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KitGuru and the value of honest reviews

If you are reading this then there is a strong likelihood that you may be a regular reader, and for that alone I thank you. Due to your support, KitGuru has developed over the years into what you see today. Although this website was formed almost a decade ago and I produced all our content myself initially we now have a 13 strong team and we produce daily content, every 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. We recently just hit 140,000 subscribers on YouTube, an achievement the team are all very proud of.

I don't often write these kind of posts, because it can sometimes sound a little self indulgent. I do however feel what I have to say is long overdue, so I hope you take the time to read it.

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 have 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, PCs, 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 what KitGuru is.

So while editorial is my primary function, I don't 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 completely 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 actually a growing trend and it concerns me that much, I just had to share my opinion on it all today in this post.

I get a lot of emails from companies asking to send us their latest products. They say that ‘influencers' are important now. This term in itself sounds very innocuous, but when you delve a little deeper it is very damaging for this industry and worst of all, its completely misleading to you – the 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 from amazon 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. 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 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 YouTube host.

So how does KitGuru operate? It's 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, Dominic, James and Andy.

We hope you value our free services this year and I would like to extend the option to email me directly if you have anything you want to say. I do try and answer everyone who emails me so I am not a faceless guy in a suit who doesn't care about you. You make this site, and I want to be sure we are doing the best job we can. 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. I have some cool KitGuru branded fans in a box in storage. I can't promise I will send everyone a fan, but I will do my best. Email me at [email protected].

Thanks for all your support on behalf of the KitGuru team. Leo, Luke, James, Dominic, Andrzej, Andy, Matthew, Jack, Alistair and myself.

Allan ‘Zardon' Campbell 
KitGuru Editor In Chief/Managing Director.

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