• All About iVerge



    This is a story about Android users and The Verge. If it seems familiar it's a tale that's been told before: a tech site produces something that is perceived by a particular community as biased, and that community responds with all the rage that the Internet will allow.

    Is the anger 100% justified? Usually not. Does personal opinion ever infect otherwise unbiased tech writing? Probably. As is often the case with such things, there is blame to be laid on both sides. But for that to happen, you need to know the whole story...

    It all started with an innocuous hands on video of the just-released Nexus 5, by Verge Assistant Managing Editor Dieter Bohn:



    The first sign of trouble that I saw was a link to the video on Google+ by YouTuber Armando Ferreria, with this rather terse comment:

    Worst "Hands On" ever.
    There are currently 229 additional comments on that post. And it didn't stop there; the issue kind of blew up over the weekend, and "iVerge" became a trending topic on Google's nascent social network, seeing lots of Android users posting screen grabs — G+ users love posting screen grabs —of various Verge feeds being removed from various apps.

    So why all the hate?

    The consensus seems to be that The Verge editorial board has a blanket pro-Apple and anti-Android bias. Some G+ users have gone quite a bit further, bandying about the idea that Apple has paid off the site for lip service. This is posted as an incontestable fact, with no citation or other proof to back it up.

    It's easy to dismiss this as irrational fanboyism. I think that the Android/Google+ community has a legitimate axe to grind; I just don't think it's being articulated well.

    I don't believe for a second that there are any clandestine agreements between Apple and The Verge. On an episode of The Vergecast over the summer, Chief Editor Josh Topolsky was extremely critical of iOS7, admitting that a glowing review would be great for the site and its ad revenue, but there were just too many issues with Apple's new mobile OS.

    The consistent message from The Vergecast re: Android vs. Apple is that the latter delivers the superior camera experience, while the former is much better at cloud services. That seems fairly unbiased to me.

    Where I think the Google+ army has a legitimate beef is with the crew that does The Verge's other podcast, The Verge Mobile Show. Too many times I've heard some variation of the sweeping statement that Android apps just can't compare with the quantity and quality of titles available for iOS. This may or may not be true; as an Android user I'm genuinely interested in which apps are better and why. But nothing further is discussed — the sound bite is dropped, mutually accepted as fact, and the hosts move on.

    Likewise, in that Nexus 5 video, Dieter demonstrates the "laggy scrolling" endemic to all Android devices with a bizarre finger motion that has no real-world application. Add to that the blanket dismissal of Android cameras as being "not all that impressive" and you can start to see why people on Google+ are pissed off.

    I don't think it's an anti-Android bias, I think it's lazy journalism. Hosts of The Verge Mobile Show have repeatedly proven that they don't get the Android modding community. But statistically insignificant as we may be, the Nexus is our canvas for custom ROMs and whatever else, so it's a hugely important device for us. And I've yet to hear or see anything on The Verge that acknowledges this.

    Sorry if all this is insider baseball, but as an Android user writing for a platform-agnostic forum I find it instructive. If nothing else, you'll now know what #iVerge is if you see it trending again on Google+ or Twitter. Because I'm betting that this isn't over just yet.

    [hr][/hr]
    This article was originally published in forum thread: All About iVerge started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 9 Comments
    1. trickster_qc's Avatar
      trickster_qc -
      I visit The Verge ( and many other tech news websites ) on a daily basis. I gotta admit that it's true The Verge has a preference for Apple products. A bit like some people will only buy BMW because they once drove one and it was amazing. I wouldn't be surprised either if Apple was sending a lot of money their way.

      That said, it's ok to take sides in life and it's also ok to speak up about what we think is best versus what's not. But it's clear the some journalist at The Verge are deliberately lazy in trying to show what's wrong with Apple and what's good with Google/Android.

      They are definatly biased, but I think that will change in the next few months because no one was impressed with iOS7 and the Iphone5s is nice but it's not WOWSOME. And they were clearly impressed with the Nexus 5.

