iLounge announces policy on harmful accessories | iLounge Article

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iLounge announces policy on harmful accessories

Executive Summary: With readers ranging in age from 7 to 77, iLounge is committed to providing family-friendly and respectable editorial content and advertising. Effective immediately, iLounge will enforce site-wide policies on dangerous iPod accessories, knock-offs, and questionable vendor business practices in an effort to help our readers have the best possible experiences with their iPods and accessories.

Introduction

As the world’s leading independent publication on iPod portable media devices, iLounge is concerned first and foremost with the interests of its readers, and is not affiliated with Apple Computer or the manufacturers of any third-party iPod accessories.

Since our founding in 2001, iLounge has catered to readers aged 7 to 77, and maintained contacts with iPod accessory vendors located across the globe. Because of these contacts and our reputation for objective, honest reporting, we have been blessed with the unique opportunity to learn about and test literally hundreds of iPod-related products. We review the majority of those products in our pages and “recommend” (B+ or B grade) or “highly recommend” (A or A- grade) the best of them to our readers.

There are some products, however, that we have deliberately declined to recommend or cover for various reasons. We do not like, recommend, or cover every product we receive, and do occasionally rate products with B- and lower grades. Our C ratings are reserved for average products, while D+ and D grades have generally gone to below-average ones. This update to our readers concerns the worst of those products - ones meriting D and lower grades -  and discusses our policies on such products going forward.

The Larger the Room, the More Anonymous the People

The marketplace for iPod accessories - shorthanded as “the iPod economy” - has grown dramatically since 2001, and particularly over the past two years. While numerous reputable companies have entered the marketplace with well-made, original, and well-supported products, a handful of companies have sought to exploit consumers, other companies, and positive iPod media attention with a variety of harmful products and practices. Until now, these companies have largely operated under the radar, causing problems that iLounge’s editors may hear about and/or experience but generally do not publicize.

After several months of consultations with readers and vendors, iLounge has drafted editorial policies that address the most disturbing trends to emerge in the iPod marketplace: first, the proliferation of potentially dangerous iPod accessories; second, the alleged cloning of certain well-known accessories by knock-off manufacturers; and third, disreputable and/or illegal conduct by certain vendors of iPod accessories. While adopting such policies may modestly limit our editorial coverage and advertising, we believe that they are the responsible and appropriate response to the trust our readers have placed in us since our founding.

Dangerous iPod Accessories

What is a “dangerous” iPod accessory? One that can harm your iPod, itself, or you when used in the manner described in its advertising and/or instructions. Though many of the iPod accessories sold today have been tested to guarantee their safety and compatibility with all iPod hardware, some have not. iLounge is particularly concerned with Dock Connector accessories that are marketed as low-cost iPod 3G/4G/mini/photo battery packs, chargers, or cables.

We have tested and also received reader reports of these dangerous accessories. As just one example, a reader recently wrote to us because an USB data and charging cable he purchased had allegedly destroyed his iPod, and the vendor refused to take full responsibility for the defect. And we ourselves have tested products that make their own batteries - and likely the iPod’s internal components - sizzle from underregulated use of electric power.

Untested or undertested charging and cable accessories are most commonly sold by small retailers at “too good to be true” prices, and are either branded with the small retailer’s name or not branded at all. They are most often sold without an explicit warranty and/or with an aggressive disclaimer that the vendor takes no responsibility for damage that may occur as a result of the product’s use. Occasionally even reputable vendors have been convinced to carry these products by unscrupulous business partners. Regardless of whether the manufacturer or retailer knows of the dangers caused by the products they sell, they are in most circumstances responsible to their customers for those dangers.

Perhaps in response to these accessories, Apple Computer has recently initiated the “Made for iPod” program, which we reported on from San Francisco last month. “Made for iPod” appears to be a licensing and certification process that will let customers know that Apple has tested and approved specific electronic accessory products. Vendors will pay a fee to have their accessories certified as “Made for iPod,” and thus their products will likely cost a bit more than others. However, the extra cost may be worthwhile to consumers if the products are guaranteed to be iPod-safe.

