A Farewell from [H] Consumer

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Jason_Wall

[H] Consumer Managing Editor
Joined
Jul 22, 2005
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2,138
A Farewell from [H] Consumer

As some of you may have heard, [H] Consumer will be closing its doors by the end of the month. [H] Console is also shutting down. This post is to hopefully clear some things up and give our millions of readers an explanation.

First, we would like to express our great gratitude to the faithful readers of [H] Consumer. All of your forum posts and emails were validation that we were doing something special. We appreciate your readership and your support. It means more to us than words can describe.

So, to get right down to it, [H] Consumer is shutting down for one reason alone – money.

When Kyle, Chris Morley, and I were talking about how this was all going to run two years ago, we knew that we were learning to swim by jumping into the deep end of the pool. Even though it took us a while to really get our rhythm and writing style down, it was clear from the first few articles that we were doing something special – something that might even make a difference. In short, we were offering something new, something unique, and something that people were going to want. With our collective business acumen, we knew something like that would have NO problem attracting the attention of advertisers and financial supporters.

We were wrong.

It took months and several articles to get people interested in our program, much less interested in throwing thousands of dollars at us monthly to help us stay operational. As our program developed and we accepted more integrators in to the program, we had faith that the ad buys would come. They didn’t.

We had a fundamental problem.

It turns out that our articles were so thorough, that the integrator’s greatest benefit in dealing with us is that they got a full audit of their operation quarterly for the mere cost of a system. That was a far greater asset than putting an ad on our pages where the integrator runs the very tangible risk of receiving a bad evaluation on their next go-around. If they faltered and received a rating of anything other than “9” or “Recommended,” their ad dollars were wasted that month. Why not sit back, let us point out all the problems they had, pass our evaluation around to their employees, and shore up their operation on the cheap? Even if they junk the system that they sent us (which they don’t), they’re getting the best independent audit in the business for a fraction of the cost of an ad buy.

Our business model was not paying the bills.

Before any of you blame Kyle for “giving up” on Consumer, I can say with full confidence that Kyle busted his ass trying to keep [H] Consumer alive. We talked to every ad agency in the developed world trying to find someone who could bring us advertisers. Promises from those agencies came and went. They wanted more page views, we gave them more page views, and they flaked. Imagine our frustration after two years of this. Throughout it all, Kyle was a rock and he had enough faith in what we were doing for three people. He just told me to keep churning out content – if we don’t keep going, then it’s going to be even harder to find an advertiser. So we kept going.

Because of security concerns, we needed an office. Chris and I initially worked out of our houses, which explains the shoddy photography. We knew that if we wanted to ramp up our article output, we would need a centralized location to store our article files and software – not to mention the multi-thousand dollar computers we were working on. As more people were hired, the credit card bills started to soar. At any one time, we would have as much as $50,000 in computer equipment sitting out of pocket. Because it takes well over a month to buy, receive, evaluate, and return a system, we couldn’t get a refund by the time the credit card statement hit, so we had to pay off the bill every month.

The office, the computers, and the writing and editing fees were all out of pocket expenses. In total, it cost us tens of thousands of dollars every month to run the office.

Finally, we came to a point where so much money had been invested in [H] Consumer that we had to stop the bleeding. I won’t put an exact number on it, but we were literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in the hole. The only reason we were able to stay operational is that we were literally living off of [H] Enthusiast ad money and taking potential reinvestment and expansion opportunities away from them. Still, we were losing money every month.

So, there it is. We’re currently exploring some opportunities in private consulting as some integrators might like to have us help them out by more discreet avenues. It was with a heavy heart that Kyle made the final decision to shut things down here. We assembled some of the best technical writers in the industry and amassed a very large, faithful readership. We produced content unlike anything else on the Web, the quality of which is not likely to be seen again. We enjoyed doing the evaluations and bringing something of value to the [H] faithful – new and old.

We bid farewell to the great WWW and wish all of you the very best. We still have a couple of articles that will appear on [H] Enthusiast, which is now just [H] again. We hope that you’ll enjoy them.

Warmest Regards,

Jason
Managing Editor
 

movax

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
3,676
I just saw this now, and I guess I understand the reasons behind it...

