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nVidia's Ethics Questioned

CmdrTaco posted more than 14 years ago | from the bullytactics-and-strongarms dept.

News 180

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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Re:Three points (1)

Phokus (192971) | more than 14 years ago | (#917605)

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.

man-0-man (1)

wugmump (6611) | more than 14 years ago | (#917606)

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.

This all depends. (3)

dbarclay10 (70443) | more than 14 years ago | (#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.

Re:Leftists and Anti-Corporate hatred (1)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 14 years ago | (#917614)

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.

nVidia Mess (4)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 14 years ago | (#917616)

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

(-1 Troll) (1)

Orgasmatron (8103) | more than 14 years ago | (#917617)

>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.

Re:nVidia? Ethics? (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 14 years ago | (#917621)

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.

Re:(-1 Troll) (1)

Orgasmatron (8103) | more than 14 years ago | (#917623)

doh. 2.4, sorry.
See my .sig? I wish I had...

Re:Kyle: High on ideology, low on content. (2)

StevenMaurer (115071) | more than 14 years ago | (#917624)

Look at the second link: Hypothermia [gamershardware.com] .

There's your direct evidence blow by blow.

Re:Come on... (1)

Master Bait (115103) | more than 14 years ago | (#917625)

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,

actually I like Usenet (2)

SEAL (88488) | more than 14 years ago | (#917626)

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

Re:nVidia? Ethics? (1)

beagle (99378) | more than 14 years ago | (#917627)

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.

Re:nVidia? Ethics? (1)

11223 (201561) | more than 14 years ago | (#917629)

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!

Not a new thing (5)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 14 years ago | (#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.

What? Explain. (3)

Steve Richards (211082) | more than 14 years ago | (#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?

Re:Kyle: High on ideology, low on content. (5)

Jay M (159679) | more than 14 years ago | (#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"

Re:(-1 Troll) (1)

discojoe (210411) | more than 14 years ago | (#917644)

ahahaahahahaha oh well you got the point didn't you. Even if you don't agree with it

those bastards! (1)

Atticka (175794) | more than 14 years ago | (#917646)

I knew it anyone remember the fiasco Sharkeys went through a while ago?

Re:What? Explain. (2)

Flounder (42112) | more than 14 years ago | (#917648)

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.

after thinking for a bit - (2)

jafac (1449) | more than 14 years ago | (#917650)

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!

Re:Leftists and Anti-Corporate hatred (2)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 14 years ago | (#917651)

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.

Re:Nothing new. (2)

zorgon (66258) | more than 14 years ago | (#917652)

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?

nVidia? Ethics? (3)

11223 (201561) | more than 14 years ago | (#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.

Payola (4)

TheTomcat (53158) | more than 14 years ago | (#917654)

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?

Re:Kyle: High on ideology, low on content. (2)

pcidevel (207951) | more than 14 years ago | (#917655)

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.

Re:Nothing new. (1)

Siqnal 11 (210012) | more than 14 years ago | (#917656)

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.

Re:Nothing new. (3)

TheTomcat (53158) | more than 14 years ago | (#917657)

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. (-:

Re:Corporate donations & reviews don't go together (1)

discojoe (210411) | more than 14 years ago | (#917658)

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.

Re:Sweet Fancy Moses, what is this word??? (1)

Phokus (192971) | more than 14 years ago | (#917659)

Ok how the hell did this get a moderation of +2?

Re:Why don't sites... (1)

drglen (209517) | more than 14 years ago | (#917660)

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)

Re:Kyle: High on ideology, low on content. (1)

Chiasmus_ (171285) | more than 14 years ago | (#917661)

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.

I've seen enough. (2)

cbwsdot (212913) | more than 14 years ago | (#917662)

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

My Paranoia (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 14 years ago | (#917663)

  • 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.

Re:Dude... (1)

cbwsdot (212913) | more than 14 years ago | (#917667)

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.

Re:This all depends. (2)

tjwhaynes (114792) | more than 14 years ago | (#917668)

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

let's not blame all of nVidia.... (1)

u4eahh (197361) | more than 14 years ago | (#917669)

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.

They should buy retail to avoid conf. of intrest (1)

vapor2000 (59123) | more than 14 years ago | (#917671)

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.

Re:Consumer Reports vs manufacturer lapdogs (1)

jafac (1449) | more than 14 years ago | (#917673)

That's right, like my post from yesterday said;
My company has a whole department of people whose job it is to "manage trade magazine relationships".

