You Can't Trust Reviews From PC World and MacWorld

by Will Chen on 3 May 2007 1 comment

Trust the experts book cover

PC World's Editor-in-Chief Harry McCracken resigned Tuesday because the magazine's publisher pressured him to "avoid stories that were critical of major advertisors," according to reports by News.com and Wired.

When asked for a comment, McCracken confirmed he had disagreements with the publisher but declined to comment on the nature of those disagreements.

However, according to an inside source from PC World, McCracken resigned after getting undue pressure from Colin Crawford, senior vice president of PC World's parent company IDG Communications. Crawford allegedly told the PC World editors that:

product reviews in the magazine were too critical of vendors, especially ones who advertise in the magazine, and that they had to start being nicer to advertisers.

Crawford was once the CEO of Macworld, another publication owned by IDG. The Macworld connection might explain this:

[Crawford] tried to kill a story about Apple and Steve Jobs. The piece, a whimsical article titled "Ten Things We Hate About Apple," was still in draft form when Crawford killed it. McCracken said no way and walked after Crawford refused to compromise.

PC World and Macworld market themselves as the most trusted names in technology review. These descriptions are lifted directly out of their "about us" page:

  • PC World: "trusted resource for management-level buyers and users of technology products."
  • Macworld "offers the most trusted product reviews and buying advice you can find."

If these reports are true, and IDG doesn't end up firing Crawford and reinstating McCracken, then we may conclude that Crawford's biased editorial policy is the rule rather than the exception at IDG.

If that's the case, here are a list of other IDG publications and websites you might want to avoid:

  • CIO Magazine
  • Code Vault
  • Coming Attractions
  • Computerworld
  • CSO Magazine
  • Demo.com
  • Energy-Insights.com
  • GamePro
  • InfoWorld.com
  • IT Careers
  • Network World
  • Remedies
  • Taste for Life

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Donna

A few days ago I wrote a post on my blog www.chasingcleanair.com about how wonderful writing a blog is without an editor controlling the slant of my articles, which of course is based on advertising. I was so turned off by this experience, as of the past year and a half, I have taken no advertising on my blog. I love being free to write the truth as I know it. If I want information, having been a reporter for a well-respected business magazine, I google blogs first.