The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Author: Daniel Lawton (page 1 of 8)

Why Does Google Lust for Amazon and Loathe Knife Depot?

Imagine if the most powerful Internet company — one that handles 100 billion searches for information a month — prohibited everyone except for the world’s largest e-commerce store to advertise for a specific product. What would that look like? It would look like this.


Above is a screenshot for the search term “throwing knives,” one of our most popular categories at Knife Depot.

We used to to run Google AdWords for throwing knives, but in May, Google turned off all ads for the search term “throwing knives” after they designated it a weapon. Obviously, we disagreed with such a characterization, but weren’t surprised, as in March Google had prohibited all ads for “Assisted Opening Knives” and canceled our entire AdWords account because we sold completely legal spring-assisted knives.

We were eventually reinstated on AdWords, but now for the second time Google has banned our ads for specific products, while Amazon continues to advertise for those products. And it doesn’t end with throwing knives either. Who’s currently running ads for the term “assisted- opening knives?”


Yeah, you guessed, Amazon is in the house, joined by Walmart and Cabella’s. It’s a mega-brand menage-a-trois, with poor Knife Depot relegated to the sideline.

If you looked a year ago, there would have been probably close to a dozen sites advertising for this term. Now, it seems that Google has managed to successfully eliminate all advertisers except for their big-spending compadres.

Why does Google Apply Its Adwords Policy Unfairly?

That’s a fantastic question and one that your pals at Knife Depot have asked ad nauseum to AdWords support staff over the last year. Over hundreds of emails, Google has rarely countered our claims that they are favoring big brands. In fact, in one email this spring a customer service representative affirmed our point:

“I am still waiting on an answer to my reply where I asked for a universal enforcement of the policy OR we allow knife depot back online. I replied and said, I refuse to tell knife-depot they need to remove a product category that 7 other competitors are advertising & selling the same products. I then named each domain, called out the double standard, and requested that they state the clear differences that allows these competitors to serve & knife depot to be suspended. Still waiting on this reply.“

Google’s AdWords support staff is an intractable bureaucracy that makes decisions based on policy edicts that they seemingly have no power to influence or change. Clearly, one huge element of that policy is to never take down ads or suspend the accounts of big-spending AdWords partners. Continue reading

Why Do the Internet Gods Hate Knives?

The knife, in case you’re not aware, is the world’s oldest tool.  It’s been around for close to 3 million years and is suffused in cultural and historical significance.  At Knife Depot, we’re proud to be able to offer an inventory of 10,000 knives to customers across the U.S. and abroad.  It’s a product we cherish and believe in.

Our customers use their knives everyday in a wide array of capacities.  Whether they’re hunters or fisherman, outdoorsman or collectors, their relationships with knives are built upon a love for craftsmanship, self-reliance and the outdoors.

It’s for that reason that we’ve become deeply dismayed by recent efforts by companies like Google and Facebook to label completely legal knives as weapons and to restrict their advertisement on the Internet

In March, I wrote about our battles with Google’s AdWords program, in which our entire account had been shut down due to the fact that we sold completely legal assisted-opening knives that were never prohibited in Google’s AdWords policy.

At the time, we didn’t expect to ever be able to advertise with Google again, however, we had our account re-activated in May with the caveat that none of our landing pages could have assisted-opening knives on them.

Then, just this month, our AdWords account was once again shut down without any advanced notice. We were informed that Google considered “throwing knives” to be weapons and we could not run any ads to those pages.

Wait, a throwing knife is a weapon?

The characterization of throwing knives as weapons, was of course, news to us and anyone who has ever used a throwing knife before.  Every throwing knife we sell has been designed for hitting bullseyes, not bodies.

Could you injure someone with a throwing knife?  Sure, in the same way you could injure someone with a baseball, a frying pan, a brick, a bottle, a rabid cat or a slew of other projectiles that can become weapons if paired with malicious intent.

However, a throwing knife is poorly suited for criminal activity.  These knives are generally large, making them hard to conceal; they have blunt edges and they’re damn hard to throw with fatal accuracy.  I mean, let’s be honest, are you really going to be more afraid of a guy like this trying to rob you then someone with a chainsaw they bought at Walmart?

I rest my case. But Google wasn’t swayed, so they banned us and all other advertisers from advertising bodacious, throwing blades, despite the fact that their Adwords policy doesn’t mention any prohibition of “throwing knives.”

Facebook Also Fears the Almighty Power of The Blade

So, we couldn’t run any more ads for throwing knives, but neither could any of our competitors.  And, at least, we still had Facebook, arguably the world’s most robust platform for demographically-targeted advertising, to alert our legions of knife fans to our products.