The thirst for a scoop drives the trade rags to contact the vendor for an early copy of a product, and the trade rag gets babysitting throughout the review process, that a normal user would not, and so does not encounter any bugs. How would a review look if the guy who reviewed (for example) Quicken and MS Money, went through all the features in detail of MS Money, but for the Quicken section just said - "I couldn't get it installed, because the installer kept crashing on me halfway through"? I'm sure Intuit wouldn't like that very much and would bitch.

If this was the standard by which magazine reviews were done, you'd see some very quick action on the part of the software companies to make DAMN sure their products worked for everyone out of the box with no special handholding.

Again, I blame the trade press. And by extension, Reagan's deregulation of the industry back in the 80's.

if it ain't broke, then fix it 'till it is!

I'm Not Entirely Surprised (4)

chromatic (9471) | more than 14 years ago | (#917675)


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.

--

Murder is nothing new so don't be outraged by it! (4)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 14 years ago | (#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.

Re:Have you actually SEEN FSAA in action? (1)

discojoe (210411) | more than 14 years ago | (#917677)

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

Re:Sweet Fancy Moses, what is this word??? (1)

discojoe (210411) | more than 14 years ago | (#917678)

Why the hell did you get 2 and my lovely indepth post get a score of one. HOW DOES THIS SCORING WORK???

Get some perspective (2)

tomblackwell (6196) | more than 14 years ago | (#917679)

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.

Wow, what a concept (2)

munition (212134) | more than 14 years ago | (#917680)

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

Re:Not a new thing (1)

discojoe (210411) | more than 14 years ago | (#917681)

Not to mention the automobile reviews!! have you ever seen a review for a car that was in the least bit critical? All the magazines get the cars for free, except for one that is, consumer reports.

Re:Payola (1)

fuckface (32611) | more than 14 years ago | (#917682)

Considering the drivel we're fed on the airwaves, it would appear that the record industry found a loophole in the payola laws long ago. Why would it be any different for nVidia?

Re:Why don't sites... (2)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 14 years ago | (#917683)

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?

Re:Consumer Reports vs manufacturer lapdogs (2)

Hollins (83264) | more than 14 years ago | (#917686)

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.

Re:(-1 Troll) (1)

Orgasmatron (8103) | more than 14 years ago | (#917687)

Yes, I got the point, and I don't agree with it.
I buy a new pair of shoes (same kind) every 10-16 months, they cost me $16-$20 each time (sometimes there is a sale). I don't know for sure that they come from a sweatshop, but either way, the last time I heard, the people who run such shops drew the line somewhat before kidnapping and slavery.
I would not presume to step on the real rights of either party there to enforce my particular view of how working conditions should be (sometimes called by the euphemism "civil rights").

Thats The Way It Is... (1)

mmThe1 (213136) | more than 14 years ago | (#917689)

Can we stop this?
I better say NO if talk of the present.

Because thats the way most businesses are run in the world.
Thats the way many television programs are sponsered.
Thats the way your retail shopkeeper tells you "Buy this product Sir. This one is better." when all he really wants to say "Mister. This company pays me to display their advertisements on my boards. And I'll make sure you earn me repute with them."

Recognised the familiar examples? Reminded of some other in your vicinity?

Will making fuss about a Video Card company's ethics do? Perhaps it will.
But who will see if your favourite Sound Card company is doing the same?
Maybe your buying decision of a new Motherboard was influenced by such reviews?
Maybe your dealer misguided you into buying an inferior gadget that he gets more commission for?

Most of the people who appreciate and drop a few words about the accountability of the author of editorial or the company, will soon forget the fierceness of the issue and will find no harm in buying a product that will again most probably be influenced by such reviews. period.

Because perhaps there is no other way the small(??) review sites can be run.
No site posts Open Letters thanking for the unbiased nature of a Company in giving out free products for reviews. Because then it doesn't pain them.

I don't know. It may be the case that a competitor paid this guy (??) for writing this editorial. You can never say what.
I agree we need more solid proof for making a decision about the fate of this Company in our future buying needs. But who will care for all other companies that are doing it right under your nose while you are just aiming at a single Video Card making company?

Its true that if "One site can be influenced by them, then there must be others too", and it is also true that "If one company is trying to influence them, then there must be others too".

"And Thats The Way It Is" - Celine Dion, Titanic.

