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#157308 - 02/02/07 07:42 AM Disturbing Conduct by SVS
jakeman Offline

Registered: 10/03/05
Posts: 853
Loc: Toronto
Many people here also own or know someone who has bought an SVS sub. I own several subs including an SVS PC12-Ultra which I purchased before myEP600s. SVS has been known to be a hyperaggressive marketer but this post by Clint DeBoer raises serious questions about business practices and ethical behaviour at SVS. To me it also explains the concerted attacks on Axiom's new EP subs in the fall of 2005. Reading this post it looks like their attacks against Axiom have continued at Audioholics. I'd like to thank Gene and Clint at Audioholics for raising the bar by kicking out SVS as an advertiser. Maybe SVS will change there ways before further damaging their brand image by these outrageous guerrilla marketing tactics.

Why We Fired SVS as an Advertiser


Several things have gone on in the past few weeks that have caused us to think about what's important to us and how we want to treat the forum community. One thing that we have realized is that at some point, when people take advantage and do not heed implied requests and basic etiquette you have to make a decision.

SVS has been an advertiser at Audioholics for some time. We like their products and continute to believe they make some of the cheapest subs out there with a good "bang for the buck" factor. Regardless of not allowing them to advertise, this has nothing to do with them as a manuafacturer.

As a company, however, their marketing methods have gotten out of control - at least on our site. If you'll notice, there is likely not a single subwoofer thread on this forum that doesn't have people talking about SVS. There is a reason for this and it has to do with the marketing methods of SVS as a company. They freely admitted to us that forum participation of their staff and SVS owners is the driving force behind their marketing strategy. This is actually kind of intelligent - until it is abused.

It is being abused on our site - to the point that we were being told that attempting to keep review threads on topic for non-SVS products was basically unacceptable behavior on our part. We were being told how to behave on our own site.

We attempted to let it go and redirect threads as needed, but a recent discussion made it clear that this was unacceptable. We STILL were going to quietly let them go on their way until a recent post appeared on our forums regurgitating the exact conversation SVS had with Gene recently.

Originally Posted by Sjmarcy
I just joined this forum, and read a few threads. I note the declaration: "Where audio and video equipment undergoes rigorous objective and subjective tests by our staff, ensuring that marketing slogans aren't the only guidelines for your home theater choices"....yet I see the President posting encoutgement for Axiom products, a site advertiser. Hmmm. And another post where a member was called a fanboy by an Audioholic staff member on a different matter?

What's up with the difference between this sort of thing and the Forum's written mission statement?

Note the post count. This was written by someone who had a direct conversation with our contact at SVS. That pretty much did it for us.

As a result we have fired SVS as an advertiser and will enforce the following forum rules:

We will not ban SVS threads about SVS products - they make some cool subs, so people are free to talk about them as they'd like - in their own threads.
All SVS employees have been banned from the website.
We will not allow SVS posts in non-SVS review threads. I'm sorry, but it has come down to this.
Any critiques of this policy should be done via PM, not on the forums. We took a long time to come to this conclusion and we were willing to lose a lot of monthly income over this in order to make sure we don't allow our forums to become a marketing tool for a single advertiser. We are not the first (or likely last) website to enforce similar rules.
Thanks for your understanding. We hate making stuff like this public, but it seemed we were given no choice in the matter.
Clint DeBoer
Editor in Chief

#157309 - 02/02/07 08:10 AM Re: Disturbing Conduct by SVS [Re: jakeman]
RickF Offline

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 5210
Loc: Vero Beach, Florida
Thanks John ... I've always thought the way SVS seemed to get integrated into most any thread on that site regarding subwoofers was induced by sly SVS marketing.

Makes me very glad that I own Axioms.
Our Room


#157310 - 02/02/07 09:15 AM Re: Disturbing Conduct by SVS [Re: RickF]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16418
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Coincidentally, I just sold my SVS today. I'm extremely happy with my EP500, so this news makes it that much easier to say goodbye.
I can explain it to you but I can't understand it for you.

#157311 - 02/02/07 10:19 AM Re: Disturbing Conduct by SVS [Re: RickF]
jakeman Offline

Registered: 10/03/05
Posts: 853
Loc: Toronto
Hi Rick. I post at AVS and have had my share of attacks by SVS plants and fanboys when I pointed out the positive characteristics of other subs like the EP500/600, Velodyne, Hsu and other manufacturers but this is the first real evidence about how its been part of a concerted marketing plan to disrupt threads, spread misinformation and influence buyers. Nasty business practice if you ask me and highly unethical. I won't buy any more SVS products and as a matter of course I don't buy products from unethical companies.

#157312 - 02/02/07 10:56 AM Re: Disturbing Conduct by SVS [Re: jakeman]
Lorenzo1000 Offline

Registered: 02/07/04
Posts: 537
Loc: Winterpeg
After reading the original post from Jakeman I browsed over to Audioholics and started reading some of the old Axiom threads. Some of the posts are just downright funny. People bashing axiom and other subs in favour of SVS even though they have never heard one. There are a lot of banned posters in those forums now.
2xM80 VP180 2xQS8 2xM3 HSU STF3 LG 60PS11 Denon 3808 ATI 1506 LCR 2xATI 1502 Oppo BDP-83

#157313 - 02/02/07 11:20 AM Re: Disturbing Conduct by SVS [Re: Lorenzo1000]
Hutzal Offline

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 2102
Loc: Hollywood. (Canadian @ <3)
I originally WAS going to purchase SVS on my sub hunt, but I am more than happy to purchase the EP500 from a company that is ethical and doesn't have unethical business practice just to get a lead in the market share.

