What Made You Join IPVM?

Don and I were discussing why people join IPVM. We know offer various things - tests, tools, reports, etc., etc. but it's not as easy for us to tell what motivates people to actually pay / join. Was it a specific feature we offer? A recommendation from someone?

We are planning to do more formal surveys and feedback collection but was hoping for some thoughts here, especially from members that are newer and can clearly remember what the decision process was. Thanks!


Pretty much zero other options for reviews/testing of any real security cameras.

I was on a free forum for years but it seems almost dead now.

The camera comparison tool and independent testing.

I was googling for information and this was the only site that had it.

Same here. IPVM kept coming up in search results. Other than that, there were the CCTV forums and a couple security magazines, but IPVM seemed to have the best information. Probably the only paywall I've ever ended up paying for.

Initially, which must be close to eight years as I was still working with my first employer, it was to learn. We had this large IP Camera project fall into our laps, and I knew very little. So I found this site, some how, I don't even remember how. I was charged with picking a product line and teaching the other techs to install it. At the time Axis was the number one choice of cameras, and Exacq was not yet Tyco and still well regarded.

Since I had to pay my own subscription, and was not making a lot of money at the time I would learn what I could and then cancel, resubscribing again at a later time.

As I shifted from one security company to another I found less use for IPVM, mostly as I was no longer picking products, I was simply installing what I was told. I was also doing less IP stuff at Chubb, and at the time IPVM was still very much focused on IP cameras, I am glad they've expanded since then.

Then I found my way as an in house tech for an end user. Now I stick around to try and keep myself current within the industry, as I feel so disconnected from anything not Honeywell (That's basically all we use here, cameras, intrusion and access control).

The discussions are what keeps me around now. A lot of knowledge on this site, it's interesting to see how different people come up with solutions to problems, and stuff like that.

For me it was 2 specific things. First, was providing me clear information about HIKVision and the risks posed to our business by those devices, as well as follow up stories. Second, were the product and company reviews, a few of which fell right in line with some testing that I performed and were written much more eloquently than the reports I write.

Not sure when I joined (years ago when I was independent manufacturers rep and there was no subscription fee at that time), I joined for the real world camera testing. I have preached for decades that data sheets are no way to evaluate or compare cameras. IPVM camera tests were (and still are) invaluable.

I used to do camera shoot outs in my yard back in the day and show the difference of performance with multiplexers and VCRs. (Chugai YC-02 from Konica one of the best analog cameras in it's day!! Ha, for the old timers).

I like the new manufacturer and new product reviews equally.

I had joined IPVM to gain knowledge on various solutions in security industry however I am still a member because of honesty in the work that IPVM is offering.

Please keep doing the great job that you have been doing...

I work for a company that sells security products. Traditionally we have mainly sold perimeter electric fencing but are starting to expand into utilizing cameras as well. I wanted to gain more info so I could provide better solutions to potential customers.

Lack of any other source who isn't funded by companies to compare and test.

No other source really show REAL performance of those products, it's usually marketing BS that shows optimal conditions for best performance.

Just wish you were not so concentrated on video and showed other security products in the market, would have given this source so much more value.

For me it was the equipment reviews and comparisons as well as seeing what others IN the field use/implement/recommend...Also the networking info I have gleaned over the years has helped me NOT make mistakes I might have other wise done as I transition older analog systems over to full IP and do ground up IP solutions...

A great resource for me well worth the price of admission!!

A newbie member: Someone unnamed from IPVM "spams" all the posts from security people I'm connected to on LinkedIn. Granted the posts from those connections usually are touting their hikua solutions or are making unwarranted claims.

Me: I have been a member since the Starvedia days and its been great ever since.

Starvedia days

That is a long time ago!

Someone unnamed from IPVM "spams" all the posts from security people I'm connected to on LinkedIn

Btw, is that a joke? Sorry, not clear to me.

Do I qualify as OG status?

Well, the spam reference is Hawaii based. I am born and raised across from Wailana coffee house.

And the spamming (calling them out for misinformation) of manufacturers posts on LinkedIn might be spam to the posters, but very informative to all the people seeking valuable information to make the best choices possible for them when it comes to Security.

Wailana coffee house.

Our first 'office' (we rented an apartment for the 3 of us) was right above the Wailana coffee house, lol!

Some of the earlier test videos are from that building.

