By on October 5, 2017

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What is it about these wacky new-school post-enthusiast autowriters? Prior to last week, I thought that Wayne “50 percent of the time I am an automotive journalist” Gerdes of CleanMPG was probably the loosest screw in the business, what with the drafting at 70 mph and letting a Ranger run wild through a subdivision with the engine off. It didn’t help my estimation of Wayne’s sanity that the payoffs he received for risking life and limb in the service of advertorial content were so Mickey Mouse. Why risk running over an animal or child just to save a few pennies on fuel and/or pick up a couple grand from an automaker?

Electek‘s Fred Lambert is playing for slightly higher stakes, as we revealed in last week’s piece on his double life as “impartial” electric car journalist and compensated Tesla referrer. In fact, since we ran the article Fred managed to get his eighth referral, entitling him to a second $7,200 Tesla Powerwall and bringing the total potential take for his advocacy into the $30,000 range. And while he never found the time to return my e-mails or engage with me regarding his behavior, when Automotive News decided to put him on blast he didn’t hesitate to start getting ugly with young Katie Burke about what he perceived as a “non-story.”

Nor did he think twice about implying that he would kill a Ford employee — a threat he retracted and blamed on his phone.


Burke’s piece draws heavily on the work I did here at TTAC, but I’m not the only person looking into Fred’s behavior. TTAC’s former Editor-in-Chief Edward Niedermeyer pointed out that Electrek isn’t meeting disclosure requirements for stock holding. Ford’s Karl Henkel called Fred out on his allegedly biased reporting regarding non-Tesla EVs, at which point Fred called him “Fucking Deceptive” and threatened to “kill him out.” A quick check for “Electrek” on Twitter or on various search engines shows the publication is being called out around the globe, with journalists summarizing my original TTAC post in several different languages. The electric vehicle reporter for the WSJ has retweeted the Automotive News article. Even the fine folks at ZeroHedge have taken some time to examine the Lambert shenanigans.

You’d think Mr. Lambert might want to keep his head down right now, but he’s doubling down, including publicizing an email he sent Automotive News after finding out they were planning a story on his referrals:

fredro

You have to admire the balls on this fellow — his complaint basically amounts to “THIS WOMAN TOOK ME SERIOUSLY WHEN I SAID I DIDN’T WANT TO COMMENT.” Like Wayne Gerdes, he appears to be utterly befuddled as to why anybody would have a problem with him earning five-figure benefits from Tesla even as he purports to report objectively on Tesla and its competitors. A whole army of Twitterati is busying itself pointing out hilarious contradictions between the way Fred covers Tesla and the way he covers everybody else.

What’s next for Fred? Former cross-country speeder and Tesla Autopilot pioneer Alex Roy has announced his intent to take Fred down by nearly any means necessary. Three of the four former TTAC E-I-Cs are publicly lampooning him. In fact, this is the first time I’ve agreed with both Ed and Bertel on something since around the time of Obama’s re-election.

So why does any of this matter? Several of the B&B have delivered supremely world-weary, faux-cynical diatribes about how “everybody is for sale” and “there’s nothing unusual about this.” What I would suggest here is that the average would-be electric vehicle buyer has no idea that Fred is suspiciously close to being an outright Tesla shill who could be holding Tesla stock at the same time that he is writing pro-Tesla “journalism.” They don’t have the luxury of having read a decade’s worth of reporting by TTAC and other outlets on the perils and pitfalls of automotive journalism. In other words, they’re about as well-informed on electric vehicles as most of TTAC’s readers would be regarding sailboats or a particular medical treatment. This is how bad journalism and problematic content drives the good stuff off the market — by being signal-boosted through automotive PR and blogger mutual admiration societies even as the writers receive cash or prizes from the companies on which they are ostensibly reporting.

I can’t do anything to prevent those EV intenders from visiting Fred’s website and using his referral code to further enrich him. It might not even be my job to do so. But what I can do is this: provide some context and some additional information for those buyers who are willing to take a critical or questioning look at the situation. That’s why we are here — to tell the truth. It was the mission when Robert Farago founded this site. It’s still my mission today. Thanks for reading.

