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A Look At Free Reviewer Swag

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the something-to-think-about dept.

The Internet 144

chicl3t writes "It used to be that the lagniappes that came along with hardware for review were things like USB drives — makes sense, one 128MB drive for a 100MB presentation. But...iPod nanos? As in more than one? That's another story entirely. It's damn nice swag, of course, but at what point is it too much? A DailyTech writer talks about his experiences with swag."

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144 comments

I heartily agree (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21147997)

As I write this on my beautiful Apple MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo Santa Rosa 2.4ghz with an ultrafast 4 GB of Corsair Memory and my always trustworthy Western Digital MyBook Pro 1TB World Edition backup. This marketing madness must stop.

Sour grapes? (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148307)

Its easy to overlook the odd thumbdrive. It's not so easy to overlook an iPod Nano ... or two. At my old company, AnandTech, anything that cost more than the price of shipping went back to the vendor, including the unsolicited stuff.

Sounds like somebody's pissed that they didn't get their share of the pie.

Re:I heartily agree (1)

jamshid (140925) | more than 6 years ago | (#21150549)

Why would a company's marketing department give out schwag? I guess it's better than nothing, but if they really wanted to a glowing review from the reviewer they would give out... Oh wait, "sWag". Never mind.

Re:I heartily agree (2, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 6 years ago | (#21151431)

As a reviewer, I am under no obligation to promote the zesty, robust taste of Doritos brand tortilla chips, regardless of how great a snack they may be for lunchtime, munch time, anytime. It's illegal for my crunch money here to pay for the review, but it is legal for it to pay for my website, and the website can report on Frito Lay. Advert: "Eat them." Reviewer: "I just happen to like 'em."

Does anyone bother with those reviews? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148023)

Does anyone actually bother reading those reviews? I sure don't. They usually tend to say nothing but positives about the products being reviewed, especially when the reviewer got them from the manufacturer free-of-charge. Of course, that's to be expected, since they want to get more such free products (which I don't doubt they use for themselves afterwards, until they fall apart a week or so later).

The only reputable source I've found for reviews is Consumer Reports. Other than that, the pickings are slim.

Re:Does anyone bother with those reviews? (2, Informative)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148173)

EHHHH

Consumer reports not so much. Use them if you must. Ive found them to be a little too harsh on suff ive bought thats turned out to be fantastic.

Re:Does anyone bother with those reviews? (2, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148349)

I've seen a lot of articles where the writer says they have to return the review unit too.

Consumer Reports can be a bit odd at times, they've marked down things heavily things that are somewhat minor in my opinion. Sometimes they don't make allowances for the target market, such as marking down a sports car for it's rough ride when that's a sacrifice that needs to be made in order to get better performance.

Even though they don't get their review samples, I've heard of one way that their no-ad system can be subverted. The companies can buy up large blocks of subscriptions, and the magazine can live under the threat of cancellation if their product is reviewed poorly.

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21149339)

"such as marking down a sports car for it's rough ride when that's a sacrifice that needs to be made in order to get better performance."

Tell me the car and I'll look it up.

I've never seen such a thing.

Re:No. (4, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21150853)

I see it every year in the Jeep reviews, they get dinged for the rough ride. But they should. I've never understood why people criticize Consumer Reports for doing what they're supposed to be doing -- criticizing things from the point of view of an average American suburban family and then spelling out the reasons why things do well or poorly in a review, so that you can decide if those reasons are important to you.

I've owned a Jeep Wrangler for a decade, and certainly wouldn't recommend it to someone with 2 kids as a replacement for their Honda Accord. It DOES have a rough ride, it lacks amenities, it has no storage space, etc etc. If you don't really want a convertible 4x4 that it easy to tinker with, there's no reason to buy one. Yet every year Jeep groups get up in arms over Consumer Reports giving it a low score because it has a lot of negatives that Jeep owners tend not to care about.

If you're buying a sports car, you might not care about trunk space or back seat leg room, but that doesn't mean Consumer Reports should just ignore those factors in their review. if you want a review from the point of view of a sports car writer, buy a sports car magazine.

Consumer reports does a great job, I think the people who complain about it just don't understand what job Consumer Reports is doing.

