Wow – I have just received what looks to be the most inappropriate editorial request I have ever received in 12 years+ as a tool industry writer and reviewer.
Basically, a tool brand attempted to solicit my help in manipulating Home Depot’s retail buyers, with what I would say is a completely inappropriate request.
The Introduction Email
An introductory email from “The BRAND” came in this afternoon:
We’d like to help create an article regarding [redacted – type of tool] provide samples etc.
When a new brand reaches out nowadays, and I can’t tell what they’re looking for, I mention both editorial and sponsored opportunities, as it saves an email or two. Some brands are only looking for influencer-type paid content and don’t know how to handle media organizations, others are interested in purely editorial relationships.
This seemed a bit spammy in tone, but the email address was from a recognizable brand.
This is a tool brand that I know, have bought, and would be interested in reviewing. I would post previews about their new tools, review their products, and because I would regularly recommend them, I would also be interested in a sponsorship arrangement if that was what they were looking for.
Thanks for reaching out – what do you have in mind?
For unsponsored editorial content, I have a bit of a backlog, but I’m definitely interested. Are there new [the brand] products coming out, or would this mainly involve existing products?
For sponsored content, I can provide a couple of options depending on campaign goals, products, budget, and timing.
(It greatly frustrates me that I even have to ask whether a brand contacting me is interested in editorial/unsponsored or sponsored content, but the fact of the matter that many brands don’t care about traditional media and press relationships anymore. This is an ongoing issue, but I digress.)
I was shocked at their reply.
The Request and Offer
Here is what they wrote back:
We do have a new product coming out, but our current needs are this:
[redacted backstory] [We wish our product to be sold at] Home Depot. We would like an article titled something similar to “Why [type of tool] in [retailer] are better than [type of tool] in Home Depot” or “Why Home Depot is not the best place to get a [type of tool]” to come out and obviously talk about the availability of our technology in [retailer] vs Home Depot. We make [type of tool] in [retailer] and ([redacted]) as well, in case one or all of these customers make an easier article to create. We’d prefer to not pay for this article as we don’t want it to be sponsored by us. We would like it to also help our SEO by linking to our page.
Is the above something you’d be interested in doing? If so I assume you would want us to purchase a separate article perhaps on one of our new products?. If that was the case what would be the cost?
Any other ideas/suggestions/thoughts/connections that would help us accomplish this?
This is so very wildly inappropriate that I might have no recourse but to avoid working with that company presently and in the foreseeable future in any regard whatsoever.
Why I’m Angry
There have been times when ToolGuyd content has helped brands grow or secure new business relationships, but I absolutely cannot be a part of it!
I’ve heard from different brands over the years, after I’ve produced editorial content about their products, and it is satisfying to know that I’ve helped some inventors, small businesses, and great products succeed.
In 12 years, this is the first time I’ve been specifically asked to do that. It’s not just an inappropriate request, but the approach is just terrible. I’m being asked to trash Home Depot for this brand’s benefit?
But here? This destroyed my plausible deniability.
Over the years, several brands and retailers have accused me/ToolGuyd of being in secret collaborations with their competitors. Until this instance, I was always able to say that no such conversations, dealings, or requests ever took place.
This puts me in such a terrible position, and I don’t want any part in between brands fighting over Home Depot’s business.
And that last part, is it a bribe?
Is the above something you’d be interested in doing? If so I assume you would want us to purchase a separate article perhaps on one of our new products?. If that was the case what would be the cost?
Are you kidding me?
If a brand says internally “let’s try to get some editorial content out there so we can show Home Depot there’s strong interest in our product and the potential for strong sales and success,” that’s okay.
If a brand asks me “would you be interested in reviewing one of our products, or talking to a product manager about our offerings at [Home Depot competitor],” that would be welcome.
Telling me “we want to get our product into Home Depot retail stores, would you write a manipulative article that can help with that goal?” is completely inappropriate.
Adding on top of that, the suggestion of “do this for us and we can pay you for a different article,” and I just want to scream.
This is just so incredibly shady.
I am extremely angry about this, for multiple reasons. It seems morally wrong, for one, and I also don’t like being used. I am okay if a ToolGuyd post leads Home Depot to pick up a new vendor, but I can’t write a post with that as the goal. It seems beyond wrong, and that’s completely ignoring the sample article titles that were proposed.
I’m sure there are some channels that might be okay with this kind of arrangement, such as the zero-authority Amazon-spamming “niche marketing” websites. But what serious publication would participate in such an effort?
Such a post also wouldn’t serve readers’ needs or interests! Sure, ToolGuyd posts often benefit the brands and retailers that we post about, but that’s not the goal. Where’s the reader benefit in what was requested of me here?
Plus, some tool readers are corporate tool buyers. I don’t create content with such users in mind, but a post like what has been asked of me here would surely betray any trust they have in me and ToolGuyd.
I am also angry because I know there are reviewers and influencers who would gladly agree to these terms. They’d say “sure” and have a hand out for the check.
The only good thing about this request is that it provided a great opportunity for an internal ethics test. How much would a potential retail contract with Home Depot be worth? How much might I be able to charge the tool brand for the “separate article?” It makes me feel good, that I at no point entertained the idea, and that this only came to mind now as I’m writing about the entire experience.
I’m not wrong here, am I, that The BRAND’s request was a completely inappropriate thing to ask?
And what do I do about the company? Some of their products were interesting to write about, and would ordinarily have been fitting for future content. After this, how can I work with this brand in any regard?
I forwarded the request to another contact I have at the same company, and will see what kind of explanation they provide. For the time being, I have decided to redact identifying parts of the communication.
The company trying to get a business arrangement with Home Depot wants me to write an article bashing Home Depot’s selection and product choices in the same tool category, while suggesting they would “purchase a separate article.” Unbelievable.
I checked online, and the person who contacted me isn’t a fresh-out-of-school intern or green in any other way. There’s no excuse for the request or type of arrangement they proposed.
This is an interesting moral dilemma. On one hand, I understand your anger. But on the other hand, he was completely honest with what his goals were.
By that I mean he could’ve sought other ways to manipulate you but he didn’t. He was upfront, we want HD to carry this, will you help? And let’s be honest, most people wouldn’t be that upfront about it. That being said, I understand your anger but in this case, I think it’s misplaced.
I have zero issue with their intent.
The mistake was in communicating that intent to me, and also in the type of article they wanted me to write.
Let’s say you’re a soda brand, and your product is available at Target and Costco. You want to get the product into Walmart too. You can’t ask an industry writer for an article about how much Walmart’s selection is lacking compared to Target.
With the proposed article titles, there is ZERO benefit to readers – their entire intent and content would have been for the manipulation of corporate tool buyers.
