I am not yet a user of the Audiogon marketplace but one thing I can say for those who are...
It seems to me a partnership with Stereophile may have a chilling effect on the open exchanges and critiques proferred by Audiogon members, especially if comments relate negatively on Stereophile or its sister publications. Who will moderate the Audiogon forums? And henceforth, can the monitors ever be considered totally independent? I can only liken this to a situation in Los Angeles in which a certain television station on the WB Network airs promotional spots disguised as news stories during its newscasts (this is a practice shared by all network owned TV stations, not just the WB). Independence is important for editorial freedom. While I realize the benefits to Audiogon members of a potentially wider pool of buyers and sellers, the side effects of a partnership with Stereophile raise concerns.
As both a long term subscriber to Stereophile and one of their most vocal critics, i don't see a problem with the alliance they've made with Agon. While Agon has practiced "censorship" via moderaters on their forums, this was done prior to any alliance with Stereophile. On top of that, i just posted a thread that many find to be controversial with Stereophile directly mentioned in it. As such, i'm hoping / thinking that things won't change here much, but i guess that we'll have to wait and see.
Other than that, i'd like to say "CONGRATULATIONS" to Arnie and crew. They've worked hard to achieve the success that they have. Audiogon is recognized world-wide as the place to buy / sell audio gear on the net. Given that AudioReview, AudioShopper and AudioWeb were all in existence prior to Agon getting started, it only goes to show that it is not when you show up, but how much effort you put forth once you're there !!! Obviously, Arnie and crew know what they are doing. Not only are the customers happy, so are the dealers who would normally be thought as "competition" for Agon. I guess one can build alliances that are beneficial for all involved when you know how to run a business : ) Sean
Sadly, I find maybe three or four pages worth reading per issue. (There have been a few in the past year that have been completely worthless). On the otherhand, I have called some of the "back pages" advertisers and found many helpful. All in all, the Stereophile from years ago was much better and I would feel uneasy if the new Stereophile has any say in Audiogon.
I have mixed feelings about this partnership; on the one hand it certainly validates AudioGon and the fine community attracted to this site, but I do not trust Stereophile. Too much bs and corruption tied to the magazines, and Stereophile leads the pack in that regard. If the relationship is purely arms length to provide the loyal Stereophile customers somewhere to link to then I'm all for it. If John Atkinson and his henchmen get "involved" with AudioGon we'll need to find another site to frequent. Here's hoping my paranoia is unjustified. Jeff