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Old 04-05-2014, 21:02   #31
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

It really does come down to a very subjective Buyer beware decision.

Some builders will favor stylistic Form over Function... Others will complicate engineering by marketing unnecessary back ups at the cost of maintenance access.

Every yacht is a sausage....you squeeze at one end, something is lost at the other.
The Buyer is the only one with a vested interest that needs to be aware.

The builder or broker will market those choices as the best.
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Old 04-05-2014, 21:06   #32
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

Just follow the money. Sailing magazines money comes from their advertisers. Write an article which criticizes one of their advertisers products and you might just lose that advertising revenue.

You don't bite the hand that feeds you.
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Old 04-05-2014, 21:11   #33
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

As the saying goes:

If you don't have to pay for something, you are no longer the client.

You're the product.
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Old 04-05-2014, 21:13   #34
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

The problem with not biting the hand that feeds: if in doing that, you bite the bum of the 'end user' of your services, it's not a compelling proposition in the long term.

And I guess that's how cycles work: they're never in balance at any given moment, they're always either drifting away from, or towards the sweet spot, but never staying there.
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Old 04-05-2014, 22:37   #35
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

This is true for all boats, all boating magazines and all web sites that review boats I'm aware of. For two very simple reasons. First, they all depend on advertising and every boat builder is a potential advertiser. Second, they depend on cooperation from the builder to get the boat to review to start with.
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Old 05-05-2014, 00:02   #36
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

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This is true for all boats, all boating magazines and all web sites that review boats I'm aware of. For two very simple reasons. First, they all depend on advertising and every boat builder is a potential advertiser. Second, they depend on cooperation from the builder to get the boat to review to start with.
The thing is, those reasons have always been true, but the magazines were not always craven and compliant.

(And, as has been pointed out, in some parts of the world, some are STILL relatively objective)

I had high hopes for Practical Sailor, with their subscription model, and freedom from advertising and infomercials. However my first purchase from them was deeply disappointing, because the way they described it was quite disconnected from what they supplied - exactly the "marketers" behaviour we are relying on them to expose and denounce.

What's more, quite a lot of it was clearly lifted from the self-descriptions (possibly from the brochures) of the sailmakers they were purporting to assess in a dispassionate way. Chunks of it were indistinguishable from an informercial.

Practical Sailor could not have been less interested in my disappointment or my considered and respectful feedback, and yet they have spammed me ceaselessly ever since, in the sort of tones normally reserved for people whom you expect will hold you in the highest esteem.

I don't necessarily expect them to agree with me, but to treat a new customer with frank disdain does not bode well for the culture of the publication, and was enough to put me completely off their services.


Which is a shame: it seemed like a great idea, and there's a huge gap in the "Be Aware" content on the sailing media, as this thread seems to illustrate.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:20   #37
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

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What's more, quite a lot of it was clearly lifted from the self-descriptions (possibly from the brochures) of the sailmakers they were purporting to assess in a dispassionate way. Chunks of it were indistinguishable from an informercial.
Well, I'm not familiar with the specific magazine but in general there are two types of articles. First, there are formal boat reviews based on actually getting out on a boat for a few hours. Here they're dealing with a new or like new boat. Everything is checked out before they get the trial. And as most boats built today are varying degrees of good, not any truly bad, the review is certain to be positive. Then there are the discussions of products and this sounds like what you're talking about on the sailmakers. They're simply talking about products on the market. They haven't tested them. And, yes, they've gotten the attributes of each product directly from the manufacturer. In fact they've spent a surprisingly little amount of time on the article.

There is truly no resource in boating with extensive personal reviews based on experiences of owners. Wish the products sometimes were sold on sites like Amazon or Best Buy with actual product reviews by purchasers. The nearest you can come is a forum like this one where there are sections assigned to some builders, where you can search and find many other things discussed, and, best of all, where you can ask your question and get responses from actual users. Where actual users are better than any reviewer is you get a mixture of people. The best reviewer has his personal preferences.

Most industry magazines are cheerleaders for the industry, almost shills at times. Clearly they want to promote the industry they write about. But then I never agree with movie critics and seldom with the Academy Awards. I'm still upset Monsters Inc. getting get a best picture nomination in 2001. I enjoyed it more than any of the five nominees.
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:42   #38
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

Okay I think we have firmly established that most magazines have prostituted their objectivity on the alter of profitability.

What is the logical move?

This forum is a bully pulpit that designers, boat builders and editors read. It would be a sin not to use it!

What say ye????
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:56   #39
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

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Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
The problem with not biting the hand that feeds: if in doing that, you bite the bum of the 'end user' of your services, it's not a compelling proposition in the long term. ...
You'd like to think so but what we've ended up with is a group of boat owners who will argue to the death that their boat is just as good as ... if only for the resale value aspect. Never gonna see the ad stating, "Bought this POS for all the space and doodads but it's really only good for daysailing."

