Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and how?

JustSaying

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
13
Hi there,

I just spent the past few hours reading this train wreck of a post: [URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/?orig_uri=/forum/rockytalkyt120876-32300.html']https://www.pricescope.com/community/?orig_uri=/forum/rockytalkyt120876-32300.html[/URL] I have to admit that a bunch of the vendors were just clueless in it and I commend the users who stuck to their guns and held their feet to the fire. It\'s sad to see that many of those old school posters no longer participate on PS anymore.

This post of mine has been building up but I need to say it, get my answers, and figure this out on my own.

I\'ve been lurking on PS for the past few years, I fully embrace the ASET, HCA, Ideal Scope etc. tools and education that I\'ve learned about. I don\'t have any major issues, But I finally need to post this topic because I don\'t want to request any advice until I get an honest answer to my questions.

I belong to various internet forums, have been an internet geek since the early 90s, the days of very slow dial up when AOL was giving out floppy disks for free at Bank of America. I remember when facebook required a college email before you could actually gain entrance to the site, I had a Live Journal, Friendster, Vox, and 4Chan account... so I am pretty familiar w/ how these thing works...and No, I am not a troll or trying to flame any of you. I just have some honest questions and I don\'t think that I am the only one.

Throughout this site the words consumer advocacy is used. But I would like to know how it\'s actually possible to have a consumer advocacy site which allows the very vendors who profit in this VERY lucrative trade to advertise on it?

I mean honestly, how do I know that the users who have thousands of comments and spend hours upon hours on this forum aren\'t people who are in fact actually working with the very vendors who are advertising on this site.

When I take a hop and a skip over to the Better Business Bureau, I don\'t see a single advertisement: http://www.la.bbb.org/Home.aspx

nor do I see one over on the EWG website:http://www.ewg.org/ which similarly has forums and posts recommendations to various products:

There are numerous consumer advocacy sites that recommend everything from makeup, contacts, doctors, etc. that are designed to empower the PRO-sumer WITHOUT advertising the very businesses they are educating people on. But I\'ve seen a trend here for a while: only a handful of vendors ever get recommended on this site, and low and behold these are also the same vendors who advertise on this site. I have each acronym memorized and so do most newbies after a week of reading posts: ERD, WF, HPD, GOG, LM, JBEG, DBL, BG, JA, Pearlman. Are you guys telling me that there\'s not a single B&M out there who is reliable? How come not one is ever really mentioned? why just the same gang of 10? Almost EVERY single response to a post involves one of these vendors. Coincidence? I don\'t know. Furthermore, sometimes you all have a mob mentality. Repeat GOG long enough and everyone swears by them and has no problem paying the extra price for one of their stones, mention Leon Mege and Micropave and people start repeating the same line. How do you expect me to believe that Leon Mege is the ONLY master micro pave setter? how can that be remotely possible? Out of all the people who study this trade you want me (the PRO-sumer) to believe that only this one (who btw, admits to not working on every single piece of jewelry) is the only one whose figured out how to set tiny prongs in between diamonds so that less metal is showm? In the WHOLEEE entire United States, he\'s the ONLY one who is the BEST at that price range? seriously?

I don\'t understand why this site makes it easy to look up the price and purchase (AKA SPEND MONEY) a stone from a preferred vendor (who generates income for the individual running this site) yet can\'t create some kind PROPER search engine which allows the PRO-sumer to properly find vendors who have great craftsmanship, based on what city or region they live in. Why is that? I just went to the local jeweler section of the site and typed in my zip code and not a SINGLE vendor came up. I put in a SF zip code and 10 showed up, but 3 of them didn\'t even work. Broken links. I bet that wouldn\'t happen with the diamond sellers search engine. Furthermore, I would like to know how the vendors who show up under local jewelers or designers are picked. Are they paying a fee to the site too? Before I click on that local jewelers or designers name I would like to know if they paid to have their name put on that section of this site. Nowhere is that spelled out. why?

Maybe it\'s because I don\'t get PS history, so could someone please enlighten me?

1) How was PS started? who created it? were there always advertisements on this site or did it only start once the site gained more of a following? who maintains this site? Garry H? what\'s his relation to these vendors? Garry\'s picture is in his icon, no? so while it says he does not sell to PS users how can that be? if the vendors know who he is and he most likely sells back and forth to them. I really don\'t care that vendors post or talk on here, I could care less about that. They can write and post as much as I want. I don\'t really care about the imaging ASET/HCA/Ideal scope/beauty is in the eye of the beholder issue/fiasco exhibited in the 16 page thread above... what concerns me is the advertising that occurs and finding out if the the posters who post the most happen to work for someone these vendors and therefore lead the discussions, and have allowed some vendors to make a name for themselves due to mob mentality. I really have no idea of knowing if you work for one of these vendors or not... especially when I have a banner on the top and bottom of the screen flashing a million times reminding me to buy the perfect diamond from so and so.
2) How much income is generated via the sites advertisement and how is it spent? Is this someones business and are actual people making money off of running this site?
3) Do any posters actually work for PS but also post under regular names? or do all individuals working for PS and/or affiliated with a vendor announce themselves?
4) Are there any other consumer advocacy sites similar to this one that don\'t allow advertising to take place?