For three years, Knife Depot has pretty much crushed it on Facebook, amassing 48,000 fans and a whole lot of social media love.  Our success has come the hard way, as we have been banned from boosting posts due to Facebook’s interpretation of a knife as a “weapon.”

Since we couldn’t boost our posts, we recently started running Facebook ads  via a pretty badass company called Ad Roll.   But before we could even get cranking, we received notice from Ad Roll that our ads had slashed by Facebook’s anti-knife policy.

So I have some less than pleasant news for you.  It looks like Facebook is following suit with Google and tightening their policies. We are going to have to take down the current facebook ads and (and the news feeds ads which never got started) which is a total bummer.  I have had our ops team trying to push them through anyway, but we’ve hit a brick wall with it.  

A Knife Isn’t a Weapon; It’s a Lifesaving Tool

A knife isn’t a weapon; it’s a tool, and one that saves lives every year.  Just last week, in the tragic plane crash in San Francisco, police officers tossed utility knives to passengers so they could cut themselves out of seat belts.  On this blog alone, we’ve chronicled dozens of incidents in which knives have saved lives.

If Facebook wants to criminalize knives, why stop there?  Why not restrict advertising for golf clubs, one of which was used just last week by a man who bludgeoned a woman to death in Arizona.  How about baseball bats?  Earlier this month, a deranged man killed a homeless man with one in a sporting goods store in California.

The bottom line is that there are hundreds of products that can be used for malicious crimes if the person who owns them is hell-bent on destruction.

What Knife Depot is Doing and How You Can Help

Most of the anti-knife reaction by Internet companies unfortunately mirrors much of the anti-knife hysteria that exists out in public.  At Knife Depot, we’re proud to support organizations like Knife Rights and the American Knife and Tool Association, which lobby on behalf of knife owners.

If you want to cut away at anti-knife sentiment, consider donating to either of these two organizations.  You can also share this blog post to alert others to the anti-knife policies of companies like Facebook and Google.  Thanks for being a Knife Depot fan and rest assured we’ll never back down on our commitment to selling top-quality knives, no matter how much discrimination our product faces.

Survival Knife Tips: A Crash Course with Survival Expert Creek Stewart

This is the second of a two-part series from survival expert Creek Stewart. In addition to doing a Q and A with Creek on survival knives, we’ll also be giving away a  BlackBird SK5 — Creeks’ survival knife of choice – to one lucky reader and two copies of Creek’s new book.  Scroll to the bottom of the article to learn how to enter.  You can learn more about Creek’s survival school in our post from yesterday.

KD: So, what’s your survival knife of choice?

CS: I carry the Blackbird SK5.  It’s made by Ontario Knife Company and designed by Paul Scheiter.

KD:  Why this knife?

CS:   The core of my courses and what I do, especially with primitive skills, revolves around using a knife.  So there’s a lot of reasons why I use this knife.  First, for my my primary survival I want something simple. I don’t want a movie prop.  I don’t want something that’s off of Alien or Predator with big spikes on the back like you might see in Mad Max.  I just want something that has everything you need and nothing you don’t. That’s what this knife has.

KD:  What characteristics do you look for in a survival knife?

CS:  For a core survival knife, it has to be a fixed blade. Whenever there’s a hinge, there’s a weak spot. I don’t care how you look at it.  Even the best made folding knives aren’t going to compete with a fixed blade knife. And full tang– it’s got to be full tang.  I’ve seen partial tang and rat tail knives break under similar conditions that I use my knife.

KD: How can someone determine if a knife is full tang

CS:  A lot of times you can see the metal sandwiched between the scales, but if you can’t, see if the scales are removable. Lots of times rat tail tangs will have a button at the bottom, where you can see where they’ve pinched the bottom of the rat tail. Worse case scenario, call or email the manufacturer.

KD:  What about the pommel?

CS:   I like a flat, solid pommel. It’s kind of like a little hammer and you can use it to pound in stakes.  I also like a flat grind so I can strike my ferro rod with my knife.  That’s important to me.

KD:  What about size?  What’s the ideal range.

CS:  My sweet spot is about a 10-inch knife with a 5-inch blade.  That’s  small enough to do detailed stuff, like feather sets or carving fishing gorges, but it’s also big enough to baton through a tree with a diameter of 24 inches if I had to.  So size definitely matters — too big is too much and too little isn’t enough.  I’ve spent thousands of hours in the field using a knife the way it’s supposed to be used and I’ve been doing it long enough where I can say that I’ve made all the mistakes. I’ve bought the big boys and I’ve tried to get away with the little knives — the little neck knives — and there’s kind of a middle ground that I think is best.

