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Hardware The Path of Progress: Tracking the evolution of AMD’s graphics cards

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by brumgrunt, 6 Sep 2012.

  1. Zinfandel

    Zinfandel Well-Known Member

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    Aw man.

    Really BG, please don't take this personally as I know you're only trying to do your job and I'm a fan of a lot of the things that have happened here since you've taken over but this is really far from acceptable.

    Well, that's not entirely accurate I suppose, I mean, you can do what you want but if you or anyone at Dennis honestly thinks that this type of thing will do anything but destroy the (already diminished) credibility Bit Tech has as a serious hardware review/PC Enthusiast site then I think you're sorely mistaken.

    I realise that AMD Etc spend a lot on PR but what kind of mentalist in their PR department thinks that an article like this on a website like this will bring anything but scorn? We're all PC fans here, we know the deal and by and large we judge companies on the products they put out and the prices they put them out at.

    And far be it to question your word but unfortunately I'm going to have to. I find it hard to believe that you could have put this article up with the intention of pointing out that it was a paid for advertisement and either forgot or accidentally messed it up is very, very difficult to believe.

    The simple fact is, if you're willing to put up this piece of advertising and, either mistakenly or not disguise it as a (what would have been a very interesting) genuine bit tech editorial then I can have absolutely zero faith in the honesty of your reviews, and that is very sad.

    Again, please don't take that personally. I know journalists are having to make increasingly difficult decisions on the border between integrity and solvency but this is a step too far.
     
  2. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt New Member

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    I can't make you believe what I say, but I hardly think I've got a track record here of deliberately misleading people! I stand by what I said. For about an hour at most, this wasn't tagged as a sponsored feature, due to a human error. I am that human. I made an error, for which I apologised. I can't do much more than that.

    My question back, then. Several months ago, one the of the key criticisms that was being aimed at Bit-Tech was that the advertising on the site wasn't relevant. I fed that back, the ad team listened, and we've all re-doubled our efforts.

    AMD booked this campaign, and chose to support the site. We put up this sponsored feature as part of that (and still added a comment thread, to allow feedback). It's something, whether you like it or not, that's entirely relevant to Bit-Tech. So what do we do? It's a genuine question that comes up time and time again.

    I accept that for the hour that this feature was - accidentally - unflagged, that I messed up. I take criticism for that. If you don't believe I'm telling the truth, then again, there's not much I can say to alter that, other than to reiterate what I've said before.

    Yet all of a sudden, our reviews aren't trustworthy? That we've sold out? Seriously: go back and read the reviews. I think they speak for themselves. If you have problems with us having an ad campaign of this ilk, then by all means, direct criticisms at me. I've no problem with that at all. But, having seen the immense amount of time, effort and sheer hard work that goes into the reviews on this site, I hope you'll understand why I'm so defensive of both the independence and quality of them, and the people who write them.

    I appreciate, too, the support that AMD has given the site here.

    Simon
     
  3. Parge

    Parge the worst Super Moderator

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    Fair play for coming back to answer the criticism, and yes, at first it did look like BT were trying to pass this off as an actual article (the author was even 'Bit Tech Staff' - maybe change that to 'AMD' or 'Corsair' or whoever is posting the story, most of us don’t mind). If it makes you feel any better, we all instantly knew it wasn't a BT writer behind it - a testament to your usually very good work!

    AMD have taken the time out to write this up, and spent money on this campaign, and BT have gone along with it (which again is fine), it would have been far better to do it properly. By this, I mean, a proper interview and discussion with someone from AMD, where the topic remains the same, but BT can ask pertinent questions.

    AMD, at face value you might not like that format as much as the above where you get to set the tone, but if its engagement with your target audience you want (and presumably you do, since you have written and entire two page ad for Bit Tech) then an intelligent discussion between you and BT is a far better way to go about it. BT is a great place for you to advertise (hell, between us we buy A LOT of GPUs and CPUs, and advise others to buy a lot more). For advertising to be truly effective, it has to 1) reach its target audience and 2) engage with them on a meaningful/emotional level – hence why TV is still such an attractive advertising medium (ooooh, pretty colours and sounds, I’m welling up). In this case, someone has misjudged point 2.
     
