Do you trust yo-yo reviewers…

… who received the item for free from the manufacturer?

Don’t get me wrong, there are some trustworthy people out there, but I’m always doubtful/skeptical of reviews from people who received the item with the request to complete a review.

As a performer, would you risk damaging your reputation with a brand (and potential freebies/partnerships) by being honest if the item was bad?

Keen to get your thoughts, as this does extend beyond just yo-yos.


Yoyo reviews are not meant to help you make purchase decisions. Yoyos are subjective unlike laptops which have very specific stats.
Thus yoyo reviews only have entertainment value or to hype you up for a release.

This is not to say a reviewer is lying if they say they like a yoyo. It just means that that itself doesnt mean much if you have different preferences than the reviewer.


I disagree, a reviewer can highlight performance aspects such as spin time, grindability, feel, with many of these not necessarily being entirely subjective.

If a reviewer says this yo-yo is good, I find it rare they say ‘I think it’s good’, rather they often imply it’s a universal sign off on the product.

But I agree what you highlight should be what reviewers do, which is share their own views on a subjective level rather than make a sweeping statement that is deemed to apply to all that would purchase the product.

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I think @Upmanyu hit the nail on the head. Yoyos do have indisputable specs, however, two yo-yos with the exact same specs can play completely differently depending on the shape, so, reviewers need to put their opinion about the yoyo into the review. They have a place in building the hype for various releases.

Over time, I’ve learned which reviewers have opinions on play and feel similar to mine, and I know if that reviewer says a yoyo is a don’t miss out, I will probably like it. I’ve also learned that some reviews really don’t give me any sense of how I will enjoy a yoyo. However, if those reviewers are entertaining, they will keep getting my views.

Where I would find the challenge is if I didn’t like a yoyo. Communicating my preference while still being clear that the yoyo was well machined, beautifully anodized, vibe-free…a good, maybe great yoyo, just one that didn’t mesh with me.

Edit to add: maybe what yoyo needs is a Consumer Affairs type group that purchases yo-yos at retail and does brutally honest reviews. I think this would need to be a multiperson, multi skill level group, maybe even anonymous (reviews in ninja suits and voice changing software?).


99 percent of yoyos today will spin for ages and can accomplish more than what we are capable of throwing at them. Because of that, for the 1 percent that actually suck, I doubt anyone worth their wait in salt would want to lie to us about it because it would tank their credibility with nothing to show for it but an awful yoyo.

I won’t name it, but I’ve had the one percent, and it was awful.


Honestly, it depends. Are they getting a free yoyo to keep, or is it free just to play/review and they have to send it off to the next reviewer? I know most of these guys aren’t trying to be straight up shills, but oftentimes they are ‘e-friends’ or have a personal connection with the guy/gal making the yoyo that the bias is rather heavy. I know personally that id be pressured to think more positively about a yoyo if I liked the person who made it, and even moreso if I was gifted one of the batch. Also the added scrutiny you apply to something you actually have to pay for. Free stuff is always nice, and it is easy to overlook things like price point when evaluating.

So personally I tend to trust people more who don’t have any involvement with the people involved, and that includes receiving a free yoyo. If they had to pay for the yoyo they might be more critical rather than just want to lather it with praise.

I don’t judge any of my wants on yoyo reviews anymore. I judge it based on shape, size, weight, and public perception. Ill still watch reviews for entertainment, and might get interested in a yoyo, but I won’t knee-jerk buy a yoyo based on a neat youtube review.


Theres only a few reviewers I tend to listen to for their views due to the fact that they have a greater understanding of yoyos and yoyoing to which I can trust understand the more intricate things that only yoyoers who have been around for a longer time can understand and describe.

Reviews definitely can swing my view of a yoyo if its from someone trustworthy like I mention (Good case in point would be Brandon Vu).
Even if its a yoyo given by a manufacturer, I trust these longtime standing members of the community much more.


It doesn’t make much of a difference to me, most yoyo reviewers tend to be pretty positive about a yoyo, and even a slightly bad yoyo today is incredibly rare. The value in filmed yoyo reviews for me comes when the reviewer has made a fair number of videos and I can see how they have responded to various yoyos I’ve tried, what their play style is like and what kind of tricks they tend to do. From all of that, along with the specs and shape of the yoyo I can get some idea of how the yoyo plays.