KD:  What other knives do you carry when you’re in the woods?

CS:  I always carry a back up blade.  So on my EDC kit I carry a leatherman — the MUT — and typically a  little Victorinox or a folder like a little thumb-assisted Spyderco, but I always carry a backup, because you never know.  Even though there’s nothing I could do to break or destroy this knife, I could lose it.

KD:  What about price?  How much does the Blackbird run for and how much should somebody expect to pay for a good survival knife?

CS: This knife goes for about $120, which I think is a pretty fair price for a knife that you would expect to last a lifetime and maybe even pass on one day.  That’s the way I look at knives, I don’t look at them like a disposable tool. When I buy a knife, I expect to keep it.  I’d rather spend $100 on a really good knife, then buy five $20 knives, because you never know when a cheap knife is going to break.

KD:  What are some of pitfalls of buying a cheap knife?

CS: There becomes a point when the price is a reflection on the materials.  You can only make a knife so cheap without cutting corners somewhere, maybe it’s in the metal, maybe it’s going to corrode fast.  Look, you get what you pay for.  I don’t mind spending money on two things:  food and knives.

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Perfecting the Core Four: Survival Instructor Creek Stewart Chats With Knife Depot

This is the first of a two-part series with survival expert Creek Stewart.  Tomorrow, Creek will be sharing his tips on picking out the perfect survival knife.  We’ll also be giving away a BlackBird SK5 — Creek’s primary survival knife — to one lucky reader along with two copies of his book.  Scroll to the bottom of the article to learn how to enter.

“I like to live what I preach,” said 36-year-old survival instructor Creek Stewart across a cafeteria table at the Cobb Galleria during the 2013 Blade Show. “I don’t just put survival instructor on my resume.”

A few minutes of conversation with Stewart, who founded and operates Willow Haven Outdoor survival school in Indiana, quells any doubts about his survival chops.

The former Boy Scout turned survival guru and bestselling author rarely goes anywhere without his “Get Home Bag,” a pack full of items ranging from energy bars to a Leatherman that ensures he’ll get home safely if disaster strikes.

At the Blade Show, he was wearing a BlackBird SK5 in a leather sheath on his hip and also had a Leatherman and a Spyderco knife in tow.

But what makes Stewart stand out from the pack isn’t his gear, but his survival philosophy. It’s a blended approach, which he calls “prima-modern,” that utilizes both modern tools and primal survival skills to meet the four core basic needs: shelter, water, fire and food.

A Passion for the Outdoors

An Eagle Scout at 14, Stewart grew up on a farm and developed a strong appreciation for both nature and self-reliance skills at an early age.  When he was in college, he wrote and self-published a guide on survival that he sold to the Boy Scouts.  He began teaching survival courses at 21, but without a full time facility was limited to mostly one day courses in his area.

Then about 4 years ago, he purchased Willow Haven Outdoor, a 21-acre survival school replete with a 10,000 square foot lodge.  Stewart now hosts 1-day and 3-day courses every year from May until November and said he serves a huge range of attendees, from 10-year-olds to 80-year-olds.  The approach at Willow Haven is somewhere in the middle in terms of intensity and Stewart said he’s developing a niche for instructing families.

“There’s one extreme where people come to a survival course and expect to strip down to a leather thong and only take their knife into the woods with them for seven days and starve, then there’s the classroom survival stuff — we’re perfectly in the middle,” he said.

In a typical class, students will receive hands on instruction to learn between three to five survival skills from each of the core four survival areas.

In addition to teaching, Stewart has also taken his survival skills to the literary world.  He recently published the Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide, which provides step-by-step instructions on how to perform many of the survival skills utilized by characters in the “Hunger Games.”

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Winner of “Badass Dad” Father’s Day Contest is announced

Knife Depot Father's Day Image

Our “Badass Dad” Father’s Day Giveaway wrapped up today and just a few minutes ago we randomly chose a winner from our 108 entries.  Congrats to Kerwin Dyson, who is getting hooked up with a Smith and Wesson assisted opening S.W.A.T blade for himself and a Bear Grylls multi-tool for his Dad.  Kerwin, shoot an email to Dan@knife-depot.com with your mailing address to claim your prize.

Thanks again to all the Knife Depot fans who entered the contest.  May you have a happy Father’s Day and may you NEVER LOSE YOUR EDGE!

A Father’s Day Knife Story: Knife Depot COO Warren Sager Talks About Passing Down His First Knife to His Son

Knife Depot COO Waren Sager and his son, Ian.

