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Just another day in the office – Part #1



/ 5 years ago

A lot of readers have a general idea as to how a review website runs, whereas others don’t have a clue and with many questions being passed to us on a frequent basis, we felt that we would pipe up and explain a little bit about it in this mini-set of articles.

Part #1 will see us talking about the companies that we deal with whilst part #2 will delve further into the review world and the affiliate sites that we work with including the bitchiness that surrounds it. Part #3 will dispel some of the myths including the sugar coated approach of being a reviewer and how we’re not all millionaires as most readers perceive it to be.

As you all know, we deal with companies on a daily basis in terms of organizing review samples and the lovely shiny banners that you’ll see across our site. Without banners and the campaigns that we organize, we would cease to exist, as what a lot of people don’t see, is that running a site like this costs money, and of course the bigger it grows, the more money it costs and for starters, just because we run a review site doesn’t automatically make us millionaires, but we’re talk about that a bit more in part #3.

Banners

Banner campaigns are generally dealt with on a monthly basis and are set in stone for a set period of time, though some sponsors rely on a CPM basis, purchasing multiples of 1000 ad impressions for a fixed “per thousand” price. Just because we earn money from this, doesn’t mean it all goes into our back pocket, oh no. The cost of hosting the site is paid for out of this, and we can also guarantee that our electricity bills are a damn sight higher than yours, including the purchasing of equipment to bring you the very latest reviews with the latest testing techniques in place.

Samples

Now the other area of running a review site is obviously all down to the samples we are provided with. Now some sites are run with the mentality of receiving a sample, reviewing it and then passing it back, which is very much the case in the UK due to the economy that our government have blessed us with. Other countries such as the United States of America, Australia and those surrounding Taiwan don’t deal in the same manner. Instead they retain all samples given to them which usually get used in future reviews, given away or being honest with you; sold.

Now you’ll notice the big green bars at the top of this page, telling you all about the competitions we’re currently running which a lot of the time is sponsored by the companies we deal with, whilst other times see us fronting up the goods ourselves. This in a way dispels the myth that we have a stockpile of Radeon 6990′s and Asus Rampage motherboards sitting next to us because we simply don’t.

A lot of sites are shady in this fact, whereas we’ve taken multiple pictures of our main office to show, and yes you’ll see the stockpile of samples that we have to work through, but this is our job, much like a garage would have plenty of cars to fix, shock horror.

So how does it all work? Simple really, a company arranges with us a sample, it gets sent and we start to take pictures, test and of course write the review, but this is where it gets complicated as a lot of the manufacturers have certain stipulations and don’t play ball, or at least fairly.

Problems

It all started with a company called Compro Technology, who if you look in our review archive, sent us a product that was basically; terrible. Due to that and us being an unbiased set of journalists, we rated as we saw it but of course they weren’t keen on our conclusion and were adamant that their product were the dogs dangly’s as it were. For some reason after this, they ignored all emails and correspondence from us, and when we finally spoke to someone, were told that their products weren’t suitable for eTeknix. Funny that, isn’t it?

That was a long time ago, when eTeknix were first starting out, but as time has moved on and we’ve learnt a lot more about the industry, we’ve been able to see further into the rabbit hole and find that other companies are as devious too. Surprise, surprise!

Moving to the current day, and we can’t help but mention the likes of Zotac. The main gripe that we have with them is the marketing and PR side of things, which ends up being a painful task of organizing a sample under certain agreements and then after publishing, decide to change their mind. Many times had we looked at Zotac products with the agreement to retain the sample after use, but found that a quick change of mind, shortly after publishing was made and we were asked to return the item. From a PR point of view, that is fantastic work, by bribing sites to review your products and then getting them back at the last minute, and whilst a lot of online magazines will hander to this, we weren’t prepared to.

Now for those who don’t know, a PR company has one goal and one goal only; to get as much exposure as possible, for as little money. Seems Zotac have this in a nutshell, or at least their PR company do?

Moving onto another company and this time takes us to Foxconn, who don’t need explaining about as they do EXACTLY the same as Zotac by offering products, which frankly aren’t very good and then after publishing, try to squeeze them back, and what you may find odd is that the same PR company deal with them too.

We’re not alone

The last company on our “hit list” is SteelSeries who we’ve been a fan of, but it seems that mentioning certain qualities of their products is a no no, as our friends over at another review site found out when they mentioned a headset distorting when turned up to the maximum, but apparently the products aren’t suitable to do such a task, and therefore from what we can tell, they have been silenced in terms of receiving samples from them.

Now I’m sure you’re all wondering who deals with their marketing, and you guessed it, it’s the same people as Zotac and Foxconn.

Now it may seem that this article is out for revenge or as a vendetta, and that is partly the case due to us being treated much the same away as other sites that we’re aware of, but it’s more to educate our readers into the trials and tribulations of running a site, much like this.

This also includes companies much like the PR company in question organizing a “gentlemen’s agreement” of organizing banner space in exchange for samples, and then not following through in the end and this is the case for Samsung and their PR company, which is EXACTLY the same PR company again, surprise, surprise.

So we have now ceased activity with this PR company, and freely invite them as well as anyone else to respond to our above and they are all aware as to how they can contact us so what are your views?

It is worth noting that all views expressed within this article are solely that of eTeknix and not of the review community in general. Therefore all views are, as our product reviews; an opinion by the author and are freely expressed in the same way.