Offended Visitor Comment at Part-Time-Commander.com

While I know that my website helps lots of people, I found out today that it offends others.  Here’s an email I received today from someone who is offended by my website and the fact that I charge money for my products.  I thought I would share it below and provide the response I sent to the person.

Name: ***name withheld for privacy***
Email: *** protected for privacy reasons***
Website:
Message: Company Commander‘s Training:

Can you legally request money for this when the Army is already required to provide the Pre-Command Course to Commanders and 1SGs? I find it offensive that you are pricing counseling statements for $10 value to convey a bargain. Commanders need to be able to effectively communicate and work with external entities as well as the chain both up and down. This would include networking and acquiring resources. It took one e-mail to a peer and I had every initial counseling I could dream of. The pre-command course gave me a check list of the logistical and administrative areas I needed to look at right away and then intermittently.

Aside from the obvious profit, why branch out when CC.army.mil exists for commanders and prior commanders to come together and share lessons learned?

Offended Service Member

********************

My Response

Dear Offended Service Member,
Thanks for contacting me.  I am sorry that you are offended by my site and products.  This is the first email of this type I have received in four years of having my website.  On the other hand, I’ve received thousands of emails that appreciate the information I share and sell.
Yes, I can legally request money for information that I own the copyright to and sell.  My information is much different than the Pre-Command Course.  I completed that course about eight years ago and designed my programs to cover other important areas that don’t get addressed in that course.
Most people who purchase my initial counseling packets do not have someone in their chain of command (or a friend/peer) to give them the information.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t need to purchase it from me.  As far as the $10 fee, it would take someone several hours to consolidate the information I offer and do a good counseling.  I feel that $10 is more than fair if it saves someone that much time and helps them do their job better.
CC.army.mil is a website geared for Active Duty Company Commanders.  My website is geared for anyone in the USAR and ARNG, not just Company Commanders.
You are under no obligation to purchase anything I sell.  Please keep in mind that my website has over 600 pages of free content that I’ve spent several THOUSAND hours creating, so I do offer plenty of value even for people who don’t want to spend money with me.
Also, I’m not ashamed to admit that my website is a for profit business.  I pay plenty to host my website, advertise it, and keep it going.  I have to recoop those expenses and get paid for my time.  Not everything in the world is free.
In either case, I appreciate your comment and apologize for offending you.
Thanks for your service.  Have a great day.
Chuck
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Thanks for Your Service,

Chuck Holmes

SKYPE: mrchuckholmes
(352) 503-4816 home office
Email: chuck@part-time-commander.com

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9 thoughts on “Offended Visitor Comment at Part-Time-Commander.com

  1. Greg Boudonck

    I’m sorry Chuck, but I just had to chuckle a bit at this.

    My friend, there will always be those who want something for nothing. I had a similar situation in that, my wife and I have been writing and publishing bilingual books on pueblos of Puerto Rico. This also calls for marketing, so we visited bookstores in the San Juan area. One guy just whined and whined that I was way overpriced and that he could get our books cheaper through Amazon. I tried to explain that they are the same price and would have shipping added. He just wouldn’t listen. We went to the bookstore across the street where they bought approx $900 worth. A few weeks later I discovered the other bookstore owner bought part of those books and paid more than he would have had to from us, the authors. His pride kept him from calling us–LOL

    Yes, I believe this person just wanted something for nothing. They probably spouted that thinking you would send them a free copy.

    Good job on your response.

    Reply
  2. Daniel Slone

    This individual must not have seen the the shelf full of books that I’ve found in every Military Clothing Sales store I’ve ever entered, many of them written by retired service members. I personally own an NCOER guide that I’ve used for years (and found invaluable) written by a retired master sergeant. I didn’t resent paying for it or any of the other similar books I’ve bought. Yes, all of this information is available for free somewhere, but in my experience digging simple answers out of an AR or FM is actually not “simple” and is typically quite time consuming. As for the pre-command course, I’ve been a first sergeant since April 2011, and later this month the Louisiana National Guard is finally going to send me to a Commander & First Sergeant Course. Unfortunately the old First Sergeant Course is gone–believe me, I searched high and low on ATTRS for it after I was promoted. At any rate, so far Chuck has not shown up at my house with a gun to force me to buy anything from his site. I don’t know; maybe I’m just way down the list.

    Reply
  3. Amy Skalicky

    I agree with the comment made to this post. Having “been there, done that” your experience is, quite frankly, something you can’t put a price tag on, and offering it to others for their benefit at the low prices you charge is an incredible value for anyone who purchases it. Not to mention the years you spent in the military to protect our freedoms, one of which is free enterprise. I think your response was professional and appropriate. Good job!

    Reply
  4. Rachel C.

    I happen to enjoy your website for all the valuable information it provides pertaining to leadership, command, and keeping organized. I’ve read plenty of books about being a good leader and your site not only consolidates the best lessons from the best leaders, you also offer the information in a way that’s easy to understand and apply to any situation.

    Reply
  5. Justin Long

    Chuck,

    In your defense, and as impartial as I can be as a contributor to the website, I think that what you provide is unique and offering a SMALL percentage of information for a fee is COMPLETELY acceptable. If the “Offended Servicemember’s” argument about the Army having a Pre-Command course, etc. are accurate, then why do thousands upon thousands of authors charge for their books about Company Command? What you offer is something special and geared SPECIFICALLY to ARNG and AR Soldiers and Officers and that is one of the rarest things out there. I have purchased books from this site, a few bucks, and I can attest that what I have gained from that information has enhanced my career exponentially. Keep on doing what your doing and making money doing so… Like you said, if you don’t want to buy your content…nobody is forcing you to. Stick with the blanket information the Army gives you and rely on your buddies…but don’t get mad when others pass you up.

    Reply
    1. Candace Ginestar

      I agree with Justin, completely. I may be slightly biased because I started working for Chuck a year ago, but I think there is nothing wrong with charging for content. Not everyone has the ability to get it for free from a squared away peer, like Chuck said. Also, I wouldn’t take free stuff from just anyone – I want quality templates. I’ve seen a lot of crappy work over the years and I would rather pay for something worthwhile, if necessary.

      Reply

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