PC component rating website ‘UserBenchmark’ faces a near-universal backlash from multiple DIY PC subreddits and its moderators. This is due to its inaccurate benchmark and rating system which misguided many unsuspecting readers, therefore ending not able to make the best purchase decision. It also becomes a problem as people used its scores to win a fanboy war in multiple threads where people ask for a piece of purchase advice. Outside the recommendation threads,
UserBenchmark adjusted its ranking system when Ryzen 3000 series CPUs was launch. While adjustments are needed from time-to-time, UserBenchmark stopped displaying real-world performance. The criticism came from the community and many reviews/ news websites. Some were amused by the scoring system that contradicts itself.
UserBenchmark had an ‘Amy Baking Company’ level meltdown and resorted to namecalling. Naturally, anyone will expect a crowdsourced backlash. With no end of squabbling or score re-evaluation, many took precautionary measures to stop this misinformation from manipulating unsuspecting users in its community.
The response from r/Hardware and others
Popular subreddit r/hardware with over 1 million members, have banned UserBenchmark from being used as a reference in any of its discussion. The moderator said:
Having discussed the issue of UserBenchmark amongst our moderation team, we have decided to ban UserBenchmark from r/hardware. The reason? Between calling their critics “an army of shills” and picking fights with prominent reviewers, posts involving UserBenchmark aren’t producing any discussions of value. They’re just generating drama.
This thread will be the last thread in which discussion of UB will be allowed. Posts linking to, or discussing UserBenchmark, will be removed in the future.
Thank you for your understanding.
Other subreddit communities have taken some action, while some have decided to maintain a status quo stand. Despite many readers demanding to ban UserBenchmark from r/buildapc, the moderators said that readers should just any websites that claim to benchmark and rank components with a healthy pinch of salt and compare with multiple sources before making a purchase decision.
- Meanwhile, r/Intel that’s also community-driven subreddit, has banned UserBenchmark.
The link comes with an auto disclaimer in r/AMD
r/AMD seem to have taken a balanced and healthier approach. Instead of banning or inaction about the information from UserBenchmark, it has an AutoMod command warning people from taking its recommendations.
The AutoMod will post the following message:
I’ve detected a link to UserBenchmark. UserBenchmark is a terrible source for benchmarks, as they’re not representative of real-world performance. The organization that runs it also lies and accuses critics of being “anonymous call center shills”. Read more here. This comment has NOT been removed – this is just a notice.
Personally, this is the best way forward as having a blanket ban does not help to explain the problem. Ignoring it with a casual ‘take a health pinch of salt’ message doesn’t help people who seek advice and take the reference link’s word for it. A post from the Automod educates the user of the problem with the results displayed in the website and the way it chose to respond.
- UserBenchmark’s shenanigans are well documented. TweakTown, Techspot, TomsHardware and others have called out UserBenchmark’s shenanigans since its change., pointing its biasedness towards Intel.
Many questions and theories with no answers
- Some suggest UserBenchmark is receiving remuneration from Intel in exchange for botched results. While it seems that way to a lot of people, I seriously doubt if Intel will engage in this mud fight just to score a brownie point in fanboy wars. AMD, Nvidia and Intel have been on a receiving end of that practise from time-to-time. I am not saying nobody has tried to pull a fast one. I am saying this i a terrible and unprofessional way to do it.
About UserBenchmark and such websites
Ratings like UserBenchmark rely on aggressive search-engine optimization to stay on top of the search results- and it is very good at doing that. From there onwards, its intention varies from site-to-site. While some may show results as the way performance is, UsernBenchmark traps novice users with little-to-know knowledge of components performance. Typically such websites earn money from advertisements and Amazon Affiliation sale. Even review websites and Youtubers do the same. The difference is transparent testing method and comparison.
- We’ll never know why UserBenchmark chose to show botched result and chose to respond the way they did. But communities like r/AMD have taken a good step in protecting newbie system builders by warning against unreliable sources. Hopefully, this will discourage other websites of the following suit. Regardless, rely on multiple websites for proper information, ThinkComputers included.