One issue that arises is that there will be a conflict of interest regarding reviews of any silent PC components in the future. I'm not trying to cast any doubt on the integrity of the SPCR staff or writers, but if SPCR is engaging in a business venture involving hardware that they either review or might be in competition with reviewed components, then the issue of conflict of interest automatically arises.
Substitute "power supply review" for "lecture", and you'll quickly see the situation that SPCR is in. This is a shame, given the usefulness of SPCR as a source of information.
This situation is not new, the potential conflict of interest has always been there, right from the start: When we began accepting free samples, run advertising, when I was asked to consult for various component companies. (For example, the P180 and the NSK2400/Fusion would not exist without my project partnerships with Antec.)
This hasn't caused me (or any of the editorial team) to diss products that should have been recommended or recommend products that should be dismissed. In fact, there are many
examples of review of products from advertisers where we advised against them based on our assement of its acoustics, thermals and/or quality. (Would you like a list of these examples of "biting the hand?")
I don't think it's a shame... or will become a shame in future... but that's up to visitors and readers to judge. Despite your protest that you're "not trying to cast any doubt on the integrity of the SPCR staff or writers
", I think that's exactly what you are doing, deliberately or otherwise.
Unless a site / magazine (etc) accepts no advertising from any sample sources and/or simply buys all the samples (never mind how a site like that survives...), there's always potential for conflict of interest. This is the reality for every pc hardware site out there. I think our record and the confidence of our audiences in SPCR's assessments speaks volumes.
If you think of this as a get-rich-quick (or slow) scheme.... well, you'd be wrong... it's a lousy one.
If you think of this as a way to expand quiet computing beyond the enthusiastic DIY handful, you'd be more on track.
PS -- and do you ban all pharm. samples from your office, too, in order to "appear impartial?"