Quote David Watson
One can argue this point but once LuLa starts accepting advertising then we are in a different ball game and, again IMO, the site does not just need to be impartial it needs to proactively demonstrate impartiality.
First, why does he NEED to be impartial? It is a very difficult, if not impossible, thing to do. Anyone one who uses a camera system becomes consciously or unconsciously biased towards it. If someone shows a bias then judge for yourself the merits of what is said.
Secondly if there wasn't any advertisements would this automatically mean that there isn't any bias in Michael's statements? The site started out as a way for him to make his opinions heard. Can anyone on here state that they are truly unbiased?
This is an interesting point. Perhaps I can illustrate my own point of view with an analogy.
When most people read the news in a national newspaper they have a reasonable expectation that what they are reading is a fair and accurate representation of the truth. Whilst we all know that this is sometimes not the case most would argue that it should be.
Web sites like Michael's are really no different to a newspaper in that they are published and have a readership and now accept advertising. They may have begun as a medium for a proprietor to express a view or an opinion, biased or not, but commercial reality and, some would argue, a duty to the readership rapidly ensures that they try and tell the truth.
What is the truth as opposed to opinion? A review on Michael's site should clearly state the features, benefits and shortcomings of a product as a matter of fact and then in addition the writer's opinion. This enables the reader to make his or her own judgement on the facts and then include the opinion of the writer when weighing up a decision to agree/disagree and/or purchase the item. What is also expected is that products will be compared, with other similar products in respect of their respective strengths and weaknesses.
LuLa has become something of an institution in the upper end of the photographic market place and is widely read by a global body of photographers who reasonably expect the information on the site to be fair and accurate and in particular not be skewed in favour of one supplier or another particularly if that supplier is also an advertiser. IMO if that were to happen that could be construed as misrepresentation.
Now Michael writes very well and 95% of the content has and presumably always will be fair and accurate. There is one area however where there is a widely perceived bias in Michael's reporting and that is in the area of high end MF systems. Now why that bias exists and how it came about has been debated extensively and Michael has generously responded by stating that he is happy to address this perception by subjecting the equipment in question to a fair and honest appraisal.
I know that we all look forward to reading this promised review and Michael's, as always, entertaining perspective on the system. Whatever the perception is or was I do know that Michael will be scrupulously fair in his assessment notwithstanding his preference for the competitors system and their advertising spend on this site.