Audioholics Article Marking Changes for Previews vs Reviews

gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
So after this bad experience I had with some members on Audiosciencereview.com in the thread about the Starke Sound AD4.320 amplifier, I decided to make some changes to our website markings of preview articles NOT to silence the vile critics on that thread, but to improve the user experience for everyone, especially newcomers to the website.

First let me start by defining the difference between each of these two article types:
  • Preview - is an overview article usually based on gathered data from manufacturers or other 3rd party sources. It's a teaser article to showcase a new product that we may or may NOT do a formal review of. These are usually one page and don't have a scorecard.
  • Review - this is a formal "on hands" editorial evaluation of the product in question. These are usually multi-page, can have measurements, listening tests, and a scorecard.
Note: Neither article types are ever sponsored or paid for by manufacturers. We have a separate article category for that called "Sponsored Articles" and those are ALWAYS clearly marked per FTC Article16 CFR Part 255.

Here is an example of a sponsored article and how we mark it top and bottom of the page: https://www.audioholics.com/editorials/b-w-car-speakers

Identifying Preview and Review Articles Going Forward
We have implemented tags on the homepage and sectional pages to identify reviews and previews as you can see in the screenshot below.

AH-tag.jpg


We also put a disclaimer as a footer at the end of any preview article to ensure readers know these are previews, NOT formal reviews as you can see below.

AH-footer.jpg


I tried to change the breadcrumb trail that has "review" in them but it would greatly impact SEO if we do that. So please recognize a preview article will be in the same folder as a review article and thus the breadcrumb trail will have "review" in both cases.

I also tried to have separate tabs for reviews/preview articles but Google didn't like that and people rarely toggled between the two and thus had a more difficult time finding content which increased our bounce rate as a result. Believe me when I tell you, we've been struggling with this issue for years and I'm at least happy to note none of our readers ever really complained about it.

The other thing we have in place is a two split-column layout on the sectional pages with previews on the right and reviews on the left. It's been this way for quite some time now but I just wanted to point it out as you can see below:

AH-split.jpg


I hope this makes content type more clear for everyone, especially newcomers and we always welcome constructive feedback to improve the site layout and structure. Thanks.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Glad you're doing this...had to go read the entire thread on the Starke amp review at ASR, as I'd just read the review there soon after posted, before the comments got going and never came back altho at the time I thought it could get interesting :). I didn't particularly notice the "preview" here but have never liked them, especially when labeled as reviews, as I've run into quite a few times when looking for what I consider an actual AH review....one with objective testing/measurement. Then again personally I have no use for prettied-up press releases or subjective only reviews; while I may be accustomed to such "previews" and how they're labeled here on AH, I don't think it's done you any favors either....breadcrumbs or not (whatever they are).
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Glad you're doing this...had to go read the entire thread on the Starke amp review at ASR, as I'd just read the review there soon after posted, before the comments got going and never came back altho at the time I thought it could get interesting :). I didn't particularly notice the "preview" here but have never liked them, especially when labeled as reviews, as I've run into quite a few times when looking for what I consider an actual AH review....one with objective testing/measurement. Then again personally I have no use for prettied-up press releases or subjective only reviews; while I may be accustomed to such "previews" and how they're labeled here on AH, I don't think it's done you any favors either....breadcrumbs or not (whatever they are).
Previews are a necessary content type for several reasons:
  • We don't have the resources to review every piece of gear on the market.
  • Supply Chain issues make product procurement more challenging these days.
  • Often manufacturers give us details you can't get in a press release as we are in contact with their engineering department. So these often go far beyond press release type content other sites publish.
  • It keeps regular content going on the site which helps with SEO. There's a reason why AH has remained one of the top ranked home theater review websites for two decades. We focus not only on quality content but SEO to make sure our stuff ranks and gets read by a large audience.
  • It's a good primer to gauge interest from our readership if we should request product samples to do a formal review.
I get that people want to see measurements but that takes time, effort and expertise that most reviewers don't have. Seeing how Audioholics, and a handful of other AV publications (which I could count on one hand and still have free fingers), is doing them these days, consider it a bonus when you find product evaluations with proper measurements.
 
