Last week a review of mine was posted in The Absolute Sound's website. Within a day it had several Disqus comments, but one that stood out was a long screed (almost longer than my review) about how the product I reviewed was inferior to the one that the poster was boosting.
I was planning to make a brief retort about how, just like in the automobile industry, there is an ass for every seat...but the Disqus comment disappeared before I had the opportunity, either by the poster (which would have shown a deeper understanding of marketing) or by TAS's website admin...
What, besides being slightly rude, did my own comment infer?
That just because a product does not have exactly the specifications of features that YOU require doesn't mean that it wouldn't be ideal for someone else. There are several fine DAC/Preamps that I personally wouldn't use because they lack any way to bring analog sources into an audio system, and since I use analog sources regularly, that's something I need. Maybe you do, too, or maybe you don't. But just because a component may not be ideal for you, dumping in public on that particular product because it doesn't suit you is an exercise in narcissism, plain and simple
Also, it's a rotten marketing idea...
Running down the competition is almost never a good marketing plan, even if the competition has a major market share, the juice from this is rarely worth the squeeze.
Why? Because first off, it brings another manufacturer into a prospect's mind, which is almost always not recommended. Secondly, it very often leaves a slightly negative aura around your product, which when you're dealing with an enthusiast hobby, is never a good idea.
While professional reviewers (and unfortunately amateurs as well) often compare one component directly against another, the pros know how to compare and contrast without dragging one of the products through the mud. Many Facebook and Disqus posters lack this ability. Instead of stating that they prefer a particular component because it does what they want it to do, in the way they want it to do it, they feel compelled to try to show how their buying decision was superior to anyone else's, including the review they've commented on.
I occasionally look at automobile enthusiast forums and I've yet to see someone dump on another enthusiast's posts in the same way I do in audio forums...Could it be that car-nuts are more courteous and considerate of their fellows than audiophiles? Or perhaps they understand that what floats your boat may sink mine, but that's OK.
So, what do I wish was your takeaway from this post? The next time you come upon a post in the audiophile forums and your first impulse is to call them out in no uncertain terms, stop for a minute and ask yourself whether your comment will create a more or less hostile environment and will add or subtract from the positive passion of a fellow audiophile.
That's what I'm trying to do, going forward. Sometimes it's not easy to avoid "fighting fire with fire" but it does make for far fewer uncontrolled and unnecessary burns...