[Images via Twitter]

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62 Comments on “Electrek Loonyland: After the Referrals Scandal Goes International, Fred Lambert Doubles Down...”


  • avatar
    brettc

    Nice job, Jack. Good that this guy is getting some heat put on him but too bad that he doesn’t seem to understand the Streisand effect.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    I used to read CleanMPG but stopped once I realized it’s a bigger circle jerk than Giz-Gaw-pnik, but with none of the occasional amusing meltdowns.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “they’re about as well-informed on electric vehicles as most of TTAC’s readers would be regarding sailboats or a particular medical treatment.”

    I’m sure some TTAC readers could provide good information on the boats and treatments but point taken.

    LOL

    In the world of “fake news”, I am surprised by the naivety of many people.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    I’ve never heard of Fred Lambert until this, but I’ve never been in the market for an electric car.
    After reading this story and his response to Burke, I didn’t come away despising him.
    I think I like him.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    “This is how bad journalism and problematic content drives the good stuff off the market — by being signal-boosted through automotive PR and blogger mutual admiration societies even as the writers receive cash or prizes from the companies on which they are ostensibly reporting.”

    x 1000

    We’re seeing this everywhere. That’s why we need to approach all media with healthy, strong skepticism. That’s why I’ve been here so long. That’s TTAC’s reason to be.

  • avatar
    deanst

    So tesla has a referral program that gives $1000 discounts and hands the person giving the referral the equivalent of $4000 in goods? Sounds kind of odd. But I guess the question is how is this different than “journalists” being flown half way around the world, put up in luxury resorts, and given swag? I can’t see how you can tolerate one but not the other.

    • 0 avatar

      You must be new here. TTAC writers have pretty consistently criticized the junket/buffet gravy train that some autojournos and others may abuse in quasi-collusion with automakers’ PR efforts. Whether it’s a year long “test” of a CTS-V wagon, overseas first drives in exotic locations, or inviting already influenced social media influencers and [fill in the blank] bloggers to ride & drives to the exclusion of impartial and informed writers, you’ll find that TTAC’s writers have been equally intolerant of various ways of gaming what you read and view about cars.

      • 0 avatar
        deanst

        Past Honda review:

        “Honda flew media to New Hampshire, put us up in a historic hotel, left tasty local snacks and soda in our room, fed us several fine meals, and offered us a baseball hat I did not take.”

        i don’t care what ttac writers say, I judge them by their actions. Is it okay to jump on the gravy train or not? Or is there some line where it crosses into “abuse”? And if so, where is the line? Local travel only? Maximum cost? Number of days at an hotel? Does just a disclaimer cover everything?

        The question remains, what is the difference from this compensation versus tesla swag?

        (And no, I’m not new – I’ve been around well before the recent attempts to be “less critical” of manufacturers.)

        • 0 avatar
          Toad

          The full disclosure of (all) of the bennies that were offered by the manufacturer to the reviewer makes a big difference. It is reasonable to partake in the food and lodging if that is the price of access to a new model launch, provided it is disclosed to the reader.

          It is less reasonable to have to infer the luxury oversees trip and who paid for it; the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Neil seems to write almost every auto review from some exotic location that I’m confident the Journal did not pay for.

          Actual cash and expensive goodies valued in the four figure range are just bribes, pure and simple.

        • 0 avatar
          notwhoithink

          I think the difference is disclosure. If they tell you how they were comped for the trip you can arrive at an informed decision about whether to trust the reporting. If they don’t tell you there was a trip, or who paid for it, or who paid for meals, then you probably don’t think about it at all.

          I think that for many of these cases you have to participate in things that may influence you in order to get access. It’s only reasonable that you are expected to disclose any of the “gifts” that were given in the process.

          In the case of TTAC specifically, they agreed to disclose everything that they were provided as part of the review process, and to specifically refuse unnecessary gifts (money, hats, or other trinkets/goods). In a lot of their reviews it says “the manufacturer provided me with access to the car for a day and a tank full of gas”. It just depends on how the review was done (solo or an an autojourno event).

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            Maybe car reviews should be ignored unless access to the car was provided by dropping it off at the journalist’s residence. These new model introduction junkets are an obvious deliberate form of corruption.

