BPL Membership
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Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Advertising and BPL on 06/23/2009 09:38:13 MDT Print View

Evan,

"Looks to me like they are plenty willing to sell out."

Interesting assumption...

Do you See any advertising?

Making up hypothetical issues is always possible, but seldom useful.

Joe Westing
(pedro87) - F
Re: Re: "Advertise with us" question on 06/23/2009 09:47:17 MDT Print View

Online, I've only seen advertising on the podcast pages but that is b/c the podcasts were always made available to everyone for free. Also, they did have a few ads in the print mag (no more than say 5 pages per issue) but they were almost always for BPL itself, for a cottage manufacturer, or rarely for a bigger company such as GoLite. Now that the print mag is gone and there have been no podcasts lately, there has been ZERO advertising on BPL.

Sorry Evan, I disagree with you about membership for people new to the sport. I think that membership is MOST useful for those who are new to backpacking. Why would you want to buy gear and then later regret purchases after reading BPL articles? For a newbie, it would be best to get the most info possible to make informed buying decisions and to quickly and easily learn lightweight techniques for backpacking. Also, a new lightweight backpacker would likely buy some gear from BPL, in which case you could easily recoup some if not all of the cost of BPL membership. As a previous poster mentioned, membership at just over $2 a month is a bargain compared to many other publications, for the amount of information membership provides, and just to make sure this amazing community survives well into the future.

Edited by pedro87 on 06/23/2009 09:48:25 MDT.

A. B.
(tomswifty)
no ads on 06/23/2009 10:02:11 MDT Print View

No, I don't recall seeing any ads. But the link raises suspicion. One of the advertising 'opportunities' listed is the 'Lightweight Gear Guide'.

As for newbies, I think they would be best served by posting their gear and getting free help from fellow backpackers.

Aaron Zuniga
(gliden2) - F

Locale: Northwest
Re:BPL Membership on 06/23/2009 12:41:48 MDT Print View

I only paid for 14.99 for renewal this year=)making it around 1.25 a month. This is a minor fee considering how much time I spend on this site reading the Best articles by some of the industries most dedicated, passionate Ul travelers. It's an amazing offer and chance for anyone interested in packing less to ease into the UL world. Here you will also find an honest, helpful, educated, community that is really supportive and give you the answers you were looking for. I have spent many of minutes reading others insight on gear. This has been a big help when it comes times to making a purchase, because now if it hasn't been discussed,i can start a thread and see what has worked for others in the field. By paying the membership fee I feel that i have contibuted to the best cause which is UL hiking; This is my passion along with many others. If im not out on the trail or spending time with my family, this where you'll find me=) Thanks to the communtiy and staff for making BPL what it is today!

Edited by gliden2 on 06/23/2009 12:45:35 MDT.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Worth every penny on 06/23/2009 16:11:50 MDT Print View

I have found membership to be worth every penny. I am on the site every day, and in its small way this community enriches my life and makes the world a little better. This is something I am prepared to pay to keep going.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: don't get it on 06/23/2009 16:44:53 MDT Print View

Hi Evan

> information that should be free

An interesting statement, but WHY should information be free? How do you justify this claim?

If you stop and think about it, almost every other commodity in this world costs money, one way or another.

In most if not all cases that information, or rather knowledge, has cost someone money to obtain. You can't learn about the performance of a pack (for instance) without a) buying one and b) taking it out on a trip. Both have a cost.

No, I am not having a go at you. I am asking you to justify your claim.

Cheers

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: don't get it on 06/23/2009 17:15:18 MDT Print View

"An interesting statement, but WHY should information be free? How do you justify this claim?

If you stop and think about it, almost every other commodity in this world costs money, one way or another."

Increasingly, information is NOT free, particularly in the USA. An entire industry devoted to the gathering, collating, and SELLING of information(much of it personal), has sprung up. If any bit of information is perceived to be of interest to any significant group, it will soon be for sale. It's the American way. ;-}

IMO, information gained by diligent research involving sigificant expenditure of time, energy, and analytical effort is at least as deserving of compensation as the product of some shameless parasite who gathers the personal information of very large numbers of people and assembles it into marketing lists for sale to commercial interests.

