UPDATE: June 30, 2020. Simon Tian contacted me on Twitter and advised that Yaniv was not hired nor paid to do anything for Fonus. At best, Yaniv may be a “highly satisfied customer” that wrote a review.
It seems that Jessica Yaniv is trying to re-launch her “tech blog” TrustedNerd.com which means, like any new or refreshed product, it’s time for a review!
Note…I was going to fill this article with images from JY’s site to demonstrate how awful it really is but I’m treading carefully here. JY frequently complains to WordPress about us and I’m being cautious with copyright laws. JY does, indeed, own all content at TrustedNerd, including the brand. All references below to that site are for review purposes. Quoted content is published under fair use provisions of copyright laws. Everything stated below is my opinion of JY’s TrustedNerd product, much like someone would review any other website or product.
In this review, I’ll touch on topics such as ease of use, quality of content, design, and I’ll look at how up-to-date things are overall. I’ll ask the question, “is this a site you can go to for tech information?”
First glance: It’s not entirely awful. It’s a WordPress design (as is Meow Mix, and millions of other sites), and it’s reasonably well laid out – menu and search bar at the top (why does the menu show up twice though?), content in the middle, site owner info at the bottom, as one would expect. That’s where the good ends, sadly.
It’s a bit busy compared to other tech websites, in my opinion. Fast scrolling content bars are distracting and annoying, and TN has one front and center, in extra large format. There are 237 links on the front page alone, if you count every single thing you can click. Only three of these are to external sources – two of which are JY’s socials and the last is an ad.
The scrolling content bar I mentioned links to nine different stories. Eight of these are from early 2016, and one is a review of Fonus, posted June 28, 2020. That’s a pretty big issue for a tech blog.
When it comes to ads, the site isn’t overwhelming, and my ad blocker plugin had no problem shutting down the few ads that were present.
I clicked on News, hoping to see the latest tech updates and important gadget news. I found the aforementioned review of Fonus, an article on KDDI America, Atera, Acronis, Medx, Intema, Realpage, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, Frontier Communications, and a couple others. Maybe I’m out of touch, but I’ve only heard of one of those companies before today.
Nearly all of the content is automated – fed directly from Business Wire, a company that distributes press releases written by companies. In other words, the news feed is simply news releases directly from other companies, written by their own people. At least two of the links were just headers, devoid of any content to support the title.
My favourite part? The fourth item on the list is Yaniv’s “Seven Spontaneous Places to Have Sex on Valentine’s Day”, an article provided to Yaniv by a site filler company that provides content in exchange for clicks. It’s horribly written and looks even more horribly out of place here.
Much of the other content is plagiarized, something we’ve touched on in previous articles about Yaniv’s business model.
Next click: the Gadgets link. I immediately regretted this decision. From the top, a LELO sex toy, then a catch-up of recent wearable tech, then another sex toy. Everything from there on back is from 2017 or older. Unacceptable.
Because the Gadgets link is basically worthless I moved on to Reviews. Again, the page is peppered with sex toys and slang (under the header for LELO’s Tiana Amber Rose Gold vibrator, it reads, “Holy shit was the first thing I said…”. Not something I would personally write on a professional site.
The reviews are awful, period. They’re poorly written. They’re dishonest. The claims are not supported with any raw data or evidence. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the most recent “review” of Fonus is borderline crooked.
Yaniv has spent the last 4+ weeks chatting up Fonus founder Simon Tian on Facebook, claiming that they are marketing and PR experts, and have brought companies from $500K in sales to $3.8M in a year. Where’s the backup for this? Did Tian do his due diligence on Yaniv? Did Fonus pay Yaniv to write this?
Even more concerning is how Fonus, a company that other tech blogging sites like mobilesyrup.com have issued cautionary statements about, somehow received a 5-star rating on Yaniv’s site.
I was going to print Yaniv’s Fonus article and mark it up with a red pen just to highlight how awful this garbage is but then I realized I’d have carpal tunnel by the time I was done. Instead, enjoy a chuckle at a couple lines from the post…
“In addition, I travel A LOT. TELUS EasyRoam is great, but… is it? It actually isn’t.” So is it great or not? PS…you don’t travel a lot JY. You’re legally unable to enter the USA, you wouldn’t dare go to another country, and you don’t even travel around Canada.
“Thankfully, this amazing fellow from Montreal named Simon Tian has come up with an amazing and affordable mobile phone service that works all over North America (and soon globally) for just $30 USD.” What makes Tian Amazing? Define “soon”. What makes the phone service amazing?
“The data speeds are amazing! Personally, I’ve gotten up to 250 MBPS download and 80 MBPS upload on LTE near Vancouver, BC, Canada. Others have gotten around 400 MBPS download, 90 MBPS upload, which is fantastic.” Really? Fact check time!
According to speedtest.net, arguably the most used speed monitoring and testing website in existence, Vancouver’s average speed for all mobile providers was 9th in Canada at 65 Mbps download and 17 Mbps upload. In another test, PCMag praises Bell in Vancouver for averaging 309 Mbps download speed and 38 Mbps upload speed. I’d say that Yaniv’s speed claims related to Fonus are exaggerated. I’d like to see Speedtest data to support these claims, especially since a quick Google search shows much lower results.