            Most people are very good at seeing conflict of interest on the part of others and those they dislike, while being very poor at seeing conflict of interest in themselves or those they agree with.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        “…you’ll find that TTAC’s writers have been equally intolerant of various ways of gaming what you read and view about cars.”

        Well, unless you’re a family man Honda fanboi TTAC writer whom Honda flies to Hawaii–with your family in tow–to “test drive” a Honda family van…

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Back LOOOOONNNNGGG ago, Farago refused to have ads on TTAC or attend/report on any manufacturer-paid event.

        However, the site also teetered on brink of bankruptcy ever other week back then.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      It’s the directness of the pay for performance.

      Similar to the difference between trying to buy some fairly vague influence via campaign contributions; versus straight up offering senators $1million cash for each $20million in federal contracts sent my way.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I see your point, deanst, but the difference is that TTAC discloses what the automaker provided on their behalf. Does Car and Driver, or any other outlet? Not to my knowledge.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    I’m inclined to believe “blame the phone” there.

    “Kill him out from now on” *is nonsense*; it’s now how English speakers use the word “kill” – you don’t “kill someone out”.

    “Kick him out from now on” makes perfect sense, and is so similar it’s a trivial and plausible autocorrect error.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Yes, I think Jack is trolling a bit by emphasizing the “kill” here, which very much looks like an autocorrect typo.

      Who has time to spellcheck their social media posts in the face of all this negative press covfefe?

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        The only reasons I doubted the autocorrect thing: Lambert is a native French speaker and I can’t find any documentation of iPhones autocorrecting the common “call” to “kill”.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          I can’t even figure out how he could have fat-fingered it. K and I are far away from C and A, at least on the en-US keyboard.

        • 0 avatar
          notwhoithink

          Voice recognition and a French-Canadian accent?

        • 0 avatar
          SPPPP

          Fair enough, Jack. Still, it could have been “KICK” mistyped as “KICL”, which might autocorrect to “KILL”. That’s an easy typo, as “K” and “L” are adjacent. And it would form “kick him out”, which seems reasonable.

        • 0 avatar
          psychoboy

          Voice to text?

          “call him out” and “kill him out” can sound the same to Siri.

          so far, my siri has translated “call him out” into “call heath”, “come out”, and my personal favorite “Going to Kona from here on.”

          • 0 avatar
            SPPPP

            Haha, good real-world experimentation there. It sounds like your iPhone’s voice recognition works about as well as that on an early generation Ford Sync system. “I … accidentally … put my fist through the dash … is that covered under warranty?”

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Sorry, I give no quarter on the auto-correct theory.

        A) It’s inexcusable to begin with.
        B) It’s doubly inexcusable for a guy who makes his living off the written word and expects what he writes to be taken seriously.

        If it was an auto correct error, where’s the apology?

    • 0 avatar
      srh

      Yes. Even trying to argue otherwise is ludicrous.

      The kickback scheme is repulsive enough; no need to water down the message by grasping at other straws. It weakens the message and serves only to embiggen Labmert.

  • avatar
    vvk

    I don’t know the inner working of auto blogs but the letter seems polite and makes sense. I don’t see any issues with what Fred is doing.

    Note to self: stay away from Twitter.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Having been an ‘EV guy’ of some sort for 5 years, I’ve never purposely read Electrek or Fred Lambert, although I’ve probably clicked on links to them.

    The Tesla program is what it is, but Mr Lambert and car journalism sites ought to disclose any potential conflicts of interest as part of their reporting. In the case of TTAC, I appreciate the recently increased transparency on the subject of paid junkets, gifts, etc.

    As for the EV community, it’s filled with loonies who think internal combustion engines are the Devil incarnate, EVs will save the earth, and Tesla will lead us there.

  • avatar

    I can’t remember whether it was at Detroit or Chicago, but last winter I was at one of the big auto shows and I overheard a guy whining to one of the senior Autoblog editors about being treated unfairly. When I heard the name “Baruth” I checked out his credentials and it was Wayne Gerdes.

    I thought about interrupting and challenging some of what he was saying but at that point he looked rather pathetic. The Autoblog editor looked like he was trying to avoid an awkward situation so he was sort of nodding and going “uh hum”.