Re:Please help me (1)

discojoe (210411) | more than 14 years ago | (#917690)

Please for the love of god explain this to me. Oh ya and i dont get this karma business as well. Could someone, anyone, shed just a little light on all this for me? PLEASE

Re:Consumer Reports vs manufacturer lapdogs (2)

zorgon (66258) | more than 14 years ago | (#917696)

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?

Re:What? Explain. (1)

Phokus (192971) | more than 14 years ago | (#917697)

"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." No shit dude, the article even STATES that nvidia is WITHIN THEIR RIGHTS to not give a card to a site. The ISSUE is whether or not a small site should post a favorable review based on a corporation's strong arming tactics. I guess it's not a question of whether or not you read the article, it's really a question of whether or not you used any braincells to think before you post.

Amazingly stupid of nVidia... (3)

StevenMaurer (115071) | more than 14 years ago | (#917698)

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.

isn't this like intel's actions (1)

zxcvbs (212998) | more than 14 years ago | (#917699)

this is sort of like intel suing random companies because they pose a threat to their stronghold (amd, VIA, etc.) intel never wins, and if they did, they'd lose in that it'll just get more people to switch over to amd. if nvidia was confident in their products, which happen to be among the top video cards out today, they should have no problems having voodo5's reviewed alongside. in fact, they should want it, geforce's have been getting better reviews...

Re:Kyle: High on ideology, low on content. (1)

BoLean (41374) | more than 14 years ago | (#917700)

The Open Letter, since taken down, dealt with nVidia threatening to pull the website's use of the nVidia brand name and stop sending samples for review. Why? BECAUSE THEY DARED REVIEW A 3DFX CARD FAVORABLY!!!

What to do about it (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 14 years ago | (#917701)

While it is perhaps not the best journalism practice to accept donations from th manufacturers, it can be the only way to cover expenses and/or the only way to get the card early. So, sites of all sizes do this, from Tom's Hardware to much smaller sites. The result is that nVidia can use these tactics to manipulate sites. It seems to me that the answer is for us, as concerned consumers, to write to nvidia and tell them we don't like their tactics. Even if you think these tactics are inevitable, I don't think anyone would say they are good. So, write to them here [mailto] to tell them exactly what you think. My letter will go something like: As a technically savvy consumer who reads web sites for reviews of products, I am deeply disappointed with your tactics in dealing with these sites [yadda yadda talk about specifics some]. As a result, my next graphics card purchase will be heavily influenced [yadda yadda]. Not only will my purchase be affected, but, because of the fact that I pay attention to these things and reccomend hardware to friends, theirs will be too. I hope that you decide to change your PR tactics so as to promote good, sound journalism where your cards can shine solely on their merits and not on paid reviews. I know you are capable of producing great cards, lets see your ethics meet the same standards. [signature, etc].

Re:Why don't sites... (1)

jafac (1449) | more than 14 years ago | (#917702)

DAMN you're good, grasshopper!

if it ain't broke, then fix it 'till it is!

HeHe..Free cards up for grab... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#917703)

Sounds great! Just post a good review of a competitor's card to your website and wait for your shiny new nVidia card to turn up in the mail ;)

Re:Sweet Fancy Moses, what is this word??? (1)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 14 years ago | (#917704)

He had a +1 karma boost (probably from having lots of moderated-up posts). When he posted the rather sleazy comment, he forgot to check the 'No score +1 bonus' box. Now he's paid for it by being moderated down (and taking the associated karma hit).
You can tell karma-boosted posts by the lack of a interesting/ insightful/ etc. explanation. (like on this one, presuming that I don't get moderated down for being offtopic).

interesting (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 14 years ago | (#917705)

I was agreeing with you until the part about MS.

Where do I sign up? (3)

HMV (44906) | more than 14 years ago | (#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! :-)

note about Tom... (2)

RazorRamon (76047) | more than 14 years ago | (#917716)

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...

Re:Payola (2)

TheTomcat (53158) | more than 14 years ago | (#917717)

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."

Re:What? Explain. (2)

Flounder (42112) | more than 14 years ago | (#917718)

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.

Re:Ge what a surprise (1)

Delphis (11548) | more than 14 years ago | (#917719)

Get some balls and start telling it like it is, even if it means buying the card.

Start your own site then. It's easy to spend other people's money.

Of course reviews come down to subjective thinking.. that's the whole point.

