gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

XGIMI XGIMI XGIMI Astroturf On My Website

I would have loved to bring you a review of the XGIMI MoGo 2 projector, but unfortunately it was never meant to be. I parted ways with XGIMI after they reached out to me directly from a email address and, within a few short months of slow back-and-forth, presented me with an untenable roadblock: a set of onerous contractual obligations that I had no interest in negotiating.

Tech brands are like busses, I break a sweat chasing down products in a new category to shatter the boredom of endless USB Type-C and Thunderbolt docks and just when I think all is lost they pop up out of nowhere and say “Hi, we read your review of X can we send you Y and get the same thing?”

With projectors it’s invariably my Anker Nebula review that draws them out of the woodwork, I’ve had at least three brands cite this specific review when contacting me. I’m reliably informed that Anker are specifically renown for breaking into the western markets, so it’s unsurprising that coverage of their products would carry some weight with – in particular – Chinese brands who want to grasp the same success.

Shady Sh… eet Knows No Borders

The vast majority of such brands are no materially different from dealing with PRs for western brands- perfectly lovely, reliable, prompt and looking only for a simple exchange of shinies for honest, detailed reviews. Some are even straight-forward and honest about being more interested in a do-follow (ie: a link that Google’s indexer will follow) links than the content of the review itself. I get it. These brands have a steep hill to climb in order to gain popularity in the west, and few can pull the kind of galaxy brain slingshot into popularity that JSAUX managed with their leap onto the Steam Deck hype.

It doesn’t help that so many Chinese-owned and operated brands pop up with alphabet-soup names, flood Amazon with garbage in an attempt to crack the western market, and evaporate into the ether before they’re bogged down by negative press or penalised for manipulating Amazon reviews. I make a habit of giving brands the benefit of the doubt and not letting this colour my judgement. Tribalism doesn’t get us very far- since western brands will readily use their implicit credibility to get away with far more nefarious shenanigans. Potato … po tar to?

Indeed, western brands- beholden to our regulations- are cloak and dagger about their intentions. I regularly get emails asking to post spammy, off-topic articles so that some company somewhere might benefit from a link from my website to theirs. These emails, with almost comedic reliability, come from Gmail addresses and deliberately omit any information which might identify the brands concerned. At least until they know I’m shady enough not to blow the whistle. They might offer me a link swap, knowing full-well that a link on some backwater blogspam website is worth less to me than my domain scrawled on the inside of a toilet stall. (I mean this, at least Google can’t crawl a toilet stall and penalise me for associating with spammers.) I, uh, worked adjacent to and in “Search Marketing” for perhaps ten years so I’ve been – much to my chagrin – instrumental in exactly this gambit.

But Chinese brands don’t have any reason to care what our UK marketing regulations might say, and every once in a blue moon they’ll absolutely email me from a brand email, with a brand footer asking for the most outrageously shady things. They always want “dofollow” links (sure, fine, whatever) and they almost invariably have some sort of affiliate scheme, in an effort to deputise me as some kind of brand shill. I have absolutely no inclination to join these. Ewin Racing is one particularly salient example, intent to play the bingo of shady shenanigans. They wanted a recommendation on Facebook before I’d even received a product. Ha. No. I tweeted about it. They wanted the Tweet deleted. Ha. No. They blocked me. Unfortunately I’d already mentioned them to a friend before this went down. The friend bought a chair, it broke almost instantly, and they could not get it repaired or replaced for love nor money. They blocked that friend on Twitter too. Classy.

But until now I’ve not dealt with anything quite like the sheer, cast-iron gall of XGIMI. They wanted me to sign away my editorial freedom in a contract!

Now it’s worth clarifying that a certain form of contract is not entirely uncommon in product reviews. Sometimes samples are limited and brands will want some kind of written agreement that you’ll keep their product safe and return it when you’ve finished your review. This is a normal, albeit increasingly uncommon, practise that shouldn’t alarm you at all. More often than not there’s no paperwork involved and a simple pinky promise will do. After all, if you don’t send something back after you promised that’s basically the end of what could be a very fruitful relationship with a brand, or even an ongoing cross-brand relationship with an individual marketer (these folks change jobs so often I swear they’re playing some kind of career musical chairs.)

