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Author Topic: The Beginning - AKA's BIG DILEMMA???  (Read 2701 times)
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fidelio
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« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2014, 07:57 AM »


1.  On the first forum 1 user, 17 guests
2.  On the second forum  1 user   19 guests
3.  On the third forum, which is the most active, this one  8 users  58 guests.

I was on another very large forum years ago, that experienced the same issue, of most people not registering, never posting, just lurking...
99% of guests on internet forums are bots, not lurkers. it's how search engines have publicly visible posts in search results within hours.
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Captainbob
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« Reply #31 on: August 20, 2014, 08:30 AM »


1.  On the first forum 1 user, 17 guests
2.  On the second forum  1 user   19 guests
3.  On the third forum, which is the most active, this one  8 users  58 guests.

I was on another very large forum years ago, that experienced the same issue, of most people not registering, never posting, just lurking...
99% of guests on internet forums are bots, not lurkers. it's how search engines have publicly visible posts in search results within hours.

If that is true, which I doubt, how on earth does the forum know how many visits they get a day, to tell their advertisers and supporters what the forum traffic is.  For instance, right now, this forum has had according to their statistics,  152 visitors so far today.  If ~90% of the visitors are bots, that means that there were likely only 15 visits total so far today.  I don't buy that at all.  There are also programs  that websites can use which don't count bots using various methods to detect them. I am sure that forums like the kiting forums use something similar.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2014, 08:50 AM by Captainbob » Logged

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Allen Carter
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« Reply #32 on: August 20, 2014, 09:18 AM »

You can see what visitors are doing here:

http://www.gwtwforum.com/index.php?action=who

This morning there have been 5 guest users viewing a 4 year old thread about laptop cooling pads. Hmm...

I'd say 20 "real" users (Guest or registered) a day would not be unheard of. I keep telling you, we are a really tiny community these days.

In the five years this Forum has been up there have been 450 people who have posted at least 20 times, but that's still only 7.5 people per month. 1200 people have posted more than once, but that's only 20 per month. The old forum (2001-2008) had more stats on usage available, but even in it's most busy time, we were tiny compared to just about any other hobby forum that could be called the "busiest on the internet" as this one was and sometimes is.

We are small.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2014, 09:35 AM by Allen Carter » Logged

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Captainbob
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« Reply #33 on: August 20, 2014, 09:36 AM »

You can see what visitors are doing here:

http://www.gwtwforum.com/index.php?action=who

This morning there have been 5 guest users viewing a 4 year old thread about laptop cooling pads. Hmm...

I'd say 20 "real" users (Guest or registered) a day would not be unheard of. I keep telling you, we are a really tiny community these days.

In the five years this Forum has been up there have been 450 people who have posted at least 20 times, but that's still only 7.5 people per month. 1200 people have posted more than once, but that's only 20 per month. The old forum (2001-2008) had more stats on usage available, but even in it's most busy time, we were tiny compared to just about any other hobby forum that could be called the "busiest on the internet" as this one was and sometimes is.

We are small.


I agree, that many of those do look like bots, especially since so many are within minutes of each other...  Embarrassed
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Allen Carter
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« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2014, 09:40 AM »

Many are people linking in from Google searches. That's how random old, but relevant pages are being looked at. Valid use, but not really active users. Some convert...

Given the size of the internet, it gives you some idea of how few people are out there googling about kites.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2014, 09:42 AM by Allen Carter » Logged

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Captainbob
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« Reply #35 on: August 20, 2014, 10:36 AM »

Again , being a newbie at this hobby, I often read that kiting seems to be on a decline after hitting a high some years ago.  I guess I am curious as to why this decline happened, since the cost of kites compared to other hobbies seems to be pretty reasonable. Once you have a couple of kites, the biggest obstacle I see is finding a place to fly and wind conditions, and I am wondering if those two factors are what keeps people from taking this hobby up more than they do.

 I have always had something that I was interested in ( call it a hobby I guess) , like flying real aircraft, RC aircraft, RC helicopters, sailing,  cycling, inline skating etc. and I find that flying kites is as much fun as many of my other, very often, more expensive past  hobbies.
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Allen Carter
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« Reply #36 on: August 20, 2014, 11:09 AM »

I often read that kiting seems to be on a decline after hitting a high some years ago.  I guess I am curious as to why this decline happened,


By the time I started flying sport kites in 1998 there was already lots of conversation about the decline in the number of kite flyers. Back then it had a lot to do with boom and bust. There was a huge fad of "stunt kite" flying in the late '80s and early '90s. Huge is a relative term.  As with many fads the mass appeal was short lived. It was a novelty, and there have been many, many more novelties in the years since.

Without the novelty or fad aspect, where large numbers of people would try a gizmo regardless of the rate of success or satisfaction, the barriers to really getting into modern sport kite flying are pretty steep for a very large portion of the population.