A great example of this are a lot of the retro rehash yoyos being done by RSO, Duncan and others. My most recent example is The End, it plays like an improved anti-yo but it still very much feels like old school high walled narrow throw because that is what it is. To some this is the ultimate yoyo, a better version of the yoyo they couldn’t get 15 years ago. To me its an interesting look into what can be done with an old design with the improvements we have today in machining, response, etc. How do I review this? Is it the best thing since sliced bread because its a better version of the yoyo I’ve always wanted, or is it a silly thing that won’t help me win any contests or make learning new tricks easier? Maybe its just another well built beautifully crafted yoyo that has been well hyped.

The one thing I’ve learned about myself is that there will never be an ultimate yoyo for me, some days I want a yoyo that makes learning new tricks as easy as possible, other days I want a yoyo that will challenge me to improve my skills, other days I just want to get in a groove, relax and have fun. I might pick up a half dozen yoyos before I hit on the one that suits my current mood. In that light reviews mean almost nothing, but I still enjoy them.


I don’t think it matters if the reviewer gets the yoyo for free from the manufacturer. I don’t think that will make the review any more or any less useful to me. But to be clear, as general rule I don’t find reviews useful (to me) at all since the chances I’ll like a yoyo the same way, for the same reasons, and/or to the same degree as any reviewer is pretty slim. I can usually tell from photos and the specs if I am going to like a yoyo, and even when those don’t tell the whole story, I’ve not found many times when a review made a meaningful difference to me. There is simply no substitute for trying a yoyo out for myself.


This is me all day, every day :joy:

I usually watch reviews more so to see it in action. Hell, half the time I’m watching reviews, it’s after I’ve already ordered it and just want to look at it and get myself hyped.


Great read. Has there been a review on the RSO End published or was that your input to make said point. Just asking as I have one on the way and am curious to see if there are any reviews on the prelude.

I think it depends in the individual reviewer, honestly. Some people are more genuine in general, others not as much. I know folks who have given honest less-than-stellar reviews for yoyos they’ve been given for free (@Roy_Dodge comes to mind) and didn’t let it affect them at all. But I’m sure there are folks out there who would hype up a yoyo more than it deserves. Just find a reviewer(s) you trust.

I think it’s important to talk about any possible influences on the review though. For example, I’m friends with several yoyo makers so if I ever make a review of their throws, I’ll be sure to say “I’m friends with ____ and he sent me this yoyo to review, but I’ll try to be as unbiased as possible.” Or in my case, more often it’s “I made the strings for this yoyo, but I already got paid for that so it’s no skin off my nose whether you buy it or not.” :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I’ve heard of reviewers who ask yoyo companies to pay them for their review, and while I get the concept behind that (reviewers are investing time to make videos and possibly investing money into cameras etc) it still feels kinda scummy to me. I don’t even offer coupons for people who leave reviews on my website, because I think paid reviews are much more likely to be biased and I don’t want anyone to think my reviews are skewed because of that. But what REALLY bothers me even more is if you’re getting paid to make a review, and you don’t say that in the video. I don’t know if it’s true or not so I won’t name any names, but supposedly a certain reviewer was getting paid to make reviews, and didn’t ever say so in their videos, which makes me completely never trust that guy.

But that’s a little off-topic. I think getting a free yoyo isn’t the same as getting paid, it’s just a courtesy to the reviewer and I don’t think many people would intentionally let that sway their opinions of the throw. Much more likely to affect the review is “shinyitis” where the new shiny toy is the new favorite because it’s new and shiny, and when you try it a month later it’s not as good as you thought. But that can affect anyone, whether you paid for the yoyo or not.


It’s a opinion of something subjective, but if the person is “sponsored” or some how received a yo-yo for free then I usually put much less stock in their opinion. No offense to those people but
I have not seen any negative review videos so far. Which is kind of weird since there is a never ending supply of trolls online.


I feel like you’ve conflated two very different things here. There’s a big difference between “sponsored” and “got a yoyo for free.” I agree, someone who is sponsored by a brand is not likely to make a bad review (although someone with integrity could at least skip making a review rather than making a false one). But getting a yoyo for free doesn’t involve a relationship between the manufacturer and the reviewer in the same way a sponsorship does.


