Audiogon and the Hi-Fi Mags

As a longtime reader of both TAS and Stereophile, I do not recall ever having seen any discussion in either of those magazines about Audiogon and its impact on the two-channel audio business.

To me, Audiogon is by far the biggest story in high-end audio in the last ten years. If it is in fact the case that the two main hi-fi rags have never discussed the advent of Audiogon and its impact on the industry even casually, let alone do an article or feature piece on it, that is curious, especially because both magazines have columns devoted to developments in the hi-fi industry and regularly run feature pieces about industry developments. Not to cast aspersions, but I know that many manufacturers and retailers do not like Audiogon and believe it to have a pernicious affect on the industry (it has created a huge market for used components and on-line sales of new products that suppress sales of new products sold through traditional dealer networks / the counter argument is that Audiogon has greatly expanded the high-end hi-fi market generally, creating much greater knowledge of and demand for new products and after-sales service from all sources), so could it be that they have exerted pressure on the magazines to keep quiet about Audiogon? It is also the case that the hi-fi rags get taken to task a lot in Audiogon threads (sometime fairly and sometimes unfairly, in my opinion), so this may be a reason why we don't hear about Audiogon in the magazines. Lastly, are the mags incompetent and have just missed the story? For whatever its worth, I know that Audiogon has advertised in one (perhaps both) of those magazines.

I let my subscriptions to TAS and Stereophile lapse last year, so perhaps they have treated the subject and I have missed it? If the subject has not been treated, does anyone know whether any B-school has done a case study of Audiogon's affect on the industry? If yes, I'd love to see it.

Perhaps Kal and others associated with the magazines have some insight that they would care to share?

Please temper your comments so this thread does not get pulled.
Raquel, your quote:

...I know that many manufacturers and retailers do not like Audiogon and believe it to have a pernicious affect on the industry (it has created a huge market for used components and on-line sales of new products that suppress sales of new products sold through traditional dealer networks...

says it all! The last thing that a business entity (T.A.S & Stereophile and their advertisers) would want to do is give publicity to a direct competitor. And are you one of those rare females who is into the wacky and wonderful world of Auiophilia, or you just an audio guy with an unusual moniker?
The mags have certainly discussed the audio community on the Internet writ large, by which they mainly mean Audio Asylum. I suppose the discussion forums here on Audiogon are minor league, not where the real players hang. It's love-hate, but mostly more hate than love. I'd say the Internet has eroded some of the high priest status the pro reviewers used to enjoy.

As for the marketplace of Audiogon, well, the magazines don't spill a whole lot of ink on the high-end "market" to begin with. And i certainly understand that they have to walk a fine line between what's going on here and the business models of the ecosystem that surrounds their manufacturer and dealer advertisers. I'll cut them slack on that. But Stereophile has a formal business relationship with Audiogon. That's at least a tacit acknowledgement of Audiogon's impact, don't you think?
I imagine the biggest difference between audio asylum and Audiogon as far as stereophile and absolute sound are concerned is that Audioasylum is seen as a place where audiophiles primarily gather to discuss audio related topics and Audiogon- although it serves this purpose too), is perhaps better known as a marketplace. The magazines are a sort marketplace too, So they doubtlessly do not want to point to the overwhelming evidence that people may tire of some of the zillion dollar products they advertise and review in their formats, or that these same products may not hold their value down the line. I imagine it is a tricky balance steophile must achieve in acknowledging their association with audiogon- brilliant really. I am sure they are quite proud as well. Still, it could be seen as a conflict of interest
Hi Raquel, I hope all is well. Whether or not a magazine writes about it, it would be very interesting to learn more about AudiogoN. I'm not sure that they've consciously avoided writing about the goN and if so, we can only speculate as to why that may be.

I'd like to learn more about the prinicipals, Steve and Arnie. Their backgrounds, how they got the idea for this site and how they started it. I'd like to see some stats such as how many how many registered users there are and breakdown by geography. It would be interesting to see
how many unique visitors there are daily, how many ads are posted etc. broken down by day of the week. Why? Just curious as this is my favorite place on the net.

This place may attract a somewhat narrower crowd than on AA; perhaps those with more interest in buying and selling.
How large an influence the commerce end of this site has on the high end marketplace might be overestimated by us denizens but I do suspect it is significant. I think the forums are even more influential as I for one have based buying decisions on info gleamed here whereas I do not recall ever making a purchase decision based on something I read in the mags.