Your articles were definitely kick-ass introspective views into the full user-expierience, and Tech-Support evals were always my favorite. Sorry to see them go, but I can understand the huge amount of credit needed to sustain multiple boutique PCs for months on end. I told a lot of people PC recommendatiosn based on your evals (partly to get rid of me being the "PC Guy"), and would often link them to it so they could see what you're getting.

You said some of your articles will appear from time-to-time on the main [H], but will that be including full reviews of PCs, or just components/consumer hardware now?

/salute
 

lopoetve

Imhotep
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
29,470
Good luck and best wishes to all of you. You all are amazing and did some of the best writing I've ever seen in this industry, and I thank you for that. Good luck, and God Speed!
 

digital_exhaust

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - May 2008
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
6,902
I too understand the reasons.... but this sucks:mad:

Thanks for all the work, and great reviews.... I will miss them...
 

magoo

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 21, 2004
Messages
14,408
Best Damn Computer Reviews,period.

I fully understand the reasons behind the decision, but man, I really enjoyed looking at pre-built computers from your perspective.

Dont for one minute think that work was not appreciated.

I'm sorry it didnt work out.
Best of luck, guys.
 

Jason_Wall

[H] Consumer Managing Editor
Joined
Jul 22, 2005
Messages
2,138
You said some of your articles will appear from time-to-time on the main [H], but will that be including full reviews of PCs, or just components/consumer hardware now?
I said they MAY appear on [H] :) .

But no, beyond the final full evaluations we have coming up, anything else pre-built that MAY appear on [H] will likely be a preview. Some integrator sending us some up-and-coming hardware, in other words.
 

Viper87227

Fully [H]
Joined
Jun 2, 2004
Messages
17,584
Jason, I wish nothing but the best of luck to you and the other [H] Consumer guys. What you guys did was an amazing accomplishment, truly some of the finest articles I have ever seen published. It really is to bad you were not supported by the companies you were evaluating. I wish you all the best of luck in where ever your future takes you.
 

Riddlinkidstoner

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Aug 12, 2006
Messages
4,110
Can't believe you guys couldn't get ad funds...that really blows.

Shit, I purposely click on all the ads I see once a day just because :(

Really sad to see this go...I was hoping for at least one more tech support horror bash. Ah well.
 

Clockworks

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Aug 23, 2004
Messages
5,271
Wow. I never thought it would be freaking HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS! What's going to happen to all the people that work there? What will replace Consumer?

Much luck, I hope you guys recuperate all the negative revenue.
 

Brian Boyko

[H] Consumer Editor
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Messages
345
? What will replace Consumer?
I was the fourth guy on board with [H]Consumer, after Kyle, Chris, and Jason, and I can tell you that it does suck to be losing the HC.

But what will replace Consumer? I think the greatest compliment that HConsumer has been given is that other computer review publications have started adopting our methods - using the computer, rather than just running benchmarks, caring about the end-user experience rather than just the hardware... and I think that the spirit of HConsumer will go on.
 

Jason_Wall

[H] Consumer Managing Editor
Joined
Jul 22, 2005
Messages
2,138
What's going to happen to all the people that work there? What will replace Consumer?
As I stated, we currently investigating some private consulting options to try to recoup some of our losses.

As far as the site goes, nothing is replacing either Consumer or Console - they're simply being moved off of the main [H] page. As far as I know, the past content will still be available. There are links at the bottom of the page, which I believe are going to stay. I'm not the Web guru, though, so this is just what my understanding is.
 

maddude

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
2,989
Wow, thats rough.

I too want to say thank you for the many great reviews. I read them even if I wasn't interested in that sort of computer, just to see how it stacked up, and because the reviews were entertaining. They will be missed.

:(
 

Xilikon

[H]ard|DCer of the Year 2008
Joined
Oct 12, 2004
Messages
14,518
I understand the issues running such a risky but marvelous review system so lemme say kudos to the whole team and wish good luck with the future. Even if personnally, I'm not very interested in buying premade systems, I used the reviews twice to provide advice to friends and it is a very appreciated thing for them to recommend excellent companies.

Let us say farewell :)

 

Shotglass01

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
1,923
I'll miss you dearly. I read the reviews with interest. You guys did an outstanding job. Best of luck, take care.
 
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
3,239
Aw man, this sucks. You guys did some great work. I loved reading the system reviews. I wish you all the best.

