Review Freebies! by John Sweeney
People think reviewers have it made in the shade. "Freebies!" they think. Little do they know. In fact,
being a reviewer is a large pain in the ass. Novice reviewers abound—until they do a few and decide
they're tired of it. Professional reviewers learn to live with discomfort.
First of all, just getting "all that free hardware and software" is a problem. Usually you are set up by the
marketing department, which means you bypass the company's normal customer contact people who are
experienced—even good at—delivering the goods and answering questions. Instead, someone's secretary
gets the unenviable job of getting your equipment/software, mailing it to you and, in the case of data
services, turning on our account or, more likely, not turning it on.
On your end, you get the 300-page manual and materials and start reading at the installation page. A
question comes up; you dial the number in the manual for service. The service department has never
heard of you and suspects you of ripping off the company. It turns out that your account is a back-door
access available only to insiders. Make another call to marketing to vouch for you to customer service.
Wait for the company to make you visible to customer service. Ask customer service the original
questions. Then see if the installation actually works. Don't let this uncertainty influence your review