Al Campbell, Field Editor

October 1st, 2001

Because Al Said So
By Al Campbell

"Because Al said so." That's the way a thread on another bulletin board started about a month ago. Seems the person posting the message had just finished reading my review on Mustad hooks (see product reviews here on FAOL). It started a string of comments both pro (most of them) and con (one comment) about the quality of Mustad hooks.

The point here is that a reader decided his own experiences with these good hooks was accurate because he read a review here, written by someone he trusts to tell the truth. The bigger point is that the review he read was several years old and still available to him and anyone else to read. FAOL doesn't remove old product reviews even if that company no longer supports FAOL financially or even if they never supported this fine magazine with a single sponsor's dollar.

Think about that point for a while. Can you imagine any other place a manufacturer, distributor or retailer can get more mileage out of a product review? Does any printed magazine put the same product reviews in every issue they print? Does any other magazine have a broader audience of readers? I don't think so.

I have a few more examples to discuss. As far as I know, Robert Venerri has never advertised his beautiful reel seats here on FAOL. I don't think he has ever been a sponsor here. Yet, a product review of his reel seats has been up for the world to read for several years. Another example is BT's Fly Fishing Products. As far as I know, Al Beatty has never advertised here or been a sponsor here, but there's a recent review of several of his products in the product review section anyway. There are several more. Honesty should never have a price tag attached to it.

I'm not saying a product review is better than sponsorship here. I don't think that at all. In fact, I believe a sponsorship here is some of the best advertising a company can do. They get a lot of mileage for their money here that they won't get elsewhere. I also know some people search for sponsors to do business with because those sponsors are the people who keep this magazine on the air for everyone to read.

The internet has become a giant source of information that is sometimes hard to search out because there's so much information out there to sift through. However, here on FAOL there is a place where products get honest reviews and those reviews remain for years, constantly available for anyone to read. That sure beats a small paragraph in some monthly or bi-monthly magazine that'll be available for one or two months, then lost for all time unless another product is sent to another writer for a review. (I also know that some magazines won't do a review without a paid ad for the same product or company somewhere in that issue or the next.)

I know this all sounds self-serving, but that isn't my focus or point. I'm merely trying to point out how much impact a product review (or even sponsorship) can have on your business. Sometimes that impact is days, months or years down the road, but that's a possibility here, unlike many other places. FAOL is unique in the type of impact it has on the fly-fishing community.

So, if you're looking for information about a product, check the product reviews here to see if it has been reviewed. Your search may be complete with a click of a mouse. If you're looking for a way to increase the exposure of a product you make or sell, consider the mileage a review in the pages of FAOL can provide for your product. Who knows; in a couple of years there might be a thread on another bulletin board saying your product is just what the reader needs, "because Al (or JC or Ladyfisher or someone else) said so." ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns
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