Word of Mouth

It’s often been said that word of mouth is the best advertising there is. There’s certainly some truth to that. In years past, however, word of mouth was slow to travel but the advent of the internet has changed all that. Good talk, and just as importantly, bad talk, now spreads as quick as lightning.

This has more than a few in the rod building industry and craft a bit worried. Internet forums and chat rooms are rampant with folks ready and waiting to “put the bad word” on somebody for something. Hardly a week goes by when I don’t hear from a manufacturer or dealer who tells me that a customer has told them to either meet certain demands (usually unfair) or they’ll “Go on the forums and ruin you!” Extortion, blackmail, etc., call it what you want, but many are terribly afraid it will happen to them.

Rod builders are equally concerned. Recently one of the forum participants at Rodbuilding.org asked for opinions on a situation he was experiencing and was afraid could get out of hand. In a nutshell, he had done everything correctly and been more than fair, but wound up with a customer who was dissatisfied nonetheless. The builder was very concerned that any bad word of mouth from the customer could ruin his new rod building business. Thus, he felt compelled to give in to the customer’s unfair demands.

My advice is to do only what is right and ignore those who threaten to “put the bad word on you.”  I seriously doubt that anyone in the history of custom rod building has been more maligned than myself (had the internet been around in the 70’s and 80’s there are a few that might have challenged me for that title!). And yet, even with all the badmouthing and innuendo, RodMaker Magazine continues to gain more and more subscribers every month. The International Custom Rod Building Exposition has grown every year since its inception. Everything on my end just keeps getting better and better.

How can this be, you ask? Well, it comes down to giving people a little bit of credit in the intelligence department. The fact is, most people are reasonable and clear thinking. Most of them see the common internet “badmouthing” for what it is and not only overlook it, but shun those who participate in it. While some of the stuff that goes on can be a little hard to swallow at times, the best course is always to ignore it. Bad word of mouth can’t hurt you if it’s not true. Never respond to an untruth. Give the public a little bit of credit in being able to separate fact from fiction and to see the motive behind such poor conduct. People are not nearly as dumb as you might think.

Tom Kirkman



  1. WaltS on October 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Your right. I see the stabs at you on the forums but you never respond or do that sort of stuff to others, This is partly why you have been so successful. It is a good business model to follow.

  2. Ott Yeingl on October 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    This is happening all over the world on the internet. It is true that most people understand more than they are given credit for. The politicians do not seem to think any of us are smart enough to see through this type behavior but most are.