bit-tech.net

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

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fdbh96 6th September 2012, 20:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shirty
I disagree, blurring tbe line between advertising and editorial would be impossible from either side. AMD wouldn't accept any negativity, and Bit wouldn't feel comfortable extolling the virtues of products that they don't necessarily rate.

How many of the naysayers in this comments section read Custom PC, or indeed any other tech magazines? These have had sponsored advertising articles in them for years. Would you really expect the format to be any different on here? :?

I just can't see the problem now that the article is clearly marked as an advert.

Not blurring the lines, just explaining the tech behind it and why its great, rather than 'its just great.'
arcticstoat 6th September 2012, 21:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shirty
How many of the naysayers in this comments section read Custom PC, or indeed any other tech magazines? These have had sponsored advertising articles in them for years. Would you really expect the format to be any different on here? :?

Can I pick you up on this? We do have ads in Custom PC, and we do have some sponsored sections, but the sponsorship never interferes with the editorial - the only exception is if a supplier (e.g. Scan) supplies all the kit for a build feature, in which case we'll list them as the supplier, but I don't think that's what you're implying. The only other exception I can think of are things like the competition pages, but that's literally one page, and you get the chance to win a prize too. I don't recall ever doing a 'sponsored advertising article', at least not since I've been in charge. Can you give an example?
Shirty 6th September 2012, 21:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by arcticstoat
Can I pick you up on this? We do have ads in Custom PC, and we do have some sponsored sections, but the sponsorship never interferes with the editorial - the only exception is if a supplier (e.g. Scan) supplies all the kit for a build feature, in which case we'll list them as the supplier, but I don't think that's what you're implying. The only other exception I can think of are things like the competition pages, but that's literally one page, and you get the chance to win a prize too. I don't recall ever doing a 'sponsored advertising article', at least not since I've been in charge. Can you give an example?

Hi Ben, of course you can pick me up on this. I most definitely am not implying that the editorial of the mag is - or has ever been - swayed by advertisements. I was simply referring to the two page "advertisement feature" that one sees in many tech and gadget magazines.

I can't honestly say I've bought lots of issues in the past year since my subscription expired, but they definitely used to be in there and I don't think they ever interfered with the flow or style of the mag. So I am in no way criticising this method of advertising, as it's clearly marked as such. I am simply making the point that what Bit-tech have done today is by no means unusual in the printed media, so why should we treat the online media any differently?

I am firmly on the side of Bit and CPC here. Keep up the good work ;)
S1W1 6th September 2012, 21:56 Quote
I think lots of people are being unfair here.

Bit-Tech is not a charity. I imagine that when they're not too busy being awesome, the journalists on this site actually need to eat and pay heating and electricity bills and buy clothes and buy fuel for their cars, etc. Unless you're willing to start paying Bit-Tech directly for their services, advertising is simply a necessity. Without this advertising BT would not be able to write the great reviews and articles that they do.

And therefore as long as advertising features are clearly marked as such, I have no problem with them. Admittedly the feature could read a little less like mindless propaganda and instead focus more on the technical side of things, actually explaining the merits of AMD's mostly (yet certainly not always) impressive graphics cards, without resorting to petty rhetoric.

Yet whilst I'm not a fan of this sort of advertising, to even suggest that this article compromises the integrity of Bit-Tech's reviews is ludicrous, and an insult to the honesty and hard work of the talented writers who most of us enjoy reading without ever paying a penny.

The fact that Bit-Tech created a comments section for this advertising feature (and have taken the time to respond to criticisms fairly) is further testament to the integrity of the staff, and the respect they clearly have for us as readers.

Signed a loyal and long-time reader,
SW
Otis1337 6th September 2012, 22:07 Quote
Bit-Tech is free.
They need to get there income from somewhere.
So long as it does not make rigged reviews i really don't care about sponsors or ads and nether should other people unless they would like to pay for there service's... im sure they will PM you there paypal details for you without any fuss.

http://anongallery.org/img/6/4/deal-with-it-cat.jpg
jimmyjj 6th September 2012, 23:26 Quote
I would imagine AMD had to approve the copy. The thing is some PR bonehead at AMD would probably only approve this sycophantic rubbish.

If BT had actually been allowed to publish an interesting, in depth and honest article then AMD would have got a lot of respect from the community - which of course was the whole point of the exercise...

Ironically, by requesting an article which reads like an advertisers wet dream they have only attracted scorn.

