Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 25th Jun 2012 09:50 UTC
Microsoft I'm very thankful for Danny Sullivan writing this article, because it touches upon a subject I've increasingly been frustrated with: the inflation of the term 'hands-on'. Hands-on used to mean that a journalist, blogger, or reviewer got to properly use a device to get some sort of first impression, usually guided by some words from the manufacturer. These days, however, it seems as if even merely getting a glance at a device is regarded as a 'hands-on'.
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It appears that only Apple is not to blame
by dvhh on Mon 25th Jun 2012 10:41 UTC
dvhh
Member since:
2006-03-20

for this kind of hype practice, which for me are the same as the craze for unboxing video. Sure I appreciate the "honest" opinion of invited journalists, but as I am a geek with particular needs the experience of a journalist is always different from mine.

Reply Score: 2

first drive = road test?
by gan17 on Mon 25th Jun 2012 11:22 UTC
gan17
Member since:
2008-06-03

It's been going on for years in motoring publications, to be fair. You'll see them taking out the latest Italian rustbucket on a track for a couple of hours, and (as long as it's a loud red or yellow) you'll see a 5 star rating at the bottom with stuff like "buy it now" or "that noise!!" or "bellissimo!!". Then people will go out and buy it and they'll find that the electrics fail every 1000km, the body work falls off, the switchgear goes all squidgy, and the air-conditioner is bollocks in tropical weather.

On the other hand, they'll spend an entire week or more driving the latest Japanese or German family saloon, but somehow having perfectly working air-conditioning, decent residual value and better reliability than the universe only equate to 2.5 stars, cos it doesn't have a Pininfererro badge on the side.

Completely normal journalism, in that regard.

Reply Score: 4

RE: first drive = road test?
by Soulbender on Mon 25th Jun 2012 11:33 UTC in reply to "first drive = road test?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Eh, that doesn't seem to be the exactly same.
At least they drive it around instead of just looking at it in the parking lot and listening to the sales pitch.

Reply Score: 2

RE: first drive = road test?
by Radio on Mon 25th Jun 2012 12:09 UTC in reply to "first drive = road test?"
Radio Member since:
2009-06-20

Already a car analogy? *nervoustwitch*

Reply Score: 4

RE: first drive = road test?
by winter skies on Mon 25th Jun 2012 13:31 UTC in reply to "first drive = road test?"
winter skies Member since:
2009-08-21

It's been going on for years in motoring publications, to be fair. You'll see them taking out the latest Italian rustbucket [...]


OT: If you're talking about Italian supercars, well, you're completely out of this world. They're not competing with German-engineered premium saloons or SUVs. If you're talking about Fiats and modern-day Alfas, they are not even sold in the US and they don't even always get enthusiastic reviews in their motherland. Not that they'd deserve them, anyway.
I can't really see where Italian production (concentrating mainly on the entry-level and exclusive luxury segments) can be compared to German production, excluding Porsche and some really expensive BMWs or Mercs, which can be considered Ferrari and Maserati competitors.
It's Pinifarina, not "Pininferro", BTW.
Anyway, I usually follow sites such as autoblog.com or jalopnik and I've never noticed what you're complaining about.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: first drive = road test?
by mistersoft on Mon 25th Jun 2012 17:13 UTC in reply to "RE: first drive = road test?"
mistersoft Member since:
2011-01-05

*pininfarina. sorry

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: first drive = road test?
by zima on Wed 27th Jun 2012 17:26 UTC in reply to "RE: first drive = road test?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

It's Pinifarina, not "Pininferro", BTW.

"Pininfererro" - and I guess it was supposed to be a pun at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrero_SpA

I can't really see where Italian production (concentrating mainly on the entry-level and exclusive luxury segments) can be compared to German production

Are you sure you're not out of this world? There are plenty enough of lower-segments Opel and VW cars. Also SEAT and particularly Skoda, really. Not really worse than their family saloons, just smaller and more popular.

Reply Score: 3

winter skies Member since:
2009-08-21

"It's Pinifarina, not "Pininferro", BTW.