Re:No. (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 6 years ago | (#21151487)

Especially if the sports car *has* a back seat. Some people may be under the mistaken impression that these "seats" are for anything other than an insurance benefit. Some of those people have even been known to try to cram their friends and family into said "seats," assuming that since they exist, they must be able to hold an actual person. Consumer Reports is doing a huge service to the uninformed consumer, and to their friends and families who have not yet experienced necrosis of the legs.

Re:Does anyone bother with those reviews? (4, Funny)

Matey-O (518004) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148429)

I stopped relying on Consumer Reports when their gripe for a Mitsubishi eclipse was: "Trunk too small for a wheelchair."

Re:Does anyone bother with those reviews? (0, Troll)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148603)

I stopped relying on my sense of justice when "handicapped" drivers started driving Mitsubishi eclipses.

Re:Does anyone bother with those reviews? (0, Flamebait)

pinchhazard (728983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149335)

The obvious complaint with the Eclipse is that it's a stupid looking bitch-car.

Re:Does anyone bother with those reviews? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21149801)

Someone's jealous...

Re:Does anyone bother with those reviews? (1, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#21151555)

Yeah right. You don't need to carry a wheelchair, therefore it's something nobody should care about.

Re:Does anyone bother with those reviews? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148745)

The reason Consumer Reports can have reviews that point out the true merits and demerits is because of their ad-free model. Imagine you've got a reviewer who is sent some swag, but it just blows. He trashes the product, says it's inferior, points out all of the design and technological flaws, and so on. He then submits this to his editor. Trouble is, this particular manufacturer is a major advertiser for the magazine. Now what's the editor to do?

Re:Does anyone bother with those reviews? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21149027)

They usually tend to say nothing but positives about the products being reviewed, especially when the reviewer got them from the manufacturer free-of-charge. Of course, that's to be expected, since they want to get more such free products

In a very interesting article in Maximum PC (was Boot), the editor explain these real nice.
Big magazines does not need these "gifts". It's really a matter of doubling the sales in kiosk if you are the first to review a next-gen game or the upcoming video card or CPU.

But since the mag is prepared 3 months in advance, getting your hand on a not-yet released product 2 or 3 months in advance (and exclusively) can only occur if you are known to "give good reviews". Hell they want their product to fly of the shelves. A single "average review" you give, and they will give the sample to "that other magazine".

The big trick is to give a big note on originality, improvement, that "new" smell, and so on.
Often I have seen Max-Pc make a "real non-biased" review 6 months later, when the power user can participate in the comments.

Thats why i dont trust journalists/media owners (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149125)

Journalists They would seem to rate a product based upon the giveaways. If the product supplier didn't like the review they got then threaten to not to advertise.

5/5 amazing

HardOCP (3, Informative)

bazald (886779) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149899)

Read the HardOCP review of the iBUYPOWER P4 Custom Build [hardocp.com] . If there is a HardOCP review for something, I trust it more than any other review. They aren't afraid to rate something terribly, and to tell you everything that is wrong with it. They also go through the buying process and refuse any free stuff they are offered.

Re:Does anyone bother with those reviews? (1)

sleeper0 (319432) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149997)

Nope, I sure don't. I gave up reading nearly all hardware website reviews when I realized how non-ethical most web reviewers were. Of course, I had to do the same thing previously with most tech print publications. A company I was at got to read and suggest revisions to their review in infoworld twice before the publication. Something tells me the large full page ad in that issue and our multi issue commit didn't hurt.

It's nice to hear you might actually be able to trust anandtech. They have always seemed a bit more balanced, but I've taken on the position that everyone is guilty unless proven innocent in the days of plenty of pay for play hardware reviews.

Re:Does anyone bother with those reviews? (2, Informative)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 6 years ago | (#21150643)

The best source of [business] hardware and software reviews has been InfoWorld: They either a) get samples from every manufacturer to compare head-to-head or (horror or horrors!) they actually *buy* one from each company and then test them.

Re:Does anyone bother with those reviews? (1)

sleeper0 (319432) | more than 6 years ago | (#21151339)

Is that really true? Granted, my experience was six years ago, however the firm I worked with at the time received a single vendor review, produced the product for free, and made an ad buy in conjunction.

Great News! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148027)

That's it! Tomorrow I'm talking to the editor of the magazine I work for (a music magazine) about starting a tech section.

Re:Great News! (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148101)

Whats wrong, the payola you get from the labels isn't enough?

