Now in our 14th year as an independent technology publication, KitGuru has never been more shocked than when the person responsible for PR samples and budget for the UK posted publicly on one of our channels that they believed it was legal to buy positive reviews. The same sentiment has been expressed in a previous call with several ASUS personnel – followed by confusion on their part as we tried to explain that positive messaging was something that they could do with their advertising and promotions, but that we valued editorial integrity above everything else. This was not the behaviour and mentality that we had come to believe existed in ASUS, since it started to make big waves in the motherboard sector back in the mid-1990s, so we filed it away.
We could not go along with that way of thinking and no amount of persuasion from us that it was a ‘bad way forward’ made any difference. In light of the recent stories from Gamers Nexus, Jayz Two Cents and now Linus, we feel honour bound to share our experience and to say that we fear that significant parts of the company are no longer running on the kind of principals that Jonney Shih and Jonathan Tsang would expect to find in their organisation.
Above: One of over 30 public comments by ASUS UK PR representative reads “I believe buying positive reviews are legal”. Comments may get deleted by ASUS, but we have recorded all of them. Directors from ASUS UK asked us to send over the evidence and we did. Now, around 4 months later, we have yet to hear anything back.
We have not been working with ASUS directly in 2023.
We feel readers must be able to trust the information presented to them. Without that level of trust, how can anyone make an informed purchasing decision? KitGuru has built a monthly audience of millions and a combined social media following of more than half a million enthusiasts – because our testing methodologies, resulting numbers and conclusions can be trusted.
Posting publicly that you believe it is ‘legal to buy positive reviews’ runs against everything we believe in. Sure, run adverts, create showcase and promotional videos that focus on specific aspects of a product’s features that may not get a lot of attention in general, but they are not reviews – they carry the label ‘Paid Promotion’ and there is absolutely no ‘recommendation to buy’ at the end.
Why is this something that we are focusing on?
The issues raised by Gamers Nexus and Jayz Two Cents go to quality issues and the expectation of a duty to care for customers. ASUS was founded on engineering principals. Engineering trumps PR. When you have the very best products in the market, then you don’t need to have the it is ‘legal to buy positive reviews’ mentality. You simply ‘out engineer’ the competition – and ask the most experienced and trusted publications around the world to ‘put your product to the test’. You are already confident you will do well.
The Gamers Nexus call out:
In recent weeks, issues were discovered with Ryzen 7000X3D CPUs and certain motherboards, leading to a wave of beta BIOS versions for various motherboards in an effort to correct the problem. While Asus encouraged users to install this BIOS to avoid issues, they also say that installing the beta BIOS voids your product warranty. Making matters worse, the BIOS in question still ran Ryzen 7000X3D CPUs at unsafe voltages. Despite AMD confirming to Tom’s Hardware that the safe voltage for these processors was 1.3V, the Asus BIOS would overvolt the chip to 1.4V anyway, leading to damaged processors and motherboards.
In the Gamers Nexus video above, you will find a detailed breakdown of this situation. Asus had reached out to Gamers Nexus to try and get ahead of the situation, but upon being told that an in-person meeting at the GN offices would need to be recorded, Asus chose to stop sending emails, leaving questions about the company’s warranty and support policies unanswered. In all, it seems like Asus is trying to dodge responsibility rather than doing right by its customers, who now regularly pay higher and higher prices for everything from motherboards to graphics cards, cases and coolers.
The Jayz Two Cents video:
In this Jayz Two Cents video, we see that one of the biggest independent tech creators on YouTube, Jayz Two Cents, has also been having problems with Asus recently, to the point where he is now refusing to take them on as a sponsor for any future videos. Jay has experienced a lack of support from Asus PR reps and has noted a number of quality issues with products he has received. For whatever reason, Asus does not appear to be interested in supporting independent media who want to give honest opinions, something that can be further validated by our own experiences with Asus PR over the past year.
From KitGuru’s point of view, we have published thousands of ASUS-related reviews, news stories and posts over the last 13 years. During that time, we have worked with many different people at ASUS – across multiple departments and countries – and the overall feeling was positive. Over the past 12 months, we have felt the situation change and that was brought to a head toward the end of 2022.
Increased pressure to say positive things and public statements from the person responsible for sampling and related budgets, saying publicly that they were “Not expecting any coverage of ASUS at CES 2023, because KitGuru isn’t being paid”. Frankly, it was surprising to see and so untrue as to be actionable. But that’s not who we are as a company. No one tells us what to cover. Despite this increasingly negative, non-customer-supporting view being expressed by ASUS, we still covered their 540Hz monitor, the Noctua-enabled RTX 4080 and their latest laptop products from CES this year. Why? Because those stories are genuinely interesting for you – our reader – and our editorial focus is dictated by readers – not manufacturers. AMD have asked us to review ASUS branded hardware this year (featuring AMD components) and we accepted. We will review the products honestly and without company pressure, the way we always have.
When the person responsible for ASUS samples and budget is publicly stating that they do not think KitGuru has the capability to ‘review monitors properly’, it makes you question their motivation. That is coming from someone who believes it is legal ‘buying positive results’. We have to assume that they would think KitGuru was ‘better at monitor reviews’ if we took money to say what ASUS wanted to hear. Sorry. We don’t do that and never will.
Our experts test the products, using state of the art tools and proven methods – and the results are what they are. We publish without fear or favour and you cannot buy a result.
Check ASUS UK customer satisfaction rating out on independent website TRUSTPILOT HERE
Discuss on our Facebook page, HERE.
Kitguru says: We hope that Jonney Shih and Jonathan Tsang look at all of the issues that have surrounded ASUS recently, that they fact-find for themselves and then set their teams back on track. ASUS should focus solely on engineering excellence and customer satisfaction. Secret BIOS settings, passing the blame, removing warranty support and wanting to buy positive reviews – should have no place in the ASUS corporate culture.