Along comes the noob on CF who lurks for awhile, reads the various arguments/threads and all the sailing mags and thinks that the newer sexy X boat is thought by many to be just as good as ... AND will make the wifey happier than the battleship, AND they can get financing on the sexy one, et voila, presenting the newer kind of sailor the salesman would prefer to see: the inexperienced sailor who doesn't know bulkhead tabbing from Gorilla Glue.

Caveat emptor is just as much a sure thing as gravity.
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:10   #40
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

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Originally Posted by Snore View Post
Okay I think we have firmly established that most magazines have prostituted their objectivity on the alter of profitability.

What is the logical move?

This forum is a bully pulpit that designers, boat builders and editors read. It would be a sin not to use it!

What say ye????
I doubt the magazine owners are reading this digital hot air, but since you ask... With regard to boating market publications:

#1. Stop pretending to do unbiased reviews, especially of new boats*. Unless your business model does not use advertising revenue from boat sellers, just don't do it. Instead, stop the facade and simply publish clearly identified advertorials.
*I think Good Old Boat is an exception b/c their targets are all (by definition) well used boats. It is the only magazine I subscribe to now.

#2. Quality matters. It is the foundation of long-term sustainable readership. Therefore, support the production of good stories. Good research, writing, photography and journalism costs money. Freelancers produce most of the articles that appear in publications, both online and on dead trees. Pay freelancers well (Bias alert: I'm a freelancer ).

#3. Foster an environment of service to the readers, not selling for the advertisers. This means supporting your journalists to ask the tough questions about poor construction techniques, unsafe designs and substandard materials. This can be tough, b/c you'll be biting a hand that feeds you, but you'll generate stronger readership. In the end advertisers want eyeballs. The money will follow.

#4. To the readers: Be prepared to pay more of the actual price. Publications typically generate 90% of their revenue from advertisers, and 10% from readers. Guess who calls the shots? You want a publication that serves the readers' needs? Then readers need to pay for it.**
**This is why I supported Practical Sailor for many years. They lost me when they started abusing me with incessant and unstopabble spam.
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:47   #41
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
I doubt the magazine owners are reading this digital hot air, but since you ask... With regard to boating market publications:

#1. Stop pretending to do unbiased reviews, especially of new boats*. Unless your business model does not use advertising revenue from boat sellers, just don't do it. Instead, stop the facade and simply publish clearly identified advertorials.
*I think Good Old Boat is an exception b/c their targets are all (by definition) well used boats. It is the only magazine I subscribe to now.

#2. Quality matters. It is the foundation of long-term sustainable readership. Therefore, support the production of good stories. Good research, writing, photography and journalism costs money. Freelancers produce most of the articles that appear in publications, both online and on dead trees. Pay freelancers well (Bias alert: I'm a freelancer ).

#3. Foster an environment of service to the readers, not selling for the advertisers. This means supporting your journalists to ask the tough questions about poor construction techniques, unsafe designs and substandard materials. This can be tough, b/c you'll be biting a hand that feeds you, but you'll generate stronger readership. In the end advertisers want eyeballs. The money will follow.

#4. To the readers: Be prepared to pay more of the actual price. Publications typically generate 90% of their revenue from advertisers, and 10% from readers. Guess who calls the shots? You want a publication that serves the readers' needs? Then readers need to pay for it.**
**This is why I supported Practical Sailor for many years. They lost me when they started abusing me with incessant and unstopabble spam.
1. But aren't most new boats good? In their own way. Good for their targeted audience? Not as perfect as reviewers make them out to be, but few bad boats.

2. Actually the quality of many of the reviews is good. They're very informative. They just simply don't go into who that boat isn't appropriate for. Even if they just had a brief Pros and Cons section. If you're looking for X then this is the right boat for you. If you're looking for Y then this isn't.

3. I would love to stop junk mail from the Post Office. But see, I thought of myself as a customer of the post office. As the recipient of the mail, I'm not. The mailer is. Makes sense I guess, the one who pays for the mailing. So, we have no control over all the junk we receive. The reader isn't the one who pays for these magazines. At most the reader pays for their distribution, but not the content and printing. Now the subscriber number is what determines what the advertiser pays. On the web it's even worse to an extent. Would you pay for a good boating site with tougher reviews? $10 per month? $7? The answer has been clear that readers will not pay for web content in general. Wish I knew a better answer.

Now what I just said is the way I think almost all publishers think. Yet, on a personal basis and only at a local level we've found in publishing a small magazine, we can be critical and maintain advertisers. Not all of them. But then do we really want the bad companies advertising in our magazine? I don't think so. I think in my ideal world as a publisher I want advertisers who are reputable and decent. Were it boats, I can name one large builder I really wouldn't want advertising as their reputation and the law suits against them show them not to be the type company I want there. There is another that is right now begging for advertising deals with online publishers. Well, they make a habit of stiffing brokers and the company is for sale and probably can't survive without a sale. Maybe the bold and even right answer is to be very honest and if it loses you the bad advertisers, has it really hurt you. Now the weakness is that you'd no longer have any of their boats to review.

