Our Meeting with Huntkey
By Gabriel Torres on January 20, 2012 - 5:35 PM
During this CES, we had the opportunity to sit down and have a private meeting with Huntkey’s president, Mr. Lewis, to clarify all the problems that we had with Huntkey in the past. As it turned out, Mr. Lewis is a very humble, sophisticated, and open-minded person, and all issues we had with his company were a big misunderstanding – from both sides. I am glad to say they are now a thing of the past.
Huntkey thought that I and my websites (Hardware Secrets in the United States and Clube do Hardware in Brazil) were biased because we decided to expose the problem of its Green Star power supply series that can’t deliver their labeled wattage, yet not exposing other brands that have the same kind of issue. This, of course, couldn’t be farther from the truth. What happens is that we test many local brands on my Brazilian website, but these reviews aren’t posted on Hardware Secrets for obvious reasons. Since the people at Huntkey can’t read Brazilian Portuguese, they would come to Hardware Secrets and not find such reviews; they thought we were not posting “bad” reviews for other brands. (Sometimes manufacturers think that both websites are located in Brazil and targeted to Brazilians. Just to clarify, I live in the U.S. and Hardware Secrets is a U.S. company.) In fact, on Clube do Hardware we even created a special “award” for power supplies that can damage your PC: the “Bomb Award.” A complete list of these power supplies can be seen here. On YouTube, we have a channel with several videos of these power supplies exploding.
We are proud to be very well-known for exposing products that can’t perform as expected, being open and very vocal in defending that all publications should have the same policy. However, we know of several websites that simply won’t post negative reviews, as they think manufacturers won’t advertise on them if they do. Some will even take money to post favorable reviews, or take down reviews if the manufacturer complains. How are users supposed to trust websites that say only positive things about all the products they review and take down negative reviews? The most important asset a news outlet has is its reputation; that cannot be bought. Once a publication loses its reputation, there is no turning back. In fact, from our experience, most manufacturers understand that they will get bad press from time to time. They also understand that if a publication detects a flaw in a product, instead of blaming the publication, they should go back to their R&D team, check to see if there really is a problem, and fix it. On the other hand, editors can’t simply say negative things just because they feel like doing so. Each criticism must be backed by enough evidence that there is, in fact, a problem. Editors must be humble enough to edit their reviews when the problem was on their side, and then update the review once the flaw was fixed.
In all of the 15 years that I’ve been running hardware-reviewing websites, there have been very few companies that decided to blame us for negative reviews. ASUS was one, with their local representative in Brazil responding to our allegations in a certain review that “our product doesn’t have a flaw, because our products are the best and everybody knows it.” How can you argue with someone like this? Thankfully, we don’t have to deal with this person anymore.
Then there was a local Brazilian brand that got a 400 W CWT unit, labeled it as 600 W, put on a fake 80 Plus logo, and then went nuts when we exposed it, telling their clients that we were completely wrong and biased. Fortunately, readers complained so much about them that they finally decided to start labeling their products with their true wattage.
Another time, there was a completely unknown Chinese manufacturer that was behind a local brand in Brazil that was accusing us of getting money from its competitors to post the review showing that the product couldn’t deliver its labeled wattage. My answer to the Brazilian company was simple. I have a video here with your power supply exploding. Simply ask them for a video with the power supply delivering the labeled wattage. They never did. Instead, they sent a photo of the over power protection (OPP) test performed by their load tester, showing the unit’s labeled wattage on the display. Can you believe this? They labeled their power supply with the trigger wattage of the over power protection circuit, which is always way above the unit’s real wattage.
And then there was Huntkey.
Talking to Huntkey’s president, it is now clear that the whole mess was ignited by Huntkey’s distributor in Brazil. According to Mr. Lewis, the distributor told him, “How can I compete in this market where there are power supplies labeled with higher wattages selling for less?” This kind of mentality is what makes the Brazilian market have so much junk being sold, and I couldn’t disagree more. Just because some people sell junk from unknown brands doesn’t mean that you have to make your products compete with this junk. By selling products with fake specifications, the company’s reputation goes down the drain. Unfortunately, by trusting a local distributor with the wrong kind of mentality, Huntkey did something that hurt its image.
To make things worse, in Brazil, people would sell Huntkey’s low-end power supplies as if they were high-end products. Low-end products are not necessarily bad products, as long as you know their benefits (lower price) and limitations (lower efficiency, for example). The problem is when you buy a Jetta expecting to have the performance of a Ferrari.
I was surprised to hear from Mr. Lewis that he not only completely agrees with my point of view, but he also wants my personal advice on how to better serve the market.
Finally, there was the situation in which I accused Huntkey of trying to bribe me. That was my bad. You see, they don’t speak English very well, and I got things mixed up as we got lost in the translation. (Our entire meeting was in Chinese, with the help of our business associate who is fluent in this language.) They truly wanted to advertise on Clube do Hardware, but this had absolutely nothing to do with the bad reviews. From the way the message was written, however, I assumed otherwise. All they wanted was to talk to know me better, and to better understand my background and the future plans for the websites.
That is why it is so important to have face-to-face meetings, as virtual communications can blow things out of proportion.
I want to thank Mr. Lewis for spending so many hours with us, and I hope this is the beginning of a long and positive relationship between us.