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littlelabs 8th February 2003 09:07 PM

Manufacturers role in on line forums
I was wondering how the gear slutz community likes the involvement of the manufacturers in there forums. I like to chime in when I feel a product of mine would work well in an application. But when I do it, even really minor stuff, it gets at least one forum member panty's in a knot (If you saw the posts on the PCP on the thread I accidentally erased). I like to think the manufacturers involvement is a great thing and debating amongst manufacturers and end users results in better products. If someone thinks there product is better, I like a good challenge and in the past have even paid for shipping for a direct comparison. Sometimes I get shot down, but it makes me work harder to improve. Sometimes I add a feature because of an Internet discussion on a product. e.g. Jay Kahrs and James Guthrie were the two people who are responsible for the re-amp feature being added to the IBP. Anyway, that is what I do, if you find this behavior obnoxious speak up. If you don't, speak up as well. So, the role you would like manufacturers to play in your forum, I want to know.

chrisso 8th February 2003 09:46 PM

This a reply completely divorced from you or your product as I have no experience of either.
I'm personally not that keen on manufacturer involvement.
I think there is nothing more annoying than following a thread about vocal compressors or something and coming across Jon Doe Inc claiming his product is exactly what we're looking for.
I don't mind it so much from guys like Nathan and Fletcher, who probably have experience of a variety of products.
Maybe I'm too cynical, but I find most manufacturers will not contribute in a constructive way when being criticised. They might claim the complaint is a misunderstanding etc. They rarely admit to an error of judgement.
If manufacturers were prepared to do that, I'd be prepared to listen to a bit of selling once in a while.

soundguy 8th February 2003 09:50 PM

I wish all manufacturers would get involved on the street level with their products. It seems like the lack of involvement can be somewhat directly traced to products sucking out. I think you've got products in two categories, stuff that companies are going to market the hell out of, and this would include mostly crappy sounding items with a ton of bells and whistles and high "ooooh" factor to look good in a full page advertisement, and then the other category, stuff that actually sounds good and has features that people actually use and need to solve problems. I think the only way to progress in the later is to get involved with the end user.

there is a HUGE difference between a designer/manufacturer getting involved in a discussion, even if it is to slighlty self promote, compared to a vintage gear dealer or some other such nonsense doing the same thing.


littlelabs 8th February 2003 09:53 PM

Thank you Chrisso very much, that is really good to know. I did have a thought, what do you think of a side thread area just for manufacturers comments. You wouldn't have to go there, it'd just be there if you wanted to? Just a thought...let me know what you think.

chrisso 8th February 2003 10:04 PM


Originally posted by littlelabs
I did have a thought, what do you think of a side thread area just for manufacturers comments. You wouldn't have to go there,
That could be a revolutionary concept.kfhkh
To be fair, I suppose many manufacturers would not want to expose themselves to public obuse by unreasonable customers. I've seen a few internet 'car crashes' between small boutique manufacturers and irate correspondants claiming 'he promised this, he promised that'.
People still think 'there's no smoke without fire', so you would be taking a risk opening yourself up for criticism (as well as advice and comment) on a public forum.

mdbeh 8th February 2003 10:15 PM

I'm usually happy to see manufacturers (or at least designers) on a forum, provided that they're contributing something besides "hey buy my product."

Straight sales tactics are annoying, but given how much technical misinformation and nut-job "experts" are on the web, it's nice to have someone who actually designs stuff contributing.

A "my product is great for that" response probably isn't worth it, though, if only for the inevitable flame-y grief you'll get. (I personally don't mind either way.)

Steve Smith 9th February 2003 12:36 AM

I think that they way most designer/builders have contributed in the past was ok, I think it is important for a manutacturer to suggest a product, or answer q about a product when asked... Just dont go over the top and start marketing or being outrageous ( we have seen great examples of both in the last year on various forums. I thnk Eveanna is a great example of how a manutacturer should act on an online forum.

IOW, if you are not an ass, just be yourself. If you are, hire a public relations person... FWIW, I do not think you have been an ass, the fact you asked says alot actually.