So how about it AudiogoN? Would you be interested in letting us know a little more about yourself? I hope this post is appropriate.
Stereophile and TAS are in the market of selling new equipment. If manufacturers aren't selling equipment, they aren't buying ad space in the mags. Audiogon is a used market, primarily. The manufacturers don't want to see their advertising space live next to an ad for used gear. Until companies come up with "certified used" like a Honda, I believe the two will try to stay separate.
Audiogon should be considered a welcome addition to all but the industry die-hards who would rather preserve their crumbling tower than see the industry grow.

Audiogon being a marketplace primarily for used goods (though that too is changing) is a real benefit. Those who would rather purchase new from brick-and-mortar stores now have a means of getting a better return on their used equipment and thus provide them greater buying power.

And the used equipment allows those of us on more limited budgets to experience this hobby in a way that could have been near impossible prior to Augiogon's existence.

If people are selling gear on Agon, wouldn't it be logical that they are doing so probably because they want to upgrade or at least replace it with other gear? The fact that they would either have to buy new gear or more used gear, possibly from their local dealer or here on Agon, should demonstrate to the "glossy rags" that such sites actually ARE beneficial to the audio industry & dealers in the long run.

The problem is that most dealers are piss-poor when it comes to customer relations, which turns potential customers away from them. This means that the increased turn-over in gear that might allow people to buy newer gear from them is being bypassed by others selling gear on the net simply because they want to avoid the "snob factor" that most "audio salons" bring with them to every transaction.

As such, the dealers with fair price structures and good customer service don't fear Audiogon, it is the shysters that could care less about their customers who are the "sworn enemies of Audiogon".

As to the glossy rags, you can be certain that they feel the heat from all of the internet forums AND the internet based magazines. While most of this has to do with the timeline of available information in print, a lot of it has to do with the ease that one can obtain info on the net, therefore negating the importance of the glossy rags and "guru" reviewers. The fact that many of the "reviewers" that are currently writing for glossy rags aren't worth the paper and ink that they are printed with only compounds the situation. This is not to say that the glossy rags and reviewers don't have their place, as some of them are surely worth the paltry sums that an annual subscription costs.

As far as "heavyweights" hanging out at AA or at Agon, i think that each forum has benefits and drawbacks. Quite honestly, the signal to noise ratio at AA is much, much higher on AA than it is here at Agon. As such, one ends up having to not only post in a different manner, but also take on a completely different mindset when posting there.

To be honest, AA surely has a greater volume of input, but at the same time, i don't think that it has the same "feel" that we can find in the threads here. As one of the founding members of AA, the first person to contribute funding to AA ( other than Rod, the founder of AA ) and someone that has sponsored several different "fund raisers for AA, quite honestly, i feel more comfortable here at Agon than i do over at AA. That's why i tend to post here more than i do there.

If any of you have seen my posts at AA, it's not because i can't stand "toe to toe" with the "heavyweights" over there either, as i've directly debated several different and very well known manufacturers of gear, quite a few EE's and even some of the "hi-fi mag" reviewers being discussed here. In fact, i like heading over to AA just to kick some heavyweight ass once in a while. Doing so keeps me sharper and on my toes for when it really counts, like when i post here at Agon : ) Sean
Stereophile did write about the auction for 9-11, hosted at AudiogoN and promoted by Audio Asylum.

If you go to the Stereophile Market Place you will notice that it is Audiogon.
Fatparrot: "just an audio guy with an unusual moniker". Actually, my wife's name is Raquel. She was standing by the computer at the moment I needed to come up with a user name.

Kleech: Hi Ken. Same to you!