If the brand proposed ideas where the focus was on the tech and products, they could still have used it in their negotiations – without my knowing or being a party of it.
Honesty is important. But so is transparency. The fact that I can’t (won’t) identify the company is a huge indicator that the request was inappropriate.
I wonder if a search for titles like they suggested brings up results …
I’m not sure why you don’t have any issue with their intent. In my view, the worst part of their pitch was the desire to have you write an article that would not be marked as sponsored content while compensating you for the first article by paying for a second article that would appear as sponsored content. They clearly assumed that you had no problem dishonestly manipulating your readers. I’d have a huge problem with any company that proceeded on the basis that we’re both corrupt so why shouldn’t we work together to deceive the public?
100% agree. The ethics and morality of their request- to not designate a post as sponsored- is the problem.
I want to know the brand so as to avoid buying their tools
I agree!! Who are they? I don’t want to ever accidentally purchase their product!!
As a user of power tools for over 30+ years I look at reviews for longevity of the product.
What the brand requested of you as a reviewer is absolutely inappropriate.
Here my belief why.
1.Honesty in any review is what we the consumers are looking for.
2. Honesty from a reviewer needs to come with no outside influence.
3. Honest reviews should be not be sponsored.
4. An Honest review should show the consumer that the truth in the reviewers opinion has integrity.
5. Honesty cannot be bought or tainted by a sponsor its a moral heart issue.
6. Being brutally Honest will give you a reputation among those in the industry a respect that is not found these days.
7. Stay with the integrity of Honesty and your reputation will be seen by those like us that are consumers and help us make those decisions to advance our business in a positive way.
8. Keep up the Honest good work!!
Wow..that is such a Budhist response to everyday life.
It seems that you have no personal concerns about compromising Stuart’s integrity by hiding payments to deceive readers (like you) about ToolGuyd’s information and advice. At various levels we also have laws to protect consumers from hidden sponsorships intended to mask advertising as editorial content which is why The Brand didn’t want to pay for the shill article in question but rather to pay for a second article (which would then be the one labeled as sponsored).
Yet the request even took it a step further by asking that Stuart speak negatively about another company (Home Depot) for no reason other than that he would get paid for doing it. The “completely honest” conversation that you refer to included hidden payments in violation of law and a request to damage the reputation of another company for the sole purpose of benefiting The Brand.
Eric. Agreed. Totally.
They were honest about being dishonest so you don’t have a problem with it. Did I get this right?
Wow. Just, wow. My father, when he was the in-house marketing manager for a school bus manufacturer, once told me, you could tell which company was at the top of their game by their marketing approach. The best never give away free advertising by mentioning the competitor or spend time casting aspersions on other companies. That behavior is relegated to the also-rans.
You have more scruples than I do. I would’ve openly burned the person writing this, so as to derail THEIR credibility, and the credibility of every article ever written by any of their contacts. Utterly ripping the person apart in this posted article would reveal the exact approach the person takes when approaching reviewers, and every time someone from ToolGuyd saw the format you show above, being used on competitor sites, they would know conclusively that the competitor review is paid for, and a complete lie. Burn the person who attempted to buy YOU, and suddenly it results in a cascade of people pulling out from review sites that DO deal with that person/company.
With that level of permanent damage done, it would likely crash their company to the point that it becomes open for hostile takeover by its competitors. New company, new marketing team, no more cash-for-review money going around. No more risks of pulling another “Redacted Name” maneuver.
But, I’m a cruel person when I see something wrong like that. I’m twisted in the head.
ToolGuyd has a vast audience, and it is impossible to know who might be reading any particular post.
This company has other ties, and if their business contacts with other retailers are like me, they brand might be at risk of being dropped – especially if I thought similar tactics were used to secure past or present arrangements. Or, competitors could then make their moves.
Thus, outing the company has the potential to be highly disruptive, and that could lead to lost business, colleagues losing jobs, etc, and that’s not what I’m after.
The strategy seems highly disingenuous to me, but once a brand is named, there is no turning back, and I’m not ready to do that yet. The potential repercussions seemed too severe given that this is just one marketing contact making a huge misjudgment.
Condemning the request and passing it along to another contact at the same brand seemed like an appropriate response for now.
I really appreciate your integrity. It’s one of the many reasons I check this site daily for new content.
Yes, their request was wildly inappropriate. Especially the part about offering to pay you for a different article so that you would not disclose to your readers the sponsorship of the corporate sabotage article.
I also think that burning down the entire companies reputation because of one unethical request from one employee would be a disproportionate response, and so I appreciate your restraint.
Not trying to be a “yes man” but you asked for feedback and so I agree with your response.
Thank you, I appreciate it!
I tend to be both sensitive and emotional in how I respond to what I might see as professional offenses. I needed to be sure that I’m not blowing things out of proportion.
Not in the least!
BTW has this particular individual within the supplier company ever contacted you before? From this or any other company?
Seems like a very lightweight individuals’s corporate “mistake” to me.
More of a late night on the road convention bar ask. Also scuzzy.
Is this a major brand tool company or a start up company?
It is not a new company.
Indeed, Stuart! I’m not saying you did the wrong thing, I’m saying you did better than I certainly would have done. I’ve grown pretty spiteful of liars, cheats, and yeah, marketing folk.
You are a far better person than I am. I don’t recommend doing what I would have done, I simply stated it to show the contrast between my more vengeful methodology, and your more reasonable one.
I should really be more clear on my posts, shouldn’t I? I’ll work on that. Just keep doing what YOU do. You’ve lasted “12 years + years” doing this for good reason. (Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge, Correction Gremlin at it again. Smiley face Emoji I don’t know how to put on the site.)
*fixed* – thanks!
Stuart, kudos to you for addressing the situation professionally by not “outing” the brand and by instead contacting another person at the brand. The person who contacted you used inappropriate language and they must learn from their mistake. The brand shouldn’t suffer because of one person’s lack of judgement.
Albert L Davenport
By not knowing who the brand is or even the tool, they’ll just find someone else to write the article with less scruples. So now the readers will never know and the buyers will never know. The Brand will just keep on walking down the road of profits. Is the tool/brand a good choice or is it safe to use? That would be my concern from this point on since I buy a lot of my tools myself.
Judging from my recent communications with the company, this type of request won’t be made again. Several brands emailed or messaged me, to ensure it was not someone from their brands that contacted me. I’m sure a couple of corporate tool buyers have also read the post and will be looking out for any content that might have been directly influenced by brands for the sake of business pitches or manipulations.
The impact to readers or end users is minimal and would have been minimal regardless of my response. The brand wasn’t asking for anything that would have been untrue, and it’s a brand whose products I would still recommend today if asked about.
Consider this – what would have been the impact if I had just said no and moved on, vs. venting my anger and frustration in this post and making the request known to all?
