TTAG Reader Survey Results: You Have Spoken

We asked for it, and we got it. Almost 2,000 of you — the most knowledgable, opinionated readership in the gunblogosphere — weighed in when we asked for your opinions in our annual reader survey.

Most the comments could go toe to toe with The Count of Monte Cristo, both in length and literary mettle. But given our readers’ education level and the fact that over 70% of respondents said they’d been reading TTAG for two years or more, we expected nothing less.

Here’s a quick summary of what we learned:

Job one: “Don’t (screw) it up.”

Most of you used a different verb, but we hear you. Our priority is to retain your trust by not changing the things you like most about TTAG. Our gun and gear reviews will always be accurate, thorough and brutally honest. No punches pulled.

The full-page pop-up ads suck.

That was the second most frequent comment. The reality is, this is a business. We need to run ads to pay our writers and keep the lights on. That said, you may have noticed that the big, full-page pop-up is now history. Ask and ye shall receive.

We’re also working to make sure that any other ads we run are safe for work and fairly family friendly. Please email us any time you see one you think is over the line. As if we had to say that.

We received great feedback on our content.

As we expected, the results show that our core content (reviews, general news, gun and gear news, politics and gun control, op-eds) is also what you want to read most. We got an armful of requests for ever more reviews, thoughtful opinion pieces, and investigative journalism. We also got good feedback on some of our shorter, fluffier articles, and we will steer clear(er) of clickbait-y content.

You sent a raft of suggestions for article topics (e.g. more content for “gun curious” folks, more budget-friendly gear reviews, hunting tutorials, etc.). We got some useful feedback on the Daily Digest and other recurring content. We have plans to make our past content (especially reviews and “gun facts” articles) more accessible and searchable. Look for that in the next few months.

All in all, we promise to slowly begin adjusting our content mix and presentation based on what you said you like. And what you don’t.

We’re looking at ways to improve the tech behind our comments section.

We know our comments section functionality needs some work. We heard from a number of you that when you leave a comment, you’d like to be notified of a reply via email. Working on it.

Last but not least, we got plenty of suggestions on advertising alternatives.

First, we’re never going to put TTAG content behind a paywall. Period. TTAG content will remain free for everyone. If we do launch some kind of subscription program to reduce our dependence on ad revenue, the benefits of joining will be “perks,” not essentials. Like seeing a no-advertising version.

Lots of you — 20%, actually — say you’re interested in TTAG-branded swag; coffee mugs, t-sirts, hats…like that. That could be a great way to offset our advertising requirements and make funding TTAG a win-win. Call it a coming attraction. We’ll update you when we have some ideas.

In short, thanks for all of your compliments, criticisms, suggestions and brainstorms. We read every one of them and are working to implement as many as we can.

Thanks for taking the time to let us hear from you and, as always, thanks for reading.

comments

  1. avatar Flinch says:

    “steer clear(er) of clickbait-y content”

    who’d a thunk?

    If a user survey was needed for that intel piece of gold, then perhaps the editorial team needs real world experience.

    Just say’n.

    1. avatar Rick says:

      Also, if you do click bait, and somehow its shown to be somehow problematic, don’t just delete the post. Add an update and a mea culpa.

  2. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

    Opinionated? Bhwa-ha-ha………..

    1. avatar Bloving says:

      We’re not OPINIONATED… we’re just very comfortable with how right we are…
      🤠

      1. avatar Martin B says:

        I’m not arguing. I’m just explaining why I’m right.

  3. avatar former water walker says:

    Your welcome. Honestly haven’t noticed any real change(are Dan and RF the same guy?!?)😄Haven’t thought about it but I’d be up for some TTAG sawg…

    1. avatar Mad Max says:

      Maybe Dan was doing all of the work and RF was putting his name on some of it. After all RF was the boss.😀

    2. avatar Chris Heuss says:

      Thanks, maintaining the site’s attitude and integrity is very important to us. We understand everyone’s concerns about the sale. I can tell you the new owners (Wide Open Media based in Austin) are hands off as far as editorial goes. I understand a lot of you won’t beleive that so we are trying to prove it daily.

  4. avatar PeterK says:

    Noice. Glad you got good feedback. Looking forward to years more of great content.

    Maybe pieces of more international interest somehow?

    1. avatar Chris Heuss says:

      That’s a possibility. I will personally make an effort to pay more attention to international firearms news.

  5. avatar Hannibal says:

    Could put text-based ads in the comments too. Fairly unobtrusive in that they can just be scrolled past but if you’ve got a product that wants exposure without it being worth a whole sponsored article it could be helpful (i.e. new holster out etc)

    1. avatar Big Bill says:

      I can see a problem with that.
      Ads in comments could be made to look like regular comments, wasting the time of those who aren’t interested in whatever’s being sold.
      The “My sister couldn’t believe how much money she made!!! abc.xxx” type of ad isn’t what would be used, as everyone recognizes them as trash. Instead, AI would make the ad look like a response to a comment.
      It may be just me, but when that happens (and it does already), my usual mental response is to vow to never buy that product.
      I don’t really mind ads (unless they intrude on the editorial content); I’m able to ignore them, if they look like ads.

      1. avatar Martin B says:

        I always reply: “It’s easy making money being a whore”. These are usually posted by females, who could be offended if genuine, but we all know they’re not.