I\'m not going to get into a flame war with any of you, I have these questions out of my own curiosity, for the same reasons why I question a vendor in a B&M. I would appreciate it if someone could answer my questions. I will not get into a back and forth discussion about it or try to justify why recommending vendors who are paying for advertising on an advocacy site is just weird, we all know why but tiptoe around the issue. Other people are wondering the same thing and have asked/said it before. Someone please explain to me how can this site use the term consumer advocacy and take money and push advertising from vendors in that trade at the same time? Isn\'t that self defeating and contradictory BY DEFINITION? Feel free to flame away, delete this thread, do what you have to do. But please don\'t get all emotional about your responses like so many people (vendors and regular posters) did in the thread I linked above. If I have to I don\'t mind breaking down the contradiction I am mentioning down in a purely logical syllogism. This is just for me and myself to know so that I can decide how seriously to take the advice that\'s given to me by posters on this site.
 

JustSaying

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
13
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

Ironically, right after I posted this thread I noticed this one: [URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/is-this-asscher-weird.155207/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/is-this-asscher-weird.155207/[/URL]

Brand new user asks questions about stone that he/she found via Blue Nile and at T&Co. Very few responses are given, those that are given steer him/her away from the stone they found (which I find to be a bit dis-empowering and NOT informative/education) and instead push GOG. BTW. I don\\\'t have a single issue w/ GOG, Jonathan got me a great AVC but I also got a great deal on some stones via Blue Nile.

The point is the posters came to have a discussion on the stone that they themselves found (hello, empowering!) He/she didn\'t really get an answer to that they asked and were simply pushed to GOG. Only Kenny bothered to actually respond to what the poster was getting at. BTW Kenny I commend you for being one of the FEW posters who actually holds the vendors fee to the fire. Props
 

Stone-cold11

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Messages
14,069
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

JustSaying|1295346297|2825620 said:
Ironically, right after I posted this thread I noticed this one: [URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/is-this-asscher-weird.155207/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/is-this-asscher-weird.155207/[/URL]

Brand new user asks questions about stone that he/she found via Blue Nile and at T&Co. Very few responses are given, those that are given steer him/her away from the stone they found (which I find to be a bit dis-empowering and NOT informative/education) and instead push GOG. BTW. I don\\\'t have a single issue w/ GOG, Jonathan got me a great AVC but I also got a great deal on some stones via Blue Nile.

The point is the posters came to have a discussion on the stone that they themselves found (hello, empowering!) He/she didn\'t really get an answer to that they asked and were simply pushed to GOG. Only Kenny bothered to actually respond to what the poster was getting at. BTW Kenny I commend you for being one of the FEW posters who actually holds the vendors fee to the fire. Props
Mainly because there is no way to judge the cut performance of a fancy cut without images and BN will not supply images, so what other comment can one give except to steer him/her to a vendor with a known history of finding good fancy cuts and provides images, scan data of the stone? You should know better if you have lurked on PS for a while.

Regarding your comment on vendors, I would like to point out that a few of the vendors are actually B&M that branches out into the internet. GOG is one, HPD used to be one but decided to become completely internet to cut cost in the last few month.
 

JustSaying

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
13
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

Stone-cold11|1295349225|2825628 said:
JustSaying|1295346297|2825620 said:
Mainly because there is no way to judge the cut performance of a fancy cut without images and BN will not supply images, so what other comment can one give except to steer him/her to a vendor with a known history of finding good fancy cuts and provides images, scan data of the stone? You should know better if you have lurked on PS for a while.
True, but you and I know that. The poster did not know that. All that he/she said was "didn't have paper work" - nothing about pictures. Nobody requested the pictures or explained anything to the posters, they simply steered them away from what they had found themselves after doing a bit of homework without any real proper information. I find that to be very dis-empowering and it once again fits into the dogmatic mob mentality of pushing vendors who also happen to pay for this site.

I don't have an overall problem w/ the various things that are posted on this site. What I have a problem with is the mob mentality, and the fact that it's done under the guise of calling itself "the Internets largest diamond consumer advocacy." That's like saying The Knot is a consumer advocacy site. It's not. These sites are designed by individuals in the trade to herd people here, give them some crumbs by way of creating a forum, posting pictures, etc. in order to create a sense of community so that they are able to feel justified in purchasing items from the preferred vendors... who again, just happen to be the vendors who advertised on the site.

Go look at what some real consumer advocacy sites look like and tell me if it's ANYTHING like this one. Remove the word "consumer advocate" from this site and I would not be asking these questions.
 

Lula

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
4,536
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

Where humans are involved, there is bias -- period. So a truly unbiased site is not realistic, in my opinion.

That said, it costs money to maintain a site like this; if consumers would be willing to pay a fee to use it, I'd agree that that may make PS less susceptible to the kinds of bias that may result from paid advertising. It will be a cold day in h*ll, though, before any consumer will drop a dime to support a site like this. I'm just sayin'.

There is a checks and balances process that occurs here among consumers, vendors, and the mods. Could it be better? Sure. But I do see it evolving. I do see more transparency than in the past.