When I was first getting into yoyoing I watched reviews for all kinds of yoyos, even ones I didn’t plan on getting. Over time I ended up getting a few yoyos I watched reviews for and learned whether my thoughts/feelings about a yoyos play aligned with the reviewers. Eventually I could watch those reviewers whos feelings I aligned with, and while they played with and spoke about the yoyos I could get a solid feel for whether I would like the yoyo in question.

Yoyos are super subjective, so it will always be hard to trust reviews but I do think they have value for helping judge whether a yoyo will be good for you.


Me too! The thing that stands out to me is I’ve never watched a review and then thought “Crap, I shouldn’t have ordered it.”

I was making my point, I don’t recall if there have been any full on reviews of the RSO End, but more musing on how I’d review such a yoyo. I could have just as easily used the derti, freehand one al, mechabapezilla, yweti, gravity and so on in the example. Certainly anybody reviewing this type of yoyo must face this dilemma to some degree. It can be fun to go back and find reviews of these yoyos back when they first dropped and then consider those within the context of today.


It really doesn’t matter if they got it free or not – bias is unavoidable and quite often unconscious. Nobody will be perfectly objective. Receiving free product provides a strong incentive to be biased, but it’s far from the only reason.

Case in point, I’m going to guess that guy who created the big hoopla around buying that $1,000 yoyo awhile back gave it a good review – (assuming he did) was it because it really is a good yoyo or was he just rationalizing spending $1,000 on a yoyo? Or was it a bit of both?


I think of it like opening presents in front of the person who bought the present. Who (besides children) would open a gift and then talk negatively about it in front of the person. It’s not a bad thing, I’m sure they might stretch the truth so they don’t insult anyone. But that is not a unbiased opinion. I prefer when people admit it was a free yo-yo so their review might be biased.


As a designer, I’ve always tried to tell reviewers to be as honest as they can. I don’t give yoyos to reviewers often as I don’t really see the value in it for the community. I think they’re more promotional materials than reviews.

I definitely agree that most reviews are sus. They get the yoyos for free and if they were to start saying bad things about yoyos, the stream of freebies would dry up fairly fast as I’m sure you could imagine. I guess the trick is to only make good yoyos, and that’s pretty easy to do in this climate of great machine shops who are very easy to get in touch with. It’s still a scary prospect sending a product to a reviewer though, especially if they’re known for being brutally honest.

I think they’d be a lot better if they weren’t all the same. They all seem to be “Spins real good, feels real good, can do all my tricks” and it’s just not helpful. I also think they should be disclosing that they got the yoyo for free, as required by most countries by law. If they’re not, they can definitely be reported and they’ll start getting heafty fines.

That said, there are some people who do a good job at reviewing a yoyo. I sent a Peach to @EOS44 because his reviews are very in depth. Like, insanely in depth where you can tell it was stressful to put out. EOS is a friend I’ve known a long time, but I specifically told him to try to ingore our friend bias and be as honest as he wants. I think he did an excellent job as you can see here.


Bias is certainly an issue, using myself as an example I have a hard time viewing a magic yoyo or auldey seriously, I own a few and even if they are great players I just don’t care about them. Something about their branding and marketing feels overly mass market or gimmicky. On the other hand I tend to be much more forgiving of boutique yoyos done by an active member of the community, because I really try to support anybody who makes an active contribution in the community. I’ll definitely buy a boutique yoyo that I wouldn’t otherwise buy for that reason alone.

I’m not sponsored by anybody, nobody has ever given me a yoyo for review. I’m also not a reviewer, but I’m happy to provide feedback about how I feel about a yoyo and its always a yoyo I’ve purchased. I have been given a few prototypes to try and give feedback, but in those cases if I ever say something about the yoyo I mention that I was given a prototype to test.

About the $1000 yoyo, there’s certainly going to be a lot of temptation to convince yourself you made a good purchase, but that instance was more about getting some traction on youtube. Just like how some are going to great lengths doing all sorts of crazy things to get followers on tiktoc. Is this good for yoyo? I’m not sure, but I tend to believe that anything that gets new people aware of modern yoyo is probably a good thing. I think any yoyo reviews sponsored or not fit in the same category. Broader awareness and understanding of our hobby is important.