Introducing GearShop

After a two-month beta period during which the store was available only to logged-in members, we're excited today to announce the official opening of DPReview GearShop. In celebration of the launch, GearShop customers will be able to claim up to $150 in free accessories with select camera purchases now through July 27, 2013.

GearShop is a unique photo specialty store that utilizes DPReview's comprehensive testing and research to select and recommend cameras, lenses and accessories. Designed for photographers, by photographers, every product in the store has been approved for inclusion by the DPReview editorial staff.

But GearShop is about much more than a carefully curated selection. The store is run by a small team of photo enthusiasts dedicated to finding the very best products and to ensuring that product pages have the most comprehensive information anywhere on the web. Combining original DPReview content with 360° views of products, sample images and exclusive video content, our product pages cut through the usual marketing speak and sales materials and present honest, factual information to shoppers. The Gearlist feature allows us to give you personalized recommendations and product news, and the store also offers free 2-Day shipping on cameras and lenses.

Please note that at launch, the store can only ship to US addresses. We are of course well aware that two thirds of our audience is outside the USA. At present, all we can say is that we welcome feedback from you, wherever you are in the world, and we will use it to help us evolve and expand in the future.

A message from the DPReview Editors

For many years we’ve played with the idea of building an online store that offers encyclopedic knowledge and personal recommendations from passionate and enthusiastic experts. A store that utilizes DPReview’s comprehensive testing and research to provide photography enthusiasts with expert guidance when buying cameras, lenses and accessories online. 

GearShop is an important initiative for DPReview, because it allows us to fund more camera reviewers, more engineers and an even better DPReview in the future. Although the DPReview team is not involved in the day-to-day running of GearShop, we are working very closely with the team behind it and are excited to be lending our name, our expertise and our experience to this new venture. But we would be naive to think everyone will welcome this latest development, and many of you will question how we can maintain our independence as we enter into such a close partnership with a retail business.

We want to reassure you that we’ve worked hard over the last 14 years to earn our reputation for unbiased, objective assessment of digital photography equipment, and we have no intention of throwing that away.

The existence of a DPReview branded store and our involvement in the product selection process does not in any way affect the tenets and principles that guide our work on our site. We are and will remain 100% independent. GearShop is staffed and managed by a totally different team, and our involvement is restricted to product assessment and selection approval, and to the sharing of content from our site to the new store.

We retain full control over the products we choose to write about and review, and over what we say about them. We are not involved in any business discussions with suppliers, and we have absolute veto over what goes onto the site or into the store. We will not, ever, sell our credibility.

The GearShop pledge to you

  • We will only sell products tested, approved or recommended by the DPReview editorial staff, and we will not shy away from telling you about a product’s weaknesses as well as its strengths.
  • We won’t sell you things that we wouldn't recommend to our friends or use ourselves.
  • DPReview will retain 100% editorial independence. Our writers will not be thinking about selling. cameras, just as they currently don’t think about selling advertising.
  • DPReview editorial staff will have no involvement in the day-to-day running of the store.
  • Neither GearShop staff or their suppliers will have any influence over DPReview reviews or other content.
  • We will remove products from the store immediately if we feel we can no longer recommend them, based on our own experience, and/or customer feedback.
  • We will always prefer our own content over manufacturer-supplied words, pictures and videos.

FAQ

Why are you doing this now?
Firstly, because we really want to build an amazing specialty camera store for the photo enthusiast. We are full of ideas (and will welcome your input), and the GearShop team is excited about making those ideas come to life on the site. But this is also an important initiative for DPReview, because it allows us to fund more camera reviewers, more engineers and an even better DPReview in the future, without turning to advertorials or intrusive ‘roadblock’ ads that we hate as much as you do.

Why should I buy from GearShop?
We hope the features and deals on the store will give you good enough reason. We’re working hard to give GearShop customers some real savings, but buying from GearShop also directly helps DPReview continue to expand its editorial team and build cool new features. You are, of course, perfectly free to buy your camera anywhere, and you can still use features like Gearlist even if you don’t intend to make a purchase on GearShop.

Why is XYZ brand / product not listed?
We’re launching GearShop with an intentionally narrow selection of products – those we have tested, those we use and love and those we know to be essential (system accessories etc). The GS team will be expanding the selection gradually over the coming months based on DPReview’s testing, their own evaluation and customer feedback. 

Beyond this, there are several reasons that individual products or entire brands might be missing from the site. If we cannot get stock, get bad feedback or discover a flaw we may de-list an item. Certain brands may just be absent from our inventory because the GearShop team is still in talks with those companies.

Will this change the way DPReview covers products?
Emphatically no! This would destroy everything we have built over the last 14 years. We would gain nothing and potentially lose everything by sacrificing our independence. Under our existing ethics policy editorial staff are not allowed to accept perks, products or discounts from suppliers.

But won’t you just recommend products you want to sell?
Again, emphatically no! The DPReview editorial staff will not be involved in the running of the store, will not meet suppliers, will not have access to the sales data and will continue to write exactly what they want. And you are of course free to continue shopping elsewhere if you want.

Does this mean I can’t mention other retailers / deals on DPReview?
Nope. Go ahead.

So DPReview reviewers are now shopkeepers? Will they be answering the phone?
No, editorial staff are editorial staff. They will not be involved in the day-to-day running of GearShop beyond approving new products to be listed and providing test results (as part of the normal review process).

Are you going to start spamming us with emails/plastering the site with banners?
No. We will allow you to opt-in to member-only deals and we’ll let the GearShop store manager stick a message at the bottom of our newsletter, but we don’t want GearShop to intrude too heavily on your enjoyment of DPReview.com. You’ll see a few extra links on product pages and we will replace some of those terrible 'Lose Belly Fat in a Week!' ads with GearShop offers, but it is absolutely not our plan to change the feel of DPReview or annoy our visitors.

Where can I talk about Gearshop?
We have set up a dedicated GearShop forum which will be actively monitored by the GearShop team, so feel free to have your say! Please note that GearShop threads created in other forums will be moved to the new forum.