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Regarding items to test...

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  • ben.mansfield
    Kathy & all - As far as I understand it, BGT exists to provide the public with unbiased reviews of backpacking gear. So, in deciding what to test, why not
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 1, 2010
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      Kathy & all -

      As far as I understand it, BGT exists to provide the public with unbiased reviews of backpacking gear. So, in deciding what to test, why not look at some search analytics to see what the public is searching for? Google insights is one tool, but I'm sure there are others. I was just playing with it for a few minutes - check out this comparison of common search terms:

      http://tinyurl.com/yhtdqad

      Another thing to look at might be the number of applications we get for major categories of gear, as well as how fast they come in (i.e. we might get 5 apps for a particular item, but if 4 of them came in after two reminders and an extension, then it's probably not that popular).

      I only suggest this because when I'm gear shopping (admittedly, n=1 here so don't let me speak for everyone), I'm much more likely to scour the internet for reviews prior to purchasing big ticket items, items based on new technology, or safety-critical items. I don't do this much for smaller ticket items that are less risky from an investment perspective - I tend to just go to my local outfitter and buy them (i.e if I buy a $10 pair of socks and hate them, I'm out $10. But if I but a $400 tent and hate it, that's more of a problem).

      I'd be interested to know the page hit counts on BGT by major category... that should tell us what people are coming to the site to read and would be a good place to focus the majority of future testing. Once established, it would obviously be important to continue to dedicate some percentage of tests to items falling outside of those core categories and continually re-analyze to make sure BGT is the site that the public turns to for all gear reviews - whether they're looking for a new 2 pound 4-season expedition tent or a new 1.1 pound backpacking thermos.

      Another suggestion might be to consider an alternate report format for some of the smaller-value / less popular items. Maybe something similar to the consumables format... this would provide a shorter, more to the point report for the public to read (I'm more likely to read a one-page review of socks than a 3 page review of socks) and require slightly less effort on the part of our testers, possibly making them a little more likely to apply for some of the less popular items.

      I noticed that very few people replied to your request suggesting we test sporks, unless they were $40 titanium alloy space-aged sporks that also predict the weather. I know that we often want to test sporks in order to endear ourselves to the manufacturer of said sporks, since that manufacturer also happens to make a 2 pound, 4 season expedition tent. But perhaps a slightly simpler test protocol is in order for the spork test vs. what would be expected for the tent.

      I'm not trying to upset the cart here, just provide (hopefully) helpful feedback and suggestions, which I think is what you were asking for.

      -Ben
    • Jerry Goller
      Actually, I like your idea of some sort of shorter, easier report for obviously simple items such as socks and sporks. Mods, we need to discuss this. I m going
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 1, 2010
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        Actually, I like your idea of some sort of shorter, easier report for
        obviously simple items such as socks and sporks.

        Mods, we need to discuss this. I'm going to be in the Uinta mountains for
        this week and probably Death Valley for the week after that. I also plan to
        take Jack to Canyonlands for a week in the very near future.

        So be thinking about this as it will probably be discussed on a weekend, a
        Friday, or a Monday.

        Jerry

        http://www.backpackgeartest.org/: the most comprehensive interactive gear
        reviews on the planet.

        -----Original Message-----
        From: backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com
        [mailto:backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of ben.mansfield
        Sent: Monday, March 01, 2010 06:38
        To: backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [backpackgeartesters] Regarding items to test...

        Kathy & all -

        As far as I understand it, BGT exists to provide the public with unbiased
        reviews of backpacking gear. So, in deciding what to test, why not look at
        some search analytics to see what the public is searching for? Google
        insights is one tool, but I'm sure there are others. I was just playing
        with it for a few minutes - check out this comparison of common search
        terms:

        http://tinyurl.com/yhtdqad

        Another thing to look at might be the number of applications we get for
        major categories of gear, as well as how fast they come in (i.e. we might
        get 5 apps for a particular item, but if 4 of them came in after two
        reminders and an extension, then it's probably not that popular).

        I only suggest this because when I'm gear shopping (admittedly, n=1 here so
        don't let me speak for everyone), I'm much more likely to scour the internet
        for reviews prior to purchasing big ticket items, items based on new
        technology, or safety-critical items. I don't do this much for smaller
        ticket items that are less risky from an investment perspective - I tend to
        just go to my local outfitter and buy them (i.e if I buy a $10 pair of socks
        and hate them, I'm out $10. But if I but a $400 tent and hate it, that's
        more of a problem).

