Since I first reported on Desktop Engineering's multi-thousand-dollar price tag for a CAD vendor to become their "editor's pick of the week," vendors have been submitting to WorldCAD Access their experiences through comments to this blog and emails.
Some report the service was free; others say the magazine asked them to pay as much as $3,995. Some say it just started this year; others report it has been on-going for several years. One vendor wrote me (he wished to remain anonymous):
We've gotten several of these emails [from DE]; they arrive shortly after we've made a press release about a new product. I am certain that Tony Lockwood nor anyone else at DE has ever tested any of our products before nominating them for ePOW [editor's pick of the week].
Another asked that his comments be made public. Steve Hannath of Softcover describes the his experience this way:
Softcover, the publisher of Scan2CAD, has been preparing a new release of this product for some time. In doing so, we contacted DE about possibly advertising. As a result, DE encouraged us to use ePOW (Editor's Pick of the Week) at $3,995 to reach an awesome 60,000 email addresses.
DE wrote to me saying "To date I have not had any complaints of bad results. This program is DE's best lead generation program AND it give you lot's of PR as well, plus you get a 1/4 page recap in the magazine. This program is really an integrated program when you think about it because your on the website, your in our newsletters and your in print plus your endorsed by Tony Lockwood to his ePOW audience all for $3,995."
Frankly, it's a very good deal. I was tempted. DE supplied a long list of "sponsors" who had used it. However, we chose not to use ePOW, largely because it is contrary to the standards by which we would like to see Scan2CAD judged.
What is most shocking is the long (huge) list of CAD companies who have had no hesitation in using ePOW's spurious and tendentious praise to sell their products.
This and similar practices are not uncommon in the CAD industry. There are many CAD product reviews which are paid for by the promise of advertising and written up using "facts" supplied by partisan sales and marketing VPs. Sadly, there is little or no honesty in many CAD product reviews.
I am grateful to Ralph for exposing this practice but I do not expect this to change things much. Many opinion-makers in the CAD press do not know what they are talking about. They allow themselves to manipulate or be manipulated.
I recall back at A/E/C Systems 2000 when, during the opening minutes of the show, staffers from CADalyst magazine went around the exhibit area placing "Top Ten" placards at specific booths. From www.upfrontezine.com/travel/aec2k.htm#tuesday
Within the first 15 minutes of the show opening, CADalyst magazine staffers were busy taping large banners on certain booths: "CADalyst Top Ten." Top ten what, I wondered? I asked the marketing person at one of the lucky booths -- she didn't know. "Top ten something, I guess," she replied. "Maybe we're one of the top ten software packages?"
Perhaps one of the Top Ten advertisers?
Something you'll never hear from Oprah: a thank you to corporate and government sponsors for funding the "generosity" she shows her audience.
It sounded like a typically over-the-top generous gesture from Oprah Winfrey. [Billionaire] Oprah: "We are going to Australia!" Australian government touts Oprah junket, as taxpayers left to foot the bill. Oprah's Australia trip to cost country $3 million. -- National Post