Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - part 3 is a website that caters to various interests related to homesteading and small farms.  On their website they claim, and I quote

"Website - Website Forum is run by enthusiasts and not a company. We are not linked to any store and do not receive any corporate backing. All costs are out of our own pocket. We have monthly bandwidth and server rental costs, software registration fees, domain registration fees and other maintenance costs.    
We rely on member upgrades to help keep the community online.  "

Which on the face of it seems pretty reasonable and sounds good.  It's an amateur venture to help people with their homestead needs.

But it doesn't appear to be true.  In fact, here's the quote from the company that owns

Carbon Media Group is the largest digital media company in the world targeting those who live, work and play outdoors. We connect with these audiences through a variety of digital news, videos, websites and communities. Our network reaches over 20 million people every month through contextually relevant content built to engage all outdoor, adventure and agriculture enthusiasts."
I've often warned you that anything you see on the internet should be taken with a grain of salt, and it appears that there's a disconnect between the largest media company and the world and an amateur operation that is funded by the donations of its members.  I don't think that the two can be the same company, do you?  
Carbon Media group was very proud of their purchase of, and issued the following press release:  
I'm all for companies and profits.  But I'm not so much for companies that claim to be small and recieve no company backing actually turning out to be apparently the largest media company in the world in this topic area.  The largest company in the world.      
How about a little integrity, Carbon Media.   Whatever the reasons here, in my opinion this appears deceptive - a way to solicit money from people who think that they are supporting a small amateur operation. 
Would you care to comment, Carbon Media?  


grasspunk said...

Hey Bruce, thanks for this.

The link in the text is a bit messed up. Here's the press release, although it differs in wording:

Here's the only mention of it I found in a HT discussion forum:

Your favorite mod is there promoting the company line. As a cattle guy, I find HT low value except for the agmantoo thread on rotational grazing. There are better cattle sites for the questions I have, but now I am wondering if they're owned by Carbon Media too. :-)

Your post has me asking questions:

- What did I think was behind HT beforehand? I certainly felt it was a small operation with a few folks spending some time to help the community, not part of a larger media play. My ignorance, I guess.

- What did it sell for? How much value are us members generating for the owners?

- Now I know this is part of a larger media empire would I write posts for it? No, I'd keep them to my blog or other people's blogs.

- Does Carbon Media gain from their ownership being somewhat unknown? Oh yeah, else they would have made their brand explicit rather than limited to the registration legalese. I like the Angie

- Do the mods get paid or do they do it for the 'status'? No idea, but it seems like something that should be in the open.

Bruce King said...

Brent, thanks for finding the discussion of previous sales. I wonder how long this site has been apparently misleading its users -- it's had at least two corporate owners, and is now owned by the self-professed largest media company in the world in this subject area.

Another thing that bothers me about this site is that they have disabled my account on it, but there is no notice that it's been disabled, and you can still send private messages to it, and see content created by it. So as far as the public is concerned I'm an active user when the truth is that I'm no longer there in any fashion.

It helps them to be able to claim large user numbers, but my own experience here makes me wonder how many of the users are still there in reality?

I've sent an email to the PR department at carbon media asking them to clarify their position and have provided links to all three of these blog entries. lets see if they say anything in response. I'll post any reply I recieve.

Bruce King said...

oh -- on content. In the thread that I mentioned, on pastured pigs, there were 82 messages. Of those messages, roughly 30 were walter jefferies. The net effect of having one author write most of the content of a forum is that it presents mostly one view. If I want more of walter jefferies, he's got his own website that I can peruse - and when you combine this with banning anyone who disagrees with him, you basically get a 2nd walter jefferies website.
I stopped using that forum for that reason, and returned to find it even worse than it was.

George said...

AFAIK HT was bought in July or so last year. From what the admins say there is little to no contact from anyone at the media group regarding the day to day runnings, moderation, etc of the forums. Take that as you may.

Also... what other cattle forums do ya'll visit? Only one I know of is "cattletoday".

And I gotta agree.. that pig forum is the pits(pun intended).

Bruce King said...

For hog stuff, Jerry Darnell has run the homestead hog discussion group on yahoo for years. he's a small producer, is pretty diplomatic when it comes to disputes between people -- threads a good line allowing both sides to say their piece -- and it's got a pretty good archive. there's a fair bit of walter jefferies skepticism there a few years back.

grasspunk said...

George, the one that comes closest to my needs is a mailing list - grassfedbeef at yahoo:

For genetics and breeding I get a lot from reading Keeney's Corner:

The British Farming Forum has plenty of useful information:

Cattle Today too, of course.

And I use a private group a little bit, the Pasture Fed Livestock Association. It is British too, but they let me in even though I am in France.

In general I don't post but I do read a lot. For all the things I ask, the answers are usually all out there.

Mavis said...

Along the pig thread: what are you seeing for 2015 Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus? A slowdown or still blowing and going?