Personally, I don't really care who "owns" PS. Most people come here to get some education, and perhaps some recommendations, which they are free to ignore. Yes, they may be steered to online vendors, but that's because the majority of the consumers on this site prefer to buy online. Those who wish to buy locally can take their knowledge -- acquired for free on this site -- straight to their nearest B&M.

But realize, too, that many people on this site are here because their experiences at B&M stores have led them to believe they're not getting the whole story (bias, anyone?) from the B&M's they've visited.

As to your charge that the same vendors are recommended over and over -- yup, it does seem that way. Just like any community, trends and "buzz" develop around certain products/vendors. Posters are required by the rules to post only about what they know, and many of us have worked with specific vendors on several projects. Not all of those vendors are contributors to the site nor are they paid advertisers. They benefit from this site, as do the dozens of local B&Ms that are recommended often by posters. I wrote a long testimonial about a local store in my area. The store owner was asked by an online vendor I've worked with to join PS; he declined to join.

As a former business owner, I take the opposite view that you do, i.e., it amazes me that this site does not prohibit the extensive recommendations and discussion of vendors (online and B&M alike) who do not advertise here. Try that approach with any other media outlet (e.g., your local newspaper) and see how far you get.
 

AprilBaby

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 17, 2008
Messages
10,445
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

Jareds Peerless diamonds always get a fair shake except for price for anyone who wants a BM store and I have recommended my local jeweler many times without repercussion. I see lots of consumers who use local jewelers to produce beautiful pieces here but yes, most of the experts prosumers here have experience with the "top 10" and we have seen lots of gorgeous work from them so why wouldn't they recommend them? And no, I don't think they work for them or they would have to have a trade designation on their avatar.
 

Paul-Antwerp

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Sep 2, 2002
Messages
2,839
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

JustSaying,

I read your post with interest. In it, you raise some points that I could argue heavily about, but I take them as minor points and suggest that we stick to the general message of your post and not the details.

Based upon your questions, you are right to ask about the history of PS, since that might help you understand the current build or composition of the forum. As a result, it might also help you qualify the recommendations.

All in all, PS has about 10 years of history, which is probably long in this day and age. Originally, PS probably was organized in a particular way to highlight the difference with the then most popular other diamond-forum. The forums on the competitor-site were an example of direct fighting and bickering between vendors, and obvious poaching of consumers. From the start, PS took another strategy with very strict rules on what professionals could write. This resulted in a much more friendly atmosphere here.

The big push for PS came about however when the competing forum for unclear reasons decided to ban a majority of their professional contributors. These naturally all came to PS, where they found much better basic conditions to discuss mostly the newest developments in cut-studies of diamonds. For instance, I was banned over there myself for defending the merits of reflector-images, and I was happy to become more active on PS, in a first instance to learn more about the forefront of cut-studies.

Over time however, the forum has developed in a natural way, and one cannot truly compare the current PS to that of 5 years ago. One major change has been that the forum has developed relatively knowledgeable consumers, who sometimes are extremely active. These prosumers have gradually taken over the core of the forums.

At the same time, cut-studies have reached a level that makes it very difficult to provide further information online. Fire and scintillation are basically impossible to judge online, and the professional discussion about these aspects on this forum thus is also not happening.

Basically, all this history leads to your questions and my answers.

1. Why are always the same vendors recommended? It is difficult to recommend an unknown vendor. I for instance am amazed why so many tourists in Antwerp go to Starbucks, when there are a hundred places in the city to find much better coffee. 'Unknown is unloved' is a saying in my mothertongue.

2. Why are no B&M's recommended? Some are indeed recommended, but basically only because they also have a strong online-presence. The problem probably is that it is much easier to get known online by actively selling online.

3. Why are there no newcomers to the list of recommended vendors? Well, this forum as a community developed over a long period of time, and the early adopters naturally have the strongest foothold. Over time, it has become very difficult for other vendors to gain some ground here. The natural barrier-to-entry is relatively high, I must say.

4. Are consumers posting recommendations truly non-professionals? Historically, the management of PS has fought very hard to avoid 'shills' from posting here. I believe that that effort has been very successful, but there is surely not a 100% guarantee. On the flip-side, vendors can definitely be creative in indirectly getting their satisfied customers to post here. In other words, these posters are truly fans of a certain vendor, and for sure, certain vendors are better at getting more fans.

5. How valid is the advice of consumers on PS? In essence, I would say that it is valid since it is most often based upon the assessment-tools available online (as long as it concerns diamonds, of course). However, these online-tools are limited and looking mostly at brightness only. This was fine 5 years ago, but it is debatable whether this is sufficient nowadays. At the same time, certain vendors have understood the limitations of these online-tools and are now actively providing diamonds, 'good enough' for the online-assessment. In direct comparison, these diamonds would not be sold, but because they cost less, they generally are not compared in-real-life, and 'good enough' is indeed 'good enough' for a lot of consumers.

All in all, my observation is that PS has entered the phase of the 'mature product'. There is little innovation going on here, and over time, it could well be that interest in PS as a product is declining. This obviously creates frictions, which can be observed in various recent threads.

