Thursday, November 12, 2015

Camera Review websites

In the aftermath of the furore on the camera forum that couldn't bare the truth to be aired, the plethora of camera review sites came to mind. There just seem to be so many! Some are plainly bogus, being owned by camera stores, camera makers and brand fanzines. The rest are just plain suspect.

Given that advertising revenue worldwide across the internet is reducing due to competition and the realization that most internet users either block adverts or don't have the money to buy products, such websites cannot afford to write high quality reviews or articles. Indeed, most content these days is used generated (spelling and grammatical errors unchecked with Android oddities thrown into the mix) on review websites.

In order to increase traffic, many websites add forums for users to discuss things. With wafer thin margins, paid moderators are not used. Instead volunteer moderators are the norm. The problem there is that while forums increase traffic, they don't increase revenue. Putting a forum just attracts the kind of person that spends all their life on internet forums. For proof of that, look at the post counts. 10,000 posts is not unusual for a forum addict. Going further, how much time are they spending, reading forums and responding? How much time is left for gainful employment?

It strikes me that the vast majority of internet users, use the internet because it is cheap entertainment. Indeed, its very popular entertainment given the number of internet centric gadgets that abound. I'm thinking of smartphones, smart watches, tablets etc. Without the internet, they're of less value than the average brick. It's amazing how internet addiction has become the norm. With all this addiction to the internet and widespread internet consumption, advertising budgets have further to go. Hence, revenue for carrying advertisements dwindles.

In the days of magazines, some were almost decent but the vast majority were purely advertising vehicles. Indeed those that still exist are largely advertising vehicles with juvenile articles thrown in in order to perpetuate the falsehood that the buyer is getting a magazine worth reading. Truth be told, the original purpose of a magazine was for something short to read on the toilet that could then be used as toilet paper.

Amidst all this declining revenue, review websites have to supplement their income whether it's from bribes, paid reviews or by selling users details. Thus, the era of the independent review is truly gone.

Another thing to question is, with the thousands of camera review websites out there, is how many have bought the cameras they go on to review and how many get free cameras or camera loans? It just strikes me that they can't all have actually had their hands on the cameras they review. Camera companies can't be dumb enough to loan out cameras to anybody that claims to have a review website? I can imagine it now: "Hey, Leica, gissa S2 for my review website" followed by "psst, mate, wanna by a snapshot camera. Only $5 or two beers and she's yours".

Indeed, I am reminded of a cartoon I saw today. Two people were sitting at a table talking. One commented that his laxative had more Facebook friends than he did. Everything seems to have become internet centric rather than life centric. People are beginning to rely upon these websites and forums for their purchase decisions instead of real life. It's quite scary!

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