If you think you might like a board based on what you've heard AND what you can verify with your own experiences (friend's computer, PC store etc) then get it. If you don't like it, take it back. You don't have to take everyone's opinions as gospel. Some reservation SHOULD be given to the fact that reviews are going to be biased in some way. Either by 'the man' or more simply (and more often) that it's really *just* someone's point of view.

--

Re:What? Explain. (3)

Steve Richards (211082) | more than 14 years ago | (#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.

Have you actually SEEN FSAA in action? (2)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 14 years ago | (#917721)

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.

Am I the Only Who Who Doesn't Care? (1)

tsangc (177574) | more than 14 years ago | (#917722)

Small review sites written by nonprofessional reviewers are bribed by (fill in the blank: video chip manufacturers, Linux software vendors). End of world we as know it.

Who cares?! These are enthusiast run websites-sort out opinions yourself! Sheesh.

well (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 14 years ago | (#917723)

No one is holding a gun to their head forcing them to work. What did they do before the nike factory was built? As for the pay, $1 a day is alright when their currency is worth 1/10,000 of ours.

Re:nVidia? Ethics? (1)

11223 (201561) | more than 14 years ago | (#917724)

I apologize for the double posting - slashdot was acting flukey. Please moderate this one to (-1, Redundant) (or the other, I don't care).

So.... (1)

UpeoWaMacho (201169) | more than 14 years ago | (#917725)

they're essentially bribing everyone not to review any other cards? interesting

ethics (5)

wishus (174405) | more than 14 years ago | (#917727)

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
---

Kyle: High on ideology, low on content. (5)

Chiasmus_ (171285) | more than 14 years ago | (#917728)

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.

Come on... (1)

Vain (195850) | more than 14 years ago | (#917732)

Like this should be a surprise to anyone. Theres a lot of sites out there, atleast the smaller ones, who probably can't afford to purchase a demo for themselves. I'm sure this offer is pretty appealing... I just hope sharky, ars, and anandtech don't sell out.

Re:ethics (1)

UpeoWaMacho (201169) | more than 14 years ago | (#917734)

You're probably right about that. I mean if people are accepting deals like that, shouldn't something be done? Did the article mention the sites? i just skimmed it, not really paying any attention to it. If they did, shouldn't something be said to them, for accepting such an un-ethical idea?

Re:nVidia? Ethics? (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 14 years ago | (#917736)

Well, you compare them to 3dfx, who aren't exactly the epitomy of morality themselves, making and protecting a proprietary standard like Glide. Still, you're right that nvidia's bein' bastards. I'm hoping that the Radeon means that ATI can finally be a real competition. They're usually pretty cool (if occasionally incompetent).

Nothing new. (3)

JatTDB (29747) | more than 14 years ago | (#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.

You're missing the point (1)

Steve Richards (211082) | more than 14 years ago | (#917744)

The ISSUE is whether or not a small site should post a favorable review based on a corporation's strong arming tactics.

If you will note, the original poster implies that nVidia is not within their rights in doing this. My original reply was to him.

And if you want to know my opinion on this, I've already stated, but if you want it spelled out: it's a non-issue. The site admins decide what they want to do. "should" never enters the picture.

I guess it's not a question of whether or not you read the article, it's really a question of whether or not you used any braincells to think before you post.

Funny how your lack of comprehension turns into my not thinking.

Works the same with Developers (3)

Emugamer (143719) | more than 14 years ago | (#917745)

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 :)

I'm not saying it's okay, but. . . (1)

jafac (1449) | more than 14 years ago | (#917746)

everybody does it. It's been this way for as long as I remember. Hardware vendors, software vendors, they all do it.

if it ain't broke, then fix it 'till it is!

Re:Three points (4)

Tyrannosaurus (203173) | more than 14 years ago | (#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.

Maybe its backwards here... (2)

ClutchUGA (212928) | more than 14 years ago | (#917748)

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.....

Three points (1)

Steve Richards (211082) | more than 14 years ago | (#917749)

1. This is nVidia's card.
2. These are free cards that these review sites are lucky to have at all

so,

3. When it comes to giving free cards to review sites, nVidia can do whatever the hell they want.

And if they can't make that decision, then I'm putting up a Geocities page tomorrow and getting my own free cards.