Jules 9th February 2003 01:01 AM

See, for us recording equipment users, fanatics, pro's and hobbyists alike it's all too easy to criticize recording gear and have that read by many on line, switch off the computer and get on with life....

However for the criticized gear manufacturer, it's unpleasant and many feel they have to 'rectify, justify, or refute any negative comment. foaming at the mouth about it can look very bad.

All that can be done by manufacturers IMHO is to strike a balance, zipping into forums with a jolly comment saying "try my device, you might like it" is totally cool. Epic paragraphs of defensive counter-claim after a bad comment is kinda bad.

What is perhaps coolest is getting into the spirit of a forum and participating on topics not DIRECTLY relating to promotion of product!

Top of the list of unadvisable behavior is to bitch about other manufacturers products in detail.

kfhkh 9th February 2003 01:04 AM


Your role in online forums is critical !

I have been on every side of this issue, manufacturer, dealer and engineer, user, customer and working directly with existing and potential users of your products benefits everyone.

You will get purist who whine about manufacturers recommending their product but any knowledgable gearslut will see through self serving promotion in a heart beat.

The value of accurate knowledge is what advances any industry and the more information in the hands manufacturers, users and dealers the better off we will all be. I have witnessed the effect of all boats rising when the tide rises and this only happens when everyone has the best and most current information.

As a developer/designer it is critical that you keep your pulse on the market and how your products are being used. As a former manufacturer/developer we were constantly amazed at how our customers were using our products. They would come up with uses we never dreamed of when building a product.

The other problem is we often made decisions in a vacuum. I would sit in meetings and after a hours of wrestling with a problem I would ask "has anyone asked the customers", dead silence. Issues like upgrades, pricing, future features, etc. etc. Issues that might effect millions of users were being decided without the users input.

Forums are the perfect way for many users to talk directly to designers and allows designers to view users opinions. This is without a doubt a win-win and the improvements in today's products are a direct result of this relationship.

So Jonathan, I would urge you to ignore the naysayers and if you are sincere in your interaction and not pushy, I believe your knowledge will be welcome any where on the net. And if it's not then the users of that forum are the losers.

Love your ideas and your approach and keep up the great work.


subspace 9th February 2003 01:24 AM

Most forum members can praise or slam equipment without fear of consequence, and readers will attribute a commensurate amount of respect to those opinions. Gear manufacturers are in a little different situation. If they slam a product in competition with their own it looks self-serving, likewise, of course, if they praise their own. So being completely honest can become a PR nightmare, witness Bomb Factory's trail of flame wars, unless of course you believe "there's no such thing as bad advertising."
So most of the manufacturers hold their tongues when it comes to stuff close to their home turf, sometimes to the point of obvious pain. When they give their opinions on other gear though, they carry quite a bit of weight because of the reputation of the person making the statement.
I appreciate the manufacturers who do drop by, because they aren't standing behind PR statements like most modern manufacturers in all other facets of life. Being able to ask a designer questions about his product directly without any kind of sales pressure is a very cool thing. Asking a designer questions about his competitors product can put them in a difficult position though, and of course there are those who just want to give manufacturers grief for their own motives. Thus the need to put on the PR face occasionally, bite your tongue, and let the sig link do the talking. It's tough being the accountable ones...

Oh, and the Redeye ****in' rocks!

Jules 9th February 2003 01:33 AM

That was better written than my effort!

What he said!



davemc 9th February 2003 01:47 AM

Ditto by the time I typed it it is also:

A lot of manufactures online in these forums do add a lot of valuable info. I mean they should drop by and post new product releases, so we can get some feedback straight away online.
A lot are AE's to start with and have a lot of knowledge they can impart to all of us..

Steve Smith 9th February 2003 07:07 AM

I knew we wouldn't have to mention names.

