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A new industry standard: Fully controlled reviewers


Andrew Reid
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With the decline of retail stores, the tech industry has found a replacement for shop salespeople.

YouTubers and reviewers.

In fact these are far more effective with much greater reach and they don't even need to be paid actual hard cash.

With the general public currently hypnotised by the lifestyle aspects of these channels (i.e. Philip Bloom style glossy videos), it's an easy sell.

For this all to work so well, the public have to be in their current online addicted narcissist state. I really like Stewart Lee's take on this, it is the absolute truth and bloody funny.

I was reading a few takes by the usual camera press on the Olympus situation recently.

To determine how high the level of control is over the press, even a dying company continues to hold reviewers in a rapture.

This Imaging Resource piece for instance, where they compare the transfer of Olympus imaging to vulture capitalists JIP to Sony buying Minolta!!

Don't forget these are top editors with links to almost every PR person in the camera industry.

https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2020/06/25/can-olympus-thrive-after-the-sale-madavors-photo-editors-talk-it-through

It isn't up to me to tell you whether it is outright lying or just complete denial / delusion!

But it is one of the two.

"Wes Pitts (Outdoor Photographer and Digital Photo editorial director): It could be a good thing in the long run. Olympus has struggled for a while now. Though it's not a totally analogous circumstance, this "carve-out" reminds me of the sale of Konica Minolta's image assets to Sony. That move eventually led to Sony completely disrupting the traditional DSLR market and emerging as the leader in mirrorless"

William Brawley (Imaging Resource senior editor): Good thinking, Wes! I sure hope this new "Olympus Imaging company" does indeed follow a similar Konica Minolta-Sony path.

It has also become clear that there is an orchestrated cartel of YouTubers, probably with agencies and managers pulling the strings.

The occasional comment, the occasional share, it is not organic but completely pre-determined by a promotional strategy.

A quid pro quo situation.

'You do this for me and I'll do this for you, and it boosts both channels'

I think it is sickening the amount of shilling types out there and the way buyers are being manipulated.

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The state of the industry is shocking. The shilling is flagrant and constant. Sony is really bad at it with all the cretins they enlist on YouTube. It's become so bad that the best, and most unbiased, reviews come from a meme channel started as a joke about finding the perfect camera. He actually gives in-depth tests and comparisons.

Just look at the 1dx and the rolling shutter issue and how that was ignored. And some companies like Fuji get a pass on poor autofocus and ibis. Just does not look good and people should be made aware of it. 

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Personally I would certainly trust a Bloom review. Indeed he is one of the few I actually listen to when making a buying decision. 
I suspect most purchasers use YT channels post purchase for affirmation and reassurance that they bought wisely (and joined the right “crowd”) rather than as an important guide pre-purchase. The majority of us buy according to other prejudices and habits and brand loyalties. Or for specific feature sets.

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Bloom is a paid influencer. About five years ago, colleagues of mine organized a seminar on influencer marketing when this was still a new phenomenon. They showed us a subscription-only, non-public B2B matchmaking website consisting of a database of social media influencers who offered their services. I searched his name and found his listing/pitch in it. (Unfortunately, forgot the name of that database website.)

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Yes, with the rise of Peter McKinnon it’s been all about tribes of personality around brands. It’s been going on before that but with Peter I think the intensity increased.

People buy it because their favorite YouTuber uses it regardless if it is the best buy for them. They feel affirmed they are part of some tribe and use the same camera as their “creative hero”. Now they will be just as creative...

It’s the classic Marlboro man.

You won’t get a fair and balanced review.

You need someone like Gerald undone, who likes getting into the weeds, to be self-funded or funded by his viewers by a fund that is used solely to buy equipment for review. The viewers vote in a poll for which equipment they would like to be torn inside out.

This eliminates the algorithm (what’s trending) from influencing what gets reviewed. The viewer funding and poll removes brand influence seeping into the review (reviewer doesn’t want to trash and not get more work; especially from bigger brands).

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10 minutes ago, rawshooter said:

Bloom is a paid influencer.

Certainly. And why not?

From Bloom’s FX9 review

”So although I got paid by Sony to initially assess their camera in November this is NOT a sponsored review. They had no editorial control of this video at all. They did see it when it was finished as I wanted to make sure everything I said about the camera was 100% factually and technically accurate, in every way. The only thing they asked was for me to correct a couple of typos!”

It is at least purporting to be transparent. And that is important.  Of course one can still decide whether to take his comments at face value, with a pinch of salt or dismiss them as paid hyperbole but at least he has experience in the industry and therefore knows what he is talking about. Different from the majority of YT review channels?  
Not having had years of working in the industry, I’d say that most things I know about cameras are derived from here or Bloom.

At least we are free to choose our own Oracles!

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This looks like another very opinionated , controversial thread in the current series of "all other video review websites are very bad and this is the only one thats actually good" Its getting embarrassing and its a genuine shame to see the brand of EOSHD so eroded after all the years of good work.  I personally really enjoy Phillip blooms work, he obviously puts a massive amount of work into them.

The idea we are all supposed to be slagging Philip Bloom off now is pretty pathetic.

People need to get on with their own projects and stop wasting a lot of time  whining about other people.

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It means I've always supported you, no matter if people like you or not, you're honest at least. You let your enthusiasm to speak by yourself. You're influenced as everyone of us. But you don't write anything because some manufacturer paid you for that, as far as I see your work and your opinions for almost a decade now. Reason why me and many others are your readers.

I struggle to accept some other reviewers without to discount a pint of salt as due.

