Friday, March 21, 2008

MBI revisited.

This is a follow-up to my previous post about MBI. Since that time Mike Werner and I have exchanged correspondence. I haven't had a total turn-around in outlook but I do have an increased appreciation for his goals. We've worked out our differences over the e-mails and things. In an effort to be fair I felt like I should do this additional post.

By the way, Happy Good Friday and Easter! I have the day off and there's a little sunshine. Saturday and Sunday afternoons will see me riding an hour South and teaching an eager new group of riders.

As you are out and about this weekend, be on the watch for small animals! ( especially Rabbits encumbered with big baskets! )

Back to MBI. Mike and I talked about the tone of the e-mails. I can understand the frustration that came through. He's wondering why so many bloggers sign up and then don't participate. Especially in the voting process. I have to admit I was one of those many bloggers. I still sort of resent the tone but can understand where Mike was coming from. In my first e-mail to Mike I stated that maybe I wasn't the kind of blogger he was looking for in MBI. I tend to be more of a solitary creature. Probably one of the reasons I'm hooked on long distance type riding. To his credit, Mike replied quickly. His replies were very professional. He didn't ask me to stay, nor did he ask me to leave. Mike simply explained a little more of what he envisioned for MBI and how the members could help.

I decided that removing myself from the member list felt too much like slinking away. I'd challenged Mike and he responded like a gentleman. Fair enough. I resolved to attempt to make a positive impact on the situation. Don't misunderstand. I still think some things could be improved to make MBI more effective. I'm going to try to exert an influence to make that happen. By the way, I did end up voting on the last awards. Several bloggers in my circle have posted the results. There's probably very few who read here who don't also get to the other blogs. So readers will have seen how it came out. I'd rather use the space to put this message out.

MBI was started with the express intention of putting out yearly awards in the motorcycle industry. The reasoning behind recruiting motorcycle bloggers is that we are all riders. Our readers are all riders. Collectively we represent a substantial source of possible revenue to manufacturers. It would behoove manufacturers to pay attention. The awards are a summation of what the members and readers consider to be good and bad in the industry. Press releases are prepared to get as wide an exposure as possible. You might say it's making an announcement in a voice loud enough for the manufacturers to clearly hear.

I totally agree with the concept. I'll tell you about something I think could be changed, though, a little later.

One of the things that some of us may not have been clear on is that blogger members are expected to participate in a number of ways. Members are expected to participate in the voting, make postings on their blogs to encourage readers to vote, etc. I looked at the site again and there is a page that clearly spells this out. You can see it if you click here. Was it there when I joined? Probably. Did we sort of glaze over this page, signing up because we just wanted to join a group of bloggers? Honestly, I probably did. I was thinking about exposure for my blog at the time. That may have been an influence.

MBI has a forum section. I'm not a fan of forums for the most part. Interestingly, Mike told me he wasn't either. The only section of the forum I really saw at first was for introducing new members. After digging around I found some good information relating to blogging itself. Steve Williams of Scooter in the Sticks fame, for example, shared some additional sources of tracking visitors to our sites. I found some use for myself here.

Bloggers are welcome to start new threads. I'm sure a bunch of fellow bloggers would be a good source for new bloggers, for example. So far the forum hasn't gone the way of so many others and degenerated into a social avenue for a few vocal loudmouths. I hope we can keep it that way.

Here's where I would challenge and encourage fellow bloggers to make an impact. Sorry, Mike, but some of the award categories seem a little strange to me. I'd be more inclined to adjust some of them to be more relevant to riders. That's where you all come in. It happens that the choice of award categories was up for discussion on a forum link before the voting started. Some of you I've corresponded with have expressed feelings similar to mine. Let's take positive action by being more active ( ok, in my case just active ) next year. If we think the categories should change, then let that be known on the forum. The awards have the potential to pressure manufacturers. Why not use it to let them know what we, as riders, need?

Here's an example I just came across on Road Captain's blog. Mrs. Road Captain, aka Diana, was expressing her concern at the lack of stylish gear for women. You can see the post if you click here. Women riders often have to make do with gear and bikes. Some manufacturers are quite responsive to this situation and some aren't. We could use the awards to let the manufacturers know who we appreciate or not. Ultimately, the positive awards translate to riders spending money. With enough MBI members and readers participating, it should speak loud and clear. If we have a way to be heard, why not make use of it?

Well, this post has gotten long enough and there's sunshine and riding with Katie calling me. I want to sign off by urging bloggers to sign up on MBI if they haven't already. Participation really isn't that rigorous. If you're already a member, take some time to browse the forums. Welcome new members. Think about what you'd like to see for award categories next year. Who know's what will happen down the road with MBI? If we do eventually end up parting company, at least I'll know that I actually made an effort to make a positive contribution. I could use a little company in this effort. Are you game?

Miles and smiles,



Anonymous said...

Very interesting post Dan. You see I have been eargerly blogging for close to 3 months waiting to be eligible to join MBI because I want to be a contributing memeber of the estemmed Motorcycle Blogging Community. But Dan, I don't give a Rat's Butt about sending any message whatsover to the motorcycle manufacturers. I'm here to add value to the riding experience of other riders. I don't get the the whole MBI awards thing at all! If that's Mike's whole idea than I say we start our own community of quality motorcycle blogs out there to share views, oppinions and helpful tips. I don't care about the awards or the motorcycle suppliers. I can only buy so many items. If you are interested in something like this. Feel free to e-mail me at to discuss further.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a member of MBI but I did vote on this year's awards ballot. One thing that struck me while voting: BMW's web site was nominated for BOTH best and worst manufacturer's web site. I wonder what they would have done had BMW won in both categories.

I have to admit that my confidence in the "Rider's Choice Awards" was significantly diminished after that.

Anonymous said...

I voted last year and this, since I read about 4-5? Motorcycle blogs, every day. If there were a subject I would like The MFGers to consider, I thing that Standards, and above all NAKED STANDARDS are under-represented, Whether that is a reality, or just my impression, maybe they have divided up their websites in an arbitrary way (I know Honda's website does. So maybe I just can't find them. maybe they all make a 500 cc and 750cc motorcycle that would be ideal for commuters and other people looking for a practical motorcycle.

But that is my direction on this subject. I just keep on riding the one I've got, because it is trouble free, but I'd like it to have more power (because Honda reduced it's power, on purpose and with Malice aforethought). The automatic version of the Hawk is 13horsepower down from the pedal-shift version, leaving it with about 27 HP, where it should have 40 hp.

Yes, it may have been a safety issue, and I could go out and buy a 250 cc machine, but I want an affordable standard bike, that has more electric power generation, better headlights and better suspension than anything in the 250 cc class. Not too much to ask, for anyone but the Italian makers.

Bryce said...

Having made a snide remark a while
back about MBI I think I'll stick by my remarks.
The MBI awards? are intended I suspect for those who actively blog or have a blog or some form of online diary, all intermixed with motorcycles.

I looked at the categories and thought "none of these apply to me,"
or at least to my at present.
Suspect if I was twenty years younger and happy about my hobby I might
be able to comment on the various
"vote here" places.

Oh and the manufacturers don't really care about us who comment or blog, they do what they can do to make money, cause that's what it's all about, make money, satisfy the shareholders/owners.

And even though we use their product(s) what we do after the purchase really is of no consequence, to them directly. Sure service for the beastie is important however you the owner of the device can take it anywhere for service, right?

So for one to comment on the commentary as that what a blog eventually becomes seems unfair
to me who really doesn't get slotted into any one category.

My current placement is one of
unsure future(s). Of ever riding a motorcycle again or even being alive to do so. Cancer does that to you, so even in remission, you still have to be aware or
something else as we age. Reflexes
and physical density of muscle in my case have both been diminished greatly in the last year. Yes, walking a number of brisk miles daily inside in a mall (too darn much snow and cold outside) helps however like the blogs, there will always be problems.
Reading one or two blogs at least keeps my hopes of riding alive
until it eitherdoes or does not happen.

As Dan suggested a while back, Maybe it is time to close the book!
The Goldwing is in the shop now having a thorough inspection and going over. We'll see how the 26
year old machine is after a detailed inspection. Gee, maybe it
may be time to purchase one of those
electric ambulatory wheel chairs
suitable for outdoor use?

Not bloody likely!

irondad said...

This is a collective reply. There's comments on both sides of the issue. I agree with Jay that my first goal is to add value to fellow riders. That's best done on a daily basis. Success is the result of small efforts every day.

On the other hand, I see some value in letting manufacturers know what they're doing right and wrong. I know it boils down to voting with our money, so to speak. Still, how do we let them know what we need that they're not currently providing? Is it through MBI or something similar? I feel it's worth exploring.

Stacy, that does see weird that one website can get best and worst.

Jay has a great idea of a blogger community. That's worth exploring, as well.

Take care,


Anonymous said...

Mike originally invited me to participate on the first awards, and tasked me for the cruiser segment, by virtue of my Biker News blog. It seems all that I witnessed were arguments over how to communicate and facilitate the voting. I saw the whole thing as juvenile, and just quit participating. I think the awards thing itself is juvenile. It's more of a way for motorcycle enthusiasts to plug their favorite brand. I'd like to see the MBI establish standards and ethics in blogging, guaranteeing each MBI blog adheres to specific qualities. Of course, we don't need MBI to do that. Any one of us can start a blogging organization for that.