      We'll see if they change sight in the near future.
    1. gobbledygoo's Avatar
      gobbledygoo -
      I actually think it's simply driven by money - as in more people are interested in Apple-related news (fanboys want to read it, haters want to crap all over it) but nonetheless both would result in clicks, which translates into traffic, which translates into ad revenue (or at least justification for charging more for ad revenue).

      Not saying that's the right thing to do but seems nowadays controversy generates more interest than unbiased reporting (just look at all the sensationalism TV news programs)
    1. Morphling27's Avatar
      Morphling27 -
      I think some of the issues stem from the fact the reviews have many inconsistencies with scoring. Ecosystem and software on things like the iPad review and not on other items.

      Also, the review of the Nexus 5 specifically did not factor the price in nearly as much as it should have. It's a $350 phone and that fact alone must be taken into account. The Lumia 520 is a great phone at $100 or less and nobody is expecting it to beat the HTC One or an iPhone 5s or a Moto X. It's still an awesome purchase and package at that rock-bottom price. The fact that the Nexus 5 goes toe to toe with the iPhone 5s or the S4 or Note 3 or Lumias on the vast majority of things really shows it's a stellar package at only $350.

      Using a comment I remember from the Verge - you don't compare the use of a Honda Accord to a BMW M5 based solely on specifications. You clearly see the Accord costs 20k and the BMW 3-4x that or more. The fact that Google is selling this phone at a mid-range price and including almost all top-end specs is a feat. The sum of the parts must be looked at and not each individual one.
    1. acurrie's Avatar
      acurrie -
      Quote Originally Posted by gobbledygoo View Post
      I actually think it's simply driven by money - as in more people are interested in Apple-related news (fanboys want to read it, haters want to crap all over it) but nonetheless both would result in clicks, which translates into traffic, which translates into ad revenue (or at least justification for charging more for ad revenue).
      This is an especially great point — The Verge might well be gaming the Android community, just like John Dvorak used to do with the Apple fans back in the day:



      Just as you say, all roads lead to more clicks on their site...
    1. Groot's Avatar
      Groot -
      I believe the idea more people are interested in iPhone and that is where the money is, is simply not true anymore. Numbers say Android out sells the iPhone.

      Have to laugh because people buy the iPhone is dominate myth, go to Goodlife for example the got Posters for their new iPhone App, looking around the gym most people are using Android devices.

      1:14 is hardly detailed, oh well live and let live.
      A full review like Howard posts is the only way you can subjectively compare the products.
    1. acurrie's Avatar
      acurrie -
      Quote Originally Posted by tech4fun View Post
      A full review like Howard posts is the only way you can subjectively compare the products.
      I'm sure Howard will enjoy reading that.

      By the way, here's yesterday's Verge Mobile Show — scrub ahead to 3m53s for Dieter's apology/explanation re: that now infamous hands-on:

    1. torontocolin's Avatar
      torontocolin -
      As an Android user (since the Nexus One), I don't get this sentiment, at all. The Verge is critical of both platforms, as they should be. They have ripped on iOS 7 plenty. They also have spoken very positively about many Android devices, including the Nexus 4, 7, and 5. Topolsky is an Android user and has mentioned several times that he thinks Android is better than iOS now.

      I have a Nexus 5 and I love it so far, but the camera is at best nothing special. If the camera is important to you, then you will be disappointed. It's not for me, so I don't concern myself with that part of their review, but that doesn't make it any less valid. The cameras in iPhones have been consistently outstanding for some time now. Very few Android devices can compete. Of course, very few Android devices are $700+, but that doesn't make it any less true.

      I have never owned an iOS or OSX device in my life, but I still think Apple makes consistently outstanding products. They're not always the best, and too rich for my blood, usually, but they're still very good. There's nothing wrong with liking them. It doesn't make me anti-Android to compliment iOS. And it certainly doesn't mean Apple is paying me.