I think that little can be done about this. In order to get a new, vibrant forum discussing the quality of diamonds, and guiding consumers in a truly free way, it might be better to re-start from zero. It would be a lot easier to introduce new blood and it would be a lot harder for the current die-hards to maintain their position.

Live long,
 

pixies

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 10, 2010
Messages
355
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

I can't read the post that you are referring to so I'll just add some thoughts.

JbEG and BGD are not PS vendors meaning they don't pay to advertise on the site. They are popular vendors on here and people tend to recommend vendors that they have worked with and trust. Single Stone is a b&m store and they get recommended frequently to people looking for antique style settings.

I've seen posters ask specifically for B&M vendors in a certain area and PSers respond with their recommendations BUT I think it's easier to recommend internet vendors because this is a forum with people in all different regions. I wouldn't really have any knowledge/recommendations about a B&M in Washington if that makes and sense. Gypsy posted just last week looking for NJ jewelers and she had several respond with recommendations. Another guy was looking for jewelers in Minnesota(I think?) and he got help as well. I think sometimes these posts are in SMTB so they may get missed by those that don't frequent all the forums. I've found that different jewelers are recommended for settings in the CS section. I've found some vendors that I've earmarked for future project by lurking the CS section. Kelpie used this vendor http://huntcountry.com/HCJ/HCJHome.jsp and I think their stuff is interesting - I would love to work with them. They seem to have a local presence but I'm not in that area.

Other people frequently recommended for micro pave are Ocean Pearlman and Maytal Hannah.

PS employees/moderators have badges.

I think it's helpful to find a B&M store you trust because if you need to have prongs checked, rings polished/dipped, loose stones set (happens frequently on the CS forum) it's good to have someone local because shipping back and forth can add up.

Where in California are you? I'm in the Monterey Bay area, nothing comes up in the local jeweler search for me either. I've just been visiting B&M stores to get a feel before I use their services. There are some great ones in Carmel. I used this link to locate them http://www.carmel.com/jewelry/business-directory . If you click on the vendor name many of them have websites. There is also a large SF section on the Carmel site so it may help if you are near that section.

I think people that find PS are on the right track because they are eager to learn. I imagine many cities have sites like the one I linked to and these types of sites would be really helpful to those looking for B&M shops to check out.

EDIT: This post is so choppy but I just had several different trains of thought so I hope you don't mind
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,742
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

You bring up a whole bunch of interesting points, some of which I agree with, but I do think you are wrapping in some things that are unrelated. Here are a few thought and direct answers to at least a few of your questions:

Advertising. It’s far more fundamental in the world than I think you’re realizing. BBB, for example, DOES live off of ‘advertising’. How? The heart is the whole business of being an ‘accredited’ business. The difference between accredited and not is whether you pay them. Call that advertising if you like, they don’t, but it certainly serves the same purpose. The same holds for their grades. It’s not POSSIBLE to get an A+ grade if you don’t pay them. It’s not even possible to get an A. The best possible is A-. Again, I call that advertising, they call it ‘membership’ but I point out that this is their primary revenue stream. They also offer things like the 'gold star' award that are ONLY available to accredited businesses and for which the entire purpose is to allow businesses to differentiate themselves from their competition. (I’m an accredited business with an A+ grade and a stack of gold star awards by the way).

As is pointed out above, there’s a similar subtle sort of ‘advertising’ that happens in most media. Newspapers write restaurant reviews on restaurants that advertise with them, magazines tend to write uplifting stories about people who agree with their editorial positions, etc. This is not a tragedy, it’s capitalism and although I agree that there’s a conflict of interest to be attentive to, I don’t have a problem with it.

The internet HAS changed the dynamic somewhat but not as much as I think you’re expecting. Historically, media has been terribly expensive. That is to say, producing a magazine, TV channel or newspaper costs a tone of money and the usual source of that money is advertising. With the internet it’s fairly cheap to produce the product but it DOES still cost. Sometimes it gets supported by someone promoting a political agenda, like Snopes or Wikipedia, sometimes it’s a particular company promoting their own wares, like betterthandiamond.com, and sometimes it’s advertising, like this place or MSN.com.

Shills. Yes, it’s possible. Someone else can address this.

Groupthink. I think this is, frankly, the heart of what you’re seeing. One of the things about diamonds is that there is a fairly steep learning curve involved and most people don’t do it very often. Most go through quite a bit of effort to learn how it works to buy ONE diamond and then they’re done. Some (most) go away and end it there, but a few stick around to help others in the process after them. That’s the source of most of the prosumers here. By their nature, they are passing on lessons from their own experience and, for the most part, their experience is with PS and the PS vendors. It’s not that there aren’t people out there with different experiences or that their advice wouldn’t be good, it’s just that they aren’t spending their time posting HERE because this wasn't part of how THEY did it.

Who owns Pricescope? Some unidentified investors led by Andrey and Garry. This is a curiously secret topic and we’ve been assured that the investor list does NOT include any of the advertisers or favored vendors. Believe it or not as you wish. Personally, I think it’s fairly likely correct. For what it’s worth, MOST businesses keep their ownership fairly anonymous. Just for disclosure, I am NOT an investor (but I probably would be if I could).

