Jan 15, 2012

Low-traffic "blogger" here

I'm behind the curve on linking to this on my blog. Must be part of the reason I have low traffic. (And I do. Unless I get an Unclelanche or AGirlLanche I average 40-50 unique visits a day.)

I originally found this mess from a link at Uncle's place.

I put a few comments in there, and I stand by them. I actually do acknowledge both sides of the argument: there's doubtless people who DO put up a domain and then register for a media pass and start begging for T&E stuff.

And there are a lot of us who don't do that. I have a domain (http://www.zercool.com) - it points right back here - and have had that same domain registered for eight or ten years now. I've been blogging in one form or another since 1999. Yes, for serious. The old archives are long gone from the internet as hosts have collapsed and my machines have been sidelined. I could probably dredge up the old posts if I really wanted to, but most of it is early-20-something drama and angst and re-reading it makes me cringe.

I launched this blog back in May of 2009 after a short hiatus from writing. It's not all-guns-all-the-time. I write about what's going on in my life. My opinions of damn near anything. Goofy shit our goats or chickens or cats do. And yes, guns, ammo, gear, survival, and all the other stuff that keeps people coming back.

Guess how much I get paid doing it?

I got three boxes of ammo from the guys at LG in exchange for a review... and then told them I wasn't interested in doing more reviews, for multiple reasons. One was their duplicitous business model, and the other was perhaps more important: I didn't enjoy it*.

I got two holsters from Dennis at Dragon Leatherworks in exchange for a review. (One of them was never reviewed here, but was discussed extensively with Dennis as he tried to perfect his designs.)

I took a check from Sportsmans Guide for a year of a link as they did some SEO stuff - and that is since gone from the sidebar as the year I agreed to is up.

I am just ROLLING in the dough, obviously.

I'm not out there asking for T&E guns, because (a) my readership isn't that big, (b) NY's gun laws suck, and (c) as mentioned above, I don't enjoy it.

Farmer Frank has a pretty good write-up on how things work in the publishing world. And I accept that. If I was being sent a gun to review and I shredded it, I wouldn't expect that manufacturer to be real happy with me or want to send me another one. If I was being ad-supported, yes, they may well yank ad revenue.

At the same time, I take issue with a point he makes:
You don't suffer a thing for pissing off that manufacturer or his public relations manager and you go merrily on your way thinking you are the next great Col. Askins, Elmer Keith or whomever of gun reviews.  
...  the poor (literally) blogger types with the end result being they are "Holier than thou" as to their objective-ness and fairness in terms of their product reviews on their respective blogs.   

I don't think I'm any of those things. I'm just some guy who pounds out his thoughts on a keyboard, with no editor looking over my shoulder, and writes what he feels. I'm not a great marksman, or a competitive shooter of note, or even much of a great photographer.

 Poor? Perhaps. Holier-than-thou? No, not really. What I am is Everyman. When I buy a new piece of equipment, I read reviews. Amazon. Midway. Tam. Jay. And everyone else I can find. Because my poor ass can't afford to waste money on products that suck. If I buy something and it sucks, I'm not afraid to say so. I don't want someone making the same mistake I did. I'll tell you why I made that evaluation, too. (See laserlyte.)

I'd like to think I'm pretty objective about things. Sure, I get biased about stuff; it's human nature. But I'll use Glocks as an example. I hate strongly dislike don't care for them. Why? Because they don't fit my hand right. Mechanically, they're a hell of a gun. There's a reason they are so popular. If someone asks me for a gun recommendation, I won't hesitate to say that Glock makes a good gun. But I will qualify it with a sidenote that I personally don't care for them.

I don't think Frank W. James or Jeff Quinn are whores. I think they're guys making a living (or at least some money) doing something that's pretty damn cool. At the same time, I take what they say with a grain of salt, because they are making money on it. And I balance their opinions against the other bloggers I know, who, like me, are spending their own money on products.