"Pininfererro" - and I guess it was supposed to be a pun at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrero_SpA

I can't really see where Italian production (concentrating mainly on the entry-level and exclusive luxury segments) can be compared to German production

Are you sure you're not out of this world? There are plenty enough of lower-segments Opel and VW cars. Also SEAT and particularly Skoda, really. Not really worse than their family saloons, just smaller and more popular.
"

I'm sorry, I should have written Pininfarina, it just contains too many "n"'s. ;)

There are _three_ independent premium automakers in Germany (BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi (part of VAG)); Volkswagen is near-premium, a step above generalist automakers, so - while it can be said it competes with Fiat and the likes - its cars are slightly more expensive and better engineered/built. Alfa Romeo wuold be VW's competitor in the Fiat management's hopes. [ http://wot.motortrend.com/alfa-romeo-may-build-luxury-flagship-base... ] Being left with just two models in its lineup, it's struggling.
This leaves out Fiats, competing with Opels, Seats, Skodas. Seats and Skodas are virtually the same and can be considered good-quality, slightly cheaper VW's, while Opel is the European arm of GM, an American company. Fiat covers the A, B, C segments [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euro_Car_Segment ] and is slowly selling a rebadged Dodge Journey as its D-segment offering. The Italian company is relevant when it comes to citycars and superminis, but not for larger cars. 500, Panda and Punto are good, long-lasting cars.

I'd just like to know what's your reference market, as this will surely influence your perception of the issue.
I just wanted to say that
- Italian small cars are not rusty POSs
- there's virtually no larger Italian car on the market, except for luxury production.
So I wonder what the original poster was referring to when he wrote about "Italian rustbuckets" comparing them to German cars.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: first drive = road test?
by zima on Mon 2nd Jul 2012 16:06 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: first drive = road test?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Why do you go on about it like that? Nothing you say changes the simple fact that the areas of German and Italian automotive products largely overlap - hence they are directly competing with each other, hence they can be directly compared.
Yes, the Germans seem to be successful in more segments than the Italians (actually, DE largely seems more successful also in the segments where it shares the presence with IT...), but being additionally more successful in something doesn't diminish your reach elsewhere, doesn't play in favour of more limited competition.

There are _three_ independent premium automakers in Germany (BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi (part of VAG)) [...] while Opel is the European arm of GM, an American company

Well then Audi isn't independent... and Mercedes-Benz, the consumer division, isn't really either - the primary products of Daimler are of ~industrial and cargo hauling nature, cars are a small side business for them.

And while Opel is, yes, an arm of GM - it's very clear they operate very independently, have quite distinct and largely indigenously-engineered line of products, also "exported" to GM divisions worldwide (come on, Corsa was almost the B-class car for a long time; and BTW, while the very latest Astra models tend to be slightly "premium" - older ones are kept long in production, successfully competing for example with the Fiat offer). They are a German auto maker.

Unless... you see Lamborghini and Ducati as just the Italian arms of VW?

Volkswagen is near-premium, a step above generalist automakers, so - while it can be said it competes with Fiat and the likes - its cars are slightly more expensive and better engineered/built.

At least Skoda Octavia, Fabia and Citigo very much compete with most of what Fiat offers - and they're essentially just VW Golf/Jetta, Polo and Up (somewhat reengineered, but mostly just with less trinkets, the essence is still there; the last one just rebadged - even made in the same factory, the same production line), themsevles not that much more expensive. A, B, C right there.

500, Panda and Punto are good, long-lasting cars. [...] Italian small cars are not rusty POSs

BTW, coincidentally, recently I've heard some horror stories of several mostly ex-owners of some recent Fiat Punto models... Also, my family depended on Fiat cars for some time - but never again, it seems.

Edited 2012-07-02 16:16 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Journalism has sold itself out.
by Kroc on Mon 25th Jun 2012 12:56 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

Every journalist at that event should be ashamed of themselves. At no point did anybody announce "what is this bullcrap?" and walk past the rope and lay hands on the product on show. Sure, they would have been ejected from the building, but the fact that an entire crowd of journalists were _invited_ to see this product announced, were _told_ there would be "hands-on" afterwards, and yet all fell into line as idle puppets in Microsoft's ridiculous show and dance ("ignore the man behind the curtain!"), then went home to pontificate on their "hands-on" experience, even defending the farcical show _they_ had just been a part of should be a big-fat warning light that these 'journalists' should be counted as nothing better than guerilla marketeers.

Edited 2012-06-25 13:00 UTC

Reply Score: 5

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Every journalist at that event should be ashamed of themselves. At no point did anybody announce "what is this bullcrap?" and walk past the rope and lay hands on the product on show. [SNIP] ...these 'journalists' should be counted as nothing better than guerilla marketeers.


The error in your logic is that you seem to think that these 'journalists' were something more than guerilla marketeers... There weren't and never have been.

I'm sorry but someone who reviews or otherwise writes about a product that is only accessible to them by the good graces of the manufacturer is in point of fact not a journalist - they are either one of two things:

1. A willing extension of the marketing department of the manufacturer, in which case they will almost invariably write a favorable or at the least neutral piece on the product

2. Taking advantage of a position of power with a weaker manufacture seeking exposure, in which case they will tend to write more honest pieces when it suits their own needs.