Re:Great News! (4, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148265)

I think your sig said it ;)

When I was more active in the Xbox scene I would receive hardware (modchips) to review. Never sent any of them back, but usually that's because they didn't work so well when I was done with them. Only had one vendor ask for it back, specifically to do Failure Analysis. They asked if I wanted a replacement and I turned them down. To be fair though I first tested the things as a normal user would use them, then as an extreme modder may use them, then as an idiot would use them (plugged in backwards). That usually did them in (though one did my box in instead...). I suppose plugging in an SLI PCIe backwards would be difficult.

-nB

Re:Great News! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21149311)

I suppose plugging in an SLI PCIe backwards would be difficult.

Allow me to introduce my friends "tin snips" and "hot glue gun".

Re:Great News! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21150075)

+5 insightfully funny. The new model idiots are just as good as the old model. They can truly break anything with enough effort.

pfft....yawwwnnnn (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148039)

Lavish swag (swag by definition is lavish, eh?) is far from new - and far from news, making this topic a non-starter. And on the weekend when Leopard has been turned loose - tsk, tsk.

And how 'bout those Rockies??!! Are they choke central, or what?

Re:pfft....yawwwnnnn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148153)

Lavish swag (swag by definition is lavish, eh?)

Swag doesn't necessarily need to be "lavish". However, the Merriam-Webster definition seems very apropos:
3 a: goods acquired by unlawful means : loot b: spoils, profits

Re:pfft....yawwwnnnn (0, Offtopic)

darjen (879890) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148555)

And how 'bout those Rockies??!! Are they choke central, or what?
No, that would be the Indians. At least the Rockies had the excuse of having to wait too long to play. Cleveland will always be choke central for all pro sports. Even the Buckeyes choked in the National Championship game last year. Maybe I need to find a new state... anyways... what were we talking about again?

For us non-english speakers (5, Insightful)

ojs (93878) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148119)

First I hear of the terms http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagniappe [wikipedia.org] and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swag [wikipedia.org] .

On another note, isn't this comparable to the free gifts that pharmacutical companies give doctors on their conferences. It is just that this doesn't have the obvious connection to peoples health and well being and perhaps is a bit smaller in scope. A bit far fetched perhaps but the same principle or what?

Re:For us non-english speakers (4, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148469)

On another note, isn't this comparable to the free gifts that pharmacutical companies give doctors on their conferences.

Yes. It is. One of the interesting things coming out of some recent research [annals.org] is that even cheap trinkets (pens with blinky lights, post-it notes, etc.) subtly influence prescribing behavior. The drug companies know it. They've studied it extensively and will continue to do this sort of advertising as long as humanely possible. Unfortunately, as a species, we're pretty easy to influence, even if we think we know better and are above it all.

(Goes back to reading Slashdot).

Re:For us non-english speakers (4, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149893)

I read an article some time ago by a doctor discussing the fully sponsored "educational conferences" that drug companies have at tropical resorts. He had for a long time refused to even attend one of these free vacations, on ethical grounds. Eventually one of his colleagues convinced him to go on one. There were two or three, one hour information sessions that did in fact give the doctor a thorough understanding of this new wonder drug. The rest of the week he enjoyed the tropics with his wife. When he returned he was sendt a large number of samples of the drug. Even though he was fully aware of how he had been influenced and was ideologically against the bribery aspects of the junket, he found himself handing out samples and writing prescriptions for the new drug, because he had samples to give and knowledge about the drug. The doctor readily admits that he never would have written those prescriptions if he had not gone on the junket. Sorry but I cannot find the link to the original article.

But to illustrate how bad the advert/bribery has gotten in medicine:

>The drug companies spend about a third of their revenues on marketing ("selling and administration"). About $8,000 to $12,000 yearly is spent on marketing toward each individual doc per year total. There is one drug rep for every 4.7 office-based physicians. Residents are obviously more prone to influence: "residents in a psychiatry program in Toronto Attended up to 70 lunches that had been sponsored by drug companies and received 75 promotional items over the course of one year," notes David Blumenthal, MD, MPP in a special policy report in the New England Journal of Medicine. (351;18, 1887, 10/28/04).
http://doctormental.blogspot.com/2004/11/doctors-and-drug-companies.html [blogspot.com]

Re:For us non-english speakers (1, Insightful)

KiahZero (610862) | more than 6 years ago | (#21151523)

How is that bribery? From what you've said, it wasn't that the drug company had paid for the vacation / samples that influenced his prescribing behavior, but rather the availability of the samples and his heightened knowledge of how it worked. Thus, even if a neutral third-party had provided him with the information and the free samples, his prescribing habits would have changed.