In short, you're rare as camera reviewer, man, and that nobody can even dream to steal such badge from your career. Keep up that compromise with your audience or the world will lose the most valuable asset of this website. Who wants bias? Moreover, who is looking for paid reviews?

E : -)

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To be fair, the guy in the IR article isn't actually from IR but from some other publication and says the Olympus situation "reminds" him of Sony/Minolta and then goes on to explain how the two scenarios differ....nobody is saying it's the same...

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The IR article you mean.

3 minutes ago, Emanuel said:

It means I've always supported you, no matter if people like you or not, you're honest at least. You let your enthusiasm to speak by yourself. You're influenced as everyone of us. But you don't write anything because some manufacturer paid you for that, as far as I see your work and your opinions for almost a decade now. Reason why me and many others are your readers.

I struggle to accept some other reviewers without to discount a pint of salt as due.

You're rare, man!

E : -)

Here we go. How about not making it about me in every topic?

What's your opinion on the PR and sales industry? Good or bad? Does it help the camera industry or subvert the culture of the internet?

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1 hour ago, johnnyBeee said:

This looks like another very opinionated , controversial thread in the current series of "all other video review websites are very bad and this is the only one thats actually good" Its getting embarrassing and its a genuine shame to see the brand of EOSHD so eroded after all the years of good work.  I personally really enjoy Phillip blooms work, he obviously puts a massive amount of work into them.

The idea we are all supposed to be slagging Philip Bloom off now is pretty pathetic.

People need to get on with their own projects and stop wasting a lot of time  whining about other people.

Really, did he just get banned for writing this or am I misinterpreting the "banned" tag under the user name?

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46 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

The IR article you mean.

Here we go. How about not making it about me in every topic?

What's your opinion on the PR and sales industry? Good or bad? Does it help the camera industry or subvert the culture of the internet?

You didn't let me finish my post, I was still editing it at the same time... LOL

Anyway, I read once more some post to personally address a new attack ad hominem to be read over here, this kind of crap sucks IMHO, people are here to discuss opinions or for shooting the messenger in a private website?

I don't think industry's marketing is aggressive, go figure. Without mention, they play their role. Ours is not the same. Our side of the game is another one, so does the POV.

It is the shill who performs a misservice to the community the reviewer pretends to serve. Sponsored content as mandatory disclaimer applies then.

Internet is part of that we recognise as non-formal knowledge, it is up to us to filter the information we gather.

We beg for reliable sources as for instance this one you've created here. The point is the game is tough, so I hope you'll never quit of the commitment you've established with your readers. Because we risk one day to lose it. Internet business is becoming bigger, oh yeah, that's for sure. I give you an example from a different realm. How many from us have never used Skype anymore since Microsoft bought it? Got my point?

That's why I always try to praise the connection of EOSHD brand with the guy behind. If one day, they outside see the sales potential of your editorial stuff, we risk to lose it as much as has happened now with Olympus, I'm afraid... such a pity.

 

This is an industry, a business, no one has anything to complain. We are all adults, ain't we? ; -)

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1 hour ago, Femi said:

Really, did he just get banned for writing this or am I misinterpreting the "banned" tag under the user name?

He was banned before twice and rejoined a third time to troll this topic.

You think that's ok?

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4 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

He was banned before twice and rejoined a third time to troll this topic.

You think that's ok?

well, I have only seen this one post and would not call it trolling...unless any post that doesn't agree with your opinions or criticizes this site in the slightest is considered trolling? 

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1 hour ago, Emanuel said:

Anyway, I read once more some post to personally address a new attack ad hominem to be read over here, this kind of crap sucks IMHO, people are here to discuss opinions or for shooting the messenger in a private website?

Again you are going on about the personal when the topic can and should be about the objective.

Philip Bloom makes glossy reviews. That doesn't mean to say I am attacking him for it.

However then @rawshooter pointed out that he was on a marketing directory of paid influencers.

Which sort of reinforces the whole point of what I am saying about YouTube and marketing doesn't it.

Quote

I don't think industry's marketing is aggressive, go figure.

You are ok to think whatever.

I don't think it is aggressive but it is subliminal shilling.

The internet should not be a big shill platform in my view.

Quote

Without mention, they play their role.

They dominate in their role actually. At our expense.

Quote

Internet is part of that we recognise as non-formal knowledge, it is up to us to filter the information we gather.

The Internet is user generated and interactive.

It is actually up to us to make good content ourselves, and not just to surf for it.

Quote

That's why I always try to praise the connection of EOSHD brand with the guy behind. If one day, they outside see the sales potential of your editorial stuff, we risk to lose it as much as has happened now with Olympus, I'm afraid... such a pity.

Are you suggesting I will sell out eventually?

Quote

This is an industry, a business, no one has anything to complain. We are all adults, ain't we? ; -)

It is not just a business.

3 minutes ago, Femi said:

well, I have only seen this one post and would not call it trolling...unless any post that doesn't agree with your opinions or criticizes this site in the slightest is considered trolling? 

Exactly

You have only seen one post.

I don't have to justify the 4th time I tell somebody to leave the community. 1 ban should be enough. If they rejoin again and again afterwards it doesn't matter what they post, they're almost always coming back with a vengeance towards the site owner and they're not welcome any more.

Is this in any way difficult to understand?

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Unbiased voices like the one you rule are a lighthouse to ward off a commercial target-setting culture each day more widespread among the herd of Internet users and an easy target for the e-business we all live in. It wouldn't surprise me at all if one of these days you'd receive some interesting offer for EOSHD to be swallowed by some hungry fish, to eager your audience, meanwhile raised.

Reason why I'd rather center my focus on you as individual and independent reviewer than the press brand you manage.

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