  4. BrightCandle

    BrightCandle Member

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    You target audience likes the details. Architecture, performance analysis, the edges of new features. All of this could have made a great article showing how the gpu has changed over the generations in performance for example. For a sponsored article like this to do anything but create anger it needs to be a genuine look at AMDs progress, this is just a big press release. The fact that you don't see how it isn't relevant is shocking.

    Now your integrity hit rock bottom what do you expect the response to be exactly?
     
  5. Blarte

    Blarte Moderate Modder

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    Surely the article's title gave you all a clue to the content of the piece

    A company has to make money so it may continue to provide its services. Fact. No foul no harm I say
     
  6. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt New Member

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    The reason the author was posted as Bit-Tech staff was that it's been penned by a Bit-Tech writer. AMD didn't supply the article per se. To be honest, I come from a magazine background, where it's not uncommon to put together labelled sponsored features of this ilk.

    Thanks for the interesting and constructive points, and I'm going to follow a few of your thoughts in the final paragraph up.

    Simon
     
  7. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt New Member

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    Again, feedback appreciated. We'll certainly revisit the topic for a longer piece in the future.

    For now, this is a sponsored article, supporting a campaign. I've not dismissed anyone's feedback as irrelevant, I don't think, I just don't necessarily tally together a labelled sponsored feature with the integrity of reviews.

    It's also not replaced any content we would have run either, just on a separate point. It's an additional piece on a day when we've also got a review and board game feature blog.

    As for what I expect the response to be: that's not really for me to say. If people think we've sold out by running a sponsored piece, and that it's tampered the independence of our reviews, then I disagree with that vehemently. I've seen what level of work goes into the content we produce.

    I do appreciate we're all entitled to differing opinions, though.

    Simon
     
  8. Christopher N. Lew

    Christopher N. Lew Folding in memory of my father

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    I was hoping for something more about the engineering side, and less from marketing. There must be space in the market for something like "The Soul of a New Machine".
     
  9. Baz

    Baz I work for Corsair

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    Rock bottom? Cool, can I now start taking bribes for our review scores and positive coverage? I could do with a few extra quid to do the house up.

    How about we start giving awards to EVERYTHING too? After all, it's all OK if you look at it the right way, and awards=ads! Heck, we could give awards to press-releases and event coverage too! "I had a nice time, and they had nice food and beer, 9/10, would recommend."

    or, we could just disable comments on our reviews completely! Then there'd be no where for people to call us up and complain about our content.

    or, we could start breaking every NDA out there! Yeah! burn all our relationships with the industry and just review gear from random OEMs. Just think of the massive traffic spikes we'd get for unveling the GTX 700 Turbo nutter edition!

    Seriosuly though, while I agree the article is not great, please have some perspective. One sponsored piece of content does not mean we've sold out or compromised our editorial position, it means we're exploring new ways to make cash so we can remain awesome.

    The day anyone tells me to change one of my scores, or the content of my reviews, or be really nice to a just company because they're giving us cash, is the day I quit my job and go apply to be Fatal1ty's whipping boy.
     
  10. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt New Member

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    I'd be out the door, too.

    Although, to be clear, I would not be applying for that Fatal1ty job that Harry seems quite keen on...
     
  11. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    Genuinely don't see what everyone's whining about.

    Even without the note saying it's a sponsored article, it should be pretty bloody obvious that it is - And even more so, who by.

    It's advertising, yes, but it's relevant advertising that isn't just trying to sell **** with flashy colours (The most abhorrent type of advertising). More over, on these forums many people admit to using adblock to "improve" their viewing experience - To ensure that the campaigns (That are paid for) reach us, the target audience, what choice do the staff have other than to post it as an article?