What they were asking for was unethical and undermines the trust your readers place in your content. If you have contacts within that company who wouldn’t condone this, you should try to bring this to their attention otherwise you could out this company so we can recognize the next attempt elsewhere.
I did forward it along to someone at the same company who I believe to be in a higher adjacent role.
My goal there is that the recognize the request was improper and that they say something to help me get past this, as the brand and its products are otherwise recommendable.
“Fun” to see if this one hacks lack of ethics have corroded others within the organization. Or vice versa.
I agree the practice of trying to “buy” in exchange for a dishonest review is shady. I suspect their pursuit speaks to the level of your influence and respect (in my book) in the tool review community.
I’m sure it’s listed and I missed it but how do select the brands you discuss? What is your process?
Topics (brands, products, news) have to be interesting to me or readers, or of perceived interest to readers.
Wow! They must not really read your site. I’d be curious if a HD rep now tries to get in touch with you for more information as this goes against them too.
If they asked you for this, I wonder how many more reviewers got the same request. We might start seeing other articles from people who did accept…
You’ve built a website you are proud of and built trust with readers. Along comes someone who wants you to break that trust.
To his credit, he doesn’t even attempt to manipulate you. Completely upfront about his goals and what he wants. I have no idea, but my guess is if the money is right, most(some) websites are ‘make money at all costs’, and dont have an issue with publishing something like this.
So while you can certainly be angry, and absolutely allowed to feel thay way. I think this is an honest misunderstanding of how you run your website, and I’m not sure that anger should be directed at him/brand. But rather his misunderstand of how you run your website.
While I am not you, and you get what you pay for with free advice: I’d be just as upfront. Tell him you’d love to collaborate, but your website doesn’t try to manipulate readers. Mention your initial reaction was anger at such a request, because you felt it would break the trust of your readers, which was something you see as an absolute priority (at least that how I see it).
That’s the thing – this brand contact doesn’t seem to care about our relationship with readers, or reader interests, they simply wanted an article that could be embedded in their sales pitch. The unacceptable part is that they were seeking to make me a willing participating party to this.
Let’s say I agreed and it all worked out. But then maybe Home Depot drops another brand in the same category to make space for the new brand. Well, I have contacts and occasional dealings with that recommendable brand too.
My content could be at the middle of business negotiations, and I cannot control all the ways the things I say could be used. But I cannot be a part of creating content for that purpose.
Yeah, I really misread the letter, and apologize for misrepresenting his position. (Gave him way too much benefit of the doubt)
I love reading your content because of your openness and integrity.
I agree. It’s a poor and desperate approach at trying to get a new product out there. I want to be sold on “why you need ours” rather than “why you don’t need theirs”. This applies not only to products, but services and where I choose to shop. Sounds like politicians. Continuously slamming your opponent doesn’t convince me that you’re the best candidate.
If you agreed to do a non biased review on one of their new tools, without any HD slurs, you then are still going to create an opportunity for one of their cronies to bring up HD in the comment section. The person who wrote you obviously shouldn’t be in the marketing industry.
I once read a parable which compliments your note. It was called the parable of the oil lamp (written before light bulbs). Where an oil lamp salesman came over to a persons house at night, saw the oil lamp he had, complimented him on how he maintained it, and how it worked. But then pulled out the lamp he was selling, which then illuminated even more area, and the buyer realized what he was missing using his current lamp. While the parable was religious in nature it still applies here: if you have a superior product, you dont have to trash the other. The product should be able to speak for itself.
That’s the thing – this brand’s tech DOES speak for itself.
For whatever reasons, that’s not enough, and so this is the Plan B approach.
Is this a marketing based brand or an legitimate manufacturer brand? This sounds like the type of aggressive promotion and manipulated content that these marketing based re-labeling brands that have popped up over the lasted few years love to do.
It’s a brand we’ve talked about before. I’ve purchased their tools before.
Process of elimination is pretty quick as many of those are already at Home Depot, but I’m going to assume it’s Husky anyway.
I’d say if they want their stuff in home depot it will be there, they just have to reach terms on price. If they are pressuring this it is because they want better terms. So we already know the answer. They aren’t carried at home depot because they want more money.
It is unfortunately not that simple.
If you want your products at Home Depot, but there are already competing products in that space…
Drop the price even lower!
Oh! That makes a big difference whem its a major brand. Apparently they feel lowes has too many brands and not enough shelf space.
I wonder if this is THE BRAND or some stupid marketing group they hired.
Either way you’re probably going to have to name and shame.
It’s rare, but once or twice I’ve been contacted by [email protected].
But in this case, references like LinkedIn eliminate any possible doubt.
Naming and shaming is easier to justify when stakes are lower.
“After this, how can I work with this brand in any regard?”
Regarding sponsored content: I wouldn’t.
Regarding editorial content: The same way you work with any other company, you cover the product or company in a way that benefits your readers. If the company has a product that your readers would benefit from knowing about, cover it. Not covering it would be a disservice to your readers.
Optionally, you could put your neck on the line and disclose the name of the company, and let readers decide for themselves whether they want to work with that brand or not.
Mike (the other one)
Your ethics are admirable. I do feel that this was very unprofessional on their part. They were asking you do do something that potentially damage your reputation.
I have a hard time imagining a reputable brand doing this. If their tools are good enough, they shouldn’t have to drag other brands or stores through the mud to get sales.
Your professionalism is why I visit this site every day.
I genuinely appreciate the integrity shown here. I feel that too many tool review sites/influencers pay too much in to the marketing hype and oversell on their end to appease the companies they’re reviewing for, in order to foster a better relationship with the brands/agencies.
Also, I sincerely appreciate that you are not one of the sites that offer a pay-to-play tool “awards” gimmick. How is it that these grandiose awards can be handed out by some sites to products that exist only on paper? It’s all a sham…
Almost every single tool I own has come from this site’s recommendations because I truly believe in the reviews and transparency, especially for affiliated type posts. And I really, really like all my tools, and have been able to do more, more enjoyably because of it. And it’s this type of honesty and transparency that keeps this one of the few sites I regularly visit. Sad to see this, wish I could swear off the brand, but also I realize there’s a chance this is just one bad apple and the whole company doesn’t deserve that backlash. Thankfully I doubt we’ll be seeing many plugs anytime soon for this brands products.
Asking you to take on a sponsored post but not disclose the sponsorship in exchange for a discrete bribe… Yup that’s the sort of thing that burns your reputation to establish theirs.
I applaud your principle on this. That being said, if the company does not address the concern, you should name and shame. If they don’t address it, it’s a pattern of behavior for a company, and some people would choose not to do business with them.
Hmmm… You seem to have moral integrity, and so that leads me to a personal question that might be out of place in the comment section:
Are you a man of faith?