  6. avatar Warlocc says:

    For a site as popular as TTAG, swag can be a great source of revenue, even with the relatively small profit margin.

    Pay for perks is good too, if the perks are good.

    1. avatar Joel says:

      Typically SWAG has a fairly high profit margin. It also doubles as advertising.

      Done well it’s a win-win scenario. 😉

  7. avatar Sal Chichon says:

    I would rock TTAG swag.

    1. avatar Jake the Snake says:

      Me too. Anything to piss the liberals off

  8. avatar little horn says:

    please do as you say and increase the investigative journalism and decrease the researcher bias. it will go along way to prove our views right if we can present the information in an unbiased way, something we know the left can not do.

  9. avatar Barnbwt says:

    “Duly noted and disregarded.”

    Got it.

  10. avatar fiundagner says:

    Black rifle coffee in a TTAG mug sounds like a good way to start my days

    1. avatar TStew says:

      How about a TTAG blend from BRCC? Partnership…and one that might drive some new readers who already love themselves some freedom this way?

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        I admit to wimping out on BRCC. Settled on “Silencer Smooth”. Don’t need that “cupo’ mud” like I used to.

        If BRCC, or Counterstrike had been available commercially, back in the day, I might not have ever made it out of the flight line snackbar at Oh-dark-thirty.

      2. avatar Chris Heuss says:

        Now that’s a good idea. Black Rifle Coffee actually just moved close to us.

  11. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Bah, humbug.

    More ads, less content.

    More pictures, less text.

    On the whole, I am passionately neutral about everything. Even that.

    1. avatar Chris Heuss says:

      At a recent meeting the “more pictures” thing came up. We are going to try and post more pictures and of higher quality in future reviews.

  12. avatar ironicatbest says:

    Oh I’d probably buy a swag hat, long as I didn’t have to use a credit card and the hat was made in America. TTAG ‘plastered across my ass might get some attention too, be good for advertising

    1. avatar AdamTA1 says:

      You need some “JUICY TTAG” booty shorts?

  13. avatar Lefty jason says:

    T-sirts

  14. avatar Shwiggie says:

    Have you ever considered integrating comments with a blog-based web board? If I remember correctly this site is based on WordPress…would something like bbPress be a viable option? Not only would it be more robust on the commenter side, but it’d revive the once-tried-but-never-took-off forum and have it integrated with the site so it’s less of a completely separate entity.

  15. avatar Carl up North says:

    What about being able to toggle forward or backwards through the articles?

    1. avatar Dan Zimmerman says:

      Trying to get that back, too.

  16. avatar D.B. Cooper says:

    Paid membership possible perks:
    * Set up a discussion group, only for paid members
    * Advertisers give special discounts and promotional offers only to paid members
    * Do a version of Groupon where anyone can buy a non-firearm product at a discounted group price through the site (and you get a cut from the seller)
    * and, like you said, no advertisements for paid members

    1. avatar Chris Heuss says:

      Good idea! Where have you been? The FBI has been looking for you for awhile. Give them a call.

    2. avatar Big Bill says:

      * Advertisers give special discounts and promotional offers only to paid members
      * and, like you said, no advertisements for paid members

      Whut?

  17. avatar Cuteandfuzzybunnies says:

    Things I want to see

    1. Facebook forum.

    2. Passwords and accounts on the Comments

    3. Transcripts of video stories.

    4. Better podcast. I’m sorry but it needs work.

    1. avatar ADM says:

      Seconded on the transcribing of video stories. Rarely do I find myself with the time to watch video-only content, so even if the topic interests me, I won’t even bother if there’s no transcription or at least a CliffsNotes description of the contents. A transcription beneath videos would be a boon.

  18. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    Observation / FYI – It seems to me like the comment-trolls and bile level both ticked up a bit around when the big transition was announced.

    Moderating comments is a fraught PITA. But also be aware that several apparently robust on line debating communities have been killed by interlopers. Consider two cautionary tales: the story of the demise of The Well (Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier if I recall correctly) and Clay Shirky’s A Group Is its Own Worst Enemy.

    Faux-civility is as destructive as going full 4Chan. Maybe you can pull it off with a public accommodation, open to all, that’s also a business. The ones I’ve seen last have all had some barrier to entry. The trolls won’t pay to troll, while the people who value the content and interaction will.

    Just my $0.02.

  19. avatar Adam says:

    People still see pop up ads? Jesus, you old guys need to learn how to use the internet. Here, let me give you a “Baby Boomers guide on how to internet” written by a Millennial.

    Step 1: Stop using Internet Explorer.
    Step 2: Download Firefox or Chrome
    Step 3: Google “Adblock Plus” and “Privacy Badger”
    Step 4: Download both applications mentioned in Step 3 onto your web browser.
    Step 5: Relax and enjoy your ad free internet.

    1. avatar Kurtzrund says:

      Step 0: don’t work at a “high-tech” company that forces you to use Internet Explorer, because “it’s the most secure browser and we’ll fire you if you download something else”.

  20. avatar V Leggett says:

    Glad the full page ads are gone and as a show of good faith I am turning off Adguard.

  21. avatar Bob says:

    You wrote, “We heard from a number of you that when you leave a comment, you’d like to be notified of a reply via email. Working on it.”

    I would also like the option to choose to NOT be notified.

  22. avatar Peter says:

    Surprised it’s only 20% that want TTAG swag

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email