Two days ago, I received an email from a new tech blogger who wanted to know how I get my review phones and gadgets. Here is the content of the mail:
Dear Mister Mobility,
It baffles me how much your blog has become in such a short time. I’m honestly amazed on your review pattern and have started a blog of my own. But I have a question I would like you to answer. How do you get your review units?
It is really important to me that I get an answer soonest.
I have been asked this same question quite a number of times in the past. I figure I might as well put up the answer in public so anyone hunting for the answer can find it. Before I jump into answering the question, I need to correct the impression that Mobility Arena has become the top mobile review site in this region in a short time. This blog was started in 2008. That means it is about 9 years old. In tech blog circles, that is not exactly a short time.
How to get review phones for your tech blog
The points below are all based on my own experience over the years.
- Buy them. In the early years (2008-2010), I purchased all my review units. Every single one of them. It meant spending a lot of money, but it got Mobility Arena going and noticed as an authority in mobile reviews. If you do not invest in your blog, why should anyone else? If you are on a budget, you can start with very affordable phones and move up the ladder from there. At the least, start by reviewing your own phones.
- From friends and family. You might be at a family event and your uncle shows up with a new smartphone he just bought. Explain what you do as a phone reviewer and ask for permission to play with the phone and take photos. This is good for hands-on reviews, not full reviews.
- From manufacturers. As your blog grows and you build credibility, mobile manufacturers are likely to contact you and send in copies of their phones to you for review from time to time. I got my first review phone from a manufacturer in November 2010. When your blog has become a brand name, you can even take the initiative and contact brands to request to review their devices.
- From your blog community. As your blog gains traction, some of your readers may get in touch with you to lend you a new phone they got. I remember individuals like Brym, Belushi, Quam, Taghogho, and others who have graciously let me have their devices for review. Sometimes, they handed those devices to me before they even opened the sales boxes at all. Awesome people.
A Few Important Thoughts
Reading through everything I have shared above, you must note something: apart from the first point, all the others are dependent on you being credible and/or delivering value to your readers.
Very Important: Credibility also means you telling your readers your experience with each phone, not what the brand’s marketers want them to hear. Do not cover up the bad and ugly stuff about a phone just because the review unit was provided by the brand or manufacturer.
Also, when people or brands entrust you with loan devices, ensure that you take very good care of them and return them in excellent condition. In all my years of reviewing gadgets, there has not been one occasion in which a review device so much as got scratched, not to mention damaged, while in my care.
You can’t go wrong if you keep these two things in mind. I wish you luck with getting review phones, tablets and accessories for your tech blog.