The Problem with Blogcritics

I’m not sure what happened with Blogcritics. Once, it was the only site I would write for. I could write what I wanted, when I wanted, and it was fun. Review material was plentiful, and I had some satisfaction from it. All of that has changed recently.

Part of this has to do with finally finding some solid, long standing writing work that pays. Obviously, my time in front of this laptop is spent making money as opposed to not making money. However, I did still enjoy writing for Blogcritics, but honestly, I feel the need to take a time out to rant about the review material policy and why even that has changed.

The gist is this: Anyone can claim anything the minute it’s posted as being available. Obviously, high profile items go quickly, so if you’re not hitting F5 all day, there’s no point in really even trying, and that’s the problem.

The one that pissed me off to no end was the Blu-ray for the ’05 edition of King Kong. The person who got it has reviewed two Blu-rays to date. I’m not going to criticize the person who actually got it, or their ability to review the disc. For all I know, they’ll do a better job than I would.

The problem is that no one cares who gets it in the first place.

Think of it this way. I reviewed 172 Blu-rays for BC. Many of those were done with my own money, via rentals or purchases (at least 125 of them, minimum). I had Disney sending me EVERY Blu-ray they produced purely because they appreciated my turnaround time, and still handed that over to BC for “proper” procedure. No one would have noticed if I didn’t mention it, but was honest. No one cares.

Further history:

I have reviewed the '05 movie, both editions of the ’05 Kong on DVD, the HD DVD, the Kong Production Diaries box set, ’76 Kong DVD, ’76 Kong HD DVD French import, King Kong Lives on DVD, King Kong vs. Godzilla on DVD, King Kong Escapes on DVD, ’33 Kong box set on DVD, the colorized ’33 Kong on laserdisc, Kong Animated Series, and Son of Kong on DVD. ALL of those were purchased by me, and that import was NOT cheap.

(Sorry if a link was missed. I can't even read it in that mass of HTML in MT at this point)

Now, who could possibly be qualified to review that Blu-ray? Maybe someone who could compare to the HD DVD and DVD release?

No one gives a shit though because it’s first come, first served. Think of the time and dedication it took to do all of that, and for free. I don’t want fake comments like “it’s great that you’re here Matt!” I want that fucking Blu-ray which would save me $20, and I personally believe I have a reason to be seriously pissed off, even more so since I was watching a movie to review for the site when it went live. That review won’t be happening.

On the other side, the site has little to no care as to how this stuff it being reviewed. Is the reviewers TV calibrated properly? Is it 1080p? Do they have a receiver capable of handling the new audio codecs? None of that matters. Anyone can still get that disc, even if they’re watching it on a 20’ LCD with the audio coming from the speakers. The hi-def community is rabid about accuracy. Don’t believe me? Look at this comparison for Band of Brothers.

Look at how small the difference is between the HD DVD and Blu-ray (and yes, it’s a difference). When you miss stuff like that, it kills credibility. At this point, when you have critics on BC stating shit like “it sounds good” when they critique the audio (and that’s all they say; read it myself), all credibility is tossed out the window, and that reflects back on all writers.

I’m not sending this to anyone on BC. I’m not blaming anyone. I’ve made my voice heard a few times over the review material and how it’s handled, which as I’ve already stated, is utter shit. No one cares. You don’t get anything by writing for the site, no matter how much you do, and after this, review material obviously isn’t a benefit anymore either. There's no excuse for not having a better system in place after five years (or is it longer now?).

Oh sure, I get “traffic to my home blog.” Seriously? I don’t even have a freakin’ home blog. I leech off Ken and occasionally post some long-winded, spur of the moment rant when I need to vent… ironically something like this. Traffic is meaningless to me.

Since I’m on the topic, let me throw something out there about tags. When Technorati purchased BC (and none of the money has found a way into the writers hands despite the rumored number being in the millions), e-mails were repeatedly sent pleading writers to submit these things. I never did a single one. Letting us post what we want if we feel like it is one thing. TELLING us to do something is another. It takes a lot of balls to do that.

Am I done with BC? More than likely. It’s not just this one Blu-ray, but a variety of factors and this little incident firmly dropped me down a few notches. I may peek my head in from time to time with an occasional review I can't post elsewhere, and I’m sure Ken will bust his ass to get free games (MLB 09 The Show PS3 is mine!) getting little out of it in the process for himself sadly. But hey, it's BC and no one seems to care what you do (or how you do it), and that’s the heart of the problem.

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