    Sure, a ball was dropped not flagging it when it was first posted, but that was apologised for.

    Basically, grow up. BT hasn't lost integrity, it's just targeting advertising through different channels.
     
  12. Ciber

    Ciber Member

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    I was expecting some interesting history from the 3dfx + voodoo days. Though ATIs early cards they might not be that proud of. This however is not so interesting and basically TL:DR
     
  13. mute1

    mute1 New Member

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    Glad you clarified that! :)

    I share some of the conerns of my fellow readers but I'm sure you guys will get on top of things.
    The article should have been more technical, more clearly labelled as sponsored and written in a better style, in my humble opinion.

    It's not hard to find people with a soft spot for AMD from the old days, and for giving us a competitive GPU market, and I could imagine a bit of 'allow me to play the fanboy'-type article/editorial would actually have been a good read!
    Perhaps something with some personal anecdotes too if possible. Make it a bit more engaging.

    Just some thoughts... :)
     
  14. David

    David Take my advice — I’m not using it.

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    Reminds me of those "AOL Jobs" pieces often found scattered throughout the articles section.

    I didn't read them, but I'm not going to get all hot and bothered about them. Same goes with this one - the only mistake I see is the initial omission of the sponsored tag at the top.

    It's still a lot less intrusive than full screen pop-up ads and that horrific IE banner than hijacked your mouse clicks for a few seconds.

    If this a compromise designed to generate revenue for the site, at the expense of more intrusive ads, I say bring it on. I can live with it.
     
  15. Bungletron

    Bungletron Well-Known Member

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    No one wanted to put their name to this fine piece of objective journalism? Fair enough, I would not want to either!

    Times are hard, needs must, make hay, etc. but I seriously doubt it should be labelled as a feature here, I would have no issue reading it if it was more clearly labelled as a sponsored feature.
     
  16. John_T

    John_T Member

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    Me neither.

    A (minor) mistake was made, apologised for, then rectified. End of story.

    The thing that offends me is not that bit-tech runs a few ads, has the odd sponsored article or, shock horror, one such article is briefly and accidentally not labelled as such, but the frankly ludicrous overreaction to it all.

    There's an old saying about "wanting to have your cake and eat it". Well, since the advent of the internet I think the expectation from some people now is: have their cake, and eat it, and get it for free, and be told how wonderful they are for deigning to taste it in the first place.

    It's just silly. Quality journalism is a full-time job, people who do it full time need to be paid. Offices also need to be paid for, as do rates, utilities, equipment, etc, etc. If people aren't willing to pay a monthly subscription, as most aren't, then they have to learn to accept sponsorships and adverts. That, or lose all guarantees of quality and reliability.
     
  17. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    Overreaction?

    QFT ;)
     
  18. abezors

    abezors Lurking since '08

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    I thought the first page was actually fairly good in terms of content and style. But then the second page seemed to have too many marketing statements one after another in a style that seems unwelcome after normal BT articles (probably prompting the harsher criticisms). I thought the concept was good overall; I would also agree that it could be longer and more detailed next time, with focus on the technologies they have introduced and less of the canned PR.

    I took onboard the "sponsored article" tag at the beginning and it prepared me for what was coming without a sense of outrage. If the future of BT requires a few sponsored articles every now and then, well go ahead - provided they *begin* with an explicit sponsor alert. If they're interesting pieces then it's a bonus, either way it's extra money for you guys to run content!
     
  19. Bungletron

    Bungletron Well-Known Member

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    Perceived loss of objectivity will do that pretty quick too.

    Labeling it as sponsored is good, but it should also go in a sub menu of sponsored articles, I would still read it just like I read the sponsored articles in the physical magazine. In the physical magazine if you led with this story on the front cover just like on the front page here you would feel it is somewhat sleazy too no?
     
  20. David

    David Take my advice — I’m not using it.

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    The difference is that you are paying for the mag, the site is free.

    As I previously said, the only mistake (now corrected) was not labelling it as sponsored from the offset.
     
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