I have seen you take a “higher road” philosophy in many posts and comments and that makes me think Lutheran, prebyterian, etc. But, possibly you don’t have a faith that makes you so ill towards seemingly shady deals, since I can’t remember a single post about such things.
Again, maybe this question isn’t appropriate in the comment section, however, you are bringing up morality in your post, so thought I’d ask since morality without a foundation equals relativity.
Stuey has mentioned he is a scientologist before. Men of great faith had some interesting answers on slavery and the rights of women. I often turn the teachings of men men with strong faith like Jim Jones or Osama bin laden for moral guidance. Yeah this isn’t the place for your sermon
I’m sorry, but I probably mentioned that I am a scientist (by training as opposed to current occupation). I am not a scientologist.
I think your question IS inappropriate.
People can have morals and not believe in some higher power, deity, or man-made code at the same time.
Also, to disclose something like that is fraught with unmerited criticisms from all sides for all the stupidest of reasons, so why disclose it all?
Stuart is asking if he is approaching this request from the right perspepctive. That is to say that he draws his morals from a cultural consensus, which is relative and he admits that.
I was just opening the floor to him, if he desired to move into that realm, due to the nature of the post.
And yes, saying, Jesus Christ is real and died for our sins, will always get people in a big kerfuffle.
As mentioned, I tend to be sensitive about certain topics, and it’s possible I respond too emotionally. I am quite attached to ToolGuyd, and I take some things very personally, such as the article request discussed above. Writing and sharing helps me calm down.
I try to operate ToolGuyd in the way I want all of the websites I read to be operated, and in a way this automatically creates a sense of right and wrong. My preferences as a reader tends to dictate policies that affect readers.
Transparency helps to make hard decisions easier.
Company X offers a very lucrative advertising arrangement. But I no longer recommend Company X. Can I pretend or look past this in order to collect the check? No. If a reader asks an answerable question and I cannot tell the truth, it means I made the wrong decision.
I donated equipment to a local preschool, because I was parting something I knew they could use, and I saw it as a future long-term review opportunity. They wanted to give me a restaurant gift card, but I could not accept it and politely conveyed that I appreciated the sentiment and if they still insisted they could donate to a food bank in my name.
An “if I receive a tool sample for free, I must part with it for free” policy makes those decisions easy. There’s no case by case basis to decide upon.
With editorial integrity, I started off with a blank slate and 12 years of interactions and industry observations led me to develop a sense of what is right and wrong. With this, I know it’s wrong, but it’s still so new that they “how/why” still needs to be honed. Discussion makes that easier too.
I also rely on my wife and Benjamen for morality double-checks on occasion.
Thank you for the response. I do trust your reviews and know you try to keep them as above board as humanly possible.
I would also add that ToolGuyd’s moral code is somewhat relativistic, in that I must hold to a higher standard.
Because I wear so many different hats, my editorial morality must be impeccable.
One hand holds the pen, and the other holds the purse. I cannot simply tell you to trust me, I need to show you that you can. That’s where the transparency comes from.
Truthfully, I am having a lot of trouble these days, as some brands have shifted from an emphasis on press and media communications and relationships, to emphasis on paid influencer marketing, and it has been difficult for me to adapt. Under these new practices, “pay for play” channels are rewarded, and those who don’t engage in such practices are at a significant editorial disadvantage.
If you want to consider a Patreon for tool funds – I’d be willing to join similar to Ave’s.
That guy makes so much money from youtube, does he really need to ask for donations from viewers? It’s like when we’ll established companies use kickstarter…
People like that get literally hammered with requests to throw money at them – so it’s understandable. YouTube isn’t as lucrative as some lead on – and can deplatform you in an instant.
Kizzle, I’m not 100% sure, but I’m fairly positive most, if not all, of AVEs videos are not marked as monetized. I think that’s why so many people support him on Patreon.
^^^ Let’s just skip that altogether, please.
Integrity and having a good moral compass does not have to have anything to do with faith.
It is about doing the right thing, plain and simple.
Thanks for this Frank. I agree that’s not a topic we want to start debating.
I don’t know if it’s a “Debate” situation. This is just one of those facts that Stuart can choose to confirm or deny, and that’s the final word on the subject. I mean, if you look at his morals, and his integrity, and especially his scientific background and intelligence, you could “Argue” he seems to have a Jewish background as well.
But y’know what? Only Stuart gets to say what Stuart’s faith is. So, no matter what any of us notices, Stuart is, or is not, what he says he believes in. Once he literally states it, it becomes only that Stuart IS that thing. All other opinions and observations end at that point.
I, personally, was born to a Jewish Father, and a Native American Mother. I was raised with Judaism, AND Native Spirituality all at once, and ultimately I’ve settled on something called “Scientific Monotheism.” Which, I might add, I have concluded requires me to not pressure anyone into believing what I do, simply because I believe X or Y is true. As long as they don’t deny facts like Gravity, and Common Sense things like “Fire Burns”… then there’s nothing to truly convince them not to do. And there’s no debate involved when you ask me what I believe, I just… state it.
Now, similarly, this can be applied to anything and everything that is a specific detail of a person’s life. Twenty people can have all attended a certain party 10, even 30, years ago. They all left that party saying a certain punchline from a joke, and it follows them throughout their lives. Then, online, years later, hiding behind our many screen names, they see someone ELSE use that same punchline. Is it unreasonable to ask “Were you at X party on Y date? I recognize that punchline!” It’s not up for debate, really. Either the person was, or was not at that party. That punchline could have become a meme somewhere else, and that’s where it came from. In which case, two or more people then find out a fact about the person they’re asking, and getting to know them better. There’s no real “Debate” going on. Simply an affirmation of who a person is, brought on by people’s curiosity.
Ultimately, it’s up to Stuart to decide what he shares here. He’s a very passionate, moral person. It’s not up for debate who, or what, he is. He’s Stuart no matter what. Just as I’m Me, and You’re You.
For that matter his ethics look similar to those of pagans, atheists, and humanists I’ve worked with. Really bizarre that anyone would think that the rules they were taught are the only basis for honest decisions.
Agreed wholeheartedly. The only “Argument” in reality here, is whether or not someone ELSE’S faith is, in any way, something worth “Arguing” over. It’s a fact about them, like their name, eye colour, or other absolutes that THEY have a right to define.
The rest is down to whether or not a person is raised in a form of spiritual practice, that directly connects their sense of reality, to the belief system itself. Much like the above-mentioned Scientology, Jonestown, or other systems similarly organized, those who have been told it is a binary choice that you believe, or you are directly in danger of being harmed, will choose the absolute that EVERYONE must believe in order to have any morality.