  • avatar
    delow48

    Other than him receiving direct payments that are easily documented, how is this guy any different from your typical “journalist” at a major media outlet. Face it, almost everything out there has a similar bias that has been bought by one side whether it is for money or having the same world view. At least with Fred, it is easy enough to see who bought and paid for him.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Guys, say it with me: “a blogger is not a journalist”.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      But a blogger is still responsible for blogging accurate info.

      Otherwise, it’s just horses**t. If that’s what this guy labels his site as, then no problem. But he’s expecting people to take his blog seriously. Therefore, his blog needs to be accurate.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    Jack, this is a confusing story. Can we get a post about your driving at Performance car of the year for R&T here? Did you get a chance to finally drive a new corvette instead of couple generations ago hand me down you own now? I guess you are just infatuated with Danger girl and feeding her weak Miatas to give us a good Corvette review.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      “Jack, this is a confusing story.”

      This doesn’t reflect well on you.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I have some pretty good video footage of my wife running down a C7 Z06 around Summit Point in her Miata, if that would help.

      Furthermore, I realize you’re just trying to start drama but for the readers out there who don’t know, you can find driving impressions written by me on no fewer than five different examples of the C7 Corvette as follows:

      http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/a8637/the-peoples-car-c7-chevrolet-corvette/
      http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/a5850/2013-road-and-track-performance-car-of-the-year/
      http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/a27194/road-track-2016-performance-car-of-the-year/
      http://www.roadandtrack.com/pcoty-2017/
      http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/a25867/long-term-test-wrap-up-2014-chevrolet-corvette-stingray/

      I’ve driven about six thousand miles in the Z51, the Z06, and the Grand Sport.

      How about some fun PDR footage? We have that too.

      http://jackbaruth.com/?p=2999

      Alright, thanks for reading and commenting.

      • 0 avatar
        pmirp1

        Jack thanks for the reply.

        It was good to read the articles in the links. The first one is what Corvette culture is all about. I am referencing the one where you and your son were in the new Stingray and the guy at fast food place starts crying.

        I don’t know why you started picking on Corvette owners and corvette owning culture. Is it wrong that there is passion behind owning a American made vehicle? Is it wrong to tour the only current American iconic museum in Bowling Green and pick your car up from there with special delivery? Is it wrong that we can order custom internals and mats and under hood arts? The same stuff you have to pay tons to accessorize your Porsche with? Yet somehow all that stuff make us bad. But paying out of your nose for a Porsche makes it cool.

        You can drive and you can write well. I have been a long time C&D reader and subscriber. I joined R&T as a subscriber because of Jason Cammisa (before he left since I liked him in his old days at autombile) and you. But let’s be serious. No Miata can compete wtih a base Stingray, forget the Grad Sport or Z06 (I think you mistook the Vette your wife passed for a Z06 because Grand Sports with the aero package can look a lot like a Z06). The only reasons she passed him, are 1. That dude was a weak driver and afraid to push his car (remember like when that BMW driver couldn’t beat you driving the Camry on some canyon road), 2. The guy is polite and lets women pass him. I have lost in drag strip races to only two Japanese cars. GTR and that silly hybrid new NSX. To compare a Miata to a Vette is just silly.

        Stingray zero-60 of 3.9 seconds
        https://www.caranddriver.com/chevrolet/corvette

        Miata zer0-60 of 6+ seconds
        https://www.caranddriver.com/mazda/mx-5-miata

        Miatas are good cars for slow drivers. Or those that are just trying to learn how to drive manuals or on track.

        I leave you with another bit of Corvette culture, two weeks ago I took my lady to duck hotel in Memphis. I didn’t even realize there was a Corvette show on Beal street on Saturday. Row after row of Corvettes on Beal street, from all around the country, between great blues music and great BBQ. I even visited the Gibson factory to see how guitars are made. Couldn’t get any better than that. Do you possibly think a Miata or a Lotus or a Porsche get showcased on Beal?

        Now lets do some reviews of Corvettes here. Most of the links you sent me were from R&T. And BTW, did that Mustang that you were following in the Vette PDR video get into some trouble?

