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#1386902 - 03/02/10 10:11 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3947
I don't know Steve , but the quality of his posts and his industry knowledge rank high with me. The piano ratings in PB represent my experience over the past 25 years. Larry Fine has done a superb job. I have not seen any bias in any ratings.

Here once again is one way camera lenses are rated at a retail stores web site. If a "unbiased" rating method is desired someone might want to start a piano ratings site where the public, teachers, techs, salesman can all contribute.

Visit: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controll...orToReadReviews
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#1386932 - 03/02/10 10:54 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3525
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Sophia,

Do you think that Piano Buyer would better serve the typical consumer if manufactuter's and dealer's perspectives were not examined and accurately explained to shoppers?

You and other have levied some very strong criticism about potential conflicts of interest, when in fact, while the potential is there, it simply hasn't happened! Sure, you can talk endlessly about how little things creep in, yet no one has based their criticism on the content of Piano Buyer.

Principles, in theory, without reality.

I know that I will not change your thinking. However I KNOW what has gone on in my relationship with Larry and Piano Buyer, and I know that what you suspect and accuse us of simply hasn't occurred.



Steve, I think the typical consumer would be better served by having someone report on those issues who is not consulting to some of the (undisclosed) manufacturers whose products are being reviewed and who is not a dealer selling some of them.

I'm sorry but you're indicating that you don't really understand the basis of conflict of interest policies. Your multiple roles create the conflict of interest-- whether actual bias happened or not. Nobody is suggesting that you and Larry sit down and calculate your ad revenues or consulting fees and then adjust your content accordingly. Bias hardly ever is so blatant or obvious. The answer to the question of how the conflict of interest affects what is in PB is : we don't know-- and that's part of the problem. You and Larry don't know even though you may feel strongly that you do, and that is also part of the problem. People rarely think they are biased in these kinds of situations or are aware of the subtle ways this happens. That is why COI policies were developed. As AJB said, this is basic law, business and research ethics 101.

I have not “accused” you of anything – I and a number of others here have pointed out that there is indeed a conflict, that it erodes the credibility of PB, and changes the nature of the publication from the earlier versions of the Piano Book. Methods to mitigate conflicts, like having a firewall between those in charge of content and those involved in advertising, and full transparency about relationships that could influence practices, don't seem to be happening here, as far as can be seen.

As I said in a previous post, this is not life and death stuff, and I like pretty pictures of pianos as much as anyone around here. Piano Buyer has lots of fun stuff in it but I no longer consider it an objective guide to piano comparisons.

You and Larry will run your businesses as you see fit and that is of course your right. As a thoughtful consumer, I have the equal right to see Piano Buyer as less credible, objective and independent as a result.

Sophia

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#1386939 - 03/02/10 11:06 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: sophial]
jazzyprof Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/04
Posts: 2678
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Originally Posted By: sophial
I no longer consider it an objective guide to piano comparisons.

Can there ever be such a thing?

In fact, Piano Buyer has never pretended to be anything other than a subjective guide. You only have to read Larry Fine's own words in PB (bolds mine):

"Any such rating system is obviously not scientific but subjective, the product of my contacts with dozens of piano technicians, dealers, and other industry personnel, as well as my more than thirty years of involvement with the piano industry. My sense is that most knowledgeable people in the industry would agree in broad terms with this comparison, though many will disagree with me--and with each other--about the details.

The key to proper use of this chart is not to cling to it too tightly but to understand that, given its subjectivity and simplicity, it should be used only as a learning tool."

If you ever thought it was an objective guide you are probably in the minority.
_________________________
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP

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#1386993 - 03/03/10 01:27 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: jazzyprof]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3525
Loc: US
Perhaps "noncommercial" might be a better term then than "objective".


Edited by sophial (03/03/10 01:27 AM)

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#1387013 - 03/03/10 02:22 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
David - you accuse others of being naiive yet you say things like this: "The presence of advertisers is a confirmation that the industry does trust that publication".

The industry (in fact any industry} places ads because it raises their profile and helps them to sell more pianos. Thats it. It has nothing to do with trust and everything to do with dollars.

Steve feeds the advertising machine because that is what he is paid to do - ramp up traffic to support the advertising dollars.

