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Discussion Starter #1
So I get boattest.com emails in my inbox. I've been waiting for a review of the spark by them to see what they had to say. I have to say, I'm kind of speechless. They did a comparison between the VX Sport and the Spark. They honestly need to change their slogan from "tests you can trust" to "tests you can buy." To be honest, it looks like Yamaha paid for this, and gave them a script to follow. It's so similar to the youtube videos, it's like deja-vu. In fact, in the email the link is for the comparison between the two, which the video is... however the main page it takes you to is the test review page for the VX. I'm going to email them and see if there was compensation for this test from yamaha.

http://www.boattest.com/boats/boat_video.aspx?SubID=2607&ID=2054
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here is the email I sent:

I have a question about the recent comparison review between the Yamaha VX Sport and the Seadoo Spark. This review seems to be very biased toward the Yamaha. I own a spark, and find I disagree with many statements, such as limited engine access (the whole hull separates in 10 min for complete engine access), the sponsons are not adjustable like he says in the video, and unless you make it slide (which is fun) it actually stays very planted on turns. I am curious to know if boattest.com has any affiliation with Yamaha? I am also curious to know if any compensation of any kind (money, services, etc..) was provided to boattest.com from Yamaha or any Yamaha affiliated company in exchange for this review?

Thank you.

Can't wait to get a response.
 

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Ha nice work, jpg...

I think it's safe to say the review was bought by Yamaha - in the top left corner of the clip, just near the start, it says "Video sponsored by Yamaha".

Unfortunately, that's a pretty loose term. What does it mean exactly? Did Yamaha simply supply a ski for them to review or does it mean money changed hands?

It's also complicated by the fact that boattest runs a disclaimer at the start of their vids saying the opinions are "solely" those of the reviewer.

I'm surprised that an experienced PWC reviewer like Chris Hughes can find NOTHING positive to say about the Spark's fuel economy, light weight, and innovative new construction materials. I'm surprised that clumsily demonstrating that the storage capacities are different is a priority in the review.

There is an interesting war being waged by Yamaha across the interwebs about the Spark, and I think the stakes are high. Compromising the reputations of a boattest reviewer through a questionable "sponsored" review - well that's just one casualty on the battlefield.
 

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In fairness I'll add that I'm sure "sponsored" reviews aren't uncommon in this or other industries. However what I do think is uncommon is a sponsored review that attacks a competing PWC model.
 

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I would say although yamaha paid for the review the reviewer really didnt bash the spark . I would agree the vx is an entry level machine designed especially for riders of low skill level hense the large amounts of chines for maximun stabilty . The spark has also has 4 chines and adjustable sponsons (if modified) for more skilled riders or those who need a manuverable chassis to trick ride. In no way would I consider it an entry level machine with its superior handling and light weight hull . The hull on a spark may not be as resistant to damage inflicted by unskilled riders as well. The metal pieces under the spark are made of stainless steel not aluminum and they are not the engine mounts they are the heat exchangers. I also believe he said the spark is recycled material which in he should have been clear it is recycleable . And saying you break the seal to do engine work in a negative way doesnt really make sense because evey time you take the seat off a vx just to check oil you break the engine compartment seal comprimising it. You would only break the seal on the spark to do major work.
 

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Darn It!!! I knew I should have bought that Yamaha (Baby Whale) BUT its too late now-I,m Stuck with the Spark?? Darn It All?
 
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You know if you pay by the pound the yamaha is much cheaper than the spark because its almost double the weight.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So here is his response to my first email.

Hi Jason,

Thanks for the email. I tested the spark and left out a lot of negative stuff. ‎It just isn't a stable machine and no very well thought out with regard to access.

Sorry you didn't like it.

Chris

Christopher J. Hughes
Chief Innovation Officer/ Chief Operating Officer
BoatTEST.com LLC
51 Bank Street, Suite 2A
Stamford, CT 06901

t: +1 203 323 9900
m: +1 203 253 2836
f: +1 203 323 9931
www.boattest.com
And here is my response to that.