        • 0 avatar
          Nick 2012

          I posit that a Miata owner who masters NCM embodies far more passion for car culture than someone who buys a Corvette for show.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          What’s with this corvette vs miata obsession? I took that article as advice from a frequent track day instructor and participant. He’s probably right, or at least, I would defer to his experience.

          As far as the two cars go sure almost anyone would choose the corvette money being equal. But would that faster corvette be more fun to drive everywhere? Certainly not. A dream garage probably includes one of each, and if you followed Jacks advice, you’d spend track time in the miata before you did so in the vette. What’s the problem?

  • avatar
    Toad

    It’s interesting that this article from Jack has inspired unusually critical commentary from readers that I don’t recall having posted previously.

    It’s good to seem some new names and perspectives, but is does seem a little odd…

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Lambert’s saying stupid things and then doubling down on them? Sounds like he’s been cribbing from the Trump playbook…

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

    Seriously, this guy has zero cred.

  • avatar
    WalterRohrl

    I don’t know Mr. Lambert from a hole in the ground but it does seem to have passed a lot of people by that HE ACTUALLY OWNS A TESLA. He generally mentions it in a lot of his articles. It’s enough to make it obvious he likes it and speaks favorably of the brand, as such he is perceived (by me) to be less than wholly objective on the subject matter. Just like when Mr. Baruth speaks of his Honda or when the other Mr. Baruth speaks about anything regarding Ford. I take it with a few grains of salt. Then again, it’s free and I can choose whether to read it or not.

    As I understand it, his “referral prizes” are due to referrals gained by him as an owner, it does not appear that they are just cutting him or anyone else blank checks for praising the brand. Your neighbor or coworker that tells you how great his Tesla is and causes you to by one is ALSO in line to get cash and prizes. They (Tesla) publicize this program. It’s no big secret.

    As far as stock holding disclosures go, what exactly ARE the rules on that? He isn’t giving financial advice or anything like that. He’s writing about a car company and disseminating the info for free. I asked Mark this question on the last post and didn’t see a response (or missed it, it’s been a few days now) .

    Can we expect to see all TTAC writers check their brokerage accounts AND any index funds or retirement accounts to see if they in fact perhaps hold some automotive manufacturer stock as well? I’d wager than most do. Do you need to start disclosing this too?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Can we expect to see all TTAC writers check their brokerage accounts AND any index funds or retirement accounts to see if they in fact perhaps hold some automotive manufacturer stock as well? I’d wager than most do. Do you need to start disclosing this too?’

      That is an interesting point, and I’d like to hear the site’s stance on it.

      But as far as I’m concerned, the writers on this site have enough credibility that having a few of their 401k bucks tied up in Car Company A stock doesn’t truly tarnish their opinions.

      • 0 avatar
        WalterRohrl

        Perhaps but neither I nor presumably you actually know any of the writers personally and merely take what they write at face value. Likely the same way as Mr. Lambert’s readers do on his site.

        I still don’t know that stock portfolio disclosures are actually required by anyone here or at Electrek unless one is employed in the financial industry or giving financial advice (i.e. a financial writer). It’s not like the writers (journalists/bloggers/whatevers here or at Electrek are in a “licensed” profession.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012

        Re: Brokerage accounts and 401ks holding index or sector funds –

        There has to be a rational limit to disclosure rules. The vast majority of corporate 401k plans do not allow direct ownership of individual stocks (except for the employer if publicly traded, and then in limited circumstances due to ERISA rules). If a writer has an S&P index fund, a heavy manufacturing fund, etc., any benefit is so attenuated to make disclosure unnecessary. Direct ownership (or options) of an automaker is a different story.

        For example, if I worked for OhioHealth and received a bonus based on revenue, I know Jack has a propensity for injuring himself in severe and slightly gruesome ways by pursuing inherently dangerous activities. Clicking on Jack’s stories gives Jack (presumably) some sort of financial remuneration that he could, in part, apply to continuing to pursue inherently dangerous activities that could lead him to seeking treatment at an OhioHealth facility, thereby boosting revenue and increasing my bonus.

        Would I need to disclose that connection? I wouldn’t think so because any potential benefit is so far removed as to be irrelevant.

