This has brought up any number of times here on Audiogon, and I've always been for full disclosure. So, I'm with you.
Most of the problems here are seen when dealers push a product when someone asks for advice or a recommendation without mentioning that they're a dealer. I'm all for enthusiasm, and am even OK with someone who represents a product speaking about it, so long as that's not the extent of their participation in these threads.
Beyond that, my opinion remains the same, and I will keep on saying that I believe there should be some flag next to one's moniker that indicates something like manufacturer/distributor, dealer, reviewer, audiophile. Along those lines, clicking on that link will bring you to an information page where you see what, if any, affiliations one has.
As for me, I was an audiophile, became a distributor in 2006, went back to being an audiophile in late 2008, and am about to reenter the dark side as I become a manufacturer.
Ah...this is funny.
Long time coming.
No questions, absolutely agree.
Let the disclosure start right now.
I always figured my moniker said it all. That's why I chose it.
I am a dealer, and enjoy commenting about products I sell because they are the products I believe in. If I don't believe in it, I will not sell it.
I also try to lend knowledge I have gained when possible, even if it is regarding a product I don't sell. Much of what I have learned in the high end was from friends, or people just giving advice without expectation. Before I became a dealer I enjoyed frequenting a shop while in college that let me listen for hours on end to systems they knew I could not afford at the time. This was very helpful in my development as an audiophile and I have chosen many of the lines I represent based on my experienced there.
It is all about people helping people dealer or not, and anyone who thinks they know it all is simply limiting themselves long term.
My lines are as follows for the information of the group:
Arcici, ASC tube traps, Bel Canto, Black Diamond Racing, Dynaudio, Furutech,L'art du son, Marantz, MIT cables, Muse, Oppo digital, Plinius, PS Audio, Stillpoints, Thiel Audio, Vibrapods and a few others.
If I can help anyone feel free to contact me for product or friendly advice.
This has been discussed many, many times, and it seems to me the majority are in agreement that there should be disclosure, and that the disclosure should be a default setting in one's Audiogon moniker.
Several solutions have been offered over the years.
Frankly, I can't understand why nothing has been done by Audiogon to move this forward.
I suggest a letter code next to your moniker, ala AudioAsylum -
1) M for manufacturer
2) D for dealer
3) R for reviewer
4) C for commercial user
5) A for consumers, AND
6) S for sockpuppet.
Fat chance. :-)
I like the flag idea. Although my moniker indicates a business, it doesn't tell what lines. A flag with a link is a terrific idea as it would illuminate all sorts of users, not just dealers.
My commercial affliation went south around 92,It was great while it lasted.Now I am a humble mission man wandering this oasis and taking notes for the next coming.Dont ask of what ,cheers,usblues.
I agree completely that all affiliations should be disclosed. Always. Just because you've mentioned once that you work for Company X, someone reading a post a month or a year later might not know that and think that you are offering legitimate advice when you are actually just shilling for your own thing. If you read these forums a lot -- as I sometimes do do -- you learn that certain folks manage to move any discussion of anything toward their own product. The original post could be a question about favored brands of coffee, and an answer will recommend Company X's Model 23 frunabulator. Most of us just shake our heads -- "There you go again" -- and move on. But it would be best if it simply weren't happening. I have no problem with an enthusiastic dealer or distributer weighing in with some information -- it might prove invaluable -- as long as he says how he happens to have come by his knowledge. Most of you folks are great. The rest of you know who you are -- as do lots of us who read your postings.
Although my moniker indicates a business, it doesn't tell what lines.
Rloggie (System | Threads | Answers)
How does your moniker, "Rloggie" indicate a business?
I completely and vehemently disagree. I find this site quite entertaining, and part of that entertainment is guessing at who is who and what is what. It's all opinions anyway, I really don't care if the manufacturers, distributors and retailers are pimping their goods. How quickly we forget the DK Designs saga where this site became a marketing arm of a company. No doubt, we all learned from that one, as did the owners of this site. But no, we all toil in anonimity; leave it that way. BTW, I am simply a hobbyist, not a manufacturer, not a distributor, not a retailer, and certainly not an audiophile.
