Infopackets Software Reviews: Biased?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader John C. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I have been getting your newsletter for awhile now -- thanks for that. As of late, however, I've noticed that some of your software reviews seem to be more like advertisements, rather than an unbiased review. In my opinion, you should state up front whether or not you profit from anything you review or write about, and make it clear it is an advertisement. "

My response:

Rest assured -- the reviews I write are absolutely 100% biased.

The reviews are biased because I chose to write them, and I often prefer one software product over another (example: good software that does what it says versus bad software that only does 1/2 of what it promises, is full of bugs, and the like).

But it's really not as bad as it sounds, considering the reviews are meticulously thought out [for ease of reading], entertaining, informative, well sourced, and written from a perspective that encompasses 23 years in computing experience. And heck -- if that's not good enough, then I'd invite you to take a moment to research the products that I recommend using Google and see what others are saying.

Having said that, I would not purposely recommend any software or eBook that I felt wasn't good enough to review. From a business perspective, it wouldn't make much sense to dupe customers into making a bad purchase, because it would only have a negative effect.

As for informing users each and every time that I'm going to make a buck if they purchase software: I really don't think that's necessary. I don't hide the fact that the profits made from each review are used to fund our web site -- I've stated this many times in the past.

But in case you missed it, I'll say it again: I make profits from software reviews. The profits are used to fund our web site and to put food on the table, and so that I can continue providing a free service to the public (hint: our web server costs $5,000 annually to maintain). I also want to point out that I've written close to 700 articles in the past 4 years and answered thousands of questions via email; of those 700 articles I've written, very few of those were software reviews.

In short: I'm selective about what I review; therefore, my reviews are biased.

So there you have it -- I have been up front and honest. The next time you read a review, please think about the amount of time, effort, and experience that goes into compiling it, and not "is this an advertisement?" or a recommendation based solely for profit.

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