4. The reader will not do that. Not in the volume necessary. There are only two magazines where that is true and one of them has changed drastically over the years versus the time they had no advertising.

There is one other option on reviews were an online publisher to be so bold. Publish the reviews just as they are, but allow reader comments. They would probably have to be censored to avoid crazy attacks and get legitimate valid criticism. Or just a review site, all readers. There are many educated boaters today who could write good reviews from their experiences. The nearest I know to this model is Apartment Ratings.
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:15   #42
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

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1. But aren't most new boats good? In their own way. Good for their targeted audience? Not as perfect as reviewers make them out to be, but few bad boats.

2. Actually the quality of many of the reviews is good. They're very informative. They just simply don't go into who that boat isn't appropriate for. Even if they just had a brief Pros and Cons section. If you're looking for X then this is the right boat for you. If you're looking for Y then this isn't.
I don't disagree B (or is this Ms. B?), but there is bias, or the perception of bias (which is essentially the same thing), in all ad-supported publication reviews. I'm not in a position to say whether most new boats are good for their target audience. I'd assume most are, but I can't say b/c I'll never be able to afford one . And I'm not saying reviews in the glossies can't be informative. Good advertising can be very informative as well. The point is, they are not unbiased. So why not just get rid of the pretext, and stamp them as advertorials. Then the bias is clear and up front. The reader can better assess the information (which might still be very informative), and better still, you might be able to squeeze more ad revenue out of the advertisers

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... On the web it's even worse to an extent. Would you pay for a good boating site with tougher reviews? $10 per month? $7? The answer has been clear that readers will not pay for web content in general. Wish I knew a better answer.
Yes ... we've trained a whole generation of readers into believing content is free. People steal articles, music, videos and whole books and justify their sense of entitlement with the lamest of excuses. But sadly, it is the reality. I wish I had a good answer. I suppose the market will prevail eventually. Writers and publishers will be driven out of the business, yet demand remains, so at some point people will realize they need to pay for this stuff (or it will just disappear).

Quote:
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Now what I just said is the way I think almost all publishers think. Yet, on a personal basis and only at a local level we've found in publishing a small magazine, we can be critical and maintain advertisers. Not all of them. But then do we really want the bad companies advertising in our magazine? I don't think so. I think in my ideal world as a publisher I want advertisers who are reputable and decent.
I wish all publishers were as willing to do the same. I think this is part of the cultural change; the corporatization of publishing. Back in the golden years (60s to late 80s) it was recognized that newspapers, magazines and even TV was there not purely to entertain and to make $$$, but also to be service to the readers or views. Today, with media ownership concentration and the incessant demand for short-term profits, service is now a very low priority.
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:57   #43
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

I think the internet has made sailing magazines to a large extent obsolete.

The detailed information available on forums like this on any particular topic far outstrips what is available in the magazines. We have some members on CF that earn income writing for magazines. Their posts on CF are more interesting and detailed than anything that they subsequently author in the sailing magazines.

Ironically the major use of sailing magazines for me has become the advertisements. Manufacturers will sometimes advertise products before they released, or at least before there are user reports appearing on the Internet.

The only advantage of magazines is that they can be downloaded and subsequently read when out of internet range.

Product reviews have unfortunately become very superficial. For example why don't the magazines even measure the electrical consumption of competing marine electrical products? Such basic, independent, information is so often absent, but it would be easy to measure.
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Old 05-05-2014, 11:17   #44
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

I won't disagree with the possible change in magazine presentation over the years, but it can't be a surprise. Selling "snake oil" has been around as long as money.
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Old 05-05-2014, 11:25   #45
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

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I wish all publishers were as willing to do the same. I think this is part of the cultural change; the corporatization of publishing. Back in the golden years (60s to late 80s) it was recognized that newspapers, magazines and even TV was there not purely to entertain and to make $$$, but also to be service to the readers or views. Today, with media ownership concentration and the incessant demand for short-term profits, service is now a very low priority.
It's easy when you're small like me. I don't have billions of investment dollars depending on ad revenues nor do I have a board or shareholders to answer to. Watch ESPN and the tightrope they have to try to walk. Think they're going to go against the NFL, NBA, or MLB? Some of their reporters might occasionally. The conflict of interest led to them adding a position to try to help insure objectivity but I can't see that it's changed. Then you have NFL Network and NBA Network. A bit subjective you think? Advertisers impact television show content all the time. Cross the line a step too far and you risk losing an advertiser.

Oh and before thinking of movies as paid for by the movie goer. Don't forget placement there. Starting with the success of Reese's Pieces, that world changed forever. It's never an accident today whether the star drinks Coke or Pepsi or drives Ford or Chevy.
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