Is Pricescope profitable? Probably. I suspect they are making a fair amount more than, say, I am. Bummer for me. Exactly how much is an interesting academic question and it would be an interesting business school study but I don’t see that it really matters. They don’t make their accounting public but then neither do I or the vast majority of other people. So? They make a lot less than AOL or MSN who are basically in the same business but it’s not for a lack of trying and I wish them all the best of luck with it. It’s not like it’s a secret that it’s a for-profit activity, it’s not a secret how they make their money and I don’t see either of these things as incompatible with ‘consumer advocacy’.
 

anitabee

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Messages
322
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

i commend you for your well-thought out questions, justsaying! i, also, have often had those same thoughts as yours but am not sure i could've posed those questions as eloquently as you.

there have been times i've suspected posters as being associated with certain vendors.

i dunno.

thanks for the brave questions! lookin' forward to the responses - i suspect this will be a "popular" thread!
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jan 7, 2009
Messages
8,058
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

I think PS represents one of the best uses of the Internet to exchange ideas. Is it perfect? Of course not, but what is.
Although my company is now a sponsor, I was allowed to post here for years before we were
That is proof that the current owners of the site are committed to the open exchange of ideas
I can't say the same about the old owners.
Paul has given a very good "mIni history"'of the site
There is great danger, along with the opportunity the Internet offers - the danger of misinformation to be spread- and legitimized .

Pricesope avoids this by allowing both vendors and consumers to post. In this way there's a diversity of opinions expressed.

In terms of brick and mortar stores, the problem is way bigger than PS
Physical stores offer services a web site cannot- however there is a cost
Particularly when it comes to diamonds it's simply impossible for many retail outlets to compete with the prices offered by aggressive Internet sellers
In spite of this I have seen many cases of posters getting good advice on how to buy a diamond from a store.
Regardless, the trend of people purchasing diamonds online is sure to continue
The sad fact is that many stores will not be viable in time as they lose this steam of income
 

IceExplorer

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 23, 2009
Messages
462
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

I don't have any answers to offer but I wanted to comment on how interesting I find this topic. Like the OP mentioned, a lot of people have similar questions. In my case, they are purely out of curiosity.
I truly enjoy the vast information available at my fingertips and have benefited personally during the process of designing and purchasing my rings.

I'll be reading this post with interest...
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,521
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

I have been active on this site for 5 years, and I can honestly say that I don't have the slightest idea of who owns it or how much money they make from the advertisers. What I can tell you is that there are many people like me who were shopping for a diamond and found this forum to help us make an educated decision on a stone. I DID look at high end jewelers in the nearest large city and the prices for decent stones were astronomical. The only equivalent cut stones I could find were Hearts on Fire, and those were maybe 40% higher in price than the ones I found at PS vendors. Most of the stones I was presented at other jewelers were NOT ideal or excellent cut. Yes, they looked pretty. But why would I pay the same price for a "very good" cut stone when I could get an ideal cut, hearts and arrows stone from an online vendor???? Truthfully, it is eye opening when you really do the research.

I do not comment on threads with asscher questions because I do not know the technical specs to advise anyone on an asscher. I would automatically recommend Jonathan at Good Old Gold for that because not only does he have a track record (publically recorded here) of choosing great asschers, he has the equipment to show pictures, light return, and magnified shots of inclusions, etc. I know of no one else who provides all he does (not to mention that I think he has integrity and I trust him). If I did, I might recommend them. I frequently also recommend WF and BGD for hearts and arrows stones and have bought from WF with complete satisfaction in the past. Those three vendors consistently have the best selection of in-house stones and do provide the idealscope pictures, etc. I WISH I could work for them! That would be fabulous!!! They'd get all the money back from my purchases! :appl:

As far as jewelry makers go, again, we go by the pictures we see here and the positive and negative reviews. How many recommendations are you able to access for local jewelers? Maybe a couple of references from friends? Do you have access to 20 or 50 or more, positive and negative? I doubt it. So in my opinion, buying from these vendors is the safest possible route. I used Leon Mege because of the reviews here. I also helped my daughter get a ring made by Maytal Hannah. I would not take the chance of working on a custom project when I had not seen a lot of examples of someone's work, and I was able to get that here.

Yes, the vendors who advertise here get the most mention because they have a track record and people post their experiences. But I've been around long enough and I see the posters who come on here and then stick around because we like diamonds or jewelry or just get connected to some other part of the forum. They aren't being paid by anyone to be here. Shills have been removed promptly on the few occasions I have seen it happen in the last 5 years.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
27,733
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

JS, check your links.
They don't go where you think they go.

First I want to say, thank you. I agree that I'm the most groovy poster here. Hahaha Hohoho Hehehe :D :D :D
Second I want to say that JS is not a sock puppet of mine, in case anyone was wondering.

Third your post has the flavor of a whistle blower revealing deep dark secrets.
The PS revenue stream from advertisers has been discussed here many times.