Why don't sites... (1)

spagthorpe (111133) | more than 14 years ago | (#917751)

just buy the cards they want to review? These sites make money, right? Many of the people running these things make it their full-time job/business. Buy your own damn card and review it! After it's reviewed, put it up on Ebay, and somebody will buy it for probably more than you paid. I see people paying over mail-order prices all the time for these things. In addition, this lets them review the released version of the card, which is really the only one that matters. Who cares about the pre-release card with the pre-release drivers, that may or may not have anything to do with the final version.

JMHO

-jimi

Reading it wrong I am :) (1)

Salant (69004) | more than 14 years ago | (#917752)

I may be reading it wrong, but I thought it was mainly about them not giving demo's to people who advertise for 3dfx. The reviews they don't mind, but one of the letters that was posted said they told a site to remove the ads for 3dfx or they wouldn't get anymore demos. Still not ethical but not as bad :)

Ge what a surprise (4)

discojoe (210411) | more than 14 years ago | (#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.

Hmmm (1)

Phokus (192971) | more than 14 years ago | (#917756)

It seems that the proof is in the pudding; A couple of sites HAVE come out against Nvidia on this (check the Hypothermia link). Didn't 3dfx do something similar when they were the 3d graphics king? You know i'm getting absolutely sick of corporations these days, whether in litigation or in press, they have way too much clout. Limited liability anyone?

Corporate donations & reviews don't go together (4)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 14 years ago | (#917758)

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.


---

Soap Opera (1)

Kondoor (135852) | more than 14 years ago | (#917759)

I've been reading all the [H]ard OCP stuff, my second favorite site besides slashdot and this whole thing is a big soap opera, they could sell the right to the story to a network channel and make it a prime time show.

Re:nVidia? Ethics? (1)

aphr0 (7423) | more than 14 years ago | (#917768)

Who the hell mentioned microsoft? Jesus. Slashdotters will go to any stretch to try to bash microsoft. At least do so when it's on topic.

Put the blame where it belongs (1)

volume (172477) | more than 14 years ago | (#917771)

Let's get something straight. The marketing folks at nVidia are doing their jobs. Namely, getting good things printed about them and negative things (or nothing at all) printed about their competitors.

As far as I'm concerned the people with the ethics problem are sites that would give in to the pressure. I want to know who they are and avoid their sites like the plague.

People try to put pressure on the press all of the time. Is it right? Of course not. But when a newspaper automotive advertiser threatens to pull money from the paper if the car reviews aren't positive, the paper should tell them to take their money because they are printing what they want. The newspaper begin whining about how unfair the auto dealer is.

Re:Three points (1)

Steve Richards (211082) | more than 14 years ago | (#917773)

I think we're essentially in agreement here -- however, you're putting far too much trust in the reviewing sites. I believe that the unbiased sites should state that fact loudly and clearly, and any other site should be suspect.

I elaborated on this point in this post [slashdot.org] .

phew (3)

mikpos (2397) | more than 14 years ago | (#917774)

Thank God. For a second there, I thought Slashdot might go a whole seven minutes without off-topic Microsoft bashing.

It was before that... (1)

Mustang Matt (133426) | more than 14 years ago | (#917775)

This was over a year ago, when Tom was pro 3Dfx. Maybe even 2 years ago. I just remember when he had a report about sites that were allying with 3Dfx for hardware.

You're right, 3Dfx really did drop the ball but as long as they stay in business the battle isn't over. Just look at AMD, of course, AMD never started on top.

Re:Corporate donations & reviews don't go together (1)

Phokus (192971) | more than 14 years ago | (#917776)

"Independence and integrity go hand in hand." You make it sound like the small sites are at fault. Lets not forget who the enemy is here.

Didn't 3dFX do this a while ago? (1)

Mustang Matt (133426) | more than 14 years ago | (#917777)

I remember reading a year or so ago on Tomshardware.com about 3dFX doing something similar. I can't remember if it was in exchange for displaying only their logo on the box of a game or maybe a website. Does anyone else remember this?

Re:nVidia? Ethics? (1)

MattLesko (155081) | more than 14 years ago | (#917779)

I'm guessing they test on cute 'lil bunnies and use child sweatshops too, right?

You are more than the sum of what you consume.

Consumer Reports vs manufacturer lapdogs (5)

drivers (45076) | more than 14 years ago | (#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.

Sounds a lot like ubersoft (1)

geekguy (97470) | more than 14 years ago | (#917783)

This sounds a lot like a recent story line of Ubersoft [ubersoft.net] which is a web comic making fun of Microsoft. I just thought I would point this out.

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