Lets be clear, I have not one problem with sponsored articles. Unfortunately this one was crap (which I guess is a whole different question altogether).

Specifically it should have covered their failures as well as successes, and detailed their back and forth battles with Nvidia. That would have been a good read. AMD / ATI have had some great cards, they did not need to hide behind this crap.

* I would like to say though that I have a lot of respect for them allowing the comment thread and coming on to respond to criticism, that takes courage and shows respect for the community.
dunx 7th September 2012, 00:24 Quote
Not offended, it was clearly an "advert", but adding the historical "lows" to the "highs" would have been more honest...

Just my opinion. And we all like coloured blocks and diagrams too !

dunx
Ciber 7th September 2012, 00:42 Quote
I just want to say yes you are enititled to make money from your website. But. I do feel this type of piece that I have seen in Custom PC and now here deliberately blurs the line between the adverts and the honest reviews. I feel like adverts are a 'dirty' as in they are trying to influence our opinions for the sake of financial gain. Muddying the line between advertising and 'clean' honest reviews is dirtying the opinions and appraisals here and making those seem less honest and more influenced by the advertisers.

All up to you and of course if I don't like it or trust it then I don't have to read it.
arcticstoat 7th September 2012, 01:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciber
I do feel this type of piece that I have seen in Custom PC and now here deliberately blurs the line between the adverts and the honest reviews.

Again, please can I ask for an example of where this was in Custom PC?
HarryBizzle 7th September 2012, 02:21 Quote
Had to dig out my forum password to comment on this.

1. Reading that article was genuinely a little embarrassing. I wouldn't want to have my name in the by line of something like that. Forgetting any kinds of accusations of bias or whatever, if this level of writing is set to become more prevalent on bit-tech, I can see myself drifting away from the site.

2. To the people who are saying "bit-tech is free, they need to make money," the flipside is that there are loads of other free websites who would not do something like this, and they're free too. I can got to HardOCP, AnandTech, etc and I know how strongly they feel about things like this. Ultimately you're only going to harm yourselves in the long run if people see this stuff and decide to stop reading.

3. What do the writers at bit-tech see themselves as? I would hope that on some level, they see themselves as journalists. Having any sort of dependence on, or conflict of interest with a company you report on is unacceptable, whether the puff piece they would have you write is "relevant" or not.

4. Reviewers are accused of bias all the time. A relationship like this is not going to make things any easier on you, and will always throw up flags in the minds of people reading bit-tech.


Just seems like a bad idea, anyway I look at it (unless they're paying you guys a lot more than I would have thought).
Ciber 7th September 2012, 09:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by arcticstoat
Again, please can I ask for an example of where this was in Custom PC?

I saw similar in there when I was a subscriber but I cancelled that years ago.
thebinh 7th September 2012, 10:02 Quote
Separation bit-tech, whatever happened to the advertising staying well away from editorial? Doesn't the what?
dogknees 7th September 2012, 10:36 Quote
>>To be honest, I come from a magazine background, where it's not uncommon to put together labelled sponsored features of this ilk.

But this is not a magazine. Traditional publishing practice is pretty much irrelevant.

I accept that you made an error in the way you posted it. Can you assure us that you now have a detailed checklist to follow for EVERY article you post, so that it won't happen again?

It just seems that these errors are getting made far too often. A lot of articles/ads are posted without the acknowledgement that they are ads and are only corrected after the complaints come in.

If it was the occasional one, maybe one in 50-100, it would be more believable. If I made this many "mistakes" at work, I'd be sacked!
brumgrunt 7th September 2012, 10:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogknees
>>To be honest, I come from a magazine background, where it's not uncommon to put together labelled sponsored features of this ilk.

But this is not a magazine. Traditional publishing practice is pretty much irrelevant.

I accept that you made an error in the way you posted it. Can you assure us that you now have a detailed checklist to follow for EVERY article you post, so that it won't happen again?

It just seems that these errors are getting made far too often. A lot of articles/ads are posted without the acknowledgement that they are ads and are only corrected after the complaints come in.

If it was the occasional one, maybe one in 50-100, it would be more believable. If I made this many "mistakes" at work, I'd be sacked!

You're going to have to help me here, I'm afraid. When have I, or the editorial team, done this before?
alex101 7th September 2012, 11:11 Quote
HAHA! The "bit-tech has hit rock bottom...sold it's soul...biased reviews..." people have come out from under their rocks.

I disagree entirely. As long as any sponsored article has it stated at the beginning I have no problem with it.