Knife Depot COO Waren Sager and his son, Ian.

At Knife Depot, we know that Father’s Day represents a great opportunity for connection between father and son. Recently, I was able to talk to Warren Sager, Knife Depot’s Chief Operating Officer, about his experience passing down his first knife to his son. 

DL:  Tell me about your first knife.  How did you get it?

WS:  I got it out of “Boy’s Life” when I was 10. This was about 30 years ago when the back of the catalogue was full of ads. I was in Cub Scouts at the time and in the back of the magazine I saw this ad for this really awesome survival knife. In the handle, it had all sorts of additional survival materials as well, so I really wanted it.  I saved up the money and then I waited.

DL:  Then what?

WS:  Well, then I waited some more. Remember, this is pre-Internet, so I had to wait for my money order to get there and then had to wait for weeks for it to arrive. The anticipation drove me crazy. Finally the package came.

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The Knife Depot Badass Dad Father’s Day Giveaway (Ended)

Knife Depot Father's Day Image

What to get dad for Father’s Day?  It’s an age-old question, and the answer is usually totally lame.  A coffee mug or tie rack aren’t exactly earth shattering gifts, especially for a badass dad.  That’s why this year Knife Depot is giving you the chance to hook up your dad with one of our bestselling knives for father’s day.  You can also win a knife for yourself. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with your two picks from the selection below (one for you and one for your dad) by 12 pm CST on Friday, June 7.   We’ll pick a winner that day.

Now, onto the blades.

Smith and Wesson Swat Assisted Opening Knife 

This sleek assisted-opener from S & W has a 2.8 inch blade and is great for everyday carry. Check out the rest of its specs here.

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Winchester Bowie Knife 

14.25 inches of badass Bowie knife steel.  This rocking blade will get you or your pop some instant respect.  Here are the full specifications on this monster.

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Cold Steel Jungle Machete

We’re talking 16 inches of 1055 Carbon Steel ready to bushwhack its way through any situation.  The Cold Steel Jungle Machete is certifiably badass, check out more of its specs here.

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Blade Show Day 1 Roundup: Survival Knives, Kudu Handles and The Burliest Folder I’ve Ever Seen

Day 1 has come to a close at the Blade Show and we’ve checked out a lot of badass knives and met a bunch of awesome people.  Here are a couple of the highlights:

Creek Stewart, Survival Knife Expert

Creek

I started out the day chatting with Creek Stewart, survival instructor and author, about what he looks for in a survival blade.  Creek’s survival knife of choice is the Blackbird SK5 from Ontario Knives, which he was sporting in a sheath from Paul Schaffer of Hedgehog Leatherworks.  In addition, he was carrying a Spyderco folder and a pretty burly leatherman.

Creek had tons of good tips on picking out a good survival knife for every day carry.  A couple of his fundamentals were making sure your knife is a fixed blade, has a full tang and a heavy duty pommel.

We’re going to post a full-length interview with Creek later this week, but you’d be well advised to scope out his survival school in Indiana if you’re looking for an awesome spot to brush up on your survival skills.

Corrie Schoeman, South African Custom Knifemaker

Corey

For over 30 years, Corrie’s been making awesome knives and he showed us some pretty fantastic Damascus steel blades.  Corrie uses a lot of really exotic handle materials. Just from his knives on display, he had handles made of mammoth tooth, cape buffalo and (pictured below) kudu antlers. For those who aren’t in the know, the kudu is an African antelope that, according to Corrie, can jump six feet in the air.

Corrie 2

Red Blade Knives

pig3knives5

I was just kind of stumbling about lost in the frenzy of sheer knife power, when the Red Blade Knives booth caught my eye.  These are some of the burliest folding knives I’ve ever seen.  The pig ( pictured above) is 1/4″inch and made of CPM S30 steel, with titanium liners.

Red Blade Knives is run by Dan Rotbaltt, Robi Mukherjee and Sean “Griz” Coulter.  Rob, a veteran, said that one of the motivations for developing these knives was to create the sort of knife a solider would need, tough enough to take just about any sort of abuse. From a cursory glance, I’d say these blades are at that level.

That’s my quick and dirty rundown from today’s Blade Show.  Tomorrow, we’ll be checking out a bunch of awesome seminars and covering the World Cutting Contest, so stop by for more updates.

TSA’s Pocket Knife Ban: The Blow-by-Blow

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Members of the Association of Flight Attendants protest TSA’s pocket knife rule change

March 6, 2013, may have been the most newsworthy day for pocket knives in history.

On that date, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it would be allowing small pocket knives (under 2.36 inches) on planes.