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Replicant 7

Replicant 7

Audioholic General
Agree, (vile critics) seems to be on the up rise here on AH. Which I agree tends to silence or run off new AH members.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Previews are a necessary content type for several reasons:
  • We don't have the resources to review every piece of gear on the market.
  • Supply Chain issues make product procurement more challenging these days.
  • Often manufacturers give us details you can't get in a press release as we are in contact with their engineering department. So these often go far beyond press release type content other sites publish.
  • It keeps regular content going on the site which helps with SEO. There's a reason why AH has remained one of the top ranked home theater review websites for two decades. We focus not only on quality content but SEO to make sure our stuff ranks and gets read by a large audience.
  • It's a good primer to gauge interest from our readership if we should request product samples to do a formal review.
I get that people want to see measurements but that takes time, effort and expertise that most reviewers don't have. Seeing how Audioholics, and a handful of other AV publications (which I could count on one hand and still have free fingers), is doing them these days, consider it a bonus when you find product evaluations with proper measurements.
It is listing a preview as a review that I have issues with particularly, not that they exist, sometimes product releases are interesting to me, too. Took me a while to figure that out originally, its not something I had run into before in another publication.
 
G

Golfx

Audioholic
I like the previews. Where else are we going to get introduced to the features and listed specifications. I view Audioholics as a valuable and necessary “partner bridge” between the industry and hobbyist customer.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
I like the previews. Where else are we going to get introduced to the features and listed specifications. I view Audioholics as a valuable and necessary “partner bridge” between the industry and hobbyist customer.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Yep and tomorrow I will release info on new THX Dominus products you'd normally have to wait months for us to get a product to test and write up a review report.
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
It is listing a preview as a review that I have issues with particularly, not that they exist, sometimes product releases are interesting to me, too. Took me a while to figure that out originally, its not something I had run into before in another publication.
Other publications also do previews or press releases but may not show the breadcrumb trail as part of the navigation to those articles.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Other publications also do previews or press releases but may not show the breadcrumb trail as part of the navigation to those articles.
I still have no idea what the breadcrumb thing is....some sort of google marketing terminology I assume by context?

Still, calling a preview or regurgitated press release a review is something I'd have problems with with other publications, too.....like I said, it was a bit strange when I first encountered it here a long time ago. The previews weren't/aren't always clearly labeled (like the Starke thing as was pointed out via screenprints on ASR)....and that one still has review labeling and still appears in the review section.....and even when labeled preview you still have "review date" specified....even that should change IMO.

I'm not trying to give you a hard time, just my perspective on something that is not intuitive at all to someone visiting the site....
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
I still have no idea what the breadcrumb thing is....some sort of google marketing terminology I assume by context?

Still, calling a preview or regurgitated press release a review is something I'd have problems with with other publications, too.....like I said, it was a bit strange when I first encountered it here a long time ago. The previews weren't/aren't always clearly labeled (like the Starke thing as was pointed out via screenprints on ASR)....and that one still has review labeling and still appears in the review section.....and even when labeled preview you still have "review date" specified....even that should change IMO.

I'm not trying to give you a hard time, just my perspective on something that is not intuitive at all to someone visiting the site....
There is no word "review" in the actual page title. The breadcrumbs is part of schema.org and a requirement by Google if you want the best SEO. Any site not implementing is really missing out. There is a disclaimer at the beginning of the article and the footer about it being a preview. Honestly, at some point, the reader should be astute enough to read the content and realize its NOT a review. This is about as transparent as I could make it without doing a complete redesign of the folder structure of the site which would involve enormous time/effort and financial investment.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
There is no word "review" in the actual page title. The breadcrumbs is part of schema.org and a requirement by Google if you want the best SEO. Any site not implementing is really missing out. There is a disclaimer at the beginning of the article and the footer about it being a preview. Honestly, at some point, the reader should be astute enough to read the content and realize its NOT a review. This is about as transparent as I could make it without doing a complete redesign of the folder structure of the site which would involve enormous time/effort and financial investment.
Thanks, I understand some of that :) I am retired and didn't have the internet marketing/views/searches thing going on in our businesses at the time (it plays a bigger role in that industry now). I had no idea what SEO was without looking it up....I did look up breadcrumbs since my last post, tho so understand that a bit more now. I was astute enough I suppose to figure out the review vs preview thing after a bit, altho it took a coupla articles before it was clearer. Many won't care enough to figure it out, though, let alone care about your site issues or marketing efforts. I understand how expensive software/support can get in any case, we were fairly highly automated, just our own presence on the web wasn't important then, but operations were automated before the internet was much of a thing.

