Box Overview leaves Habr: post-mortem

    Honestly, I’ve been sitting for half an hour and can’t figure out how to start this post. Although, since I started it, then there is no problem.
    I want to tell you a not very pleasant thing: coming to us ... pah.
    Nobody is coming to us, of course. This is us leaving. From a habr.
    Since the Habr was our only platform, then, accordingly, the Box Overview collective from September 9 we will no longer be published on the Habr.


    I do not want to blame anyone and swear. In my opinion, the misunderstanding is to blame. Since it is impossible to discuss the administration’s actions on the hub, we’ll dwell on this.

    Of course, we are not going anywhere. Experience, contacts and knowledge will remain with us. But honestly, where else will we find such an audience as a habr? You can create a website, but to achieve traffic even in 100k is not a matter of one year, or even two. You can develop our community in contact and for a long, long time after each article to answer questions about how to place an order in the store. On MySKU, to put it mildly, they don’t really like me and are unlikely to be happy. The experience of colleagues AlexeyNadezhin suggests that LJ for reviews is a completely disastrous option. In short, the Habr is unique, and there is nothing to replace it with. Therefore - alas.

    How it all began

    vvzvlad : It all started with the fact that I wrote about everything in a row for fun - I developed LJ. I simultaneously had two phones and a razor from Philips, and I wrote about all this in LJ, and at the same time participated in the competition . Even the player won. In principle, this is not very relevant, but it was the first experience of writing reviews.
    At that time, I often went to China, since he was 5 hours away by bus, and on this basis we made friends with the Russian department of the NowSupplier Chinese store. I helped them in the localization of goods, and a little illegally helped them to cash out money. They withdrew payment from Yandex money and webmoney to the account of my IP, because these companies could transfer money only to Russian companies. I transferred from the current account to my bank account, and then they removed it from my card at my ATM. However, I still paid income tax, and the amounts there were only about 100k per month.
    Then the idea came up to write a post about how everything is arranged with them, for this thing I got an invite to the hub (thanks to BarsMonster ), and going to them again, I wrote about them:
    August 17, 2011: The Chinese online store from the inside
    Habraeffect brought down the store’s website, and brought a number of orders. Despite the subsequent disassembly with the Chinese hoster, which blocked them for a DDOS attack, everyone liked it and wanted to repeat it.
    Remembering that I can write reviews, and there were a lot of interesting equipment in the store’s warehouse, I spent several hours first poking the tablets, and then convincing the store director through an interpreter that I should give away this tablet because I would write about it a mega-cool review that will bring many, many purchases, if you convince the hoster that a sharp surge in attendance is not an attack of Russian hackers. I convinced you. I wore it with a tablet for a month and a half - it was my first tablet, and the first Android device (another 2.1, which was then updated to 2.3), and then wrote a review:
    October 7, 2011: Dropad A8X - an interesting price / performance ratio
    Probably, this can be considered The first review is the starting point. By the way, already then there was geek-porno.
    True, after some time, NS first dissolved the Russian department, and then scored on the online store, focusing on some local site and aliexpress. The site worked for some time, but then it also stopped opening. Nevertheless, I already had a whole article in the portfolio, and some statistics on traffic and the number of sales from one review. I do not write it, because I do not remember stupidly, alas. There were about 10-15 orders.
    Having picked up a Google translator, I wrote to several popular and not very Chinese stores - TinyDeal, SunSky, Pandawill, BuySKU, BuyInCoins, DealExtreme, DinoDirect, TomTop, FocalPrice. They answered, as far as I remember, only from the first four, the first two agreed to send only some trifle, but Pandawill and BuySKU decided to take a chance - the first sent a tabletAinol Novo 7 Paladin , and the second is a copy of the Sonim Land Rover S8 . I didn’t really need a phone, and it was a rather poor copy, lacking protection from water, so I arranged a crash test for it - drowned it, poured it into gypsum, and then crushed it with a machine.
    Then there was the first review of an android phone - June 12, 2012: Zopo ZP100 , which I wrote a record amount of time by my standards, something about a month. They sent it, as far as I remember Pandawill. There, the number of orders was already about 100. I was not paid, but was offered to choose any equipment from their store at any time.
    I always took seriously the choice of equipment - I spent hours digging forums and comparing different models from the site for price and specifications. Now the main companies are more or less formed: Xiaomi, Zopo, THL, Jiayu. And then they all had one phone on which it was not very clear, they only called this phone, or the company released one phone and called it the same as itself, but this is the same model as in catalog, but with a different logo - buying a china phone was like a game of roulette.
    But it was possible to deal with this: comparing all 50 phone models from one store, it became clear that 45 of them were exactly the same outdated garbage, though cheap, 3 were cool, but too expensive, and the remaining two were cool, though one of them It was constantly in the status of "pre-order", and sometimes it did not start to be sold, or did it six months later, like the Jiayu G3, by this time falling into the first category. Here is the phone that was the most interesting and without pre-order I asked for a review. One of these choices was July 9, 2012 Haipai I9220 - How the Chinese copied the Galaxy Note, and it turned out a 5 "tablet
    It was not very expensive, it had an excellent GPS with a ceramic antenna, but not a very good screen. Therefore, they bought it as a navigator in the car, and he did it perfectly. By that time, I had agreed with BuySKU about the referral program, and with 300 with some purchases I had earned almost $ 1000. After that, the administration of the store became overexposed from my commissions and reduced the percentage of remuneration by 4 times (from 9 to 2 with something percent), so this amount still remains my record. True, I didn’t really want to beat him, just as I didn’t try to beat him.
    It's funny In the process of all this, I was sent to the RO a couple of times, but not because of the reviews themselves, but because I wrote comments with a small letter. Photos, by the way, I did everything myself - this was one of the “tricks” of my reviews, along with photographing and describing the insides of phones.
    After a while, we agreed with Philips, and they also sent a couple of things - for example, a BT-speaker for the phone (I still regret selling it, I liked it), several headphones.
    It was easier to work with Philips than with shops - there was no deadline hanging in the distance, no one expected a lot of sales from me, the PR agency was satisfied with just a good overview. I still don’t know if it is possible to somehow measure the effect of such a review, or is it too small for such a large company? Then it was not very interesting - a couple of tablets, a phone, BT-keyboards. Unless there was an interesting Imax B6 , charging, which could send data to a computer. In itself, it was not very interesting, but the article made with its help - “We put points on Li: Do I need to train lithium batteries?” It turned out to be very interesting and scored a rating of +284. And then thunder struck.