Now, in many subtle ways, people of faith in something not-as-extreme-as-cults, some have accepted that whatever others believe is their own business. But, at the same time, their first position is always that they DO believe in SOMETHING like they do, otherwise they wouldn’t have a moral compass at all. It’s the same falacy as the cult leaders preach, but it is an unfortunate compromise that many physical places of worship have had to employ in order to ensure regular attendance, and as such, the bare minimum to fill their coffers enough to pay bills. Religious orders may get tax breaks or exemptions, but they don’t get to live without a water, or electrical bill for their buildings. They also don’t have financial sources to do upkeep on repairs to the building, or a living wage for the clergy, aside from the universal practice of “Paying Alms” aka “The Collection Plate”… So… Without judgement intended here… I would say that it is perfectly natural for a random selection of people to hold a pre-supposed position on a faith-based morality. Not always in a way that intends for the individuals they question to fall into line with their own faith or morality, but rather as their introduction to asking the question of another person.
Theology is one of my own interests… I know I’ve said I have all sorts of hobbies and interests over the years on this site, but I’m a bit of a freak of nature when it comes to brain power, so I get bored and study a lot. I understand the underlying conditions that may lead anyone to believe something of Stuart’s state of Faith, and be curious about it. He IS Stuart, and he IS a truly interesting human being. That any of us is curious about him is perfectly… well… Human of us.
Even THAT said… Once Stuart states what he believes… That’s where it ends. However we get into these discussions, once one of us states our personal position on the field of choices, that’s just where the debate over that person ends. If there are those who are indignant, or insulted, or cannot accept those positions, then that is something those upset individuals must handle on their own. We can’t really worry too much about them, as long as they aren’t to the point of harming themselves or others. We, as the “community” of ToolGuyd readers, can work together to help eachother in many ways. Most of the time, that’s about finding tools, and advice on where to look. But if there’s someone in distress, we are, again, Human, and have to ask our OWN moral code if we should check in on them.
And, again… This isn’t a debate in any way. It simply is the way the facts interact here. Stuart can state whatever he is, and it will answer a question. People having serious trouble with the answer he gives, we still don’t have to debate it, we can only help the individual to understand the situation enough to not harm themselves or others in the processing of that information.
You’re right, but morals become relative based on the culture and Stuart said that is what he is doing.
Relativistic morality makes no claim on being right or good, only that it is in alignment with the majority around it.
A far out example would be:
Cannibalism with headhunters is considered morally pure by the majority. Therefore if Stuart were a headhunter, he wouldn’t mind killing a fellow man and eating him because the commenters of his post said it was ok with them.
Relativistic doesn’t mean editorial morals have to be based on a “surrounding cultural majority.” I used the word in a scientific sense, as in relativistic to online publication and journalistic standards. As far as I as aware, no culture, religion, faith, or belief system covers editorial best-practices.
Neither foundational nor relativistic morality as you described it would seem to apply here. ToolGuyd has its own moralistic foundation, relative to my sense of right-for-ToolGuyd and wrong-for-ToolGuyd, constructed over time.
Protip: If you have to ask, then yes, it was a bribe:-)
Good job Stuart, keep up the good work, don’t let this one get you down.
This is actually awesome.
I’ll do it for you.
I would very much like to know the company and I think you might be doing a disservice to your readers by hiding this.
You mention to another commenter (JoeM):
“Thus, outing the company has the potential to be highly disruptive, and that could lead to lost business, colleagues losing jobs, etc., and that’s not what I’m after.”
1. Are you worried about lost business for you or the brand?
If it’s the brand, can we trust you on any future articles mentioning them going forward?
2. Can we trust your colleagues content now?
Is this an indicator that THEY would work with this company in a potentially shady way?
3. Should we trust your content if you bring it up as an article for discussion but don’t provide a conclusion?
How would we know going forward that this company isn’t getting favorable coverage in the future?
I check this site daily because I trust most of your content (even if I thoroughly disagree at times).
I personally don’t want to support companies that try to get away with these things.
I will not go to “protoolreviews” because they are bought and sold by every company out there (no matter how bad a product is…it’s always a pass). I consider them extensions of the marketing teams that they advertise and I hold no value in their word.
I read everyone else’s comments and they praise you for your morals (I agree with them and their sentiments and also appreciate your honesty), but I think this should go to the next step for integrity purposes.
Different kinds of content creators (Linus Tech Tips, Gamers Nexus, etc.) have called out several companies (MSI, Nvidia, Intel, etc.) in the tech space recently for similar practices and go on to explain all the nuances in why this company/entity has violated the editorial process and how they risk breaking the trust that is in place between consumers and reviewers when they pull stunts like this.
Even at the risk of future sponsorships, working relationships, etc.
If this reads like I’m being a d!*%, just know that it comes more from a place of concern and that I don’t mean any of this to be taken in a mean way.
PS. I’ve proofread this a few times to edit myself, though it’s probably still full of mistakes…when will you allow editing of comments?
I don’t want people to be able to erase anything for posterity’s sake, but it would be nice to have a strikethrough option with the ability to add context for future clarification.
If I may defend my position in your post here… Stuart’s comment to me about the “Unintentional Consequences” shall we say, are more directly connected to my post directly. I advocated releasing the name of THE INDIVIDUAL who wrote the offending request. My intention being to show that Stuart has far superior scruples than I do on such matters.
I would have revealed the individual’s identity alone. Not the company, the product, or anything else. Knowing that individual did this would out them to their employer, and to the tool community as a whole. So that, should similar articles pop up on other review sites, we would know exactly WHO had a hand in making it happen, automatically making that individual a risk to ANY employer, from ANY marketing department or firm, and would result in an instant removal of those tactics from the industry, lest it result in massive problems from any company that tries it.
This, in a lot of ways, is exactly as bad as Stuart makes it out to be in his response to me. He isn’t looking for vengeance, or to shame specific companies, or his fellow REVIEWERS of tools for what this person has done. He’s trying to get us to think more clearly, and not follow anyone’s advice BLINDLY, not even his.
He was trying to discourage the idea of vengeance, because what if this individual was already being put on the chopping block at their place of employment? What if this was a desperate move, by a desperate person, and Stuart didn’t know it? And what if this was a brand that had sponsored him in the past, to review a product? Remember when Bosch introduced their Carbide Oscillating Tool blades? Stuart went and tested multiple blades, in a remarkably controlled and repeatable environment, in order to give an honest assessment. If this individual happened to be working for Bosch (not saying he does, since I don’t know.) and Stuart revealed the name of the company this individual worked for was Bosch… or ANY company for that matter… Look at how many people, in this thread alone, are ready to boycot that brand simply for trying this. How many brands will be hurt, simply because WE ToolGuyd fans are suspicious of whether or not THEY are the brand that tried this? And worst of all, now that Stuart has written THIS article about the practice, how many tool companies are going to be gunshy about EVER paying for testing or reviewing to be done? How much will that COST Stuart? And by association, how much will that COST Benjamen and BenV for their reviews?