Chris,

You may not think it feels stable for long cruises or multiple riders. You may have left out a lot of what you think might be negatives. But you fail to mention any of the positives specific to this machine. For instance, you don't mention that the spark is a very nimble and playful machine. The goal of the spark was to bring 90's playfulness into a modern 4 stroke machine. It does this with flair. The spark wasn't meant to compete with a cruiser, this is not an apples to apples comparison. You don't mention that even though the gas tank is less than half the size of the VX, the gph usage between the 2 machines is also vastly different. I am seeing 4 hours on my machine before heading back to re-fuel (hard riding, in sport mode). A lot are seeing 5 hours in touring mode.

Also, I would truly appreciate your answer about whether or not boattest.com received any type of compensation for this review. There are some very negatively slanted comparison videos by Yamaha that are on Youtube, and this review almost follows a script-like rendition of these videos. Was boattest.com paid for this review? I am so convinced it did, that I can no longer trust your reviews, and I really enjoyed them. While I do feel like my machine was a little put down, this is a little more about trusting these reviews (like boattest's slogan says you can)... Please answer my question.

Thank you,
Jason.
And... I never received a response to my second email. Which pretty much says it all. I never noticed where it said video sponsored by Yamaha, that could mean a number of things. But regardless, the fact that he dodged my question, and never sent another response answers my question for me. Yamaha should stop whining and slinging mud and start working on a competing product. And, I'll never trust his reviews again... That was a bad way to sour his reputation, but I'm sure most folks don't even realize.
 

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Good points here guys.
We think Sea-Doo definitely needs to make a true 3 seater Spark model for next year , with a larger fuel tank and more comfortable seat. Real waterproof storage will help to appeal to most riders. Improvements in quality of materials and Hull strength should be addressed as well.
 

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'It just isn't a stable machine and no very well thought out with regard to access.'

For someone who purports to make his living using language, he has a decided lack of ability to proof-read his own work. Anyway, why do you care what he says? I'm far more interested in the people on this forum who own Sparks and the experiences that they relate.
 

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The Future of the Spark will be interesting to say the least?
Do they make it a More Nimble GTI 130 in disguise and lose sales for the More profitable Model, Models?
I think 53-54 MPH with a 10 Gallon tank and a More comfortable seat (Option) would make me Buy the New Model!
 
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Discussion Starter #13
'It just isn't a stable machine and no very well thought out with regard to access.'

For someone who purports to make his living using language, he has a decided lack of ability to proof-read his own work. Anyway, why do you care what he says? I'm far more interested in the people on this forum who own Sparks and the experiences that they relate.
I agree with you completely. I just thought it was interesting that yamaha didn't stop at the distasteful youtube videos and actually went this far. I guess I haven't seen sour grapes taken this far between 2 companies, since maybe netscape and microsoft got into it. The other part of it is that I care what he says because I'm in the market for other watercraft and I liked his reviews. Now that I know he can be bought, I can't trust his reviews. And video reviews of boats aren't in a surplus.
 

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Id like to see the 3 seater version go away(its not a 3 seater design) and a smaller less buoyant hull to let it get more manuverable and less stable like a true sports machine.
 

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The other part of it is that I care what he says because I'm in the market for other watercraft and I liked his reviews. Now that I know he can be bought, I can't trust his reviews. And video reviews of boats aren't in a surplus.
This is how I feel too. A year ago when I was first researching PWCs, I watched a lot of his reviews.

Yamaha probably knows this and they will try to get their message across as many of the sites/videos/reviews potential buyers are likely to stumble across online.
 

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This is how I feel too. A year ago when I was first researching PWCs, I watched a lot of his reviews.

Yamaha probably knows this and they will try to get their message across as many of the sites/videos/reviews potential buyers are likely to stumble across online.
Me too. This is definitely not good for their credibility.
 

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Id like to see the 3 seater version go away(its not a 3 seater design) and a smaller less buoyant hull to let it get more manuverable and less stable like a true sports machine.
I like the 3 seater. There are lakes in NH where I can take a 3 seater, and not a 2 seater. This is part of why I got 2 3 seaters.

Plus, need 1 seat for everyone involved with towing. Driver, spotter, and towee.
 
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