Re:For us non-english speakers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21151719)

Well with all that marketing spending they'll need more marketing spending to justify the high price of drugs due to marketing spending.

Re:For us non-english speakers (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 6 years ago | (#21150361)

I know that doctors get more than that. Pens seem to be the most common. But I've seen some more interesting items. I've seen wireless mice, Small USB hubs, and even a pen with a built in 64MB USB flash drive. (But as far as I can tell, it did not come preloaded with a copy of the prescribing information, or promotional material, which would make good sense to me.) I know that if I was a doctor and i received one of those bigger ticket items, I'd certainly take the time to research the Medication. Better awareness of the medication would lead to me being more likely to prescribe it in the cases where it works best. However, besides making me more aware of a products availability, advertising has little impact on me. The only way an advertisement will lead to a sale is when I am already looking for such an item, and the advertisement reminds me of the availability of the product, or perhaps, a surprising low price. This is a fairly rare occurrence.

Re:For us non-english speakers (5, Interesting)

NIckGorton (974753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21150869)

Um... fuck research. They wouldn't spend it if it didn't work. So I refuse entirely to take any swag except for samples. I feel like the samples is a deal with the devil, but if I can circumvent the intent of the drug rep some, its not so bad(E.G. give all the advair diskus inhalers to supply my single patient without insurance and with severe asthma rather than the 'free starter' for multiple people that leads to further rxs for the drug companies.)

Its still a big risk... now I know how much easier it is to get an asthmatic to take advair than cheaper albuterol plus QVAR. So I am probably more likely to rx in the future because of that knowledge. But that is a moral choice I pay for my patient.

Other than that, I don't eat a cookie, take a plastic pancreas, or write with a Viagra pen. I don't even like to look at the time on a Tequin clock.
Nick

Re:For us non-english speakers (3, Interesting)

AikonMGB (1013995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148529)

English is my first language and I consider myself to be relatively well-spoken; I still didn't know what a lagniappe was.

Aikon-

Re:For us non-english speakers (1)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149649)

I first came across the word in Piers Anthony's Cluster [wikipedia.org] series.

Very old SciFi books, but entertaining 16 years ago.

Re:For us non-english speakers (1)

sheldon (2322) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148795)

SWAG means Stupid Wild Ass Guess

It's how most of us in the industry do estimates on IT projects. :-)

Re:For us non-english speakers (2, Interesting)

tshetter (854143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149347)

Those little trinkets arent half of it, not even close.

My mother works in a semi-small doctors office. They have 4 docs one is cardio the other neuro, and two might be a more general practitioner doc. Dont know the specifics. About 12 more support staff as well.

They have Pharm Reps (Drug Reps) they came in atleast twice per week. They give little presentations on new drugs, but also new tools, devices.

Every time they come, they dont bring just pens, note pads and posters.

No, no no....

They cater lunch for the whole office...at an extreme level. The pick up enough food for 75 people!

Luches from Carrabbas, Smokey Bones, Texas Cattle Company, etc.

Then all the staff eat lunch like kings, and then bring home enough for dinner that night plus leftovers.

So, dont think its just $10 worth of office supplies, or some thing. its $1000+ Every day for every Rep.

Yea, Ill eat their food all day. But it makes me wonder how many billions get spent on PR, ads, and Reps. How much could have gone into progams for uninsured?

Re:For us non-english speakers (1)

reddburn (1109121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149465)

When my wife was in med school, they treated an entire fucking section (75 students) of third years - with guests - to dinner and an open bar at a four star restaurant to plug their new wonder drug for cholesterol.