Now let’s expand that circle of damage to the collateral. What if outing THIS PERSON means they are fired by one brand, and hired by ANOTHER brand, who have see what he did, and threatened him with a total blackball in the industry if he ever tries that with THEIR company’s assets. A company, say, Milwaukee, forcibly straightens this individual out as punishment for what he did to ToolGuyd. What happens when one of Stuart’s actual FRIENDS in the Marketing industry, his contacts with Bosch, DeWALT, Milwaukee, and other Tool Review sites, are contacted by Stuart to see if they’ve heard or have any news about upcoming products? After seeing what happened to the company and individual that were outed, will they even talk to Stuart on the record ever again? Or will they be afraid of what WE Readers did as a Boycot?
Stuart IS RIGHT in keeping everything anonymous, and sticking to his morals on this. If he seems to have scolded me for my poor tact on the matter, he’s absolutely right in doing so. As I said, even at the beginning of my original post, he has far better scruples than I do. What I would’ve done could have destroyed Me, ToolGuyd, and a huge chunk of the connections formed by trust in reviewing tools. I very much AM the kind of person who would find joy in burning down the whole system in order to end Marketing Departments worldwide. But Stuart is actually depending on these systems to get what information he can for OUR BETTERMENT. My methods would not be good for anyone except ME. And that was his point in saying what he said. Though he refrained from calling me shortsighted or selfish, that was what his point was, and I entirely admit that was MY POINT as well. That Stuart has better scruples, and should be trusted in what he has chosen to do in this situation.
P.S. I wish we could have limited editing as well. I have some bad days, where my spelling and grammar are awful. But, the more features you give people on the Internet, the more of those features they will abuse. And Stuart has to moderate AND navigate these issues. He has chosen a middle ground he’s comfortable with, and he even lets us leave HIM corrections for HIS articles, without scolding us or treating us like a burden to him. For all the frustration I may have with not being able to fix what I’ve done wrong, I must also admit that those are MY problems, not Stuart’s. Some users make reply notes with corrections if they feel strongly enough about the mistakes. We find ways around it. It’s alright.
1. The brand. I don’t think they are large enough to withstand or absorb the huge potential for backlash.
A restaurant supplies items to other businesses. A cook in that restaurant might anger a community, and backlash could lead to servers losing their jobs even though they had nothing to do with it.
The offending brand’s competitors or current partners at retailer’s other than Home Depot might be reading this post.
Besides, the offending contact’s brand makes good products. This one person’s misjudgment and hopefully one-time mistake should not change everything.
Do you think Linus would call out a small company? This company is nowhere near the size of Intel, Nvidia, or MSI. Maybe it could, but I’ve never looked into the brand before or whether they are owned by a larger corporation.
The punishment has to fit the crime. Here, the brand proposed wrongdoing, but nothing actually happened. Anyone from Home Depot’s merchandising team that might have read this is going to scrutinize any pitches by potential suppliers that might point to what is supposed to be independently created web or social content. I might name-drop to Home Depot if they ask, but I doubt they would.
2. If any editor, influencer, or channel would consider agreeing to this arrangement, who knows what other shady dealings they are into. In other words, this won’t redraw the line between “content I can trust” and “content/creators I cannot trust.”
3. As of now, my intent is to blacklist them from any form of sponsorship arrangement or advertising. Discussion of new products might still be possible.
I could never post about this company’s products ever again, and the impact on ToolGuyd and on them would be minimal.
Or, it could be 1, 2, 5 years before the brand comes up again.
I do have content in the pipeline that includes one of their products that was purchased at retail, and it’s unfair to me to allow this incident to affect my plans, but I might reconsider. It seems unnecessary to remove their products from fair discussion, although this incident will force me to very carefully consider anything that might be said about availability.
You’re dropping hints and Encyclopedia Brown could figure this out … smaller possibly US-based company not sold at Home Depot that you’ve reviewed in the past with a tool that makes sense to sell at HD (they already have similar ones).
I’d go farther and suspect that it’s a line that has been recently culled from a HD competitor and you’ve discussed recently – hence it showing up on the marketing department’s radar.
In fact I think I’ve said too much – I’ll understand if you have to delete this comment. 🧐
Regarding allowing editing of comments…
To do it with the current system requires editor or admin-level privileges. There are no secure plugins or options that allow for this.
3rd party commenting systems allow for editing, but 1) there are privacy concerns, 2) they add bloat to page loading, and 3) they typically require registration or sign-ins whereas the built-in system here can be used by anyone.
I look into options every year, but there’s no good solution yet.
The “news” icon looks awfully familiar.
I created it a few years ago? I couldn’t find any other suitable image for this post, not in my archive or in Creative Commons libraries.
Got it. Before I read the article or even the title I saw it and my mind immediately thought “a big announcement from “this” company”.
Anyway, glad it had no meaning. I like that company. And I am also glad you let us know what is going on, and gave us a view into your integrity. We are all at the right place here with ToolGuyd.
I also noticed that but Wiha was already in HD stores and currently they are still on HD online.
I applauded your journalistic integrity.
Pay for play, influencer type arrangements are becoming the norm or at least more popular or is it they just are not as secretive as they used to be?
I’ll play devils advocate. The person in question may not like the way the industry is moving forward with this influencer type situation but their job is to increase market share by all means possible. In most parts of the world, especially outside the USA, bribery is legal and an everyday occurance. If other brands are doing it and lets face it, they are. Your brand will be left out in the cold if you don’t ask. Its like payola with radio stations back in the day.
I think these practices are deceptive and I do not like them! But at the end of the day it boils down to some guy on the Internet is telling me that brand A is good and brand B is not. If I buy brand A or brand B and I get a slightly less better tool it’s not the end of the world. No one’s gonna die. No one’s gonna lose a job or loose an eye (well probably on the last one).
It should be relativley easy to spot the paid fan boys. At the end of the day you pays your moneys and you takes your chances.
And heck I think Home Depot is still doing 365 day return policy due to Covid. If in six months you realize that Internet Joe was bought and paid for by brand x just return it. Also be honest about it. Let Home Depot know that a brand they carry is pulling these kind of shenanigans.
On a positive note his article affirms my beliefe that Toolguyd is legit instead of blowing tool company smoke up my @$z. Coupled with the comments from real people this site is a great resource. I hope it continues for a long time!
Thanks for standing your ground Stu.
Color me not surprised that someone would attempt something like this. I think that you were correct for withholding brand information and also pursuing the issue through other contacts.
I would be angry myself for a request of this type, but broadcasting the brand would be like stepping on a bouncing betty.
I hope you get a satisfactory response from the interested parties.