Imagine if you really wanted to play golf and there were no golf courses available.

You could go to a driving range...

Or whack balls around some wide open space...

Miniature golf?

Sport kiting is a lot like that. Without a good place to fly, the appeal is short lived and the activity often frustrating.

Add to that the fact that there are just so many things people spend hobby/leisure/outdoor time on these days that the potential user base for a niche activity is smaller than ever. Compare a group of 1000 people who visit a big kite festival today vs. 1990. Fewer people would even get the "Wow" reaction because it's not a new or surprising thing. So your target audience is automatically smaller, but lets say you found 100 people from 1990 and 100 from 2014 who all had an equal "Wow, I'd like to try that!" reaction to sport kites. The percentage of people who would actually follow through is much higher in the 1990 group. The 2014 group has a LOT more options and distractions. Much of the group, especially the younger people, are much more likely to prefer sedentary activities. Our culture has changed over the last 25 years. Hard for us old farts to see, sometimes, but it's true.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2014, 11:11 AM by Allen Carter » Logged

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asburyparkjohn
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« Reply #37 on: August 20, 2014, 11:21 AM »

My guess is lack of knowledge on what is out there, perception and what everyone else does which is normal or mainstream for YOUR AGE and poor/lack or mis-directed advertising. Granted if I did not have a weekend beach house two blocks from the beach I would probably be playing golf. But given the opportunity to fly on a semi-deserted beach in the early morning, listen to my favorite music and fly state of the art flying machines from the Kool-Aid MASTER in basically perfect winds each weekend ... to me the choice is obvious. Why spend $10,000 a year on a semi-private golf course (in my zipcode anyway) or wait for 1-2 hours on a public course hitting some white ball around some pasture ... besides already did that Tiger Woods stuff ... hundreds upon hundreds of people simply walk or run up and down the boardwalk  or on a bike (like me when the winds are really UP simply because this is all they know ... last weekend I did fly next to a parafoil flyer around 50-60 years old ... on 75' lines ... its a small clan ...
Everything I guess needs to be there - steady flow of cash, good winds, knowledge, the mentality what do I care what people think & a desire to IMPROVE ONESELF in a low-end recognized sport. Tough combination for most folks.
Knew a pilot once from Pennsylvania who was struggling after 2-3 years with a stunt kite. Went out once a week minimally in the late Spring/Summer/Late Fall ... crappy winds ... too many trees ... no vacant airports  Cry ...
One JL triple rung was still out of his reach ... flew a Widowmaker ... it was not the kite it was his zipcode.

APJ

  
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« Reply #38 on: August 20, 2014, 12:39 PM »

Whew!  At least we're not listed here, though Frisbee, inline skates, and yo-yos are.  Disco deserves it of course Wink

http://www.badfads.com/

By the time I started flying sport kites in 1998 there was already lots of conversation about the decline in the number of kite flyers. Back then it had a lot to do with boom and bust. There was a huge fad of "stunt kite" flying in the late '80s and early '90s. Huge is a relative term.  As with many fads the mass appeal was short lived. It was a novelty, and there have been many, many more novelties in the years since.

Without the novelty or fad aspect, where large numbers of people would try a gizmo regardless of the rate of success or satisfaction, the barriers to really getting into modern sport kite flying are pretty steep for a very large portion of the population.
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Steve in Indiana
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Allen Carter
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« Reply #39 on: August 20, 2014, 12:56 PM »

That's funny. Model Trains are listed as a fad.

Earlier today, out of curiosity around how big the model plane industry is (latest copies of Tower Hobby catalogs arrived in the mail recently) I looked it up and here's an intersting bit of scope:

2012 ESTIMATED SIZE OF U.S. HOBBY INDUSTRY IS $1.31 BILLION
March 26, 2013. The Hobby Manufacturers Association Board of Directors has just released the findings of its 3rd Size of the U.S. Model Hobby Industry Study which was conducted in the fall of 2012 and shows actual sales for 2011 and estimated sales for 2012.
Based on the standard average markup on manufacturer and distributor sales which is reported to be 40% to 50%, the estimated size of the hobby industry at retail would be between $2.5-3.0 Billion.

The 2012 estimated sales in the individual product segments as compared to the 2010 projections are:
                                  2012             2010
Model Railroad        $516,465,000   $424,770,000
Plastics & Die Cast  $258,727,500   $305,777,500
Radio Control          $259,477,500   $362,912,500
General Hobby        $272,867,500   $377,637,500

So, not only are trains not a fad, the hobby is huge and growing. Who knew?  Huh Huh Huh
« Last Edit: August 20, 2014, 12:58 PM by Allen Carter » Logged

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Trip
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« Reply #40 on: August 20, 2014, 02:51 PM »

I've never thought of it this way, but after I read Allen's post, I have to agree... we are a small group.

