As the Senior Editor of UTV Off-Road Magazine, I guarantee we're not skewed by our advertisers $ when writing editorial about whatever the product is. In fact, if you look at our last 2 shootout articles and compare results to our advertisers, you'll quickly find that all but one of the OEM's are currently advertising in our magazine.
Now, with that in mind, we're not going to write this: "This product is worthless." Instead, we'll point out what the product does well, and point out what the product does poorly at. To me, it's a lot easier to write an article and rave about it or throw it under the bus blanketly, but it takes a lot more work and digging in to identify it's positive and negative points and then spell them out in a professional manner. And, it's much more beneficial for the reader to know that the the suspension might work great, it steers perfectly, but for model year 2009 it could benefit from more power, better ergonomics, and a seat belt that may not lock at every possible moment to relieve your neck.
To me, all the OEM's and manufacturers of products know what their vehicle or product is good at internally, and they don't expect to get raving reviews all the time. What they do expect though, and deserve in my opinion, is an honest well rounded and detailed overview of how the product performs for it's intended purpose. If it does great at some things, we'll note it. If it does poorly at other things, we'll note that too, but we're not going to throw them under the bus just because of a few bad things.
Now, on this same note, I definitely can't speak for other publications, but on a rare ocassion, we'll test a product that does really poorly overall. And, instead of slandering the company and product publicly, we'll call the manufacturer to find out if something is wrong with the product, did we install it incorrectly, or what's up with why it did so poorly? This honestly hasn't happened, but a handful of times maybe and when it does we'll ask the manufacturer if they'd like us to write it in the magazine or perfect their product and give it another shot on a future date?
Now, some of you might say, well that's stupid the consumer should know about these blatently obvious crappy products out there. Well, I agree somewhat with this and it has absolutely nothing to do with advertising dollars whatsoever. To me, I like to see companies flurish, especially in such a small market. If a company has a bad run as have many well established companies have had in the past, we get a bad batch of that product, test it, then find out it was a fluke, yet we've killed the product in written permanent format of a magazine, we don't do anyone favors. In fact, this happened with Gorilla Axle somewhat recently. They had a bad run of axles get shipped out to quite a few folks, they broke, of course a ton of people were pissed off, especially after spending big bucks on a long-travel kit. Of course Gorilla fixed all the problems, identified what the problem was, and fixed it. But, word spreads quickly both on the net, and in magazines. If by chance our race RZR axles had been in this batch of axles, I wouldn't have written a bad review of them if they had broke. I would have called them up and asked if something had gone wrong. They would have researched it, fixed it, and sent out another set, I'm sure of it. I wouldn't have done this, because as far as I know personally and from what I read everywhere else, they've always been a reuptable company to work with that stands behind their products and services their customer. I've had them on other machines with no problems, so I would have figured somethign had been wrong with this particular set before slamming them in the magazine or the internet.
In conclusion guys, you can obviously make your own assumptions about our magazine and any of the other ones, as well. If there's a product that you're interested in buying, by all means feel free to contact me [email protected]
and see if we've reviewed it and maybe never wrote about it in the magazine, because it was crap, or maybe it hasn't made it in yet. Also, keep in mind that if it's in a buyer's guide, or new products section, those are items written by the manufacturer, not us. They're free advertisements, not reviews of the product. I like to pride ourselves on providing our readers the most accurate information we can, but also show them what feel are the best products in the industry, as well.
I hope this helps clarify at least our viewpoints on this subject, which is a very valid one. There's definitely skewed remarks in other publications that I read all time, and if you ever feel this way about us, please don't hesitate to email me and find out why a particular comment was said or not. Last, but not least, we're all entitled to make some mistakes, as well, so if we missed something that you might think is a valid point to clarify for our readers, I'm all ears.