The inherent or apparent conflict of interest implied by PS calling itself a consumer advocacy site is a very good point and I wish they'd either remove those terms or put a link next to them explaining the PS revenue stream and noble mission.
AFAIC PS is doing nothing wrong and has nothing to hide regarding that.

That said even if your worst nightmare was true and WF, GOG etc. turned out to be owners, so what?
Money making businesses are good things not bad (what do you want, communism, socialism?).

Plus consider the typical PS experience . . . going from noob to owner of an excellently-cut diamond at an excellent price from a vendor with a good refund and trade up policy, and (the most valuable PS feature by far) who can be called on the carpet here if they do anything wrong, while the world watches how they resolve it.
That sure feels a lot like consumer advocacy - especially compared to the "normal" diamond buying experience, walking into Zales at the mall. :errrr: :errrr: :errrr:

Why are only a few vendors mentioned over and over?
Blame the chicken-and-egg nature of the Internet. Sorry.
Also blame me, I'm too lazy to research all 100,000 B&M jewelers. Sorry.

If you ask me the Better Business Bureau is a scam.
If you pay, they'll protect you.
That's called a mafia.
And the worse part is the BBB has brilliantly brainwashed the public into appearing to be the opposite of what it really is.
The BBB REALLY blows its consumer advocacy horn louder, and more hypocritically, than any other entity I know of.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,742
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

Just a casual observation. There are 22 vendors who participate in the database and at least a few other advertisers who don't but who buy the banners and whatnot. Most of these companies are NOT on the 'favored' list you mention and there are quite a few of the oft discussed dealers who aren't advertisers at all. It's a little hard to know what the key is to getting people here to talk about you (and say nice things), and I'm sure there are dealers out there who are itching to know, but there doesn't seem to be an especially direct link between that and being a sponsor either as an advertiser, a participatie in the database or even involvement in the forum.
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
31,112
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

kenny|1295368434|2825785 said:
JS, check your links.
They don't go where you think they go.

First I want to say, thank you. I agree that I'm the most groovy poster here. Hahaha Hohoho Hehehe :D :D :D
Second I want to say that JS is not a sock puppet of mine, in case anyone was wondering.

Third your post has the flavor of a whistle blower revealing deep dark secrets.
The PS revenue stream from advertisers has been discussed here many times.

The inherent or apparent conflict of interest implied by PS calling itself a consumer advocacy site is a very good point and I wish they'd either remove those terms or put a link next to them explaining the PS revenue stream and noble mission.
AFAIC PS is doing nothing wrong and has nothing to hide regarding that.

That said even if your worst nightmare was true and WF, GOG etc. turned out to be owners, so what?
Money making businesses are good things not bad (what do you want, communism, socialism?).

Plus consider the typical PS experience . . . going from noob to owner of an excellently-cut diamond at an excellent price from a vendor with a good refund and trade up policy, and (the most valuable PS feature by far) who can be called on the carpet here if they do anything wrong, while the world watches how they resolve it.
That sure feels a lot like consumer advocacy - especially compared to the "normal" diamond buying experience, walking into Zales at the mall. :errrr: :errrr: :errrr:

Why are only a few vendors mentioned over and over?
Blame the chicken-and-egg nature of the Internet. Sorry.
Also blame me, I'm too lazy to research all 100,000 B&M jewelers. Sorry.

If you ask me the Better Business Bureau is a scam.
If you pay, they'll protect you.
That's called a mafia.
And the worse part is the BBB has brilliantly brainwashed the public into appearing to be the opposite of what it really is.
The BBB REALLY blows its consumer advocacy horn louder, and more hypocritically, than any other entity I know of.
Great post Kenny. I agree 100%.
 

slg47

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
9,667
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

Now that we have reflector technologies and many internet vendors provide those, it is hard to recommend diamonds at local stores where we just don't have enough information. If more vendors provided ASET images, I think PSers would feel comfortable recommending more vendors.
 

moonraker

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 12, 2011
Messages
9
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

I think JustSaying raises some interesting points about conflicts of interest. Kenny, you mentioned that advertising has been discussed numerous times before, do you have any specific links?

I think it boils down to transparency and knowing the various ways PS is compensated by advertisers. There are essentially a few ways vendors could advertise with PS:

- Banner ads (the typical display ads you see all over the internet). Advertisers pay the site owners a nominal fee on a monthly/quarterly/yearly setup to have their ad on a specific page or in a rotation. There are two ways they could be compensated here: a fee for every 1,000 viewers that see the ad or a fee for each click on the ad, both are easily trackable.

- Text links/listings - This is the same as above but essentially they'd be paying for a text link on PS that directs people to the vendor's site. They could also pay to be listed on the "vendors" list or "featured sponsors" page.

- Cost per action (CPA) otherwise known as affiliate marketing. This is where things get somewhat sticky. Is PS receiving a fee or % of transaction from each sale they subsequently send to a vendor? Are they receiving a fee for a sale lead? This is harder to track since it usually requires a unique URL or code for customers to reference. Some vendors have "PS discounted prices" so that'd be one way to track it. Another way to track it would be via PriceScope's "get a quote" feature. Any subsequent lead or sale that came from that generation process could garner a fee from a vendor.

