May 22, 2007 - Why do we do it?
You know, sometimes I wonder why we do treadmill and elliptical product reviews. Lately I have been talking to the heads of various different fitness manufacturing companies and I keep coming back to the same thing. Why do we do it? Treadmill Doctor doesn't make any money from reviews. No marketing revenue, no advertising revenue, and no fees for referring product ... nothing! In fact, the funny thing is that Treadmill Doctor is growing like crazy right now. Our parts sales are up by double digit percentages; our service locations are growing and increasing in sales. Sometimes it seems that the product reviews are just a distraction to us.
Sometimes we wonder why we do it! I wonder this on days like today. Today I went to Google and searched for treadmill reviews on the web. The funning thing is that there are several websites advertising reviews. I decided to click on the sites and read the reviews. The problem is that it amazes me how thin these sites are. They have no way to make money except to refer people to sites that sell treadmills and get a percentage for it. It is sad that I know that people are getting snookered by these people. These sites claim to be completely unbiased. They refer you to a particular model to buy and then get 8% from Sole, Smooth, or Fitness Blowout for the trouble.
Treadmill Doctor originally decided to do treadmill reviews as a marketing gimmick. We thought that if we brought eyeballs to our website we would get people to buy parts, accessories, etc. Unfortunately this has never worked out very well. Most of the people that come to our website don't every purchase a thing. Honestly, I don't know why we keep doing it except that we have always had fun poking fun at the establishment. My brother and I were the kids that would make fun of the rules and the people that made them. It is the same attitude that allows us to make comets like "You will get more value from burning your money than you will if you buy this treadmill!" Frankly that is true for a lot of the product on the market.
I guess the reason that we still do the treadmill and elliptical reviews is that we just like making fun of people that take themselves too seriously. Since we don't really take ourselves that seriously, I still believe that we can give a fairly honest opinion of what we think. So people, remember the following things when you are reading reviews: 1) where do they make their money? 2) Are they affiliate websites pushing product? and 3) Am I getting screwed? Just remember that product reviews are OK, but if it sounds too good to be true, it is!
May 31st, 2007 - Another Day in Paradise.
We are hard at getting the new treadmill and elliptical reviews together for the 2007-2008 model year. We are often asked how we do this. In the interest of full disclosure to the people reading the website I thought that I might include some of the benchmarks that we are shooting for this year and giving people updates as we move along. During the last month we have mailed our initial information request forms to all manufacturers. These forms are requesting the initial information that we need from each manufactures. We request various things such as, the name and price of each model that they will be producing for the upcoming year. For each of these models we ask for design schematics, engineering specifications, component manufacturers, etc. This builds the initial database that we use to evaluate the units.
For many of these units, they will be carried over from last year; many will be new for this year. For the new models we have already started to receive them for our testing systems. We have machines that we place the units on to do durability testing. Some are sent to us from manufacturers and some are purchased by us for testing. The month of June and July will be interesting. This is the major time for our physical testing of product. All in all we have been developing the new product testing schedule for about three months. We will have about another three months of design evaluation and testing. Believe me this is an expensive process. Oh, well. I will put up another entry sometime in early June to keep everyone informed of where we are on the testing. If you have any questions please email me at email@example.com.