Originally Posted by imagic
I guess it never occurred to me that folks are asking for money ahead of the show to produce and distribute marketing video, that's concurrent to "covering" the show with "unpaid" content.
As a professional photographer and videographer, it never even occurred to me to cross that line. But maybe there's no line to cross? I actually have no idea, in the end it's what the viewers think is credible that matters, whether it's sponsored "influencing" with full disclosure or fierce independents.
Be warned, this is kind of long. I just want to get it all out there so I don't spend too much more time. I'll say this here and hopefully, it will be the end. I'm tired of explaining this. This is kind of an open-letter addressed to Mark, but more for the general public to see.
Hey Mark, good seeing you at RMAF. Sorry, I didn't have time to say hi, but it looked like you were leaving. I think you were in the room as I was filming some b-roll for a video for one of the companies.
Do you think it's crossing the line to get paid to make product videos for these companies? I don't. Videography and reviews are totally different.
We know some of the same people. I have nothing to hide on my end. I'm as open as it gets, but it goes both ways. I'm open and honest as long as others are open and honest with me. So if this is supposed to be an open discussion, then it should be open.
I'll say it here for the world to see. I AM TOTALLY BIASED! But who isn't? My problem is when people trick themselves into thinking they aren't. I like certain brands. I like certain sound signatures. I like some people in this industry more than others. And guess what? I've never claimed to be unbiased. That's why I do measurements. All I can do is be forthcoming about my possible biases so people can calibrate themselves to me.
Side note: I don't know if you've experienced this, but I find that if I buy a product instead of getting a review unit, I am more likely to be willing to "hype it up." I'm always cautious if I get a review unit because I didn't pay for it, and I am MORE RESERVED about the positive aspects than I might be if I had bought it outright. So in a way, the company would benefit more if I buy the product rather than them give me a review unit.
I don't even like the term reviewer. I'm not a reviewer. I'm more of a maven. If I hate a product, I will not spend a ton of hours to make a video to bash it. I would rather not shine ANY light on it. Why should I? It hurts the company, it hurts my relationship with the company, and believe it or not, people who watch the review might still buy it. That's the worst part. I made a video about a product I don't like and someone buys it because of the video. It happens more than people might think. I have the data to prove it. But if there's a product that I think more people should know about, then I want people to know about it. That's it. If something truly sucks, I'll send it back. That just happened today. I got a product in for review, I hated it and told the company. They emailed a return label and now they want to send me a different product to review. It's not that hard. They appreciate honesty also. They probably know this product sucks that's why they didn't even push back. LOL.
So Mark, if I live stream as much of the show as possible and I post that for free on my channel, that's a service to those who couldn't be there and everyone's happy. No complaints. I think you did a live stream of the Polk room also. I think you went to their event a while back too if I'm not mistaken. I saw you in a video someone posted where they invited media to go to their offices to see the new Legend series. Ok, cool. No issue. I'm sure some people would twist that to make it seem like it is, but I don't think so.
Ok, here's the main question. What if a company wants me to lug around my cinema camera and 100lbs worth of gear, take it on the plane with me from CA to CO, and film something for them to use on for their marketing materials. I will spend many hours editing the videos I create. Should I get paid for that? Because I have a YouTube channel with 32k subscribers, should I NOT be able to offer videography services? I have expensive camera gear and lots of experience using it. It's a potential source of income for me. What are the potential issues? I just don't get it. Because I'm building a business relationship with that company and people might think that creates bias? It does! It totally does. Just the same way someone who is kind influences us. We all like to deal with people we like. BUT, if you have a good relationship with a company and the people within it, they should understand that it's a two-way street. They should also understand that we have a commitment to uphold the trust of our viewers. They should understand that an honest review is required for us to retain our audience. After all, with no audience, we are of no use to them with regards to influence. So videography services are for sale, but the audience's trust is not. It doesn't even make business sense to sell our audience's trust for a single business transaction or multiple transactions with one company. It makes more sense to grow the trust, grow our following and create more demand from MANY companies. In order for that to happen, we have to have to maintain integrity for the long run.
I caught up with someone at Polk at the airport on my way back from RMAF. We talked at the bar. I told him I've owned many Polk speakers and they were always too bright for my taste. I loved the L800's at RMAF though. I made a video for Polk during RMAF for their marketing materials. Does that change my previous opinion on the old Polk speakers I've had or my current opinion of the L800's? Nope. Was he thrilled that I didn't like the old Polk speaker line? Probably not. But it's the truth and he respected it.
I'll say this. I didn't start my channel to review hi-fi. I started to review things I have and things that interest me. It just so happened I've been into hi-fi for over 25 years and it seems this industry needs a bit of help attracting the younger generation. So I started making more audio videos and started getting emails from companies for me to review their products. My channel is called Joe N Tell, not Joe N Tell Audio. I don't need to only review audio gear. I'm here because I enjoy it. I'm sure a smartphone or camera review might get more views.
I plan on posting the videos I create for these companies on my channel with full disclosure that they were paid and contains product placement and is 100% an advertisement. The companies didn't ask for that. I want to because I am proud of the way the videos came out. That's it.
Sorry to talk your ear off, but I wanted to be clear and open. I want this industry to grow and I think we need to all lift each other up in order for that to happen. I see too many people trying to cut each other down in this industry. What's that all about? We should build each other up! I need to make a living too. I'm not working for free. I hope to see more hi-fi enthusiasts support this behavior. I like to see good companies succeed. I like it when great products get the fanfare they deserve. As far as I'm concerned, a big problem with this industry is the lack of growth, especially with the younger demographic. So basically, a marketing issue. That's topic for another discussion though.