The contact that XGIMI wanted me to sign was not a loan agreement. In exchange for them sending me the XGIMI MoGo 2 Projector worth approximately £360 and with a value to me of effectively zero the specific terms were- and these are verbatim-

The Onerous Terms

  1. The Client will provide the Influencer with the above-mentioned Product (international shipping and customs duties borne by the Client).
  2. The Influencer will publish picture/article introducing the scene of using the Product on the channel “”.
  3. The Influencer will publish information on to help promote the
    pictures and article.
  4. Contents about the Product shall be created according to the Review Guideline provided by the Client. The Influencer will illustrate Product selling points, add Product purchase links and other required content specified in the Review Guideline in the article.
  5. Pictures and articles related to the Product are subject to the Client’s acceptance and
    approval. The Influencer shall obtain the prior written consent of the Client before publishing the above pictures and articles.
  6. The Influencer shall remove pictures and articles related to the Product from specified social media platforms upon the Client’s requests.
  7. The timeline for delivering pictures and article related to the Product is as follows:

So let’s go over why these are bul… uhh… cowpoop-

Points 1 and 2 are relatively innocuous, some assurance that I’ll produce the review they’re sending me the product for is fine though I would still not sign a contract to assert this. I would normally take it as a foregone conclusion that my blog, with hundreds of reviews for dozens of brands, lends me at least some credibility. Some assurance that they will bear customs duties is appreciated, though this is usually expected. I’ve run the gamut from being quite significantly out of pocket to having brands kindly reimburse me after unexpected charges.

Point 3 is where it gets a little sketchy. On top of their requirement that I review their product, they want a post on CameraJabber? Is this a typo, was my URL supposed to go here? I don’t think so, it makes specific reference to the aforementioned pictures and article. This is, basically, astro-turfing or at least amounts to as much when considered along with the other points. At the very least it’s requiring me to spam another website with links to my blog post- why would I debase myself like this for a projector. Clue: I would not.

Point 4 references a “Review Guideline” that requires me to touch upon a series of points. At this stage you might be thinking “well this sounds an awful lot like an advertisement.” You would be correct.

Point 5 is really where they reveal their hand. These are requirements for a sponsored post, not an unbiased review. The ASA guidelines explicitly state that brands exercising creative control over content – exactly what this point is requiring – are commissioning an advertisement, which must be labelled as such, and not an independent product review. I will take gentle guidance from brands, but I reserve the right to write what I feel is the (albeit often subjective) truth. If they object- well that’s really a them problem. Goodbye. See-ya. I’ll go work with someone else.

Point 6, then, goes right past shady to outright absurd. They’re not only laying claim to the content of my review, but requiring an indefinite lien on my social media lest they want to remove pictures and/or articles. Your guess is as good as mine as to why this is, but since alarm bells were already ringing long, long before this point I barely skimmed it at the time. The “contract” later specifies that it terminates roughly one month after the review is published, so these terms are presumably definite – though the actual letter of the contract doesn’t seem to imply as such.

I’d like to say Point 7 was the final nail in the coffin, but it wasn’t even close. Gosh that’s a morbid metaphor, I’m sorry. I actually triggered myself there. I’m still avoiding dealing with some pretty traumatic deaths and should know better. This contract was sent to me on 2023.06.25, effectively giving me four weeks to both receive and review the product. I’m making the assumption that they weren’t going to overnight the projector to me.

But wait, there’s more!

Some further points clarify what XGIMI expects from me and oh boy they’re steeped in irony. This document, which requires I violate various applicable laws and regulations, requires that I do not violate any applicable laws and regulations.

The Influencer shall:

  1. not make false or misleading statements about the Client or its affiliates, products or
    services provided by the Client or its affiliates, or provide misleading information to
    consumers or violate applicable laws and regulations;
  2. not publish content that does not match the XGIMI image;
  3. not remove the pictures and articles related to the Product at its discretion without XGIMI’s prior written consent or confirmation;

No, I don’t know what all those semicolons are about either.