The two threads have generated much PM and email traffic. I have presented one side of the argument, Steve's cheerleaders have tried to defend him. I am not persuaded by the defence and I am well aware that many others think that Steve is blatantly conflicted an that pb is less objective than it was.

As to the point in a post above that pw belongs to Frank and he can do what he wants. Steve made this pert justification to me at one time too. To me this misses the point. Piano World is nothing without its content. For that, and its continued life, it required lively discourse and an active membership. The active members collectively are the most important feature.

The time difference does create a disconnect in these threads at times. It is early here! Counsel for each side has presented its arguments and the jury is out. The ones with something to lose are Steve and Larry. They either take criticisms on board or not. It is their business model that is having its value damaged.

Kind regards

Adrian
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#1387132 - 03/03/10 09:20 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: sophial]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4263
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Originally Posted By: sophial


I'm sorry but you're indicating that you don't really understand the basis of conflict of interest policies. Your multiple roles create the conflict of interest-- whether actual bias happened or not. Nobody is suggesting that you and Larry sit down and calculate your ad revenues or consulting fees and then adjust your content accordingly. Bias hardly ever is so blatant or obvious. The answer to the question of how the conflict of interest affects what is in PB is : we don't know-- and that's part of the problem. You and Larry don't know even though you may feel strongly that you do, and that is also part of the problem. People rarely think they are biased in these kinds of situations or are aware of the subtle ways this happens. That is why COI policies were developed. As AJB said, this is basic law, business and research ethics 101.
Sophia


This is written by someone who understands the problem completely and can see the larger picture. With conflict of interest it is not the bias that is the problem. It is the “perception of bias” that the rest of the world will have. This is the “optics” that I referred to earlier.

I believe this is a fortunate thing for this to have come out here even though this is a public forum. Remember as I mentioned in an earlier thread, this forum represents.0001% of the total population on this continent.

Because we are a world community of people who share a common interest (pianos) we can share our opinions, bicker, disagree, argue, and still come to a resolution/solution to take to the rest of the world.

Better to get this all out in the open previous to going forward.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1387151 - 03/03/10 09:53 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5741
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos


I believe this is a fortunate thing for this to have come out here even though this is a public forum. Remember as I mentioned in an earlier thread, this forum represents.0001% of the total population on this continent.



Too many decimel points.
Unique visitors in 2009 = 5,172,840

Approx. population of U.S. = 303,000,000
Approx. population of Canada = 33,500,000
Total population of the two = 336,500,000 (ok, it isn't the entire continent, but you get the idea).

5,172,840 is 1.5372481426448738% of 336,500,000

Sorry, couldn't help it.
My other job is SEO/SEM/Internet Marketing consultant much of which
is based around site analytics.

I now return you to the original topic of rating pianos (that was supposed to be the original topic, wasn't it?).

_________________________
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www.PianoSupplies.com
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#1387154 - 03/03/10 09:59 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Piano World]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1570
Loc: Danville, California
Frank

Are you trying to say that over 5 million individual human beings visited this site in 2009???

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#1387156 - 03/03/10 10:00 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Furtwangler]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
With emphasis on trying.

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#1387160 - 03/03/10 10:10 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Furtwangler]
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5741
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Originally Posted By: Furtwangler
Frank

Are you trying to say that over 5 million individual human beings visited this site in 2009???



Not trying, fact.
Keep in mind they didn't all visit the forums.
There are over 1000 other pages to Piano World and they get a lot of traffic.

Google has 75,300 pages indexed, Yahoo has over 615,000 indexed.
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
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www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
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-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
Invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield let's get together!


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#1387161 - 03/03/10 10:10 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: theJourney]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10574
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
I think that is exactly what he is trying to say.

Staggering, isn't it?
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#1387162 - 03/03/10 10:11 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: theJourney]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4263
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada


My mistake before coffee. Allow me to rephrase then. I meant to write the membership being 45,000 approximately and with 360 million between Canada/US/ Mexico. The percentage of the total population that is a member here is what I was referring to.

I am sure there are a lot of people who just read and are not members..........

Better?
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1387164 - 03/03/10 10:14 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: theJourney]
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5741
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Originally Posted By: theJourney
With emphasis on trying.

Tell me ... Do you have anything good to say about anyone or anything?

