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Old 09-01-2013, 08:17   #1
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Active Captain Preaching?

Like a lot of people, I'm a real fan of Active Captain. They have done a great job creating a product that fills a key need for cruisers, and continue to add other creative and useful features. But there is one thing that I find really objectionable, and I'm curious if it's just me or if others feel the same way.

Every week they email out a "newsletter". It typically contains three things:

1) News about Active Captain including new features, tips on how to use it, new companion products, etc.

2) Jeff and Karen's reviews of various products and services

3) Promotional offers from Defender, and sometimes other vendors

#2 is the thing that I find objectionable. To me, the beauty of Active Captain are the boater's reviews. I can read through them, good and bad, and get a sense of a place or service. I can then apply my own values to the reviews and decide what's best for me. Everyone gets a voice, and all voices are equal.

In light of this, I think it's really inappropriate for the owners to use AC as a platform for their own reviews and opinions, not because I don't want to hear what they think - I do, but because it gives unfair volume to their voice. They say they receive no compensation in exchange for the various accolades, and I fully believe that's true, but anytime I hear reviews and promotions from a source who also controls the megaphone, my credibility alarm goes off. I hate to see anything that threatens the credibility of AC, because as soon at that's lost, so is 90% of the value in the product.

By comparison, you would never find a corporate CEO using the company web site, email list, or newsletter to talk about what kind of boat they like best, what appliances they selected for their house, their favorite car, etc. I know when I was an officer in a US public company, our legal team would have squashed such a thing right away.

What I would humbly suggest is that the AC owners place all their personal views, preferences, tips, and suggestions on their personal boat blog/web site like many other boaters, and restrict the AC megaphone to news and info strictly related to AC and its use. AC is the place to hear about AC news, and their personal blog is the place to hear about what they think and are up to. And by the way, I would go read it.
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:35   #2
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Re: Active Captain Preaching?

just delete the email?
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:52   #3
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Re: Active Captain Preaching?

Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
Like a lot of people, I'm a real fan of Active Captain. They have done a great job creating a product that fills a key need for cruisers, and continue to add other creative and useful features. But there is one thing that I find really objectionable, and I'm curious if it's just me or if others feel the same way.

Every week they email out a "newsletter". It typically contains three things:

1) News about Active Captain including new features, tips on how to use it, new companion products, etc.

2) Jeff and Karen's reviews of various products and services

3) Promotional offers from Defender, and sometimes other vendors

#2 is the thing that I find objectionable. To me, the beauty of Active Captain are the boater's reviews. I can read through them, good and bad, and get a sense of a place or service. I can then apply my own values to the reviews and decide what's best for me. Everyone gets a voice, and all voices are equal.

In light of this, I think it's really inappropriate for the owners to use AC as a platform for their own reviews and opinions, not because I don't want to hear what they think - I do, but because it gives unfair volume to their voice. They say they receive no compensation in exchange for the various accolades, and I fully believe that's true, but anytime I hear reviews and promotions from a source who also controls the megaphone, my credibility alarm goes off. I hate to see anything that threatens the credibility of AC, because as soon at that's lost, so is 90% of the value in the product.

By comparison, you would never find a corporate CEO using the company web site, email list, or newsletter to talk about what kind of boat they like best, what appliances they selected for their house, their favorite car, etc. I know when I was an officer in a US public company, our legal team would have squashed such a thing right away.

What I would humbly suggest is that the AC owners place all their personal views, preferences, tips, and suggestions on their personal boat blog/web site like many other boaters, and restrict the AC megaphone to news and info strictly related to AC and its use. AC is the place to hear about AC news, and their personal blog is the place to hear about what they think and are up to. And by the way, I would go read it.
Jeeze--You've got to be kidding right? Considering the value of AC for, virtually, nothing, I don't think there's much room for complaining or anything other than gratitude.

You don't like the mails? Put the sender on you blocked sender's list.
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:53   #4
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Re: Active Captain Preaching?

Why don't you just unsubscribe from the newsletter?

I have to unsubscribe from all newsletters because my Internet is so limited.

You don't have to read their stuff if you don't want to.

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Old 09-01-2013, 08:57   #5
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Re: Active Captain Preaching?

