After 30 tournament matches over 33 days, we finally have our TTAK Knife Madness 2017 Champion. Congratulations to Zero Tolerance Knives for a commanding victory. They beat out KA-BAR, Kershaw, and Morakniv, in our final, 4-way contest. After purging duplicates, there were a total of 350 votes. ZT nabbed 251 of them (71.7%), followed by Kershaw (38 votes- 10.9%), Morakniv (32 votes – 9.1%), and KA-BAR (29 votes – 8.3%).
The score was padded by another video plea from TacTissy for Zero Tolerance. Her last one was the difference between ZT’s winning in Round 3, or a loss to Hogue which had put up a significant lead until she posted at 6pm. I am glad I checked the stats/score at 3pm today, just prior to Tissy’s post. ZT had already pretty much wrapped things up, with just over 50% of the vote already in hand. Tissy’s post was just icing on the cake.
In a sense, you could be justified in calling shenanigans. These two video plugs from an internet celebrity had a defining impact on the tournament. However, as she says in the video, and is confirmed by my contact at KAI (parent company of ZT and Kershaw), she is not sponsored by ZT, and has no formal relationship with the company beyond being an extremely passionate fangirl of their products.
Contrast this with the shares by Les George and Allen Elishewitz. Les is a designer for KAI, with his designs being produced by both ZT and Kershaw. Allen is the exclusive designer for Hogue, and pretty much runs their knife division. No one has suggested that their shares were somehow out of bounds. In fact, I openly encouraged the companies themselves to share.
Not everyone did. KA-BAR, despite Ethan Becker speaking with his contacts at the company never shared one of our posts. TacTissy has more than a half-million followers. R. Lee Ermey, who is a paid spokesman for KA-BAR has over 1 million followers. Imagine the impact a 30 second video-plug from The Gunny would have had on our contest. Not only would it have been cool as heck to see, it likely would have been the difference between a last place finish and a Championship crown.
In the end, I am not sure what to think about this. I suppose I should be thrilled, I am certainly grateful for the exposure. In reality, we are like a bookie – TTAK got ours, no matter who won or lost. I’d like to know your all’s thoughts on this particular issue in the comments.
I plan on making one more post debriefing the contest in the coming days. Please think of feedback and feel free to leave it here in the comments or in the forthcoming post.
One final announcement tonight. There was considerable grumbling on Facebook, and in Tissy’s post for that matter, and that is related to how an email address was required to vote. We were not data mining! This was purely to limit multiple voting, which was possible in the free polling platform offered by Google. I will purge the results in the coming days.
For next year’s contest, I have Dan Zimmerman’s (Managing Editor of The Truth About Guns and my boss) approval to run the polling in a premium polling service which records IP addresses to prevent multiple voting. It also costs several hundred dollars, but his approval is recognition that this contest had significant benefit to the blog, and is worth doing again next year in an even bigger and better way.
In closing I would like to thank Ethan Becker, Allen Elishewitz, Hogue Inc., WR Case and Sons, Les George, Jens Ansø, and KAI-USA, and TacTissy for their participation in this contest. I also want to thank all of our readers. Taken as a whole, this contest helped give us our 3rd highest monthly page-view total in the 4+ years of the blog – 138,899 views for the month of March. We also added more than 600 new followers on Facebook, an increase of more than 30% from where the month started. I am not going to go as far as saying that this was a “coming-out” party for TTAK, but it certainly helped boost our stature in the knife industry. We made almost a dozen significant contacts with companies and designers, received a couple of knives for testing, and have planted the seeds for future partnerships going forward.
I could not be more thrilled with how this turned out. Thanks everyone.
H. Clay Aalders – TTAK Managing Editor.
p.s. Stay tuned, I have a 5 from the Grinder post from Les George on tap for tomorrow morning. He sent it in last week, but I thought it would be unfair to post it while the final rounds were underway. Not that ZT needed the help as it turned out.
You can read all of our Knife Madness 2017 content here.