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by Mike-ENDOTactical




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paul helinski, meet the internet

By now, you are probably well aware of the difficulties Paul Helinski, the president (?) of GunsAmerica and current sufferer of faragosis, is having comprehending how the internet works.

Well, just over two days ago, I issued the following challenge to my readers:

To all you lucky bastards going to SHOT Show this year, take heed! I have a few Eastern TN Monster Hunter International patches left, and I will send one patch, free of charge, to the first two people to send me a picture of the following: you, standing at the edge of the GunsAmerica booth (with their sign/logo visible/legible behind you), holding a sign/placard/piece of paper with “Don’t be a dick, Paul” legibly written upon it. You can anonymize yourself however you like (I will be posting the pictures here), and be as creative with that as you like, but, hey, free patches!

… And today, on the first day of the actual SHOT Show, shortly after the doors opened, I received my first picture:


No, that person is not me – I could not rationalize the cost, time, and vacation necessary to make a full going of that event. In fact, I am not even sure who that person is. However, I, as a "nobody" with fewer than a thousand hits of traffic a day, a weblog only a few years old, and a Compete.com ranking that looks more like the population of one of the top 30 largest cities in the States (for reference, lower is better), was able to reach across the country and put a nice little thorn in the side of an apparently incorrigible jerk, courtesy of an enterprising reader.

Kind of cool how that works. Of course, you know what this means – one more patch is still available for the claiming!

Oh, and Paul, my original offer still stands – make a public apology, hitting all three necessary parts, regarding your words at the NSSF/SHOT Show weblog, and all of this will… well, be reduced. At this point, the posts I have written are so deeply impacting Google hits now, I doubt I can make them "go away" entirely any more, but that is rather your fault for dragging your feet.

Speaking of, does anyone know if H-S Precision is at this year’s SHOT?

(Many thanks to the pictured intrepid reader – your patch will be in the mail shortly!)

12 comments to paul helinski, meet the internet

  • Monte

    According to the floor plan at shotshow.org, they’re booth #16749, Sands Expo Level 2.

  • So they are. Decent sized booth, but relegated to a corner. I can live with that.

  • SGB

    That made my evening. You should sell the photographs.

  • MAJ Mike

    Aim to misbehave.

  • @ SGB: Heh, you think there is a market? 🙂

    @ PT: Indeed.

    @ MAJ Mike: Nah, showing dicks they are dicks is far from “misbehaving”.

  • Noah

    I actually met this helinski guy at the show yesterday and he was pretty funny and even claimed he was trying to stir things up. Apparently it worked. Do i agree with his approach? No, but he did have a point. I have spoken to several manufacturers who say that it is important to weed through the blogosphere and pick the important ones and big ones out of the masses so they can get product to the right guys who reach the most people. However, everyone is a nobody at some point, even gunsamerica, gunblast, etc etc. I personally enjoy the content of both of those blogs but i do stumble across some good smaller blogs too. If you put out quality work, the audience will come. If you are just using your status as a blogger to get free stuff, then you shouldnt be in this business. I love bloggers and despise magazines who have completely sold out at this point. You guys (gunsamerica and helinski included) are the future! Keep doin what youre doin and stop doing battle with each other…

    Rant over 🙂

  • I’m as inspired as I am impressed! Bloggers of the World, Unite!

  • Karl wrote:

    I’m as inspired as I am impressed! Bloggers of the World, Unite!

    You have nothing to lose but your links! 😉

  • @ Noah: Oh, how badly I want to raise the “sockpuppet” flag right now… However, I will take this comment as it is, and run with it.

    Maybe he has a valid point. Maybe he does not. But the point remains that he did not have to be an ass and insult pretty much the entirety of the blogosphere (at least, before he started frantically backpeddling) just to make that point, precisely because, as you say, he was, once upon a time, a nobody as well.

    If manufacturers want to do their homework and limit who they talk to to the very best of the blogosphere, then more power to them. If NSSF wants to impose some kind of traffic requirement or whatnot on attending SHOT Show, then it is their show, and they can set the rules. But when some old-timer fart like Paul shows up and starts demanding that the rabble be excluded from his show, that is nothing more than elitist bullshit designed exclusively to destroy competition.

    Fuck that noise.

    @ Karl: Thank ye kindly!

    @ AuricTech: And GunsAmerica lost more than a few over Paul’s idiocy…

  • Guest 10-10

    I had the opportunity to work with Paul and GunsAmerica this past week. I can’t speak to his statement on blogs, only that there is a point to be made that the internet allows anyone to post all kinds of things, portray them as fact, and without any vetting. I have read up on blogs by “experts” who portrayed themselves as being the end-all-be-all in firearms.

    There are many good voices out there, but sometimes you need to wade through waves of people posting as experts who lack any education/experience/etc who post opinion as fact. That’s just the reality of the internet.

    As for Paul, my experience is that he’s a decent and honorable guy. Any commitment he made to me he kept, and he was always fair when dealing with me. Just my respectful 2 cents.

  • As I said, I have no problems with businesses vetting who they deal with, or even the NSSF vetting who they allow to attend their shows, and, frankly, I would not be surprised or disappointed if someone like me, with my limited traffic, exposure, and focus was excluded from such events.

    HOWEVER, Paul outright demanding such things spanks of attempting to squelch and suppress competition, and that is a particularly pathetic thing indeed. I am sorry he is so concerned about his business/weblog that some little site like mine would pose a threat, but, frankly, it ain’t my problem.

    And he may be the best businessman / business operator in the world, but he is a complete goddamned moron when it comes to public relations.