The stats you guys have posted are interesting too. Kinda lends credence to the decline in kite interest. Bottom line... Life for everyone has changed since the 1990's and along with it our interests have changed.

But, like many of you, when the chance arises, I'll promote Kiting to the best of my ability whether that be at a park, kite festival, beach or back yard.

I have other hobbies... Motorcycles, Woodworking, Collecting movies and challenge coins as well as Flight Simulator and computers.
I promote them when I can also.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2014, 03:03 PM by Trip » Logged

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« Reply #41 on: August 20, 2014, 03:11 PM »

Does anyone know the comparable KTAI sales numbers?  A quick scan of their website did not turn up a sales history.

http://www.kitetrade.org/default.asp

Kind of surprising about model railroad's popularity but if you visit the Chicago MSI there are alot of young (and older) kids just mesmerized by the model train exhibit.  Since 1941...

http://www.msichicago.org/whats-here/exhibits/the-great-train-story/the-exhibit/

Earlier today, out of curiosity around how big the model plane industry is (latest copies of Tower Hobby catalogs arrived in the mail recently) I looked it up and here's an intersting bit of scope:

2012 ESTIMATED SIZE OF U.S. HOBBY INDUSTRY IS $1.31 BILLION
March 26, 2013. The Hobby Manufacturers Association Board of Directors has just released the findings of its 3rd Size of the U.S. Model Hobby Industry Study which was conducted in the fall of 2012 and shows actual sales for 2011 and estimated sales for 2012.
Based on the standard average markup on manufacturer and distributor sales which is reported to be 40% to 50%, the estimated size of the hobby industry at retail would be between $2.5-3.0 Billion.

So, not only are trains not a fad, the hobby is huge and growing. Who knew?  Huh Huh Huh
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« Reply #42 on: August 20, 2014, 08:16 PM »

I vaguely remember there used to be webmaster information, and possibly a contact email.  I can't find that anymore.  Does anyone know?  Does anyone from the web team or the AKA leadership check this forum? 

From the list of volunteers on the Leadership page:

Internet Presence: John Gillespie <ipc@aka.kite.org>

Thanks Allen.  I scrolled through (probably too quickly) that page twice, and then did a Ctrl-F search for "web" (thinking website, webmaster, web presence, etc.) and didn't find that.  Might have a chat with him next time I see him. 


As a disclaimer I am lucky enough to fly locally with John [Lutter] and he is going to hear about what's being said here - he wants to know.

Glad to know someone from the AKA leadership will see/hear about this.  Thanks. 
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Captainbob
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« Reply #43 on: August 21, 2014, 04:04 AM »

I just tried signing into AKA, It forgot my password, I asked for a new one, then with the new one I signed in and tried to change my new 15 digit password to something I could remember, but it wouldn't let me. Now I am locked out of my account all together. Not a very user friendly website.  Embarrassed


I emailed John Lutter yesterday about being locked out of the AKA site, and received a reply from him in about an hour. Problem fixed......   Smiley
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Tim P.
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« Reply #44 on: August 21, 2014, 10:05 AM »

Long time lurker, first time poster here...  Roll Eyes

I started flying kites when I worked at Kitty Hawk Kites in NC across from Jockey's Ridge one summer back in '86, I was the kite flyer that summer, trained by a great guy name of Mike Storm. I'd put up a bunch of single-line kites as a display, then spend the rest of the day flying dual-lines to generate interest and give lessons or pointers. (greatest job EVER by the way!) Got out of it for a number of years, then wanted to get back into it around 5 or 6 years ago and started buying kites. Still having a great time. Skill level is not where I want it to be, but I'm having fun!

I was down in the Outer Banks in NC the other week, met up with John Barresi on Jockey's Ridge for a few lessons since he was traveling through, and I brought up the same thing to him. Seems to me, looking back on my perceptions of how things were back in the mid-to-late '80's and into the early '90's, that kiting was MUCH more prevalent back then then it appears to be nowadays. I don't know if it's "reality" or just my perception of how things seem to be, or what the causes for this could be (although I have some ideas) or even what we can do as individuals to help broaden the appeal besides just be approachable and friendly and helpful to those few souls that come up to us when we're flying and seem interested. This isn't the "old days" though, and if kiting organizations want to generate new interest in kiting we need to use all the newest social media tools to reach the people. Organizations need to give the sport some flash and pizzazz, make it cool again. Again this just may be my personal perception, but it seems to me that kiting is seen by the masses as either something you do once or twice with little kids while they're still little, or is done by older people. Flying by young adults and middle aged folks is rare and they're likely looked at as being... different.

It sure seems mighty lonely out here for us flyers, which is sad.
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