MSI Bullies Small YouTuber To Pull Bad Review

bigdogchris

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Small YouTuber TechteamGB recently posted a poor review of the MSI Bravo 15 laptop. MSI tried to get them to pull the review.

https://twitter.com/TechTeamGB/status/1283428189230989312

TLDR - MSI's response to posting this was to attempt to bribe the reviewer to pull it, then when that didn't work they threatened to no longer send review samples, and when that didn't work MSI contacted AMD to ask them to force him to take it down. AMD declined.

Other YouTubers such as Hardware Unboxed confirmed that this indeed happened. TechteamGB has also been in contact with LTT over this.

 

sharknice

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MSI's response to posting this was to attempt to bribe the reviewer to pull it, then when that didn't work they threatened to no longer send review samples
This is more normal than people realize. Companies obviously don't want bad reviews, the only reason they send out review samples is to generate hype and sell more products. A lot of reviewers don't get early products from the companies they have to get them through other means or buy it just like everyone else and review after it's out. It's hard to do an objective review when you're getting something in return for doing it.

and when that didn't work MSI contacted AMD to ask them to force him to take it down. AMD declined.
That's pretty extreme of them, I'm glad AMD didn't agree to that stupidity.
 

SeymourGore

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Sorta nice to see the tech Youtubers starting to grow balls on themselves.

I'm surprised how MSI went on about this, you'd think it would make more sense to not influence the review; The guy's channel is small and would be overshadowed by other positive reviews (paid shill or otherwise). Then just shadow ban the guy from future releases.

If anything, MSI did this guy a big favour as I'm sure the controversy will take him to a new tier of Techtuber stardom.
 
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dang MSI shooting themselves in the foot nowadays... I always hated the trackpad and Thermals on my GE60
 

Comixbooks

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I read a review on New Egg this guy had a complaint that the heatsink fell off his motherboard which was a MSI board.
 

Eymar

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Interested to see how MSI higher ups (unless they did the responding, but seems like regional PR) respond to the situation. Looks like damage is done though. However unwarranted, leads many to believe this is part of MSI's non-written standard operating procedure for their PR.
 

Dan_D

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I've written my share of negative reviews and although I've been asked to take a couple of them down, no one has ever tried to bribe me into doing anything. I've heard of companies doing this, so I know it's happened. Most of the time they threaten to stop supplying you with samples (or just stop) and they'll pull ad funding real quick if they are advertising on your site or channel. I've caused both things to happen, but I have never been offered cash or even free hardware.
 

cjcox

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I've been "threatened" before. On ebay, had a bad experience, and while ultimately (long time) everything was resolved, at review time, gave a less than perfect rating (because of all the needless back and forth, talking weeks folks!). Seller threatened me, and then did retaliate by giving me a horrible rating, I brought to ebay's attention and they cleaned it all up. Both my rating of the person and their rating of me.
 

FrgMstr

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MSI cut us off from samples and advertising for 7 years iirc. Easy solution, but your own review product. Intel did the same for a decade. Tech companies owe reviewers nothing.

Pretty sure bribery is illegal though.
 

FrgMstr

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I think we ran Gigabyte off for a time as well.
Oh yeah. GBT for a year or two. AsRock forever. AMD. NVIDIA forever after GPP. Yada yada yada.

Nothing wrong with a company cutting you off. Companies have no duty to sample reviewers. There are marketing budgets to be adhered to.

Bribery is a bit off though. I did have one company offer me prostitutes in Taiwan at one time back in the early days for good reviews. Things go over in Taiwan that are over the line for NA all the time. However, I would suggest the industry has cleaned itself up mostly on that front.
 

polonyc2

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isn't it pretty much implied that hardware review sites need to give positive reviews on products otherwise they won't be getting anymore early review samples?...websites/YouTubers should always buy products they review...I know it's not possible for a lot of these smaller sites but it takes away any perception of bias
 

FrgMstr

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isn't it pretty much implied that hardware review sites need to give positive reviews on products otherwise they won't be getting anymore early review samples?...websites/YouTubers should always buy products they review...I know it's not possible for a lot of these smaller sites but it takes away any perception of bias
No, I think generally "fair" reviews are the wanted norm. If you have a list of things you do not like about a product, be prepared to defend those positions. Of course companies think they can push the small guys around. You have a small reviewer that gets limited traffic, and he gives you bad reviews. Why keep seeding him? You have other reviewers that you think will give you a good review, why would you not put your marketing funds with him?
 