Why should Jeff not have a voice but everyone else gets one?

He is still a boater just like you & I. Being an active boater & cruiser he still has good and bad experiences with products, places or services, just like you & I.

He is only giving his personal opinion in his news letter. Nigel Calder, Don Casey, Charlie Wing and others all give their "opinions" in books. books are not all facts and are filled with opinions. Why, just because Jeff owns AC, is he not allowed an opinion or to be boaters with opinions just like you and I..?

I have never taken his emails as any other way than he being one guy with one opinion, just like you and I....

I just don't personally see an issue with his opinions and they certainly don't rub me the wrong way. I value any boaters experience or opinions even if I may disagree with them based on my own experiences.

Also, as has been mentioned, just unsubscribe if you don't like it or skip the part where he uses his own voice......
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Old 09-01-2013, 09:12   #6
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Re: Active Captain Preaching?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Why don't you just unsubscribe from the newsletter?

I have to unsubscribe from all newsletters because my Internet is so limited.

You don't have to read their stuff if you don't want to.

Mark
I could, but then I'd miss the 2/3, or at least 1/3 that's good.
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Old 09-01-2013, 09:40   #7
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Re: Active Captain Preaching?

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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
Why should Jeff not have a voice but everyone else gets one?

He is still a boater just like you & I. Being an active boater & cruiser he still has good and bad experiences with products, places or services, just like you & I.

He is only giving his personal opinion in his news letter. Nigel Calder, Don Casey, Charlie Wing and others all give their "opinions" in books. books are not all facts and are filled with opinions. Why, just because Jeff owns AC, is he not allowed an opinion or to be boaters with opinions just like you and I..?

I have never taken his emails as any other way than he being one guy with one opinion, just like you and I....

I just don't personally see an issue with his opinions and they certainly don't rub me the wrong way. I value any boaters experience or opinions even if I may disagree with them based on my own experiences.

Also, as has been mentioned, just unsubscribe if you don't like it or skip the part where he uses his own voice......
I'm not saying Jeff shouldn't have a voice - not at all. It's about the venue, and what's appropriate where. I actually do what to hear what he has to say. I just think co-mingling it is in appropriate and reduces it's credibility.

- Reviews of places and services should go in AC just like everyone else does.

- If AC had a product review feature, that's where product reviews should be regardless of author.

- When I buy a book, I know I'm reading the opinion of the author

- When I read a blog, I know I'm reading the opinion of the blogger

I guess I'm just over sensitized to this having been on the product side of this equation trying to get visibility and coverage in various media outlets. Way too many companies pursue subtle ways of influencing media outlets, and way too many media outlets have their hands out in various ways so you can influence then to write about your products. Let me be VERY clear that I'm not even suggesting Jeff and Karen are doing this, but unfortunately many people do. The result is that I'm immediately suspicious of anything that I read when the writer has amassed a large, targeted audience with any sort of periodical publication rate. That's exactly what promoters look for.

I think I got the answer to my questions, which was whether others are bothered by this, and the answer so far seems to be No. It's probably only other people who have worked in the whole product promotion industry who will be bothered by it.
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:26   #8
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Re: Active Captain Preaching?

This may run against the grain of most, I'm a little sick of hearing about active captain. Sure its one of many tools, but I've run into people who are hunting for web service because going a mile without AC would be the end of the world. I wasnt out crusing 30 years ago, but what would these people do without it. I hear someone mention AC and I roll my eyes, if so many gotta have it. I'll just pass thanks. Its the same as Walmart, the masses seem to love it, I won't go there. Don't even really know why.
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:43   #9
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Re: Active Captain Preaching?

I agree with just about all of the other posts on here.

I find it a bit strange that someone (Jeff and Karen) can put so much time and effort into creating such a usefull/valuable product and service and then provide it to the world free of charge, just to have the users of this free service complain about an aspect of that free service.

Do you not feel like you are getting fair value?

In my opinion it's quite simple. If you are not paying for a service or product, what right do you have to complain?

Please don't misunderstnd me. You are certainly entitled to you opinion. You have the right to voice that opinion. But to suggest they should alter or change the way they provide a free service because a non-paying customer believes their service is somehow "un-fair" goes a bit overboard IMO.

