Who We're Looking For
Do you enjoy using new hardware, software and accessories, then sharing your experience with others? Then join us on the Thoughts Media Review team! We're looking for individuals who find it fun to test hardware, software, and accessories then give their honest opinions about them. Our areas of focus include laptops, netbooks, slates, tablets, Windows Phones, Android phones, the Microsoft Zune, the iPhone, iMacs, Macbooks,the iPad, and other digital devices such as digital cameras, video cameras, photo editing software, printers, scanners, video editing software...and pretty much anything else related to creating, editing, and sharing anything digital. Oh, and don't forget about headphones and nearly any other gizmo out there from portable batteries to memory cards to power bars. We focus on the Windows and OSX platforms, along with Windows Phone, iOS, and Android for mobile platforms. If it's technology-related, odds are good that it can be covered on one of our sites - and that means you can write about it. It's important to understand that you won't be writing for a single site - you can review any product you want as long as it fits into one of the areas of focus that our network covers.
We're looking for people with a solid grasp of the English language, but you don't have to be the next John Grisham to qualify. Impressive writing skills are less important than having an appetite for thoroughly testing technology and sharing your thoughts with others. Part of the review team application process is writing a trial article, and we'll get a good feel for your writing ability from that.
What You'll Get From It
Being on the review team is a volunteer position with no direct monetary benefits, but hey, fame and glory last forever right? Reviewers will have the opportunity to try out the latest hardware, software, and accessories (some of which they'll get to keep - see below), and be given an opportunity to share their findings with the greater community. The Thoughts Media sites are professional publications with established copy editing and layout procedures, so if you're looking to gain experience as a writer, writing for us is good training. Some of our writers have gone on to write for technology magazines, and find employment at corporate giants such as Google and Microsoft. At the end of each article you'll have an author bio section, so if you want to link to your business or personal blog, that's where you can do it.
Depending on where you live, you may have opportunities to attend press-only technology events such as CES, CTIA, Digital Experience, etc. Travel expenses are not covered by Thoughts Media Inc., but we'll help get you into the event where you can meet companies that are eager to connect with technology writers. If you like networking, we'll get you in the door.
What We Need From You
In order to qualify for a position on the review team, we're asking those who are interested to write a sample review of a piece of hardware or software that they own. The review should be between 500 and 1500 words in length, should be of a current product that's available on the market today, and be based on the Thoughts Media Inc. review template (download in Microsoft Word DOC or PDF format). Reviews will be judged on the quality of writing (spelling, grammar, and clarity), the analytical skills of the reviewer, and the adherence to our template. Details matter. While we have a talented copy editor to help polish up the reviews, you should submit a review that has been checked over several times for accurate spelling, grammar, and working hyperlinks. Sample reviews should be submitted as a single document (Microsoft Word, PDF, OpenOffice, etc.) with embedded images. Be sure to keep the original images (aim for 600 pixels in width - that's our maximum image size) in the event that your review is selected for publication - once graphics are embedded into a Word document, they lose quality when extracted.
The only expectation for being on the review team in terms of output is that you write one review every 90 days. It's a volunteer position, but it's still important that everyone on the review team is productive and active. Obviously there are exceptions (illness, vacation, etc.) but if you want to have your work read by thousands of people a day, we need you to commit to writing one article every 90 days.
Review Team FAQ
Here are some commonly-asked questions and answers. If you don't see your question answered here, please contact us.
Q: How do I get the hardware or software that you want me to review?
A: We have a steady stream of hardware and software companies asking us to review their stuff - there's no shortage of things to review. You'll be added to the Thoughts Media Review Team email list, and when a company contacts us with a product to review, we'll pass it out to the list. The first person to claim it will review it (with some exceptions). If there's something you want to review, we'll help you get in touch with that company and request the product for review. There's no guarantee you'll get the review item, but we'll do our best to assist you.
Q: How many things can I review at once?
A: To start with, you'll be asked to review only one product at a time. As you gain experience on the team, and show that you can complete your reviews on time, you can review multiple products simultaneously.
Q: Do I get to keep the things I review?
A: The answer is "it depends". If you're reviewing an expensive digital camera or a laptop, you'll likely have to return it to the company when your review is finished (the company always pays for shipping both ways, not you). In most cases you'll get to use the gear for around 30 days, but if you really like it and want to purchase it, most companies will allow you to do so at a significant discount (often called an "editorial discount"). When it comes to software, even the expensive stuff, you'll probably get to keep it (since its physical value is usually worth less than the shipping cost). Hardware and accessories under $500 in value are a mixed bag - sometimes it's not worth it to the vendor to have it shipped back, other times before then send it to you they'll ask you to sign a loaner agreement. It also depends on our relationship with the company - some of the companies we work closely with know there's value in having us continuing to use their product and mentioning it in future articles. You should always assume that you're going to be sending the product back.
In all cases, however, we have a strict policy of reviewers never broaching the subject of keeping the product until the review has been completed and published. Maintaining an objective viewpoint on the product is critical to our review process, and if a review team member is found to be discussing the issue of keeping the product before the review has been written or published, that review team member will be dropped from the team immediately. This is a zero-tolerance issue.
Q: Who owns the articles I write?
A: Once published, the article becomes the property of Thoughts Media Inc. However, if you want to re-publish it on your personal blog or something similar a few weeks after it's published, that's fine (just ask us).
How You Apply
We will accept sample reviews at any time - we're constantly looking for new review team members. Use the contact form to get in touch with us, and our Review Team Coordinator will get back to you. You can then submit your trial review via email, or ask further questions about the team.