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Old 09-04-2009, 08:49 PM   #1
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Who actually owns this site?

I notice this statement at the bottom of this site...
"Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC."
The mind begs an answer to a question.
Who is "Social Knowledge LLC" and, in what way are they connected to this Airforums?
Just a straight answer will do..
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:57 PM   #2
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Does it really matter?

Hi, my understanding is this forum and all of the other forums listed on the bottom left are owned by Andy R.
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:21 PM   #3
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Thanks for your reply.
And, yes it matters.. otherwise I wouldn't asked the question.
I was surfing the web and, came across a site that was talking abt
airforums site and, how Social Knowledge LLC was making money from not only the members but from the number of hits per day on all of the websites.
I wanted to find out if there was any truth as to this guy's statements.
I reckon the truth is plain as day.
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:32 PM   #4
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The forum is owned by one guy Andy R (Andy Robinowitz). He has a small company called social knowledge llc and has collected several forums over the years. This was his first forum and was started as a hobby because he needed to restore his bambi.

As the site grew it took up more and more time to run it and eventually he quit his day job to run this forum. He aquired or built a few more sites and it turned into a going concern. Some people collect Airstreams - Andy seems to collect forums.

It costs money to keep the lights on here - bandwidth, etc all costs bucks. So - yes there is revenue from ads, etc. It amazes me that folks think that there is no cost associated with maintaining a large website - but they do.

Moderators here volunteer their time and lots of members help out by contributing articles and other content, for most of us it's about connecting with the airstream community and that's in keeping with the origins of this forum
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:11 PM   #5
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curious

I am curious, what are some of the other forums he owns/collects?
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:35 PM   #6
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I am curious, what are some of the other forums he owns/collects?
See the bottom left of the page for the links to other social knowledge sites

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Old 09-05-2009, 01:01 AM   #7
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I'm also a member of the rv forum and the cooking forum, both are very good with lots of information.

Marie
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Old 09-05-2009, 01:59 AM   #8
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That's an interesting question! You've been around since almost the beginning here; certainly before I joined in '03. You were around when some of us donated to Andy for one of the first server upgrades in late '03... If I may be so bold... what would prompt your concern now some six or seven years down the road?

Oh, and BTW... I can tell you that Andy isn't the next Warren Buffett from his collection of forums...

Roger

ON EDIT: I did a little research... and I expect I found the site you found....

That's amusing... obviously Airforums.com and Social Knowledge LLC are the Area 51 of the Internet! Geez...
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Old 09-05-2009, 06:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325 View Post

ON EDIT: I did a little research... and I expect I found the site you found....

That's amusing... obviously Airforums.com and Social Knowledge LLC are the Area 51 of the Internet! Geez...
That site, which was very critical of AirForums, is actually the site that led me to the AirForums in the first place, over a year and a half ago. I enjoy the delicious irony.

I'm not certain why some people seem offended that a person could make money off a forum like this one? Whether it's only enough to pay the bills, or enough to make Sam Walton look like a pauper, is irrelevant to me. I don't get angry when the owner of my favorite restaurant makes money from my patronage, so I don't know why anyone would be upset if the owner of this Forum does the same?

And here's the kicker-- unless you CHOOSE to donate, this Forum is free to users as well. If the owner generates revenue from advertising, it's still no different than most other sites out there. Except for this one, there is absolutely no charge unless you choose to contribute.

Anyway, I'd like to thank Andy R and the administrators and moderators for running a fantastic site. I've participated in, moderated, and owned many online Forums (we used to call them BBSs) over the past 2+ decades, and this is one of the very best I've ever been a part of.

Thanks!
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Old 09-05-2009, 07:16 AM   #10
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Thumbs up

Whatever the cost, should one decide to support (or not), it's well worth it. There's nothing out there that even comes close to this Airstream community. And I kind of like the "Area 51" reference.
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Old 09-05-2009, 07:46 AM   #11
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

I have participated and continue to participate on a number of forums that relate to my various interests.

Some are better than others. Most have some good information, and I have learned many things. Some are real snoozers. All are started with good intentions, and have some type of advertising to keep them going.

Airforums is, by far, the best, most active, most informative, best moderated (I felt this way long before becoming one of the moderators), best organized, and most progressive forum of any kind that I have ever seen.

If Andy R. can make a living by doing forums, more power to him. This is the American way. If this does not sit well with someone, there is another Airstream Forum out there.

Brian
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Old 09-05-2009, 08:25 AM   #12
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I applaud Organic Andy's profits. Did he ever fix his Bambi?

However the member who asked has every right to ask IMHO. really no need to talk down to him for a simple and courteous question. I did not read it that he was complaining about profitability.
It would make a much better forum world if all classes of members tried to follow the nice rule. Not just the bourgeois pizzants like many of us.


