Free Internet forums have become commonplace. One only has to run a quick Google search to find discussions regarding everything from gardening to www.armstalk.com (shameless plug).
More information is available via the Internet than ever before and as the first word in this column point’s out- it’s usually free…
Unlike printed magazines Internet forums allow users to interact in real time. Members can ask questions and post their own thoughts and experiences instantly.
In general forum members are not paid to post and therefore contribute what they honestly think. That’s not to say contributors to popular magazines don’t speak truthfully, but ask yourself- when is the last time you read a review that ripped a certain gun or ammo?
Even if a reviewer does the job and critically reviews a product, he will always be trumped by the contributions of hundreds of real world people posting on free forums. There just isn’t any way a reviewer who shoots a few hundred rounds through a gun, provided to him by the manufacturer, can compete with thousands of customers posting their experiences on forums.
This isn’t to say one shouldn’t take forum posts with a grain of salt. Obviously there is and will be bad information posted, fortunately bad information is usually corrected by other forum members/contributors quickly.
In the future I think we will continue to see forums grow and become more of a factor in manufacturer’s decisions. It will become impossible to ignore bad press on forums just as it will become desirable to achieve positive press.
Print magazines will continue to decline in circulation as well as relevance. At some point in the not to distant future the writers who regularly contribute to print magazines will either give it up or solicit owners of forums for work.
If you are still not a believer of the value and entertainment factor of free Internet forums I offer you this challenge:
Bookmark this site as well as other free forums and check them for SHOT Show updates. You’ll find pictures, videos, and commentary posted live from the event.
The print magazines should catch up in a month…