How about making previews have a "preview" date instead of "review" date? I wouldn't want to see the word "review" anywhere on a preview particularly, unless it simply mentions a future review may or may not happen....
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
@gene - It is great that you are making changes to the site based upon what others are saying, or just complaining about. It is one of those criticisms that can often come across harsh, sometimes very harsh because of the anonymity of the Internet, but it doesn't mean that the original point was completely wrong.

I have no issues with informal reviews without measurements. We all listen with our ears and watch with our eyes, so those types of subjective reviews are definitely a part of the industry that won't go away. They also are much easier to perform, but open to far more bias and personal option along the way, which can be troublesome to many. The Audioholics article reads very much like an informal review, rather than a preview of a product which has never been heard in actual listening by the author. That's VERY bad form IMO. It should lead off by stating it is a preview of an upcoming product which has not been listened to at the very least. Not a line at the end, but a line up front letting every reader know that you are basically getting a list of features and specifications, with no real listening, let alone testing.

There definitely needs to be some level of obvious distinction which helps those looking at writeups to understand if they are informal reviews, format reviews, or previews. All of which I would consider to be slightly different. But, formal reviews certainly help to draw a line in the sand on what specifics are there. I do think that a few people stepped up over at the linked website to say that they DID like their product and thought it sounded good.

I wouldn't engage in anything but a positive manner with those on other websites if I were you... I've done it before and it never works out. I can see how anyone calling Audioholics a 'shill' in any manner, direct or implied, is something to take offense to, but it was a bit heavy handed response. I would just thank them for their good feedback on how the site can be improved, and move on. It's not worth engaging as we all fall into the rabbit hole online at times.

Audioholics does a great job with their subjective and formal reviews as well as the previews of products and I appreciate the work everyone here has been putting in.
If they don't say that enough on some other forum, then it may not be worth commenting on at all. Or just apologize, let them know the site will be making changes, and thank them. As silly as that may be.

As an outsider reading the comments, I could feel how much the claims of AH being a shill for a manufacturer bugged you. I get it. I'm not sure others do. I've been in similar situations in my lifetime, and it always pisses me off when people make such claims. But, it is also worth taking that in and thinking about why they are saying such things. It is also worth reading what others are continuing to say... That is, if AH does a formal review of this amp, and the numbers don't measure up, then what? Don't post it? If it does measure up, what is the company doing about all the amps which do NOT measure up? It is a worthwhile discussion to have online, but also may be worth noting in any formal reviews made. New companies certainly do have a obligation to make things right with customers, and we all know how often a new company shows up for a few years, does a decent product, but then has major failures, and suddenly is gone without any service or support available. I'm far more trusting of Yamaha for support vs. some of the newer companies.
 
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gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
@gene - It is great that you are making changes to the site based upon what others are saying, or just complaining about. It is one of those criticisms that can often come across harsh, sometimes very harsh because of the anonymity of the Internet, but it doesn't mean that the original point was completely wrong.

I have no issues with informal reviews without measurements. We all listen with our ears and watch with our eyes, so those types of subjective reviews are definitely a part of the industry that won't go away. They also are much easier to perform, but open to far more bias and personal option along the way, which can be troublesome to many. The Audioholics article reads very much like an informal review, rather than a preview of a product which has never been heard in actual listening by the author. That's VERY bad form IMO. It should lead off by stating it is a preview of an upcoming product which has not been listened to at the very least. Not a line at the end, but a line up front letting every reader know that you are basically getting a list of features and specifications, with no real listening, let alone testing.

There definitely needs to be some level of obvious distinction which helps those looking at writeups to understand if they are informal reviews, format reviews, or previews. All of which I would consider to be slightly different. But, formal reviews certainly help to draw a line in the sand on what specifics are there. I do think that a few people stepped up over at the linked website to say that they DID like their product and thought it sounded good.

I wouldn't engage in anything but a positive manner with those on other websites if I were you... I've done it before and it never works out. I can see how anyone calling Audioholics a 'shill' in any manner, direct or implied, is something to take offense to, but it was a bit heavy handed response. I would just thank them for their good feedback on how the site can be improved, and move on. It's not worth engaging as we all fall into the rabbit hole online at times.

