TMC labs: Integrity comes first
Many of you already know the history of TMC Labs. You’ll recall that as a Computer Engineering student, I used to read each and every computer publication I could find. I would devour these magazines from cover to cover, paying special attention to the products they reviewed in their testing facilities. Upon graduation, I became the director of MIS at Technology Marketing Corporation (TMQ. I would scour computer magazine test drives before purchasing any product. I was obsessed, sometimes reading hundreds of pages of reviews before making a purchasing decision.
Over the years, I realized that some of the magazines really devoted time and energy to developing a laboratory that tested products objectively and based their opinions purely on technological merit, while other magazines chose to cater their reviews to their advertisers. These magazines would simply write glowing reviews about any product submitted by a vendor who happened to advertise in the magazine! At the time, I was spending hard-earned company money and believe me, every penny was precious. The purchasing decisions I made could have broken the company if they were wrong.
Having grown up in this environment, I felt it was imperative to establish the telecom industry’s first objective and indepth telecom testing lab, and when I became Group Publisher of TMC’s magazines, that’s exactly what I did. TMC Labs serves the needs of our readers, not our advertisers. Many industry vendors use our Labs as the benchmark of success. Many products we start out to review don’t even make it into our publications because, frankly, they don’t meet our standards or yours.
Lately, we have received complaints from a few vendors that our reviews of their products are too harsh or that we don’t give them enough credit for this feature or for that one. Most recently, we received a complaint from a large and reputable computer company. I always take customer complaints very seriously. Let me add that this product was reviewed by a leading PC magazine around the same time as TMC Labs reviewed it.
I reread the TMC Labs review in question and that of the PC publication and I couldn’t believe how much more realistic the TMC Labs review was compared to the one from the other magazine. Can you believe the other review found no flaws with the product: no installation snafus; no room for improvement; no suggestions at all? In their eyes, the product was perfect.
I assume that as a reader of this magazine you actually use a computer and as such, you know that nothing ever works perfectly – EVER – under any circumstance. Let’s face it. Every product has room for improvement and doesn’t always install correctly.
In the last few years, many publishing companies have become publicly traded or have been acquired by publicly traded companies and this has had a major effect on their editorial quality. As a public company, your first loyalty must be to your public shareholders and not your readers. If your review states that an advertiser’s product is inadequate and that advertiser decides to pull their advertising from your publication, you miss your earnings estimates and Wall Street hammers your stock – it’s that simple. At TMC Labs we have no such fear.
We are a privately held publishing company and we depend on our reputation of providing you with the most objective, in-depth editorial coverage. We take our time with each and every review and we report on every nuance of the testing procedure. If the product fails during the installation process, we report that to you. If there’s a problem, we report it. If the documentation seems to have been improperly translated from Martian, we tell you.
Our first and only loyalty is to our readers. We know that the reason for the success of TMC publications is due to readers like yourself who depend on objective and in-depth reviews you can trust to make product purchase decisions. TMC
Copyright Technology Marketing Corporation Apr 1999
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