        • 0 avatar
          WalterRohrl

          True, thanks. Outside of corporate 401k and other retirement plans any of the writers here could easily own a stock portfolio of their own, I’d be surprised if none of them did. I would not think it uncommon that an auto enthusiast, if they own stocks, might consider owning stock in their favorite manufacturer or in one that they believe would increase in value. Would you insist that it be disclosed if, for example, Tim Cain owns stock in Honda when he writes another positive review of the Honda Odyssey? This is the argument that was made in the prior article in regard to Mr. Lambert’s holding of Tesla stock.

          Or, conversely, if a writer here writes (or rewrites) a “hit-piece” like the one that was published regarding CarMax the other day – If that writer was shorting CarMax stock would you think that should be disclosed?

          The question is, was, and remains, ARE there ACTUAL rules in that regard for these writers (using Mr. Lambert as an example) as was claimed. I really am curious.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      So? Jack owns a Honda and praises it, but presumably American Honda isn’t giving him thousands of dollars worth of s#!t to promote their cars and get people to buy them.

      • 0 avatar
        WalterRohrl

        You’re not understanding the nuance here. Tesla is not GIVING Mr. Lambert anything just for promoting their product. They have a referral program in place for owners of their vehicles and if readers of his blog wish to state that they were referred by him, then he gets rewarded for driving that business their way. If someone refers someone to my own business, I make sure they know/realize they are appreciated as well.

        If Honda created a referral program and Mr. Baruth stood to generate income/rewards by referring people to purchase a Honda such as the one he owns AND if he liked his car enough to actually believe it worthy of referring to others then I am fairly certain he would do so. As would you. I certainly would. You’d have to be a fool not to. It becomes unethical when you hate your car but yet recommend it to others for the sole purpose of personal gain. Mr. Lambert may be a raving zealot as regards all matters Tesla but I don’t think anyone doubts that he genuinely likes his car and believes that his fellow drivers would be well served by having one of their own.

        Mr. Lambert does not seem to hide the fact that he actually benefits from this referral program. A reader of his blog would have to be a complete moron to think that by referencing Mr. Lambert as a referrer Mr. Lambert didn’t stand to gain anything. He publishes his referrer ID number. The referral program is public knowledge. I’d even venture that if you went to a Tesla showroom and looked at the product, the specialist would tell you about the program so that you could refer others once you got yours.

        As an analogy, I believe that Mr. Baruth gets paid for writing this article. I could be mistaken but believe he actually gets paid MORE if people click on it and even more if people comment on it. That, if true, in itself is something that should be disclosed, shouldn’t it? If nothing else, at the end of the day if more eyeballs are on this article, then that means more advertising impressions, and the value of Mr. Baruth’s contributions increase, thus furthering his opportunity for continued employment. Neither this site nor Mr. Lambert’s is a charity run for your or my personal enjoyment. The aim is to make money. It’s not rocket science. No matter how nice of a guy Mr. Baruth may or may not be (I wouldn’t know), he is not your or my “friend”, his goal is to get you to read his writings and hopefully comment on them. Good for him.

        And no, I also don’t presume that American Honda sends Mr. Baruth one red cent. However, this website does benefit greatly by having what seems to be very good access to Honda’s press fleet judging by the number of stories we are able to read about them. Hondas may well be the best cars on the planet, the (fairly significant) coverage on this site is on the whole extremely positive. The site famously made its name by being critical of the Subaru Tribeca many years ago and restricted the site’s access to their fleet. We’ve seen Ford dry up TTAC’s access to their fleet at one time when Derek reported what he found to be the “truth” about some of their products. Mr. Baruth has made it clear that he is persona-non-grata when it comes to Porsche test cars based on some of his prior writings. So, while Mr. Baruth may not benefit directly from Honda by praising Honda, he and his employer have more to lose than to gain by not being generally positive about them.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “You’re not understanding the nuance here.”

          There’s no “nuance!” He’s exploiting the fact that he has a relatively large audience to enrich himself while claiming he just “reports on EVs in general.” If I were to buy a Tesla and participate in their referral program, I’d probably get nothing out of it simply because I don’t know that many people. But since Lambert has a sizable audience and an automaker who pays him to funnel customers their way, he is now nothing more than a shill.