I know you did. Didn't know you moved out! I grew up at the Canterbury Place. I'm sure you know they closed down Wailana as all the old traditions make way for new things.....

The ability to keep up with emerging technologies and in depth product testing is the main reason why I joined IPVM. The ability to discuss with peers is a benefit that I enjoy as well, but it did not factor into my initial joining. I generally loathe social networks, so I never really dove into LI. The discussions here are a reason to stay as a member.

I'm not a "newer" member but I remake the decision at least annually and often tell others about IPVM and what I like about it so here's my answer: I received an email advertisement and looked into it out of curiosity. I sampled the discussions and was immediately hooked. I signed up just for those. I continue to renew for those AND, now that I've been using it a few years, for the articles, ability to look up a manuf. and find articles about them including financial strength etc. and the camera selection and comparison tools, the calculator.....its just an amazing one stop shop for information & education that I feel can be trusted based on the discussion threads and responses to articles. The community seems to self police fairly well and IPVM staff are quick to call BS when they see it.

my reason for joining IPVM appears to be different than most others.

I was with an analog integrator back in the mid to late 2000's - and I recognized that the industry appeared to be moving away from analog to this new platform called 'IP' - so I started looking around for information (like others above have mentioned that they did as well).

I came across ipvideomarket.info more than a decade ago - after 1st finding this guy online, who was one of the earliest members of John's new site.

There was certainly lots of technical knowledge.... and John was relentlessly posting new threads every day.

But it was John's disdain for marketing flim-flam that I was drawn to.

He fought against those that appeared to be trying to take advantage of those that didn't understand the tech that he was posting relentlessly about every day.

If any manufacturer made some kind of outlandish claim, he would call them out if he thought that they were being less-than-straightforward in their technical claims - like IR cameras with 0 LUX spec sheet claims. (here's a good example [not LUX-related] from 2014).

I quickly saw how unique what it was that John was doing. His long-standing 'no advertising' stance was genius then, just as it continues to be. Taking one cent from manufacturers would have ruined his unique position in the industry and he knew this - and this has never changed.

He took a lot of heat back in the early years and never backed down when he knew he was right.

That is why I joined - and continue my membership.

Keeping up to date on industry developments. Hearing what others have to say in blogs.

I started up by following and reading all the www.networkcameracritic.com reviews and guides, but when he died R.I.P - I chose to be a part of the IPVM community. And I have newer regret it ;-)

Smart people, great tech support, insightful testing reports, useful tools.

I needed to see, hear and test other opinions, and see the real test , needed people on the team who were not afraid to speak thier mind and stand thier ground

you all seem to do that , i needed reviews to try so i could stop wasting so much on the market place .

seems good fit. always cautious , but love the views of all , not just chosen few, like to know the full variety of who's who, and why, what you do , and why, and see whats new , tried , tested, and reviewed

many times you get into a tech rut ,, installing the same thing or products , it is real hard to get other opinions when you only see your niche.

I come from a tech , elect background so I love to see whats new, changing, upcoming, and real

love the comparisons, reviews, papers, great reading

Ipvm is sometimes rocky , but keep s you thinking , learning, and we all need to keep thinking

you have to guard your thoughts though , so the many differences out there dont run you over .

Keep up the great Job

I joined many years ago, while working at a large regional bank. I was responsible for their Security Operations Center and product selection and system design. Having been promoted from a Regional Security Mgr to the Dir., of Security Operations Center. When I was a Regional Security MGR., I always wondered why we were putting in some of the equipment we were putting in. After my promotion to the corporate office and staff, i learned that my predecessor and the Dir. of Security would simple ask our integrator account rep/sales manager for recommendations and that's what we would install.

No research. No thought behind it. What I learned was they only offered up products within their own product catalog. Or what their corporate office was pushing.

After I discovered IPVM, I put thought into, I conducted in house testing. I searched IPVM for the reviews. If IPVM did not do a test of this product, I read your reviews of the overall company.

Keep up the great work. Keep up the reviews. Great discussions. Expand the product reviews. You all began with cameras. Then added VMS. Intercoms. Access Control.

I joined when there was no fee to join. I continued my subscription when the fees were added. I later convinced my employer to pay for subscriptions for the entire department. After leaving that employer, I continued my subscription while I was unemployed for 9 months. Now having been reemployed for the last 9 months, I am continuing my subscription and my current employer does not pay for the subscription. I am workings on them thought.

Again keep up the great work.

