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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » Question about reviews, particularly on the Café (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Scott Fridinger
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I posted this on one of the lower sections, where I thought it might be more appropriate, but I then saw that there were only like 6 posts in the past few days. I know many of those sections are overlooked. If anyone knows a better place for this, please move it.

So here is the question.

Are we at the point that posting a negative review of a product on the Café will bring anything but anger, and hate toward the reviewer.

I am nobody in the magic world. I have a couple of effects I have shown people, I have worked on some routines with some people, but I have never produced a "product".

But after 15 years of reading, purchasing, and performing for real people, I think I know what makes a good effect, or collection of effects on DVD. I have created some routines I thought were awesome, and after one/two performances I know when it really sucks (don't always know it is really good, but you know when it is really bad.).

So I watched a video, not going to mention which one, and I thought most of the material was worthless to be honest. There was a good move, and possibly a few things that could be used or worked into an act. So I wanted to see what was said about this product on the Café. What I found was a bunch of high-praise for the product, and people buying it and saying how much commercial material...etc, etc, etc. At one point there was a comment about how good the person was at crediting, yet I remember quite the opposite in the DVD.

The last time I made a negative comment about a product, I got very disturbing/vicious PM from the creator (who didn't even leave his name.) My fear is that posting a negative review will garner mostly the same reaction regardless. Yet I have wasted too much money on junk, and I would like to think that "Magician's Helping Magicians" would include giving both sides of a review, "negative reviews welcome", so they can make a more educated choice.

Then there is the Wizard's Product Review, great show, but it is run by folks that are in the business of selling magic. But they seem pretty even to me, often they tear apart an effect, so they seem to do the best to be impartial. Perhaps an online review from a nobody would have a place? Sure, it would take time for people to put credence in what that person is saying, but it could grow. The other issue is such a project wouldn't always contain the "newest" stuff as money is often a factor. Perhaps reviews of older material to be mixed in.

So, the questions are: (When typing this I decided it would be 2 questions)

1. Can a person post a negative review on the Café without being attacked? (I don't think it is possible).

2. Anyone interested in reviews done by a "nobody" with a mixture of old and new stuff?
www.JustGreatMagic.com
Sleight of Hand, Sleight of Mind
Cameron Francis
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Plenty of people post negative reviews on the Café and it's fine. There are exceptions where people get attacked for it which is ridiculous. At the same time, some of the bad reviews are ridiculous and deserve to be attacked (not every bad review is an intelligent review. Same goes for good reviews).

You should feel free to speak your mind.
Andrew Zuber
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I chimed in once a few years ago with some of my comments on a product that was being discussed, and had the creator PM me to tell me off...so you're not alone. It's a shame when people do that. To his credit, this person then emailed me about a year later and apologized, and even sent me a free DVD that he had just released, which I appreciated. It was glad we could smooth things over. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, you hear something you don't like and when it concerns a project you've invested so much time in, you go overboard. The fact that he apologized was huge, and it would be nice if the creator messaged you again at some point to apologize; you never know.
"I'm sorry - if you were right, I would agree with you." -Robin Williams, Awakenings
Olympic Adam
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There a good few negative reviews. I think the main thing is how the creator reacts (as posted above). If they say, thanks for your opinion, sorry you don't like it, maybe try it this way then that's great, but they don't always
Uli Weigel
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Annemann was and still is right: "What magic needs more than a good five cent gimmick is a stiff dose of healthy criticism."
edh
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"There are exceptions where people get attacked for it which is ridiculous."

Cameron, I would say that it is the rule rather than the exception.
Magic is a vanishing art.
motown
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We all have different likes and dislikes, so it's important that a review be constructive, good or bad.
"If you ever write anything about me after I'm gone, I will come back and haunt you."
– Karl Germain
Count Lustig
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Quote:
On 2011-07-17 10:59, Uli Weigel wrote:
Annemann was and still is right: "What magic needs more than a good five cent gimmick is a stiff dose of healthy criticism."

Yes, but not from magicians.
markmiller
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Scott, yes a person can post a negative review on the Café without being attacked, but it doesn't happen often. It is appalling to me that a creator would make things worse by chatising the reviewer in a pm. But I'm sure this also happens to well-established reviwers in Genii & Magic magazines as well. But it's a two-way street and critics and creators need each other. Without creators there would be nothing for critics to review and vice-versa. I think part of the problem sometimes is that it very hard for the reviewer to criticise a trick without also appearing critical of the trick's creator personally. It's a fine line and I don't have a solution for that and some magic creators are among those with the most fragile egos.

