Originally Posted by cb550f
Has anyone read the “Online Motorcycle Boards” article in the April issue of Motorcycle Consumer News? I don’t see any of the concerns on this board that LT Snyder brought up in his article, but I have noticed that we are part of the “Enthusiast Communities, LLC” that he mentioned. I have a tremendous amount of respect and appreciation for those that manage and contribute to keeping this site the “Wellspring of Knowledge” that it is. (Pretty good entertainment, too)
I have certainly gained a lot from this site and the CCRs are well organized -and great fun. Hopefully we can remain a “family” and not get over commercialized like the article suggest is happening to other similar boards. Just my $ .02.
Yes, I read the article. I wrote a letter to the editor asking them how they can print such totally inaccurate drivel, with no attempt at fact checking. I was hopeful they would respond to my email prior to addressing the editorial in this forum.
You can find the editorial here
The facts are that Enthusiast Communities, LLC is the company Andy, Jeff and I formed when we moved this forum to vBulletin based software - October 1, 2005. While Mr Snyder may have 'just noticed' the blurb at the bottom, it has been there for two and one half years. While he rails at the corporate takeover of web communities such as this, the fact is that you belong to one of the few communities that is owned by motorcyclists, operated by motorcyclists and committed to the joy of motorcycling.
Why is there an Enthusiast Communities, LLC? We formed a company (a limited liability partnership) as a means of providing a modicum of legal insulation between an entity we operate as a hobby and our personal lives.
You will not notice banner ads on this website and we are not beholdin' to any of our supporting dealers. Mr Snyder estimates that we bring in $175,000 per year through the advertising on this website. A simple check at the bottom under 'Support this Community' will show you that vendors and dealers pay $120 per year to support this community. If Mr Snyder had taken a simple look at this fact or if he had bothered to contact us to find out the facts, he would have found that his estimate of advertising income for this community was off by over $172,000.00.
The facts are simple:
- This community is NOT owned by a faceless corporation. It is owned by individuals who are committed to the motorcycling community.
- This website does not have banner ads, Google ad ribbons or any other form of intrusive advertising.
- The owners of this website do not derive any income whatsoever from this community, in fact we are net contributors.
- The individuals who own this community are the same ones who started it nearly 6 years ago. I worked with Bruce Wagner in 1999 as we were starting the original eGroups mailing list that was the true beginning of this community.
If it sounds like I am more than a little pissed - I am. The fact that Mr. Snyder would jump to such totally inaccurate conclusions and print baseless innuendo really floors me. MCN would allow such an editorial be published and completely ignore my written demands for an opportunity to correct the inaccuracies, makes me sceptical of the value of anything they publish. To suggest that this community is one of 'those' that the author is so adamantly opposed to , causes harm to the very kind of community that he laments having lost.
This community does not control the message. The only control we place on our members posting is to make it compliant with the site guidelines. The supporting vendors and dealers do not influence the control of the message around here. In fact we control their ability to overwhelm us with their message. Vendors are confined to their own forums - we completely prohibit any commercial messages within our general forums.
If you ever want to speak with the 'faceless' corporation that is Enthusiast Communities, LLC drop a PM to me or Andy. Or you can look for other individuals who volunteer as Moderators around here - most of them spend more time helping to manage this community than they do riding.
You can also find me working on another CCR
this year (my 9th) along with many other hard working and unpaid volunteers.
Please take a moment and drop MCN an email at [email protected]
and let them know how disappointed you are that they would do a hatchet job on one of the few remaining enthusiast owned and operated motorcycle web communities remaining. Ask them why they chose not to respond to a request for clarification. Ask them why you should trust them to get any facts correct , when they completely missed on these that are easy to check.
Below is the message I sent them.
To Whom it May Concern;
I just read an editorial in your April 2008 issue by LT Snyder. It was quite distressing to read some glaring errors and incorrect suppositions in the article. I am the managing partner of Enthusiast Communities, LLC. We own and operate bmwlt.com and www.k-bikes.com. We have owned and operated these sites since the beginning, we created both of them. I am currently an owner of 5 BMW motorcycles and am a frequent participant in the forums. We created www.bmwlt.com (then www.k1200lt.net) April1 , 2002 to replace the message group we had created on the old eGroups (now Yahoogroups) mailing list. We created the k1200lt forum on eGroups in 1999 as we were among the first to own a K1200LT – I purchased the second or third sold in Denver. When the advertising on Yahoogroups got too intrusive, we started the k1200lt.net forums, at our own expense, to provide our members with a focused community, free from intrusive advertising. I still operate the Yahoogroups k1200lt list for those who simply will not leave that format.
In October 2005 we formed Enthusiast Communities, LLC, primarily to provide a layer of insulation between this hobby and our personal finances. Enthusiast Communities, LLC is still limited to two partners - I am the manager and Andreas Pleschutznig is the technical manager. We own 100% of the company and we are definitely not some monolithic corporation out for profit.
When the author of the editorial states that he ‘estimated the board was taking in approximately $175,000 each year in sponsor fees’, he couldn’t be further off target. If you click on the ‘Support this Community’ button at the bottom of either of our websites, you will see that vendor or dealer sponsorship costs just $120.00 per year. Our current vendor income generates less in revenue than we spend on ISP charges alone. In all of our years of operating these communities we have not received any financial compensation whatsoever. We have not even tried to recoup our initial expenses we incurred when we formed the independent operation nearly six years ago.
The supporting dealers and vendors have no control over what is posted in our communities whatsoever. We operate communities that encourage and support the completely free flow of information among our members. The only control we impose on posting in our forums is if there is a violation of our clearly stated site guidelines.
I am one of the founding directors of Curve Cowboy Reunion, have been chairman of that organization in 2003 and 2005 and am currently the vice-Chairman for 2008. I am slated to be the chairman again for our tenth Reunion in 2009. That organization is a IRS 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the BMW luxury touring community. Our annual reunion generates over $20,000 in charitable contributions given to local charities at the end of each year’s reunion. You can find out more about that organization at www.curvecowboyreunion.com. To mention Enthusiast Communities, LLC as one of the bad guys, is a complete disservice to our current and future membership. If the author of the editorial had done even a modicum of due diligence, he would have learned that we operate one of the few communities that remains true to our members. All he would have had to do is contact us to ask us about the board ownership, the makeup of our partnership or any other item that he merely supposes in the article. He would have gotten concise and open answers from me. If you or the author wants to speak directly with me, I am available at any time. You can find me hanging out on our communities with the username of ‘Randy’, you can email me or you can call me at (303) XXX-XXXX.
It is unfortunate that the author of your editorial was so careless in his investigation of the ‘facts’ stated in his article. The truth about us and what we do would probably be a better read and inspire a lot more interest from your readers. I am surprised and a little disappointed that a magazine such as yours, which I always thought to be as pure as our communities, would print something without any effort to fact check. I will certainly read any articles published in your magazine with a skeptical eye.
I must, most emphatically, ask you to publish an equally visible article stating the truth about our communities. I am hopeful that your blatant misstatement of the facts will not cause any long-term harm to come to our communities.
Enthusiast Communities, LLC
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