Jason, are you going back to DNA Doc now?
 

TheNomad

n00b
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
33
I am sad to see this way of evaluating the whole process of buying systems go, but at the end of the day, advertisers won't plow money into advertising campaigns if anything negative is said about their products or services, and there is no point in having advertisers paying for page impressions if it looks as if [H]C is promoting their service without evaluating it.
I run a site that reviews UK orientated angling equipment, and I have had companies send me items to review but they want to see print before it goes on the site so they can edit it accordingly. I cannot allow my reviews to be censored as such, in the same way as [H]C did, and I have refused to actually even try the item out if the manufacturer has requested it as I would be doing a disservice to the readers of the site.
I have ended up plowing several thousands of pounds into buying angling equipment which I cannot return for credit or refund unless the item is faulty from manufacture just because the readers of the site have asked for a fully unbiased review of the items. I have ended up losing money over it and potential advertisers because of my honest evaluations & opinions on items (which others respect).

In short, you cannot run an unbiased review site if the items are not provided free of charge & have paying advertisers that are manufacturers or suppliers of the products, as you will either go the way of not telling the full story of the product or give good reviews because the supplier is a high paying advertiser (ala a lot of the other hardware sites out there!!!).
 

Bbq

King of Charts
Joined
Feb 21, 2006
Messages
12,272
[H] consumer will be missed, but not forgotten. Good work on your full system reviews. I have never seen any so detailed, that did a full review of everything. Anyone can slap together a high end pc, but it's supporting it that makes or breaks it.
 

steveak

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 2, 2006
Messages
90
A Farewell from [H] Consumer

As some of you may have heard, [H] Consumer will be closing its doors by the end of the month. [H] Console is also shutting down. This post is to hopefully clear some things up and give our millions of readers an explanation.
Wow, jumping outta lurk mode to also offer best wishes, and to let you know how much your reviews were appreciated.

I found this site a year and a half ago, or so, when I was starting to consider a new computer (which I still have not bought, actually...). I was considering something from Puget Systems, and a Google search brought up your review of a Puget system. I signed up as a member immediately.

Without [H] Consumer, I may not have heard of Maingear, of Velocity Micro, and for sure would not have heard of AVA Direct (which will almost certainly get my business when I'm finally able to purchase.)

There are a lot of people out there who owe big thanks to you all, for having steered them toward informed decisions regarding computer parts, companies, and purchases.

Thank you, and good luck!

Steve
 

Adidas4275

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 11, 2006
Messages
5,986
that sucks man, too bad.... i want to say that i enjoyed the work you all did and heopfully you will find another place here at [H] to contribute your skills to.

thanks guys
 

FadedSpark

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
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Messages
7,559
[H] consumer will be missed, but not forgotten. Good work on your full system reviews. I have never seen any so detailed, that did a full review of everything. Anyone can slap together a high end pc, but it's supporting it that makes or breaks it.
QFT. I sincerely hope a last minute pitch from someone could help you guys :( if i could donate, i would. as would many others here, but i know kyle doesnt like donations toward the [H]
 

Mons

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 23, 2004
Messages
146
These were the best reviews available to the consumer. I am sorry to see them disappear.
 

5150Joker

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 1, 2005
Messages
3,938
As a visitor to HardOCP, I can say that if your sites were actual spin off sites owned by HardOCP with their own domains, they probably would've been more successful. The reason I say this is because I was never compelled to click on the [H] Consumer or Console tabs to check out what they had each day--call it being lazy or whatever you want but the only thing I really took the time to read is the front page. I'm not even sure if this applies to a lot of other people but I'm sure there are more out there like me that never take the time to click the tabs on a main site to view a sub site. Good luck to all of you.
 

[Spectre]

[H] Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 29, 2004
Messages
16,216
I too will miss seeing you guys do reviews. Seeing poor helpless PC's get abused always brought a smile ot my face, espoecially when things went wrong...and then you guys were spot on with the humour, the color, and feel of the experience.
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2006
Messages
12
this sucks the big one.

well it looks I won't being coming to H hardly at all any more as I'm not a DIYer and I came to H becasue of the console and consumer reviews. damn it this sucks. I don't wanna have to go back to benmarks and this system rocks with no care for what comes with the computer, how the support is, and actually reviewing the computer not saying a fe nice words and getting a big fat check from an advertiers.

well I guesss this is good bye H for me. bummer :(
 

Rock&Roll

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 22, 2000
Messages
1,884
It's too bad that the Consumer / Console thing didn't work out. They were very informative reviews. However, I can see why it wouldn't work out.