I was searching for education that was not biased/based on a particular brand. I wanted to learn the pro’s and con’s of the product so that I could choose a product based on being “informed”. When I saw the amount of research/testing and types of education plus the vast information coming from others posting I knew it was something I needed. IPVM has helped me make so many right choices.

I’m an end user who joined 1 week ago for these 3 reasons.

  • Fate
  • Information
  • The Calculator

A little background: I’ve been in Corporate IT for 30 years. Started playing with cameras when I found the Canon VB101 to convert CCTV cameras to IP. Always liked cameras for some strange reason. Probably too much time in front of the TV in my youth. In my corporate career I have only been employed at one company (manufacturing) and this company has grown considerably. Fast forward over the years… used camera station, ONSSI, and now we are on Avigilon since 2015. We have about 100 industrial sites and half a dozen offices. All of them have various forms of cameras and most have some or all Avigilon these days.

Fate: Recently, I was challenged to find a rugged but low-cost solution for a small and loosely affiliated entity’s production site (outdoor heavy industrial manufacturing plant). For a long while I’ve felt Avigilon was very nice but thought we were definitely paying for what we got. This was going to be a nice chance to go to the drawing board and find a new solution. Something cutting edge and unique that was an up and coming but still largely undiscovered. I was looking for something with low cost structured to gain market share quickly. This is the kind of thing we do in IT all the time. Displace outdated solutions with new tech. As I googled around researching various solutions, I came across IPVM. At first, I thought it was just one of those “Top 10 best” type sites obviously put up by the solution that got the number 1 rating, but to my surprise it seemed that this site was legit and reasonably unbiased.

Information: After I got into the site (but before I was a member) I couldn’t really see too much because most of the content is blocked. I did find an upcoming conference so I thought I could just check that out and I would come away with more than enough information on what’s new and out there to justify the cost. Besides I’ve never been to NJ (or NY for that matter) although it doesn’t look like the schedule allows much time to explore. Anyway… I tried to join the conference, but it required a membership. Looks like you added a 30-day option and I assumed it was to help people join on the cheap and attend the conference?? I was close to doing that when I discovered your mapping tool.

The Calculator: This thing blew my mind!! Seriously every time we setup a new site I was doing a screen scrape off google maps and using it as a background in Visio (IT guy network diagram tool) where I would add cameras and save as a pdf. The Calculator means no more guessing if I have the right mp/lens/IR… soo nice. All with zero client install and super responsive UI. You must have some wizard programmers over there. Truly impressive tool, Nice work. That sold me! I did the single user one-year membership just for the use of this tool.

To my delight the information on the site was far more helpful then I anticipated. I’ve been spending a lot of time soaking up the articles this week and I’m looking forward to learning and meeting people at the conference.

Tom, that's great feedback! Thanks!

Interesting about finding us through Google. We don't do SEO or really even try to optimize for Google / search in any way. We should look for ways to improve the experience of people finding us from Google. Thanks again!

John, if I ever catch you adding "Free IP Cameras CCTV, Download IP Cameras Tool, IP Cameras Report 2020 CCTV, Best Hikvision News 2020, Update NDAA Hikvision Controversy 2020, IP Cameras Hikvision Dahua Hack" to the end of your reports, I may start protesting outside your offices...

I encouraged our decision makers to purchase 10 subscriptions for our team. After the first year, we learned I was the only one logging in daily. We canceled 9 and only renewed my subscription. They never realized the value of IPVM.

Dwayne, any theories about why the others did not make use of IPVM? Anything we can do better?

They were non-technical end users and managers.

My embedded integrator technicians would love to subscribe but that is up to their company.

I'm not too impressed with the industry trade magazines. I feel that if you're in the business, it is best to subscribe to IPVM, even if it is a personal expense.

They were non-technical end users and managers.

Makes sense. Any idea what information or reporting those non-technical users most desire?

I know of some manufacturers and integrators that strongly suggest their employees not join IPVM.

maybe it's just me.... but if my employer were ever to tell me that I should avoid any industry site I would immediately want to check it out.

I get it. This wasn't the case in my situation.

They just weren't interested.

Anthony, I have heard of that as well. I understand their common rationale - when they (manufacturers) or their business partners (integrators) are being criticized, they do not want their employees to see or hear.

Those companies are delusional in this age of information at the speed of light. Bad news is very difficult to conceal anymore.

I'd want my employees to be fully informed and know my company's criticisms, unless the PRC has a controlling interest in my company.