Extra fun is that surely this request went out to other sites. Maybe we get to see some folks transparently shill. Maybe someone from home depot will notice this and the whole campaign will come to nothing while flushing out some bad actors
It’s why you always scrutinize the source of the information and never take one source as gospel – two rules of online reviews and “information literacy.”
That said, I’m as curious as everyone else as to what brand this might have been.
Add ‘company x’ domain to your spam list. Job done.
Simple. You were being set up. Keep your guard up.
I guess I would ask. Is the product that they are “trying to push” into HD really under or not represented and you wish it was? Regardless of how they are asking you to do it? If no, no sweat. The bad actions of an employee, IMO, does not diminish the usefulness of a product. And, do those bad actions stop you from sharing a product that you think could be useful to your readers and to the community?
Well done Stuart!
My Dad used to tell me “How you would feel if the situation and your behavior was discussed on 60 Minutes”.
Keep it simple. You were asked to do something that is not above board. The company for now is not at fault, the person who made the request is seriously at fault. How your contact at the company handles this news will tell you something. No guarantees your contact can properly resolve this; but, the answer will say volumes about the company.
For now you are correct in freezing this company. Until resolved, unfortunately, this company is no longer a client. At some point this will be resolved, even if takes a long time, and you will feel comfortable working this company again.
What they were doing was so obvious, I wonder if you were being set up….
And, take it as a compliment.
One doesn’t offer bribes to those who cannot help you. 😁
This is my opinion, and I’m probably going to be chastised. I stopped reading when I got to the word “retracted”. At that point the story turned into a click bait story of look at what happened to me. a lot of speculation of who it was and innocent companies names brought to minds. Probably best not to even write the story at all if you didn’t want to mention the company name. If you wanted to talk about the ethics of what happened it should have been a “what if” story. Just my $.02. Flame suite on🥵
Excellent offensive move to protect the reputation of your business. Had this story leaked through another channel it would’ve cast a shadow on your ethics and called into question the integrity of your advice, whether you wrote for them or rejected the premise of their offer. Playing an uphill defensive battle is more difficult than writing this article to get it all out there.
You mentioned the pen and the purse strings. You are in the integrity business’s. This editorial is the pen defending the purse strings by being first to press in laying bare questionable integrity.
This article also helped me realize that the couple of tool suggestions I sent you probably won’t get reviewed. I have no affiliation with the tool industry – purely a consumer – and writing about consumer’s tool finds just doesn’t pay the utility bill.
The unfortunate reality is that I can no longer respond to everyone or act upon tips, requests, or suggestions in a timely manner, although I do try my best.
I receive suggestions every day – via email, blog post comments, social media direct messaging, social media comments, and probably additional ways I’m forgetting about.
Every tip and suggestion is read and considered.
You sent (1) email tip that I could find, in the middle of the December holiday season. It was appreciated, and I starred it for future response. You suggested that I take a look at the Pica Dry pencil.
I agree with your suggestion – I previously purchased and have been testing several Pica Dry products. A formal review is on my 2021 calendar, but I don’t have a specific ETA just yet.
I post about readers’ tips, requests, and questions regularly, and “paying the utility bills” is not a factor at all. Time is a very limited resource, and I cannot simply copy-paste every tip or recommendation, add a purchase link, and call it a post.
Here’s what you’re response should be: “After careful deliberations, thanks but no thanks.”
I meant response as in “what future actions to take.”
For the email response, I simple said I could not work with them on this, and aired my complaint to someone else at the company who I had honest and fair dealings with in the past.
That was the perfect response.
All of us that have been following your site know you & Ben are a rarity in todays world. It seems these days many people do not realize what is true, fact, and honest. There is no rule that says you couldn’t accept their offer or in your case which you felt a company crossing your ethical line to call out the situation.
In todays world there is so many lies, deception, and corruption. Its in our everyday lives from marketing, to people we work for, those around us, our government, etc. It doesn’t matter if its domestic or foreign, black or white, red or blue, or anything else. It is without discrimination that anyone is capable of unethical inappropriate behavior whether for greed, power, or any other reason , so its great you try to maintain an “old school” set of beliefs, very rare these days. Nothing but respect from me.
I am actually surprised the this is the first request you have received. Apple, Google, Microsoft, EA, CNN, among others have been doing this for years. DiverMag owned by PADI, may be the biggest contributor to this practice. This s a reason many of us instructors have left PADI for other training institutes.
The sad truth though is all these companies are so powerful, people keep supporting them and they keep growing.
I have no problem with you withholding the company’s name. There is just no upside to announcing something like that. Maybe one marketing guy that works for brand X does not represent the scruples of everyone associated with it. If you have a working relationship with this brand, it would be reckless on the business side of things for sure. I would definitely demand an explanation from the offending brand and further discussion on the business ethics they practice but I wouldn’t “out” them.
Personally, I would be most offended that someone assumed my integrity could be bought so cheaply.
So I worked for –Top 3 US “Dealer”– of a certain brand. This email is actually pretty mild but immediately reminded me of this company.
Not doing “Maintenance” on things so they would need replaced/repaired. Saying a pallet (10-20k of “product”) was missing when supplier calls to check because they got their tracking number mixed up even though we had received it. If there was a recall milking it for all its worth even if not applicable/getting paid for the recall labor. Flat out lying to customers or changing pricing based on really silly things. Sorry I cant go into more details but you get the idea.
I could go on and on. My few years at this company and some of the emails I saw go through my inbox has made my BS meter super sensitive. I don’t know if it was the industry I was in but ethical people are more of the exception than the rule. I assume companies are corrupt until I am proven otherwise.
You did the right thing. I’m a long time reader and even with content that is pushing a certain thing (I think you were working with wallmart for a while for instance?) it doesn’t feel that you are sacrificing your integrity to trick us into buying something.
MORALS, MORALS, MORALS.
WTH is wrong with people?
None of us should be dealing with these folks.
Thanks for having character!
If I told you Id have to ..................
One rotten apple isnt the whole vinyard so some things are best behind door solutions and communications .
We understand this communication but business is desperate for some when big brands and rebates win at the big stores and others have very little to go on etc . We know of one brand who got dropped simply because another walked in with a bigger rebate check , of course some simply dont know the correct hard working business etiquite, and some people are downright a-holes etc.
Yet not sure public rant is right , jobs are tough right now so by all means ream teh HQ and make sure they know the rules of engagement.
Good luck at a minimum no one will ever ask you again so make sure your T’s & C’s are updated to reflect that your firms integrity is as solid as a rock.
We love your work and always will.
Thank you, I appreciate it!
The brand in question has big arrangements with several major retail chains, and so it’s not a question of needing to get placement in Home Depot in order to survive. Additionally, for this company to get retail placement at Home Depot, a major competitor would likely lose out since the shelf space has to come from somewhere, and as far as I am aware, that competing brand does not have other big retail agreements to fall back on.