    “Free Cheese or Where Does So Many Reviews of Chinese Android Tablets Come From?”

    User Kpyto conducted an original journalistic investigation in which he branded shame ... Well, he just received a package from BuySKU, to which the Chinese attached a leaflet offering discounts on their next purchase in exchange for a review somewhere.
    Well, he posted it. In the comments to the post, a little fucker appeared, and in the evening everyone who wrote the reviews was transferred to the RO, and the reviews were hidden in drafts. The fact of this is not so terrible, I left RO by the next week, wrote a topic about controlling the kettle from the browser to the sandbox. I don’t know why the date is August 8th, it was October 7th or 8th. By the way, the topic itself, written overnight, also had far-reaching consequences - a year later I heard a voice in my phone... But I'm not talking about that now. It became clear that, in general, a freebie with devices for review ended. I had an appended, but not laid out review, and checking with Boomburumthe fact that you can publish reviews without links, I posted it by deleting the links. He did not score a rating, and the tablet, although normal, was completely uninteresting. As far as I remember, this was my last article about tablets, because I finally established myself in the idea that this is useless garbage that does not replace either a laptop or a phone. I remain in this confidence to this day, and so far no one has been able to dissuade me. Therefore, I do not write about tablets - if I am not interested, then the article turns out to be uninteresting. Reviews as such for the habr ended, but there were projects that did not imply links. For example, they brought to me for a couple of months only the then released Samsung Note II. In general, it was brought for a regular review, but since it was already a month after it appeared on sale, there were plenty of reviews for the new product. And then I made a mistake - waiting for the phone, I began to read these reviews. By the time he came to me, I knew almost everything about him, and could write a review without taking it out of the box. But I was not interested - I could not write anything that could not be read in other reviews. It was a terrible two weeks - I used it every day, I liked it, but I could not write a single sentence about it. As a result, in desperation, I took it apart: but I could not write a single sentence about him. As a result, in desperation, I took it apart: but I could not write a single sentence about him. As a result, in desperation, I took it apart:November 5, 2012: Opening the Galaxy Note II is all about hardware :
    And then I figured out how the stylus works there: December 3, 2012: How the Galaxy Note stylus works , drawing all the illustrations on the touchpad itself: I
    also wrote about alternative firmware and an external battery to him, I put him in a box, honestly admitted that I leaked a review and began to wait for the courier who would pick him up:

    Although, looking back now, I understand that this was not so bad - certainly better than another standard review. After the letter, they forgot about me for three months, and in the end I took it out of the box, inserted the SIM card and used it a little. A week after I took it out, they remembered me and sent a courier :( Also, the same company offered to make a channel on YouTube, but apparently it didn’t work out.
    Vika from Pistachios, if you read - hello! :)

    Tariff Plan Obzorro

    After some time, the Habr’s administration, apparently having developed a common opinion regarding the reviews of equipment on the site, rolled out the Obzorro plan in the next update , apparently by analogy with Appstorro.
    It was not very expensive - only 7 thousand in 3 months, and I decided to try how it is to be a company.

    The funny thing is that several other Chinese stores took advantage of this tariff - DX and someone else, but because of a lack of understanding of the specifics of the Habr posts, they almost never saw them.
    After closing, we used the blog for three months at the old price, and then we were transferred to the standard Startup tariff with a corresponding increase in cost. We discussed whether it was worth paying for it, but in the end we decided that we would pull it together through collective efforts, especially since everyone was interested in it and no one refused to pay for a “subscription” to new gadgets.

    frag1k :
    If you skip the sticking times in IT magazines (paper!) and the advent of the Internet, you need to start by exploring vvzvlad . Our first contacts were in the community of another well-known DIHALT habrayuzer - Easyelectronics . Vlad wrote reviews on hand tools for embedders, and I mastered electronics and designed simple devices like sound amplifiers or digital thermometers.

    It was the summer of 2012 and my hands were itching, and it also occurred to me to try myself in writing reviews. He spent several weeks searching for the “victim”, a manufacturer who will provide the device for testing to an unknown author. But the reputation of the Haber still worked and one Chinese company agreed to send its portable DAC amplifier for a test. I prepared that first article a little over a month, checking and double-checking each paragraph for semantic and grammatical errors. The article scored the required minimum, hit the main page and left for 30 thousand views in the first day. Can you imagine how much joy this guy had when he was just 16 years old, and his article gained 30,000 views?
    Overview of the portable amplifier / DAC FiiO E17 Alpen
    After such results, the desire to write further intersected with the purchase of the first smartphone. There was a lot of time, so he got out for a long time and carefully, as a result - he did not lose ( here he told why). By writing an article, I even managed to make some money on commissions. True, then for me $ 300 seemed fabulous money. Somewhere between the first and second articles, on the eve of the new year, I suggested that Vlad write the same article about the phone in his new blog, where I later wrote to this day:
    Jiayu G2 - a great price / size / functionality ratio!
    As a result, writing reviews remained a hobby for me, periodically generating income. All the devices that I wrote about in a year and a half - three phones, three tablets, an amplifier, all these are things that I have been using for a long time, which really came in handy and I liked.

    lfrolov : My acquaintance with Chinese devices came in December 2011, when I just really wanted to buy a tablet. Having read reviews on Habré about tablets to holes, I hardly made a choice and bought myself Ainol Novo 7 Advanced. By the way, this was my first purchase in an online store, and even from China.
    Then, by some miracle, I was brought to the site of reviews of Chinese devices, where after reading the articles it occurred to me, "Why am I worse?" After that, I wrote several reviews of tablets, then it got cramped there for me, and after asking an invite, I began to write reviews on Habré: Window N70 and Ainol Fire .
    After some time, by a lucky coincidence, I got for free my first mini-computer UG802. The situation was a bit comical - I did not have a TV or monitor with HDMI to prepare a review. I was helped out by a friend who allowed him to sit for a day and test the whistle, for which many thanks to him!
    There were also reviews of mobile phones, both popular and not so . I am ashamed to admit, but having the opportunity to use any smartphone, I continued to use my “brick” Samsung E2370. And only in the face of Lenovo P780 I was able to find a decent replacement.
    I sold almost all the devices that I had, but I didn’t have a significant increase in salary - the money was spent on a blog, on updating the photo equipment park and all sorts of little things.