Starting immediately, iLounge’s policy on all iPod Dock Connecting accessories is as follows:

(1) If a Dock Connector-equipped accessory has been certified by Apple as “Made for iPod”, we will textually note it as such in our information box at the top of a product review. We ask that vendors inform us whenever their products qualify for this designation, and additionally in the event that any or all of their products no longer qualify.

(2) We will also post a conspicuous link to a Made for iPod information page so that our readers know the stated difference(s) between Made for iPod products and others.

(3) We will henceforth rate any potentially dangerous product we receive with a letter grade of F, and any defective product we test with a letter grade of D-. Our D+ and D grades will continue to be reserved for products that are markedly below-average in design or functionality. Any product previously or inconsistently rated with these letter grades will be adjusted to reflect this change.

(4) As iLounge may receive products for testing that have been hand-picked by vendors as non-defective or less dangerous samples, we will contact a manufacturer to discuss any product that receives verified complaints of defects or dangerous components from five iLounge readers, and reserve the right to conspicuously re-rate such a product to reflect readers’ concerns.

(5) We reserve the right to deny editorial coverage and/or advertising space to any product that we believe is dangerous or defective, but will continue to cover and objectively evaluate products that are safe and do not violate any other iLounge editorial policy, regardless of their Made for iPod designations or lack thereof.

(6) Finally, we will actively recommend to our readers that they exercise extreme caution before purchasing accessories that have not been properly tested for iPod compatibility and safety.

Cloning of iPod Accessories by Knock-Off Makers

A number of iPod accessory innovations are directly attributable to specific companies, with designs so distinctive that any informed person would recognize their “look and feel” as one company’s innovation. But recently, knock-off manufacturers have been cloning some of these distinctive designs, dramatically reducing the quality of materials used in the original products, and selling the clones for as little as 30% of the originals’ prices. One vendor contacted us recently to say that a clone was being sold on eBay under the same name as its products, and customers who bought the clones had called to complain and request replacements.

In drafting a policy on cloned accessories, iLounge has taken into account three key considerations. First, we cannot police eBay or the entire web for cloned products, but we can control what we feature on our own site. Second, we do not want to help knock-off artists profit at the expense of companies that have expended time and effort in the design of original, quality iPod accessories. Third, we do not want to become either an arbiter of business/legal disputes over patents or other abstract forms of creative invention, and will therefore limit our policy to a narrowly defined class of “clones.”

Starting immediately, iLounge’s policy on cloned iPod accessories is as follows:

(1) For purposes of this policy, a “clone” is any product that conspicuously duplicates the overall look and feel of a directly competing product. The use of similar materials (i.e. plastic, metal, glass, rubber, or fabric) without other similiarities shall not constitute cloning. Cloning shall not be equivalent to alleged patent infringement, and iLounge will not act as an arbiter of patent or other rights between vendors.

(2) iLounge reserves the right to deny editorial coverage and/or advertising space to any company that sells cloned products.

(3) Any vendor that believes its product has been cloned may request that iLounge not provide editorial coverage of the cloned product. Please contact Dennis Lloyd ([email protected]) with any such request. However, iLounge reserves the right to determine the scope and nature of its editorial coverage, and shall have final discretion over whether and how to cover the product(s) in dispute.

(4) This policy is not retroactive and will only cover products first sold on or after February 1, 2005.

Disreputable and/or Illegal Conduct by Vendors

Most of the vendors selling iPod accessories are honest people with reasonable business practices and customer service policies. But a handful of vendors are less honest, reasonable, and customer service-oriented than the rest. Having had bad experiences with vendors ourselves, iLounge’s editors have wanted to help our readers avoid the same problems.

We more than occasionally hear from readers who have been sent incorrect or broken products, or never received their products at all. Worse yet, readers have complained that certain vendors do not answer e-mail and/or telephone messages, including repeated requests for post-order assistance, and in some cases refuse to honor their advertised performance specifications, pricing, or warranties.

We’ve already refused advertising space to some of these businesses, but that’s not enough. The same people hope to use our unpaid editorial coverage of their products to generate sales, and now there’s a new twist. In an attempt to generate controversy and attention, certain individuals are currently marketing iPod accessories that feature illegal narcotics, and have sought publicity in venues frequented by young readers - directly or indirectly including iLounge. We have refused to publicize or permit our editorial space or discussion forums to be used to publicize these products, but again, a further commitment is necessary.