But nobody wants to invest in magic that hasn't been audience-tested or that is only half-baked by creators who make up tricks to sell without having any real-world performing experience, and that seems to happen a lot. Which why it is essential that we have impartial, objective, reviewers and there certainly seems to be room to review older material as there are always newcomers to the field. Scott you seem to be a sincere guy and this thread proves there are Café members interested in what you have to say. No need to hold back any longer, start posting your reviews now.
professorwhut
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I tend to not post what I truly think when it comes to negative comments for fear of all you know what breaking loose.
After much soul searching about a signature, I decided not to have one.

TG Pop [aka ProfessorWhut]
Dave V
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I'd go ahead with a negative review, as long as it's written in a constructive fashion and doesn't include lines like "this was worthless..." as it might just be worth something to somebody.

If I was the inventor, I'd welcome criticism, both positive and negative so I can improve my product.

Attacks can be reported and dealt with as they happen.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
echomagic
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If you would like to post a negative review, at least be fair and give us the reasons why you believe that product deserves such a review. As was mentioned earlier, everyone's idea of what good magic is may not be the same.

My personal opinion is that a product has a better chance of receiving a negative review if a product that has not been tested in the real world over an extended period of time. There needs to be truth in advertising and all of the kinks associated with the routine need to be worked out from performances in the trenches. People sell products to be used while tablehopping but take 30 seconds to reset. Others need three pockets for the items neccesary to make it happen. NOT PRACTICAL where I work.

Make it practical, magical and entertaining. Test it out in real performance venues while tweeking the patter and handling and a creator should not have to worry about bad reviews.
takeachance
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Quote:
On 2011-07-19 09:49, echomagic wrote:
.

My personal opinion is that a product has a better chance of receiving a negative review if a product that has not been tested in the real world over an extended period of time. There needs to be truth in advertising and all of the kinks associated with the routine need to be worked out from performances in the trenches. Make it practical, magical and entertaining. Test it out in real performance venues while tweeking the patter and handling and a creator should not have to worry about bad reviews.


Well said, and there lays the problem with many sellers today. I hope a few read this forum.
Tom G
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David Regal in Genii asked that inventors not send him any more emails if they get a reveiw that they don't like.
Don't blame him. I'm growning weary of one creator patting another's back when the product isn't all that good.
In other words, endorsements by "names" don't mean much to me anymore. I look more for the feedback here.
Olympic Adam
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It's similar with anything though about 'names' on things, you wouldn't put something bad around your new product if you were trying to sell it

I try to be as honest with reviews as I can be, it's about being constructive though I think if you don't like it
Matt Bartz
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I have to applaud Scott for being willing to try and post a constructive negative review.
A few years ago I had a creator send me a free copy of a dvd set. I enjoyed a good amount of the material, but didn't love everything about it. When I started typing it was hard to write anything bad. Probably because I didn't want to seem like I didn't appreciate the free copies and I didn't want people to lash out at me for any criticism.

That darn dvd set review is my biggest regret of any post I ever made on The Café. I wish I had just not posted anything or had the courage and heart to rave about the stuff that deserved it and point out the critisms where I felt deserved.

Writing a negative or mixed review is tough. I really appreciate it when I see them. It's nice to be able to put things into perspective. This is especially true for new releases where the hype machine is running full blast and money starts to burn a hole in your pocket.

Now, I've taken to sitting back and waiting to see how the wheat seperates from the chaff over time before rushing out to make impluse buys. I've also stopped posting full detailed reviews.
Xcath1
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It is very difficult emotionally to post negative reviews. For guys with their own stuff to sell probably close to impossible. Personally I find negative or measured reviews to be more useful. Power to anyone with the stomach to post them.
MagicalMichael
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I really appreciate Scott's post for getting this discussion going ... I am a midlife beginner in magic (but, btw, a professional in marketing and some other areas), with 2 years of practising magic behind me now, some private performances for family and friends, having read a lot of books, watched many DVDs and purchased some tricks as well.

From that, I feel like - at least for me - there is a need for more what I would call fact based reviews - this is what I am really missing. I am saying that because I was about (and I am still playing with this thought) to start a blog around "A beginners perspective on learning magic in the age of social media" or whatsoever. The tricky thing would be, though, not to expose too much of the magic, that's the challenge with such a blog. Btw, is there a section here at the Café for exactly this purpose?

Anyway ... at the end of the day, many creators' main intent when going public with a trick, book, prop, DVD is to do some business. Positive reviews are good for the business, and this is fair as long as it is not crap.

To conclude - yes, please, please write some more fact based, constructive reviews here!

Have a nice day,
Michael
Scott Fridinger
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Gloucester Pt, VA
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Thanks for all the replies. I won't hold back on items I don't care for, but I will give solid reasons why. I will try to qualify them so that people with similar interests or performance venues will be able to possibly see the reasons, good or bad.
www.JustGreatMagic.com
Sleight of Hand, Sleight of Mind
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » Question about reviews, particularly on the Café (0 Likes)
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