Point 1 includes a carte blanche clause that is, presumably, an attempt to transfer any liability for accepting this contract and publishing an uncritical advertisement disguised as a review from them to me. Good try, XGIMI, but no.

Point 2 is just further clarification that they want an ironclad grip on my editorial freedom. I bet this article doesn’t match your brand image, eh, XGIMI?

Point 3 is more of the same, yada yada editorial control. This time they’re attempting to remove my autonomy to unpublish an article should I have a sudden change of heart and realise the error of my ways. Or, y’know, read the ASA Guidelines and realise I’ve been duped. Since the contract has an end-date, I’m not sure how this clause could possibly be enforceable. I’m not sure this contract could possibly be enforceable since it is, at face value, a tangled web of contradictions. I am not a lawyer, however, and this is not legal advice but rather a very superficial read of what – to me – is a document that’s singularly unique in all my 22+ years of dabbling in writing reviews.

The assumption is, then, that XGIMI are effectively requiring me to advertise their product, to their requirements and contractually oblige myself to play by their rules. I would not have agreed to these terms if money were changing hands, I don’t take money from brands anyway, but for the sake of a £360 projector this is outright insulting.

Is This Normal?

No. For context Wemax sent me multiple projectors over the course of several months with nothing more than a pinky swear that I’d review them. Vankyo sent a couple, but I don’t think they liked my jabs at their design so I haven’t heard from them lately. Jabra’s press folks regularly send me things, and it took me EIGHT MONTHS to review one headset. They didn’t bat an eyelid, sent me more stuff that I was pretty harsh with, and then sent me more stuff after that. Robosen’s press folks sent me their K1 robot *on loan* and then disappeared off the face of the planet, it took me months to successfully negotiate its safe return.

Yeah… marketing can be weird at times, not necessarily because they’re being lackadaisical but because these people can be so incredibly busy that it’s easy to slip through the cracks. And I mean BUSY, with a single person regularly shouldering the burden of a multinational brand presence.

XGIMI’s – on the other hand – made the mistake of treating me like an influenza (sic) and in the process showed their whole arse, revealing how they might illegally (or at least against the letter of the very toothless ASA) persuade writers to kowtow to their absurd demands and act as an uncritical extension of their marketing department, holding the tasty carrot of a shiny projector over their heads.

On top of this ludicrous list of demands came a non-disclosure agreement that mentions nebulous confidential information and doesn’t give any specifics about what I can or cannot disclose. Anyone agreeing to a contract of this nature and specific content is, in no uncertain terms, a shill.

Be Wary

So if you see a XGIMI product review out there in the wild, be warned that the writer may well have agreed to a similar set of onerous terms and had their every word scrutinised by XGIMI before publication.

The reason you’re reading this instead of an XGIMI MoGo 2 review right now is because I said: “lol no” and they ghosted me. Well, actually I said the following but it amounts to the same thing-

Sorry, this is far, far too restrictive for me to sign.

Not only does it cede creative control to XGIMI- making the review legally an ad under U.K. standards and guidelines- but it introduces a bunch of terms that I simply don’t wish to navigate.

If you wish to proceed without an agreement- like almost every single other company I’ve ever worked with in 25 years- then I’m happy to continue. But I very successfully do this for fun, and you’re giving me unpaid work.


I did not receive a reply, which implies – but does say concretely – that they are not interested in working with me without this agreement in place. Would I still work with them? Maybe. They don’t really have any impetus to conform to UK advertising guidelines, and whether or not you agree the terms above are outrageous is something of a subjective moral judgement. I do not find these terms acceptable. I think they undermine our credibility as unbiased, independent tech reviewers and should be rejected and called out when we come across them. I feel also that I owe it you – dear readers – to do the calling out publicly- as I have done with SecretLab and EWin- so that you can approach reviews with an appropriate level of skepticism.

I can not state that other writers have been given a similar contract- in fact I know with reasonable certainty that people have worked with XGIMI’s US PR contacts with no such terms- but I can suggest that it would be very weird if I was the only one to receive it. Be careful out there, folks.

Monday, August 28th, 2023, Blog.