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SM Rules and Policies for Companies, Designers and Distributors .

First, thank you for working with us. We want you to know we listen to what you have to say. We have been told countless horror stories experienced by many, many manufacturers who have submitted equipment for review only to have it kept for months with no review in sight, or even not returned at all after the review is published. We know about the politics of reviewing and the negative impact it has on the industry. We know many industry veterans view the relationship with some audio publications as a "necessary evil" because of certain unfair review practices. We know how reviews can sometimes be used to extort advertising money. We have heard you tell us that you consider many reviews to be more about the reviewer than your product, that you are often denied any input or communication during the review process. And more.

Our rules and policies are all based on input from people like you.

It is our promise that we will do our very best to treat you, your company and your product with the care and respect it deserves. We understand that your product is the result of exhaustive study, research and perspiration. We know that much time and money has been invested to produce a product worthy of the name.

We also promise that all reviews will be fair and honest. Every opportunity will be extended within our policies to make sure the product is performing normally and is reviewed in a manner that gives your product the opportunity to perform its best.

We want to communicate with you during the process to make sure your product is reviewed within the context of your design goals and is compatible with other associated equipment on our systems. We do NOT accept your product, ascend into our ivory towers and then spew out a review with no communication during the process. Quite the contrary. We work with you during the review and if there is any sense that your product is not performing exactly as it should, we will let you know so that a remedy, if it exists, can be found. We want to make sure your product is performing at its best.

Our goal is to have the review completed and your product returned in no more than 30 days or 60 days at the most if a long break-in period is necessary. We know that many review samples can be a significant outlay for you and are considered "dead money" during the review process. If we take too long, we know that your product may be updated, upgraded, changed or eliminated altogether before the review appears. That does a huge disservice to you, your product and our readers. We want to avoid that at all costs.


At Stereomojo, the most important person is the reader/consumer. We strive to make our recommendations specific and not vague like so many others. We feature our "Stereomojo Specific Recommendation" for each product. Saying something like "highly recommended" is not good enough for our readers. We say what room sizes, other system components and type of listener would be most appropriate for your product, based mainly on your design goals.

This is important: We do not make recommendations based on our own biases or tastes. We see our job as determining how well a product lives up to the designer's stated goals and the product's price point; to describe what it actually does and how it sounds so the READER can determine if it is a good fit for him or not; to give him the information he needs to make a good decision. To deteremine if it does what it was designed to do at a reasonable price and not whether it lives up to some reviewer's arbitrary personal standard.

We also are careful to match your product to an appropriate reviewer - his room, system, experience and expertise. If I as publisher know a certain staffer much prefers tubes over solid state, I would not send your solid state amp to him. If he owns inefficient speakers, I will not send him your 300B SET amp. If he has only a large room, I won't send him small speakers designed for use in only small rooms.

Does that make sense?

We believe being fair, honest, thorough, accurate and informative serves not only the consumer but the industry as well. The least important persons at Stereomojo are the reviewers and the publisher. We are not out to build an empire nor make names for ourselves. We are not divas. We focus on the products, not the personalities. We do not engage in political infighting, feuding or other childish behavior so often seen in our industry. We strive to focus on your product without going out on personal tangents that have no relation to the product in the review.

We do not have "columnists" that can say and do anything they want. Everyone here who writes is considered a reviewer and all subject to the same high standards and editorial scrutiny.

We also are very careful about any perception of conflict of interest, especially when it comes to advertising and advertisers. Stereomojo is the only publication that places a self-imposed limit on the number of ads on our site. That's right - we deliberately limit our income and we are very picky about what advertising we accept. Uniquely, Stereomojo was not created to be an income source. Income from Stereomojo is not necessary to put food on the table. Rather, it exists strictly out of passion for music and the things that reproduce it in our homes. It is truly a labor of love - love for music and sharing our experiences with others that they may be informed, educated and inspired. As such, we are uniquely independent and not subject to the temptations and politics so prevalent in the audio press. That is good for our readers, for you and for us.

One way to further help avoid personal biases an favoritism is have products reviewed by more than one person. In as many cases as possible, your product will be auditioned by more than reviewer and therefore subject to more than just one reviewer's opinion. Our goal is to make that the case in every review. We also find that such reviews carry more weight with our readers.

And speaking of politics, you will never see the injection of any political commentary or even vague references to a politician or government policy. No bashing or endorsing. We find that practice abhorrent.

Please understand that any merchandise provided to us remains your property and responsibility at all times. We cannot provide any insurance for your products even when in our possession. We will make every effort to handle your property with utmost care, but any damage must be borne by the provider.

Please make sure that there is a full understanding of how long you expect to loan the product before you ship it. Stating it in writing to the reviewer and the publisher is a good idea. If for some reason the item is needed for a longer period, we will issued a request. It’s always your decision to approve an extension or not.

Since the merchandise is always your property, you can request that it be returned at your expense at any time - even prior to the agreed upon timeframe. If, however, the review process is begun, the review will be published up to the point it is returned. We do not drop reviews once they are begun.

You are responsible for shipping in both directions. If, after we receive it, the item is to be shipped to another reviewer for a “second opinion” that will be at our expense and shipping insurance will be purchased.

Setup by company representatives is never allowed unless it is your normal practice for all sales. Our readers have told us many times that they see this as a very unfair practice in which virtually all other publications engage. We also cannot assume that a local dealer will have the same expertise as the designer, and dealer practices vary widely. We will, however, communicate with you during setup to make sure the product is used as it was intended and not compromised by anything we do.

We aim for absolutely fair, thorough and unbiased reviews. Our descriptions, opinions and recommendations will be clear and not vague, but our language will never be harsh or mean-spirited. We believe the truth can be conveyed without arrogance or rudeness. We also believe that no one invests their time and research, costs of production, distribution, advertising and providing review samples in order to produce a bad product. At the price points we deal with, it would actually be difficult to find a truly awful product. But you never know.

While we do not expect you to police our staff, please, please notify us of any suspected or perceived impropriety right away. Be sure to document what was said or done and by whom in your communication. In fact, please notify the publisher of any unprofessional behavior by anyone on our part. Including the publisher.

If there are ever any questions, ask them first before proceeding. It’s easier to prevent fires than to put them out.

Thanks to everyone!

James Darby
Publisher -, its logo and related material are ©2006 James Darby, Fort Myers, FL 33907, unless otherwise specified.

Get in touch with us at: publisher [at] stereomojo [dot] com.