UltraTaco

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Well, the thing is, if you supply hard numbers, say like benchmarks, it's hard to do a 'bad' or 'good' review. You can state your opinion, but the numbers will speak for themselves to the viewer.

You can toot all you want, but if bloody biscuit makes 3 fps in crysis or whatever, it's hard to believe that the biscuit is good!
 

SeymourGore

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Bribery is a bit off though. I did have one company offer me prostitutes in Taiwan at one time back in the early days for good reviews. Things go over in Taiwan that are over the line for NA all the time. However, I would suggest the industry has cleaned itself up mostly on that front.
Did the prostitutes affect the reviews at all?
 

Aurelius

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What MSI did is pretty scummy, although I think it's important to clear up misconceptions (some people have already, to a degree).

Like FrgMstr said, companies are generally looking for outlets that will give them a fair shake, not positive reviews. They hope they'll get a positive review, but they won't threaten most (or any) of those creators if it doesn't happen. I've seen major sites give unflattering reviews to equally major products. What they don't want is someone who'll lash into them without justification, who obviously has a grudge, that sort of thing.

Also, reviewers rarely keep anything they didn't buy, and should disclose if they did. They get review samples they usually have to return within a couple of weeks. Early access helps their coverage, to be clear -- it's just hard to imagine compromising your integrity and viewer/reader trust for a brief chance to try a product.

I wouldn't be surprised if MSI and other companies are hoping to bully smaller publications into positive reviews, but that doesn't make it a common or wise strategy... the blowback from efforts like that could easily undo whatever the company was hoping to gain.
 

Meeho

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Like FrgMstr said, companies are generally looking for outlets that will give them a fair shake, not positive reviews. They hope they'll get a positive review, but they won't threaten most (or any) of those creators if it doesn't happen.
Hardware Unboxed' video and comments here paint a different story.
 

Dan_D

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Oh yeah. GBT for a year or two. AsRock forever. AMD. NVIDIA forever after GPP. Yada yada yada.

Nothing wrong with a company cutting you off. Companies have no duty to sample reviewers. There are marketing budgets to be adhered to.

Bribery is a bit off though. I did have one company offer me prostitutes in Taiwan at one time back in the early days for good reviews. Things go over in Taiwan that are over the line for NA all the time. However, I would suggest the industry has cleaned itself up mostly on that front.
After a bad GIGABYTE review, you ended up buying all the boards we tested for a while. I wasn't sure on the precise length of time you had to do that. ASRock, was the only one that was unprofessional about it though. Their rep at the AMD Eyefinity event wouldn't talk to me at all. He wasn't even cordial once he found out who I was. One of our readers who's name I can't recall asked me about our recent ASRock review at the time in front of the guy. It was pretty funny actually.

That said, I have an ASRock board on the bench right now.
 

Nenu

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Fuck MSI, terrible behaviour.
They wont be on my list for next mobo or gfx card.
I need to consider what other crap they will pull when this desperate if I have a problem!
 
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SeymourGore

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After a bad GIGABYTE review, you ended up buying all the boards we tested for a while. I wasn't sure on the precise length of time you had to do that. ASRock, was the only one that was unprofessional about it though. Their rep at the AMD Eyefinity event wouldn't talk to me at all. He wasn't even cordial once he found out who I was. One of our readers who's name I can't recall asked me about our recent ASRock review at the time in front of the guy. It was pretty funny actually.

That said, I have an ASRock board on the bench right now.
I'm assuming ASRock wasn't rolling out the Taiwanese prostitutes after that incident, eh?
 

FrgMstr

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Fuck MSI, terrible behaviour.
They wont be on my list for next mobo or gfx card.
I need to consider what other crap they will pull if I have a problem!
I have not seen this your of behavior out of MSI in 15 years, I would suggest it is a rouge employee. A lot of those guys come over from Taiwan and China and the rules are simply much different there.
 

bigdogchris

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I'm assuming ASRock wasn't rolling out the Taiwanese prostitutes after that incident, eh?
Hardware Unboxed said during their coverage of this that they lost review samples from ASRock due to talking about how the VRM is utter crap. Apparently ASRock is ran by a bunch of crybabies.
 

SPARTAN VI

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This will certainly factor into my next motherboard/video card purchase. Clearly unethical, but I don't think they're beyond mending this.
 
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