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kerosene31

Should vendors have free reign to promote their products?

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I don't want to single out any vendor, because I've seen most do this. Someone posts a negative slant on a product. A few enthusiastic customers reply, and a one or two people join the negative chorus. Then the vendor jumps in and starts defending his or her product and starts citing sales statistics, customer satisfaction stats, product features and/or product superiority. Quite likely in order to be on the "A" list for the next beta, this encourages more "customers" to come in and post more and more comments aimed on telling the thread authors that they don't know what the heck they are talking about. In my opinion that really blurs the line between advertising and "no advertising". The old vendor argument is always the same--it's a public forum, don't they have the right to respond to such threads? I think the answer is yes, provided all vendors have a shot at doing the same. I would bet if Ariane, often the target of negative threads, sent a rep to enter the forums and start laying out stats and features of their products to debunk someone's rant, they'd be called on the carpet for using the forums to promote their product. As it is whenever someone does post a positive comment on an Ariane product, they are often accused of being an insider and not an honest customer.I think a vendor entering the forums to help answer a question in order to help someone use their product is welcome. I think a vendor coming into the forums trying to debunk or dilute someone's comments is exploiting their position. Seldom, and I mean seldom, do I see this outside of the MSFS add-on industry. It's becoming almost a daily happening here. I work in the software industry. When I changed employers two years ago and started working on one of the most widely visited web sites in the hotel industry, I knew there were complaints about the guest experience. I didn't jump into TripAdvisor and start trying to promote the virtues of our product, whether the comments by our guests were well thought out or not. I bit my tongue, which I feel any good professional should do short of being libeled. In cases where the customer gave a means of contact, I replied privately. I still see even with some of the strongest MSFS products a tendency for vendors to try to use their considerable resources and bona fides in the community to quash all dissent by hijacking threads and trying to dump the "rant" label on all who complain.My opinion--stay professional. Let your customers do your dirty work. If you have a good product, you'll have no shortage of customers rising to its defense. In 90 percent of the threads I see, a vendor needn't have responded because theirs truly is a good product with legions of strong customers.Regards,John

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No, there are always 2 sides to everything.In a recent thread a customer was slamming a very popular vendor for not answering e-mails. It went on for a few, with suggestions from users and so on. Then the vendor posted with the information that the customer KNEW that he was having trouble with his e-mail account in the past and that is why the return e-mails were not getting through. Now the customer had to publicly admit that the vendor was correct, and things worked out for the best. Without the vendor posting, the community would have never known this to be the case.And where do you draw the line on who should respond and who should not? The principle owner cannot, but can the development team? Can the support person respond? Can the beta team? How about the user who has supported the product since the start? Just where do you draw the line?Jimhttp://www.hifisim.com/Active Sky V6 Development Team Active Sky V6 Proud SupporterHiFi Beta TeamRadar Contact Supporter: http://www.jdtllc.com/AirSource Member: http://www.air-source.us/FSEconomy Member:http://www.fseconomy.com/

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"In a recent thread a customer was slamming a very popular vendor for not answering e-mails. It went on for a few, with suggestions from users and so on. Then the vendor posted with the information that the customer KNEW that he was having trouble with his e-mail account in the past and that is why the return e-mails were not getting through. Now the customer had to publicly admit that the vendor was correct, and things worked out for the best. Without the vendor posting, the community would have never known this to be the case."I think that serves in the positive case I suggested, where a vendor jumps in to offer support.I guess I see more challenge where a vendor simply says "we have billions of happy customers" and/or spins a bunch of buzzwords to explain why their product is a 110 pct. bona fide re-creation of the lavatory on a 777. In other words the vendor is giving himself lip service at the expense of invalidating the comments of the original post. Sometimes some of the vendor critiques are crazy--I wonder if those who post them even own the product. At other times though, the vendor is simply so friggin' defensive and feels their product so superior that they feel free reign to beat up and/or embarrass anyone who dares to post dissent. -John

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Thanks for your comments Jim. It's good to ask these questions and hear from all sides. Take care...-John

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I have no problems with vendors coming into threads to defend themselves and their products. While some customers have valid, *constructive* criticisms, more often than not developers are getting blasted for things that are completely incorrect or out of their control. How many posts do we see where "developer X refuses to respond to my e-mails!!!!" only to find out that the vendor responded quickly only to end up in a spam filter, or giving the wrong e-mail address altogether? How many posts do we see about "developer X's product causes my sim to crash!". Then you do a search on the forums for other posts from the same user to find out they had major crashing problems long before they bought a particular add-on? Now, don't get me wrong, the vendors can end up in the wrong easily enough as well. Some vendors just cannot accept valid, constructive criticisms. Too many times people describe how they have terrible FPS with an add-on, only to be told that it is something wrong with their PC. As a consumer, I read as many threads and posts as possible about something before I buy. I value other customer opinions as well as the developer responses to them. It all helps me make an informed decision. It is ultimately my responsibility to read through the posts and sort fact from fiction. I much prefer to hear the vendor's side of the story as it really tells me a lot about the company, one way or the other.

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