Thursday, June 14, 2012

Blade HQ Sponsorship

The site has an official sponsor now--Blade HQ.  See the banner on the right hand side bar.  They provided me with the review sample of the Protech Sprint PR1 that is still being tested (I am taking a little longer because it is my first Protech, S35VN blade, and auto that I have reviewed).

I was hesitant about this but after consideration and reading comments and feedback from readers, I have decided to use a sponsor.  Blade HQ was the only place I contacted.  It was not an easy decision, not because Blade HQ was an issue, but because I didn't really like the idea of a sponsor at all.  It came down to this: I want to have the largest database of reviewed gear anywhere and doing that on my budget for the site (zero dollars) is very difficult.  By pairing with Blade HQ I can still bring you good, informative reviews on new products without spending lots of my own money or taking away cash from the Haiku Giveaway.

I chose Blade HQ for a reason, or really a few reasons.  Prior to starting the site I experienced their excellent customer service firsthand.  Second, they have an enormous selection.  Third, they have competitive prices.  Finally and perhaps most importantly, they have real time inventory. 

What happened when I ordered the Bradley Alias illustrates why all of this is important.  During the process of ordering and shipping, the Alias II was in short supply and I had to change my order midstream.  Blade HQ's real time inventory and great customer service was very helpful.  Everything you see on their site they have in stock.  Lots of places are merely displaying their catalog, that is, things they can order.  This means that your order can take a long time to receive (they have to get it first and then ship it to you) and there is a chance that even though an item is in a given company's catalog it is backordered meaning you will have to wait even longer.   This experience really sold me on them as a company.

So when I was considering who to look to for sponsorships, Blade HQ came out far ahead of the competition.  I didn't bother really looking into anyone else.  They have good connections both in the knife industry and in the enthusiast world.  They also have helped pass laws that have a common sense approaches to knife regulation.  It is one thing to say you support legislative efforts and it is another thing to actually do something. 

So from now on you will see links to Blade HQ products in reviews (over Amazon) and you will see products sent to me for testing from Blade HQ.  I will be looking for feedback, so let me know what you think and what your experiences have been with Blade HQ, both in the past and going forward.

9 comments:

  1. Congrats Tony! I have had great experiences with BladeHQ and they seem very receptive to both "new media" and the community of knife and gear enthusiasts that support it. So I'd say they are a great choice for a sponsorship. Best of luck.

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  2. Very good choice of sponsor. It is an understandable move for the site. As you say, it will help give you access to a wide range of review blades and other gear. (I have gotten good flashlight deals from Blade HQ.)

    Just remember that we learn a lot from the sub-17 pt reviews, too -- arguably even more than from the 19- and 20-pointers.

    BHQ's real-time inventory is so convenient that I now basically refuse to buy from vendors that don't have it. They also have fast shipping.

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  3. Anon RD one of the reasons the review scores have averaged higher than a 10 is because until now I was forking over money out of my pocket for things and when that happened I was SUPER careful about what I bought. Now that I have more access to things I will choose things of with less rigidity. That will certainly bring down the score. Look at the Boker Exskelibur II review as an example. It is only natural--if you choose what you like, you'll probably like what you choose (though ironically enough that is not always the choice--see the SOG Twitch II review).

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  4. Great response. The Exskelibur II is a good example of what I was thinking of. Not a total crash and burn like the Gerber Artifact (although that review was fun, for the same reason people enjoy those reviews of the Star Wars prequels). The Boker had enough serious misses that the review was very instructive about what works in gear.

    Tony, it frustrates me that my comments here sometimes read as prickly or confrontational (which they do) yet my underlying attitude is very different. I've greatly improved my EDC and learned a ton from reading here.

    Unrelated PS: I think you ought to bite the bullet and have BHQ send you a Paramilitary 2 for review. EDC it for a while and I bet you'll love it. I know you're big on blade:handle ratio and clearly the Para 2 does not do great on that. But if you view it as a very deliberate design choice that gives supreme ergonomics while still keeping a very light blade, it will click for you intellectually. Also it is the fastest deploying manual knife I've owned, has great F&F, and the slim S30V blade cuts insanely.

    Put it this way: I own a Caly 3.5 and IMO it has some details and refinements missing, compared to the Para 2.

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  5. I love that you explained your decision to add a supporting sponsor. If adding BHQ allows you greater flexibility and improved access to review worthy gear, than I applaud the move. Your reviews are worth my time because you do not just review an item in a vacuum but you provide context to where that item fits and other items in the same class. One question, will this sponsorship impact your editorial content at all? In other words, will you be able to write favorable comments about BHQ completion or complain if BHQ makes bonehead decisions? I suspect it won't effect your content but would be interested to know how you will avoid even the smallest amount of compromise.

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    1. I honestly don't think it will, but I will be watching the comments section to make sure that is the case. They have not put any pressure on me as yet and I doubt they will. I am just one of many people they sponsor.

      Additionally, I ran this site with a $10 budget for over a year so I am certain that if stuff happens I can revert back to that model quickly and easily.

      I have made a quite a few good and reliable connections with manufacturers in the gear industry and until BHQ stepped up with their generosity, they were my source for gear.

      All that said, I have had no reason at all to think that they would influence my opinions. They are very flexible. They let me choose what I want to review and I review what I think you folks would want to read about or what you folks are thinking about purchasing.

      Keep me in the loop if you think something wonky is happening. After all, readers and no sponsor is a lot more fun than sponsor and no readers.

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    2. Right on! By the way, have you ever kept a rubric of gear dealers? I realize this is really tough to do because almost any well read blog or forum has dealer sponsorship. I feel this is missing from the web specific to edc stuff because if you ask where to buy, it never fails to come down to sponsors. I have been dealing with BHQ, Knifeart and totally titanium lately, LA Police Gear and others lately with disappointing results for LA Police Gear who showed in stock for an Alias II and did not let me know it was OOS until a week later. Larry at Knifeart has been good after purchasing a WH EDC E6 which had too much play in the blade and actually opened up on me when I put my hand in my pocket cutting me pretty badly down the pinkie side of my hand. The extra play made the knife act like the tip was slightly too long so it caught my hand as I inserted it into my pocket. Larry at Knifeart connected me directly to WH who would have done anything to make me happy. I eventually sent the E6 back for a credit towards a small sabenza. Luckily, I found your blog in the midst of this process.

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  6. BladeHQ is definitely one of the best sources for blades on the web, in my opinion. I'm excited to see what you review in the future now that your possible inventory has been expanded.

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