Once again, I want to raise the issue of a mark for sponsered jumpers.
The advice given by a sponsered jumper in terms of gear reviews is skewed, it is not un-biased no matter what the jumper says. Simply put, its like asking a Catholic priest what religion will get you to heave. You think he's going to say anything but Catholism? He might, but which one is he going to push the hardest? Not Buddism I promise you that.
Same with gear.
This post is brought about by yet another sponsered jumper STRONGLY pushing the gear that he is sponsered by and not stating that he was sponsered until specifically asked.
This is a serious issue and needs to be taken into consideration again, HH.
Sponsered jumpers are incredibly valuable in answering questions about their gear, but not when recommending gear to low time jumpers who may not know any better, presenting skewed information without prefacing it with the fact that they are sponsered is unethical.
Sponsered jumpers are incredibly valuable in answering questions about their gear, but not when recommending gear to low time jumpers who may not know any better
Don't generalize, Dave. Just as not every tandem instructor is going to push tandem progression on newbies, not every sponsored jumper is going to push what they jump onto someone it may not be suitable for (for whatever reason).
I don't see that me saying I love my (sponsored) Infinity is any different from a 50 jump wonder saying that s/he loves his/her (full price) whatever.
I see it as misleading lowbie jumpers. I know that's something that you hold dear to your heart, helping low time jumpers into gear that fits their need, not gear that fits your need. However, not everyone is like you, some push basically only the gear they are sponsered with and it has been a prevelent problem on DZ.com for alteast a year (that I've noticed, longer then that I bet).
Thus, if sponsered jumpers and manufacuters were marked then it would be easier for a low time jumper to see through the bullshit.
If someone with 3800 jumps and 13 years in the sport says "X is the gear you should go with" and someone with 50 jumps says "Y is the gear" who is a newbie going to believe. Now lets say "billy" with 3800 jumps is a sponsered jumper who doesn't mention that he is sponsered nor does he mention anything about other quality gear, how ethical is that? Please tell me exactly how that is at all ethical.
Who would decide who is considered "sponsored" and who isn't?
You'd have to define sponsorship very clearly. What is your definition?
Exactly. Technically, my Odyssey was bought through sponsorship. I got it way lower than dealer price. Am I sponsored by Sunpath? not by far. My deal was purely due to doing a lot of coaching with the right people at the right time and being offered a sweet deal. Does this make me *sponsored*? I don't think so. I wouldn't have bought anything else at that time. My rig would look the same with or without the deal I got.
Who would decide who is considered "sponsored" and who isn't?
Simply by manufacture's definitions. As per my understanding there is some sort of contractual deal for sponsered jumpers, be it verbal or written.
Would a staff rig from a DZ be considered a sponsered jumper? Well, sure, sponserd by the DZ, so does that really matter? Getting gear 1/2 off of gear in return to "spread the word" about the gear would definately be considered sponsered. Someone on a RW team that's sponsered by a jumpsuit manufacture? Sure. Someone who's a swooper and given canopies at a rediculously reduced price...sure.
I guess in my mind its pretty cut and dry.
How would this be policed? Jumpers know their own, it would be easy to drop PMs for those who aren't honest, although I would rather not see this happen.
Hell, leave it up to the person to list themselves as sponsered, BUT as we've seen, some jumpers don't have the moral fiber to do that now, although so do...
The way I see it is if someone is looking at buying gear and they don't do their homework than that's their problem. People spending several thousand dollars on equipment need to take responsibility for their decisions. Experienced people offering advise on what they consider to be good should by no means be taken by the buyer to mean that it will be just as good for them. Everyone pushes their own barrow. (my Jav rocks, my Mirage is great etc...) I see lots of industries where purchasers don't do their own leg work and get caught with gear that may not be best suited for them. Now all of what I'm referring to has nothing what so ever to do with people profering bad advice to low time jumpers. I'm only referring to people buying gear in general, it's your money (or their money) you decide how best to spend it wisely. I for one do NOT take anyones opinion as a reason for making an expensive purchase.