      People freak out about things like ecosystem scores and whether it got an 8.1 or an 8.2. Those people need to take a breather, they're behaving like children. This is why reviews sites stop assigning scores. Read the review itself. Read what they say, and then decide if that device fits your needs.

      I don't watch the Verge Mobile Show. Maybe these guys don't like or "get" Android. Maybe they are biased (aren't we all, really?). But that doesn't mean Apple is paying them.

      Consider that Google continually gives The Verge exclusive interviews and unparalleled access. If they believed The Verge was biased or paid by Apple, do you think they would keep doing this?
    1. Morphling27's Avatar
      Morphling27 -
      Quote Originally Posted by torontocolin View Post
      As an Android user (since the Nexus One), I don't get this sentiment, at all. The Verge is critical of both platforms, as they should be. They have ripped on iOS 7 plenty. They also have spoken very positively about many Android devices, including the Nexus 4, 7, and 5. Topolsky is an Android user and has mentioned several times that he thinks Android is better than iOS now.

      I have a Nexus 5 and I love it so far, but the camera is at best nothing special. If the camera is important to you, then you will be disappointed. It's not for me, so I don't concern myself with that part of their review, but that doesn't make it any less valid. The cameras in iPhones have been consistently outstanding for some time now. Very few Android devices can compete. Of course, very few Android devices are $700+, but that doesn't make it any less true.

      I have never owned an iOS or OSX device in my life, but I still think Apple makes consistently outstanding products. They're not always the best, and too rich for my blood, usually, but they're still very good. There's nothing wrong with liking them. It doesn't make me anti-Android to compliment iOS. And it certainly doesn't mean Apple is paying me.

      People freak out about things like ecosystem scores and whether it got an 8.1 or an 8.2. Those people need to take a breather, they're behaving like children. This is why reviews sites stop assigning scores. Read the review itself. Read what they say, and then decide if that device fits your needs.

      I don't watch the Verge Mobile Show. Maybe these guys don't like or "get" Android. Maybe they are biased (aren't we all, really?). But that doesn't mean Apple is paying them.

      Consider that Google continually gives The Verge exclusive interviews and unparalleled access. If they believed The Verge was biased or paid by Apple, do you think they would keep doing this?
      Overall the Verge is critical of many platforms, but I suggest you look at Nilay's review of the iPad Air. Not even looking at scores, his ending pros/cons is clearly showing a bias - a con is he doesn't like the safari icon? Now, I know that he can put whatever in his review and if the iPad didn't show pictures of enouch chickens, he could include that as a con or pro. This being one of his few cons is clearly absurd. He can put that Apple CONTINUES to defy all industry standards by usinig ports that aren't common. Or the fact that Apple won't let you install any software (app or OS wise) on a device you own and paid for? Those are serious cons and they aren't mitigated simply because we've come to 'expect' it from Apple or it's what they've done for years. They are still real concerns.

      I'm not freaking out - I think everyone posting in this thread and topic are having a good discussion. The point is we'd like fair reviews so we aren't completely beholden to the marketing machines of companies. If they clearly are grasping for finding 'cons' even with multiple glaring issues that continue to plague Apple, how can I say this device fits my needs by using their review? I can't honestly. Now, anyone using reviews solely off a few websites to purchase is a goof too, you'd better go try it out yourself and read user reviews and ask friends/coworkers.

      Apple does make great devices. I use my Macbook Air frequently and find it to be one of the best laptops for my use. I still run a large, clunky, fast as heck desktop for things too. The wife and I have wanted to buy an iPad at some point but haven't come up with a good excuse to drop the money. I'd never own an iPhone without serious changes to Apple's policies towards phones that I'm sure aren't happening anyday soon.

      And to just put a spin on your last point - maybe Google knows the Apple bias exists there or that they are possibly paid. Google might be trying to mitigate that with giving the Verge access so they'll think better of Google. Afterall, Google is first and foremost a marketing and ad company.
    1. VetVito's Avatar
      VetVito -
      Load up any Google app, and it's just better on the iPhone. Just my opinion tho. Some people take stuff too personal, these are just phones.