Re:For us non-english speakers (1)

Nurseman (161297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21150201)

On another note, isn't this comparable to the free gifts that pharmacutical companies give doctors on their conferences. It is just that this doesn't have the obvious connection to peoples health and well being and perhaps is a bit smaller in scope

I always thought those free pens and pads were cool and harmless. Then I found about a pharm company sponsored ski trip, that has some glitches in the travel plans. When they surgeons came back, they refused to prescribe any of the companies antibiotics for one month. The drug rep came in nearly crying to get them to stop. There is a great site run by doctors tired of Big Pharm and the Big Push to write new expensive drugs. http://www.nofreelunch.org/ [nofreelunch.org]

Critical thinking has its rewards (4, Funny)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148219)

And some Slashdot militants complain that critical thinking isn't taught in the US school system (or White House press conferences)!

This is a fine example of critical thinking being rewarded. In their heart of hearts, Corporations only want people to understand the benefits of their products. And writers... well we all know how hard it is to grind out paragraphs for which someone wants to pay. If writers have to EBay their lagniappes for food and rent money, are you going to oppress them with your sanctimonious principles, you cruel prescriptive bastards?

Besides, the reviewers are not receiving bribes. They are lagniappes. If I were a politician, I would be open to receiving lagniappes. It sounds like something you get at a fine soirée, like canapés and other words with French accents in them.

Message texted from pew #7 in my church using a Blackberry from a review I did earlier this year.

Re:Critical thinking has its rewards (4, Funny)

Nastard (124180) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148419)

You talk of critical thinking while surfing (and posting to) Slashdot in a church?

Re:Critical thinking has its rewards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21151337)

Sure it's critical thinking. The priest is almost done his sermon and where else can he get laid?
 

Re:Critical thinking has its rewards (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148617)

This is a fine example of critical thinking being rewarded. In their heart of hearts, Corporations only want people to understand the benefits of their products.
Yep, of course it's all the evil corporations fault for wanting us to buy their products. That's why I usually wait for awhile until a good number of actual user reviews get published. And you can usually find them in forums after googling around for the product number a bit. Amazon is also very helpful in reading user reviews. I bought the N800 in part after reading such good user reviews on it, and I haven't been disappointed with it at all.

Swag removal for free (4, Funny)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148221)

Please email me for my latest free service "Swag Removal". I will provide you with an address that you can ship all of your unwanted swag valued at over $20. I will then make sure that swag is "properly handled" to provide you with an ethical solution to the problem at no cost to you other than shipping.

Re:Swag removal for free (5, Funny)

blowdart (31458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148239)

I would like to provide an independent review of your service. Please send me some items so I might send some of them back.

"Lagniappes?" (4, Informative)

agentkhaki (92172) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148253)

"Lagniappes" is a word I've not come across before. For anyone else who couldn't figure out the meaning via context, or who's looking for a proper definition:

lagniappe (lan yap)

noun

something given as a bonus or extra gift.

ORIGIN Louisiana French, from Spanish la ñapa.

Re:"Lagniappes?" (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148485)

Thanks for that. It was just too damned hard to select the word, right click on it and "search google".

Oh, I've got it, you don't have a right mouse button. My bad.

Re:"Lagniappes?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148753)

I know it was a joke but I really do use the Mac OS X dictionary app a lot. Highlight a word and Control + Command + D. In Leopard, you can also do Spotlight search now for a word and get a definition.

Re:"Lagniappes?" (1)

Smurf (7981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149709)

Highlight a word and Control + Command + D.

You don't even need to highlight the word. Just hit Control + Command + D, and the definition of whatever is under the cursor appears in a panel underneath it. If you hold on to Control + Command, you can move the mouse around and get the definition of everything the cursor touches. I use it all the time.

Re:"Lagniappes?" (1)

iphayd (170761) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148855)

No right mouse button here...

1) Two fingers on trackpad
2) click
3) select "Look up in Dictionary"
4) ???
5) Profit!

Re:"Lagniappes?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21149901)

Nah, he must have had an iPhone.

(It's funny 'cause they can't copy and paste.)

/. effect (1)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148677)


I wonder if the /. effect might be possible to achieve on indirectly linked site, like dictionary.com--as thousands of /. readers all search the same word.

It appears from the comments that most folks don't use dictionary.com as their first reference point for words that they don't know, and use either Google or wikipedia. Interesting.

Using dictionary.com (1)

Shipwack (684009) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149239)

I use google to get to dictionary.com or the Urban Dictionary (depending on the word). I have dictionary.com in my dropdown search box, but usually it's faster to get there by clicking on the google hit, as opposed to selecting the dictionary.com box and then clicking. This is all in Firefox; not sure what you can do in IE. The new version of IE probably has tricks of its own.

