"Because Al said so." That's the way a thread on another bulletin board
started about a month ago. Seems the person posting the message had
just finished reading my review on Mustad hooks (see product reviews
here on FAOL). It started a string of comments both pro (most of them)
and con (one comment) about the quality of Mustad hooks.
The point here is that a reader decided his own experiences with these
good hooks was accurate because he read a review here, written by
someone he trusts to tell the truth. The bigger point is that the review he
read was several years old and still available to him and anyone else to read.
FAOL doesn't remove old product reviews even if that company no longer
supports FAOL financially or even if they never supported this fine magazine
with a single sponsor's dollar.
Think about that point for a while. Can you imagine any other place a
manufacturer, distributor or retailer can get more mileage out of a product
review? Does any printed magazine put the same product reviews in every
issue they print? Does any other magazine have a broader audience of
readers? I don't think so.
I have a few more examples to discuss. As far as I know, Robert Venerri
has never advertised his beautiful reel seats here on FAOL. I don't think
he has ever been a sponsor here. Yet, a product review of his reel seats
has been up for the world to read for several years. Another example is
BT's Fly Fishing Products. As far as I know, Al Beatty has never advertised
here or been a sponsor here, but there's a recent review of several of his
products in the product review section anyway. There are several more.
Honesty should never have a price tag attached to it.
I'm not saying a product review is better than sponsorship here. I don't think
that at all. In fact, I believe a sponsorship here is some of the best advertising
a company can do. They get a lot of mileage for their money here that they
won't get elsewhere. I also know some people search for sponsors to do
business with because those sponsors are the people who keep this magazine
on the air for everyone to read.
The internet has become a giant source of information that is sometimes hard
to search out because there's so much information out there to sift through.
However, here on FAOL there is a place where products get honest reviews
and those reviews remain for years, constantly available for anyone to read.
That sure beats a small paragraph in some monthly or bi-monthly magazine
that'll be available for one or two months, then lost for all time unless another
product is sent to another writer for a review. (I also know that some magazines
won't do a review without a paid ad for the same product or company
somewhere in that issue or the next.)
I know this all sounds self-serving, but that isn't my focus or point. I'm merely
trying to point out how much impact a product review (or even sponsorship)
can have on your business. Sometimes that impact is days, months or years
down the road, but that's a possibility here, unlike many other places. FAOL
is unique in the type of impact it has on the fly-fishing community.
So, if you're looking for information about a product, check the product reviews
here to see if it has been reviewed. Your search may be complete with a click
of a mouse. If you're looking for a way to increase the exposure of a product
you make or sell, consider the mileage a review in the pages of FAOL can
provide for your product. Who knows; in a couple of years there might be
a thread on another bulletin board saying your product is just what the reader
needs, "because Al (or JC or Ladyfisher or someone else) said so."