While iLounge is firmly committed to the freedoms of trade and speech, we strongly oppose the abuse of those freedoms by companies that take advantage of their customers, either violating or encouraging the violation of laws. Editorially, we want to provide our readers with the best possible coverage of the iPod and iPod accessories - occasionally including news stories about iPod oddities and interesting cultural developments. But we have no obligation whatsoever to post materials or recommend vendors that we believe are not in iLounge’s or our readers’ best interests, and particularly refuse to direct attention to people or businesses that engage in questionable or illegal practices just because they’ve evoked the iPod name.

For these reasons, we have drafted the following policy regarding vendors that engage in or encourage disreputable or illegal conduct.

(1) iLounge reserves the right to limit or deny editorial coverage to any vendor that engages in, promotes, or encourages disreputable or illegal conduct. We strongly encourage all vendors seeking editorial or advertising coverage on iLounge to respect their customers and all laws applicable to their businesses.

(2) iLounge reserves the right to refuse advertising from any company, including without limitation those that engage in, promote, or encourage disreputable or illegal conduct.

(3) iLounge reserves the right to ban from its discussion forums any individual or company that uses our forums to (a) engage in, (b) promote, or (c) promote a company that engages in, disreputable or illegal conduct, and in the event of a repeat offense or offenses, levy forum moderation expense damages therefor in the amount of US$1000.00 per occurrence.

(4) iLounge reserves the right to notify its readers of any allegedly disreputable or illegal conduct engaged in by vendors, and unless the vendor has already commented on the subject, will give such vendors twenty-four (24) hours to comment prior to our first publication of a story or review discussing such conduct.

Procedures for Request and Resolution

If you are a reader or vendor with a complaint about a clone, dangerous, or illicit product that should not be covered on iLounge, please follow the procedures below to inform us about the product.

(1) Please address any request to the attention of Dennis Lloyd, Publisher of iLounge, at [email protected] Include your name, company name, business address, telephone number, e-mail address, and the name of the clone, dangerous, or illicit product you seek to identify. We will not read anonymous or psuedonym submissions.

(2) If applicable, please carbon copy or forward to iLounge the complaint you have sent to the manufacturer or vendor of the clone, dangerous, or illicit product identifying the product and its complained-about characteristic(s), as well as all responses you have received to your complaint.

(3) iLounge will, at its sole discretion, determine whether to contact the manufacturer or vendor, withdraw coverage of the company or product in question, ignore the complaint as specious, or take other action.

(4) iLounge may, at its sole discretion, recommend a method or methods by which the manufacturer or vendor may satisfactorily resolve the complaint.

Additional Reservation of Rights and Disclaimers

All rights of iLounge not explicitly reserved herein are hereby reserved, including without limitation the right to modify, expand, or limit these policies in its sole discretion. All advertisements and/or sponsorships on the iLounge web site are clearly understood to be paid messages of other third parties. iLounge’s acceptance of advertising or publishing of editorial content does not constitute endorsement of the subject matter contained therein, nor does iLounge’s denial of advertising or publishing of editorial content necessarily constitute any position on the subject matter contained therein unless otherwise explicitly specified by iLounge in writing. iLounge, its publisher, editors, and their agents (collectively, “iLounge”) make no representations or warranties as to (i) the reliability, accuracy, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, safety, completeness, correctness or suitability; (ii) of commercial utility; and/or (iii) of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, of the information contained in the advertisements or content (collectively, the “information”) appearing on iLounge. iLounge shall not be responsible for the information or for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies in any such information, whether arising from negligence or howsoever otherwise or for any consequences arising therefrom, and you agree to indemnify, protect, defend and hold iLounge harmless from and against all claims arising out of the information. iLounge expressly disclaims any and all liabilities for all direct, indirect and consequential loss or damage, including without limitation loss or damage to property or for loss of profit, business, revenue, goodwill or anticipated savings resulting or arising from the use of iLounge or the information appearing therein.

Final Words

These policies have been established to make iLounge an even better resource for you, our readers. Thank you for taking the time to read them. We welcome and encourage your comments.

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Comments

1

This is very good policy that you’re implementing. I rely on sites like iPodlounge for the majority of my iPod accessory purchases.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 12:50 PM (CST)

1

Another reason why Ipodlounge is the best site of it’s kind on the net!