(This post was edited by Squeak on Dec 5, 2004, 4:49 AM)
I for one do NOT take anyones opinion as a reason for making an expensive purchase.
That's the smart way, but preditory gear dealers wouldn't still be in business if everyone did their homework...same thing with gear advice. I've known a good number of jumpers who were very unhappy with their first rig because they followed the advice of someone they trusted. Turns out the person they trusted had an underlying motive to sell them that gear for a reason other then its what would be the best gear for them.
Honestly, I dont see what the difference is between what a sponsered jumper would say and what a non-sponsered jumper would say when it comes to comparing gear that many have not even tried.. I trained on Mirage gear, I now own Mirage gear, and I love it.. I tell people I love it, but using this thought process I shouldnt say that because I have not jumped anything else.. You wanna mark me too? I may have low jump numbers now, but that will not always be the case, and there is a pretty good chance that I still will be jumping the same type of gear, so someone wont be able to go off of jump numbers for me eather.. I really dont see what the big deal is, as a new jumper.. I think you will also find just as many posts saying why gear isnt so great that one person says rocks, .. I dunno... [/my opinion]
good idea though.. it could even be a positive for the manufacturers (a bit of extra advertising by noting the number of people using their gear professionaly) and a point of clarity as to 'where' the advice/recommendations come from by identifying obviously sponsored jumpers to everyone else...
of course the question becomes what 'level' of sponsorship?? if i were forming a team i would go to the manufacturers of the gear i use already and ask for sponsorship..why? because i know, use and trusted it BEFORE they 'paid' me to do so... why should my recommendation be classified in the same manner as someone who has gotten all their gear for free for years and who 'jumps' from one sponsor to the next based on who has the deepest pocket to support their activity?
(This post was edited by Zenister on Dec 6, 2004, 12:04 AM)
why should my recommendation be classified in the same manner as someone who has gotten all their gear for free for years and who 'jumps' from one sponsor to the next based on who has the deepest pocket to support their activity?
That brings up a good point. Although, since you would have crossed the line from supporter of good gear to compensated to promote brand of gear, you should be marked. You can always state in your post that you jumped brand X for years and years before you became sponsered and you persued a sponsership because you believe in the gear.
Basically we wouldn't be having this conversation if a group of sponsered jumpers were ethical in the firstplace with stating they're sponserships while recommending low time jumpers gear...so its not the folks like your example that are the problem, its the others.
I first met you at Skydive Aggieland and this dz to me is a small skydiving operation in the big scheme of things - nothing wrong with that either. I work for the Relative Workshop in Deland, Florida.
I will give you some background to myself. I started skydiving at a dz which was not much bigger/smaller than Skydive Aggieland. It was a club and it has its negatives and positives just like any dz come big or small. Now because I jumped in South Africa I was exposed mainly to local manufacturers gear - nothing wrong with this, but one thing I never saw or heard from were manufacturers. Skydiving was my passion and that is exactly what brought me to the States - I worked hard at my skydiving getting ratings and jumping my ass off... Anyone who knows me will know that I am a Tandem junkie - I am passionate about tandems and it is such a wonderful way to introduce someone to the sport we all love. Even if it is only for one jump! If you want to flag my posts on these forums - go ahead. I really do not care - I don't think people will take my advice any differently because I work for a manufacturer. I will say that if you want my job you better have the experience and knowledge about gear and you better have the ability to learn and have an open mind. In the industry of skydiving manufacturers we have an unwritten code of ethics... we don't bash other manufacturers gear what so ever. I have on many occasions spoken to my opposition about issues that we may be having or that they are having. We all have one common goal and that is to build the safest gear for the skydivers with the availible resourse at our hands. If your suggesting that people should take my advice with a pinch of salt you got to be kidding me! I have seen many friends getting hurt in this sport and a good few I have lost to this sport... I have watched stupid things being done at all dz's around the world. But, one thing is for sure I will not lie to someone about the safety of gear. I have a Skyhook on my Micron - do you think for one second I am not going to push it... Its my job and besides I believe in the product much like the Sigma Tandem Systems. If I know that there is something safer out there - I want it... anyone just coming off AFF - is it a question as to whether they get a AAD? Hell no, no student of mine is buying gear without one - times do changes as we learn. At RWS we have 4 full time Engineers - we are constantly working on new projects to build and innovate the best and safest damn gear you can buy... why because we have passion! Next time you are in Deland I invite you to come and visit me - I will take you on a tour and introduce you to our Engineers and tell me you walked away not learning anything from us! So, to answer your request.