The policy change, which brought the U.S. in step with regulations across most of the world, was seen by knife owners as not only a personal victory, but also a step toward a more sensible and effective policy for TSA.

In addition to allowing small knives on a plane, the rule reversal also meant that individuals would be permitted to carry hockey sticks and golf clubs on board.

TSA officials cited the low risk of these items to passenger safety and the time-consuming task of searching for them as the reason for the policy change.

“The focus is on what could present catastrophic damage to the aircraft,” said David Castelveter, a TSA spokesman.

Backlash Erupts Over Pocket Knives On Planes

The rule change, which was result of significant lobbying by knife advocacy groups such as The American Knife and Tool Institute, was quickly the target of harsh criticism from a number of different groups.

The most vehement objection came from the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), who characterized the decision as one that makes both airline employees and passengers less secure.

The organization started an online petition, No Knives On Planes.com,  and recently filed a grievance with the TSA, stating that “permitting knives in the cabin is an unnecessary risk to the traveling public.”

Member of Congress from both parties also vowed opposition to allowing knives on planes.

New York Senator Charles Schumer blasted the decision in a radio interview with a local station.

“You don’t have to have a PhD in physics, you don’t have to be Albert Einstein to know that these items are dangerous.” he said.

Family members of 9/11 victims were also angry

TSA Backs Down in Wake of Boston Marathon Bombings

While the AFA and other organizations decried the decision, a number of transportation safety experts, journalists and policymakers supported the change.

In a article for the libertarian publication Reason, J.D. Tuccille, blasted the AFA for its opposition. Tuccile  noted, as many others had, that there were a number of other equally harmful, if not more dangerous items that would be allowed in board, but weren’t drawing the same criticism.

I hesitate to point this out for fear of sending the flight attendants’ association into an organizational panic, but the same TSA notice allowing for small knives also allows novelty bats, pool cues and golf clubs.

Honestly, in a bar fight, I’m reaching for the pool cue, not my Leatherman micra.

It’s also been pointed out by many that TSA currently allows pointed scissors with blades up to four inches long, knitting needles and screwdrivers as long as seven inches, and glass bottles, all of which can easily be transformed into a deadly weapon.

Lastly, many cited the fact that since all cockpits are now fortified, it would be impossible to hijack a plane using a pocket knife.

It appeared that, despite the opposition, TSA would go ahead and begin allowing pocket knives on planes starting April 25.

Yet, on April 23, two days before the new rule would go into effect, TSA announced that it would delay the change while considering additional input from airline companies, passenger advocates and other stakeholders.

Many suggested that in addition to the backlash, the recent bombing at the Boston Marathon may have also swayed TSA to move more cautiously.

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Meet the New Knife Depot Community Manager and Win Badass Knives!

Knife Depot Community Manager Dan Lawton

Knife Depot Community Manager Dan Lawton

Dear Knife Depot Fans,

I’d like to take a second to reintroduce myself. For the last two years, I’ve been blogging for the Cutting Edge. In fact, I founded this blog in 2010. The initial name was actually the Happy Dagger. That’s a Bill Shakespeare reference, in case you’re not aware.

Anyway, I have a confession to make. The reason I started blogging for Knife Depot wasn’t because of my love for knives. It was because, like most people writing on the Internet, I was a copywriter.

In fact, I wasn’t just writing about knives then, but about all sorts of subjects like: birdfeeders, picnic baskets, temporary tattoos, seafood restaurants, wedding planning and even bankruptcy law in Arizona.

It wasn’t a bad gig — I could do it in my underwear — but some of these subjects just left me feeling a little thin.

I quickly noticed that most of my best writing was about knives, because they truly fascinated me. The guys at Knife Depot started sending me boxes of them, which was pretty badass, and I’d use them when I went camping with my friends.

You see, the thing about working as a writer is that you have to spend lots of time behind a computer typing when all sorts of kickass, beautiful stuff is going on outside in nature. It can be kind of a bummer.

The knife was my only link to the tangible world. It was a rugged product that reconnected me with nature in a way I was missing. Over time, I became intoxicated by the power of the blade.

And why wouldn’t I? It’s the world’s oldest tool, suffused with a deep religious, historical and cultural meaning. It was used by Roman craftsmen, Native-American hunters and frontiersman like Jim Bowie and Daniel Boone.

It turns out that over at they Knife Depot office they noticed my zeal for the knife, which is why a few weeks ago they invited me to central headquarters to discuss working full time for the site.

As you can expect, I was a little bit nervous. These guys don’t just rock one EDC: they are a walking arsenal of stainless steel. Their offices have more Bowie knives then paper clips.

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