I was surprised to see you resurrect this incident six months after-the-fact. It must have raised quite a painful welt for you. I've been silent on the matter of your M8 review, and of the reviews by other Internet photo personalities. Commentary and criticism of this fleeting matter seems rather ephemerally pointless. But I'd like to offer a few comments for you, and others, to consider since you've again opened the scab.
First a disclaimer. I own an M8. Yes, I read your review (and a few others) before I took the plunge in February. Yes, in retrospect I was a bit disappointed with what turned out to be the leashed style of these Internet reviews. No, I don't harbor any resentment towards any of the Internet reviewers whatsoever. I am glad I own the M8, even with its numerous quirks. I'll still visit LL, read some of your reviews, and look at your video journal.
But I'll not harmoniously chime in with "Well said" like some acolyte. If I'm taking the time to write this I think it's more useful to you to be honest and frank.
Reading "A Reviewer's Responsibility" I wondered if its subtitle should actually be either "Bless Me For I Have Sinned" or "Secret Lives of Product Reviewers". Your essay amounts to a paint of self-absolution through categorical discreditation. You state,
There is no such thing as an objective reviewer. If there were, they'd be boring. Boring to tears. A good reviewer, like a good teacher, has experience and insights. They've been there, and done that. They bring some years, even decades of experience to their craft, and one doesn't live too long in this world without developing biases and opinions.
The trick for the reader is to identify what these biases and opinions are, and to then determine if a particular reviewer's biases and opinions jibe with ones own. Whether it's movie reviews, car reviews, book reviews, or yes even cameras, one needs to know something of the mind-set of a particular reviewer before determining if what they may have to say will have any value to you!
But this ad hominem disclaimer denies the real problem with your early M8 review. Your affinity for the M camera and for Leica's heritage was hardly a subliminal message. You, like many of us, clearly wanted to like this long-awaited camera. Anyone who has read your M7 review would already know this. But "bias" was never the problem with your M8 review. Rather its critical problem was your intentional lack of disclosure
; you admittedly avoided coverage of some significant issues with the camera at Leica's request. That
was the problem with your review, and in fairness, with those of other Internet personalities, also. This was not a matter of bias, as your essay would suggest.
Michael, frankly you don't really owe anyone an apology for your M8 review or anything else you post on your site. LL is your personal site and, as you've sometimes reminded viewers, we can take it or leave it; reader beware. You wrote a very good review of the M8, certainly the best of the early versions that I read. I can't help wondering why you didn't just eschew the early-access celebrity treatment, buy the camera outright (as you did anyway), and just write the damn review unfettered by devil deals. So perhaps your review would not have been ready until December or even January. So what? You would have had the advantage of writing the only full-disclosure M8 review and would not be haunted by this apparently recurring nightmare in May, 2007. The lure of special treatment is a very powerful attractant and Leica knows how to cast it skillfully.
My recommendation: let it go, Michael. Live and learn, move along, let it heal. You're doing fine.