What is available on this website would be a bargain at twice the cost, again, IMO.

A. B.
(tomswifty)
information on 06/23/2009 17:16:19 MDT Print View

I didn't imply that all information should be free but something like a pack review or movie review isn't something I would pay for. I know there are plenty of early adopters who buy products and who are willing to share their opinions on it. The internet is great because it allows people to share their experiences with others and I can go out and find those experiences. I like to use amazon.com and other sites to read reviews from other people. Forums are also good for gathering experiences and anecdotes.

In short, it's nice to learn from others experiences but I wouldn't pay to do so. I also wouldn't charge someone for my opinion.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: information on 06/23/2009 17:26:39 MDT Print View

"I know there are plenty of early adopters who buy products and who are willing to share their opinions on it."

Hi Evan,

True, and the member gear reviews here are accessible to everyone. However, the Premium Content reviews that you pay for with you membership fee are conducted by people with a generally higher level of expertise and are a rigorous exercise that entails a lot of time, energy, and analytical effort. In all fairness, wouldn't you agree they should be compensated? Personally, I find that integrating information gleaned from both sources is a very valuable part of my decision making process when evaluating gear. It has saved me a lot of my own time, energy, analysis, and, yes, money on several occasions.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: information on 06/23/2009 17:28:31 MDT Print View

I think the difference between a reader review and the BPL reviews is the lack of 'evidence based' observation from most reader reviews. Whether it's a stove, pack, sleeping mat or whatever, BPL often does rigorous comparisons using a range of scientific equipment and training not available to the average gear reviewer. It's a lot more than just "I really like this piece of gear".

Chris Benson
(roguenode) - F

Locale: Boulder
Agreed... on 06/23/2009 17:41:27 MDT Print View

"I think the difference between a reader review and the BPL reviews is the lack of 'evidence based' observation from most reader reviews."

Definitely. Case in point, the analysis in the Carbon Monoxide articles helped me choose my next canister stove. One could read countless user reviews, not to mention many magazines and pay sites, and never get that information.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: information on 06/23/2009 18:03:56 MDT Print View

First, it's 25 bucks. Why fuss over it? How much do you spend a week at coffee shops or on convenience store sodas? I guarantee the information and community you gain from a BPL membership far outweighs whatever else you could spend 25 bucks on. And if one or two bits of info you glean from the membership saves you some money when you buy gear, or makes your next trips more enjoyable, then I'd say it's a remarkably cheap investment.

Second, if you wouldn't pay for others experiences, and wouldn't expect someone to charge for their opinions, then by extension I suppose you could argue that all doctor visits should be free. Do you think the medical community should be reimbursed for their opinions? Perhaps that seems like an absurd comparison, but at its root I think the comparison is fair. Your life isn't in the balance when it comes to backpacking stuff... although one could argue that your backpacking life could be left hanging in the balance...

A. B.
(tomswifty)
doctors on 06/23/2009 18:44:55 MDT Print View

Comparing to doctors is hardly fair and you already recognize this as a strawman so let's ignore that.

I just don't think backpacking requires in depth analysis in order to have a fulfilling experience. I think the casual anecdotes from fellow enthusiasts are sufficient in order to decide upon some gear. But then again, I don't fret over a few ounces here and there.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: doctors on 06/23/2009 18:55:31 MDT Print View

"I just don't think backpacking requires in depth analysis in order to have a fulfilling experience. I think the casual anecdotes from fellow enthusiasts are sufficient in order to decide upon some gear."

A perfectly valid position which implicitly recognizes that certain information, extraneous to a fulfilling backpacking experience, is not worth paying for and, therefore, shall remain inaccessible. Issue resolved.

George Phoenix
(perrito)

Locale: Joisey
Re: doctors on 06/23/2009 19:21:37 MDT Print View

"I just don't think backpacking requires in depth analysis in order to have a fulfilling experience. I think the casual anecdotes from fellow enthusiasts are sufficient in order to decide upon some gear."

You don't even need to make use of this site at all to have a fulfilling backpacking experience. But this is state-of-the-art, cutting edge backpacking advice. I make a profit every time I head out!

