Monday, August 08, 2005

This Mouse Changed My Life: About Testimonials & Product Rating In The Mac Market Place

Movies companies do it all the time. You see the big white words flash onto the screen and zoom and pan over the words:

Usually the review is by some unknown critic from a local newspaper in the director's hometown.

Third party Apple product reviews and product sales hype are pretty much the same way.

You can't take anything said about 3rd party addons and peripherals seriously unless concrete facts are provided and actual sales figure testimoinials are given.

With all the bad press Jack Campbell gets on the internet - which is his largest sales medium - it's hard for me to believe he is the number one seller for any product he sells in any category he serves.

Yet, this doesn't stop him from making blind, no faith statements like this recently on his BLOG:

Both our USB and BT mice outsell every other inidividual brand/model of USB/BT mouse in the independent Apple Reseller stores that stock and display our products. Since the folks at Apple don't particularly like me, and, I won't give the expected 70%+ discounts that the big-box stores want, we pretty much sell everything through several hundred neighboirhood independent Apple resellers (and a few smaller online shops). In those stroes, our mice rule. I dount that the DVForge or MacMice products will ever be in Apple Retail, Best Buy, CompUSA, etc., as I just don't feel like making the same silly compromise so many other manufacturers make to get stocked in those stores: basically, to give away the products at or below cost.

"Both our USB and BT mice outsell every other inidividual brand/model of USB/BT mouse in the independent Apple Reseller stores that stock and display our products."

Of course this is a backpedal clarification of this statement he had made in a previous BLOG entry:

"I actually use Apple 1-button mice on all of my personal Macs, despite having the number one selling USB and Bluetooth multi-buttonmice in my own product line."

Now there is a testimonial - the owner of the company doesn't even use his own products!

Smalldog used to carry DVForge products and discontinued them.

They actually dropped reselling DVforge and MacMice. So did MacZone. So did MacConnection. So did MacWarehouse.

MegaMacs sells DVForge products, but I guess Jack is saying he outsells their entire inventory here:

3btn optical mouse usb/psw/scroll wheel 6ft cord
3Button Optical Mouse
ADB Mouse II (Apple)
Adesso PowerScroll Illuminated Mini Mouse
Apple Pro Mouse -White, NO Box
Apple Pro Mouse - Black Used
Apple Wireless Mouse
CompuCable USB Mouse
Interex ADB Ergo Mouse
Interex ADB Plain Mouse
Iridio Optical Mouse
Kensington Mouse in a Box USB/ADB
Kensington PilotMouse Optical
Kensington PilotMouse Optical Pro
Kensington PilotMouse Optical Pro Wireless
Kensington PocketMouse Mini Wireless
Kensington Studio Mouse for Mac
Kensington Studio Mouse Wireless
Kensington Studio Mouse Wireless
Logitech Cordless Click! Plus Optical Mouse
Logitech Cordless Mouse
Logitech Cordless Mouse
Logitech Cordless MouseMan Optical Mouse
Logitech Cordless Optical Mouse
Logitech Mini Optical Mouse
Logitech MX 500 Optical Mouse
Logitech MX 700 Optical Wireless Mouse
Logitech Optical Notebook Mouse Plus USB 10 Pack
Logitech Optical Notebook Mouse Plus USB
Logitech Wheel Mouse Optical SE:Black
Macally 1 Button ADB Mouse
Macally iMouse Jr
Macally iOpti Jr
Macally iOptinet USB internet Mouse
MacSense iCatch mouse adapter
Macsense USB AeroMouse 2 button Wireless Mouse
Memorex Cordless Optical Scroll Mouse
Mini Optical Mouse with Scroll Wheel Mouse
PageWalker ScrollMouse
PageWalker ScrollMouse
UnoMouse 1-btn USB mouse
USB 3-Button PowerScroll Mouse
USB PowerScroll Black

And yes, ADB mice count too - because there are a lot of ADB Macs still on the market. A lot of those Macs have USB cards in them, but people will still opt for USB to PS2 adapters and ADB Mice. I know a lot of people that use iMates with ADB Mice on USB Macs.

Why don't people like Jack get an actual statement from a distributor? List actual distributors that sell the product - where; if we wanted to, verify it. If DVForge is the #1 in their business - Jack should be happy to name them and they should be MORE than happy to give Jack that statement as a testimonial. Or, do the people that sell MacMice/DVForge products not want to be associated with the truths that are around the internet that MacMice products are subpar and stolen intellectual property?

Be wary of any review or product hype in the Mac Universe - often the reviewers over state and review products that have simplistic functionality, just to get into Google searches and to get free product samples. A lot of small website owners get in products to review just so they can resell the products to others immediately following the review. They hand out favorable and overly detailed reviews so the product manufacturer will send them future products to review!


Really, how much can one say about a mouse - unless it has revolutionary functionality or design such as Apple's Mighty Mouse? How much can one say about an iPod case in a review? Apparently, people like Bill Palmer can write 10-15 paragraphs about any iPod case ... and since he reviews 2-5 every week - I'm sure he keeps his pockets lined when he resells them after the review.

The blind testimonial should be looked at with scrutiny. A good review will give you pros and cons. If there aren't any cons, then the product wasn't worthy of a review. If the product is simplistic in nature, the only pro can be price and availability - and therefore - also unworthy of review.

Where have you found the best unbiased reviews for Apple peripherals from 3rd parties?


