Sound, 6 Moons, and other online mags like TNT Audio).
So, based on my experience, I would have to say that many of the reviewers are just semi-pro writers who love to write about their audiophile hobby, and publishers are willing to pay an appropriate fee for the material (just like any other print media).
Of course, many reviews are done with equipment on loan from the manufacturer, and this is to be expected with bigger-ticket items. I suppose this is primarily arranged between a manufacturer and reviewer, sometimes with involvement of the publisher. I also suppose that a manufacturer might advertise with a magazine that published a favorable review, as a matter of gratitude, and also to sell more of his product.
Likewise, it seems a publisher would have a keener interest in someone's products who advertises with the magazine, and might be more inclined to grant review space. A product that is new and unique and interesting would perhaps merit a review.
I can't speak for the whole industry and I'm sure there is plenty of hanky-panky, but I believe a good part of the audio review industry is on the level.
Warm regards to all,
Herbie's Audio Lab