    How we met Zyxel Russia

    Actually, this story is not entirely about Zyxel, but about how, under the cover of our reviews, someone wanted to get a free router. One fine day Ilya Khrupalov, brand manager of ZyXEL Russia wrote to me and attached this correspondence to the letter.

    From: Gumerov Adele []
    Subject: Zyxel LTE6100, Zyxel Keenetic Giga, Zyxel Keenetic 4G for reviews
    Hello, dear representative of Zyxel Russia.
    My name is Gumerov Adele, I am a popular user of resource. I mainly write reviews for mobile phones, but I became interested in these devices, because Now they are very attractive in terms of functionality and application. From your company, can I get the following 4G models for reviews: Zyxel LTE6100, Zyxel Keenetic Giga, Zyxel Keenetic 4G
    After posting the reviews, they will appear on the main page, after which I will notify you.
    I recommend conducting further communication with me by e-mail.
    From: Khrupalov Ilya A. []
    To: Gumerov Adele []
    Hello, Adele.
    Thank you for your interest in our products and the offer to write reviews on it.
    Before we move on to the issue of transferring devices, is it possible to find out your nickname on Habr and get acquainted with your other reviews there?
    From: Gumerov Adele []
    To: Khrupalov Ilya A. []
    My nickname vvzvlad
    From: Khrupalov Ilya A. []
    To: Gumerov Adele []
    Excuse me, Adele, and Vlad Zaitsev is your pseudonym?
    From: Gumerov Adele []
    To: Khrupalov Ilya A. []
    Yes sir. I will be ready to consider options for delivery, return and a list of devices that you are ready to send.
    From: Khrupalov Ilya A. []
    To: Vlad Zaitsev []
    Hello, Vlad.
    We were approached by a certain Adele Gumerov with a somewhat strange request (see correspondence). He even called me back personally and claims that you not only know him, but also publish his reviews under your name, that letters of guarantee are issued on your behalf, etc. I would be grateful if you comment on the situation, especially if this is a valid offer . I can call you back if you tell me a convenient time.
    From: Vlad Zaitsev []
    To: Khrupalov Ilya A. []
    Good thing you wrote. No, there is no such author in Box Overview, and neither I nor other authors know a person with that name. All reviews published on my behalf are written by me personally. I can say the same about other authors.

    Fortunately, everything ended well - Adele Gumerov did not receive a router, but we made friends with Zyxel, and, not wanting to write about ordinary routers, I chose an uberdevice for organizing an access point in a cafe with a receipt printer: Zyxel N4100 - Access point ... with a printer

    The Technology and Innovation Blog Special Edition, or the Story of a Broken Prize

    Somehow, while walking around the sites, I came across " Runet Blog - 2013 ". Without thinking twice, I left a request, not really hoping to get something. There were already a lot of cool projects, and a vote was implied that we would not have mastered - we didn’t have much public or subscribers at that time. Left, and forgot about it. And a month later with something something like this came to me:
    A special trick was that I was sent a letter 6 hours before the award, and I had to get at least 9 hours to Bersenevskaya Naberezhnaya, 6, p. 3 . And then on the plane. The remaining authors are smaller, but not by much.
    Helped out by AlexeyNadezhin - he agreed to attend the presentation and get our prize and my part of the buffet :) And of course, send me all this.

    This is precisely what the problem came up with - the pillow as a result of travel by mail settled down, and from the “figurine” (in quotation marks - because it is not a figurine, but I don’t know how to name it correctly) there were two halves:
    After that I met her surname from is Any Zaitseva (and we also have the same middle names, and they took me a couple of times for her brother), who agreed to send us a new prize in return for the crashed one. But apparently the production or delivery of one piece was a little delayed, and I received it after I arrived in Moscow. media_magnit , hello!
    We didn’t stop being friends with, I and a few other people from the Habr’s even spoke a little bit at their seminar for authors on “safety measures” on the Habr’s, and what can and should not be done. For example, in the first photo, media_magnit leads the introductory part of the seminar, and in the second, Zelenyikot and BarsMonster argue about the rockets after the end, and Boomburum in the background depicts a witness from Fryazino:

    How we printed a gun

    I wanted to take a 3D printer for review, and we even agreed with the creators of Picaso 3D-Builder about a series of 5-8 big articles about their printer and generally about 3D printing, but they suddenly disappeared, stopping to answer letters and messages . It was very disappointing, given that for the sake of this cycle I refused all other offers at this time. I even sketched an approximate outline of the articles:
    Which remained in the drafts forever.
    Apparently, this type of negotiation did not stop them from doing business, but I no longer want to have any business with them.
    But then I took it and figured out what printers are, and wrote about it: March 3, 2013 Popularly about the genealogy of 3D printers. Who is who?
    Then, for a long time, the article wandered to various sites, sometimes with rather serious corrections:
    But we are still not talking about it, but about the gun. When 3DPHome asked me to test the UP Mini printer, I already burned out and didn’t really want to write on this topic. But do not give up the opportunity to try a 3D printer!
    In general, the reason for printing the gun was that I had run out of options for what else could be printed on the printer. And here just the topic arrived on a hub with its source codes. I even managed to download them before the site was blocked and put it on print that very evening.
    We printed it for three days, and another week I wrote a topic explaining how it still works: How the Liberator works (Yes, we printed a gun)
    The effect was rather unexpected - 150k article views per day, +266, almost 300 comments. Contrary to the opinions of the comments, there was no reaction from law enforcement agencies, no one called and did not demand to hand over the weapons, and mask shows also did not burst into the apartment.
    But about the gun they shot a video of Nomobile :

    Opinions were divided in the comments:
    And after a while, they also came from the Russia-1 TV channel, which was just filming a story about 3D printers for the “Morning of Russia” program.
    You cannot embed it here, so you will have to follow the link (from 26 minutes) if you go to see it.
    The next day, a girl from 3DPHome called me and asked if this is the article that I promised them. They apparently didn’t really want to be a weapon printing company. No, I wrote an article about the printer itself, but it didn’t receive a fifth of the popularity that the article about the gun: 3D printer UP! - review and first print .
    And the gun ... the gun lies at home. A son is playing with him.

    Gaining and losing a site

    At some point in time, we decided that we needed a site. We wanted a separate platform where we could publish news and short articles that did not want to clog the habr, and would like to give the opportunity to comment on those people who did not have a full account on the habr. I had experience with ModX (and I still consider it the best in terms of the number of features and the easiest in terms of deep customization). We chose and bought a suitable HTML template :
    After which I sat down, scoring on all the other activities and pulled on the design in three days. It took several more days to transfer articles (fortunately, a simple plug-in for transparent text transfer Habr <-> ModX was written a long time ago ):
    Three more days - to configure all sorts of goodies, such as a tag cloud, RSS, convenient multi-level comments, links to the original article and “share” buttons. There are no screenshots of the site besides this:
    The history of the site is tragic and short. Having done it at a fast pace in 6 days, having transferred all the articles there, a week later, when I tried to do something in the hosting control panel, I demolished the site database.
    Here this menu item without warning and questions sets up a new database, overwriting the existing one. There were no backups. The second time I didn’t have a desire to make a site from scratch.

    Statistics and Publications

    Honestly, for all the time of existence, we haven’t learned how to earn money like that. Of course, we were not altruists, but in 95% of cases we took only the device for review. For me, a blog was primarily a way to get some new gadget in exchange for an article about it. There were several cases when they offered me money, but it didn’t work out - the devices that they wanted to give were either completely inadequate or were personally uninteresting to me.
    But we cannot say that we took the least. I refused all offers that meant returning the device, and there were many such offers. Even most likely more - they constantly offered me “we will give you 5 thousand and a device for a week”.
    This was not very interesting for me, because almost all of what I described was used by myself, and I really liked these devices. The only time I took a return device was Note 2, which I talked about above.

    In conclusion, I want to show several graphs from the admin panel of the Habr. Unfortunately, they only have statistics for the last year, so the peak of views from the article about the gun is not visible.
    Audience: Post


    Blog Index:

    I am flattered that we have lasted longer than all the other companies writing reviews. Apparently, the time has come to give way to other companies, such as the Marina Rozhkova Agency and the MadRobots and Medgadgets stores .
    We wish them good luck and reviews at +344. And the Box Overview team says goodbye to you, dear readers. Thank you for being with us for these 20 great months.

    Only registered users can participate in the survey. Please come in.

    It's a pity?

    • 17.1% not at all. I want to read about programming, not about Chinese phones 442
    • 20.7% I somehow do not care 534
    • 50.6% Very sorry. I liked the reviews 1305
    • 11.5% UFO declines to comment 298

    Also popular now: