Pay For Play

In a comment to previous post titled “Content Is King“, Nancy Johnson, editor-in-chief of Cadalyst, took strong exception to my suggestion that print magazines “sell their editorials and articles to the highest bidder“. She wrote:

I also continue to see references to print publications that allow vendors to pay for content. No one ever names names, which makes me wonder how confident they are about those statements. For the record, Cadalyst (at least as long as I’ve been with it) has never been paid by a vendor to publish content or traded advertising for editorial coverage. Bloggers who make references to this practice would do the CAD community a big favor if they provided some examples to support those claims.

The following is part of an email I received from a UK magazine:

We are now putting together our September/October edition, and have a Full Colour A4 Editorial Feature Page available within a prime position within the editorial matter, which will ensure your article receives maximum coverage from our exclusive circulation

…[snip]…

I am hoping that you may have some of the following information that you can supply to me by 5 o’clock Friday 18th September, as I  am able to offer this for just £350 which just covers our cost for printing and mailing. (Normal Rate £1,445)

Latest Product Innovation, or Case Study

(All we would require is a couple of colour images along with up to six hundred words of text approx)

I had never advertised on this magazine before and neither did I know anyone from the magazine personally. This email was a complete cold call. So I found it odd that they were so openly and blatantly offering the magazine’s editorial for sale like this to a complete stranger. I sent this particular section of the email to a few of my editor friends and asked them whether, in their opinion, this was “pay for play”. They all thought it was. The phrase “prime position within editorial matter” didn’t leave much to imagination. But before jumping to conclusions, however logically strong they may have seemed to be, I decided to get it straight from the horse’s mouth. So I replied back and asked for clarification. This is what I wrote:

Can you explain “Full Colour A4 Editorial Feature Page available within a prime position within the editorial matter”. Do you mean that the article that we submit to you will be featured as an editorial, or will it be separated from the editorial and appear as an article written by us?

Here is the shocking reply:

Yes the article that you submit, will be featured within relevant editorial matter, all we would require is a couple of colour images along with up to six hundred words of text approx, please let me know as soon as possible if you would like me to reserve this page for you.

In another comment to a post titled “Changing Times for the CAD Media” Rachael Dalton-Taggart, Director of Marketing of Lattice Technology, laid it bare. She wrote:

Then there are certain publications that happily take pay-for-play editorial – you know who you are – and that is a budget issue for the CAD vendors, but if it leads to sales, we will do it.

It is one thing when bloggers make claims of “pay for play” in the print media. But quite another when a CAD vendor comes out and publicly asserts that “pay for play” happens in the print media.

And by the way, this blogger is not making claims anymore. I have proof. If anyone wants to see it, contact me.

  • You talk in generalizations about a UK magazine accepting advertorials — but, by not identifying them with specificity, you implicate all UK magazines.

    In the end, your statement has no potential to “do good.” It only has the potential to impugn the reputations of those who it falsely implicates.

    So, let’s turn this around a bit. Here is something true that I would not publish in my blog: There are certain well-known bloggers who accept travel, gifts, free software, and other soft payments in exchange for positive editorial mentions. Some of them actually write preferential blogs in order to ingratiate themselves with vendors they have business relationships with.

    I didn’t “name names” in this statement. But I did make an accusation in a general enough fashion that it would fit a number of well known bloggers — including you.

    I have no desire to belabor what should be an obvious point having to do with “glass houses.”

  • You talk in generalizations about a UK magazine accepting advertorials — but, by not identifying them with specificity, you implicate all UK magazines.

    In the end, your statement has no potential to “do good.” It only has the potential to impugn the reputations of those who it falsely implicates.

    So, let’s turn this around a bit. Here is something true that I would not publish in my blog: There are certain well-known bloggers who accept travel, gifts, free software, and other soft payments in exchange for positive editorial mentions. Some of them actually write preferential blogs in order to ingratiate themselves with vendors they have business relationships with.

    I didn’t “name names” in this statement. But I did make an accusation in a general enough fashion that it would fit a number of well known bloggers — including you.

    I have no desire to belabor what should be an obvious point having to do with “glass houses.”

  • Evan,

    There is a reason why decent people like you, Rachael and me do not take names in public. There is also a reason why decent people disclose names to only those people who we trust will use the information responsibly.

    Bottom line, someone asked for proof and I am offering it. If you have a problem with that, then there is really not much I can do, now is there?

    Actually your comment about bloggers is quite true. I am a glowing example of it. PTC were so happy with me when I referred to Pro/ENGINEER as “antique” and “an old lady” that they bought me tickets to a Red Sox – Yankees baseball game.

  • Evan,

    There is a reason why decent people like you, Rachael and me do not take names in public. There is also a reason why decent people disclose names to only those people who we trust will use the information responsibly.

    Bottom line, someone asked for proof and I am offering it. If you have a problem with that, then there is really not much I can do, now is there?

    Actually your comment about bloggers is quite true. I am a glowing example of it. PTC were so happy with me when I referred to Pro/ENGINEER as “antique” and “an old lady” that they bought me tickets to a Red Sox – Yankees baseball game.

  • I think another problem with bloggers is simply public perception. I, for one, have been criticized privately for being a sellout, yet I have not made any money nor gotten any kick-backs for the few posts I’ve made. I’m criticized because I happen to write about what I know, which is very limited in scope, and therefore must be paid-off by the CAD vendor(s) I write about.

    It’s not so much that I write glaring reviews either. Granted, most of my writings are positive in nature, that’s just the way I prefer to spin things. But, I do point out flaws and shortcomings when there are no work-arounds. None the less, by writing about only a few topics and most of those written in a positive frame, I am perceived to be a sell-out. What other reason could there be?

  • I think another problem with bloggers is simply public perception. I, for one, have been criticized privately for being a sellout, yet I have not made any money nor gotten any kick-backs for the few posts I’ve made. I’m criticized because I happen to write about what I know, which is very limited in scope, and therefore must be paid-off by the CAD vendor(s) I write about.

    It’s not so much that I write glaring reviews either. Granted, most of my writings are positive in nature, that’s just the way I prefer to spin things. But, I do point out flaws and shortcomings when there are no work-arounds. None the less, by writing about only a few topics and most of those written in a positive frame, I am perceived to be a sell-out. What other reason could there be?

  • Kevin Quigley

    Am I missing something here? Is the CAD industry suddenly a holier than thou business? I’ve been involved with advertising and editoria/PR as a buyer for nearly 20 years. I cannot recall a single trade or consumer publication we have dealt with who do NOT offer so called advertiorials. Sometimes you get offered a full page advert adjacent to the editorial that features your product, sometimes you pay for the mention and supply appropriate images and text.

    What is the big deal here? If a CAD vendor buys adverts galore in a print or online publication they would EXPECT considerable coverage in the editorial. Otherwise why bother advertising again? Print magazines need advertising revenue to exist. If the editorial slams a product from an advertiser they are unlikely to get repeat business. This is why most, if not all reviews and features always have a positive spin. These are after all, freely distributed publications. The fact of the matter is any long time user of a particular CAD system will pick holes in any review unless the reviewer has some experience in the use of the application for day to day work (which is unlikely).

    The value in free trade print publications is that they offer the prospective buyer a wider perspective on the market. Not necessarily comparing different products but perhaps showing what is out there.

    An example, back in 2000 I read Al Deans feature on ThinkDesign. Result was I checked it out myself, had a demo then bought into it. A few years later I moved on from that but without that feature I probably wouldn’t have heard iof it for at least another 12 months. Similarly, the recent detailed review of HDR Studio in Develop3D resulted in me purchasing it the very same day.

    The other thing about print publications is in fact the adverts. Unlike internet adverts, print based media tends to be localised so more appropriate. As an advertiser you get a media pack detailing the forthcoming 12 months of content – showing what will be reviewed and when (within reason). Of course the editors are going to tailor that content to advertisers – they are running a business after all.

    So all in all I just don’t see what the fuss is. I’m not paying for these magazines – they are free. You cannot really get totally independent analaysis in the CAD sector – to do that you need to know what market the product is aimed at inside out, and you need to know the products well enough to make an informed analysis. Few can do this.

    These days I find more value – far more value – in reading about HOW companies use CAD rather than what CAD they are using. Again, the best publications in the market are doing this, and this I think adds even more value to an advertiser than having a plain old review.

