Vape Critic, also known as Steven LaScala and Bud, is one of the most popular vaporizer affiliates out there today. Vape Critic has outlasted many previous vape affiliates and many of his reviews still come up first on Google. Here we go through an in depth profile of Vape Critic and some of the interesting things we found about his reviews and payment structures.
Vape Critic reviews dry herb vaporizers and wax pens
The biggest traffic drivers to Steven LaScala’s website are vaporizer reviews and links from the Vape Life Forum. The reviews are split between two sections: dry herb vape reviews and wax pen reviews. We will go through the history of selections, as well as some controversies that have plagued the site.
Herb Vaporizer reviews by the Vape Critic
The curious and suspicious style rating
Vape Critic had a chart rating different aspects of the vapes. He rated Pax 3 lower on style than the MV1. Pax products as over-hyped, over-priced products. We still give Pax props on their style, which is above and beyond the MV1.
For the most part style is objective, but the MV1 is so ugly there is no way it could be rated higher on style than the Pax. The Pax was rated B+ while the MV1 is an A. How’s that for unbiased review?
Chinese-made better than German? Very unlikely
The Ghost MV1 is rated higher than the German made Mighty on Vape Critic’s site. That’s the world of Vape Critic. Here are some quotes from the above Reddit post, from people that own both devices:
“The MV1, the grind, pack method, draw speed, heatsink and the mouthpiece all have to be perfect. There’s also stirring, inconsistentcy (sic), honestly a pain imo. Aside from all those things, the flavour is nice, can give big clouds if all the above mentioned things are perfect.
“Have to agree with my friend here. I own both (bought the MV1 a couple weeks ago) and I’m planning on selling it already. It’s a neat little device, but by no means better than the Mighty. Definitely go for the Mighty.
Edit: That said, I don’t have the crucible holder or more crucibles, and the loading is what I like least about it, so i’m sure I’d like it a little more if I had those.”
Some, but few, like the MV1 best
In his defense some people did prefer the MV1, though they are in the minority. See below a comment from an MV1 supporter.
“I don’t get how people compare Mv1 and Mighty. These are completely different types of vaporizers. I had the mighty and got rid of it, got the ghost now. The taste and effects are way better on the ghost in my opinion, and the 0.1g chamber really helps you to stretch your stash. I never used anything nearly as efficient as the ghost, to be honest, and it completely changed my way of vaping. I will rather have 10 really nice clouds, than sucking on for 20 minutes, but again, its a matter of opinion. Long session => mighty, solo2 (I have the solo2 and its way better than mighty while being way cheaper, in my opinion the mighty is overpriced for what it does), or air2. On demand => ghost. My ghost came with firmware 1.3.2, fully functional, you can upgrade to version 1.3.4, but it won’t add much according to what I read on vapelife forum. Ghost advices : lose pack, start at level 4, then go to level 5 when vapor production decreases, should give you 6 to 25 draws, according to material dryness and quality.”
The Ghost MV1 can be a headache and is made for the weaker user according to Reddit. as .1g is a pretty small chamber. This will be touched on later in a further section after we get through wax pens.
Wax Pen reviews by the Vape Critic have a bias towards companies paying higher commissions
Recently Vape Critic changed his top choice to the Top Airflow Saionara with Pico battery from Humboldt Vape Tech as his top choice. Previously, he had the Kandypens Prism as the top choice. Prior to that, it was the KandyPens Elite. We think he had to change to the Sai because public knowledge catches up. People know that the Sai is better than anything Kandypens makes. There is nothing subjective about that. Kandypens produces low quality products, mostly rebrands from Chinese manufacturer Airistech.
The controversy around Kandypens and glue
Kandypens advertised their products as having no wicks, glues, or dies. Then DabConnection writer E did an in depth Kandypens Elite review and found glue in the atomizers. Kandypens first denied it and issued a statement with a page from their manufacturer. Our editor then pointed out that it says glue right on the paperwork. Steven LaScala was notified of the glue on his forum but did nothing. He just took Kandypes’ response as gold and did not acknowledge anything further as you can see on the page.
Elite stays on after glue claims
Kandypens clearly lied by stating “no wickes, glues, or dies” were in the product. After it was revealed they had glue they took the claim off their website (and blocked us on Instagram for exposing it).
Vape Critic left the Kandypens Elite up as the top choice even after the glue incident, because Kandypens probably paid Vape Critic the most commission. The Elite was eventually removed from top vape pen. The Kandypens Prism replaced the Elite, another high commission product of course!
How does Kandypens pay Steven LaScala the most commission?
With the crappiest products marked up the highest. Most of Kandypens products can be found in original, unbranded Airistech form for a fraction of their normal retail price. The actual manufacturing cost for most Kandypens products is between $5 and $15, while the Prism+ is sold for $127. It is estimated that Steven receives commissions from Kandypens in the 35% to 45% range.
