Nose well out of joint
One of the things that honest reviewers hate the most, writes HEXUS.lifestyle editor Bob Crabtree, is the email - or phone call - that thanks them for a "great" review. An assessment that a review is fair or accurate makes no one squirm. But calling it "great" makes us worry that we missed some fundamental flaw the manufacturer expected us to spot. Either that or they think we went easy on them - nudge, nudge - because they advertise with us.
Perversely, we have less trouble handling accusations of having written a bad review or one that was unfair or had serious errors. We do fully investigate such accusations, though, and absolutely do put things right on the rare occassions where we've got them wrong initially. We don't claim to be perfect, though that's what we'd say we aspire to being.
We're also cool about being told that what we've published proves that we're out and out fan-boys of the opposition's products. We know such charges are false and can usually call up a bunch of previous articles in which we gave a good kicking to who ever it is we're supposed to be in love with.
As a for-instance, our write-ups of the amazing performance of Intel's new-generation processors have led us to be accused of being Intel fan-boys. This is despite the fact that, up until the time these new CPUs came available for testing, we were regularly accused of being AMD fan-boys because we pointed out the truth about AMD's CPUs out-performing Intel's in most metrics.
All we do is tell it like it is - more accurately, as we see it - and we are comfortable living with criticism that results from our doing so and equally comfortable putting right any errors of fact.
But we recently had a reaction to a review that was new to us - at least in the form that it took.
What happened is that a company that was unable to find genuine fault, told us that we won't be receiving any more product for testing unless future reviews can be guaranteed to be more favourable than the last one.
We've received plenty of such threats but can't remember anyone being stupid enough before to make it over a succession of emails. Usually, these things are implied - and only in conversation, whether face-to-face or on the phone.
We terminate such discussions very speedily but not before explaining the facts of life - as they apply to HEXUS.
The person who makes the threat gets a king-size flea inserted in his ear with all due force and is made to understand that you can't buy a good HEXUS review - the product itself has to earn it.
He's also told that if that means we don't get any further product to review, then we'd regard that as the maker's loss, rather than our own.
So what is our response to this astonishing threat? Well, you're reading it now. We're naming names and will let you draw your own conclusions.
So, let's start with the company concerned. To find out which it is, turn to page two...