- Paid testimonials/posters. This one is nearly impossible to track as anyone can register on the site and appear as a regular poster. Obviously it takes time and many posts to build up credibility and a reputation. At the same time, anyone can just log on and post a recommendation or steer people to a vendor. Those people wouldn't even have to be paid either. An employee or friend of an employee at a vendor could login and tout a specific company easily.

I'm not implying any of these are taking place. I'm just outlining the theoretical ways the site can be compensated by advertisers and how it might affect transparency and conflict of interests. I look forward to reading this topic and if anyone has any specific past threads on the topic they could link to, that'd be great. Searching for those could take a while!

On the positive side of things, there are also lots of posters who just have great experiences with a vendor and post pictures/descriptions. This helps educate others and sends even more orders the vendor's way because of a user's great experience. That's just word of mouth marketing but on the internet.

In the end, I think it would behove PS to have a clear outline of how they're compensated by advertisers and the exact relationship. This honesty furthers transparency with members and enhances reputation even further. At the same time, if PS is profiting from these methods and is worried about disclosing them for fear of backlash or user exodus, then they'd just keep it quiet. You have to keep in mind that after all, PS in itself is a business and they have to pay for monthly server/hosting costs etc.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
27,733
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

moonraker|1295376905|2825909 said:
Kenny, you mentioned that advertising has been discussed numerous times before, do you have any specific links?
.
Nope.
But you are welcome to spend your time on PS's search function, or spend 6 years reading PS, like I have.

Hmmm, yet another brand new registered user with a long investigative detective post.
What a coincidence.
Hmm, wonder who "these two people" really are an what "their" agenda is.
 

zoebartlett

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
12,450
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

Thank you, Paul, for going into great detail regarding the history of PS. I wasn't here back then, so it was interesting to read.
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jan 7, 2009
Messages
8,058
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

Something that has always impressed me about the way PS is run- vendors can have an active link to their site- free of charge.

This, in itself, adds to the efficacy of the site- and indeed, to the consumer advocacy claim.
Why? Well, if we only had consumers advising other consumers there's a lot of danger there.
For one thing, motivation.
I agree- shills are not prevalent here- I don't believe there are any.
But there certainly are biased consumers.
Not that this is a bad thing- consumers like, and recommend a given seller for good reasons. It might be experience with that vendor, or reading of other's experience of that vendor.
But if a consumer is very dedicated and continually recommends a given vendor, it's not necessarily obvious to a more casual reader- maybe like a person who comes for advice, buys their stone and leaves. They may not take the time to research a poster's habits..
A seller has a clear self interest. This means we ( sellers) must walk a fine line- and in this way it separates the wheat from the chaff, as it were.

Plus, there are aspects to the diamond business that take years to learn- and there have been times that advice given consumer to consumer is simply incorrect factually.
Again- the presence of professionals and consumers together adds context to the information.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
27,733
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

Who is more likely to be "biased", a vendor who makes money influencing potential customers, or people who educate because of their love of diamonds?
You choose.
 

Jennifer W

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
1,958
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

kenny|1295378258|2825927 said:
Who is more likely to be "biased", a vendor who makes money influencing potential customers, or people who educate because of their love of diamonds?
You choose.
Both, in their own way and for different reasons, I think. If you sell something, your bias stems from (hopefully) believing in your product and wanting to stay in business by giving good customer service to back it up. If you recommend and educate as a fellow consumer, you will be basing that on your own knowledge and experience, and to some extent validating your own choices. Neither is wrong, as far as I can see, but they are different perspectives. Before I made any purchases, I found it incredibly helpful to see both.

Consumer advocacy leaves room for people to weigh up opinions, knowing their source, before reaching their own informed decisions. I personally think that PS allows for that in a way that I've never seen on any other consumer forum.

ETA 'validating' is probably the wrong word - I think informed by or influenced by your own choices and preferences may be a better way to put it.
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jan 7, 2009
Messages
8,058
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

Great post Jen!

I agree- both professional and consumer posts assist readers.
And Kenny- a vendor is obviously and clearly biased- as well as being limited on what we can say. Consumers may have hidden agendas. I'm not saying anyone does- but it's certainly possible.
 

Lula

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
4,536
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

kenny|1295378258|2825927 said:
Who is more likely to be "biased", a vendor who makes money influencing potential customers, or people who educate because of their love of diamonds?
You choose.
I think they can both be biased; the bias make take different forms, though.

ETA: Lol,just read Jen's post -- great post, Jen!
 

Lula

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
4,536
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

Rockdiamond|1295379531|2825936 said:
Great post Jen!

I agree- both professional and consumer posts assist readers.
And Kenny- a vendor is obviously and clearly biased- as well as being limited on what we can say. Consumers may have hidden agendas. I'm not saying anyone does- but it's certainly possible.
I agree, but I would add that vendors may have hidden agendas as well.
 

clgwli

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 24, 2009
Messages
902
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

Lula|1295379986|2825941 said:
kenny|1295378258|2825927 said:
Who is more likely to be "biased", a vendor who makes money influencing potential customers, or people who educate because of their love of diamonds?
You choose.
I think they can both be biased; the bias make take different forms, though.