Re:Using dictionary.com (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149441)

No idea on IE, but Konqueror has a similar feature to Firefox. I can double click the word, right click, and get a small menu with the options "Search for '%s' with Google" and a "Search for '%s' with >" option that brings up a list of all the search engines I've added. The "Search for '%s' with Google" uses the default search engine, it just happens to be Google in my case.

Re:"Lagniappes?" (1)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 6 years ago | (#21150613)

Ñapa, in turn, comes from the quechuan "yapa", which means a free extra when buying something.

Nano for Swag? Ha! That's nothing! (2, Funny)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148257)

I got a really nice computer backpack in 1998 from attending (against my will, but at the behest of The Powers That Be) an SAP conference. And before that I got a Palm IV (!!!) for free, and all that was WAY more expensive and WAY more useful than a fucking iPod nano.

At another convention, I got a guitar tuner, and a really nice long sleeve Moog Synthesizer T shirt. ANY old dump can crank out cheap short sleeve shirts - you know you're getting a better deal when they dish out heavier quality long sleeve T shirts. That's much better swag. I am a swag seeker. I have original Napster Golf Shirts. I have Macromedia mouse pads, I have all kinds of this crap in my garage. I even have a heavy duty cotton button down collared Fontographer shirt. Really nice shirt, and a prized possession. I have a long sleeve "ready Set go" shirt, too.

But iPod nano? BWAHAHAHAAAAA!!! Don't make me laugh. That it such junior league material - intro stuff like my shirts and mousepads. When they give away the giant 160 gig iPod, then we're talkin' quality swag....

RS

Re:Nano for Swag? Ha! That's nothing! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21149005)

> And before that I got a Palm IV (!!!) for free, and all that was WAY more expensive and WAY more useful than a fucking iPod nano.

Considering that Palm never released something called Palm IV, you either got a Chinese knockoff PDA or something non-existent. I think I'd take the Nano.

Re:Nano for Swag? Ha! That's nothing! (1)

Briareos (21163) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149159)

Considering that Palm never released something called Palm IV, you either got a Chinese knockoff PDA or something non-existent. I think I'd take the Nano.
I guess he meant he got a free Palm shoved up his vein - that's gotta hurt...

np: Prefuse 73 - Smoking Red ft. John Stanier (Preparations)

Re:Nano for Swag? Ha! That's nothing! (1)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149925)

When they give away the giant 160 gig iPod, then we're talkin' quality swag....

*wink-wink* *nudge-nudge* Know what I mean, know what I mean???

"Swag" is a euphemism for "bribe" (5, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148313)

> It's damn nice swag, of course, but at what point is it too much? A DailyTech writer
> talks about his experiences with swag.

If you are a reviewer nothing is too much. If you are a consumer anything at all is a bribe.

I'm a reviewer... (5, Insightful)

darien (180561) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148319)

I'm a reviewer for a UK-based PC magazine, and I have to say, though companies do tend to give out freebies at press events, I've never been given anything remotely as interesting as an iPod. Normally it's a USB thumb-drive and a branded pen or two. For major launches you might get a rucksack.

But be that as it may, surely giving out gifts of any size is only a problem if it actually influences reviewers. And on that count I see no grounds for concern at all. I think anyone who works in this industry quickly develops a healthily cynical regard for manufacturers, and if we feel like a company's being unusually nice to us our immediate instinct is to wonder why, and to look at their product with extra suspicion. The magazine market's just too competitive for reviewers to get away with endorsing lousy products: readers aren't stupid, and I think most of us love our jobs far too much to sell out our reputations for a few hundred pounds' worth of free stuff.

(That's how it seems to be with print journalism, anyway. Web reviewers... well, I can't speak for them.)

Re:I'm a reviewer... (2, Informative)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148387)

Off to a music event this week, everyone who attends the conference gets a free iPod 80GB supplied by Apple. Oh, and it's £80 for the conference.

Re:I'm a reviewer... (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148445)

Your hypothesis could be easily tested by counting the number of critical articles done by reviewers receiving swag.

Re:I'm a reviewer... (3, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148515)

Look at this review [annals.org] (from 2002) from the medical field. I can't find some of the other references in the open literature but basically, even cheapo freebies (my nurses just love the idiot pens with flashing LEDs in them for some weird reason) can influence behavior.

