2022 Backpacking Light Members Choice Awards
First annual Members Choice Awards - what gear do our members use and love as we near the end of 2022?
Marketers of gear brands love award badges because it helps them sell gear. Gear that comes with a Backpacker Editor’s Choice or Outside Gear of the Year stamp of approval is almost guaranteed to be a best-seller for the brand. Award badges appear on retailer’s online product listings, product hang tags, and placards adjacent to the product display on the sales floor of brick-and-mortar shops. Publishers of prominent titles like Backpacker and Outside are thus able to exercise significant influence in the sales process.
As a publisher who has given out such awards and worked with gear brands to help them use the award badge to promote their product, I won’t be shy in admitting that there is benefit to the publisher as well. There is a direct relationship that few of us like to admit that the more favorable a gear brand is towards your publication, the more likely they will let you know about product launches, send you gear to review, or purchase advertising. Likewise, publishers who review gear critically sacrifice their ability to solicit advertising from those brands and promote those products to their readership in the hopes of earning affiliate commissions.
Traditional outdoor industry publishing business models, both print and online, rely on the relationship between gear brands paying the publisher for advertising or affiliate marketing. Outdoor recreation publishers that have built their business model on this foundation have thus evolved into de facto influencers for gear brands instead of providing independent journalism that helps consumers make wise choices about whether or not to buy a product.
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