It must be hard going through life thinking everyone is wrong but you.
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
Facebook.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Twitter.com/PianoWorld
www.youtube.com/PianoWorldDotCom
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My Keyboards:
Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit), Bilhorn Telescope Organ c 1880
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
Invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield let's get together!


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#1387165 - 03/03/10 10:15 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1570
Loc: Danville, California
Well, as I write this there are just over 300 people on this Piano forum. And normally the number on this forum rarely exceeds 400 at any given time.

I daresay of the 300+ individuals on this forum now worldwide, 200 are most likely "regulars".

Or am I wrong about this?

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#1387182 - 03/03/10 10:41 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Furtwangler]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4263
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Back on topic:

In 38 years of this business, I have never read the PB and I am not ever going to be interested. I form my opinions of musical instruments based upon each one as an individual case. I don’t view JD Power or any of the other consumer guides mentioned previously.

However let us take a look at something by comparison.
Consumer Reports, carries NO advertising – it is funded entirely by subscriptions and donations. If a product is rated highly in their reviews, and the product manufacturer decided to advertise this fact, Consumer Reports will promptly take them to court.

One of the most highly respected consumer magazines on the planet. This one I do read.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1387184 - 03/03/10 10:42 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1570
Loc: Danville, California
"If a product is rated highly in their reviews, and the product manufacturer decided to advertise this fact, Consumer Reports will promptly take them to court."

Huh? They do???

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#1387185 - 03/03/10 10:46 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Piano World]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Piano World
Originally Posted By: theJourney
With emphasis on trying.

Tell me ... Do you have anything good to say about anyone or anything?


Very much so. Check out my posting history over the years.

However, I also have a low tolerance for self-serving BS.
Pianoworld unfortunately suffers from a lot of BS and particularly from too many people earnestly believing their own BS.

Finally, I am not the one making wild claims about the reach of this site, I am not the one poo poo-ing genuine concerns about the appearance of conflict of interest at piano buyer, I am not the one giving special treatment to favored posters on a supposedly public forum including unilaterally deleting posts and having different rules for those who buy their way through money or consideration into special treatment, and I am not the one claiming that just because pianoworld is privately owned that it is not subject to generally accepted standards of propriety consistent with its purported public function.

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#1387188 - 03/03/10 10:52 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10574
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos
Back on topic:

In 38 years of this business, I have never read the PB and I am not ever going to be interested. I form my opinions of musical instruments based upon each one as an individual case. I don’t view JD Power or any of the other consumer guides mentioned previously.

However let us take a look at something by comparison.
Consumer Reports, carries NO advertising – it is funded entirely by subscriptions and donations. If a product is rated highly in their reviews, and the product manufacturer decided to advertise this fact, Consumer Reports will promptly take them to court.

One of the most highly respected consumer magazines on the planet. This one I do read.


Consumer's Report reports on such a wide range of products and services that it can attract enough subscribers to support the publication. This is not so for the piano industry.

If anyone feels they have a better business model than PB, they can try to convince Larry to shift to it, or try it themselves.

Someone once said that democracy was a lousy form of government, but it was the best one out there! We don't think PB's model is "lousy", but we maintain that it is the best we (or anyone) has come up with in the piano industry.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#1387200 - 03/03/10 11:09 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3525
Loc: US
Steve Cohen wrote: "If anyone feels they have a better business model than PB, they can try to convince Larry to shift to it, or try it themselves. "


How about at the very least having full disclosure and transparency about any financial relationships you and Larry have with industry and having a firewall between advertising department and editorial (content) functions?

Sophia

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#1387202 - 03/03/10 11:13 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
appleman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 188
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos

Consumer Reports, carries NO advertising
Like communism, this is good in theory, but the fact that Consumer Reports, which reports on many products, is the only one to do this proves it's not good in practice for any specialized review company.

Faulting a specialized review company for not following an unattainable standard is silly, especially if we can't prove that there's anything different if they did obtain that standard.
_________________________
Dr. Appleman, former NASA engineer, Empire of Earth and B.S. of Ninjutsu at MIT.

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#1387204 - 03/03/10 11:15 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14506
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
My summary opinions on this subject are these:

1] Frank Baxter and this site should never have been part of this discussion. The agreement he has with PB is of no significance to anyone. Business happens and in this case it is marginal and inconsequential.