Should I be at a trade show like SHOT? Good question. If I were invited/approved to go, I'd certainly try to make it. I think Jay and the rest of the 600 bloggers they approved this year will come back with some nifty news from a unique perspective.

Unfortunately, Paul Helinski over at GunsAmerica thinks there's no-way, no-how those pesky New Media types should be allowed in to his holy-of-holies trade show. And he said so in comments on that above-linked post. And late last night, he double-downed with this gem:

Alas, I have to get on a plane in the morning and will be working 16 hour days for the next week, so I will not be able to be as lively in this discussion as I would like. But please understand that I didn't mean any disrespect for the couple dozen real bloggers out there who have been hard charging for many years out there, nor was I suggesting that just us and Jeff Quinn be allowed into media day. Some of the comments about this post came up in my google notifications, and some of the people whining about what I said are just the people who would be included in what I suggested, because they have been blogging for many years and have thousands of readers per month, they attend the blogger conventions and have been active in the gun blogger community.  I was talking about the guys who installed wordpress and registered a domain a month before the show, or "blog" three times per year for a print magazine website that has 16 people visiting it every month, and who **will not** post anything about media day or the show. Jeff knows what I am talking about and I am surprised you don't.  I suggested at the end of last year that NSSF google around and see who actually did post blog stuff about the show to qualify them for media day next year.
Please say Hi if you are going to media day, or stop by the booth.   If you mention this post you get a t-shirt you can burn in efigy for a youtube video due to your outrage at my inflammatory and just plain not nice comments.  We are booth 1925.  -ph

Got that? He didn't mean you real bloggers, he meant those other bloggers who don't really blog.

 I have never done business with GunsAmerica before. I had clicked in to their site a few times and found it awkward and overly busy. The unbelievable arrogance Paul has displayed in this thread merely guarantees that I will never spend a dime with GunsAmerica.

Congratulations, Paul. You've changed a neutral observer into a vocal detractor.

* - I didn't like doing the ammo review because it wasn't writing for me. I had those boxes of .223 sitting on a shelf staring at me for a couple months before I found free time to get to the range and do something resembling a real test. I'd rather write what I feel like, without any kind of deadline (even a self-imposed one) looming over me. I run this ice cream shop because it entertains me.


agirlandhergun said...

It's just such an odd thing for him to say. I have no idea how things work in terms of getting free things in exchange for reviews etc, but, regardless, why anyone would alienate current or potential customers is crazy. I would not think one off the cuff rant would be worth it.

ZerCool said...

I wouldn't think it'd be worth it either, but people do things like this All. The. Time.

From foot-mouth moments like Jim Zumbo's career-ender to failure-to-do-due-diligence like HS Precision and Lon Horiuchi, to the smaller more local moments like Jennifer Aniston's character quitting, it's not uncommon.

People hit a breaking point and just don't care what gets burned or who gets splattered... and it has consequences.

Nancy R. said...

I've had the offer of a press pass extended to me and I've turned it down twice -- because I don't feel like I qualify. Larry Weeks of Brownell's approached *me*, however, and asked me how I load my magazines. My answer? "Slowly." He then sent me something to rectify the situation and I reviewed it. Larry Weeks and Brownell's has my undying devotion. For as big as it is, the interwebz can be an awfully small place ...

Bubblehead Les. said...

My reply to your post is over at Unc's, so there's no need to repeat it here.

But I do get sick and tired of the Asshats who, somehow, just because they have a WebSite and a Blog, think their Shit doesn't stink.

ANYONE can be on the Net, and NO ONE has to read one syllable of what they wrote.

But to tell someone "You aren't WORTHY of being a Blogger," well, Who died and made them King of the Web?

P.S.: They ain't the only online Gun Dealer in the World, either, so, Piss off some potential customers while claiming you're Superior to everyone else?

This guy is Dumber than Pelosi.

Wonder if he's a supporter of TTAG?

Old NFO said...

Yep, I don't think this one is over yet, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.