  • Kevin Quigley

    Am I missing something here? Is the CAD industry suddenly a holier than thou business? I’ve been involved with advertising and editoria/PR as a buyer for nearly 20 years. I cannot recall a single trade or consumer publication we have dealt with who do NOT offer so called advertiorials. Sometimes you get offered a full page advert adjacent to the editorial that features your product, sometimes you pay for the mention and supply appropriate images and text.

    What is the big deal here? If a CAD vendor buys adverts galore in a print or online publication they would EXPECT considerable coverage in the editorial. Otherwise why bother advertising again? Print magazines need advertising revenue to exist. If the editorial slams a product from an advertiser they are unlikely to get repeat business. This is why most, if not all reviews and features always have a positive spin. These are after all, freely distributed publications. The fact of the matter is any long time user of a particular CAD system will pick holes in any review unless the reviewer has some experience in the use of the application for day to day work (which is unlikely).

    The value in free trade print publications is that they offer the prospective buyer a wider perspective on the market. Not necessarily comparing different products but perhaps showing what is out there.

    An example, back in 2000 I read Al Deans feature on ThinkDesign. Result was I checked it out myself, had a demo then bought into it. A few years later I moved on from that but without that feature I probably wouldn’t have heard iof it for at least another 12 months. Similarly, the recent detailed review of HDR Studio in Develop3D resulted in me purchasing it the very same day.

    The other thing about print publications is in fact the adverts. Unlike internet adverts, print based media tends to be localised so more appropriate. As an advertiser you get a media pack detailing the forthcoming 12 months of content – showing what will be reviewed and when (within reason). Of course the editors are going to tailor that content to advertisers – they are running a business after all.

    So all in all I just don’t see what the fuss is. I’m not paying for these magazines – they are free. You cannot really get totally independent analaysis in the CAD sector – to do that you need to know what market the product is aimed at inside out, and you need to know the products well enough to make an informed analysis. Few can do this.

    These days I find more value – far more value – in reading about HOW companies use CAD rather than what CAD they are using. Again, the best publications in the market are doing this, and this I think adds even more value to an advertiser than having a plain old review.

  • Scott/Kevin,

    I am amazed at this weird notion that being negative is equivalent to being independent. Personally, I think being independent is simply calling a spade a spade, whether the spade is good, bad or ugly.

    If you want to concentrate on the good sides of things please do so. Your readers will come to you with that expectation. You do not need to criticize for the heck of it, or just to sound “independent”.

    My feeling is that readers expect the press, media, bloggers (not employee bloggers), etc. to be largely independent. That’s why they call it the free press. “Free” as in “Independent”.

    The thing about print magazines is that the articles and reviews that follow the editorial are expected to be largely positive, simply because the reviewer/writer would prefer to show what a product is good at as opposed to where it sucks. Moreover, most of the time readers also want to know the same thing. So, according to me, all is well on that front.

    However, readers expect a certain level of sanctity in the editorial. And that is precisely what this post is all about.

  • Scott/Kevin,

    I am amazed at this weird notion that being negative is equivalent to being independent. Personally, I think being independent is simply calling a spade a spade, whether the spade is good, bad or ugly.

    If you want to concentrate on the good sides of things please do so. Your readers will come to you with that expectation. You do not need to criticize for the heck of it, or just to sound “independent”.

    My feeling is that readers expect the press, media, bloggers (not employee bloggers), etc. to be largely independent. That’s why they call it the free press. “Free” as in “Independent”.

    The thing about print magazines is that the articles and reviews that follow the editorial are expected to be largely positive, simply because the reviewer/writer would prefer to show what a product is good at as opposed to where it sucks. Moreover, most of the time readers also want to know the same thing. So, according to me, all is well on that front.

    However, readers expect a certain level of sanctity in the editorial. And that is precisely what this post is all about.

  • I think some of the comments here point out why “trust” is such a big issue in social media. I work for a CAD vendor. Bloggers get free trips and tickets. Journalists get advertising dollars. Those that are confrontational or negative can be seen to be doing it more for the attention. Everyone is suspect.

    To me, knowing the person a bit better helps you figure out how much those external influences actually impact what they are saying.

  • I think some of the comments here point out why “trust” is such a big issue in social media. I work for a CAD vendor. Bloggers get free trips and tickets. Journalists get advertising dollars. Those that are confrontational or negative can be seen to be doing it more for the attention. Everyone is suspect.

    To me, knowing the person a bit better helps you figure out how much those external influences actually impact what they are saying.