Word of mouth is the greatest advertising tool, Axiom has a great reputation with me (especially delivering my speakers 2 weeks ahead of schedule!) and I have already hooked a friend of mine into the Axioms, he is looking forward to the day he will own M22s and an EP500.

hmmmm, think Axiom is so great because they are Canadian?
Producer | Composer

#157314 - 02/02/07 01:16 PM Re: Disturbing Conduct by SVS [Re: Hutzal]
BrenR Offline

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 3602
Loc: Winnipeg MB Canada
If you can't stand on your laurels, reduce yourself to guerilla marketing.

Around here, the second a sub of any manufacturer is mentioned, all the possibilities from all manufacturers are discussed. Just such a different feeling, very laid back around here, but I guess that happens when even if you never sell another subwoofer, you still have award-winning floorstanders & bookshelves, centres and surrounds in both cabinet and in-wall applications.

Just sick how the most balanced discussion happens on a manufacturer's site, where you'd expect the most fanboyism.

Bren R.

#157315 - 02/02/07 01:38 PM Re: Disturbing Conduct by SVS [Re: jakeman]
PeterChenoweth Offline

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
Quite a sorry situation, but this is what can happen when a company decides that it wants to 'adverblog' itself.

Sounds like a few of their people got a little bit overzealous and went a bit too far. It's really a shame, as SVS does make great subs (not that I'm biased ), and publicity like this can be a killer for an internet-only retailer.

Can't we all just get along and focus our bashing at Bose?

Actually I have 4 days left on my 30-day return policy on my SVS - maybe I should return it with the reason that I don't like their business practices!

Edited by PeterChenoweth (02/02/07 01:40 PM)
M80v2 | VP150v2 | QS8v2
SVS Pci+ 20-39
Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
M22ti + T-Amp, in the Office

#157316 - 02/02/07 01:41 PM Re: Disturbing Conduct by SVS [Re: BrenR]
spiffnme Offline

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5222
Loc: Los Angeles
Makes you like it around here even more doesn't it? I'm notorious for suggesting Hsu subs on these boards - even now that I own an EP500! (which I love btw)

The fact that I'm not scolded for continually offering up a Hsu subwoofer to newbs here says a lot about Axiom. They know they've got terrific products, and they know that other companies do as well. Depending on the particular need of the buyer, sometimes their products make the most sense, other times it's the competition. Being honest and open about your products and business is the best way towards long-term success.

Cheers to Axiom for understanding that. The rest of them will suffer the fate they bring upon themselves. SVS is a good example.
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

#157317 - 02/02/07 01:51 PM Re: Disturbing Conduct by SVS [Re: BrenR]
Ajax Offline

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 6319
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio

If you can't stand on your laurels, reduce yourself to guerilla marketing.

The funny thing is, SVS makes a worthwhile product. If they made crap, I could understand behavior like this, but they don't make crap.


Just sick how the most balanced discussion happens on a manufacturer's site, where you'd expect the most fanboyism.

WOW! What an interesting observation. I hadn't thought about it 'til you mentioned it, but I think you're right.

A thread similar to this one was begun over at the AVS forum, and moderator David Bott closed it with the following comments which I found interesting.

"This is like beating a dead house [sic] and I am an animal lover.

We have been down this road before, even here on AVS we have had to clamp down on the SVS threads from being made left and right. This is not a new thing at all, just same same old issue that has been made before but on another site. Other companies that are internet sales based have had similar issues here and elsewhere.

This is why you see that thread stuck at the top of the section that was made way back in 11/04...

Issues like this are made when a company chooses to use forums such as this to drive sales from within posts. And they may not even do it directly, but from the users of their products. Companies like this actually own their existence to sites like this. SVS was started by forum members who were helping the do-it-yourself person. They have done quite well.

I myself have used SVS subs, owned and loved the Twin Ultras and was even published saying so in Audio Video Interiors Magazine. I have even helped defend SVS defend from other members just looking to attack them. Ron was even at the 2006 AVS Forum party at CEDIA. (See attached, he is the one in the white shirt. No, not the one on the far right in white, but the one with the big smile.)

Companies in general should not expect to use sites like this to drive sales directly via employees or by asking it's consumers to help. This site and others are only able to operate for it's members based on the ad sales on the site. Thus we have RULES about not allowing direct marketing posts to be made. We have been told outright 'why should I buy ads when I can just ask our customers to promote me?'. NOTE: We were NOT told this by SVS. But it does go to show how an issue can, and does, get made.

All in all we will now close this thread so move on and go enjoy some music or movies. In other words, take it elsewhere please. For at this point SVS has not been an issue as of late here but does know where we stand as a support site. I personally have no reason to not think that it is part of their marketing plan to use forum sites to market directly within posts. I also have no reason to discount this was told to the guys at Audiholics by someone at SVS. (If you think companies do not already do this or consider doing it, you would be sadly mistaken for it is a new age of sales. (Note to self...find a way to make $$$ on that.)

Please note...AVS will continue to remove posts or members that we feel are here for one reason. (This goes for any company in any forum section as a lot of you already know.)

Thank you.

I can understand overzealous fanboys hyping "their" product, but a manufacturer who resorts to this type of tactic is a loser in my book. YMMV.

"People generally quarrel because they cannot argue." - G. K. Chesterton

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