On that note, and it’s a bit of a sidetrack, but there is very little info on Fonus out there except on Reddit, which appears to be largely driven by Tian himself. I’m not sure how great the Fonus product is, and I haven’t reviewed it, so I can’t give my opinion on it. Tian is correct in saying that Canada needs more mobile providers, but Fonus sounds too good to be true right now.
“My iPhone is like Romeo. FONUS is like Juliet. Together, love happens.” Really Yaniv? Ugh.
My only other remark on this review is that it’s 100% positive and no negative. No cons, no downsides, no glitches or bugs. If Yaniv is to be believed, Fonus, and every other company or product reviewed on TN is 100% stellar, all the time.
Lelo vibrator – 5 stars. WeBoost signal booster? 5 stars. Linksys EA7500? 5 stars. ScottEVest? 5 stars. Netgear ReadyNAS? 5 stars. Everything that has the “review summary” is rated at 5 stars. Oddly, over 50% of the products reviewed don’t have a rating, but they’re all reviewed positively.
What does this mean? If I had to guess, Yaniv is writing positive reviews in exchange for free samples. Nothing is actually reviewed. There are no standardized testing procedures or testing results. It’s all poorly written garbage.
Other site notes? The menu banner link includes an “Important Notice” wherein Yaniv claims to be a victim of people widely impersonating them. Yaniv claims to spend “tons” of time reviewing products to provide the most accurate and trustworthy review possible but it took just minutes to debunk this claim. I’m also highly skeptical of Yaniv’s claim that people are trying to steal the sites content for their own sites. The entire “notice” reads as whiny and unprofessional. Don’t air your dirty laundry Yaniv.
Next, site tags. I don’t think these are commonly displayed like this anymore. Likewise for RSS feeds, which are used only by a few remaining diehards. Yet, Yaniv’s side is bordered left and right with these outdated and annoying features.
JY, why do you have comments turned off for every single post? There’s no comments anywhere! Every single tech blog out there has a comments section with an active community. Hell, even Meow Mix gets more comments than this. It really makes you look like you’ve got something to hide.
As a car guy, and a frequent reader of car blogs, I took special interest in Yaniv’s “automotive” section. It’s introduced with this quote from Yaniv:
Hey everyone, Great news! I’ve decided to start up an automotive review section on TrustedNerd.com. I’ve contacted key automobile manufactures and I will be starting the reviews with the 2014 Ford Fiesta which I have had a bit of time in, but I’d love to do a full review of the vehicles tech (it’s absolutely loaded). TrustedNerd.com will be rocking the automotive tech review world. I’m absolutely excited.TrustedNerd.com, Sept 8, 2013.
That text – typos and all – is copy pasted from Yaniv’s post. Where did this little venture go? Yaniv was invited by Ford – along with dozens of other bloggers, including food bloggers – to test a 2014 Ford Focus several years ago. I spoke with Yaniv’s co-pilot for this demo and it was as awkward as you could expect.
Other automotive articles include some dashcams (both “reviews” are sponsored) and a test drive of a 2017 Ford Fusion, featuring quotes such as, “Breaking took a while to get used to, but with time it actually felt quite solid. In the beginning, it felt a bit weak.” and, “While the 2017 Ford Energi Fusion Hybrid is amazing to drive, the tech is really what makes me go awe.” Go awe??
The article, one of very few written by Yaniv also says he (JY was male at the time) “kept hitting the breaks” and “carwashes flip the sensors…out”. It ends with, “I’m by far an auto buff…“. What??
Yaniv, you bitch about people getting your name wrong and you can’t even get this cars name right in a review. It’s the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi. Or did you test the 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid? They’re two different versions of the Ford Fusion, yet you somehow mashed them together like someone calling you Jonica or Jessithon.
I can see why JY’s automotive journalist career was more crash test dummy and less high speed test driver. JY tried to get back into it with a recent livestreamed car review, but I guess they put the “breaks” on it.
Positives? TrustedNerd is a pretty clever brand, and the logo isn’t all that bad. “JY Knows IT”, which is noted at the bottom, is an admittedly smart name for a tech business. That’s about all I can come up with.
To conclude the first ever Meow Mix review, I give Trustednerd a -7 out of 5 stars. It’s a black hole where tech goes to die. The front page is like a time capsule from 2016 with flashes of 2014 mixed in. It’s the tech blog equivalent of karoke greatest hits album, complete with your grandmas positive praise for everything you do. The writing is awful. There are no real tests performed or results shown. All of the pictures are stock images or PR pics from other sites. There’s no active community and the only sign of a human being present in this mashup of feed-driven content, plagiarized spam, and grade 5 grammar is a four paragraph bitchfest from Yaniv about being the victim of “many” impersonations.
I’d be embarrassed to tell anyone I own that site, and that’s coming from a guy with a blog called Meow Mix.