Thanks to all those who have responded.
From a purely personal observation i can say that Audiogon has dramatically increased my interest and knowledge in audio . I have bought and sold much on this site but also with the retail outlets as well . My enthusiasm has spread to my friends and subsuquently have initiated many to pick up the " bug " and get rolling as well. I find that as my audio thirst for information has grown { in no small part due to surfing archives into the wee hours of the nite learning extensively from more intelligent and thought provoking members such as the above Sean , Stehno , Fatparrot ect ect ect } , I have too become someone that others in my small community turn to for help in understanding and creating excitement in audio. There is no question that competition is good for everyone as the lackluster retail market has to shore up its collective game and stay competetive . When was the last time you drove many hours to an audio store full of excitement and wonder just to fine some slick salesman judging you by the color of your skin or clothes you wear giving you all the more reason to sink back into your comfortable , safe computer world of Audiogon. We as a community need to make sure the retail outlets survive however because without them , this all collapses for the most part as i do not feel the manufacturers could survive with direct internet audio sales alone. Dont get me wrong , there are great stores with great salespeople willing to help and educate us like Ivan at the fabulous Audio Advice in Raleigh NC. There are also many who do not share their enthusiasm . I have met many dealers and company owners on this site and feel their participation is invaluable in connecting directly with us because although print ads are fun , its impersonal . Kudos to Larry , Dan , Barry and the host of others that make the effort . Its all too easy to lose contact with the people who generate interest in all of us and move on to something else and forget about audio as there is more and more in this world competing for our limited free time in a day. Its up to every one of us to carry the torch and share with each other as well as newcommers the joy of audio. We as a fowerful community can and should do everything to keep this organic field alive and healthy. I personally shudder at the thought of high ends audio becoming a dinosaur. I have an mp3 . I also have Nearfield Pipedream 21s. They coexist just fine thank you.
Well, my thoughts are much like many of the others here. I've been heavily into high end for close to 30 years. In that time I've subscribed and let lapse my subscriptions to TAS, Stereophile, Fi (remember them?), Audio, What HiFi?, and others more than once. I also have had oppotunities to meet many of the manufacturers and audio writers at CES and Stereophile shows. I may be a new member to Agon, but in the very short time I've been here it has rekindled my love of music reproduction like none of those other things. I think a huge part of it is the interactive nature of this site and others like AA. I'd gotten very disillusioned with the audio press over the years, and really did not (and do not) consider them a reliable source of info (with a few exceptions). There is some truth to that here as well, but in general I find sites like this to be more fulfilling, becuase things are discussed here that are rarely (if ever) discussed in the rags, and if you want to tear apart a topic you can do it in a place like this. In that regard I don't think the mags (in general) are geared to making people like us happy. They tend to pontificate about one thing or another, but seem slightly disconnected from the sort of people I find here and on AA.
I think it is pretty amazing that Stereophile collaborated with Audiogon to link Agon's ads to their site. I can't say I understand why Stereophile did it - you would think they would get tremendous backlash from their advertisers, manufacturers and dealers alike.

John Atkinson surprises me in a positive sense at times, and this is one example. I think he is too often accused of dirty handwashing with the manufacturers, when he has more integrity than he is given credit for. This is not to say I always agree with his opinions, but I think he speaks out of genuine belief. Perhaps others will say I am naive.....

In any event, Audiogon has taught me more than the magazines have, and provided me with great opportunities to own, try and sell equipment that I would never have done otherwise. Kudos to Arnie et al. for this site.
Some further thoughts... While I could bitch about the quality & honesty of some reviewers in the magazines, and whether untoward handwashing is going on, the mags do provide useful information about what is happening in the world of audio, i.e. DSD, SACD, etc., etc. Yes, much of this is discussed on A'gon, but it is best to have a primer to the developments, as it makes it much easier to then comprehend and follow what people are saying on sites like this and AA. The news and reporting on Stereophile contains a lot of useful information and definitely keeps one abreast of what is going on. Let's give Stereophile credit for this.
I have two suspicions to the reason the magazines haven't done a story on AudiogoN's influence. 1) AudiogoN didn't happen "overnight", it has steadily grown to the position they have now, so it wasn't something that landed on the seen and transformed things in a month or two. (Kind of like the frog in boiling water.) 2) AudiogoN, and the like, does steal some of their thunder.

I wasn't subscribed to TAS or S-phile before A-goN, now I am.

I asked a magazine reviewer about why those in his field post more in AA than A-goN, I looked for his exact reply but I couldn't find it; in short, the way I interpreted his reply was that A-goN has many that do a great job answering posts already.

I go to AA occasionally, but I dislike the layout big time! Furthermore, many posts turn into (endless) arguments.
Audiogon has made me buy more new audio equipment than Stereophile ever did. 
If it wasn't for stumbling upon this site years ago while looking for a vintage Pioneer receiver, McIntosh, REL, Totem, Dynaudio, Magnepan, Musical Fidelity, and a few others would not have had a new customer. 

While I don't necessarily distrust reviews in Stereophile or other magazines, A'gon usually gives me an owner's viewpoint, unbiased, personal - living with a piece of gear is quite different from being loaned it for review. 

Almost everything I've bought used from other members here eventually steered me to purchase a new model from a B&M. Buying reputable products used from a reputable site is a good way for me to explore different brands without the higher financial considerations in buying new. I have had zero problems here with my sales and purchases from and to other members since signing on. 

I do read Stereophile from time to time simply because I like to read in general.  In my business and this business reviewers and magazines are always questioned and should be - it's only natural.  
Like those mags don't really care if they talk about Audiogon.
I get my information online these days--no newspapers or mags for many years.  Audiogon and online reviews give me all I need for support and education in the field of audio equipment.