As Simon said, this type of advertising is relevant to the readers. People will moan whatever advertising there is.

Good work BT staff.
xxxsonic1971 7th September 2012, 11:42 Quote
Amd must have bought the beer this week!
Jhodas 7th September 2012, 12:22 Quote
Mistakes are fine. People make them, if they didn't the world would be a very boring place. And I appreciate bit-tech has bills.
My issue with this piece is the fact that bit-tech/CustomPC have never had an issue standing apart from the 'herd'.

One of the finest moments was giving Modern Warfare 3 the panning I think it deserved when pretty much every other publication was dribbling over it.

Reading this article, I was expecting something similar to The Hardware Hall of Fame. I, like many other bit-tech readers am interested in things like cache, pipeline architecture, voltages, temperature, power draw and fan noise.

Instead, we get
Quote:
Originally Posted by Article
AMD's latest 7000-series takes everything we’ve seen before and kicked it into overdrive.

What does that even mean? Here's an idea: take out some of the more sycophantic phrases like
Quote:
Originally Posted by Article
The Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 are the two cards leading the charge, providing the same great gaming performance you’ve come to expect from AMD

Add some colourful block diagrams like the one we saw of Fermi (still want that as a poster), add a timeline charting the increase in shader numbers or clock speed or the reduction in core voltage. Give us some numbers bit-tech, or you may end up paying the highest price of all.
Spreadie 7th September 2012, 12:51 Quote
I'm far more bemused by some of the knee-jerk, and frankly idiotic, responses than I ever would be at a sponsored article.

Bailing out of this thread - can't take any more idiocy.
GrahamC 7th September 2012, 13:02 Quote
Bit-tec makes money by sell advertising because of the readership it has built up over the years. I would say that that readership does not want advertising encroaching into the main editorial space which is what was done here. An advert took the place of an editorial (labeled or not) which IMO was selling Bit-tec readership short. Keep adverts in the place they should be, that is on the sidelines not on the pitch. Piss an advertiser off they grumble, piss your readership off and ALL your advertisers leave. Bit-tec you poured gravy on your pudding, you can still eat it but it leaves a bad taste.
Shirty 7th September 2012, 13:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spreadie
I'm far more bemused by some of the knee-jerk, and frankly idiotic, responses than I ever would be at a sponsored article.

Bailing out of this thread - can't take any more idiocy.

+1

It's like people can't get their heads around the difference between editorial and advertising. They are completely separate things. Frankly the format is irrelevant unless it's intrusive, which this clearly isn't.

Like Spreadie, I'm out. Good luck staff, I think by the time this comments thread closes you'll be feeling a lot like this:

:(>:(:(
brumgrunt 7th September 2012, 13:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrahamC
An advert took the place of an editorial (labeled or not) which IMO was selling Bit-tec readership short.

What editorial piece did it take the place of exactly? There was a review, news and a board game blog up yesterday. The sponsored feature was extra, on top of that.

Simon
GrahamC 7th September 2012, 13:41 Quote
I can tell when it's an advert or editorial (labeled or not) but it was for me intrusive. Adverts have their place, let it slip and soon every other link will be an advert, been reading for 5 mins ... auto load an advert. We don't visit Bit-tec because of the adverts. It pissed me off no end that an avert was in the editorial space.
GrahamC 7th September 2012, 13:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by brumgrunt
What editorial piece did it take the place of exactly? There was a review, news and a board game blog up yesterday. The sponsored feature was extra, on top of that.

Simon

How would I know what it took the place of (how about a proper look at the history of AMD) The editorial space was used for an advert.
adidan 7th September 2012, 13:46 Quote
Quote:
This feature has been sponsored by AMD
That should be enough for any reader to presume a certain level of bias and focus on AMD rather than any of their competition.

You don't then have to read it and complain about what should be patently obvious at the outset. Sites and magazines have to have a money stream and as it's more the exception than the rule I can't see why people are getting their knickers in a twist.

Nothing to see here, move along people.
brumgrunt 7th September 2012, 13:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrahamC
How would I know what it took the place of (how about a proper look at the history of AMD) The editorial space was used for an advert.

In print, I'd accept that argument. But on a website, one sponsored feature doesn't take room in the same way? It doesn't stop us putting anyone else up, whereas in print, we wouldn't be able to?

Anyway, to be absolutely clear: it didn't take the place of anything. There was no editorial piece that was removed, or did not run, because of one sponsored feature.

Simon
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