A Cautionary Tale About Bloggers Recomending Products and Services

Popular rightward blogger Confederate Yankee wrote a post very enthusiastically endorsing a class (which comes complete with a gun and a knife) put on by something called the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute.

Folks, this is one great offer.

What should you expect to get out of this investment in your shooting skills?

The ability to draw from a concealed holster and put a controlled pair of shots to the target's thoracic cavity from 3-5 yards away, in less than 1.5 seconds.

[An analysis of the marketing acumen displayed in that description is an entire separate post.]

The folks at Sadly, No — who never miss an opportunity to shit on Confederate Yankee, sometimes reasonably and sometimes not — do a little digging about Front Sight and its founder, "Dr." Ignatious Piazza, and rather quickly discover some circumstances that might make reasonable people very hesitant to do business with them. (I'm primarily referring to the circumstances that led to the company being placed in receivership briefly, not to "Dr." Piazza's affiliation with Scientology.)

Read it for yourself.

In his comments, Confederate Yankee responds "knowing the whole story helps," and offers some facts which, in his opinion, counter the negative information about Front Sight and Piazza. He concludes by repeating his endorsement, and inviting people to do their own research on the internet.

The speed with which he does so suggests that he was aware of the negative information to begin with.

Here's my question: would you, should you, trust a blogger who endorses a product or service under those circumstances? Would you, should you, trust a blogger who doesn't call his readers' attention to such material information in the course of the endorsement, rather than in response to questions?

Also, a query: I wonder whether Confederate Yankee will get any consideration from this rather gushing endorsement. I have no idea one way or the other. I oppose any law forcing him to do so. But if he is getting some kind of consideration, and hasn't disclosed it — wouldn't that be relevant to your evaluation of his credibility?

[For the record, we at Popehat have never gotten consideration for any of our various gushing endorsements, unless you count the creators of the products and services occasionally saying nice things in comments.]

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  1. Patrick says

    And yeah, we've written a lot about World of Warcraft. I know that a certain high-up at Blizzard reads this blog, and follows us on Twitter. Has that gotten me the imaginary flying dragon that I crave? NOOOOOO!

    Some friend you are, high-up at Blizzard.

  2. says

    Okay; I'm recalling the Fedex package with all those books. And the spaghetti.

    As to the quality of the training at Front Sight, I dunno; never been there. I have talked to a fair number of folks who have spent a fair amount of time and money on the various shooting schools, and the names I keep hearing a lot of praise for are Clint Smith's Thunder Ranch, Ayoob's LFI, the amateur-training side of Blackwater (they keep the mercs-in-training separate, for some reason), Gunsite, Chapman and a few others. I'm kind of hoping to fit Smith's Defensive Revolver class into my time and budget over the next few years, and have on occasion tired to get an assignment to go through LFI (with, no success, alas).