In all the years your staff has been reviewing products, what have been some of the most outrageous or ridiculous ones?
Actually, there was a tipping point when we decided that we weren’t going to cover the most outrageous items out there. This was a couple of years ago, when the iPod gold rush was going on and every person with $100 and a dream was trying to get attention as an “iPod accessory maker.” Companies had figured out that just getting featured in our First Looks section was enough to get their sales rolling, and as the word spread, we started to receive items that were stupider and stupider—anything that someone could mark up 20 or more times actual value and resell as an iAccessory.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when we received a package of adhesive rubber dots with an iName and a ridiculous price tag. A quick search revealed that the cost of 1000 of these dots was $10.00, or 1 cent a piece. They were being sold in their iPackage for over 40 cents a piece. That day, we had an internal discussion about whether we really wanted to help someone get the word out about something so ridiculous, and the answer was no. We’ve only done that a handful of times since, and it has tended to be stuff that both (a) bothers us in some way and (b) is not worth telling readers to avoid. On each occasion, we’ve subsequently seen other people write about the items, and are amazed when they try to find nice things to say about such obvious rip-offs. That’s just not our style.
Here are a few items that we covered in the past that struck us as sort of ridiculous. Griffin’s iBeam is a historical standout. Intuitive Design’s iBlinkit, a subsequent light flasher, was one of a number of subsequent products that used the iPod as little more than a power source for other gadgets. Speck’s iGuy cases were initially funny and crazy, but became stupid with the release of iKitty. And don’t get us started on iLoad. Ugh.