Is that the industry standard?
The main issue I see with this argument is that it insinuates that the reviewers couldn't be trusted and I don't think that is a fair assumption to make about people we "know" and should be able to trust. Especially before they were given a chance to prove otherwise.
The fundamental issue with most 'reviews' is who effectively pays for them. There is a reason that organizations from Consumer Report to serious restaurant reviewers either purchase/pay for all the items they review or return them after the review:
Only if the reviewers are not funded by the producers can one eliminate the conflict of interest and (perceived) bias.
This holds for almost any 'product' - note the ignominious role played by the credit rating agencies in the recent financial crisis or by equity research analysts during the .com boom - both these groups were effectively paid by the issuers/companies for their 'reviews' and the results were predictable.
Note that this even the case for indirect
funding - e.g., car magazines do not get 'free' cars that they get to keep after their reviews. However, economically they depend on advertising from the exact same manufacturers and they can ill afford to 'bite the hand that feeds them'. As a result, most reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
What if you have access to free gear from most other big companies? Wouldn't that make you (and I do mean you specifically) less likely to be bought off with a simple board? It seems such a cheap cost for your integrity.
Sounds nice but practically completely impossible/not workable. Who is going to 'anoint' the reviewers that are going to get all this free gear? And it provides even more motivation for manufacturers to provide 'incentives' in order to secure positive reviews - say NS sending over 20 instead of 10 boards, Mervin including a few Cyrus decks in the review batch, etc.