Sadly, we're all bought pretty cheaply. Ohh, shiny!

Re:I'm a reviewer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21150159)

It affects everyone. It's also why I laugh so hard when Americans complain about bribery in India.

Mind you, it doesn't always pay off. I was given a big box of stuffed penguins from a Linux hardware maker when my daughter was born, and gave them to everyone in the company who wanted one, and pointed out that they made their computers the way they selected these toys, which had glass eyes, weren't durable, the paint flaked off the fabric, and they were a choking hazard for small children.

Back in the day... (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148361)

Almost all review swag I used to keep, from vapourware under NDA to released products. Products such s motherboards, cases, CPU's, video cards, RAM etc I would just keep for later reviews, or make to some good use.

I remember NVIDIA sending five GeForce 4 cards when they were vapourware to the public so we could overclock them to smithereens. Of which, two died and the other two made up machines from other review equipment that was kept.

Re:Back in the day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21149433)

You don't know what voporware is, and you can't count.

I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148375)

Isn't the nano just a pen drive with bells on?

Free stuff? Count me in! (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148379)

Dear Nvidia,

Dude, can i rite yur reveiws for free iPods!? My mom says I can rite real good and I gots lots of opinyuns about thingz! I would put the reveiw on myspace and facebook and all my friends would reed it! Nvidia, wen do i start?!?!!!!!!111111oneone

Luv,
Timmy
3rd grade

Re:Free stuff? Count me in! (1)

Grey_14 (570901) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149147)

*sigh* the sad thing is, I half expected that to be signed "Luv, Timmy, 12th Grade" and would have accepted that just as easily.

review freebies (2, Insightful)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148409)

Doesn't the value of the freebies awarded to the reviewer depend directly upon the number of stars awarded by the reviewer?

old-style (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148453)

Aren't those the older-style iPod nanos with the small screens? I bet AMD got a hell of a deal on them.

I thought swag was out of vogue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148655)

Maybe it is just me, but I don't see nearly as much swag as there used to be. Even when I went to CeBit many years ago, unless you were one of the first ten people at a booth, or were a serious buyer, there was very little swag beyond maybe a key ring or something similar.

I do some consulting for a very large company around a product that has a base price in the six figures. A couple guys at the customer site asked if I could get some t-shirts for them. I practically started a maize of red tape just *asking* if I could get some swag for these guys, despite the kind of cash they had already put on the table.

Maybe executive types, or journalist reviewers like the guys in the article get swag, but the days of free-flowing t-shirts and goodies seem to be a thing of the past from my experiences.

Go to an academic conference (1)

reddburn (1109121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149601)

Books and toys of all sorts just for giving a junk e-mail address... and telling someone that you'll "really consider" adopting a $125 textbook for a design course when you really don't use any textbook aside from freebie guides available on the internet and articles available through university library subscriptions.

I fail to see what the problem is (1)

goldcd (587052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149051)

Yes, manufacturers are going to try to give journalists gifts and maybe this is to try to sway what they write. Whilst I'd have thought very few journalists would be influenced directly, maybe when you're thinking of the no-name builder of the next nVidia gpu you're going to review, your mind might more quickly leap to the one that's written on the flashdrive in your pocket - and you may give their PR a call first.
Bit thaqt annoyed me about the article was the notion that journalists are paid enough, without having to resort to accepting and flogging gifts. Now that 'paid enough' is their salary and where does their salary come from? Well it comes from those banner ads surrounding their article. If you want to follow the money, then more money comes in from entirely ad-driven revenue to the site, over the value of a few free gifts. When I saw that article, I was being told to buy OCZ and Crucial memory. Whilst those ads are there, I can't be alone in thinking there's a possibility they might look on those manufacturers more 'leniently'

Buy the reviewed items (2, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149275)

That is the only real way to seriously review a product. Buy a real version of it from a real retailer who had no idea who you are. That is how consumer watchdogs do it, they want to avoid any potential that the producer tries to influence the results.

We all seen the stories about reviewers being send special versions, geared to do really well in the used benchmarks.

Do it like the pros do it. Seperate yourselve completly from the people whose product you are reviewing.

Offcourse, that means the public has to start A paying the reviewers B wait till the product has already been released before the review can be done. Not going to happen, I am afraid.

