^^this and ^this
ns is a forum.. for skiers. its not a company that everyone can wear.. its not even a company, but cause everyone are stoked about it, they sell swag, so everyone is more stoked, as i am !
Once I asked High Society Freeride if they would pay me to walk around with a temporary tattoo of their logo on my forehead, because I needed ski money.
Their response was "Why would we pay you to do that when we know plenty of people with the logo tattoed on their skin, for free?"
ns has become a crucial venue for pros and companies to use to reach out to potential core customers. they also provide recaps of big contests, a place to find streaming feeds, a ready-made audience waiting for pros or companies todrop hot edits, etc...
the pros and their sponsors need ns at least as much as ns needs the pros. even redbull and other huge companies use ns to drive internet traffic to their site or event pages, like with the cold rush.
if you read symms article in freeskier (which made me happy to see btw, great job!), it is easy to see how much of an impact ns has had on a lot of the more recent additions to the pro skier scene. just look at all of those old ass threads pulled up last week to see that many of the current "bmoc" were members here long before they were pros, like durtschi, walker, etc...
it's not just pros and ski/film companies that ns has helped. places like the jibyard, some of the smaller clothing companies, things like that have success that is directly related to access to their target audience on ns. do you think as many people would be at the jibyard this summer if they relied on word of mouth and ski publication ads to drive customers to their location?
it would seem that ns' money is better spent on site upgrades and increased access to add to content than to pay people to rep a site that is used, in part, to rep the people being paid to rep the site.