  • Jonathan Yeandle

    Hello Deelip,
    A good friend of mine has a very searching rule to gauge the validity of any comment/advice/gift/assistance….editorial…whatever and which goes something like “Look for the vested interest”.

    So a Financial Institution (Bank/Advisor/Share deal) is in it primarily to make money for themselves. The customer/saver/investor is basically only an enabling vehicle. If they (the Financial Institution) could make themselves money without the customers cash, then that is all they would do.

    It follows that all ‘free’ editorial/magazines/commercial bloggers will pay due lip service to their sponsors, in direct proportion to the size of the cash earned in doing so. They have little freedom to do otherwise unless their business income for some reason depends on their impartiality or accuracy.

    This situation has always been the case and it frequently reduces a substantial amount of CAD editorial content to the level seen in many Teen Magazines.

    Kind regards,
    Jonathan

  • Jonathan Yeandle

    Hello Deelip,
    A good friend of mine has a very searching rule to gauge the validity of any comment/advice/gift/assistance….editorial…whatever and which goes something like “Look for the vested interest”.

    So a Financial Institution (Bank/Advisor/Share deal) is in it primarily to make money for themselves. The customer/saver/investor is basically only an enabling vehicle. If they (the Financial Institution) could make themselves money without the customers cash, then that is all they would do.

    It follows that all ‘free’ editorial/magazines/commercial bloggers will pay due lip service to their sponsors, in direct proportion to the size of the cash earned in doing so. They have little freedom to do otherwise unless their business income for some reason depends on their impartiality or accuracy.

    This situation has always been the case and it frequently reduces a substantial amount of CAD editorial content to the level seen in many Teen Magazines.

    Kind regards,
    Jonathan

  • Okay, time to chime in 🙂

    Evan – re your comment about witholding the names. I do it because I want to publications who propose pay-for-play to continue doing so if it means they will continue to be financially viable. For vendors/advertisers, it then becomes a budget issue (as opposed to pure branding and awareness). i.e. will the “editorial” result in enough quality leads at an appropriate cost-per-lead? If so, we do it and I achieve my marketing mandates.

    Kevin – CAD publications being holier-than-though? Not quite but I do know a lot of editors personally in the industry who are proud of their integrity in their editorial, and fully believe that it is necessary for the good of the industry (both the CAD and press industry). As an ex-editor myself, I believe editorial integrity has to remain a key principle in publishing, because ultimately the readers will sniff out the bad ones and quit reading the publication. It is not the editors, however, that typically that offer such arrangements, but the publishers who have other pressures at hand.

    In addition, while I have participated in pay-for-play for many years, never have i seen so many unsolicited offers landing in my in-box. Times are hard, especially for the CAD press, and everyone is doing whatever they can to survive. I don’t blame them, ultimately. Further, the nature of the pay-for-play is becoming more covert. In years past it was always flashed as an ‘advertorial’: Clearly delineated for readers to identify what was paid and what was not. That clear line has dissolved in many places now.

    Does anyone see this as being good for the industry? I don’t.

    Rach

  • Okay, time to chime in 🙂

    Evan – re your comment about witholding the names. I do it because I want to publications who propose pay-for-play to continue doing so if it means they will continue to be financially viable. For vendors/advertisers, it then becomes a budget issue (as opposed to pure branding and awareness). i.e. will the “editorial” result in enough quality leads at an appropriate cost-per-lead? If so, we do it and I achieve my marketing mandates.

    Kevin – CAD publications being holier-than-though? Not quite but I do know a lot of editors personally in the industry who are proud of their integrity in their editorial, and fully believe that it is necessary for the good of the industry (both the CAD and press industry). As an ex-editor myself, I believe editorial integrity has to remain a key principle in publishing, because ultimately the readers will sniff out the bad ones and quit reading the publication. It is not the editors, however, that typically that offer such arrangements, but the publishers who have other pressures at hand.

    In addition, while I have participated in pay-for-play for many years, never have i seen so many unsolicited offers landing in my in-box. Times are hard, especially for the CAD press, and everyone is doing whatever they can to survive. I don’t blame them, ultimately. Further, the nature of the pay-for-play is becoming more covert. In years past it was always flashed as an ‘advertorial’: Clearly delineated for readers to identify what was paid and what was not. That clear line has dissolved in many places now.