Flag my posts - maybe someone will actually take me a little more seriously
Dave, I know you mean well, but I can tell you that you can learn some good things from Sponsored Jumpers and those that have sold their soles to the industry working for the maufacturers like myself. Just FYI - I earn a salary and I am not driven by commision what so ever.
My 02 cents... sorry if this comes across the wrong way, but I feel your attacking those of us that work in the industry full time.
Going Xtra Huge!!!
Egon Sales & Marketing Tandem Program Examiner The Uninsured Relative Workshop, Inc. "Leading Through Advanced Innovation"
of course the question becomes what 'level' of sponsorship??
I didn't pay for my main. It was given to me as a bonus by my then employers - does that mean I'm sponsored by Square One?
I got an almost free solid pink Flite Suit a few years ago. Does that mean Flite Suit sponsors me? If it does, then either Flite Suit or Zute Suit sponsored every jumper on JFTC '02.
I liked my pink suit so much I ordered another suit from Flite Suit and got a less-than-dealer cost discount. Does that mean Flite Suit sponsored me?
I liked both suits so much that I ordered a third suit from Flite Suit and got the standard dealer discount since the order came through a dealership I had with them. Am I no longer sponsored by them (if I ever was)?
I feel your attacking those of us that work in the industry full time.
There is a difference in real life and DZ.com. Firstly, I would love to see folks like yourself marked as well. Why? You work for a manufacture, you've got the inside scoop on how, why, when, how much, etc for that manufacture. That way folks would know who to contact. I think that would create an invaluable source of information available to folks who don't actually know who the various DZ.com users are that work for manufactures, etc.
I also feel like sponsered jumpers are a good source of information concerning that brand of gear. However, I think the line is drawn at sponsered jumpers on DZ.com stating that brand X is great, etc without mentioning they're sponsered by brand X.
In real life its different, meeting someone in person you're going to know pretty damned quick if they're sponsered by something or something. However, DZ.com being far from real life, I would like to see a safeguard for low time jumpers against blanket advice from sponsered jumpers.
Since I'm around DZ.com a lot, I've seen this quite a bit. A sponsered jumper pushing the gear that he/she is sponsered by without mentioning that they are sponsered by that company. That jumper has a lot of experience, is a low time jumper going to believe that person? They very well might. Is that really the best gear for that person? Not all the time, I've seen some very bad advice given in this manner to low time jumpers.
Basically my passion is low time jumpers and student jumpers, I'm absolutely tired of them getting skewed advice from someone who doesn't have the moral fiber to mention they're sponsered by a manufacture when posting about gear advice.
Egon, you're an upstanding guy, anyone with the patience to answer all of my questions about being a TM has to be an upstanding guy. If everyone was like you, then this thread would have never started. Unfortunately not everyone operates on the same level of ethics as you.
I can tell you that you can learn some good things from Sponsored Jumpers and those that have sold their soles to the industry working for the maufacturers like myself. Just FYI - I earn a salary and I am not driven by commision what so ever.
My 02 cents... sorry if this comes across the wrong way, but I feel your attacking those of us that work in the industry full time.
