The Big Picture

There is a common misconception that when you post something on an internet rod building forum you’re reaching the bulk of the custom rod building craft. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, you’re barely covering the tip of the iceberg where the mainstream custom rod building craft is concerned.

I’m a big picture kind of guy. And because I operate the world’s most popular rod building forum and the world’s most popular rod building magazine, I’m in a unique position to see the bigger picture where rod building demographics are concerned. Let’s take a look at some numbers.

Since 2002 when went online, there have been 7,283 registered users. Since 1998 when RodMaker Magazine began publishing, there have been 102,052 subscribers. Currently, RBO has 1,892 active registrants (logged in within the past 6 months). Currently, RodMaker Magazine has 15,486 subscribers. If you want to include all those that have been subscribers in the same 6 month period, that number can be listed as 21,015

Now there are plenty of internet rod building forums. But even if you were to add them all up, many of the users would be duplicates and you still wouldn’t get anywhere close to the magazine numbers. And… the magazine only represents about 5% of the total custom rod building craft.

So where are all these rod builders? Simple – they’re everywhere. But like most everyone else, they’re busy earning a living, taking care of their homes, families, etc. They simply don’t have time to “live” on the internet rod building forums, nor would they even if they did have the time. But they’re out there and they constitute that great silent majority that makes up this craft. (Just another reason why the rod  building component supply dealers who still publish and mail print catalogs do a lot more business than the companies who are solely internet based.)

So the next time you make a statement on an internet rod building forum and get a dozen responses, keep the big picture in mind. For every rod builder who sees your comment on a forum – ten more will never even know it’s there. You can’t reach the bulk of the mainstream rod building craft via the internet – that’s not where it lives. Once you understand this, you open a door that allows you to be far more successful within this craft and industry.

Tom Kirkman