12 January 2012

Gnarlydog News product review policy

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After a recent post on Gnarlydog News where some commentators questioned my integrity with my reviews on this blog as true independent non commercial articles I think it's time that I clearly explain my policy.
"Mike" accused me (in the comments section here) of writing articles for this blog as commissioned paid reviews.
While GDN has now passed the 200th post with a variety of articles spanning from simple images, videos, observations, opinion and criticism I also include reviews of gear that I use.
I would like to stress the point here on the "gear that I use".
As the popularity of GDN increased over the years readership now reaches in hundreds of page loads per day. Some manufactures regularly visit my pages for ideas and to see what does not work for me; I guess, with my posts sometimes I offer an indirect feedback to them.
At the same time some manufacturers also notice my efforts in describing and researching a product, which I often accompany with non-stock images and videos of mine.
I have been approached several times by non-kayak related companies asking me to review some of their goods. After a brief discussion with the business interested in my blog I realized that they were after a favorable  review of products that do not interest me personally. I politely decline their offer explaining that I only would consider items that I would personally use.
I also have been asked to promote businesses and events but, since I was not personally involved with those, I declined again.
Occasionally there is a manufacturer that offers me a product that I would like to try. I engage with the supplier and analyze the product before I commit and ask them to send me a sample. I understand that small businesses are on a tight budget and can not afford to simply send samples to anybody therefore, if the product that they offer appears to be of a style and design that does not agree with my philosophy (I like things simple, compact and sturdy) I again decline their offer.
Now, there are some products that I really like and occasionally I will ask the manufacturer to supply me with a sample. Often they decline my request.
There are cases too where the manufacturer engages in a healthy conversation with me about the design of their product before they offer me any samples. This is the case with Northern Light Paddles.

Sunset paddling_3_c

Paul had a lengthy exchange of emails with me before he finally decided to take the risk to supply me with his paddles. He knew that if I didn't find his paddles to my liking there was a risk I would give them an unfavorable review. Just like with Flat Earth Kayak sails, where initially there were some minor design flaws, the conversation with Mick was open. He looked at my findings and he improved his product.
I now use Flat Earth Sails exclusively finding them superior to my design.
Sailing into the sunset

With Northern Light paddles I have found a product that is unique and fits my needs very well.
At no stage was I ever paid to review any product, never have.
I will accept products for review as well as I will review items that I buy in a retail shop, full price.
I also occasionally review items that are loaned to me but only if I personally I am interested in.
So, if you, the reader, feel that I have breached your trust with the honesty in my reviews, I ask you to stop reading this blog.
On the other hand I am sure that many will find my policy acceptable to be still called independent non-commercial review.

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8 comments:

  1. Gunnar Gustafsson , Sweden1/12/12, 2:59 AM

    I find your reviews interesting and understand your decisions. I'll continue to read your blog. :-)

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  2. Wow. I think you are more than fair. I agree with you. It's your blog and your opinion. How awesome that you took the time to write about your review policy! Cheers from Canada.

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  3. Your posts are never trivial.
    Help the subjective reasoning.
    They are full of passion and sincerity.
    Stay pure and from the Mediterranean will continue to read you.

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  4. Thanks for keeping it real. Integrity is a word that is going out of fashion!

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  5. I thoroughly enjoy your attention to detail and have always respected what I have come to know as sincere integrity in any of your posts I have read. The number of kayakers that are willing to investigate, experiment and provide feedback with solid and practical solutions to various products, gear, processes such as repair etc. and share so freely and honestly with expert documentation and professional photography with no expectation of payment of any kind other than “I hope this may work for you too”, are far and few between. I hope this blog continues for time to come. After all that is what freedoms are all about, to engage in ones passions and love without fear or reprisals in any form and if knowledge can be shared to an accepting audience you would have left an indelible mark, in this case certainly on the kayaking community, that will not be too soon forgotten, and good on you mate I say!!!

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  6. I think it is funny that someone is critical of your blog or your motives. I often find that one ones who are critical and question others motives and morality are the ones who need the most watching. I hope you'll go on giving great advice about the good and the bad for all the gear you use.

    I've been given gear in the past and an occasional discount and I've never been asked to give a false opinion of it.

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  7. Keep reviewing and keep writing, I will keep reading

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