Anonymous said...

Jack usually posts the favorable reviews in response to an article like this:

Here are some recent reviews found in the dealmac forum. I think dealmac has really good reviews because they are reader (rather than writer) based:

Re: Anyone have The Mouse BT?
Posted by: TerryJ (IP Logged)
Date: May 7, 2005 07:52PM

I have one and it's unusable on my PowerBook 1.25. It is horribly jerky and I have contacted MacMice repeatedly about a replacement only to be referred to their FAQ page on their site sayiing it is a pairing problem and to re-pair it, blah, blah, blah. They say that they have seen a lot of this and every single one they took back worked perfectly when they received it, apparently operator error. Well, I am an Apple consultant (independent, certified) and I go through tons of different peripherals but I have never found a less reliable product. Up until this, I was a big fan of MacMice products as I also use their iBreeze stand and iSight flexible mount. But after this shrug off for what is obviously a common problem, I will seriously think twice about recommending their products or them as a company. Too bad, as the few times the mouse did work for a few minutes, it was great and I was really hoping to replace my Apple BT mouse with it, but this just proves that original equipment quality, even tho lacking in a few features, still cannot be beat.

Re: Anyone have The Mouse BT?
Posted by: ChipperVW (IP Logged)
Date: May 8, 2005 07:33AM

I ordered one and had the same problems that TerryJ had, but they treated me right. Refunded my money and told me to keep the MouseBT. But I never use it b/c it really is bad. Hopefully it's better now, but sounds like the Apple one would be a better choice.

Jack Campbell said...

To anyone knowledgeable of the present Bluetooth mouse biz, this is a non-issue: everybody's BT mouse has a higher return rate than any other type of peripheral product, because of completely undiagnosable weirdities/conflicts in specific system setups. This is not "me" talking, it's just the reality. Go ask anyone else in the mouse game (if they'll discuss it). All we can do is try to (A) walk evryone experiencing such an issue through the steps we have seen fix it for others, then (B) if that fails, completely refund the transaction. When Bluetooth products work, they're a blessing. When they don't, they're a real pain. And again, such failures are rife with Bluetooth mice, from us or anyone else who makes them.

As for our USB mouse sales, just check with any neighborhood independent Mac reseller who has our product on display in our showroom; it outsells every other (individual) model of mouse they similarly display... including Apple's.

And, interestingly, as a privately owned company, we're only obligated to tell the truth, not to publish reams of documentation. Anyone not inclined to believe what we say has that right. No problem.

Finally, as for the BT mouse, I encourage anyone with a functional issue to go try it on a completely different Mac system in a different location. Surprise... when this is done, some 90% of the problematic mice work perfectly. there really is some combination of software/drivers/environment that causes strange problems with some Macs/locations. Our distributors tell us our current return rates are comparable to all other BT mice. So, that's what I go by. Would I like to improve it?... you bet. Are we working on it?... constantly. In the meantime, we just bend over backwards to be accessible and responsive to our (relatively few) customers who have these problems.

Side note, but interesting: Our return rate for the same BT mouse when used on Windows XP systems is near zero. Go figure. That fact makes us suspicisou of Apple's Bluetooth implementation. But, anybody leaning in a "blame Apple" direction around here likel to be shot. So ,I accept responsibility... consider it my fault. ... but really... why no problems on Windows machines, with the same mice?? Hmmm...

FYT said...

Every time Jack's mice are mentioned in the reader example given above (from Dealmac) an alternative is listed in the forum. EVERY TIME the person that had a MacMice mouse tries the alternative - they are happy.

Here are two examples from that same forum and true to my own experience as well:


I'm sorry, but my Apple BT mouse has given me NO problems. I know that's not one that Slacker wants (because it is only 1 button), but I've experienced no jerkiness (so Bluetooth is not necessarily the issue here).


No jerkyness problems here, using either the Radtech or the new Macally mouse I bought today. I think people who get jerkyness problem have their macs on the other side of the room or something. On the same desk, no probs.

And when you have a 'book, not using a USB port is actually a pretty big selling point, when you only have 2 to start with!

Personally, I had no trouble with the The Mouse BT - other than the fact it is made by MacMice - a name that in and of itself goes against Apple naming policy, steals package design from Apple, and steals Apple form factor to try and trick the buyer into thinking it's an actual Apple product. I don't use the The Mouse BT

Readers, multiple times now ... Jack has been asked not to post here.

I'm leaving his latest comment for legal reasons to illustrate harassment and breach of trust.

FYT said...

"As for our USB mouse sales, just check with any neighborhood independent Mac reseller..."


FYT said...


MBHockey 08-01-2005 10:30 AM

MacMice: The Mouse BT - is it any good?

i have read some conflicting reviews. Some say it feels cheap, the tracking is laggy, while others say it's a real good mouse. Anyone have one?

CAlvarez 08-01-2005 06:34 PM

I have one as a travel mouse, but I would never use it as an everyday mouse. It is a little loose-fitting and cheap-feeling. You can hear it rattle if you shake it, nobody can deny that part. Tracking isn't bad unless the batteries are low, but it eats batteries very fast. Carry spares. The buttons take too much effort to push (subjective thing, I like my buttons super-sensitive). The scroller is nice and smooth.

Anonymous said...

I found this review - there's no skippy here:

This is the bluetooth mouse I use with my iBook ... and I have had zero problems!