        I'd be interested to know the page hit counts on BGT by major category...
        that should tell us what people are coming to the site to read and would be
        a good place to focus the majority of future testing. Once established, it
        would obviously be important to continue to dedicate some percentage of
        tests to items falling outside of those core categories and continually
        re-analyze to make sure BGT is the site that the public turns to for all
        gear reviews - whether they're looking for a new 2 pound 4-season expedition
        tent or a new 1.1 pound backpacking thermos.

        Another suggestion might be to consider an alternate report format for some
        of the smaller-value / less popular items. Maybe something similar to the
        consumables format... this would provide a shorter, more to the point report
        for the public to read (I'm more likely to read a one-page review of socks
        than a 3 page review of socks) and require slightly less effort on the part
        of our testers, possibly making them a little more likely to apply for some
        of the less popular items.

        I noticed that very few people replied to your request suggesting we test
        sporks, unless they were $40 titanium alloy space-aged sporks that also
        predict the weather. I know that we often want to test sporks in order to
        endear ourselves to the manufacturer of said sporks, since that manufacturer
        also happens to make a 2 pound, 4 season expedition tent. But perhaps a
        slightly simpler test protocol is in order for the spork test vs. what would
        be expected for the tent.

        I'm not trying to upset the cart here, just provide (hopefully) helpful
        feedback and suggestions, which I think is what you were asking for.

        -Ben



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      • Thomas Vickers
        Well, there is nothing I can do about a cold hear, but if your ears are a bit freezy, here is the item for you. Three lucky testers will get a chance to test
        Message 3 of 4 , Mar 1, 2010
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          Well, there is nothing I can do about a cold hear, but if your ears are
          a bit freezy, here is the item for you.
          Three lucky testers will get a chance to test the Commuter Earwarmers

          http://www.180s.com/pages/catalog_view.aspx?g=1,2&y=7&i=132&c=1
          <http://www.180s.com/pages/catalog_view.aspx?g=1,2&y=7&i=132&c=1>


          Please remember the following in your succinct application:

          1. The opening disclaimer for testing
          2. A Personal bio
          3. A brief test plan, just long enough to demonstrate you understand the
          product and where you will be testing it
          4. A link to your previous tests/ORs (summary page)
          5. List your current test load, or a link to your test status page
          6. List any applications currently under consideration
          7. List any additional BGT roles (mentor, monitor, etc.)

          Now for the TEST CALL SPECIFICS...

          - Newbie Limit DOES NOT Apply
          - US Shipping Included
          - Test Call closes @ 9 pm central time, Monday, March 8, 2010
          - Please included "Commuter Earwarmers" in the subject line of your application
          - Thomas Vickers is the Moderator for this test


          Happy applicating,

          TV
        • Thomas Vickers
          Not enough time to get a decent four months in so we are postponing this call till later. If you were polishing that application, I am sorry, save it. Thank
          Message 4 of 4 , Mar 5, 2010
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            Not enough time to get a decent four months in so we are postponing this
            call till later.
            If you were polishing that application, I am sorry, save it.

            Thank you for your cooperation.
            Resistance is futile

            TV
            > Well, there is nothing I can do about a cold hear, but if your ears
            > are a bit freezy, here is the item for you.
            > Three lucky testers will get a chance to test the Commuter Earwarmers
            >
            > http://www.180s.com/pages/catalog_view.aspx?g=1,2&y=7&i=132&c=1
            > <http://www.180s.com/pages/catalog_view.aspx?g=1,2&y=7&i=132&c=1>
            >
            >
            > Please remember the following in your succinct application:
            >
            > 1. The opening disclaimer for testing
            > 2. A Personal bio
            > 3. A brief test plan, just long enough to demonstrate you understand the
            > product and where you will be testing it
            > 4. A link to your previous tests/ORs (summary page)
            > 5. List your current test load, or a link to your test status page
            > 6. List any applications currently under consideration
            > 7. List any additional BGT roles (mentor, monitor, etc.)
            >
            > Now for the TEST CALL SPECIFICS...
            >
            > - Newbie Limit DOES NOT Apply
            > - US Shipping Included
            > - Test Call closes @ 9 pm central time, Monday, March 8, 2010
            > - Please included "Commuter Earwarmers" in the subject line of your
            > application
            > - Thomas Vickers is the Moderator for this test
            >
            >
            > Happy applicating,
            >
            > TV
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
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