I had NO idea that there was so much intrigue and conflict in the world of watch forums. I'm imagining watch wearer gang fights where everyone in the rumble looks like the nerdy dude who always hosts the Invicta shows on ShopNBC. :lol:
As for the free watches for reviews issue, I think that the Federal Trade Commission guidelines would apply to anyone writing online watch reviews:http://www.ftc.gov/multimedia/video/business/endorsement-guides.shtm
If you write reviews online and a watchmaker gives you a watch, gives you a sample watch to hold, or has some arrangement with you, you have to disclose it. This applies to bloggers and I would believe it would apply to people who run a BBS and systematically write reviews there.
I don't know the players well enough to comment on the specifics of the interpersonal conflicts with freeks folks, but it sounds like a lot of sore feelings could be avoided if everyone simply obeyed the law.
In the interest of openness, when I write reviews for Yahoo, I make a whopping $4.00 for each review and then get about a nickel a month for each review's traffic. However, that era of my life may soon come to an end because they just rejected the last two reviews I wrote (about vacuum cleaners).