OLD Media Moves

Reviewing the tech reviewers

April 18, 2017

Posted by Chris Roush

product-reviewsPhil Baker writes on Recode about the best tech product reviewers in the wake of the announcement that legendary tech journalist Walt Mossberg is retiring.

Baker writes, “Walt, along with David Pogue of the New York Times, the late Steve Wildstrom of Businessweek (who also wrote here at Tech.pinions) and Ed Baig of USA Today, was among the first to review major new products. All four were courted by big-name companies such as Apple, Samsung, Sony and others, so that their reviews would appear at nearly the same time. Because their columns were published in each Thursday’s edition of their respective publications, the marketing people, engineers and company executives would frantically wait for the first edition to see how their product fared, much like the cast of a Broadway show reads their reviews the morning after opening night.

“On a personal note, I always found Walt, Steve and Ed to be thoughtful, insightful and fair-minded. While one might disagree with their product assessments, they were always respectful and considerate. If they encountered a problem with a product, they’d get back to the company and get their comments, but reported their complete experiences without omissions. They took their job and the impact of what they wrote with great responsibility. And they would not waffle, but gave their opinions and backed them up with facts. David Pogue does do reviews, but with a more entertainment focus.

“In recent years, as gadget blogs replaced newspapers for our source of new product news, the number of reviews have multiplied, although the quality seems to have fallen. Many are done by those with limited product experience and often reflect their own biases, without thinking from the position of the consumer. I’m often appalled at how inaccurate they are about products and technology I know well.

“There are good sites with in-depth reviews, including Digital Photo Review, PC Week, Tom’s Hardware, The Gadgeteer, iLounge, The Verge, the Wirecutter (owned by the New York Times) and many others. Many of these sites now derive revenue from their reviews by linking the products to Amazon to receive referral fees.”

Read more here.

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