While I do believe that [H] consumer could have been valuable to the average computer buyer out there, most joe-schmoes does even know what the [H] is, let alone know that you could find informative reviews here. A lot of gamers have never heard of the [H]. I think that most people don't put enough thought into buying their basic home desktop to go looking for that hard-nosed review for the gear they are interested in. A lot of people buy stuff just because it's cheap, not because they know what they are paying for. However, the hardware enthusiast is just the opposite.

Hardware enthusiasts seek out that good review that tells them objectively what is king and what is crap. The [H] started out as a site catering to the hardware enthusiast and IMO, hardware enthusiasts are the only dependable viewer base here. [H] consumer may have set out with the objective of informing the average consumer, but what we might have seen here is that the average consumer doesn't care to be informed. Otherwise, the advertising money would have come flowing in. (In theory anyhow)

I can't blame Kyle and Co from trying to expand. Every good business needs to do that. I'm thankful for the tireless effort that is put into the [H]. While every endeavor can't be a success, I'm sure that good things are still to come here at the [H].
 

FighterAce124

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 5, 2006
Messages
2,665
This is a shame, but (as you know) your work was (and is) greatly appreciated. I loved reading about the new things every time I saw them, I've wasted many an hour reading what was put in Consumer. Thank you for all the hard work and dedication.
 

jmackay

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 23, 2006
Messages
3,928
Going to miss all of the awesome reviews you guys do :(. You've helped me, and a ton of people who I've recommended to read the articles you guys wrote.
 

SamuraiInBlack

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 10, 2003
Messages
5,722
[H] Consumer raised the bar in pre-made computers. More importantly, it raised the bar in consumer experience. Why a company would want to cheat you out of ad revenue is beyond me. I mean...a quality product getting a good review means more money for them! It's only right to give Caesar his due.

I guess however, that would require being an honest person, and honesty is not a mandatory trait in business anymore it seems.

Still, I do have to say this much - you did bring a lot to light in regards to the good, the bad, and the ugly about every computer that graced your articles. And that in itself proves to be more valuable than the garbage reviews you can find anywhere else. It's good to see that the bar in reviews and evaluations has been raised elsewhere, but to be honest, I really don't think any of them will be as thorough or brutally honest as [H] Consumer was. I hope that I am proven wrong on that someday. I hope one day the only (and every) review you can find on a product is exactly like an [H] Consumer evaluation. it will only push manufacturers to put out a better product, and make the competition just that much better. The consumer wins in the end.

Hell, does anyone read Consumer Reports? Are they even as thorough as that?

Honestly though...I won't be recommending anymore pre-built machine companies anymore. Not out of spite for the companies that have ruined this dream, but because in all honesty, if I can't get a full evaluation as thorough as [H] Consumer was...there's really no evidence to back up my knowing on whether or not company A is better than company B, or why Company C should be taken into consideration, or why machine A is a bad choice over machine B. Sure, past evaluations that have been made speak volumes...but what really needs to be known is, how are these companies doing lately? So to that end...no more. I would rather pick the slack up again of the sheer mayhem of playing computer tech for everyone around me building systems for them, rather than dump off a pre-made solution that's got a 50/50 chance of being a lemon.
 

DoomRulz

Gawd
Joined
Apr 17, 2006
Messages
512
Man this bites! :( I will miss you guys. You are real industry leaders (industry meaning web-based journalism)...you don't deserve this.

May God guide you come whatever may. God bless you all! :)
 

-Axiom-

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 28, 2006
Messages
1,736
I never really gave it a thought until now...
[H] always has some of the best reviews, I read it daily.
I have never bought a oem system and never will, but I always enjoyed the articles.
It really is too bad, we all are losing a great source of quality information.

It just looks like another example that honesty and integrity doesn't pay the bills. :(
 

FrEaKy

[H] Movie and TV Show Review Guy
Joined
Jan 31, 2003
Messages
13,666
Thank you for being with this side of our community for so long. I myself appreciated the articles and really enjoyed reading them. We will miss this side of the [H]
 
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