Some of you might be aware of this, others not so much, but there is a mighty grudge match in the PC hardware world which is heating up to downright nasty proportions as we speak. Normally, relations between motherboard-makers ASUS and GIGABYTE simmer at a cordial level of happily ignoring each other. GIGABYTE, it must be admitted, is not so invested in the contest, having the market edge already (after all, the company’s taken out its categories in Atomicans' Choice two years in a row). ASUS, on the other hand, won’t even mention its competitor by name.
It’s something that most tech journos laugh about, and try not to take on board as we review their gear, though every now and then the pettiness of the dispute does get too much.
However, ASUS seems to have thrown any sense of playing nice right out the window, today. We were made aware today of some rather negative posts popping up all over the internet, but with particular focus on Australian sites like OCAU and Whirlpool. A single user, with the nicks Djayness and Dan K, is essentially logging on and slinging mud at GIGABYTE mobos, particularly the Z77X-UD5H. Most of the slinging is simply link-sharing to poor reviews or customer complaints, but there are a few claims of dodgy pricing and poor review practice thrown in.
Normally, we’d not think twice about something like this, but it’s not just some random fan-boy – it’s an ASUS employee.
Djayness is actually a guy called Dan, and he’s recently been hired locally by ASUS to manage community relations and social media. He runs the ROG Australia Youtube channel, and posts ASUS ‘review’ videos as far afield as Bit-tech in the UK.
Here’s an example of what Dan’s been posting, from Whirlpool.
“Gigabyte got caught out cheating in group reviews to try and make their products look better against competitors with some sneaky bios editing.”
Over on OCAU, he’s tracking down poor reviews of the board on Newegg, and posting them with the message “Wow...does anyone else have this motherboard?” Dan delivers similar linkage in another Whirpool thread about pricing, with the comment “Rip off prices aren’t the only thing you have to be aware of when considering this board.”
What’s highly problematic about these forum posts is that there is no mention that ‘Dan K’ is an ASUS employee. In other words, he’s astro-turfing, and making a pretty poor job of it. That rip-off comment was actually made just today, and other efforts were earlier this month.
GIGABYTE’s well and truly aware of it, too, because the local marketing manager Dino ‘dinos22’ Strkljevic – who some of you would remember from our recent GIGABYTE overclocking & gaming event – is calling him on it, after identifying himself as a GB employee earlier.
“Dan K, you are an ASUS Australia employee. Is your boss aware that you are going around forums worldwide shilling and trying to give GIGABYTE a bad name?
After reading numerous threads and your posts (same theme) it seems as though this is part of your job description, very sad!
You are also lying about product specifications and making things up about your competitors products.
This is very serious business, how far are you prepared to push this?!”
How far indeed? GIGABYTE’s not providing official commentary, and despite contacting ASUS for its side of the issue, but, again... no comment. Which, frankly, is more than a little disappointing.
Something we often hear from GIGABYTE competitors is the question “How can we do better? How can we get on top?” Normally, it’s not something I or my colleagues are comfortable answering; it’s not as if we’re marketing experts or motherboard engineers. However, in this instance, I believe there is in fact a clear answer for ASUS.
How about growing up?