About this website
I did not consider myself to be, nor did I set out to become, an expert on the subject of tilapia fingerlings. College educated in ancient code like RPG, COBOL and Basic, I started programming computers in the early 1980's and launched my first website for programmers in 1994 (that's four years before Google was founded). At a time when people were still confounded by the very existence of the Internet, I was already testifying as an expert witness in legal proceedings both for and against web marketers accused of plagiarism and defamation of character. I have assisted in lawsuits involving software copyright violations, reverse-engineering, and most notably to the endeavor of this website, I have been brought in as an expert witness for cases involving false claims made over the Internet and via Email, which caused significant monetary damages to the victim. Back then, when the only social media was an America Online chatroom, most website publishers did their best to provide information that was as accurate as possible. Everyone was outraged when lies were discovered on the "information superhighway".
Of course, today we all get a daily dose of fake news and personal opinions being passed off as facts. Most of the time they let their bias and ulterior motives be known, other times it's a little harder to spot. Fortunately, we've all developed a healthy skepticism towards the things that we find on social media and other reporting sources. But what about when you want to make an online purchase? Now all of a sudden the whole dynamic changes. You are forced to lower your guard and ingest whatever the seller wants you to believe because you want what they are selling. You think that you are doing research, but in reality you're letting someone who wants your money influence your opinions. If you are familiar with their product, then all you have to do is ignore their sales pitch and buy according to price. However, if their product requires a degree in Marine Biology to fully understand, as is the case with tilapia fingerlings, then finding a trusted source is imperative.
So in the spring of 2014, I was in the market to buy some tilapia fingerlings for our new home aquaponics project. Like you, I found several companies vying for my business. I took a chance and ordered from the first place that caught my eye. Within a few days, I found myself shaking my head and wishing that I had taken a few extra minutes to perform some proper due diligence before I optimistically entered my credit card information. The first and most obvious person to blame for my misfortune, was myself. I knew better, but I got lazy. I just wanted to order my fish and get on with my day. Over the next several months, as my wife and I expanded our system, I continued to encounter one creative lie after another.
Why did I start a website about tilapia fingerlings?
When friends ask me that question, I jokingly say that I'm old and retired, but mostly bored. The truth is, working on this site brings me a lot of satisfaction. I have always been an avid learner. I'm one of those people who needs to know everything about anything that interests me. I also enjoy sharing what I've learned. If you think about it, unless you discovered it for the first time, everything that you know was shared with you by someone else. I put quite a bit of time into learning everything that I could about tilapia fingerlings, so there's no sense in letting that knowledge die with me. Especially if I can shed some new light on the subject or explain it in a way that others can better understand.
This website is also my way of pushing back against Internet liars. Not just the ones selling tilapia fingerlings, but a few aquaponics systems and supply companies as well. Telling lies is a mental condition that encompasses every aspect of a person's life. Many people like to sugar-coat these tendencies with more palatable words like "misrepresentations", "creative license", "intentional omissions" or even "free speech" but it's all the same thing. Even words used to artificially inflate the reputation of a company are still designed to deceive the customer, and are therefore bona-fide lies.
When it comes to conducting business, it's important that you rid yourself of any notions that you may have about "big lies" versus "little lies". Successful marketing does not have to be based on creating "low impact" lies. A person who is willing to lie about the small things in an effort to manipulate your opinion or level of confidence is willing to lie to you about anything. If their products are really worthy of your money, then they don't require lies.
Much to my early dismay, very few of the tilapia dealers allowed for customer reviews. Most of the websites that you see today come with pre-canned reviews where the owner can say whatever he wants about himself as "Walter S." or "Fran B." Places like the BBB, Yelp and the search platforms do allow for customer reviews, but only if the tilapia dealer has a store front. Many do not. So I guess the most accurate answer is that I started this site as my own personal review platform.
So why should you care? I guess the best answer is because nobody likes getting ripped off. Many of you are raising tilapia fingerlings to feed your family. Like me, some of you have invested large chunks of time and money into your system and are counting on success. You are not a marine biologist. And while you shouldn't expect any dealer of tilapia fingerlings to be a scientist either, you do have the right to expect that they are knowledgeable, or at the very least, truthful.