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 1:58 PM (CST)

1

Good to see you keeping up. I rely on this site almost soley for my iPod information, and have always been impressed with your professionalism. Keep up the good work.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 2:03 PM (CST)

1

I agree with your policy as well.  It was a very good idea to state exactly what iPodlounge considers “fair game.”  Great job!

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 2:49 PM (CST)

1

Very thorough! Good to tell readers and vendors alike.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 3:20 PM (CST)

1

By “denying editorial coverage” does that mean than no mention will be made of certain products/vendors that we should surely avoid?  I would like this information.  Some may say that any exposure is good exposure, but I don’t think that would be the case here at iPodlounge.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 5:22 PM (CST)

1

Geez… usefulness aside (who’s gonna read all of this?) - it looks like some lawyers got a hold of you and beat you into submission. :-)

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 6:51 PM (CST)

1

Dear iPodLounge Management:

Interesting.

We spent 9-months of engineering time improving the structural integrity of the dock connector on the iPod, and have three new products coming to market soon that use this superior connector design, and we have three patent applications pending for this and similar iPod platform improvements. We are in no way tredding on Apple’s intellectual property, and our parts are not subject to the license agreement Apple requires for qualifying for the Made For iPod program.

That said, we have been informed that we cannot “improve” on the Apple/Foxconn 30-pin card edge connector, and that we must buy Foxconn’s inferior connector at, literally, 9-times (nine-times) the cost of building our own connectors. If we do not comply, we are barred from the Made For iPod program, from Apple’s retail outlets and, now, it seems, from editorial coverage at iPodLounge.

There is a myth that Apple promotes that their company is the only one capable of hiring terrific engineers and developing superior technology products. I have never seen this falsehood more egregiously promoted than within this Made For iPod program. Apple is currently strongarming all iPod developers into a choice of compliance, or being ostracized from Apple’s graces. I consider this the most anti-competitive practice I have ever encountered in my 31-years of business management and ownership experience.

I refuse to overpay for an inferior part, of a three-year-old design, from a captive supplier, at a ridiculous price, just because Apple “demands” that we do so. I refuse to include obsolete technology in one of our products, when we have the ability to do better, just because Apple “insists.”

I am also stunned that the management and editorial people at iPodLounge would endorse such a program, to the detriment of the entire 3rd-party iPod peripherals market. By doing so, you are helping to ensure reduced competiton to the accessories offered by Apple and a handful of chosen favorite “partners,” helping to ensure higher prices for your reasers, helping to ensure reduced choice for your readers, and are supporting an anti-competitive corporate attack on most of the creative, hard-working smaller iPod products developers in the market.

(continued in next post…)

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 7:39 PM (CST)

1

(...continued from previous post)

I am trying to overlook this “policy” of yours, for the moment, on the assumption that (in good faith) you have simply echoed whatever guidance you have received from Apple (or their ‘inside’ crony companies), without actually investigating the details of the Made For iPod program.

While about a dozen well-known brands that work hand in hand with Apple will benefit from Apple’s glowing endorsement from having this badge on their packaging, there are dozens upon dozens of companies gearing up amazing lines of iPod accessories that are not going to “qualify” for the badge. Apple promotes the idea that we are all selling inferior products. The reality is that we have simply chosen not to “comply” with Apple’s Borg-like demands.

I am formally requesting that iPodLounge do more research on the actual details and implementation of the Made For iPod program, and its effects on the complete spectrum of international iPod developers who are impacted by this program. Then, please publish your results, and form site policy based on the complete reality.

Thank you for the space to publish my opinions. Yours remains my favorite iPod web site.

Take care.

Jack Campbell, CEO
DVForge, Inc.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 7:39 PM (CST)

1

umijin, apparently you haven’t read chief-editor Jeremy Horowitz’s bio that’s included at the bottom of many of his articles—he is a Cornell Law School graduate and also the author of a text, Law School Insider or something to that effect. ;)

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 7:41 PM (CST)

1

Jack Campbell,

After briefly reading this draft, I do not think the specifications of the draft in any way reflect poorly on the products your company might produce.