Where can I get a Model 23 frunabulator and what ic's do you recommend??
Full disclosure should be mandatory
When I changed my account here to a commercial user Audiogon changed my name in the ads to my business name, "Loggie Audio". I thought they would have changed my posting name as well but see now that they did not. I'll ask about it tomorrow. Thanks for pointing it out.
The heart of the matter is . . . how does one deal with conflicts of interest?
While I do have a pretty significant financial ties to the AV industry, I wish to participate on Audiogon as an individual, NOT as a representative of a company. Which in my book means that I simply do not comment, in any way, on products or services that would affect my financial interests. One of the reasons I like Audiogon is that there's not much overlap, so it's pretty easy.
In the end . . . a forum is simply a place for people to exchange comments - you must ALWAYS carefully consider the source. An Audiogon equivalent of "all insider-stock-traders must register with the SEC" of course won't make any difference . . .
Where is the the A'gon Police Chief "Audiofeil," when you need him most? This is right up his alley!
Oh yeah, I agree on disclosing too.
I will agree that what sometimes seems to be excessive praise of a certain products may cause suspicions about the motives and identity of the reviewer, but I am curious to know what the members contributing to this thread think about member reviews which contain even mild negative comments being dumped by the moderators because the product under review is being produced or marketed by an Audiogon advertiser.
It is mandatory that any such "affiliation" be disclosed at www.positive-feedback.com. And, in fact, they are on the website.
I know of a few reviewers that are "interested" in the business, but they don't ever review products that they have such an interest in.
Agree re: disclosure.
But an interesting point one observes over time is that the emotional investment even owners have in their own favorite equipment creates some fairly foaming-at-the-mouth biases. Dealers, having heard more gear than many of the rest of us have, can be very fun and helpful people...more so than some of us hobbyists...as long as everyone's clear about the commercial interests.
Well...with all the buying and selling non-affiliated "consumers" do on this forum...who's to say that they aren't "shilling" whatever gear they have stacked up in their closets?
For myself, I could imagine what it would be like if I posted somewhere in a thread..."You know...that Electrocompaniet ECI-3 I have...well...I think it sucks".
Then, If I ever get around to wanting to sell it...what would I put in my ad? "Wonderful Tube-like Sound" and all the other superlatives? Should I state that I'm selling only to "upgrade"? Or should I just say that I'm selling it because I think it sucks? After all, the potential buyer would have already researched the threads and noticed that sometime...long ago in the past...that I said something (gasp) negative about it.
BTW...I don't think it sucks. In fact it's the best used integrated amp hands down for the money. It conveys a sense of air like no other. The widest deepest soundstage I have ever heard at it's pricepoint. It has the best qualities of solid state and tubes and none of the bad qualities. The ECI-3 doesn't just lift "veils"...it lifts the lead curtains that are infront of every other amplifier made on the face o the earth from the beginning of time. In fact, it's soooooo good...and such a giant killer...that I think I'll list it for sale.
And now, when people do searches for an Electrocompaniet ECI-3, they'll find this thread and think it's the best amp ever...because I said so.
Everybody has some affiliation or affinity. We all have preferences and opinions. Most of us don't know what we're talking about. Only a fool would buy expensive equipment on the basis of recommendations from total strangers on a chatroom forum. Few people are able to differentiate between what they've read or heard and that which they actually know to be true. Given all of this, why concern yourself with the motives behind any particular blog entry?
If you want someone's opinion contact them directly and ask for it.
You feel you need to be concerned about the quality of info from some people because they have ulterior motives and the rest because they are poorly informed and just plain wrong.
This topic is based on a faulty premise. There is no value in any online advice.
This is a great question and not so easy to answer. I am a hobbyist first, I developed some cables and then posted it as a DIY review. After a lot of people asking me to build these, despite the fact I gave the complete formula in the review, I became a manufacturer of Jade Audio cables. Prior to becoming a manufacturer I was very active on Audiogon writing reviews, extensive threads on my latest experiments, and often felt I had something to add.
