Now in our group of 14y Public As an independent tech publication, KitGuru was never more shocked when the person in charge of PR and budget samples for the UK posted publicly on one of our channels that they thought it was legal to buy with positive reviews. Similar sentiments were expressed in a previous call with several ASUS employees — followed by confusion on their part as we tried to explain that positive messaging was something they could do with their ads and promotions, but we value editorial integrity above all else. This wasn’t the behavior and mindset we thought it had at ASUS, ever since it started making big waves in the motherboard sector in the mid-90s, so we pulled it off.
We couldn’t move forward with that way of thinking, and no amount of convincing us that it was a “bad way forward” made any difference. In light of recent stories from Gamers Nexus, Jayz Two Cents, and now Linus, we feel proud to share our experience and say that we fear that large parts of the company are no longer operating on the kind of principles that Jonney Shih and Jonathan Tsang expected to find in their organization.
Above: one of more than 30 general “I think buying positive reviews is legal,” comments an ASUS UK PR. Comments may be deleted by ASUS, but we have them all recorded. The managers from ASUS UK asked us to send the manuals and we did. Now, about 4 months later, we haven’t heard anything yet.
We did not work with ASUS directly in 2023.
We feel that our readers should be able to trust the information presented to them. Without that level of confidence, how can anyone make an informed buying decision? KitGuru has built a monthly audience of millions and a combined social media audience of over half a million enthusiasts – because our testing methodologies and the resulting numbers and conclusions can be trusted.
Going public with your belief that it is “legal to buy positive reviews” goes against everything we believe in. Sure, run ads and create display and promotion videos that focus on certain aspects of product features that might not get a lot of attention in general, but they’re not reviews – It’s marked as a “paid promotion” and there’s absolutely no “recommendation to buy” at the end.
Why is this something we focus on?
The issues raised by Gamers Nexus and Jayz Two Cents address quality issues and the expectation of a duty of care to customers. ASUS is built on engineering principles. Engineering trumps public relations. When you have the best products on the market, you don’t need it to be legal to buy positive reviews Mentality. You are simply “engineering” the competition – asking the most experienced and authoritative publications around the world to “put your product to the test”. You are already confident that you will do well.
Gamers Nexus calls out:
In recent weeks, issues have been discovered with Ryzen 7000X3D CPUs and some motherboards, which has led to a wave of beta BIOS releases for various motherboards trying to correct the problem. While Asus encouraged users to install this BIOS to avoid issues, they also said that installing a beta BIOS voids your product warranty. To make matters worse, the BIOS in question is still running the Ryzen 7000X3D CPUs at unsafe voltages. Although AMD confirmed to Tom’s Hardware that the safe voltage for these processors was 1.3V, the Asus BIOS would increase the chip to 1.4V anyway, damaging processors and motherboards.
In the Gamers Nexus video above, you will find a detailed breakdown of this situation. Asus had reached out to Gamers Nexus to try to pre-empt the situation, but after being told that a recording of an in-person meeting at GN offices was required, Asus opted to stop sending emails, leaving questions about the company’s warranty and support policies unanswered. Overall, Asus seems to be trying to evade responsibility rather than do a good job by its customers, who are now regularly paying higher and higher prices for everything from motherboards to graphics cards, cases, and coolers.
Jayz Two Cents video:
In this Jayz Two Cents video, we see that Jayz Two Cents, one of the biggest indie tech content creators on YouTube, has also had issues with Asus recently, to the point where he now refuses to accept them as a sponsor for any future videos. Jay experienced a lack of support from Asus PR representatives and noted a number of quality issues with the products he received. For whatever reason, Asus doesn’t seem interested in supporting independent media willing to give honest opinions, something that can be further validated by our own experiences with Asus PR over the past year.
In KitGuru’s view, we’ve published thousands of ASUS-related reviews, news stories, and posts over the past 13 years. During that time, we’ve worked with many different people at ASUS – across multiple departments and countries – and the overall feeling has been positive. Over the past 12 months, we have felt that the situation has changed, and that reached its peak at the end of 2022.
Increased pressure to say positive things and public statements from the person in charge of sampling and related budgets, publicly saying that they “don’t expect any coverage of ASUS at CES 2023, because KitGuru hasn’t been paid”. Honestly, it was surprising to see that and so incorrect as to be actionable. But that’s not who we are as a company. Nobody tells us what to cover. Despite this negative and unsupportive view of customers expressed by ASUS, we’re still covering their 540Hz monitor, Noctua-powered RTX 4080 and their latest laptop product from CES this year. Why? Because these stories are really interesting to you – our reader – and our editorial focus is dictated by the readers – not the manufacturers. AMD asked us to review ASUS-branded hardware this year (which includes AMD components) and we accepted. We will review products honestly and without company pressure, the way we always have.
When the person in charge of ASUS samples and budget publicly declares that they don’t believe KitGuru has the ability to “properly review screens”, it makes you question their motives. This comes from someone who thinks “buying positives” is legal. We have to assume they thought KitGuru was “better at monitor reviews” if we take the money to say what ASUS wants to hear. Sorry. We don’t and never will.
Our experts test products using the latest tools and proven methods – and the results are what they are. We publish without fear or favour, and you can’t buy a result.
Check ASUS UK customer satisfaction rating on independent website TRUSTPILOT HERE
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Kitguru says: We hope Jonney Shih and Jonathan Tsang will look at all the problems that have surrounded ASUS lately, find out the facts themselves and then get their teams back on the right track. ASUS should only focus on engineering excellence and customer satisfaction. Secret BIOS settings, blaming, removal of warranty support and the desire to buy positive reviews – they shouldn’t have a place in ASUS’ corporate culture.
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