It seems to be an increasingly common theme in today's society that when we disagree with something we expect others to change their actions or behavior to fit our own views. If you don't like it, don't read it.

You say that you read all comments and opinions and apply your own values to decide what's best for you. Ok. Do that. Apply your values and decide that their opinion is biased or whatever. But all voices are NOT equal. Jeff and Karen created the site and provide the service free of charge. They then get to decide who gets what voice.

I use AC quite often and it makes finding anchorages, marinas, fuel, etc, much easier for me than it would otherwise be without AC. I also use their NOAA charts and "local knowledge" extensively to decide which entrances are safe, hight of bridges etc. Their "hazards" has saved me from running aground many times. All for FREE.

What right do I have to complain if I am not paying for this service. I only have a standing to complain if I am trading value for value. With AC we are not trading value for value. We are simply benificiaries of a free and valuable service.

Quite frankly: If Jeff and Karen wanted to use THEIR platform to promote abortion, religion, gay marriage or certain sexual fettishes we still wouldn't have right to complain (IMO). We would just need to sift through what we don't like to get to what we do like.

Be a big boy. Deal with it.
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:51   #10
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Re: Active Captain Preaching?

And RabidRabbit:

You're sick of hearing about AC yet you clicked on this thread. Strange indeed sir.
Are we to assume you are some sort of masochist?

To each their own....
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:03   #11
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Re: Active Captain Preaching?

The wise blind man said to his deaf son.

You read what you want to and do not read what you do not want to.

Can you hear me ?
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:10   #12
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Re: Active Captain Preaching?

"it is always something......"

you can make some folks happy but do not try to make everyone happy, as that willnot happen. someone always has to complain.

is like that here in pair a dice--folks walking around looking soooo unhappy--if life is such a drag--find somewhere else to drag your self and gripe??? does that not work for everyone?
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:11   #13
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Re: Active Captain Preaching?

Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
Way too many companies pursue subtle ways of influencing media outlets, and way too many media outlets have their hands out in various ways so you can influence then to write about your products. Let me be VERY clear that I'm not even suggesting Jeff and Karen are doing this, but unfortunately many people do. The result is that I'm immediately suspicious of anything that I read when the writer has amassed a large, targeted audience with any sort of periodical publication rate. That's exactly what promoters look for.
Jeff actually purchased some Bed-It Tape from me. He left a single note in PayPal just to say he knew me from CF and was the Active Captain guy.

OK cool, thanks, order ships. He paid full price just like everyone else. I never had any communication with him outside of that short note and the transaction.

About a month later I get some orders with folks saying they heard about it in the AC news letter which I had not read.

That is a real situation that happened with me in which Jeff simply plugged a product he liked with nothing at all to do with me and without any input from me, nor any discount or special treatment...

I know that is just one example, but it is real and actually happened, so if he is plugging products I doubt it is because manufacturers are puffing him with free gear etc..

I am quite sure if he did not like my product it could have gone the other way too..
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Old 09-01-2013, 17:32   #14
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Re: Active Captain Preaching?

Wow, I sure hit a nerve with this. Let's all take a deep breath....

I'll repeat again that I don't mean to imply any impropriety or misdeed by AC. I'm not sure how many more different ways I can say this.

I also repeat again that I really like AC, think it's well done, and that Karen and Jeff have made a great contribution to cruising. I'm not sure how many more different ways I can say this either.

It's a fine line between making a suggestion and criticizing. My suggestion clearly came across as criticism, which was not the intention, though any suggestion inherently comes with the implication that something can be better. I think I'm usually pretty good at communicating, but clearly I've failed in this instance.

My goal was to suggest a way to make a good product even better, or more precisely to see if others though my suggestion would be an improvement. I was expecting some combination of "it doesn't bother me at all", "it bothers me a little, but not a lot", or "it bugs me and I wish it would change". Instead I stirred up a lot of hostility over even venturing the question.
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Old 09-01-2013, 18:01   #15
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Re: Active Captain Preaching?

The secret of long life is having a Positive Attitude and Seeing The Glass Half Full.

Never worry about thinks you have no control of.
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