Hey Marcus which forums did you moderate and which did you own over the last 20 years? Looks like you are fishing to become one here. Hope it works out for you.
Are your above mentioned forums still up? I'd like to check them out.
BTW What is the site that is bad mouthing this forum? Tell me by PM if you fear putting it on the public forum please.
I'll Take Louisana Monroe and 66 points for 50 if you are confident.
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Old 09-05-2009, 08:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post

However the member who asked has every right to ask IMHO. really no need to talk down to him for a simple and courteous question. I did not read it that he was complaining about profitability.
It would make a much better forum world if all classes of members had to follow the nice rule. Not just the bourgeois pizzants like many of us.
It's not a matter of the right to ask... it's that the subject is treated like running a website for profit is somehow secret, shameful, or scandalous.

It's common knowledge.

There's nothing wrong with providing a service for a profit (albeit small). And it's unfortunate that you seem to feel that there's some class distinction in the operation of the forums. I can assure you that the staff of the forums do our level best to ensure that the rules are administered as even-handedly as is humanly possible.

Roger
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Old 09-05-2009, 08:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
I applaud Organic Andy's profits. Did he ever fix his Bambi?

However the member who asked has every right to ask IMHO. really no need to talk down to him for a simple and courteous question. I did not read it that he was complaining about profitability.
It would make a much better forum world if all classes of members tried to follow the nice rule. Not just the bourgeois pizzants like many of us.


Hey Marcus which forums did you moderate and which did you own over the last 20 years? Looks like you are fishing to become one here. Hope it works out for you.
Are your above mentioned forums still up? I'd like to check them out.
BTW What is the site that is bad mouthing this forum? Tell me by PM if you fear putting it on the public forum please.
I'll Take Louisana Monroe and 66 points for 50 if you are confident.
Ha! We all know Mack will pull the starters in the 3rd if the score is getting out of hand. Texas seldom covers ridiculous spreads for that reason.

The BBSs I owned and operated were back in the 80s and early 90s, they were private and none are currently functioning (I ran one of them from my own personal Apple IIe, and another from a university server). The ones I've moderated are college football forums (a great passion of mine as you obviously know ).

But I no longer moderate any of them, and am DEFINITELY not looking to be asked to moderate here. I prefer to remain a normal member, it is more fun for me that way.

-Marcus
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Old 09-05-2009, 08:56 AM   #15
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One other thing-- my response was not directed to the original poster, but rather to that website that was bad-mouthing the AirForums and (without naming him) badmouthing Andy R. I hope the OP did not take my response as being directed toward him.

I don't know the URL for that website, it turned up when I did a Google search on "Airstream forums" or something like that, over a year and a half ago when I first became serious about finding an Airstream. I clicked on that one, which referred to this site, and quickly came over here. I've been a happy member here ever since. This is a great place for all things Airstream, all things RV in general, and many things completely unrelated to either.

-Marcus
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Old 09-05-2009, 09:05 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
However the member who asked has every right to ask IMHO. really no need to talk down to him for a simple and courteous question. I did not read it that he was complaining about profitability.
It would make a much better forum world if all classes of members had to follow the nice rule. Not just the bourgeois pizzants like many of us.

BTW What is the site that is bad mouthing this forum? Tell me by PM if you fear putting it on the public forum please.
Most detractors of this site were asked to leave because of behavior. It's that nice thing again. Some have set up websites others have threatened to do such and have discovered the work and effort that goes into setting up and running a site like this. None have created a base of knowledge and experiences that have been collected here. It truely is a lot of work to do this. And in the case of this site was done with a small group of volunteer moderators that have a geunine interest in the Airstream product and seeing the information become available to all.

So this site is all about sharing experiences, knowledge, thoughts and ideas around the Airstream product. The negative stuff really doesn't fit here, however it is available elsewhere on the net. In fact the negative behavior actually hinders growth so as a group we do not want the negative around here. Differences of opinion or a discussion about how to do things differently are some things that are encouraged. Taking a shot at some one isn't the kind of thing that works.

I have been here for 7 to 8 years and have seen this site grow from a couple thousand users to what it is now. Much of this growth has been foster by Andy R. He created the site and continues to implement tweeks and improvements behind the scenes that offer you as the user a better site to navigate. As an example most of the tabs at the top of this page were not available when this site hit the web. They have all been additions since the creation.

I hope you enjoy this site and use it to enhance your Airstream experience. We will do our best to improve the site and make it useful for you be here in this corner of the world wide web.

>>>>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 09-05-2009, 10:04 AM   #17
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Interesting thread, I love the conspiracy theories. Here is a post I made over 4 years ago that talks about AIR Forums and how it got started!
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f368...-me-19276.html

It's pretty wild to read that post and think that I am still traveling. I am currently in Brazil where I'll stay until next year. I have two suitcases of stuff with me which really keeps life simple. I posted some info about Nomadic Living over on Early-Retirement.org another Social Knowledge site:
http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...ing-43799.html

My Bambi is still not finished but I am getting some exterior skin work done while I am gone. Next year I'll be back in the States and hope to make a plan on the interior refit.

Regarding Social Knowledge and the trademark stuff at the bottom, I'll share some of that info with you so these inquisitive minds can be put to rest. Basically I started AIR when I got aluminitus and had some time on my hands. I went back to work and slowly my primary hobby/fascination turned from Airstreams to online forum communities. Through a fluke (Google Images search) I ran across a forum that was going to be shut down by the owner because of the operating costs (link to more info on Wikipedia). I adopted the site and got to work empowering the members who were passionate on the topic to lead the site themselves.

Shortly after the same owner wanted to get rid of another forum he owned and I bought it. I think some people on the forums for forum owners saw that I really cared about the forum communities and approached me when they wanted to be relieved of their forum management duties. That's when I started to work on building an infrastructure that would allow me to leverage economies of scale to make unprofitable sites self sustaining. I slowly kept growing the company to the point it is today reaching over 1 million unique people every month and allowing over 11 million pages of knowledge to be shared for FREE through the support of advertising.

I got a chance to visit Washington DC earlier this year and speak to the staff of various congressmen and senators (and FCC) about the ad supported internet and the free services that are provided to millions of Americans. It's a symbiotic relationship, a truly unique business model that is a win-win for everyone involved. Here is a video that shows about small publishers like me/Social Knowledge and how the ad supported internet is empowering businesses to provide services for free

I think a big part of the success of the Social Knowledge sites has been my decision to empower the sites to be managed by a team of peers (mods and admins). Regardless of the topic or my affinity for the subject, IMO it's critical that the communities are run by members who will represent the needs of the members and keep the best interest of the community in mind when making decisions. The goal is that being a mod or admin never feels like work, that it's something fun to do since you would probably be on the site anyway. When members cause so many issues that it feels like a full time job managing them, that's when the whole model starts to break down because few people enjoy volunteering when you are constantly dealing with an issue or member who simply cannot adhere to our simple Community Rules. Our members on AIR and mod/admin team are the reason this site has been such a great place to share our knowledge and love of Airstreams!

Oh yeah, the whole licensing part of the bottom is in place because Airstream put on some pressure back in 2004/2005 stating we were violating their trademarks with the use of AirstreamForums.com. In order to move forward we had to sign a licensing deal with them and part of the deal was to put that in the footer. Since then, they have gone after no other sites, I think the corporate attitude has changed regarding the topic.
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Old 09-05-2009, 11:19 AM   #18
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Andy is much more forth coming about his involvement in his various enterprises than any site owners I know would be. It is none of my business if he is becoming rich and famous as it would not be my problem if he was scraping to make ends meet. Andy has provided a great service to the Air Stream Community and other Communities as well. I frequent many sites as I have many interests, Airforums is definitely the best. I almost got kicked off of one site because I told them the should emulate Andy's model. Everyone should thank Andy for what he has done.
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Old 09-05-2009, 11:48 AM   #19
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psstt....

ya wanna know how to stick it to a rich website hoster? don't click on any of the links! then he won't get paid! that'll fix 'em!

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Old 09-05-2009, 12:20 PM   #20
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This is a subject where it's hard to have a relaxed, reasonable, rational conversation. Even if one asks out of simple curiousity, I think some folks have a natural inclination to defend Andy... even if a defense really isn't required.

The dynamic tension I sense here is not really about the money. For the most part, I suspect the folks who have some sort of aversion to Andy running site this as a business have some other, deeper issue. It's not like we expect our local merchants to act as nonprofits. Besides, the people who find a bone to pick with Airforums generally wander away.

I think Andy touched upon the issue in his post... the relationship between the Airforums and "the mothership," the Airstream company. I think there is a broad understanding among afficianados that this is "not your father's Airstream." QC issues, corrosion issues, service and support issues, inscrutable design decisions, odd marketing choices, a sense that the modern Airstream represents more compromise than commitment... pick your issue. Airforums is an electronic watering hole for fans of the travel trailer... but not necessarily fans of the modern company. And while some of the Airforums members are, let's call it "hoping for change," the Airforums management team seems to want to build a closer relationship to the corporation.

This is the ticklish part. It really isn't Airstream, the subsidiary of Thor, that makes Airforums. It's Andy's business which is patronized by you and me. And since we're coming to "Airforums" to talk about Airstreams... we're inevitably going to talk about what we think the company needs to do to improve... which may ruffle a few feathers at the mothership.

Now, if Airstream--the company--was truly a 21st organization, it would embrace Airforums while encouraging open, candid discussions about its products. This could be the best QC division in the RV industry. Unfortunately, my gut sense is that Airstream is still stuck in the 80s, reading some Japanese TQM manuals while Airforums is continuing to evolve. My concern is not whether or not Andy is making any money. It's about whether or not Airforums will come to a point, dramatically or incrementally, where a choice must be made between the forum members and the mothership. I don't think it would be anything as dramatic as Airstream trying to strong-arm Andy... but it could be something as subtle as the moderators having a gentle bias towards not offending the mothership.

Well, let's just hope Airstream decides to catch up with us.
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