January 14th, 2002

By James Castwell

The other day one of the guys on our Bulletin Board asked a simple question regarding the "Product Review" section. Within a few hours the excrement was in the agitator. It seems there are many ways to do one, and the suggestions rolled in, and in and in. For days.

I suppose I may be wrong, maybe I should not be calling them 'Product Reviews.' I am not sure what the right name might be, but, I guess many are all upset with the name as it is. It seems that by that name most expect and are dismayed that on any given article 'reviewed' that a comparison test against a certain and accepted number of the same things in and about the same size, price, quality, color, taste, smell, length, weight and anything else they can think of, is not included. That would be nice. I think 'Consumers Report' does things like that, me and my doxie have better things to do with our time, like throw balls and go fishing.

I believe I have heard of some guys on the web who do reports like that for pay. Sometimes the stuff gets written up in magazines and stuck on a web-site too, package deal. All kinds of comparisons are done and usually a fine job of it. Let's say they are 'objective,' no emotion, just the facts Mam, just the facts.

When we do one on here it is more 'subjective.' That is, we get carried away, like we were playing 'show-and-tell' and you were right here with us. If we like something we say so in as many ways as possible. The intent is more of a 'tip-off' of some neat thing we have found in our travels and want to share with you guys. We do not make it known that we will accept unsolicited goods, and for the most part we do not. We are in contact with nearly all of the major and minor manufacturers on a rather regular basis. Often we are given the opportunity to 'launch' a new product even before the 'reps' get to see it. These guys know the power of the web and use us when they can.

This gives them a nice place to announce a new product and you get to see it here first. We like it that way. If the thing looks good, seems to work as advertised, and we like it, we write about it. If not, we get back to the manufacturer and offer any ideas we may have come up with.

Here is an example. We came across a fly rod and thought they may be good enough to be a sponsor on here. I called them and explained how it works and requested they ship me a rod to at least cast, not go fish with and see how much it took to blow it up, just to get a realistic idea of. They sent it and I cast it here. It performed well, in fact, very well, but I was not too happy with the reel seat. We had another sponsor who makes reel seats. Duh! We put them together and now both are very happy.

Did we get paid for this? Of course not, not what we do. Do both of these guys think we did the right thing? Yup, and so do we. Have we done a 'Product Review' on either of these? Yes, one was done three years ago by one of the guys who writes for us. The other? Someday they may become a sponsor, either way I will do a 'Product Review' on the rod.

How much money is involved in the above? Well, I have several long distance phone calls, a few hours of time, several pictures taken with my digital camera and about $60 to ship the rod back. What do I get out of it? I get to bring the information to you for free. Enjoy.

Right or wrong, that is how we do things and I hope that not too many are offended by our methods. They are simply to bring you information on stuff. Maybe a bit like when you go into a fly shop. You may ask about which rod the guy likes best, or what is new and he gives you his opinion. Not a full 'Comparative Analysis,' just his opinion. For what it's worth, I guess that's all we give you too, just an opinion. An honest opinion. ~ James Castwell
Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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