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: doctors on 06/23/2009 19:37:51 MDT Print View

In my experience, your average GP's advice is not worth much unless you know what you need (say you just want a prescription written). Most medical doctors are notorious for basing their advice on anecdotal and pharmaceutically motivated critria rather than evidence based. If I were you, I would read up before you head to your doctor for advice!

Robert Bryant
(KG4FAM) - F

Locale: Upstate
Re: Re: Re: doctors on 06/23/2009 19:48:44 MDT Print View

"In my experience, your average GP's advice is not worth much unless you know what you need (say you just want a prescription written). Most medical doctors are notorious for basing their advice on anecdotal and pharmaceutically motivated critria rather than evidence based. If I were you, I would read up before you head to your doctor for advice!"

very true. i spend decades untreated for an underactive thyroid. went to the doctor plenty of times through the years for and they told me to loose weight, not one of them checked my bloodwork. i had to lay it all out for my doc to even check my blood and even then he was skeptical. its like the medical community is retarded or something.

Tim Testa
(MichaelRedbeard) - F
Wow... on 06/23/2009 19:52:03 MDT Print View

And to think, all this over a simple question. Maybe next time I won't ask about membership opinions :)

Anyways. Here is what I have concluded. Im a poor college student who barely as anytime to work the kind of hours I would like at my job due to all of the work I have assigned to me at school. While I make little money, and the little that I do make goes to paying for school and bills, I think I will join.

Right now there is 3 articles I would like to read, but I can't say there is much more than that at the moment. This being the case, I am going to wait until another oen comes along that grabs my interest. When it does I will buy the membership.

Honestly I do not think the articles will prove to be super benifical and that is why this is not my main reason for planning on buying one. Instead, my decision rests on the fact that I do not mind contributing money to organizations that I find useful and resourceful. In fact, I get a sense of satisfaction knowing that I can help sponsor the site in some small shape and form.

In close, I would like to give a final two cents on something. The membership fee for $25 is very fair in my opinion. However, I would suggest keeping the renewal price at $15 (is that just for some people or is that for all people, I noticed reading that twice throughout this discussion.) The reason I say this is because when you first sign up, you gain access to member articles dating back a couple of years. So not only do you get to read current and upcoming articles, but you also get to review a whole archive of wealth. When you renew, all that you have to look forward to is what is coming out in future member articles, because you have already glanced over all of the old material that interested you. Also renewing shows that you are a loyal member to the site, why not throw in a little incentive to rejoin. Right?

Of course if you were like me, you would gladly pay that renewal fee should it be at a discounted price, and from there, you would then contact someone regarding where you could send an extra Paypal payment to the company when your pockets aren't so tight due to present expenses in life. In other words, pay the discounted renewal fee and then make a donation. That would be the route I would take.

Of course another thing BPL could do is charge $40 for the intial membership and $20 for the renewal. I mean why not charge more for all the massive amounts of information new members will have instant access to. Orrrrrr offer one year for $25, two years for $40, or three years for $50. I like that plan the most actual.

Alright, well this is not "lets make a deal", this is backpacking light, so I will leave it at that. Thanks for all the advice guys!

Edited by MichaelRedbeard on 06/23/2009 19:53:47 MDT.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
My money's worth! on 06/23/2009 20:07:03 MDT Print View

I'm a newbie to this site and UL backpacking (oldie to backpacking). When I heard of UL backpacking two weeks ago, and found this site, I scanned the article titles, etc, paid my $$$ and joined.

I have gotten my money's worth! Last week, for the first time since my back put me out of backpacking, I did an overnight with a 28 lb backpack (I know, not UL yet, but I'm getting there!). My back was fine. First time since the late 60s I've carried a pack less than 50 lbs. On Friday, a Mariposa Plus arrived, which will knock another 5 lbs off my carrying weight!

I am very happy with BPL, delighted beyond words to be back in the mountains, and think it all money well spent.

Thanks to all of you for giving me back the mountains!

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Re: doctors on 06/23/2009 21:53:48 MDT Print View

repeating sticks and stones line to myself...