Darko.Audio covers news and reviews of hi-fi equipment; it is aimed at anyone striving for better sound quality from modern music, at home or on the go. It is especially aimed at readers who like to think. As of 2018, YouTube videos are a large part of what we do. Podcasts too.
Do you take payments from manufacturers to conduct reviews of their products?
No. Absolutely not. Darko.Audio is not pay-to-play and we don’t do sponsored content. Not on this website and not on YouTube. If we deem a product sufficiently interesting and we have the time, we’ll cover it. And whilst we are here: we do not charge hi-fi show exhibitors for show coverage either.
How is Darko.Audio funded then?
This website is, as it has always been, funded by the banner advertising you see around you. For interested parties, those ads also serve as a public statement of Darko.Audio’s financial interests.
Advertising revenue pays for the time taken to conduct reviews by advertisers and non-advertisers. For anyone keeping score (like me), more than 75% of all products featured on these pages and on YouTube come from companies who have never advertised with us.
So any company stumping up the cash gets an ad?
Actually, no. Not all companies looking to buy advertising space on Darko.Audio get to do so. It’s an invite-only situation. 90% of cold callers are turned away. Only those whose products we really like get the nod. As a result, this site’s banner ads come from manufacturers whose products we dig immensely.
Are banner ads really that effective?
You bet they are! With 500,000 unique viewers hitting up this website each month (as many as our YouTube channel – see below), banner ad click-through is stronger than ever. That the website ads are immune to client-side ad-blocking software helps with that. And even if they’re not clicked, they can’t be unseen.
What about your YouTube videos and podcasts?
The Darko.Audio Podcast and YouTube channel are extensions of this website and the financial structure needed to fund their production preceded their arrival by six years. I’m talking about the banner ads featured on this website. Additional YouTube income comes from the occasional pre-roll advertiser, affiliate links and Google’s Adsense network.
But surely if you don’t say nice things about an advertiser’s product, you’ll lose them as an advertiser?
Again, we are not paid to say anything. All opinions are our own. And, yes, sometimes we lose advertisers because of those opinions. However, we do not announce the departure of advertising clients disappointed that they cannot index their financial support to our editorial content. Remember how I said advertisers are invited? The number of advertisers is capped at a fairly low number. If one advertiser drops off for whatever reason, there is always another waiting to be invited.
Yeah, but I read something on your website about a new product that I think is snake oil. Therefore, you must’ve been paid to post about it.
What horribly lazy thinking. We don’t get paid to publish anything and we don’t entertain boiler-plate conspiracy theories spilling from readers that, by definition, will never need to be proven — aka conclusory statements. Also: why downplay an accusation of fraud with the term ‘snake oil’? That’s a bit like calling a fractured tibia an ‘ouchie’.
You have a Patreon now too, right?
Yes, we do — and that income funds the occasional review unit, which is then given back to Patrons via competitions once the review is done. It also funds video content made exclusively for the Patreon community.
Are there any other payments from manufacturers we should know about?
Nope. None. This publication’s income sources are all out in the open.
What about other pecuniary interests?
Writers published in these pages are guaranteed to have no direct (or indirect) financial affiliation with any hi-fi or audio equipment manufacturer/distributor/retailer. That means no writer has a (secret or otherwise) side gig as a PR representative, show organiser, manufacturer’s PR representative, product photographer or hifi store sales clerk.