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.
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.
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.