2] Same is true for Larry Fine and PB. We ave long accepted and very much APPRECIATED Mr. Fine's work for what it is. Never portrayed as perfect or all-inclusive, it is as good as it gets. Once you get in this type work, it will never be completed, fully up-to-date or will 100% accurate.

3] The onus in this debate IMHO is entirely on Mr.Cohen.

In his new role and as "contributing Editor" of PB he has to show much greater restraint.

His own retail business is all Japanese and Korean pianos.

Mr. Cohen's website is uniquely strong worded against Chinese pianos, creating an outspoken negativism against a large segment of pianos on market today. Pianos which are constantly and rapidly being re-developed, creating advancements on the market. As such they will *have to be* continuously re-assessed in Mr. Fine's PB.

The mentioned circumstance of strong anti-Chinese propaganda in Mr. Cohen's own website is not only peculiar, it is in essence "hostile"
And this is clearly where the problem starts, certainly in regards to his new role as "Contributing Editor" of P.B.

In addition and as part of his new function as "Contributing Editor" Mr. Cohens' tone towards others here needs to be restraint, moderate and considerate. As "part time judge on the bench" one cannot say all one wishes [or feels like] unless one is willing to make oneself susceptible to exactly the type suspicions expressed.

"Interference" in things is one thing - power wielding, bullying, outright criticism and subtle manipulating of others, is quite another.

We all can make up our own mind about pianos and that's' something that Mr. Fine has always encouraged himself.

What was a small bon fire has become a bush fire.

By all parties adopting a more restraint, thoughtful, mutually respectful and co-operative tone, we should be able to move forward.

I certainly *will* - and hope others will follow suit.

Cheers to all.

Norbert smile


Edited by Norbert (03/03/10 11:56 AM)
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#1387206 - 03/03/10 11:17 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4263
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
This is not about a better business model...never was. Here it all is in a nutshell:

If you own a piano rating guide and take advertising dollars from piano manufacturers you have a conflict.

If you own a piano dealership and sell pianos in the rating guide while simultaneously have a financial interest or any other interest in the publication you have a conflict.

If you own a dealership that sells pianos and have a financial or other interest in a publication that rates pianos, further, are a member of a piano forum and post favourable things about the guide that you have an interest in you are so hopelessly conflicted it is abundantly clear then you do not understand the conflict guidelines.

But I believe you do understand all of this Mr. Cohen and simply are obfuscating the reality that some of us have attempted to demonstrate to you.

It is how the world views this..These are not my rules..I don’t make the marketplace I just like everyone else try to live within it.

I am sure you involvement with Fine is somewhat benevolent because he wants out of the business. I just think your approach is somewhat misguided.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1387221 - 03/03/10 11:52 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Furtwangler]
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5741
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Originally Posted By: Furtwangler
Well, as I write this there are just over 300 people on this Piano forum. And normally the number on this forum rarely exceeds 400 at any given time.

I daresay of the 300+ individuals on this forum now worldwide, 200 are most likely "regulars".

Or am I wrong about this?



In the one forum, yes you are correct. I look at the bigger picture as visitors rarely limit themselves to one forum.

If you look at the last box on the bottom of the right column, it gives a snapshot of the current count for registered and unregistered visitors. Those numbers are generated directly from the ubb software.

The numbers below come from the analytic software on our servers.

Here is a SnagIt screen capture of the 12 months of 2009, including the totals (it also shows the breakdown for Dec. 2009).






This one might be easier to read:



_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
Facebook.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Twitter.com/PianoWorld
www.youtube.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Skype: PianoWorldDotCom
My Keyboards:
Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit), Bilhorn Telescope Organ c 1880
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
Invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield let's get together!


Top
#1387227 - 03/03/10 11:58 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Piano World]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1570
Loc: Danville, California
Thanks.

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#1387607 - 03/03/10 08:03 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Furtwangler]
Ken Knapp Offline



Registered: 04/18/06
Posts: 2322
Loc: Pennsylvania

I think this topic needs to be put out of its misery.

Ken
_________________________
Ken

Piano Organ Depot
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Trade Regrets: Gary Trafton - Piano Rep
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