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This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter
Greetings Glider Groupies, Glider Newbies and Glider Wanna-bes! Welcome to the August 2008 edition of the GliderVet News.
I can always tell by the nature of my phone calls when “something new” is going on in the sugar glider community. And that something new is another sugar glider web site that purports to deliver "Professional & Consumer Reviews You Can Trust".
Those of you who have been with SunCoast and this newsletter for a while understand how deeply we care about these animals and what happens to them. We think the "reviews" on this web site are completely fabricated to deceive people who are new to the community and don't have the experience to tell the difference.
We know lots of these new folks in "research mode" subscribe to this newsletter during their initial searches on the web. So with all apologies to the long-time glider owners on the list, we will devote the newsletter to unraveling this new site, with the hope new sugar glider people will be able to make an informed decision about it. We'll also provide these new folks with what we think are the best independent sources of glider info on the web - the message boards.
Please remember that this newsletter is intended to express the wishes of the whole sugar glider community. Every article published in this newsletter is a result of someone just like you taking the time to write us with thoughts, ideas, stories and questions. Send your comments to us here.
If you ever want to find earlier issues of GliderVet News, you can access our archives here. Fun pics of sugar gliders sent in by our customers are found here. If you are looking for sugar glider tested and approved products, check out our ever expanding store here.
Are you new to sugar gliders or just in the early stages of trying to decide if one is right for you? Questions you can ask yourself to help make this very important and long term decision are here.
A very confusing area for those considering glider ownership (and for some current owners too!) is diet. See what our vet has to say here. And if you decide that a sugar glider (or two!) would become future members of your household, then you might want to check out Arnold's great deals on starter kits, with or without cages.
SugarGliderReviews.org - Friend or Foe?
Lately my phone has been ringing off the hook, with a lot of questions that used to be merely occasional. Now I’m getting asked these same questions with high regularity and I’ve decided to do my own investigation into the source of these inquiries.
First off, I do not mind calls and questions at all, but when the questions are the result of a new “expert” website that has no identifiable people behind it, my ears start to tingle. Second, when these questions are the same questions I seem to get all the time from people who have purchased sugar gliders at places like home shows, rodeos, state fairs, and gun shows (Yikes!) it's time to investigate. A coincidence? Perhaps, but you can decide.
The Web Site
SugarGliderReviews.org is this new web site that purports to deliver "Professional & Consumer Reviews You Can Trust". Along with the review section, the site also delivers a hefty dose of its own information in the form of "Free Consumer Guides for New Owners". The info is the same as the NASGA site that we reviewed here provides - almost word for word. This despite both sites claiming to be "independent sources" of sugar glider info. Generally, they both recommend a very human-centric, hamster-like approach to caring for sugar gliders that won't kill them, but won't make them very happy either. We call this the Thrive versus Survive issue.
And surprise, surprise - each of these sites recommends the other as the "best source" of glider information on the web.
When you try to post a review on the SugarGliderReviews.org site, it says (quite conveniently) that you can't post your opinion until October, because "the posting system is being completely revised". Well, I guess we'll have to take their word on that. Update: That was in August 2008. Now it's November 2008, and the site says you will be able to post your reviews in January. Right.
Last check July 2011 - still can't post reviews.
SugarGliderReviews.org claims to have over 36,000 reviews but has only existed since July 17, 2008, if you check the registration. I've seen a lot of these sites come and go over the years, and I just don't think that level of review activity is possible for a site that's a month old. Not when Glider Central, for example, has about 150,000 postings of all kinds and has been around since 1998!
While you're looking at the registration at the link above, you might also note the site was registered in Germany by someone who (supposedly) lives in Panama, and that most of the contact info is missing, other than info for the German web site host. Sounds to me like someone is trying to hide something, just like on the NASGA site.
Bottom line for this review - the SugarGliderReviews.org site is not what it pretends to be, there are just too many holes in the story. When you get two web sites that both claim to be independent, spout the same kind of tilted messaging, and then refer to each other as "the best source", I find the whole story pretty hard to believe.