    Does anyone see this as being good for the industry? I don’t.

    Rach

  • Does the editorial look and feel wrong, does it seem out of place and does it read badly? Then it’s probably paid for. If not, it probably isn’t. Simple.

    And I really do wish people would stop using the term Press when talking about people that write about this industry – we’re not journalists, we’re writers, there’s very little investigation (in fact, one of the big rows of late has pretty much been down to a distinct lack of investigation – into software releases)… The term editor gets bandied around a lot too and I see precious little of that as well.

    Advertorial is common in many magazines – and its shit. You can tell. If you don’t like it, don’t read that publication and unsubscribe. Reader numbers drop, then the publication dies – job done..

    This is all a bit like people moaning about the TV and the shit that’s all over it. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it and eventually it’ll go away.

    Like Kevin said, most articles have a positive spin. I’m happy with that in our publications and content. I’d much rather show what’s good about systems, applications, tools and processes and perhaps people can (as Kevin did, with ThinkDesign and HDR Studio) get some good from it in their working day.

    Do you enjoy what you read and do you get value from the time you invest reading it? If the answer is yes, then the jobs been done. If not, then don’t read it anymore. It’s simple and really doesn’t need anymore debate, argument and dissemination.

    Al

  • Does the editorial look and feel wrong, does it seem out of place and does it read badly? Then it’s probably paid for. If not, it probably isn’t. Simple.

    And I really do wish people would stop using the term Press when talking about people that write about this industry – we’re not journalists, we’re writers, there’s very little investigation (in fact, one of the big rows of late has pretty much been down to a distinct lack of investigation – into software releases)… The term editor gets bandied around a lot too and I see precious little of that as well.

    Advertorial is common in many magazines – and its shit. You can tell. If you don’t like it, don’t read that publication and unsubscribe. Reader numbers drop, then the publication dies – job done..

    This is all a bit like people moaning about the TV and the shit that’s all over it. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it and eventually it’ll go away.

    Like Kevin said, most articles have a positive spin. I’m happy with that in our publications and content. I’d much rather show what’s good about systems, applications, tools and processes and perhaps people can (as Kevin did, with ThinkDesign and HDR Studio) get some good from it in their working day.

    Do you enjoy what you read and do you get value from the time you invest reading it? If the answer is yes, then the jobs been done. If not, then don’t read it anymore. It’s simple and really doesn’t need anymore debate, argument and dissemination.

    Al

  • Hmmm, I’m definitely not selling out on my blog. In fact, I’ve spent much more money buying stuff that I write about than I do for web hosting (then again, my blog is a good excuse for buying fun stuff).

    IMNSHO, print reviews in general suck, because they just scratch the surface. I want to know where something fits: an appropriate tool for the job. For example, Galil motion controllers are great for certain projects, but suck for others. So I want reviews that not only talk about what’s great, but also mention what’s not so great, and where the reviewer is coming from.

    For example of reviews done right, look at dpreview.com’s SLR reviews; they are extensive, and you can find the information you need to decide which camera is the best fit for you. Yes, the writer’s have their opinions (their criteria for excellence is different than mine), but they still provide the information I need to judge based on my criteria.

    Now compare dpreview’s reviews with any print photo magazine.

    I always look at who wrote an article; I’ve never seen an article or guest editorial written by a company employee that didn’t mesh with the company’s current marketing.

  • Hmmm, I’m definitely not selling out on my blog. In fact, I’ve spent much more money buying stuff that I write about than I do for web hosting (then again, my blog is a good excuse for buying fun stuff).

    IMNSHO, print reviews in general suck, because they just scratch the surface. I want to know where something fits: an appropriate tool for the job. For example, Galil motion controllers are great for certain projects, but suck for others. So I want reviews that not only talk about what’s great, but also mention what’s not so great, and where the reviewer is coming from.

    For example of reviews done right, look at dpreview.com’s SLR reviews; they are extensive, and you can find the information you need to decide which camera is the best fit for you. Yes, the writer’s have their opinions (their criteria for excellence is different than mine), but they still provide the information I need to judge based on my criteria.

    Now compare dpreview’s reviews with any print photo magazine.

    I always look at who wrote an article; I’ve never seen an article or guest editorial written by a company employee that didn’t mesh with the company’s current marketing.