Ditto. Furthermore, many of the sponsored jumpers list their sponsorships in their personal profile. That is easy enough to look up. Secondly, there are plenty of other things that this site could use without spending time and resources to create an additional "mark". Lastly, most sponsored folks are stright forward about their sponsorships and offer experiences based on having used other manufacturers gear. In fact they are encouraged to do so in order to offer educated information.
most sponsored folks are stright forward about their sponsorships
Then we've had a few folks with a lower standard of ethics then the rest and it has caused problems. This thread started out of frustration for the low time jumper.
Since apparently I'm the only one that has seen these issues and have a problem with the ethics of some of the posts by sponsered jumpers I've seen over the past few years, then I'll leave this thread be.
How about marking DZ's that push Tandem prgression? Should we make sure that all newbies coming into the sport be notified by the DZ that pushes such a program that they really don't have to do it?
I think that is more of a shame then a sponsored jumper pushing his favorite gear. As long as the sponsored jumper advices them of the correct equipment for there exprience level. That is why they are sponsored in the first place.
I sometimes tell people that I am sponsored and sometime not. Depends on the converstaion. Not trying to hide anything at all. It just doesn't fit into every conversation.
I agree with you Dave. Its alot like employees doing reviews of their dz (employer) without being biased. But part of the problem is one person's definition of sponsorship.
I personally do not think someone who is getting a free piece of equipment is going to tell me that xyz company is really better but this was free so I jump it and as long as I push their equipment I will get free equipment.
Dave, to help shed some light on this subject and back Egon, sponsorship is one of those things as a manufacturers rep is somewhat difficult. Theoretically, a sposored jumper is a direct representative of the gear manufacturer him or her is sponsored by. I can understand you concerns about someone being ethical when recommending gear to a newer jumper but ethics should not have to do with the sponsorship but rather the individual.
I cannot speak for the other manufacturers, but with Mirage Systems, a majority of our sponsored athletes did not get their rigs for free. Especially the first ones and some did not get them for free for several seasons. What a manufacturer definitely does not want is a sponsored athlete pushing a product because it was free to them. We want our athlete to push the gear because they believe it is the best gear for the end user may it be a newer jumper or an experienced jumper wanting to know about new advancements in technology.
The manufacturers do want to see a return on their investment so of course the sponsored athlete is required to perform for us. So should the athlete reccomend the gear, of course that is what they are supposed to do. I do not know who this sponsored person you are referring to is but if if he i fact believes in his product, it shouldn't matter if he discloses if he is sponsored or not. MANY dealers recommend to newer jumpers what product they like for one reason or another so should we mark them too? JT
The difference with a dealer is that you're aware of their potential vested interest.
I'm with AggieDave on this. If a sponsored jumper declares that fact, then you can adjust your opinion of their recommendations appropriately. If they neglect to mention that they're required to promote the product they're recommending, then I believe they're being unethical.
Simply, it's the difference between a disinterested and an interested recommendation.
I think it's funny that most of the people who replied here are sponsered jumpers. I think that most non-sponsered jumpers would agree with you, Dave. It is nice to be able to recognize someone that has other interests in mind when giving advice. Does that mean we should throw what they say out the window? Of course not, they are very knowledgable and obviously have experience with the product. But, it is doubtful that the sponsered jumpers will tell you of faults in the product they are sponsering.... whereas Joe-who-jumps-a-paid-for-product will probably give his honest opinion on every aspect of the rig/canopy/etc... good or bad.
I *think* I can usually tell when someone has other interests when they recommend things to me, but for the sake of the newer jumpers, marking might be a good thing (at least within their profile.)
When looking for gear I would want to talk to sponsored athletes and get their more informed view.
Of course! There's absolutely no inference that folk wouldn't listen to or ask questions of sponsored jumpers just because they're sponsored.
Some of the sponsored jumpers here seem to be taking Dave's suggestion as an affront to their personal integrity. It isn't. As highly experienced, very credible sources of information, I'd simply like to know if they had a contractual obligation to promote a particular product.