How reliable are audiophile websites' reviews?

eddieZEN

Second Unit
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Messages
411

I do not question Audioholics' reviews based on the responses of their staff. Those responses, which have been almost uniformly obnoxious and nonsensical, came after a few people began raising questions about their practices, before I even posted the number-crunching.
 

eddieZEN

Second Unit
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Messages
411

You have a point there. I should not stoop to their level. If you read their postings on the Ascend thread you would understand what I'm talking about.
Ugh!
 

BradJudy

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Sep 25, 2002
Messages
211
While I still disagree with your assessment of their reviews (a proper statistical analysis that includes data we don't have is necessary to demonstrate significant correlation), for the sake of argument lets say there is a correlation between positive reviews and advertizing.

Internet advertizing is often based on placing ads for your products where you know they are being discussed. If people can quickly click a link after reading a good review, then you have a good chance of a sale. Thus, it's smart for advertizers to find sites giving their products good reviews and post ads there. Perhaps the correlation between ads and recommended systems exists because a recommendation triggered a company to place an ad.

In this situation, it doesn't matter who the reviewer recommends because all companies are similarly likely to place ads on sites that give them positive reviews. The revenue is the same regardless of the recommendation, thus the revenue does not skew the recommendation.

In the end, there is a "Asian land-mass" sized difference between correlation and causality. Perhaps I'm an optomist, or perhaps I just believe that people are truly innocent until proven guilty. I choose to believe that the reviews are the honest opinions of the reviews (yes, reviews are opinions and some people just like certain brands).
 

Terry St

Second Unit
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Messages
393
I will say one thing about the "audioholic editorials" and the HTF forum dedicated to them though... It seems that most of their editorials aren't editorials at all, or even written by anyone working for audioholics. Take this "editorial" for example. Although only the first paragraph appears in quotes, every last word in this "editorial" has been lifted verbatim from the manufacturer's own press release on the product.

Calling these "editorials" is a tad misleading. They contain no editorial comments on the perfomance of the products or even evaluations of the claims made by the manufacturers. In most cases there isn't even the slightest indication that audioholics staff have even *seen* the hardware the editorial is about. It's just product placements, or in less diplomatic terms, spam. Why is there an entire HTF forum dedicated to this? It certainly can't be generating much business. Nobody appears to read that forum. On the first page, posts go back an entire 6 months, but on that page only one thread has any replies, and the average number of views is less than a hundred. It's a waste of server space and an embarrassment waiting to happen to both audioholics and HTF. Calling these things "audioholics editorials" is just asking to be accused of plagarism.
 

eddieZEN

Second Unit
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Messages
411

All true. On the other hand, such a blatant product placement or spam-like practice is in my mind far more harmless PRECISELY because those pages are so little-read. In contrast, I would bet that the "Recommended Systems" page is probably among the most popular, if not THE most popular, page on the Audioholics website...therefore their marketing-propaganda potential is infinitely greater.
 

eddieZEN

Second Unit
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Messages
411

ok, I'll agree that you ARE an optomist. : )

I just have a hard time believing that the Audioholics staff could be such hard-core groupies of Denon and Yamaha, esp. if they have been exposed to high end HT separates.

But we can agree to disagree of course. I appreciate the civil and thoughtful discussion.

lol, what a difference from AVS!
 

RAF

Lead Actor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 3, 1997
Messages
7,061
An interesting thread.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for advertisers) a lot of "reviews" - especially in the relative anonymity of the Internet - can have very questionable roots and motives. But this is nothing new and it certainly isn't limited to cyberspace. It's just more prominent and accessible on the computer screen. Just look at the Friday Auto section of most papers that looks like editorial comment until you see the very, very small "advertising supplement" stuck in a hard to see corner of the pages. And let's not forget movie "reviews" by "Earl Dittman of Wireless Magazine." I'd bet that guy even liked Gigli! 'Nuff said.



My position has been that you can form some general opinions regarding the general nature of what you are looking for by reading specs and opinions on the net and elsewhere. But there is no substitute for actual experience with a product and even then it can be colored by the presentation outside of your own environment. To me the best process involves auditioning equipment in your home with a liberal return policy. That way you can eliminate a lot of the external factors and judge for yourself. Unfortunately, this is not always a practical situation although there are several manufacturers and vendors who accommodate such auditions. And, of course, some people just don't like to act in "audition" mode. It's a personal preference in such cases.

This is something that is never going to have a simple answer and it can often lead to heated debate. The fact that AVS closed its thread on this matter means that it really must have either gotten out of hand or was touching some sensitive areas that I'm not privy to. I like to think that we try to keep things under control here as best as we can but even then sometimes things can get dicey. Just look at some of the "My HD-DVD is better than your Blu-Ray" action - which has already resulted in several time outs being applied by our staff.

The world of the Internet is never going to be a perfect place. Nor is everything you read on the web to be taken at face value. The universal access to a pulpit is both the best and the worst feature of the 'net. Anyone can offer an opinion - but that makes it that much more important to realize that people have to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.
 

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