  • Al: “It’s simple and really doesn’t need anymore debate, argument and dissemination.”

    I find it odd that the people (not you) who think that there is no need for more debate on this issue are daring others to prove them wrong. If you go around asking for trouble, you will most probably get it.

    As others have commented on this post, pay for play exists, and the sooner the print media accepts it and does something about it (if required), the better for them. But clearly adding fuel to the fire is the most absurd method of dousing flames.

  • Al: “It’s simple and really doesn’t need anymore debate, argument and dissemination.”

    I find it odd that the people (not you) who think that there is no need for more debate on this issue are daring others to prove them wrong. If you go around asking for trouble, you will most probably get it.

    As others have commented on this post, pay for play exists, and the sooner the print media accepts it and does something about it (if required), the better for them. But clearly adding fuel to the fire is the most absurd method of dousing flames.

  • Jonathan Yeandle

    Hello Deelip, Al and Tony…

    A lone readers perspective.

    A quick look at the relevant 3 competing(?) sites (I also gratefully receive Al’s paper mag) shows up the stark contrast in content vs presentation/marketing which in my opinion is what really matters to a reader (me:-)

    Deelip, in my opinion, has a rounded grasp on his followers psyche and also those aspects of general interest for a CAD user in engineering. The style of his opinion/confrontation is couched naively enough to avoid upsetting the general reader yet ruffle a few hubristic feathers .

    Al’s offerings are for the most part, extremely well presented hyperbole but lacks engineering content. I gain enjoyment keeping abreast of what’s available in the world of glossy presentation, plastics toys, roundy teapots and coffee time engineering, oh and adverts.

    I’ve only this morning ‘discovered’ Tony’s site. After a skim through I found enough to believe that I’ll enjoy the engineering bias and some of the other stuff too. No adverts:-)

    I guess this indicates that you are all 3 providing a different service? Is it the one you intended? Only your ‘consumers’ can tell you.

    Kind regards,
    Jonathan

  • Jonathan Yeandle

    Hello Deelip, Al and Tony…

    A lone readers perspective.

    A quick look at the relevant 3 competing(?) sites (I also gratefully receive Al’s paper mag) shows up the stark contrast in content vs presentation/marketing which in my opinion is what really matters to a reader (me:-)

    Deelip, in my opinion, has a rounded grasp on his followers psyche and also those aspects of general interest for a CAD user in engineering. The style of his opinion/confrontation is couched naively enough to avoid upsetting the general reader yet ruffle a few hubristic feathers .

    Al’s offerings are for the most part, extremely well presented hyperbole but lacks engineering content. I gain enjoyment keeping abreast of what’s available in the world of glossy presentation, plastics toys, roundy teapots and coffee time engineering, oh and adverts.

    I’ve only this morning ‘discovered’ Tony’s site. After a skim through I found enough to believe that I’ll enjoy the engineering bias and some of the other stuff too. No adverts:-)

    I guess this indicates that you are all 3 providing a different service? Is it the one you intended? Only your ‘consumers’ can tell you.

    Kind regards,
    Jonathan

  • I have been following all this with interest. I liked Evan Yares’ comments … his reply reflects my own feelings.

    Deelip, contrary to what you stated, I never asked for an end to the “pay vs play” debate (and I never dared anyone to prove me wrong). I commented previously that we should end the “traditional media vs blogger” debate because I believe there’s a place for everyone.

  • I have been following all this with interest. I liked Evan Yares’ comments … his reply reflects my own feelings.

    Deelip, contrary to what you stated, I never asked for an end to the “pay vs play” debate (and I never dared anyone to prove me wrong). I commented previously that we should end the “traditional media vs blogger” debate because I believe there’s a place for everyone.

  • Jonathan,

    I’m glad you like my site; one reason I do it is to give back, since on numerous occasions I’ve been helped out by others people’s blogs.

    Since advertising is annoying, and at best might cover the cost of hosting (which isn’t much compared to what I spend on equipment, connectors, PCBs, etc), it simply isn’t worth it.

  • Jonathan,

    I’m glad you like my site; one reason I do it is to give back, since on numerous occasions I’ve been helped out by others people’s blogs.

    Since advertising is annoying, and at best might cover the cost of hosting (which isn’t much compared to what I spend on equipment, connectors, PCBs, etc), it simply isn’t worth it.