ETA: Lol,just read Jen's post -- great post, Jen!
I agree with this (it was easier to quote this than both yours and Jen's post!)

I just posted on the asscher thread that I am shocked that people are pushing other vendors the way they did. I admit I am. It bugs me to see it. I thought I even read somewhere about how we should be careful NOT to do that.

Both groups will have agendas and reasons for their bias. I have my own here towards DBL because have had great service. I've bought more recently than I ever thought I would just because I like what I see.

I am sure many are that way though about other places.

I am curious who owns this place really though. I wonder if certain vendors are given free reign more than others because of who they are and how much they pay or get out of this. But I am cynical and assume there are way more hidden agendas with both vendors and consumers than there probably are. Particularly since that issue with BGD earlier.
 

zoebartlett

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
12,450
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

Jennifer W|1295379338|2825934 said:
kenny|1295378258|2825927 said:
Who is more likely to be "biased", a vendor who makes money influencing potential customers, or people who educate because of their love of diamonds?
You choose.
Both, in their own way and for different reasons, I think. If you sell something, your bias stems from (hopefully) believing in your product and wanting to stay in business by giving good customer service to back it up. If you recommend and educate as a fellow consumer, you will be basing that on your own knowledge and experience, and to some extent validating your own choices. Neither is wrong, as far as I can see, but they are different perspectives. Before I made any purchases, I found it incredibly helpful to see both.
Well said, Jennifer, and I agree.
 

scepture

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 14, 2010
Messages
88
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

I am one of the 'new' posters (as Kenny may refer to me), but have been reading PS for almost a year now. First, I think no one should attack or belittle 'justsaying' for asking some questions that some of us who haven't been on here for 5 years may have. While I admit that I haven't checked every single post for the last year, I cannot recall off the top of my head seeing anything about 'investors' of PS or answers to who owns it. I may be able to take the time to search such a thing, but unfortunately the search function for threads would make this quite difficult! ;-)

When I started to search information online for information about diamonds, I would say I spent a fair amount of time looking at general B&M websites to try and educate myself a little bit about my upcoming purchase. Looking back, the extremely limited knowledge I acquired, mainly about the '4 c's', pales in comparison to the knowledge I have acquired here. Have I been steered and better acquainted with the vendors on PS? Certainly. However, just because someone says 'oh WF (or GOG, BGD, fill in the blank) has the best deals and diamonds' does NOT mean that I am just going to hop over and order a diamond. I would guess the majority of readers/posters here are smart enough not to blindly follow a recommendation from poster(s) about where to buy a diamond, just as I would hope people aren't swooned by a typical B&M sales pitch.

Will I buy a diamond from a B&M when I finally decide to pull the trigger? Maybe. What I do know for sure is that wherever I buy, the knowledge I have acquired from this site has empowered me with the knowledge to make sure I am getting what I want at a fair price. I recently started a thread about something I had seen from a PS paid vendor's website because the price didn't seem to match up with the description. Within two days the vendor was able to comment and clear up the situation (with some explanations), but without the knowledge acquired from this site, I would have happily paid for something that I believed was a great deal but turned out to be not what I was expecting. Attesting to some of the 'balance' here, had it not been for other posters (and even vendors), I may have made that purchase.

In short, this place has its drawbacks. However, the point is, just like ANY PURCHASE (and especially something as expensive as a diamond) you as the consumer need to take things with a grain of salt and ultimately decide for yourself where you are going to buy from. I think it people use PS as a TOOL in their search, not the end all be all to their search, they will find this is a wonderful site.
 

missydebby

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 2, 2010
Messages
1,815
Re: is PS biased? a real advocay site? who started it and ho

Thanks for a very interesting thread, justsayin'

Since you wonder about the posters, I feel like I can respond. I came as just an ordinary middle aged nut trying to get the ering of her dreams after 13 years of marriage. I posted images of what I had found on my own, which got their fair share of "meh" responses. I got directed to a lot of different vendors. I researched the recommendations, got further help in what kind of factors to consider, and made my choice. And have the ering of my dreams, which was a billion times better cut and profoundly beautiful than 98% of the overpriced L1's local vendors were trying to push.

When I add to a discussion, I will talk about any vendor I am familiar with depending on the question. Sometimes it's vendors from sites I browse but have never bought from, and are not advertisers on this site like Dover, Weston, Lang Antiques and so on.

Some quick thoughts:

1. You say you've been here on the site awhile. So I'm surprised you missed a lot of the very contentious threads. Like the recent one on Leon Mege. Basically, it was a discussion of some poor experiences some PSer's have had with his customer service and I wouldn't be surprised if it steered potential clients away. It was very honest and not at all fluffy.

2. GOG's higher prices on branded stones has been discussed. Essentially: the pros - getting a great performing diamond backed by science for a premium and cons - it's more expensive.

3. The very contentious thread regarding a line with the PS vendor rules that BGD (not an paying advertiser) may or may not have crossed. The very openness of the thread and discussion speaks to a high level of transparency.

One last thing: work backwards. If this was just a shill site and the goods did not measure up to the demand, then it would have folded long ago. It thrives because people are STOKED on the info and the direction they get.
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top