I try to be nice. But I still have to be true to who I am. I’m a market researcher by trade and we’re paid for our objectivity, accountability and transparency. I’m paid to tell the truth whether or not that’s convenient to someone’s marketing objectives.
That may be in a way how I’ve shaped XLADV. I want this community to be real. I really do want it to be positive though as well. I embrace the vendor community (some say too much?) but I also have to stay true to the objectivity and will call BS when I see it. Precious few have been “thrown under the bus” and I think I’ve been pretty even-handed but community members are going to say whatever is on their minds.
There are plenty of industry hacks, obsequious and sycophantic yes-men there to fill that space the vendor/manufacturer community thinks they want. More savvy marketers have embraced the community and opted for reality, credibility and a take-it-as-it comes approach but it seems there are still a few old school holdouts who are desperately clinging to their trained seal media.
They’re afraid. They’ve even told me so. They say they’d love to leverage this community but the upper levels see it as a potential liability given other “mutinies” over at GS Giants (“shhhh! you’ll scare away our sponsor money!”) and AOLrider (where few companies fear to tread).
And boy is being a trained seal profitable! Maybe I’m just jealous that I cannot yet afford a shiny new new Sprinter or Tundra or a stable of bikes to evaluate long term.
Remember the list we compiled of the companies ADV riders should avoid for their contribution to groups shutting down responsible vehicular access to our public lands? Well a lot of those companies are still trying to have it both ways and marketing themselves to the off road riding motorcycle/ATV markets. Examples: YETI, Marmot, MSR, Big Agnes, etc… What are these media outlets going to say when our riding areas are closed like they are on the East Coast and Europe and one of us points out how they carried that company’s water who funded the entire campaign? Yes I know, they’ll delete the comment! lol
Just the other day I saw one of our media friends (we are actually friends, btw) post a review of one of these offending companies’ products. I said something like “great product but it’s too bad they contribute to groups shutting down responsible vehicular access to our public lands.” So not a slam on their journalism. Not even a slam of the product’s quality…. just a bit of accountability directed at the manufacturer (I tagged them).
And…. the comment was deleted. But I’m not surprised as I did it to see if it would be deleted. I was proved right. By deleting it they weren’t saying “you can’t insult my writing like that!” or “you can’t insult this product like that!” but more like “you can’t make my client look bad like that!”
So keep that in your mind next time you’re sensing a bit of a divergence between what you read elsewhere and what you read here at XLADV.com. I do want to keep it positive but at the same time real.
They can have their business model. I’ll stick to mine, thanks.