Good Job guys!

chrisso 9th February 2003 10:06 AM

With regards to new products......
I don't particulary like it when fellow Gearslutz post pages of text copied directly from PR releases. So if manufacturers were able to do that you might get endless threads like ' The YXZ2000 - the leading widget in pro audio studios today! - just got a whole lot better!!'
I think the status quo isn't too bad, especially with the current guest forum type of approach.
I'm worried that a separate manufacturers forum might just become another 'moan zone'.
Good topic though Jonathanyuktyy

Remoteness 9th February 2003 01:00 PM

I totally agree with what Jules, & Subspace had to say about the subject...

You guys touched on everything I wanted to say!.

Well done, Gentlemen. kfhkh

Fletcher 9th February 2003 04:03 PM

My 2 cents... I think when there is a specific question asked about a specific product... who better than the designer to respond. I know in my 'moderator duties' on PSW, I regularly forward threads to a unit's designer and request that they respond.

Maybe I'm biased becasue we did it jointly... but I thought EveAnna did a splendid job as a 'guest moderator' in December.

Now... while I'm mostly a weasel by trade... I don't come to these forums wearing my weasel hat... I come with my engineer hat... though sometimes I know a little weasel oozes out from time to time... but that's really an inevitability.

Same with manufacturers/designers. Most of the manufacturer/designers that will show up in places like this are from "boutique" firms [and yes... even Manley Labs is a "boutique" manufacturer... one of the larger ones, but "boutique" none the less]. It's not like some butthead from Mackie is spammig the group... it's that someone has a specific question about the inner workings or feature set of a particular piece of kit... and who's more qualified to answer that kind of question than the designer?

In regards to "Littlelabs" stuff... hell, I'm about the biggest evangelist I know when it comes to it... but there are still features and functions in the stuff that I haven't discovered!! Some of your posts have shown me how to use the equipment in a wider variety of applications than I had previously thought possible... if that isn't of benefit, then I don't know what is.

alphajerk 9th February 2003 04:15 PM

i like manufacturers showing up on the forums personally. especially when they take critique of their products as something helpful instead of personally. not all products are great and need "help"... some are just less than open to criticism.

the only person who is just an annoyance is erik from bombfactory although some posts of his lately have been better... although a lot stem from paranoia, especially when discussing the stuff he puts out.

pounce 18th February 2003 05:53 PM

i've tended to appreciate knowing they are here on forums like this. makes me think real ideas from real engineers get to these companies. very very few seem to have crossed the line into sales pitch out of turn. only the bombfactory stuff comes to mind for really bad pr stemming from company interaction on list. shit, i went out and got the uad card right away just so as not to have the bombfactory plug ins. yes, someone invariably seems to be all bothered by a company mentioning their product. since well worded replies exist in this thread already, i'd just say that i like to know the companies are here and i'd like to think companies i want to do business with know how to have manners on list (which usually means knowing when to shut up if using a sig file with the company name in it). i usually don't like the folks who get really worked up over a company being on a list. as much as i dislike pace, i can't believe they drove alan off of the daw mac list. if only for the phrase keep your friends close and your enemies closer, having pace discussions could have been a great thing. they drove him off list by bitching like a bunch of schoolgirls. kind of pissed me off. i'd have wanted that kind of company participation.

darwin 19th February 2003 02:48 AM

I guess that it is interesting that the question is asked because the nature of this communication medium is frought with the potential for misinformation. It also contains some very accurate and helpful information.

Really, one has to try to evaluate as objectively as possible each statement from each poster when buying gear to solve a problem or improve a situation. It doesn't really make any difference whether or not the person runs the company or not.

For example, any representative from a manufacturer could log in under a false name and give sales hype about their own product. They can also spew negative comments about competitive products. Another example is idiot advice, of which I tend to give (hehe). I think we have all run across a post where we said to ourselves, "This guy is a buffoon, and his computer should be impounded because of he threatens society with it." Therefore, in my opinion, one has to try to read many posts about gear to get a "good" sample of pre-purchase gear opinion because there is a high variation in good and bad opinion.

groundcontrol 19th February 2003 07:56 AM

My feelings exactly Darwin. kfhkh