I understand that dire straits can sometimes lead to irregular and desperate behaviors and practices, but I don’t think that’s what went on here.
That said, I do understand that one bad apple doesn’t mean the entire orchard is rotten. While I have caught quite a few bad actors doing questionable things over the years, most brand and retailer interactions – including those in comments to readers – have been positive and honest.
Your dilema is not based on ethics now. The dilema will be is, how are you going to deal with Home Depot when they ask for you to come forward with the brand you are not mentioning here? You opened a can of worms for trying to be ethic. Ever thought about this before posting Home Depots name here? Think about that very deeply before replying with a “ethical answer”…
That’s the thing, Home Depot’s corporate tool buyers would NEVER contact media channels or publications.
We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Sorry to say but there is not enough info to tell if you are right or are overreacting to the initial ask. If the product in question is substantially superior to similar products offered by in this case by Home Depot then in fact their customers could benefit from an influencer kicking up some dust. If it’s just another me too product, then they are overreaching. Nothing wrong with a mfg’er bringing it to your attention.
As to the thinly disguised offer to buy an ad, kudos for just saying no. It ever ends well.
I might have redacted too much of the first part, but they don’t care about readers. They want a story declaring Home Depot an inferior supplier because they don’t carry their product, so that they could try to convince Home Depot to buy their product to sell in stores.
There’s also the suggestion of a bribe for me to do this, while giving them the technical ability to say they didn’t pay for that particular story.
From what I read, I would feel the same as you and I commend you for posting your feelings on this and sticking to it. Its a cutthroat world anymore, Stuart. I mean, thats dirty business asking you to put your job on the line like that to pad their pocket. Some companies/people have no scruples. Its great to see someone stand up for what they feel is correct. I hope they don’t have any takers at other stores they are asking to do the same thing. Just wanted to tell you there is another person who agrees with you 🙂 Cheers!
Thank you, I appreciate it!
Well, if we see a story just like this on some other tool review site/channel we’ll learn who that brand is and a lot about that site/channel.
I don’t think anyone will go along with it now in light of this post. I think this marketing person’s idea is now sunk as far this instance goes.
This is why we come here for news. If you were brand biased or able to be bought easily i wouldn’t read your content.
I have employees. I have had one of them do something that appalls me and I have taken corrective action and also informed those left in my employ that their fate would be similar if something like that EVER happened again.
I don’t think this incident should have even been mentioned on this site until it was confirmed that this move was indeed company policy and not the action of one over-zealous employee.
At the present time– before we know if this was indeed company policy or not, I think everyone’s reactions (you guys surely don’t have employees that you delegate to, THAT’S for certain) are overblown. The “company” is guilty of little at this time, other than possibly having a rouge employee.
This could be a big deal or near nothing. I have learned to keep my mouth shut/not over-react until I’ve chased down the facts–I think its a good policy and one that should have been employed here.
The email came from a [email protected] email address, and I replied, and then their response came from [email protected] .
Whether it’s official policy or not is irrelevant, this is an official agent of that company.
I checked the contact’s info on LinkedIn – they’re not an intern or in a junior position that would allow me to excuse such a proposed tactic.
I have also learned, quite a few years ago and in repeated instances since, that emails are easy to ignore, public notices are not.
We will agree to disagree.
In business, you have to delegate things / you can’t ride herd on every employee 24 hours a day. In a larger setting that could include entire departments.
I just don’t see the reason to share a peep of this until you get to the bottom of it, but that’s just an employer’s perspective.
I appreciate your site very much.
I would argue that this a “virtue signal” but not in the way that its used today in social media.
It puts those marketing people that watch blogs and sites like this, on alert that this site does not take part on those type of deals.
I agree. I still think getting to the bottom of it first is the best policy. Then you can tell as much of the entire story as is warranted. Once and done. Take your stance and move on.
This way, its a “to be continued” “How’d that ever turn out?” kind of a deal. You make a way more powerful statement after all facts are known. ONCE AND DONE.
My initial thought was “boy this makes me very angry, I need to post about it to feel better.”
That’s probably on the list of reasons why he didn’t call out the company, but did report it to someone higher ranking
First off thank you for not going that route.
Second and to be a bit positive – at least they came at you with it upfront. Didn’t wait until you had gotten started and pulled some. Hey this is great – but reword this to say ____________________ because we’re paying you to.
On the one hand I would like you to mention who this is. Now I respect why you wouldn’t. But I also think the only way to get this sort of thing to change is to call them out on it and get people to vote with their wallets and remind them shady business practice gets nothing.
I see both angles but there comes a time when the bad practices need to be called out publicly. I do however also agree it might cause issue with companies not wanting to approach you but it might also remind them to stay above board.
Eitherway thank you for at least mentioning that these things still happen and thank you for not taking it.
Wow. Integrity. How refreshing. Kudos to you.
Is there a Christmas color in the companies name?
Koko The Talking Ape
Yet again, your sense of integrity gets it right, Stuart. That’s worth something, in my book.
I think I’ve figured out who it is and if I’m correct, I’m pretty disappointed in them. Kudos to you for your morals and bringing it to our attention.
I never would have guessed, and so whatever brand you’re thinking of, that’s probably not the one.
I’ll DM you on instagram. I don’t want this leaking but I think you’ve given enough clues…and I honestly hope I’m wrong.
That whole description makes it sound like they wanted a “bestcordlessdrillreviews. Com” type of article. I hate seeing those type of web addresses come up in search results, because you know they’re paid for.
On my website, I compare the best drills in USA in 2021. Spoiler, the Firestorm won all tests hands-down. Read the full review at http://www.firestorm.reviewsitereviews...
Joking, of course. I too hate seeing those websites that offer useless “reviews” of today’s “best” tools, which are often older, underpowered (by today’s standards), or off-brands.
All those websites simply scrape from Amazon for the purpose of affiliate link clicks.
Google used to recognize such sites and push them down the rankings, but they stopped caring and all those garbage sites found ways to succeed in getting top search results rankings.
They come up for just about every single product type you might want to search for.
Every single day I get solicitations from several asking if they could pay me to insert links into older ToolGuyd content. The ones that don’t offer to pay instead ask for “guest post” placements that would do the same.
Toolguyd is your website. Stick with your convictions & ethics.
Will you update the post with the conclusion (meaning if it was a company policy or just someone acting out of turn; I agree with the actions you have taken, including the fact that you shared what happened, as well as not including the company name)?
Thanks for doing what you do with integrity.
I have always valued your honest reviews and your integrity Stuart.
I like to see businesses like this outed in the short run it may hurt reviewers etc. but in the long run consumers will know who to avoid.