I’m not sure if some of what I said is not being understood as I meant it.
First, I highly value Dave’s reviews. They helped me a LOT and I meant nothing negative.
Second, when talking about “paid reviews” I was NOT referring to some kind of review/advert that’s paid for. I’m talking about professional reviews, by people doing it for a living. That is to say, journalists writing reviews.
Some background. I spent about 25 years making a good chunk of my income by writing for a living. Not all reviews by any means, but certainly thousands of them, as well as news stories, interviews, exhibition reports and so on. And I was paid for it. Mostly this was in the specialist press, but it included national newspapers too.
So by “paid”, I mean I was sent a product, or commissioned to review a product (or interview a person) etc. What I was not paid for, not EVER, was to say this or that about a product. Sometimes the product supplier liked what I said, sometimes not so much and a handful of times, they threatened to sue. Those situations usually caused a hurried conversation with the editor about whether I was confiden of my opinion being justifiable, and did I have the evidence to back it up in courtif need be. And yes, I did.
I didn’t mean “paid review” in a pejorative sense - merely that professionals have to make a living and are paid to apply their expertise to assessing a product, and writing up what they think of it, good or bad. Sometimes, the writing was a consultancy report, not a review, either by the manufacturerpre-release, or even by a corporate prior to a large expenditure. Either way, what was paid for was my time, and that expertise, such as it was, from several decades in the industry.
Do you need a thick skin? Oh, yeah. Express an opinion and it’s a good chance someone won’t like it, and say so. This especially applies if you take a product with a fanbase and criticise it. Most of my stuff was in the tech world, and it’s common there - PC v Mac, nVidia v AMD, Windows v Linux, or in vameras, Canon v Nikon. These and many more, have their fand who will react badly to ANY criticism no matter how justified or backed up.
And that’s without even gettig to the “see you in court” camp. Which brings up another issue. If writing a review and publishing it, there are a whole batch of laws that can apply, and get you in trouble. Is it likely to apply to a user review on the net? No likely, no. But it is certainly possible. My advice on that is it “publishing” ANYTHING, think before saying it. Can even forum posts constitute publishing? Yup. Certainly sufficiently so to generate at least threats (and I mean credible ones, from actual solicitors) if you say the wrong thing about someone that can afford to sue.
I’m not trying to scare you, Tom. It is (in my opinion) extremely unlikely to happen with what you’re talking about. A vanishingly small risk, in fact. But in the more general “review” world I was talking about before, it most definitely is a factor. Still a very small risk, but IF it were to happen, it can get very expensive indeed. Which is why I have both some formal training in the relevant laws and, while I was doing this for a living, legal protectionfrom insurance and union protections.
Anyway, I’m drifting way off topic. I’m not even sure that it was my comments that raised the concerns but if it was, I was just trying to offer some helpful advice on review writing, by someone that did it for a large part of their living for a long time.