Re:Buy the reviewed items (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21150229)

This is part of why I love Tom's Hardware. They do pan hardware, they detail how they tested it, and they do their best to avoid getting special shipments rather than retail versions. It's sometimes difficult to avoid a special shipment when you're reviewing something that hasn't been released yet. They admit, in clear print, that it's a pre-release.

Good swag=good review (2, Interesting)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149373)

The idea is game sales correlate directly to game reviews. It's in the companies best interests to bribe the hell out of the reviewers. The best example of this was with the PC Gamer review of Doom 3. They got a lot of negative feedback from their review of the game, so they felt it necessary in the next issue to print an article defending why they gave Doom 3 such a great review. They said things like 'People expect games these days to be able to cure cancer while riding a unicycle wearing high heels and juggling'. So that's their justification for giving Doom 3 a good review? Because people expect too much out of games? I think it had largely to do with the sales of Doom 3 and the numerous full page ads id software took out in the magazine. In my opinion games journalism is probably the most dishonest and cooked form of journalism there is. Mind you, taking shameless bribes goes with a lot of other reviewing jobs.

Bah. My best swag (1)

TinheadNed (142620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149435)

Is my Matlab brand Rubik's cube, with different pictures on each site. I can't even bloody solve it without The Internet to help. I don't keep it at work any more in case of more coworkers picking it up going "that's clever".

The Simulink control graph is cute though.

Swag is just the tip of the iceberg. (4, Interesting)

gamer4Life (803857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149547)

I think that's a bigger form of swag - actual money, disguised as an indirect business deal.

I'll bet the people in charge of certain magazines or blogs have enormous incentive to put the products of their sponsor companies in a positive light - or at least in a non-negative light.

At the same time you have to wonder if they'll spin the product of a competitor to their sponsor's product in a negative light.

For instance, I remember back in the day, Microsoft products would get reviewed much more favourably than WordPerfect or Lotus 1-2-3 or any other competitor based on subjective criteria such as "ease-of-use". Of course, Microsoft was the heaviest advertiser in magazines such as PC Magazine, and you wonder if their executives talked and made an agreement of money for good reviews.

At CNet, many of their reviewers have written books about Microsoft products, gathering information from people close to Microsoft - how they can maintain an unbiased opinion on any review with a Microsoft gadget is beyond me.

There are many blogs where the PS3 gets bashed over anything, from calling it a George Foreman grill, to bashing Sony's "evilness", to it's lack of backwards compatibility to it's price. However, the XBox 360, a product by Microsoft, doesn't get bashed nearly as much over it's failure rate, Microsoft's "evilness", overcharging for non-standard components and online play, it's non-backwards compatibility, and so on... - not surprisingly, Microsoft does a lot more advertising on these sites than Sony.

My point is, bribes go much further in the tech review/news industry than swag...

Re:Swag is just the tip of the iceberg. (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21151037)

There are many blogs where the PS3 gets bashed over anything

Have you been reading Slashdot again?

Re:Swag is just the tip of the iceberg. (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 6 years ago | (#21151613)

Well Sony is more evil than Microsoft. Sony rootkits are deliberately designed to impair your computer, whereas Microsoft problems are merely the result of poor programming practices.

Like this is new??? (2, Interesting)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 6 years ago | (#21150241)

I remember a compiler comparison in Info world. The text of the review did not match the score card. I spoke with the author and found out that the scorecard he submitted was different from what was published. The scores apparently were based on the amount of advertising purchased by the compiler vendor. While doing some writing for the DPMA and BCS, I got a little swag (along the lines of free software). I did attend a few presentations with nice meals for the press.

It didn't effect my reviews or commentary. I still slammed the companies I got freebies from.

Hello? Ethics? (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#21151693)

Its easy to overlook the odd thumbdrive.
That sort of bullshit is what separates casual bloggers from real journalists and reviewers. If you pretend to be a journalist and have any professional ethics at all, you don't accept freebies from the people you're covering and reviewing. Period. Not a thumb drive, not a T-shirt, not a voucher for lunch at McD's, nothing, zilch, nada. Real news organizations fire the asses of reporters who accept freebies. If bloggers want to be taken seriously, and claim the same privileges and legal protections that "regular" reporters get, they need to adopt the same ethics.
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