Neither of these things constitutes journalism. Pre-release product reviews are marketing - plain and simple. The Microsofts and Apples of the world hold all the cards until the product is released. Afterwards it is fair game, but everything before that is just foreplay.

It is impossible to have anything like journalistic integrity when the people paying your bills are the same people making the products you are judging, and the only way to get access to the products is to make them happy...

Reply Score: 4

Especially sad for The Verge
by Chrispynutt on Mon 25th Jun 2012 12:56 UTC
Chrispynutt
Member since:
2012-03-14

Pretty sad for The Verge as I believe they started it to specifically get away from 'churn' journalism.

Having said that, really 'Hands On' should be pretty much unbreakable. Otherwise if your hands aren't on the device it is really just a big fat porkie pie.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by AnythingButVista
by AnythingButVista on Mon 25th Jun 2012 13:08 UTC
AnythingButVista
Member since:
2008-08-27

I cringe every time I see a post with "Hands-On" in the title, because more often than not it means a bunch of photos of some dude's ugly hand manhandling a device and not providing enough valuable info about the product he is supposed to be evaluating.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by scarr
by scarr on Mon 25th Jun 2012 13:39 UTC
scarr
Member since:
2010-11-07

I read a lot of these 'reviews' as they showed up. They were all easily dismissed. I think readers are smarter than you think... we can tell when an article is lame and can easily see what the journalist really knows (in this case, no one knew anything).

When all the reviews talked about the... kick stand and... get this... keyboard (woot?, what is this, 1980?) it became obvious Microsoft wrote the [very lame] script.

Put another way... journalists can title things the way they want... it still doesn't hide crap articles. Gets the clicks, but burns their credibility bridge.

Reply Score: 1

Modern journalism is hands-off
by kwan_e on Mon 25th Jun 2012 15:35 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

Modern journalism is about repeating press releases and reporting on what spokesmen have to say.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Modern journalism is hands-off
by WorknMan on Mon 25th Jun 2012 18:00 UTC in reply to "Modern journalism is hands-off"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Modern journalism is about repeating press releases and reporting on what spokesmen have to say.


Yeah, and reporting on whatever the tech rumor of the day is, without actually doing a bit of work to confirm any of it. As a result, calling any of these people 'journalists' is an insult to real journalists everywhere. It's like calling anyone who installs a USB printer on their PC a techie ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Modern journalism is hands-off
by zima on Mon 2nd Jul 2012 23:59 UTC in reply to "Modern journalism is hands-off"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Modern journalism is about repeating press releases and reporting on what spokesmen have to say.

That's really nothing new.

Don't imply the old ways were necessarily better - easy to fall into outright "old times were better" myths that way. We have archives of old newspapers, they were often RIDICULOUS (seriously, do a daily habit of looking through some your regional respectable and/or widely circulated newspaper edition from exactly 100 years prior)

It was often worse, there was just not much comparison, not much access to independent media - of course it seemed reliable without much dissenting information or voices.

Edited 2012-07-03 00:06 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Mon 25th Jun 2012 18:05 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

Well, I was holding my laptop when I used it to read about Surface.
Stay tuned for my upcoming Hands-On Review.

Reply Score: 2

Review?
by owczi on Mon 25th Jun 2012 18:08 UTC
owczi
Member since:
2009-11-04

Not to mention the ever worsening abuse of the word "review". The page gets the clicks and impressions, that's it, but how people have the cheek to paste a marketing blurb and call it a review, is beyond me.

Reply Score: 2

Hands up!
by Nico57 on Mon 25th Jun 2012 18:39 UTC
Nico57
Member since:
2006-12-18

Surrender your brains!

Reply Score: 1

"diluting the term"
by l3v1 on Tue 26th Jun 2012 03:55 UTC
l3v1
Member since:
2005-07-06

After diluting the term 'review', we're now seeing a dilution of the term 'hands-on', all moves in a race for being the first with something. Competition between the large gadget sites has increased considerably, but it's sad to see that reputable sites like AnandTech and successful newcomers like The Verge have to resort to stretching the term 'hands-on' as much as they do in order to gain those precious hits.


I don't see anything special here. In fact, this has happened before, many times over. Just think of the 'dilution' of 'journalism' for example, oh my...

Reply Score: 2

Journalist ?
by Janvl on Wed 27th Jun 2012 10:45 UTC
Janvl
Member since:
2007-02-20

When I read a stetement like:

"if I could have only two of three tablets, I’d go iPad then Windows 8 and not Android, because Android’s not offering me anything I can’t already do on the iPad"

knowing flash and soon googlemaps will not work on an iPad, I guess he is biased.

As long as this windowstablet is not in the stores, hands-on will be a dream for these so called journalists.

Reply Score: 2

v 1
by Anonymous on Tue 3rd Jul 2012 01:50 UTC