It is January 1st 2020 – the big question in my mind is – where did 2019 go? As some of our team prepare to head to Las Vegas to give you breaking news and video content on all the technology on show at CES 2020, I thought I would share a few words with you today. Due to your continued support, KitGuru has developed over the years into what you can see today. Although this website was formed almost a decade ago and I produced all our content myself initially, we now have a very capable team and we continue to produce regular content, every single day of the year. We have been developing our social media for a long time, and have been focusing on improving our Youtube and Vimeo Channels in the last year.
The tech industry has been shifting in recent years. Most of you will remember the days when all tech reviews were purely in a written format. In recent years, the move towards video content has been swift, and it has been our focus to bring in fresh talent to expand our capabilities in this regard. We don't hire presenters, we don't script videos – we only employ reviewers. Every person we have in our team, has strong opinions and is completely separated from any advertising we may run on the website and in our videos. We have always maintained strict separation between sales and editorial. “Yeah, So what?” you say…
… There is a very clear reason for this. At heart I am still just like our core audience. I love technology. I live it. I adore music, headphones, PC's, gadgets and even mechanical watches. Since I was a kid, I loved engineering. I had the back of my parents Cathode Ray Tube TV in pieces when I was a kid. My father went crazy when he saw it. I never realised i could have killed myself. I have always been like this.
Kitguru on an editorial level has always been based on my decisions. I manage all the writers, I edit and produce all the content with my team. I have picked all the people who work here based on their capabilities and knowledge. Sometimes I have created posts here and on our social media saying we are looking for new reviewers. I have actually hired some people who were readers, wanting to get into this for the same reason I am. To live, and review technology. I have a pretty simple view of life. What would I want to read? I am very proud to say, that is still what KitGuru is.
So while editorial is my primary function. I don't really deal with sales – we have a separate team for this. If an advertiser wants to spend money to get their branding on the site this never influences the results of our reviews. Most of our reviewers wouldn't even know who is advertising here unless they studied all the ads themselves. They get paid money every month for their work. Yes, it is a real job. We are one of the few left who can hire a team of people to create unbiased, honest content.
Many advertisers actually like that our sales is isolated from editorial content. It is worth pointing out that many companies have gotten review awards on KitGuru and they have never spent any money on advertising with us- Noctua for instance are one such that spring to mind. In recent years however a growing number of companies want to work in a very different way. It's a continually growing trend.
I continue to get many emails from companies asking to send us their latest products. They say that ‘influencers' are important now. This ‘influencer' term in itself sounds very innocuous, but when you delve a little deeper it is very damaging for this industry and worst of all, it is completely misleading to YOU. The potential customer.
An email chain can go like this. ‘Can we send you some of our new products? We love KitGuruTech on youtube and we feel your audience is perfect for us. We will send you £1000 of products. You give them a favourable review, you can keep them, and if you want to embed a clip in the video saying to buy them we will give you 10% of each sale. Obviously the more positive you make the review, the better sales you will get and we can get you more money'.
These companies don't want to advertise in the traditional way. They don't want to show you offers in adverts or to promote their products to you guys reading all the latest technology news and reviews. They want to buy opinions. Many of these ‘influencers' on youtube get hardware – such as a free laptop and they are so happy with getting a free laptop that they give it glowing recommendations. On top of this you are giving them money for viewing their monetised video. Its a win win for everyone – well everyone except you.
Is that the kind of article that gives you good buying advice? Is it a ‘review' or just a new clever, devious way of marketing products to people who value a particular, and often very popular YouTube host.
A very well known company who we used to work with who sell cases, coolers and power supplies sent me an email in November to explain how they are going to operate going forward. This is a copy and paste of part of the email they sent me ‘Our strategy going forward is to work closely with outlets and influencers who like our brand and products, and we are funding work with these partners. This is the direction we are headed this coming year. So. in a nutshell, they want to send samples to influencers who ‘like their brand and products' – while funding them. Will that company ever get genuine, honest feedback how how to improve their products. If an influencer being paid directly for his opinion publishes content, can you use it to form a decision to actually buy the product? Are the products that weak in the first place?
So how does KitGuru operate? It is pretty simple. All our reviewers get paid for their opinions by me, not a company who make the products they review. They are reviewers, not presenters. Their opinions are never edited out by me, or rejected. They wouldn't be working for us if I didn't feel they could do the job. If a review is negative, and the company is an advertiser then I deal with any fallout. Most companies we work with are actually really good with negative feedback. Some have even taken our negative feedback on board as constructive criticism and improved future versions of the products. This is when I normally feel quite buzzed. We have helped improve a product. One you might buy later. Our opinions have helped shape a better product for readers. I still get excited about that. On the other hand, a few have pulled their advertising budget and have never spoken to us again when we delivered an honest, open review. Their loss, I say.
We don't keep or request free samples. We don't sell products on ebay. We survive on you guys unblocking our ads, and valuing us as one of the websites that actually is trying to serve your best interests, not that of a company who wants to throw free products in our direction and to buy our opinion.
I get many people asking how they can support us, and this is great to hear. It means we are doing something that you value. The simplest thing you can do is unblock our ads. We don't track anything, we serve only ads from companies who you will value – companies like ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, Seasonic – all leading brands we know you buy. We don't serve casino or gambling ads, no porn, no pop ups, pop unders or text tracking hyperlinks everytime you roll over words like ‘Intel' or ‘AMD'. That drives me nuts and I don't want to be a part of it.
Yes we have quite a few static ads running and I know sometimes they can be a bit of a pain to see – but by viewing these ads, looking at the offers on hand, you are supporting all the people who work here – your favourite reviewers like Leo, Luke, James, Dominic and Briony.
We hope you continue to read Kitguru and enjoy our content in 2020. If you need help buying the best products on the market, check out our BEST OF products (HERE) – updated regularly by the team. We started this in 2019 and we hope it helps you get the best system you can.
If you value what we do and want to donate to the cause then you can send any donations to [email protected] or look at supporting via PATREON https://www.patreon.com/kitgurutech
As well as the main Kitguru website, be sure to check out other channels:
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KitGuru.net/
Twitter page https://twitter.com/kitgurupress?lang=en
Discord invite link: https://discord.gg/4cqFSWY
Steam Community https://steamcommunity.com/groups/kitguruofficial
Thanks for all your support. Our thoughts are with you for a productive, happy 2020.
Allan ‘Zardon' Campbell
Kitguru Editor In Chief/Managing Director.