So it’s been a while since I posted any interviews… but today I’ve got one with the owners of ModReactor.com, a Bulgarian PC Review and Modding related website.
So read on to meet the owners and learn more about ModReactor
Just so you know there are two owners of ModReactor and they sort of take turns answering the questions…
Q: First off, can you tell us a bit, in your own words, about ModReactor?
M: ModReactor.com is a Bulgarian hardware and computer modding portal with up to day reviews of recent hardware, modding components and gaming products. Our innovative approach and fresh way of presenting the information helped us for a few years to become one of the leading internet hardware portals. We started only as a modding portal with our own projects, but we started also to provide hardware reviews as means to develop the site and the modding community here in Bulgaria in general.
Now we try to deliver to our readers current information about new products by providing extensive reviews. We are also highly interested in providing information about overclocking capabilities and possibility of use in computer modifications of these products. We try to bring to our reader’s attention wide range of hardware products, which very often are suited for our target audience and are very usually poorly presented in Bulgarian media. ModReactor’s team has 6 members – 2 are long-term, experienced modders and hardware enthusiasts, one is a very promising modder with high skills and very interesting ideas and since recently we have two more hardware reviewers, whose latest work we are very pleased with.
Q: I see that there are two owners of ModReactor, can you tell us a bit how you two came to form the site, a little history behind it?
Stuyo (S): Veseliq was one of the co-founders of the first Bulgarian modding site – ModsBG. This was back in 2003. Then I was just starting a new mod of mine and he approached me in a hardware forum to ask me if I’d like to post my project in this newly created site. After some time we both wanted to make the site commercial to support its growth, but encountered resistance from the other people in the team. So we basically split and formed our own site, Modreactor, on 1.Nov.2005. Since then we tried for three years to establish large channel for hardware for reviews, but managed to do it just the last year. Right now we are more hardware oriented, because we do not have time for modding, as we have many reviews and the team is still little.
Q: Do you have any big plans in the works for ModReactor? Or are you going to continue doing what you’re doing?
Modractor (M): Yes, definitely we will continue. We are trying to attract more people to our team and to make the site even bigger and better. We would like in near future to step up a little the modding side of the site, as we recently neglected it much. Also hopefully someday soon we will working full time for the site, because now we both have regular day jobs.
Q: Your site is both Russian and English, where do you get most of your visitors from?
M: Well, the site is as matter of fact Bulgarian and most of our readers are from around here. Our international readers are growing, but I suppose the site layout is troublesome for them. We already have new design and well specified new CMS that will be written from scratch by Veseliq (he is a full-time web developer) but there are always important materials and we are postponing the new site for quite some time.
Q: What’s an average day like for you?
M: We get up and go to work. After that at home we do all the tests and take pictures of the hardware and write articles late night. On the whole we do not have much spare time and at the moment it is pretty tough, but we are trying hard to make Modreactor our primary occupation so we can quit our jobs and focus on it.
Q: What was the first product you reviewed?
Veseliq (V): The first product reviewed was an MSI portable media player (http://www.modreactor.com/Reviews/MSI-Mega-View-588-Review.html). Back in 2005 I was writing reviews for HardwareBG (biggest hardware forum here with over half-million posts). ModReactor was just starting and MSI had aggressive marketing strategy at the time. They saw our work, wanted to do some advertising on the site and sent us the media sample – this was something huge for us.
Q: How do you feel that manufacturers have treated you through the years?
S: The first few years were very hard, we had almost no reviews and worked mainly with MSI and their distributer here. The last year was a big leap for us, we made many new contacts with mixed success, but we hardly stay without material for reviews. Mainly the smaller manufacturers pay attention to us, we are still trying to reach the large ones but lately it’s getting better. We got the attention of DFI, A-Data, XFX, Sapphire and other well known manufacturers, still probably the financial crisis is playing a role – we are partnering with PCWorld Bulgaria and they say its getting harder for them to get media samples lately as well.
Q: What do you feel makes your reviews unique?
M: Actually the Bulgarian online hardware media is quite poorly developed and usually lacks enough high quality content and up to date reviews. We are focused on presenting top content and information with a global accent not only limiting the information for brands presented in Bulgaria. We believe that actually this is our outstanding and unique feature that currently has no analogue here. Our way of being always fresh and readers oriented is quite a new approach for the Bulgarian market and is already proving its efficiency.
Q: What makes a good reviewer?
S: A good reviewer must of course have extensive knowledge about the stuff he reviews, but most of all he must be able to structure his remarks and present them in entertaining way so to keep the focus of the reader.
Q: With your reviews, who is your main audience?
S: Our main audience are mainly young people both knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We focus our efforts towards end consumers, gamers, overclockers, modders and hardware enthusiasts on the whole.
Q: How do you rate your products?
M: We base our rating on several criterias, but mostly we take in mind if the product really fulfils its targeted audience needs and how much bang for buck do you really get / are there better priced products in this product class. Our rating system is from 1 to 10 with 0.5 increments. We also have several awards – „Editor’s Choice“ and „Excellence“ are our best marks and they are rarely given. „Recommended“ award is usually given to products that perform well and are better choice than most of the concurent with this features and price tag. Finally „Best Value“ is ofcourse given to products with great price/performa
Q: How did you come up with the rating system?
M: The manufacturers wanted awards – images that they can show off on their sites and put later on the product’s packaging. We did that and our readeres liked it at once and started paying attention to the awards.
Q: How do you select products to review?
S: I usually browse the net and if I like something new I request samples. Also if I see something interesting in our affiliates’ reviews, I request that too.
V: I’m doing mostly Video card, CPU and Motherboard reviews. So I’m following Intel, AMD and NVIDIA’s schedules and when the launch date of a new GPU/CPU or chipset approaches, I send requests to our partners in Bulgaria that import such products to hand us media samples. Some time there aren’t enough samples so we review on-stock products which they have received just before NDA falls.
Q: Out of all the products you’ve gotten for review, which is your favorite? and why, what makes it your favorite?
S: Hmm, personally my favorite product is the laptop pad I am using (Vizo Ninja). It represents all the features that I ever required from product like this and when it came on the market I just loved it.
V: There isn’t a best product. Its always pleasure to work with top products with good features and quality which does not get on my nerves through the tests – as motherboards with poorly written BIOS, incompatible memories and such. And if a product with good or exceptional performance and features has also a decent price, the review becomes just pleasure – the readers will be interested in it and the manufacturer won’t be trying to convince us that there is a reason to boost its final score.
Q: What tips can you offer readers when it comes to purchasing a product?
S: Read reviews from sources you trust and always make comparison between as many different reviews as you can. Make sure you know exactly what you need. A product might be good, yet it might not serve your purpose or might have extra features which you won’t use but pay for them anyway.
Q: Finally what do you think of sites like TestFreaks that aggregates and analyzes a large number of reviews?
S: In order to make a successful hardware site you have to stay constantly up to date and one of the best ways is to follow closely the best sites, sharing common interest. We like having affiliates like you – keep the competition strong, motivates us, establishes a strong information network and all that helps to build strong and active community, which is the most important thing for our existence.
Well that’s that, and I hoped you learned about a new site to visit that’s out there in the ether of the internet. Be sure to stop by and check them out, there is a little flag on the page (top right corner) to automatically translate everything for you to English if need be.