Audioholics does a great job with their subjective and formal reviews as well as the previews of products and I appreciate the work everyone here has been putting in.
If they don't say that enough on some other forum, then it may not be worth commenting on at all. Or just apologize, let them know the site will be making changes, and thank them. As silly as that may be.

As an outsider reading the comments, I could feel how much the claims of AH being a shill for a manufacturer bugged you. I get it. I'm not sure others do. I've been in similar situations in my lifetime, and it always pisses me off when people make such claims. But, it is also worth taking that in and thinking about why they are saying such things. It is also worth reading what others are continuing to say... That is, if AH does a formal review of this amp, and the numbers don't measure up, then what? Don't post it? If it does measure up, what is the company doing about all the amps which do NOT measure up? It is a worthwhile discussion to have online, but also may be worth noting in any formal reviews made. New companies certainly do have a obligation to make things right with customers, and we all know how often a new company shows up for a few years, does a decent product, but then has major failures, and suddenly is gone without any service or support available. I'm far more trusting of Yamaha for support vs. some of the newer companies.
Good points and agreed it was a mistake for me to defend and engage the haters on ASR. I sometimes take this stuff too personally especially when people are making false accusations against our business and especially our writers. Lesson learned. It will be interesting to see what Starke does next year. Either they will resolve the situation and get us good test units and support their existing customers, or they will fold. I see it really as a make or break it scenario for them in 2022 since they are a new company. Fingers crossed.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Previews are a necessary content type for several reasons:
  • We don't have the resources to review every piece of gear on the market.
  • Supply Chain issues make product procurement more challenging these days.
  • Often manufacturers give us details you can't get in a press release as we are in contact with their engineering department. So these often go far beyond press release type content other sites publish.
  • It keeps regular content going on the site which helps with SEO. There's a reason why AH has remained one of the top ranked home theater review websites for two decades. We focus not only on quality content but SEO to make sure our stuff ranks and gets read by a large audience.
  • It's a good primer to gauge interest from our readership if we should request product samples to do a formal review.
I get that people want to see measurements but that takes time, effort and expertise that most reviewers don't have. Seeing how Audioholics, and a handful of other AV publications (which I could count on one hand and still have free fingers), is doing them these days, consider it a bonus when you find product evaluations with proper measurements.
To me previews are good for someone who wants to see some detailed specs, price and the front/rear views, without drilling down the manufacturer websites. Some manufacturer websites are not well organized imo, in some cases they seem to make difficult on purpose, to force the readers to spend more time there.:D

Measurements take time for sure, but if you are not too far from GTA/Canada, now that I am sort of retired, I would love to do measurements for you but I don't have an AP and shipping costs may be too much for you.:p
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Warlord
This isn’t the first time Amir at ASR has dumped on a product, without any apparent effort at finding out what might be wrong. Are his methods the problem, or is it the product under review? Based on his reviews, rational conclusions are not easy.

I usually don’t read his reviews of electronic products. I’m not well enough versed in electronic measurement methods, and I find his reports are difficult to understand. His wording, always complex, is sometimes sloppy. Readers have to read and re-read what he says, just to understand it once. And his graphic presentations are, in my opinion, needlessly complex. Some forum members celebrate their complexity as advances in the state of the art of lab bench measurements. However, their novel presentation also make it difficult to directly compare them with measurements and reviews done by others. In the absence of this context, what useful conclusions can readers make?

I know loud speakers and their performance measurements better than audio electronics. Amir has also clearly committed the same excesses with speaker measurements. I'd much rather read reviews by @shadyJ. He takes pains to explain what his graphic presentations mean and why they're actually important to the audible performance of speakers he reviews. I find myself wondering if Amir wants his readers to be as dazzled by his nifty-looking graphics as he seems to be.

Amir certainly tolerates the excessive piling-on that follows his headless panther reviews. Does he enjoy their attention? Does he like posing as "the boy who said the Emperor wore no clothes"? All of this is enough to make me wonder if I can trust anything he says.

Some ASR comments that follow his reviews seem to be written by:
  • Industry insiders – some of them knowledgeable – others not so much
  • Industry insiders who clearly don’t proofread or edit their comments. One wonders what else they don’t know.
  • People posing as industry insiders
  • Non-native English speakers, who rely on translation software, but can reasonably edit their translated comments.
  • Non-native English speakers, who rely only on translation software, without editing the translation.
  • Native English speakers who don’t proofread or edit their comments – but should.
  • People who pose as skeptics, but really just like to pile on
In my opinion, they ruin ASR. Anything good that ASR may do is tainted by the comments of ASR’s hoard of loyal yes-men.

I may have had my differences with Gene over the years. But in this case, I'll defend him. I actually read some 10 pages of that ASR thread before quitting in disgust. It's not Gene who was the bully.
 
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ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Warlord
I’m not a big fan of ASR either. The straw that broke my back was Amir’s treatment of the HTP-1. The details are largely unimportant at this point, but his attitude and ego about how he decides to update reviews where mistakes were made are problematic at best.
That said, it seems that there is a crossover behavior in his forum and what I see and experience over at AVS. I agree that there is a segment of engineering ‘types’ (whether in the industry or not) who participate in a cliquish and browbeating manner.
If you can’t bewilder with proper verbiage and mathematics, you clearly don’t belong. For those that go in hopes of learning, even with humility, asking questions leads to next to nothing.

I’ve learned more here at AH than the other forums, combined!
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Warlord
If you can’t bewilder with proper verbiage and mathematics, you clearly don’t belong. For those that go in hopes of learning, even with humility, asking questions leads to next to nothing.
That's another way of saying "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullsh*t" ;).
 
Trell

Trell

Audioholic Samurai
This isn’t the first time Amir at ASR has dumped on a product, without any apparent effort at finding out what might be wrong. Are his methods the problem, or is it the product under review? Based on his reviews, rational conclusions are not easy.

I usually don’t read his reviews of electronic products. I’m not well enough versed in electronic measurement methods, and I find his reports are difficult to understand. His wording, always complex, is sometimes sloppy. Readers have to read and re-read what he says, just to understand it once. And his graphic presentations are, in my opinion, needlessly complex. Some forum members celebrate their complexity as advances in the state of the art of lab bench measurements. However, their novel presentation also prevent direct comparison with other measurements and reviews. In the absence of context, what useful conclusions can readers make?

I know loud speakers and their performance measurements better than audio electronics. Amir has clearly committed the same excesses before with speaker measurements. I'd much rather read reviews by @shadyJ. He takes pains to explain what his graphic presentations mean and why they're actually important to the audible performance of speakers he reviews. I find myself wondering if Amir wants his readers to be as dazzled by his nifty-looking graphics as he seems to be.

Amir certainly tolerates the excessive piling-on that follows his headless panther reviews. Does he enjoy their attention? Does he like posing as "the boy who said the Emperor wore no clothes"? All of this is enough to make me wonder if I can trust anything he says.

Some ASR comments that follow his reviews seem to be written by:
  • Industry insiders – some of them knowledgeable – others not so much
  • Industry insiders who clearly don’t proofread or edit their comments. One wonders what else they don’t know.
  • People posing as industry insiders
  • Non-native English speakers, who rely on translation software, but can reasonably edit their translated comments.
  • Non-native English speakers, who rely only on translation software, without editing the translation.
  • Native English speakers who don’t proofread or edit their comments – but should.
  • People who pose as skeptics, but really just like to pile on
In my opinion, they ruin ASR. Anything good that ASR may do is tainted by the comments of ASR’s hoard of loyal yes-men.

I may have had my differences with Gene over the years. But in this case, I'll defend him. I actually read some 10 pages of that ASR thread before quitting in disgust. It's not Gene who was the bully.
On ASR there are many reviews of devices with measurements otherwise unavailable or hard to find. The alternative is often buying blind with no way to compare performance of alternatives, or even know about them.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Warlord
… I agree that there is a segment of engineering ‘types’ (whether in the industry or not) who participate [at ASR] in a cliquish and browbeating manner.
I'm retired now, but had a 45-year career in biochemistry and cancer research. I've certainly run into that "cliquish and browbeating" behavior a time or two. It has been my experience that this kind of behavior almost always comes not from ignorance or inexperience, but from people who feel somehow disappointed by their own careers. They falsely believe that arrogance or bravado can compensate for that.

I can't claim to be highly successful or famous as a scientist, but I did learn very early in my career that it's important to "Be nice to everyone you meet on your way up. You never know who you run into on your way down."
 

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