When I started manufacturing, I for the most part quit posting, for fear of being blamed of trying to slant a discussion, even when the discussion has nothing to do with my products. I know I took it to an extreme, but I do out of my great distaste for those who are very suspiciously having their products pop up in discussions. I do not imagine it is very hard for one guy to have many monikers assuming they have different email addresses, and if they want, use friends mailing addresses. This could be why some threads seem to never end, yet only ten or fifteen people do the talking, for years! Hmmmm.
Anyway, the problem with my approach is I believe the Audiogon community suffers by my lack of participation. Im not saying I am all that, but I do have some good sound experience that I enjoyed sharing. Would an identifying mark make me post again? Im not sure, I still would not like my reputation hurt by people feeling I had an addenda, so it still requires me to choose the appropriate thread to enter.
The flip side of this is my experiences developing cables, or others experience in the business could add great credibility to their thoughts, but only if those people are not hiding an addenda. I guess it then comes down to people judging if this person is offering their experience or their product. At least with some identifier people can make a proper judgment, where now they are clueless. This could not be a bad thing.
This does not solve the real problem posters however. Those who are not identifying who they actually are, or those who have multiple identities. It also does not identify those who might have some side deal, or receive some benefit for pimping a product. Are these associated people, or is this just life? Again it comes down to people using logic to determine if the amount of discussion matches the reality.
In the end, I am fully supportive of using an identifier to help us know who is who. I think I would feel better about re-joining the forums, something I dearly miss. For me it will still be a difficult ethical question, but at least I could not be called out for hiding my association.
Jade Audio, LLC
With regard to the conflict of interest: in my own case, I simply respond to questions that I actually know the answer to. I try to avoid directly recommending our gear, though I am often tempted. It just seems to me that if you go for that bait that it will catch up with you sooner or later. The sockpuppets seem to loose credibility... and also seem rather obvious.
We miss you, jd. Please come back.
PS - Get well soon.
you're a genius. if i stated what you stated, i would be villified. instead, you have been ignored. you are a breath of fresh air and sanity. thank you for your wisdom.
i would like to add that an incognito dealer does not gain from touting a product. he/she won't gain a sale because his/her idendity is hidden. hence it doesn't matter whether an audio professional reveals his/her affiliation.
all recommendations should be confirmed. let your ears decide, not someone else's mouth.
I reject the notion of dismissing opinions.
Enough positive or negative opinions about a given component can provide a good indication that the item should be investigated further or dismissed, especially if the opinion(s) is from someone whose preferences coincide with your own.
This is independent of dealers or manufacturers who have reason to financially benefit by recommending equipment they sell or build, which as far as I can tell is the original premise of this thread.
an intelligent person will not rely on the opinions of strangers. regardless of the motivation, it is useful to use your own judgment and ears.
perception of sound is unique, as well as preferences. the use of terms is not precise. it is unlikely that another person will be so similiar in regard to all of the relevant parameters that are of concern to hobbyists that reliance on other persons' judgment can eliminate significant risk.
you're a genius. if i stated what you stated, i would be villified<<
He doesn't display your pomposity, inflexibility, and arrogance.
MrT, using opinion as a starting point to choose to investigate something further is not the same as relying on the opinion of others to make a decision. I have never advocated the latter.
an intelligent person will not rely on the opinions of strangers. regardless of the motivation, it is useful to use your own judgment
"A smart man learns from his mistakes, but a truly wise man learns from the mistakes of others."
While I do agree that there is no substitute for listening in one's own room, with one's own gear and ears, there is simply too much gear out there to make this a realistic possibility. How can one try well over 1000 speakers, preamps, amps, not to mention cables in their own system? So some form of human interaction can be a positive act in narrowing down the choices. The key is to understand the poster's musical values to some extent. If I know the poster likes fast, neutral, transparent gear, and I like warmer, more musical gear, I can then pass on his recommendations.
For example, from reading your threads MrT, I feel that you like syrupy sweet, over ripe sound, in the opinion of most here. I like it on the warm side of neutral, but not as dark a flavour as yours. So I would take this into consideration regarding any recommendations that you have to make.