The most off Steven LaScala’s recommendations: A cartridge battery that doesn’t fit most cartridges right
We recently did a review of the PCKT One vape battery. This battery is made to be paired with oil cartridges and it does have some cool features. The best feature is you have the option of pull draw or push button. There is one huge flaw that would cause us to not recommend it as a top choice: it does not fit flush with new style CCELL cartridges (and a lot of other new styles for that matter.
Why recommend a flawed oil pen battery? Commissions
Oil pens are a tough category for affiliates, yet on DabConnection are the majority of our traffic at the time of writing this. Affiliates like Steven LaScala live on commissions based on a percentage of a product’s selling price. Vape Critic could recommend the Exxus Snap, CCELL Palm, or any of the other batteries that are actually preferred by most serious oil pen users that are all less than $30.
Instead he recommends the PCKT One because it has a $49.99 price tag and pays him a commission. Users that only rely on him for advice seem to “give in” when you read the comments as if that is the only battery available. Steven really should take better care of his visitors and give them something that works with most cartridges properly, not sticking out with an extendo adapter. By the way, the Palm blasts the PCKT One away on hit strength.
Does Vape Critic have sufficient access to quality cannabis products?
Vape Critic is based in New York, where no flower is legal. People can get vape cartridges and that is it. I am not saying this disqualifies him, but it is hard to believe he has at his disposal a variety of cannabis product to test the units with. Illegal states often do not have nearly as good wax as legal states. Even among the legal states quality can vary. It’s hard for us to believe he can really give the best review without access to consistently good products.
Website trends of VapeCritic.com and VapeLife.com
Vape Critic has not only its main website but also VapeLife which hosts his forum pages. Below we look at recent trends and see where Steven LaScala’s website is headed.
VapeCritic.com stats and data: Downtrend showing
Google has been devaluing affiliate sites over the past year. Sites with affiliate links are given less weight. This has hurt the stats of Vape Critic’s site as well as many other affiliates.
Alexa and related sites are not always 100% accurate, but the trend is clear. Authority for Vape Critic is on it’s way down. Trust factors and backlash on Reddit are contributing factors.
Vape Critic’s main website traffic has dropped almost 50% in the last 6 months. Putting Kandypens at first place when the rest of the informed world knows it is junk may have helped with that. Overall, it will be hard for Steven LaScala to beat the trends of the informed wax pen user. Can Steve turn the tides around? Maybe, but given his prior dishonesty, we hope not.
VapeLife.com stats and data: Some ups, some down
The stats for VapeLife.com are almost all the result of the Vape Life Forum where users discuss dry herbs and vape pens. Vape Critic himself often chimes in and gives his recommendations (or lack thereof as we saw in the Kandypens glue issue).
The ranking for vapelife.com shown above has gone up a lot this year. It has been proceeding n a downward trend recently, but it may go back. Hard to say if those forum readers will hold on or go elsewhere.
Traffic is up for Steven’s vapelife.com site overall in 2018. The site is down 12% in the last 30 days, this article being written in mid-October, 2018. Things may turn up, but more knowledgeable users have been flooding Reddit’s waxpen and vaporents forums.
Both sites have significant foreign traffic
VapeCritic.com and VapeLife.com both have stats that do not match the rest of the cannabis space. Below is the geographical breakdown of VapeCritic.com users.
Very high percentage of visitors from Austraila. The Canada number is higher than most other cannabis sites but not alarming. 15% of his traffic is coming from other international locations, much more than other cannabis sites and possibly a red flag for fake traffic.
Below is a breakdown of VapeLife.com’s traffic geographically.
We have yet to see a cannabis website with anything close to that ratio of US/foreign visitors. We cannot confirm 100%, but there may be some traffic pumping going on here. Most traffic pumping involves Indian visitors though, so this might just be a fluke that many foreign visitors are finding his site.
Business listing information for Vape Critic
Some of this information was taken from Cannabis Business Executive, but some of their information was innaccurate. We added more information based on what was found on the New York State Division of Corporations Entity Page for VAPELABS, LLC:
Vape Critic offers his opinion, biased by commissions
In conclusion, there are many holes in the Vape Critic’s reviews. Properly addressing Kandypens having glue was the biggest red flag. The company misled customers with its “no wicks, dies, or glue” claim, yet Vape Critic kept the same pen with glue on top. Pax rated lower on style than Ghost MV1, second red flag. Not in a legal state, questionable for a cannabis related reviewer.
The question of whether or not you can trust Steven LaScala for vape or wax pen reviews is ultimately up to you, but we think most DabConnection readers will arrive at the proper conclusion. You can find more information on the Vape Critic here.
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