It is my belief that Ipodlounge will merely make it clear whether or not a product is “Made for Ipod”—as a way of better informing the customer. Some people might value the “Made for Ipod” badge more, but isn’t that the point? Companies pay Apple more for a certain “exclusivity” in positioning their product, and some customers will pay more to have the assurance of compatibility.

I for one am consider myself a pretty informed customer (as many are), and I’ll do my homework so that I can get the best product for my money. The “Made for Ipod” badge will only be a small part of my overall buying calculus.

I don’t believe that this in anyway implies that products “Made for Ipod” will be graded any better by Ipodlounge (I hope), and I also believe it doesn’t mean that products that use their own dock connectors and such will be rated poorly or “unsafe” just because they want to deliever a cheaper product. I think the unsafe rating is reserved for products like the Boombox that was fixed a week ago—where the batteries melted.

I think 3rd party companies, even ones that don’t shell out the big bucks to Apple will benefit from this resolution.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 7:50 PM (CST)

1

Hi Jack,

Your comments are appreciated, as are those of our other readers here.

As a point of clarification, iPodlounge is by no means barring non-“Made for iPod” products from editorial coverage across the board, and are certainly not barring MacMice ones. In fact, we featured a MacMice mouse in our recent Mac mini story, and think it’s awesome.

We are simply (a) noting products that are designated as “Made for iPod,” (b) letting readers know about defective and dangerous products, (c) letting consumers make up their minds based on the best information we have available. This is just one piece of a much larger policy designed to help our readers get products that are well-designed and -tested rather than ones that are churned out cheaply without regard to safety.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 8:02 PM (CST)

1

I’m actually less concerned about this, in practice, than I am concerned about it, in theory. In practice, 99% of our customers at retail will neither notice nor care about Apple’s little badge. However, at a philosophical/theoretical level, this entire Made For iPod badging program…well, stinks.

I spoke with the general manger of a small Taiwanese manufacturing company last night, who told me that his board had instructed him to kill a mobile iPod dock that they had in development, because of the “message” that they had picked up back-channel that Apple would not support nor sell any product made by a “first tier” manufacturer that was completely involved in Apple’s “licensing” programs. I know nothing about this, first-hand. I know nothing about the mobile dock product. But, what if it would have been a great product, at a great price, and would have marginally increased the choice and value available to iPod owners?

I feel like a coward, because I was approached by BusinessWeek a few days ago, to talk about this situation, and I bowed out. I already have a reputation as a loud mouth and a hothead… :-) ... so, why not speak out? This time, it’s not just my company being impacted. It is every iPod developer that does not presently have products on the Apple store site.

I just rebel at this sort of backhanded attempt at killing off competition, and, against any measure I see that supports this sort of tactic.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 8:02 PM (CST)

1

Umijin: To the contrary… As Anthony suggests, I’m the one with the legal background, and these sorts of formal editorial policies are not uncommon for publications. We are just making ours a conspicuous announcement so that our readers know where we stand.

No outside lawyers were involved in the drafting of these policies, and no threat/influence was involved. It was an independent editorial judgment made based on our own past experiences and desire to see our readers better protected against increasingly predatory practices.

(On the legal point, I’ll note that we have previously been asked by readers and vendors alike to act as a mediator for their product defect-related complaints, and have turned them down. We’re in the journalism business, not the legal business here. :-) )

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 8:28 PM (CST)

1

its very important for publications to post there policies. the more transparent any organization is the more likely it can be trusted. the last thing we want is more propaganda, even if its only iPod propaganda.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 9:09 PM (CST)

1

wow, lets not get to involved now.
I will buy something if it works, not just because it has been “endorsed” by apple.
Its good though to have feedback on products which are not suitable, ie will “kill” my ipod.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 9:15 PM (CST)

1

Jeremy. My specific issue here is only with the site weaving Apple’s proprietary Made For iPod program into its editorial policies. It comes off as an endorsement of that program. And, I guarantee that you have not had the benefit of compelte disclosure of that program, nor have you been fully informed about all of the resulting impact on either manufacturers or consumers to result from the program. Again, I think this was done in good faith, in a somewhat naive belief that it is just as presented by Apple. And, I am calling for your team to actually require full discosure from Apple, as well as make sufficient out of channel inquiries to investigate the full scope of the program, before publicly endorsing it.