What got me to join was that I initially received an unsolicited email with discussion from IPVM. I read through the discussion and it piqued my interest so I looked a little more and signed up.

What keeps me subscribed....once I joined and saw everything else IPVM offers, it was a no-brainer. Calculators, reviews, camera finder, etc.....and of course, discussions.

I've taken three of the IPVM courses and they were so very informative.

I KNEW JOHN HONOVICH WHEN HE WAS AT 3VR AND HE HELPED US IMPLEMENT FACIAL RECOGNITION FOR A LOCAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTION (WHICH BTW DIDN'T WORK). I KNEW JOHN WAS A REAL SMART GUY BUT I HEARD HE WAS OUTTA WORK AND HE STARTED THIS IPVM THING, I THOUGHT I'D JOIN TO HELP HIM GET STARTED (LOL)

Oh Tiny Bubbles ;)

Oh Tiny Bubbles ;)

Ho Tiny Bubbles ;)

Is Bob in the background playing?

I think John promised me a beer at ISC West 10+ years ago

It was a part of a Hikvision promo.

i was doing a lot of work in Java (remember that?) about 10+ years ago. i was googling about for info on Virtual Machines or "VMs", and was naturally curious about numerous 'VMS' related results from IPVM...

excitedly thinking that IPVM must be some new networked virtual machine architecture, i scanned a few articles... but i slowly realized that i was mistaken, mainly because VMs != VMS.

the site apparently was about IP cameras, like the crappy Trendnet one i had bought a few months earlier.

so, despite a lack of search results at the time about "Java Virtual Machines", or even "Trendnet" for that matter, i have stuck around waiting for info about either, mostly in vain.

in the meantime, i learned the difference between a latchbolt and a deadlatch, and how to tell an right hand door from a left hand reverse one, which comes up in conversation more than you think...

the difference between a latchbolt and a deadlatch, and how to tell an right hand door from a left hand reverse one, which comes up in conversation

I'm finally home, my brother...

A friend who worked for Exacq suggested I take a look at this new blog in 2009 or 2010.

I was impressed by the product reviews and we were looking for some information on some cameras we were evaluating and wanted to OEM. Valuable information that served us well!

Government Corporate Security here... As an end-user I am frequently inundated with information from suppliers, sales executives, cold calls and so on. I need to be a Jack of all trades, but a master of none.

Generally I take anything said by a sales executive or an integrator with a grain of salt. I never doubt their expertise, but I realize that the sale is priority #1 for them. IPVM gives me the ability to do homework on these solutions from an unbiased source.

I also enjoy hearing from the hands-on techs installing, troubleshooting and servicing devices. They often have a much clearer view of the product than the sales guys since they are hands-on with them day in and day out. There is significant value in IPVM bringing them and myself to the same table.

Government Corporate Security here... As an end-user I am frequently inundated with information from suppliers, sales executives, cold calls and so on

#14, thanks for the feedback! Do you recall how you first heard of us? I don't have a good idea of how end users find IPVM, thanks!

I believe that re-occurring google searches continued to lead back to free or partial IPVM articles. I was quickly sold on the full package.

I actually had my employer renew my IPVM membership before my ASIS membership.

Could have been me ;). I recommend the site often and usually hear praise back. I know one government user who read dozens of articles to learn what he needed to replace a multiple facility system.

I joined mainly for the camera calculator to help design systems and quit hacking up PDF's!

I joined in 2009 and it made me seem smarter than I was. Now I remain subscribed to keep seeming intelligent. I kill it at parties when I talk about WDR.

In all seriousness, IPVM has helped me make purchasing decisions that weren't dependent on the opinions of people and sources tied to the sales channel.

I am smarter than I was thanks to IPVM. Just today a client told me he thought I knew more about security than any other sales person he’s spoken too.

IPVM was recommended to me by a co-worker and I initially joined for:

  • The Calculator and a few other tools
  • Equipment evaluations
  • Current news/trends

I've been in the A/E Consulting field for years, and knew of IPVM, but several of the projects I was working led me to get more information and performance comparisons. It only made sense to subscribe, it's an investment in current information and reviews that I find valuable.

Design tool initially. My previous employer didn't reimburse for IPVM but I knew that the $200/yr would save me hours and pay for itself for a single project.

Now I stay for the memes and jokes!!!

The independent testing without being influenced by sponsorship dollars. