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nVidia's Ethics Questioned 180

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the bullytactics-and-strongarms dept.
rawrats writes "Kyle at HardOCP has an editorial on the ethics of strongarming review sites." Its a wierd story and you'll have to read the links to get the full history, but essentailyl nVidia appears to be muscling sites out of posting reviews of competitors cards in exchange for demo cards. Its a bit odd and full of all sorts of he-said she-said so read it and sort it out for yourself. Similiar opinions can be read at Hypothermia, and Insane Hardware if you want a 2nd and 3rd opinion.
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nVidia's Ethics Questioned

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  • Sigh, i wish people would bother to read the whole article before posting nonsense. The issue isn't whether or not the sites get free cards, but whether or not a small site should have to bend towards a corporation's wishes when posting up a positive review of a competitor's product.
  • What a bunch of rat bastards. I am really impressed by how stupid the PR people in the graphics card industry have been acting this week. First ATI's stupidity- and yes, it is stupidity- haven't they dealt with Steve Jobs enough to know that if they break a product release announcement before The Man they're going to get bitchslapped?- and now word of nVidia's asshole behavior. Aren't there any smart people working in this sector? Oh wait- we're talking about PR people. I rest my case.
  • by dbarclay10 (70443) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:34AM (#917607)
    Let me a few things straight here, before I start. I am completely hardware-manufacturer agnostic. I don't care where my hardware comes from, so long as it works as advertised(of course, I don't count on it working as advertised - I've got to read through the PR stuff). In fact, I have a Diamon Viper V550 in my box right now(Yup, a TNT[original]). I'm very happy with it. I bought it the moment it was available. I'd read everything I could find on graphics accelerators, and I had decided the TNT was the best I could afford. And, I feel I was right.

    But, things have changed. Back then, nVidia was the new kid on the block, and they were very careful about how they went about things. They needed to be a success. I think the company has fundamentally changed, but I will not judge.

    If Mr. Bennett was indeed telling the truth about nVidia's words and actions, then I will make a decision. Everyone keep that in mind - he COULD be wrong. While nVidia doesn't really support Linux(bad drivers, trust me, I know from experience), they DO produce good hardware, and at reasonable prices.

    We should all hold back our judgement until we have more information.

    Dave

    That said, if it does turn out to be true, I'll be as pissed as anyone - it's just not right. I was planning on buying a Matrox card next(better Linux driver support), and I was going to wait a while, to see if nVidia opened their drivers. If they did, I would have bought a new nVidia card. Now, if what Kyle says is true, it doesn't matter what they do. I'm going somewhere else.
  • If you place full belief into the statistics shown on review sites, you're an idiot. Is there anyone policing these sites, ensuring that accurate fps's are shown and such? There could be some slight "editing of performace statistics." Who really knows what some of these reviewers are actually posting? The only way to really know is to go buy it. You could also compare the review sites' stats, but who the hell has the time for that?
  • You could also compare the review sites' stats, but who the hell has the time for that?

    I do.

    I fully believe the numbers posted by review sites. However, it's quite feasible that in order to skew results the way they want, they pick a different motherboard, different benchmarks, change memory timings, et cetera.

    For example: The nvidia card has to come out on top of a benchmark. It runs like crap in Turok (not that anyone cares about turok any more) but works beautifully with Shogo (See above) so they include the Shogo benchmark and ditch the one for Turok.

  • Everybody does it. At least they try. It is the other side that we expect to resist and maintain their integrity.
  • i didnt even know there was a faq. this site is way too complicated. but i guess it is my fault since it is the first thing on the menu bar.
  • Not necessarily, sometimes the owners do kidnap people and force them to work. You can believe it or not but it is documented.
  • But if they weren't STILL making a reasonable profit, they wouldn't be selling it there regardless.

    Guess what, the prices here in the US are high because of socialism. Medicare / Medicaid / Insurance are willing to pay the ridiculous prices, so that's what's charged. It prevents the free market from working, and screws Joe Blow without insurance that has to pay cash for 'em.

  • I'm seeing a disturbing trend in America lately, and that is the amount of ill will, rancor, and all-out hatred that is being directed at successful and profitable corporations. These corporations, which are directly responsible for the vibrant economy and standard of living we enjoy today, are continually finding themselves the targets of anti-business leftists.

    Gotta be careful, or the US will turn into Canada, and then I'll have no place to go to escape the help-the-poor-before-you-buy-a-Mercedes-and-enjoy- the-success-you've-worked-hard-for Canadian attitude, political system and tax structure.

    If nVidia uses strongarm tactics against reviewers, that's fine and dandy. Post on your website your story about nVidia, indicate that you won't review any of their products until their policies change, editorialize about how you feel nVidia may be feeling a little insecure in the face of [insert competitor's name here]'s product.

    Sit back and let capitalism work. nVidia's tactics will soon change.

    Above all, consult with your lawyer to see what you can and cannot say without incurring slander or libel suits.

  • I don't think so. If you're likening this to the Microsoft scenario (preventing installation of other browsers etc.) on Windows platforms, then you must remember that this was anticompetitive and illegal only because they were a monopoly. Exclusionary agreements are signed ALL THE TIME, and are perfectly within the bounds of the law (depending of course on what country you're in - but this is the case in US, and even more liberal in Canada, afaik).

    If, in your scenario, this were true, then Pepsi would have to prove that Coke is a monopoly (remember the first few months of the Microsoft fiasco which had DOJ trying to prove Windows is a monopoly, and Microsoft trying to refute it?)

    This is very similar to both of the mentioned scenarios, and also the scenario with the Internet censorware companies trying to block websites from saying something damaging about their product.

    All these issues are related. They all stem from large companies trying to strongarm smaller groups to control public perception.
  • by ErikTheRed (162431) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @11:19AM (#917616) Homepage
    Disclaimer - I have been using nVidia products since the Riva 128 (I'm currently using a GeForce 256 DDR). I think that they make great products and I even own some nVidia stock.

    I recall reading about this whole mess as it actually happened. Yes, the "open letter" that Kyle alludes to did actually exist, and it would not shock me in the least to learn that it's true.

    One issue I've not seen addressed is the question of how much support these hardware manufacturers actually provide. If they're just sending out evaluation units to the media (common practice in any industry), then they should expect fair reviews, but that's it. If they're buying advertising and / or making other monetary contributions to the web site, then the webmaster should feel comfortable being 0wn3d, because he/she is. I mean, anybody who reads a car magazine (or PC Magazine, for that matter), should more or less intuitively understand this.

    I'm also wondering how many review sites are actually necessary in the online community, and how many the hardware / software manufacturers should feel they have to provide with evaluation product. There are probably at least 50 out there right now, which is about 40-45 more than we, as a user community, need. I mean, how many GeForce 2 vs. Radion vs. Voodoo 5/6 numbers does anyone want to see before they get a headache?

    My bet would be that the mentality of some of the vendors out there has degenerated to "Well, as long as we're giving out 100 evaluation units to the online media (in addition to the stuff we give to friends, family, the managers and minions at CompUSA, Fry's, Electonics Botiuque, etc.) we expect some #$@! good reviews. I mean, we've given away so many free units, there are only 4 people left to actually sell them to." And let's face it - at least a few of those sites must exist for the sole purpose of getting the webmaster free stuff. If they don't get it, we get long open letter rants posted about how evil and unfair nVidia / 3Dfx / ATI / Intel / Microsoft / Electronic Arts / etc. is. No one should be shocked that things have degenerated to a quid-pro-quo arrangement. A shakeout of the online media is definitely needed.

    This being said, vendors do need to go back to expecting nothing more than a fair, honest, and factually-based review of their product in exchange for making evaluation copies available. If this has to go with the understanding that only the "major" sites will be getting the eval units for free, than so be it. A possibly workable compromise would be to let the smaller sites purchase eval units at cost (treatment currently given to the minions at most retail outlets)

    Just my $.02.

    -Erik The Red
  • >People are allowed one bathroom break in a 12 hour work week.
    That would be nice. I'm kinda getting sick of my 12 hour work days here in the liberated USA. I should move to the third world and start putting in 2.20 hour days in a sweatshop.
  • OK, several posters have pointed out that this might be illegal in some way.

    Is there a lawyer in the house? Say someone wanted to complain about this and make it stop, who would they write to? I mean instead of just bitching and hoping that nVidia PR will stop pulling this kind of stunt, how do we really do something about it? I don't trust the honour system to do the trick on this one.
  • Car and driver issues the smackdown regularly. While the score is usually above five (Shouldn't half the cars be below five point five? Whatever happened to the curve?) it's not always eight. When a car sucks, they let you know.

  • Sorry man most of the pharmaceutical companies are based in europe... Brittain to be exact. However i have seen at least three of the best hopes for Cancer coming out of Canada. One is a virus that specifically targets cancer cells. And that little rant about France was hillarious.
  • Tell reviewers not to benchmark the Operating System in slow machines/play down slow machine stats (because of Linux's strong numbers there), or not to test on 386s

    Show me a reviewer that tests on 386's, and I'll show you a person that's been out of a job since 1992.

  • Eh.. I was just giving you a bit of a hard time. Don't take it personal.
  • doh. 2.4, sorry.
    See my .sig? I wish I had...
  • Look at the second link: Hypothermia [gamershardware.com].

    There's your direct evidence blow by blow.

  • I just hope sharky, ars, and anandtech don't sell out.

    Sharky the Shill loves [sharkeyextreme.com] their free Intel(TM) products...

    The best part of the i820/RDRAM experience as relayed to us through the VC820 mainboard are the parts of the new architecture that you aren't able to realize consciously at all. We found that there's much less cursing and frustration voiced at our silent ATX cases when they were propelled by i820/RDRAM combos, which is because the platform is trying, and succeeding, in providing a better PC experience no matter what the current situation demands.


    blessings,

  • I'm not saying you can get 100% proof of which card is best by reading newsgroups. But you can get a pretty good idea. At least there, anyone can post, and there is less of this kind of influence from companies.

    On hardware websites, you're only reading what is spoon-fed to you, so take it with a grain of salt.

    SEAL
  • It's interesting how changing a few words (highlighted in bold below) we then have today's situation with Microsoft:

    Geez, people seem to think that they can expect any ethics when dealing with Microsoft. In the past Microsoft has been known to:

    • Bait and switch OEM's
    • Play favorites with PC manufacturers
    • Perform unfair comparisons (Windows beats Linux in (take your pick) because Linux doesn't do something... on slow CPUs the Linux OS would win)
    • Tell reviewers not to benchmark the Operating System in slow machines/play down slow machine stats (because of Linux's strong numbers there), or not to test on 386s
    • Provide tweaked drivers to reviewers to improve performance
    • Promise one OS price as their best to an OEM, and then turn around and give another a slightly-better-price on the OS

    And now we know they do something nasty with reviewers and other operating systems. Big suprise.

  • That may be true, however if they wanted to they would be well within their rights. If the site name or content involves use of trademarked materials then they can license that site to use them, or pursue them for infringement, at their discretion.
  • That's a good start, but you missed the proper analogy with the 3dfx comparison - it'd be like Microsoft comparing MS Office on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and claiming that Windows is the best - but neglecting the fact that Linux put in a 0 because there is no Office on Linux!
  • by John Jorsett (171560) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:37AM (#917630)
    The non-cyber world has had this sort of thing going on since forever. I personally have witnessed a television station threatened with advertising cancellation by Coca Cola over a story on how much sugar is in soft drinks like Coke. Most magazines and newspapers keep at least a partial eye on their editorial content for fear of offending an advertiser. While it's not pretty or the way I would structure the world if I were God, it's not surprising that a company would exercise whatever power it has to gain an advantage. The nice thing about the web is that now we have forums like SlashDot and others to call them on it. If they catch enough flack for heavyhanded tactics, we may see much less of this sort of thing in the future.
  • Yup, read the evidence. He signed an exclusive sponsorship deal with NVidia, and complained when they asked for that to be recognised. Want to be independent? Don't sign "promotional agreements" to get free hardware.
  • What ticks me off more than that is these sites that tend to have fair reviews, but every once in a while you get the "i analyzed seventeen different X's and chose to buy Y. Now that I got it in the mail, I'll tell you why it's so great." There's no quantitative analysis of it, just stuff you can read off the box. These reviewers that want to feel good about purchasing a CD-R made by Joe Schmoe or a monitor by PC-People and tell us how great it is, but don't put it side by side against anything else.

    (There was a review on FiringSquad about a CD-R or something a few months ago that was one of these -- and it was the last time I visited the site.)

    I miss the old Tom's HW. That had good comparisons with lots of info. The last great article they did was the second roundup of BX motherboards. Everything since has been advertising-supported *shit*.

    -Chris
  • by Steve Richards (211082) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:39AM (#917633)
    Sigh, i wish people would bother to read the whole article before posting nonsense.

    I wish people would think for a second before making comments like these.

    The issue isn't whether or not the sites get free cards

    That's certainly an issue.

    but whether or not a small site should have to bend towards a corporation's wishes when posting up a positive review of a competitor's product.

    You're having a really hard time grasping what I was saying, aren't you?

    If nVidia gives you free cards, good for you. If you do something they don't like, they can stop giving you free cards. They can do whatever they damn well please. If you don't care if you get the cards or not, you can tell nVidia to piss off. If you do care, you dance to their tune.

    And, if you need me to explicitly generalize this for you, both the small site and nVidia are perfectly free to do what they damn well please; they just need to keep the consequences in mind.

    Simple enough?
  • I work at CompUSA. Where's that free GeForceII that you promised me? The vendors give a lot of hardware to the minions...NOT!
  • Then you got review sites line http://www.rageunderground.com/ [rageunderground.com] that publicly bash the site they endorse and come up with conspiracy theories and then on the next article on the front page wondering why they haven't gotten a board to review. Kinda odd that a perpetual cycle of swooning to a card company then bashing them for being idiots.

    Is that journalistic integrity or just being stupid?

  • People have been saying that Tom is biased for a long time now, but I haven't seen any evidence.

    Nvidia cards have been getting the good reviews because nvidia cards have been the best. We'll see what happens in the future.

  • Murder and marketing...interesting analogy. I'll have to use this line of reasoning on our sales guy sometime.

    The thing about murder is, you know it happened. There is a person who was alive before and is now dead. There's not really any getting around the fact that a wrong was done.

    With coerced-marketing stuff like this, it's a lot harder to point a finger. Can we prove, 100% beyond a shadow of a doubt, that any particular reviewer was not influenced by any outside entities during the review of a particular product? If the company says, "we didn't do it", how are we to know? Maybe the reviewer just has an axe to grind and is spouting accusations at a convenient target.

  • So what you're saying here is that you would like to have the minimum number of sites available to do reviews.

    To put it another way, if you say that the 3dfx card is better than the nvidia card, it seems likely that nvidia will stop giving you cards to review, and if you don't happen to have much cash, that means you just lost the ability to do reviews. What good is that?

    The more reviews you have to choose from and interpret, the more useful data you can get.

  • You have been brainwashed by your goverment too. "Instead, they are relying on the United States for everything, as usual." You watch way too much american TV. "This is incompatible with common sense, morality, and Scripture." I get it now you're religious!
  • by Jay M (159679) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @11:23AM (#917640)
    Here's a copy of the open letter that was taken down from Riva3D...


    "An Open Letter to Our Readers

    This letter is written to address the issues surrounding the recent removal of the 3DFX Voodoo 5 review. I have gotten a great deal of email regarding this, and have also noted the discussion spreading around various other websites. I have very strong feelings in regard to this whole situation, and want to set the record straight regarding this issue and the whole idea of what an enthusiast website is and isn't (or rather what it should and shouldn't be). In addition, I hope this will give you a good deal of insight into the current state of affairs in the 3D industry in general.
    Let's start with a little bit of the history of RIVA 3D. I started the site shortly after the RIVA 128 came out, mainly on a whim, because I thought it would be fun to do. The site was called the RIVA 128 Homepage, and was stuffed into my 5 MB of personal web space on Prodigy. As time went on, and the popularity of NVIDIA products grew, I was invited to move the site to a server run by Harold Riley, Jr. Harold gave me the opportunity to expand the site with more web space, the freedom to run it as I saw fit, and never charged me a dime. In addition, after we came up with the RIVA 3D name, he registered the domain for me, and transferred it over to me without ever asking for a dime. I'll always be in his debt for giving me the opportunity.

    In other words, I've been with NVIDIA since the beginning. When the RIVA 128, ZX, and even the TNT were ridiculed on the major hardware sites, I was there fighting for the card, providing tech support, fixes, and in general, trying my best to help a product line and a company that I truly believed had tremendous potential to impact the 3D gaming world and give 3DFX a run for the money. At the same time, I made up my mind to be fair and honest in my reviews of products. I've always wanted RIVA 3D to be a website that people would see as being above reproach. Truth, honesty and integrity have been important to me both personally and professionally.

    One of the first companies to take RIVA 3D seriously in the beginning was STB. When no one else would send me their products, Brian Burke at STB sent me review products without hesitation. Brian and I have also been friends ever since. Brian came to know me and trust me to be honest, as have many other reps from other companies. I have been told many things in confidence that I could have used to bolster the website, but have never done so because I've always felt that the relationships we have in this life are more valuable than anything.

    Consequently, when STB was purchased by 3DFX, Brian and I have continued our friendship, and it was his trust in me that allowed RIVA 3D to be one of only 11 sites worldwide to preview the V3 line, despite the fact that RIVA 3D was undoubtedly an NVIDIA fansite. Brian knew that I would be fair and objective in my review, and I received a great deal of email commenting on the honesty of the review. Many said that it was refreshing to see a site give a good review to a competing product. I was very pleased with the response, because I want everyone to know that when they read a review or commentary here at RIVA 3D, they can trust what they read.

    No one at NVIDIA gave me any grief about that article, although they may have preferred that I'd rather not have done it.

    But everything changes, and as NVIDIA has grown, it seems as if they've been more than willing to flex their muscles when it comes to things they don't like. I never even considered that it would be a major deal for them when I did the V5 5500 review, but shortly after the article was posted, I received a conference call with two of the PR reps, and they made it very clear that they were not happy with an NVIDIA affiliated site doing a review of a competitor's product. There were no complaints about the accuracy or methodology used in the tests. There were no complaints about inaccuracies or with the content in general. There was never any spoken threat of them pulling support from RIVA 3D if I chose to leave the article up, but I think anybody in my position would sense what wasn't being said.

    Other things had changed as well, even before I posted the article. When the GeForce 2 was unveiled, we were all invited out to NVIDIA's HQ for a presentation. I was unable to go, but sent Ben Whitney instead with the stipulation that the preview board be shipped to me. Not that I lacked confidence in Ben, but because I had a wealth of experience and all the necessary hardware to do a proper review consistent with all the previous product reviews. Ben had no problem with this, and NVIDIA had no problem with this. Despite all this, the card was sent home with Ben, who badly wanted to prove himself by doing the review. It wasn't until the day of the NDA expiration that Ben realized exactly how demanding, difficult, and time-consuming a review can be. Consequently, we wound up missing the "golden window" that would ensure maximum coverage, and the review was out well after the debut date. But in the midst of all this, I was lied to by one of the PR people who promised me that I, too would receive a review board in order to make the GF2 release date. This person then denied having ever made any such promise, or even so much as implying anything of the sort, no doubt due to the fact that he was in the same room as his boss. What really set me off however was the fact that it took them THREE DAYS to finally admit that there was no way I was getting a board to review, and that they just plain screwed up by giving the board to Ben in the first place. Being strung along like that for three days takes a bit of a toll on you, especially when it ends with you finding out that there was never any intention of them correcting the situation.

    There's one other thing that's really bothered me in addition. The same major hardware sites that blew off the NVIDIA line previously now get the green light to post their reviews before the fan sites that have been there all along. Seeing Anandtech post a review of the MX (that covers virtually every aspect of the new chip, leaving no room for anything new for anybody else) before the time given to the dedicated fan sites tends to take the wind out of your sails. And this without even a heads up from NVIDIA. The same thing happened with the GeForce debut when Firing Squad and Sharkey Extreme were allowed to post before any of us were, again, without any sort of heads up until after the fact.

    How are sites like RIVA 3D supposed to grow when you're given no chance to be the first with breaking news? How do you think it feels when you've busted your ass for three + years, ALWAYS being there for the company, even when those major sites weren't, and then see those same sites get preferential treatment?

    And now to be made to feel like you have to bow to the potential threat of being cut off for posting a review which nobody disputes for its accuracy and integrity. Well, I think I've had enough, thank you. The V5 5500 review is back up, and it's STAYING UP. If NVIDIA punishes me for being honest about a competitor's product, then so be it. I would prefer that that not happen, but at a certain point you just have to go out on a limb for what you believe in.

    RIVA 3D will not die, however. I still plan on being a primarily NVIDIA enthusiast site because I've always believed in the company and the product. If I'm forced to change the content of the site, then so be it, but with the lack of support shown by NVIDIA over the last 6 months, maybe that's exactly what needs to happen in order for the site to grow and become better.

    Yours,

    Ross Voorhees - Webmaster/Founder - RIVA3D.com"

  • lol true... but what they arent exactly killing anyone.

    yes, it should be brought to the consumer's attention, but we shouldnt go nuts over it. Almost every successful company out there does something similar... they just dont get caught right away.

    maybe slightly offtopic, but there was an article recently (or something), which said the purpose of a board of directors is to come as close as possible to breaking the law as they can.

    the goal of business is to maximize profits while minimizing expenses. for a company to make maximum profits, it may have to cheat a little. the trick is to come as close to that line as possible, without doing something blatently illegal or unethical. if they dont, they arent maximizing resourses, if they go too far, they cross that invisible line, and when they get caught we see it. or something like that. :)

    .sigs are dumb!

  • Actually, I'm a developer for one of the 'big boys'. I left my previous employer, also one of your big boys, because they deliberately ignored a major security hole in the name of marketing deadlines.

  • by Fervent (178271) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @01:04PM (#917643)
    I remember when I used to review games for Gamespot. I reviewed some crappy full-motion game called "Samurai Gods" or something (I can't remember the title). Anyway, I bashed them in the review, and the editors put it up no problem.

    A week later my editors get a call from the game company saying unless the review is redone in a more favorable format:
    a.) They will stop advertising on the site
    b.) They will stop sending product samples (like full-version games) and
    c.) They will begin to advertise on other, competitor sites

    Needless to say my editors (and the executive editors) said "we're not going to take this bullshit" and told the company in no uncertain terms not to threaten us.

    But this was my first real-live experience with politics in reviewing and the gaming industry (I was only 17 at the time). (I also heard that EGM once had advertising from Capcom pulled out from under them by giving Super Street Fighter Ex 2 Turbo etc. a bad review. Imagine that?)

  • ahahaahahahaha oh well you got the point didn't you. Even if you don't agree with it
  • I have seen fsaa. And if it didn't take my fps from 100 down to 40 i would use it. If it does this to current games immagine how it would work in future games. By this christmas you will have to play games at 500x300 just to even be able to use it. I have seen the difference, it's hardly niticeable and if you put a geforce 2 and a v5500 you wouldnt be able to tell the difference. Oh and i don't know where you are getting all the diablo 2 nonsense the only time fsaa, or even direct 3d for than matter, helps is during the cutscenses. Mybe you should go and take a good hard look yourself instead of relying on all those review sites.

    You may have seen FSAA, but have you seen 3dfx's FSAA? It use an entirely different algorithm from Nvidia's, and also functions in all 3D-accelerated games automatically, be they Direct 3D, Glide, or OpenGL.

    I beg your pardon? You don't know where I'm getting the Diablo II nonsense? The cutscenes are full-motion video, not 3D accelerated; the game itself is 3D accelerated (if you turn that feature on).

    You have been poorly informed. These facts are true.

  • I knew it anyone remember the fiasco Sharkeys went through a while ago?
  • Well put, most people probably won't get what you said, and they'll probably try to take offense. but for what it's worth, I agree.
  • I don't even believe everything I read. Taking implied meanings for granted is really asking for trouble

    However, by providing reviews that supposedly will tell you whether a product is worthwhile or crap, they are implying that their review is based on the merits of the product, not on any outside influence. Yes, any idiot would take a review with a grain of salt. But the fact that they are providing these reviews implies that the reviewer was not influenced in anyway, other than the quality of the product.

    Only if they explicitly say that they were under no influence from nVidia.

    Should they even have to explicitly state this? It should be a given. They should explicitely state that they were given free stuff, so they won't tell you about the bad aspects of a product. I know, it's a little naive. But just because it's assumed that these reviews aren't unbiased doesn't remove the responsibility to be unbiased and correct.

    Everybody's out to make money in this world, and trusting people too much is your own mistake. Don't blame people for trying to make a living.

    I don't blame them for making a living. All advertisers lie about their product. I just want these "review" sites to be held to a higher standard.

  • Even if I checked the "No Score +1 Bonus" I still would have lost karma since TWO moderators decided to blast my post down to ZERO.

    Odd thing is, I've seen similar posts moderated up to 4 or higher as "Funny".

    So now that this one is +1 (I checked the box) I'll still probably lose another karma point for even replying ... yeah, that makes sense.

    I still don't know what that freaking word is.
  • This really isn't an ethical dilemma for nVidia. Come to think of it, it's their JOB to ensure a favorable press image. They have a duty to their shareholders.

    The ethical dilemma comes in for the reviewers and trade press. If a reviewee refuses to support the reviewer, then the reviewer should make a mention of that in the review: "Well, here's a review, a shootout between the ATI Radeon, and Voodoo 5, but unfortunately, ATI didn't supply us with product, so I guess they're going to lose. Too bad ATI doesn't understand the concept of Time To Market."
    If the trade rag wants a scoop, and is willing to kiss-up to the vendor for said scoop, or advertising revenue for that matter, then they have to confront a little thing that seems to no longer exist: Journalistic Integrity.

    if it ain't broke, then fix it 'till it is!
  • What you don't realize is what Nike and companies like Nike do in those sweat shops.

    What you don't realize is the different value system and civil rights afforded in different societies. Try travelling a little. Visit the middle east sometime. Go to China, take a look around. Kick around in India for a few weeks. The world is a little broader than you seem to understand.

    Bitch at the countries that allow this to occur, don't go after Nike - they're just making smart business decisions (ie. cheap labor).

    I don't think it's right, either. And I'm not especially interested in buying Nike sneakers, but not for this reason.

    Ask yourself this: why haven't the people of these countries fought off their governments and uprisen against the trampling of their civil rights? Is it my fault that they're not capable of doing this?

    Now, sit back, think about your American citizenship, everything your forefathers fought the Revolutionary War for, and be grateful that for you, this part of history happened over 200 years ago.

  • is that readers really *want* to hear good things about their community, rather than serious evaluations.

    Horsepucky. Nothing sours people on products / communities / whatever more quickly than stuff not operating as reviewed. If they want exaggerated claims they can read the box or the press release. Saplings grow into great oaks if and only if they are fit. Encouraging bad saplings with a pretense of objectivity just lets bad genes into the pool. Honest reviews will encourage natural selection.

    My opinion? The small websites that don't have the budget to buy their own products should not do reviews. Or they should cheerfully admit they are becoming small tools of the manufacturers, allowing readers to weight the results accordingly. Thanks for asking.

    WWJD -- What Would Jimi Do?

  • by 11223 (201561) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:15AM (#917653)
    Geez, people seem to think that they can expect any ethics when dealing with nVidia. In the past nVidia has been known to:
    • Bait and switch OEM's
    • Play favorites with card manufacturers
    • Perform unfair comparisons (Vanta beats Voodoo3 in Quake3 because Voodoo3 doesn't do 32-bit ... in 16-bit the Voodoo would win)
    • Tell reviewers not to benchmark the cards in 16-bit/play down 16-bit numbers (because of the Voodoo's strong numbers there), or not to test on Glide-enabled games
    • Provide tweaked drivers to reviewers to improve performance
    • Promise one card as their best to an OEM, and then turn around and give another a slightly-better-clocked card

    And now we know they do something nasty with reviewers and other cards. Big suprise.

  • by TheTomcat (53158) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:17AM (#917654) Homepage
    Sounds a bit like payola [everything2.com] to me.

    Didn't we decide that that was illegal for record companies. Shouldn't those laws carry over?
  • Slashdot, like the National Enquirer, doesn't exactly do extensive checking-up on its sources.
    IMHO - That seems to be an unfair comparison. Slashdot only links us to third party articles (for the most part) where the National Enquirer is an agency for creating news articles. Slashdot only serves the purpose of collecting articles, skimming them, and then displaying links to the articles they feel are interesting. It is my understanding that Slashdot never vouched for the third party news honesty. Slashdot is not responisble for the honesty of the news services. The person writing the article is the one that should be compared to National Enquirer.
  • O.K., so there's a little out-and-out fixing. However, reviews often skim over negative points. Again, there are two common justifications. The first reason -- and one that affects "community" publications, such as those in the Mac and Linux worlds -- is that readers really *want* to hear good things about their community, rather than serious evaluations. That's understandable, but not (IMHO) good: Saplings may need protection, but they also need a chance to grow into storm-weathered oaks.

  • by TheTomcat (53158) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:40AM (#917657) Homepage
    Remember the "lies, damn lies, and statistics" quote?

    No, but I looked it up (sorry, if this is common knowledge, I had never heard the quote:
    "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics."

    -Benjamin Disraeli

    He was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1874-1880.

    I like it. (-:
  • The fact is that every review site gets their boards for free, so everyone tends to be biased to the product they are reviewing at the time.
  • Ok how the hell did this get a moderation of +2?
  • sites dont buy the cards because the companies are happy to send their hardware to the sites to review, the more exposure the better for the card manufacturer , especially when their hardware is tops in the field (nvidia)
  • I went ahead and read the message board there [riva3d.com]. None of the posters actually had any information about Nvidia's hijinx - they were just reacting to an ideology they found distasteful. People like to react - hence, the popularity of trolls.

    I sometimes wonder if I could get Slashdotted by putting up a web page about how Microsoft sued me for claiming that all MCSEs were weenies. I don't think it would be unlikely. Slashdot, like the National Enquirer, doesn't exactly do extensive checking-up on its sources.
  • They Lie.
    They dont reply to my email.
    The hardware specs are NOT open.
    And these latest tactics are ridiculous!.
    Someone at nVidia has gone to Bill's School of Business.

    Chris Williams

    • nVidia produce popular video cards but no open drivers
    • VA produce systems and want people to buy hardware
    • People want to buy nVidia cards because they are perceived as the best
    • Two stories appear on /. negative to nVidia - one of which is wrongly attributed

    .oO0Oo.
  • This guy's phone number is not even valid. I just called to flame him/them/whoever like an animal. I don't know if in the USA the number is valid, but here in Canada is does not work... Maybe it's a good thing after all, I might have gotten into trouble with the things I felt like saying ;-)


  • The fraggin' government does enough of that already! Sheesh :)
    ========================
    63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
    ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,
  • Oh, I would definitely go after Nike on this. There are two parts of the equation. One is what <pick your favorite dictatorship> allow companies to do to their workers. The other is what a company (or its contractor) does to their workers.

    We speak with every dollar we spend. If we buy Shell Gasoline in spite of their killing peaceful protestors [mosopcanada.org] then the next time they have to make the decision, they may go "It didn't hurt us last time, let's try it again".

    If, on the other hand, we disuade our school from accepting money to put a Nike logo on the basketball court because of what they're doing to their workers, Nike may actually look at making sure that workers are treated fairly.

    Part of the cost of living in a Capital driven society is that we have the opportunity to be responsible for how our money speaks.

    The helplesness theorum is an invitation to let companies ride roughshod over us. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy. If we don't act until it's too late to help, that's one definition of helpless. Apathy on the part of the population is what the greedy and evil hope for.

    If you don't think that the little guy's money and actions can shape a society, then take a look at the history of open source. It's all about speaking with your keyboard and your wallet

  • Thats the point, Bill's school of business doesnt work. If it dosent work for the consumer, it dosent work. And what does a private citizens back account have to do with anything? You should have asked me "Why dont you open any code that you've written or anything that you have made?" I gladly will, I wouldn't dream of making something and not sharing it with the rest of the world for free. As for my email, It was about asking for more technical info on the card. Info that would have helped me make an informed decision. Oh, but wait, nVnidia dosent want an informed consumer, they want mindless drones, such as yourself. I'm sorry, but using greed as an excuse for rude business tactics is not acceptable. I suggest that you go find instructions that tell you how to properly remove your head from your ass.
  • While nVidia doesn't really support Linux(bad drivers, trust me, I know from experience), they DO produce good hardware, and at reasonable prices.

    And your experience with NVidia drivers is with which version...? Xfree86 3.3.6? Xfree86 4.0.1? Everything I've seen and read from people who have installed Xfree86 4.0.1 and the NVidia drivers has been pretty positive, with slight demerits on SMP and a few more exotic configs. Enough to get me to the point where if all goes well, I'll have a working Xfree86 4.0.1 installation going tonight with the drivers. At that point, I'll finally be in a position to work out whether these reports of near-or-better-than-Windows performance is true, and I may be an awful lot closer to punting Win98 off my machine. Win98 is only used for games on my system and decet 3D performance is 90% of the battle to go MS-free.

    Anyway - if you are going to spout this sort of comment, give us some juicy details.

    Cheers,

    Toby Haynes

  • Speaking from experience, I do, in fact, know that not all problems are caused on a whole by the company. A lot of times it is simply a classic case of an overzealous marketing/PR team. I know at my peticular place of business I have been subjected to numerous tongue lashings from customers due to something a certain moron might have mentioned in marketing. While I do think nVidia is way out of it's depth on this issue, maybe we should not be so quick to slam the entire company.

  • That's exactly where kyle's stuff comes from these days. Anyway, on to the subject matter. Who the hell really CARES what nVidia does as long as they make great video cards. It's their business to do what they see fit. I understand Riva3d's plight as he is a fan site but he apparantly knows the reprecussions of posting a review of a competitor's product knowing fully well where he gets his vid cards from. He publicly started whining because he might not get any more cool cards to play with. Why bite the hands that feed you?

    Quote from peanut gallery:
    I totally understand that they want to support sites that support nVidia. That only makes sense.

    Well then, 90% of your 'editorial' is out the window. Let me ask you this, if someone in your forum posted info on a better maxipadz what would you do? Right.. here comes your strong arm tactics. More unheralded (and anticipated)professionalism from kyle. yay.

    Kyle puts up this controversial crap hoping he can make a big stink and be in the middle of it. He wonders why he didn't get a free Geforce2 MX card so he went out and bought one; now he is pissing and moaning about it. After your first editorial you should've just stopped, now you sound like a big fat baby.

    Go back to selling industrial strength hose.
  • Basically these hardware sites are bitching about having their free stuff cut off. If they want to appear impartial they should purchase gear retail, without even telling nVidia. This works for consumer reports and ensures editorial credibility.
  • Hey.. just a quick notice, but how do you report spelling errors in news posts to the appropriate people? Last I heard, "essentailyl" was only used in European butter.. :) Sorry, but I'm new here, don't know the in's and out's of reporting spelling issues to the admins..
  • by chromatic (9471) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @11:35AM (#917675) Homepage

    I've had a handful of dealings [wgz.org] with NVIDIA in the past. After a few people started reading my saga (including some folks at VA Linux -- which has a partnership with the company), a product manager contacted me.

    He offered to let me in on beta testing their new Linux drivers, and offered to send me a shiny new GeForce for testing. A couple of days later, the beta drivers went fairly public. There are still internal betas to which I, in theory, have access... but I haven't heard from the fellow since.

    I haven't seen the card, either, and it's been a few months.

    Was it a bribe for me to take down the pages on my site critical of NVIDIA? I don't know. It certainly wasn't specified in the e-mails -- the card was coming so I could "publish updated benchmarks".

    Don't get me wrong, giving the company the benefit of the doubt is kinda painful. Just remember that there are people working there who are tremendously helpful (Terrence Ripperda and the other official folks in #nvidia on irc.openprojects.net) and sympathetic to our concerns. Heck, they even got rid of the GPL violations in three days (instead of the weeks they said when the story originally broke).

    Still... I can't immediately dismiss these reports.

    --

  • by FreeUser (11483) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @11:35AM (#917676)
    Nothing new.

    Ok guys...time to stop freaking out over every last little thing like this.


    I am profoundly weary of what appears to have become a kneejerk response in some quarters to any article (on slashdot or elsewhere) which attempts to raise public consciousness about unethical behavior going on which affects all of us.

    That response generally goes something like this: "X is nothing new, don't get your panties all in a bunch over it" with the implication that the poster is therefor in some sense more worldly and less niave than those who are so "outraged."

    Bullshit.

    Murder is nothing new, it has been around since humanity came down from the trees, if not longer. Does this mean we should not be outraged when someone innocent is killed? Hell no it doesn't -- the fact that a crime or reprehensible act is "nothing new" is no reason whatsoever not be upset by it and respond accordingly.

    No, unethical behavior on the part of industry is nothing new, whether that industry is making software, manufacturing 3d video cards, or reviewing such cards.

    So what? If these people and their respective companies are behaving in an unethical manner we have a civic duty to ourselves and our communities (however you wish to define the latter) to express our outrage, both to the public and to the wrongdoers.

    If we scream foul when this kind of thing happens, regardless of how old, or new, the behavior may be, there is a decent chance the perpetrators will change their offensive behavior.

    On the other hand, if we are silent, or dismiss such behavior by succumbing to the kind of impotent cyicism some here seem to espouse, you can rest assured that not only will such behavior remain unchanged, it will probably grow in both frequency and magnitude.

  • Yes they make money reviewing cards.

    But not enough money to pay for every new card that comes down the pike, especially cards that might go for $200-400. Let's say that they have an advertising network that gives them $5 cpm (I'm being generous here). That means that after paying for site overhead, 40 to 80 THOUSAND page views have to happen before the card is paid for.

    And that's just for one card. Nobody will take them seriously unless they have several reviews. Let's say the average cost per card is $300, and they need 5 reviews to be considered a "worthwhile net destination". That means they need to come up with 300,000 page views.

    It's hard enough designing a site and coming up with content without having to deal with the ongoing hassle of Ebaying your old inventory.
  • As if any of us should be surprised?

    Has anyone bought a magazine that does hardware reviews lately? 3dfx always gets great reviews, or the highest reviews, but they don't always have the best picture quality.

    Its the same story with other major hardware companies. They pay big bucks as well as demos to get a complete waste of money a good review. Thus, leaving us with no idea about true performances (us here is used as the consumer in general, not individuals who know better).

    <RANT>
    Sidenote: I have nothing against 3dfx. I rather like them, and I like what they are doing for the linux community. nVidia, on the other hand, has a great product but has no clue of how to please the people who will make a difference (lets face it: more technology inclined people will be willing to buy hardware than the everyday 'I just check email and that's it' user).
    </RANT>

    MunITioN
  • Reviewers are dependent on getting new products in advance of their official release. Magazine leadtime is around 2-3 months, and if they had to wait to buy the product, conduct their tests and review, and then finally publish, the manufacturer would be shipping the next version. Plus, if some other mag kisses up to the manufacturers and gets the products early while yours has to buy it, you will be consistently scooped. Pretty soon, your readers are going to realize that they can get more up-to-date info elsewhere and you lose them. I suspect the review sites are under the same pressures. Even though they don't have the same publishing leadtimes, if their competitors always have the reviews first, who's going to visit their site to get old news?
  • That's certainly a better system, but it's hard to implement because being first is so much more important in the computer hardware/games review business. These magazines and sites know that if they can publish a review before anyone else, they'll get a lot more readers and therefore, they have to acquire the merchandise from manufacturers before it hits the market.

    On a totally different track, anyone notice that CR tends to benchmark every automobile against the Honda Accord? When the most recent major change was made to the Corvette, I remember reading in CR that the car lost points because it could hardly hold two bags of groceries. Oh well.
  • by FreeUser (11483) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @02:45PM (#917688)
    which said the purpose of a board of directors is to come as close as possible to breaking the law as they can.

    There was a time when busines ethics were considered of some importance, even by many in top management/ceo positions. Not that there weren't plenty of abuses, but at one time such abuses were not considered acceptable business behavior.

    Obviously, given the tone of your post (and many others) this has changed, IMHO for the worse.

    Perhaps if, when boards of directors actually did step over the line, they did hard time in a real prison (and no, Club Fed doesn't count), their behavior might become a little more acceptable.

    Hell, if half the victims (read: the people) weren't constantly apologizing and playing down their despicable acts as "just business as usual" things might improve. As it is, they hardly need PR departments to do spin control -- we ourselves are spewing their platitudes before they even write their press releases.

    I find this trend absolutely despicable, and I think we need to wake up and reevaluate just what sort of behavior we are taking for granted in the business/corporate world.

    Furthermore, I think we should react to this sort of unethical behavior vehemently and loudly. It is unacceptable, and we should communicate that fact in no uncertain terms to businesses who engage in this behavior. Obviously, the law isn't a sufficient check on these entities anymore (not surprising when they can routinely purchase legislation wholesale from our congress), so it is incumbent on us as consumers to step up and be counted.
  • Yep I said this the other day but the post got drowned in the noise. No worries. Another thing CR is really good at is disclosing exactly what they do. This is not really a problem for computer hdwe review sites as the readership has demanded it for a while, but you see this disclosure go down rapidly as the readership increases until you get to the glossy magazine columnists who tell you nothing ... unless it's Pournelle.

    WWJD -- What Would Jimi Do?

  • by StevenMaurer (115071) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:51AM (#917698) Homepage

    If I were in nVidia's PR department, I'd have my resume out now before the axe falls. The absolute first thing you learn in PR school is don't piss off the press.

    A few years ago, Tom's Hardware [tomshardware.com] was nearly shutdown by Intel [intel.com] because he gave them a poor review on a single product. Intel got such enormous bad press, they had to stop.

    Nowadays, Tom Pabst still gives them good reviews when their products warrant it, but never gives them the benifit of the doubt (which is, IMHO, is prefectly understandable).

    The CEO of nVidia will sooner or later figure out how crappy his PR department is and fire them. If these strong arm tactics get the attention they deserve, I'd guess sooner.

  • No, we *should* be getting freaked - pissed actually - about every last little thing like this. If we do, maybe there is some hope that we could stop this type of nonsense. I am truly disappointed that anyone on this forum would suggest, as you have, that companies in this (and any industry) will do bad things to the consumers, so we should just expect, and accept it. And if all this is true, nVidia *has* been harming consumers by manipulating (and even attempting to manipulate) the sites that consumers go to for *independent* reviews.

    This type of stuff should be reported ... needs to be reported, as, quite frankly these sites are the only way to judge the hardware/software before we by it.

    You suggest we that we review these things ourselves? HOW?! After we have purchased them and run them with applications under out own control? "Boy this TNT2's frame rate is kind of low compared to the Voodoo3's, which I bought last week. Guess I'm out $150 bucks. Sucks to be me!"

    Folks, it *is* time to get pissed about this stuff. If a business is unethical *tell the world*. Embarrass them. Keep them honest.
  • by be-fan (61476) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @03:52PM (#917711)
    Actually that is VERY false. The reason Tom seems biased is because NVIDIA kicks ass. If you read MaximumPC (maybe it was back around the boot issues though) Somebody responded saying that the nVIDIA approved logo was NOT that NVIDIA agreed with the reviews, but was program started by Tom to try to show readers that his testing methods were approved by major hardware companies. He was trying to show that this wasn't just some kid's website, but a real site with corporate approval. He tried to get "seals of approval" for his testing methods from companies like Matrox, ATI, NVIDIA, S3, etc, but NVIDIA was the one who did it first. Unfortuneatly the situation backfired because aften NVIDIA put their seal, ATI and the other refused to give their seals because of politics.
  • I like the CR approach, but I don't think that the situation is quite as grim as you suggest. You can have journalistic independence without purchasing product, but it's not easy. And it takes a strong position in the marketplace.

    A couple of years ago, I worked in a very big IT publication's review department. At the time, we had enough clout that we had no concern whatsoever for what vendors thought. We could write whatever we thought, and vendors really had no pull with us because if they *didn't* give us product, it looked really bad. "We compared products W,X, and Y. Vendor Z declined to participate in the comparison" is pretty damning.

    I never had a major vendor refuse to participate. I did have one pull their ads (a $1 million/year account) after I wrote negative things, but that created no pressure whatsoever, even from the salesperson who lost a big commission check.

    My point is that, if you let yourself become beholden to a vendor (or vendors in general), what can you expect? The vendor's people would be remiss if they didn't try to use every bit of leverage they can. It's their *job* to promote their company, just like it's a journalists' job to get the straight facts out.

    If you build your whole business on complete integrity (and if you've got clout in the marketplace [which I believe complete integrity will produce]), you've got nothing to fear. In Kyle's case, it may cost him some early review boards. No sweat. Just buy the boards when they appear, and be sure to mention "Due to previous unfavorable converage, nVidia declined to provide early product..." I, for one, will take those reviews with fewer salt grains than those from nVidia-approved publications.

  • Yeah, they can. And when allocating newsprint to newspapers, the government can do whatever they want, too.

    It's still a censorship issue.

    As merger-mania continues and the clout of companies sometimes exceeds that of small governments, their ability to 'do what they want' becomes more ominous. I have seen the the coverage of majour issues strongly warped in the dominant newspaper [vancouversun.com] in the area by pressure from large businesses affected by the {,would be} news.

    At some point people really do need to stand up and say something about such pressure. This is what hardocp did. They did it a lot sooner than many other people. I have to applaud them for that. I also applaud him for giving the background to his anger. It allows us to make a reasonable judgement on why he's saying what he is.

    That's why I'll encourage people to read things like the Marxist-Lennist Journal. It's not that they are less biased than the Globe and Mail, but they don't pretend to be unbiased. They say "We're gonna give you the leftist spin on this", and then they do precisely that. Far easier to apply counter-spin that way.

    Smoke on the water, flames licked at the sky.
    No-one yelled fire; no-one wondered why
  • by HMV (44906) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:54AM (#917715)
    They don't even have to ask....I promise not to review any graphics cards at all on my site in exchange for a new GeForce board! :-)

  • Tom's Hardware was widely criticized for being influenced by nVidia. This was..in the past year or so. Anyway, what happened was, there was a symbol on Tom's page that said "official nvidia seal" signifying a "high quality site" As it turns out, all of Tom's reviews were pro-nvidia. I'm not saying he was getting in bed with nvidia, mind you...(general consensus is that 3Dfx dropped the ball) I swear...3Dfx could have been the MS of video cards...
  • yeah, it's true, actually.

    Read this [everything2.com] it talks about the loophole, and it's kinda what nVida is doing, except, the reviewers seem to be keeping the.. uh.. "merch."
  • If nVidia gives you free cards, good for you. If you do something they don't like, they can stop giving you free cards. They can do whatever they damn well please. If you don't care if you get the cards or not, you can tell nVidia to piss off. If you do care, you dance to their tune.

    The problem is that these sites are supposedly providing un-biased opinions. They may not expressly state it, but that's what they are implying. By nVidia providing free cards on the condition that they only get positive reviews, nVidia is acting unethically. Not quite illegally, but definitely unethically.

    And if the sites accept the free demo unit with the understanding that the cost is that they receive a positive review, then the sites are acting just as unethically as nVidia.

    Almost every computer manufacturer provided free demo units. It's a solid assumption to make that every hardware review site receives free demo units. And I'm willing to bet hard cash that a sizable portion of them sway the review to the favor of the provider of free equipment.

    It's pretty bad when you trust an independent review site as much as the company's press release.

  • by Steve Richards (211082) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @11:06AM (#917720)
    The problem is that these sites are supposedly providing un-biased opinions. They may not expressly state it, but that's what they are implying.

    I don't even believe everything I read. Taking implied meanings for granted is really asking for trouble.

    By nVidia providing free cards on the condition that they only get positive reviews, nVidia is acting unethically. Not quite illegally, but definitely unethically.

    How is this unethical? The site simply can't say "we do not give positive reviews in exchange for product" any more (if they do say that, then they are clearly in the wrong).

    Truly independent review sites should be proud of this and state is loudly and clearly.

    And if the sites accept the free demo unit with the understanding that the cost is that they receive a positive review, then the sites are acting just as unethically as nVidia.

    Only if they explicitly say that they were under no influence from nVidia.

    Almost every computer manufacturer provided free demo units. It's a solid assumption to make that every hardware review site receives free demo units. And I'm willing to bet hard cash that a sizable portion of them sway the review to the favor of the provider of free equipment.

    That's not a bet I'm willing to take. For me, it's quite simple: I trust any site that says, flat out, that they're independent. I don't trust any site that doesn't bring the issue up. And if a trusted site turns out to have been doing some shady deals, I'll try to make sure they get what's coming to them.

    Everybody's out to make money in this world, and trusting people too much is your own mistake. Don't blame people for trying to make a living.
  • And I don't mean screenshots. I mean, in a variety of games, compared with it vs. without it. Not only does it eliminate "jaggies," but the Rotated Grid Super-Sampling method that is unique to 3dfx's FSAA (among consumer-level boards, that is) also eliminates moire patterns and texture shimmering that is also very common. Ever seen the way the textures shimmer in Diablo II? It fixes that as well.

    I think you should go and actually look at FSAA in action yourself before you call it a "bullshit" feature.
  • by wishus (174405) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:19AM (#917727) Journal
    Should we not question the ethics of a site that accepts such an offer?

    I'm not saying nVidia is right either, or that they have an ethical past.. What I am saying is that it looks like nVidia is proposing partnerships with review sites. Now for a review site to accept that offer, and then claim to be impartial.. now that is not ethical.

    wish
    ---
  • I'd agree with Kyle that strongarming reviews is not a very ethical practice.

    However, while his site blasted Nvidia for doing just that, I didn't see any kind of proof, or even evidence, that it had been going on. All there were were links to what we were assured was formerly an open letter blasting Nvidia for the practice. When I visited those links, all I found was a new open letter essentially apologizing to Nvidia for making invalid claims.

    As it stands right now, I don't think it's improbable that Nvidia found a bad review, emailed their stance (i.e. "There are some misleading things with this article; our product is actually good") and that their letter was misinterpreted by some nervous web-journalist as a "cease and desist" letter.

    In conclusion, I'm going to have to see much more compelling proof to get angry.
  • by JatTDB (29747) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:24AM (#917738)
    Ok guys...time to stop freaking out over every last little thing like this. The computer industry is not immune from the same faults that have been there since the first product review was etched into a stone tablet long ago. People who make products will play nicey-nice with people who say their products are good. They will become mean and angry with people who say their products are bad. Remember the "lies, damn lies, and statistics" quote? It's quite correct to replace statistics with product reviews. It is something to be expected.

    There's only one review that you can possibly trust...the product in your setup running your applications under your direct control. Anything else should be held suspect.

  • by Emugamer (143719) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:58AM (#917745) Homepage Journal
    A good friend of mine known online as Realityman was one of the two original authors of UltraHLE (the first working N64 emulator) was flowered with gifts andcards from quitea few manufactures who wanted to share the glory of his next version...(coming out sometime soon). and guess what... NV pretty much asked the same things, complete with logo placed inside the "Help" menu and on startup.... lots of fun :)
  • by Tyrannosaurus (203173) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:59AM (#917747)
    The key issue here is not what nVidia does with their cards. The issue is that they are leveraging giving small sites free demo cards on the condition that they remove competitors' adds and reviews.

    According to payola law, in instances like these, the site publisher is required to inform the consumers that this exchange (free stuff for the reviewer) has taken place. nVidia, for obvious reasons, does not want their 'strong-arm' tactics publicised. And this is where the problem lies. The underlyng idea here is consumer protection.

  • Why is eveyone faulting Nvida for the problem? Yeah, i see that they are a problem..but what about the reviewers? They are the ones the people trust to give them the skinny on the hardware, and they are as much if not more to blame that the hardware vendor. Nvida would not be able to screw with benchmarks if the reviewers werent so prone to be bribed.....
  • by discojoe (210411) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:28AM (#917755)
    I get so fucking pissed off. Every fucking hardware review is biased to the product they are reviewing. I personnally have never seen a bad review for any card. Even when that ati maxx card was pulling only half of what the original geforce was getting people were still saying it was a viable alternative. And look at the voodoo 5 5500, what is relatively a mediocre card (at best) because of the appearant lack of balls by any reviewers, has once again turned into an excellent alternative. This fsaa business is such bullshit. "You might loose 20 frames but hey you will get one less jaggie over the geforce 2. So go out and buy a voodoo board". What they forgot to say is "Ok 3dfx i did my part now you give me another FREE board to review." I have lost all respect for every review site. It was the same with the radeon boards on monday. "And the Radeon is the absolute king of the 32 bit color absolutely crushing all competition by 2 frames." Fuck all of you. Get some balls and start telling it like it is, even if it means buying the card.
  • These are mainly SMALL sites that do not have any capital to spend on reviews and rely on corporate donations to survive.

    That's the problem, right there. You can't get your funding, or review models, or whatever, in that way. Independence and integrity go hand in hand.


    ---
  • by Performer Guy (69820) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @12:21PM (#917762)
    There are plenty of links on this, not just the Hard OCP article. There are at least five sites making the same kinds of claims, some of them have evidence and threaten to post even more. Also I don't see any denials from nVidia, it appears that they promised a policy statement on this kind of abuse and didn't deliver in the hopes that the story would grow cold. The apology Kyle linked to was not for making invalid claims but for getting folks at nVidia into trouble, it never said anything about those claims being false and infact Kyle is still obviously displeased with nVidia's subsequent actions. If you actually read the original contents of that link it's pretty damning.

    There's just too much evidence here indicating a pattern of abuse. I like nVidia's products but I want to see them win on merit, not through uncompetitive practices, there's already been too much of this in the computer industry. If they were more dominant this kind of thing would be illegal, infact it may be anyway. They are clearly asking that some sites remove advertising collateral (logos & reviews) from a competitor (3Dfx) in exchange for free review hardware. Is this legal?

    If you read some of the ham fisted crap that the nVidia PR group has pulled (in the more detailed online accounts) you end up questioning their sanity never mind their tactics. It's a litany of how to piss independent web masters off. Those are the very people who are going to be reviewing the product, that's not smart.

    Now it's really hitting the fan, and rightly so. PR are paid to prevent this kind of thing not CAUSE it. What a bunch of maroons.
  • To be honest, I can't blame NVIDIA on this particular problem. Riva IS an NVIDIA trademark, and they're basically letting riva3d use it. But riva3d putting up a review of their competitor's product equals to them advertising their competitor's product.

    If had a product review site 'voodoo3d' and posted a review of GeForce, voodoo would be unhappy as well.

    m
  • Gresham's law applies here: the bad drives out the good. A person might realize that the review 'coinage' is getting contaminated by bad reviews, but without the knowledge/skill to distinguish a bad one from a good one (and I'd have to say that applies to most of us, based on my own experience), the debased reviews ultimately take over for the reasons I earlier gave. The only people I'm reasonably sure of giving an honest review these days (I'm sure there are others, but I haven't run across them) is Maximum PC. They're the only magazine that in whose reviews I can recall the word 'awful' appearing.
  • by mikpos (2397) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @11:15AM (#917774) Homepage
    Thank God. For a second there, I thought Slashdot might go a whole seven minutes without off-topic Microsoft bashing.
  • by drivers (45076) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:34AM (#917782)
    This is a lot like the accusations related to the tucows/mandrake [non-]situtation, only in reverse. The only way to even have a chance of getting true journalistic independence is to do what Consumer Reports does with automobiles and other products. You buy the product off the shelf with your own money. Don't let the dealer know who you represent either, although this doesn't really apply as much to products that are not tied to store brands / licensed dealerships. This way you don't get a "pick of the litter" sample. Also, you review what people are actually buying, not some prototype or enhanced card. Finally you gain true independence from the whims of the manufacturers, and you don't have to be their buddies, which will affect your reviews whether or not you believe it.

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