          “If Honda created a referral program and Mr. Baruth stood to generate income/rewards by referring people to purchase a Honda such as the one he owns AND if he liked his car enough to actually believe it worthy of referring to others then I am fairly certain he would do so. As would you.”

          don’t you f***ing dare tell me what I would do. I’ve no desire to be some company’s AmWay rep.

          “So, while Mr. Baruth may not benefit directly from Honda by praising Honda, he and his employer have more to lose than to gain by not being generally positive about them.”

          More tinfoil hat bulls**t from you. You must be an avid Electrek commenter.

          • 0 avatar
            WalterRohrl

            I’ve never commented on Electrek in my life. You seem to follow Electrek though, having such first-hand familiarity with how it’s written. Anyway, now I see why I extremely rarely comment here either. You should try to relax a little bit and work on your reading comprehension. I never “told” you what to do. I merely explained what I thought you might do. But thanks for explaining why you wouldn’t, it doesn’t surprise me that you don’t know very many people.

            You can go back to carrying Jack’s water now, I’ll see myself out. Have a good day at school.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “Tesla is not GIVING Mr. Lambert anything just for promoting their product.”

          No one’s blaming Tesla. This is all on Lambert.

          • 0 avatar
            WalterRohrl

            I understand that, but they are not paying him simply to promote Tesla in the sense that they could offer you, me, or someone else to spin a large sign on the sidewalk imploring others to buy a Tesla.

            They are rewarding him for referrals, which they offer to any other owner as well. He was simply smart enough to either create or use his platform to do so. I don’t see how he is hiding that he gets compensated for referrals.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            The referral payouts don’t bother me. That’s Tesla’s call.

            What bothers me is a guy who wants to be taken seriously as a journalist TAKING the referral payouts. That’s a huge problem.

          • 0 avatar
            WalterRohrl

            Oh, now I understand your objection. Interesting. I see it differently only because he is only posting on his own site. I think if he was selling his content or writing for a different publication that is not his own then I’d feel different about it.

            I.e. Say whatever the heck you want on your own site, I don’t really care. But once you are representing someone else by getting paid for your work (like if he was writing for TTAC on the side) then it’s different. I don’t think he is trying to get published in different places besides his own site but I could be wrong about that.

            In any case, thanks for the rational discussion, I do appreciate it.

  • avatar
    baggins

    This is sort of a tempest in a teapot from my perspective. Funny that all this concern is over ~25K in referral bonuses/swag. I think it points out how small time auto “journalism” really is.

    I do agree with the overall point of the piece. I just dont care and dont find it interesting reading or worthy of Jack’s time.

    Jack’s an entertaining and talented writer on a vast number of subjects, but this isnt one of them.

  • avatar
    Brett Woods

    Love the chicken. Something you can sink your teeth into, but gossipy enough to be popular and not esoteric. Another meaty morsel from the writer whose forearm sweeps away the semolina, yogurt, and pabulum we otherwise read every day. Dude should have bought a Model X instead of farm equipment though. My opinion only and…sigh, it has crossed my mind that if a Devil exists, it would trick humans into burning the distilled essence of their ancestors while at the same time, dooming their descendants to misery.

    When a peer does not return your emails it is insulting and disrespectful, no doubt. It’s like an active hurtful thing. Agreed we all need to read between the lines for the omissions and be aware of “job expected” bias. Nothing wrong with bringing it up and holding people to account for their mush. Most every review reeks of palatable format.

    I once read about a similar autocorrect mistake though. Two guys are texting and one asks, “How did the date go?” The other replies, “It was great. Went to the pub and after I walked her home and killed her in the woods.” I will go with the dictated-to-Siri-and-not-checked theory. Shameful for a professional.

    I do regularly view the Electrek website myself and I think it’s one of the good ones for news in that area. Never noticed Lambert before. Q: Is there something really wrong with coasting? I have to come home at 1am several days a week and I’m riding this bike with a ridiculously loud can. I switch it off half way through my subdivision and coast home, that way hopefully; everyone thinks the ass lives further up the hill.

  • avatar
    Aymamacita

    And what of Tesla? Any response?
    Do other manufacturers have a similar program?


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