Jul 15, 2011

Ammo Spam, round up

Over at WallsOfTheCity, Linoge wrote a short piece a few days back hypothesizing that several ammunition storefronts (LuckyGunner.com, BulkAmmo.com, GunsForSale.com, and Ammo.net), were actually one and the same. He had some pretty solid information but nothing that conclusively proved it.

Now, I can't hate a business for marketing. I can understand why they would do something like this - if customer service over at Site A pisses off a customer it's entirely possible that they will now buy from Site B, which is the same company with a different front end. It gives multiple possible end locations for a search on a generic term, increasing their likelihood of being the click-through. On the flip side, it also provides for some brand dilution - there is only one MidwayUSA, only one Brownell's, and they have long-standing name recognition.

What it's really coming down to is Search Engine Optimization. I don't even necessarily dislike them for this. If LuckyGunner can build some good relations with the bloggers for the cost of a few boxes of ammo and get some linkage out of it, that's marketing. Nothing more, nothing less.

And truth be told, I wouldn't be upset about this at all except for one thing...

Last fall, I got some spam from BulkAmmo. And I posted about it. They had asked for free links "just because", essentially. A few days later, they sent the same request, and I ignored the email but posted another blog entry. Spam is spam; the delete key is easy, and BulkAmmo went on my "don't do business with them" list.

Now I've found out that all the above companies are one and the same, and I'm pretty angry. I'm feeling like I was taken advantage of. LuckyGunner was making some good inroads with the blogging community, and I have a feeling they may have burned a lot of those bridges.

My last post was a review of ammo that they provided - and it has the links back to them that I agreed to. You'll notice that their name isn't linked anywhere in this post. There's a reason for that. I sold a link to Sportsman's Guide last winter - it's over there in the sidebar - and that was a clear and honest trade. They paid me, I put up a link worded how they wanted it, for a set period of time. Easy.

LuckyGunner.com, BulkAmmo.com, Ammo.net, and GunsForSale.com have tried to sidestep this process. I've made a decision based on this:

http://zercool.blogspot.com, http://www.zercool.com, "Plumbum et Circenses", etc, will no longer take advertising of any kind. I'll still do product reviews, but it's going to be on products that I buy with my own money. When the sidebar link I sold expires, it's not going back up.

I'm blogging because I enjoy it, because I like spewing my thoughts to a small corner of the internet, and oddly enough, because at least a few of you seem to enjoy reading what I write. Somehow I'd slipped away from that. The ammo review I just posted has been stressing me out more than I realized, and having it done feels like a weight is off my shoulders.

I may not get to review the shiny goodness of lasers and lights that Jay enjoys, or the new hardware that others get to play with - or at least not for free - but I'm okay with that. I'm doing this for me, not you.


Ruth said...

Don't blame you, and LuckyGunner (and the others) just got added to my "don't buy from" bookmark list. I'd already put BulkAmmo there when they sent ME spam trying to sell their stuff (really, me?? I barely qualify as a gun blog! Especially then when I had all of ONE post related to firearms at all, and that an airrifle), and to find out that the others are part of that? Nope, not doing it.

Thanks for the info!

Wilson said...

I only review items I’ve paid for with my own hard earned money. Just seems more honest to me. You also don’t have to worry that your readers think you’ve been “paid off” if the review is too good.