The Information Provided
One of the company ranking criteria at SugarGliderReviews.org is having a USDA license. For those who have not read our home page, we are licensed by both the USDA and the State of Florida Wildlife Commission. We talked about this USDA issue last month and what the license really means, if you would like more info.
All the message boards receive very poor rankings because they don’t have a USDA license. I'm here to tell you that message boards cannot be USDA licensed, they are not people! This is a great example of the kind of truth-twisting that goes on with these sites - taking something that is a fact and making it seem like a bad thing. It's not a "lie" that the message boards are not USDA licensed. But this fact doesn't really mean anything either!
I'm also wondering if a web site based in Panama that's registered in Germany is owned by someone who is USDA licensed? Far as I know, a non-US resident can't get a USDA license, so by their own criteria, this review site would get a Poor rating.
Curiously, both SugarGliderReveiws.org and the NASGA site have all these strong warnings against using info from message boards to make decisions. Our experience is the boards are a place where you get mostly unbiased information, because they are self-regulating, like any social group on the web. The "crazy" stuff gets rejected by the group and though people may disagree on specific details, the general take on a topic is usually OK. Not that boards are perfect, but if you see people consistently bashing the same company, nutrition, or husbandry idea over and over, starts to make you wonder, right?
Plus, the message boards consist of a lot of members who are USDA licensed. So these sources can be very good for helping with your questions, and you should always search the glider boards for any company you plan to do business with first, including ours!
These are the two largest, legitimate sugar glider discussion boards out there. Size is important, because the larger the board, the less likely it is you will get biased information:
Update: Suggested by Customers
United Sugar Glider Network
Those of you with experience in the community, if you have other boards you like, send 'em to me and I will list them above.
The Show Connection
Many of the calls I am receiving are from people who purchased sugar gliders on impulse at a show of some kind. Much of the care and feeding information they want to discuss is the same as on these two sites mentioned above. For a point by point review from me on this material, see this page.
I ask them, why don't you contact the people who sold you the animals? These folks tell me the people they purchased from just tell buyers with questions to "Call Lisa at SunCoast".
As I said, I don't mind helping people out, but you have to do your part, OK? Spend a little time informing yourself. If you are one of these show buyers, here is what you should do before calling me:
1. Search our GliderVet Newsletter archives for an answer. Chances are, over the past 77 monthly newsletters, we have answered your question. Go to the archives or Search box at the top of this page.
2. Then, go to one of the message boards above and ask your question. If you want, include our answer and see what people say.
3. If you still don't get a satisfying answer, then go ahead and call me. But please understand that our own customers are the priority around here, so if I can't get back to you right away and you still have questions, contact the person you bought the animals from!
If you call for help, and what you have been told by the people at the show doesn't agree with what we have written or say, or what the people on the boards say, please don't argue with me about it - we say what we mean with no hesitation because all our material that has to do with health, nutrition, or husbandry has been approved by experienced sugar glider vets. We're confident enough in the quality of our information that we don't need to force you to agree to a huge disclaimer before you can get help from our material.
We live in a changing time 'me friends. A time when many of us only want the best for our families, our communities and our world. Together, we can all take care of each other and the few who want to rock our world will not penetrate our own strength and commitment to what is right and what is wrong. We watch out for each other and that is what community is about.
We solve small problems together and we solve large problems together. Hey just the other day, we started a new X-periment on harnessing Wodent Wheel power as a new energy source! So you see, it doesn’t matter if we are small organizations or small communities, together we make a difference.
And to you my friends behind the North American Sugar Glider Association and SugarGliderReviews.org, whoever you are, why don't you come out from behind the curtain! Come out, come out!
You know where to reach me: firstname.lastname@example.org, and I don't have anything to hide. How about you?
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That's it for this month's GliderVet Newsletter. I hope you liked what we had to offer! If you have any stories, questions, pictures, suggestions for topics - anything glider - you would like to share or see covered in the GliderVet newsletter, please send them here.
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SunCoast Sugar Gliders
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