Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fair use, plagiarism or what?

I suppose it says something positive about the content of HiFi'Zine that other sites think it's ok to lift articles wholesale and post the text on their own pages with minimal attribution. I realize web protocols for authorship are, shall we say, in flux, but I was a little disappointed with the Carver Forum which lifted text and graphics from the recent Bass Integration Guide (parts 1, 2, and 3) put together by Paul Spencer and while it offered a fleeting link at the top saying 'From Hifi'Zine', I cannot imagine any other publication considering this anything other than stealing. If you wrote those articles and put in the hours on measurements and graphics that clearly Paul put into them, as any reader can see,  I think you'd feel aggrieved to see your work presented this way.  I doubt Bob Carver wants to be associated with this type of 'design' choice.

[Addendum:  The site manager has removed the content since a complaint was registered but let's just say, gave the owner a lecture about free access. Who knew?]

Monday, June 25, 2012

HiFi'Zine June 2012 issue now out

This  new issue has two entries from me, both connected with the new cable company, High Fidelity Cables: a review and an interview with head honcho, Rick Schultz, former chief of Virtual Dynamics. I'd been trying to get Rick for a while to talk about developments old and new in the cable business and am pleased to finally get our conversation on the record.  Also, great articles on the Akimate Micros, music reviews, and the best guide yet to getting started on computer audio for Mac users by editor in chief, John Reekie. Enjoy, comment, and think about contributing an article yourself if so inclined - remember, HiFi'Zine is a magazine by audiophiles for audiophiles; advertising free, open to all and happy to explore the hobby from all angles.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Is A'gon slipping?

Well the interest in the Audiogon alternatives has clearly grown recently given the traffic here. I took a look at the Qualcast data on hit rates

You can certainly see a sharp downturn in visits to the 'Gon since the redesign, though it's fair to say that they had apparently grown traffic significantly over the last two years so it's something of a return to 2009 rates, not too shabby in itself but clearly something changed this year and the mood seems to be swinging. Let's see how this plays out over the next few months.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Alternatives to Audiogon part II

That note below about the A'gon complaints seems to have drawn much traffic and some private emails. My defense of A'gon is that it remains the best out there  until someone or other is prepared to put the effort into a real alternative. Well, it seems some folks are willing to walk the walk, with varying degrees of success. A recent push mail from AVGuide contained a link to SoundOffers which offers a gear selling structure similar to the 'Gon. Nice enough interface but the experience is seriously hampered by the lack of product. Multiple categories of product have nothing listed and even the most populated categories have but a handful of items listed. Still, it's a reasonable effort that holds promise with basic listing only costing $3 for 30 days and, as far as I can tell, none of the commission rates that annoys so many with A'gon. It's local too, at least in as much as the publisher for TAS has interests in Austin. Worth keeping an eye on as this one has marketing back up that might grow it into something significant.

A much more grass-roots oriented effort has been launched by the guys behind the Canuck Audio Mart.  Named, perhaps not surprisingly US Audio Mart, these folks really are pitching themselves as an Audiogon alternative with a full statement to that effect off their home page. Most exciting, since the owners rely solely on advertising revenue from manufacturers and dealers, the process of buying and selling gear is free, it has sufficient product for sale even now to make it feel worth using, you can improve that by revealing listings form the Canadian site that sellers will ship to the US, and it has member discussion forums. Right now it's showing sufficient energy for optimism about its future. For those of you still annoyed with A'gon, this is definitely worth checking out. I've registered and will be working my way slowly through the content and forums over the next week or so but for now, this is the one to watch.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Complaints over Audiogon continue

It's been nearly 6 months since Audiogon made changes to its fee structure and design. From the outset people seemed upset, not least those who were paying for ads at the time and saw traffic diminish and the search engine sputter. The site has slowly become more robust and retains top-spot at the place to go for scoring or selling audio gear but this has not stopped the criticism. Here's a new article that seems to have tapped into a lot of the negative sentiment, published in Home Theater Review this week, claiming dropped traffic and revenues as a result of the changes made to Audiogon.

I am more sanguine than most on this, after all, it's still the best place to get a sense of the value and availability of gear, and I've bought a lot of my system over the years through listings on that site. Until some other group comes up with a real alternative, they will remain the #1 place for this type of transaction, so how bad can it be?  Of course, if you are a member of some other forums, such as the excellent Audio Circle, you can list and buy without fees, but don't imagine you have the same choice of gear as you will find on A'gon. As usual, it's easier to criticize than create, and I wonder how many people really feel strongly enough to take up the challenge of doing it better?