December 10, 2021

Not hard to see a link between these two pieces…


This report argues that consumer technology reviewers have failed their basic nominal purpose of critiquing tools. Instead, inspired by values introduced by Apple in the late 1990s, the tech review industry prioritizes aesthetic lust as the primary critical factor for evaluating objects. The reification of these values in their scoring system is transmitted to consumers and manufacturers alike. Like other prurient things, the objects designed within this paradigm are optimized not for usefulness but for photogenic and telegenic properties, a framework that finds its fullest realization in YouTube reviews and unboxing videos. There, even the intimation of critical rigor within tech reviewing vanishes, the smartphone becomes the center of gravity, and manufacturers are even further incentivized to design products for end consumers who are less users than viewers.


Google caused a stir in the affiliate sector with its April algorithm update. The latest update promised better rankings in Google searches for websites with product reviews and product testing that include unique and useful expert content, while affiliate sites focusing only on clicks and commissions rather than providing the user with added value would be downgraded. So far, the update has only been rolled out for English-language Google search where some major changes have already been seen.