And why Best Of should be replaced with ‘My Favorite’ pieces instead…
One of the most often requested article types we are asked to write is the “Best Of…?” articles. It’s become so common in the last two years that we’ve created a “form email” to respond to the many Vapers asking us to write a piece on the best box mods, the best DNAXXX mods, the best sub-ohm tanks, and so on. Today, I thought we should go public on why you’ve never seen a Best Of piece in all the 5+ years we’ve been publishing, and never will. (and no, our Spinfuel Choice Awards don’t count)
The Subjectivity of Best Of
Writing Best Of pieces is one of the least “objective” pieces an author can write. Best according to who? It doesn’t mean anything to know that this person or that person believes this mod or that tank is the best, does it?
A perfect example of this is Julia’s recently piece called “SMOK is Killin’ it”. In this column, Julia is praising the quality of SMOKTech’s recent successes, and she uses the word “best” 7 times. Julia truly believes that SMOKTech is currently making the best vape gear on the market. Whether that is true or not, should Spinfuel VAPE publish a piece called “Best Box Mods and Tanks” and list SMOK products?
The answer is no. Right now, today, Julia believes SMOK is killin’ it, but what about tomorrow? And Julia is just one voice here. Her ‘Killin’ it” piece is her opinion. That opinion may, or may not, be shared with others here at Spinfuel VAPE, but it’s opinion nonetheless.
Julia has her own ideas about what she thinks is best, as do all of us. Julia is a heavy Vaper, one who places flavor above clouds. Obviously, Julia’s “Best Of”, or more accurately, “My Favorites” will be a device that cloud chasers just might disagree with, or people who have had bad experiences with a that brand. And, of course, Julia would never claim to know what the best “anything” is because she knows, as do we all, that “best” is a personal choice, not an objective statement.
Just to verify my belief that a Best Of article should never be written, I asked each of the four main writers to tell me their personal favorite, or their “Best Mod of 2016”. Their answers are below.
Julia – SMOK Alien 220W Box Mod Kit
Tom – WISMEC Reuleaux RX300
Keira – Lost Vape Triade DNA200
Jason – SMOK GX350
Four different Vapers, four different answers. Who then should write a Best Box Mod of 2016 piece?
Once they told me their answers to my question, I asked them ‘what was your favorite Best Box Mod of 2017 so far’. Their answers:
Julia – SMOK GX350
Tom – Lost Vape Triade DNA250
Kiera – SMOK Alien 220W
Jason – HCigar VTDNA250
As you can see, minds change, opinions change, wants and desires change. No one is qualified to write a Best Of piece, ever.
You know what would pass as a good way for authors to tell their readers about what they like to use? Replace “Best Of” with “Our Favorites”. As long as the author tells the truth, there’s nothing wrong with Julia, Tom, Jason, Kiera, or myself, writing a piece that starts with “My Favorite XXX So Far”. (even our favorites change with time)
Lastly, I asked each of them if they wanted to write a Best Of piece for Spinfuel VAPE. They all said ‘No’. For the same reason, paraphrasing here, their reasons were basically, “What I think is best is best for me, I wouldn’t be so brazen to think my best is “the” best”.
Again, why not write “My Favorite Box Mod so Far”?
So, Why Are Best of Pieces So Popular?
You know, Best Of pieces are VERY popular, aren’t they? You see them everywhere, even in other vaping magazines. Every publication, in print or the web, love to write Best Of pieces… for one reason… Click Bait.
Interestingly enough, Julia’s column on SMOKTech has been the #1 most read piece in Spinfuel VAPE since the day after it was published. People want to know which brands and which products are favored by others. It’s natural, but that’s not what all these Best Of pieces are about.
If Julia was interested in writing a Click Bait piece she might have called her column “SMOKTech makes the Best Vape Gear”, or “The Best Vape Gear Comes From SMOKTECH”. What she did call the column was the truth, SMOKTech IS Killin’ it.
Best Of Articles Are Click Bait
If you are a Vaper looking for his or her first box mod or sub-ohm tank chances are you’re going to hit a search engine and type in “Best Box Mod”. I just did that, and Google returned 5,030,000 responses in 0.8-seconds. The top 3 articles that came up were by Vaping360, ECigaretteReviewed, and VapingInsider. Three very popular vaping publications.
Why do these publications write Best Of pieces? It brings people in, it drives up the numbers of pageviews, it inflates the Advertising Rate Card. There are a dozen reasons, but the single truth is, people read them.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that these publications, or at least the authors of these pieces are lying, or that they have affiliate programs for the mods or brands they choose, but even if they are telling the truth, who’s truth are they telling?
Let’s Look at the Latest Best of Pieces
Vaping 360 – According to Vaping360, the Halo Reactor Shorty is the 1st place winner for Best Box Mod of 2017. The Halo Reactor is sold by Halo, it looks very much like the eLeaf iStick Pico, its 75W, and the included 2mL tank is equipped with a 0.25Ω Ni200 Coil Head. That is, according to Vaping360, the Best Box Mod of 2017.
EcigaretteReviewed – Their #1 Box Mod on January 4th of 2017 is the YiHi SX Mini M Class. This is a 60W box mod with TC capabilities.
VapingInsider – To be fair, VapingInsider has a whole bunch of mods on their Best Of list. Best Beginner, Best Cloud Chasing (what a mod has to do with cloud chasing is beyond me), Best Sub-Ohm (again, why a mod can affect cloud chasing is something I can’t wrap my head around), and so on. But, believe it or not, the BEST BOX MOD, the FIRST ONE on the List, is…. Halo Reactor Mega. Huh.
I could go on and on with all 5 million pages Google kicked up, but I think you get the picture.
Here’s a Photo of the Halo Reactor and a Photo of the iStick Pico. Can you tell the difference?
I don’t want to make a big deal out of this. For all I know, all these Best Of pieces are coming from a good place in the author or publication’s “heart”. Or maybe it has something to do with earning a commission on the sales. Or maybe, just maybe, they believe that the re-branded iStick Pico is the BEST BOX MOD of 2017.
Click Bait Means Pageviews
Yes, I do know that Spinfuel VAPE could probably double or triple our pageviews if we got into the Best Of game like all the others. But, that’s just not who we are. We’ve never used Click Bait tricks before and we never will, no matter how tempting they are. The one thing we do know is this; the thousands of visitors we get to Spinfuel VAPE every day are people who are here NOT to read some bullshit Best Of piece.
The truth is, we would never tell you what the best vape gear is. Only you can decide that. Our reviews are always brutally honest, we don’t owe our allegiance to anyone except our readers. If we love a certain box mod or certain sub-ohm tank we’re going to tell you, but we’ll never flat out tell you it’s the ‘Best Ever’, we’ll just tell you we love it, or like it, or hate it… or, its XXX’s favorite, for now.
Now, on a rare occasion, one of our authors may say that, to them, this tank or that mod is the BEST they’ve ever had, or used, but you’ll never read it’s the BEST there is.
As much as I love the new SMOK TFV12 Cloud Beast King, (and I do so love this tank) I would never say it’s the best sub-ohm tank ever. It is to me, it’s the one I use all the time, but the best for everyone? The absolute BEST, not a chance. I know several people in my own circle that refuse to use it, that right there disqualifies the TFV12 as the Best Tank, don’t you think?
So, there you are. Now you know what we tell those that email us about writing a Best Of piece. We won’t do it. There is no ‘Best’ anything, it’s all either subjective or manipulative, and we want no part of that.