My personal belief, working with all of the information at hand, is that the program is both anti-competitive and extremely hostile to the very consumers it purports to help.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 9:36 PM (CST)

1

It’s all part of the ever-growing “Apple Economy”. You want in on the currency- selling your products for an iPod? Then you simply have to pay the piper. A good deal of these 3rd party manufacturers are making a KILLING by selling ANYTHING iPod. If they weren’t, trust me, they wouldn’t still be in business and continuing to pump out iPod accessories. They know a cash cow when they see it…

As an iPod owner, lover and consumer, having “certified” accessories, especially one dealing with power/dock and cables are much welcomed. I don’t buy bootleg cables off eBay. I don’t buy “no name” products from shady vendors. No sir. Case in point: I went and shelled out prime $$$ to ensure that I bought an OFFICIAL APPLE cable as to not have to worry about overcharging, shorting and/or overall damage to my expensive musical investment. I like the idea of a “Made for iPod” stamp of approval because it typically lets me know that, God forbid, if anything should go wrong, that company, and Apple, have stood behind it and I have some form of obvious recourse. NOT SO with A LOT of these bootleg, 3rd world, 3rd party crack dens that make shoody iPod accessories by day and make Nike sneakers by night. No thank you. I’d rather put an extra $1 into an accessory to insure that my $299+ doesn’t burst into flames. Thank you very much sir.

As for 3rd party companies that “can’t afford” or do not wish to abide by the “Made for iPod” seal? If you make a reliable product that offers customers great bang for the buck and DON’T burst into flames upon impact, then, my friend, you will sell product! Also, remember to offer competent customer service with a warranty and you’ll never be without a customer knocking on your door and pushing money in your face for you iPod accessories. Of that you can be sure, stamp or no stamp.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 1, 2005 at 11:22 PM (CST)

1

I think the new policy is GREAT. With the proliferation of products and knock-offs, it is hard to tell what’s what - the MADE FOR IPOD is a start and frankly, if you can’t stand the heat - get out of the kitchen. If your product can’t pass the FIRST test, why the hell are you selling it?

And sure, there are a few product that’s probably not going to get the designation like maybe that “video player” weird kludge but if it’s from a top tier company like Belkin or Griffin, people would still buy it without having the MADE FOR IPOD designation because you trust they stand behind it ... so if you haven’t built up a name for yourself yet - you have to stop and earn our trust FIRST.

Is that asking too much?

Manufacturers and retailers do it ALL THE TIME - the UL designation, the GOOD HOUSEKEEPING SEAL , etc , etc , etc ... there are literally hundreds of designations from (K)OSHER to FDIC - it’s part of doing PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS. The flea market-haphazard backalley bazzar days of the ipod are over - especially if chargers are setting machines on fire ... it’s time to GROW UP.

Get certified. Get a degree - whatever you call it - welcome to the grown up world!

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 2, 2005 at 12:58 AM (CST)

1

Jack - I do respect your opinions on this, and again, thank you for sharing them.

In a point that I will clarify in the policy above, iPodlounge is not halting coverage of non-MFI accessories. Accessories that work properly with the iPod regardless of MFI status are still going to appear, and be rated fairly, on iPodlounge. Accessories that do not work properly with the iPod regardless of MFI status will be subject to the new policy - so, if we tested a MFI product and it damaged our iPod, it would get F-ranked in the same way as a non-MFI product.

Before we drafted the policy, many vendors had MFI opinions they wanted to share with us (pro, con, and mixed). Consequently, we have not fully endorsed the MFI program yet - like many other people, we want to hear more specifics.

But to the extent Apple will be certifying that MFI products are iPod-safe, we think that our readers should know about that guarantee. For every reputable manufacturer right now that actually tests its accessories, there’s another one out there that hasn’t.

Again, this isn’t a policy designed to impact any reputable vendor - unless the vendor hasn’t been testing the stuff they’re selling, which is reasonably uncommon. So we’re not so much concerned about the MacMice or the Griffins or Belkins of the world, as the anonymous OEM companies that have seriously been screwing up our and our readers’ $300-600 iPods by selling cheap but dangerous chargers and cables. If only every company was willing to test, warranty, and live up to its warranties on the accessories it sells, this wouldn’t be as much of an issue.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 2, 2005 at 1:35 AM (CST)

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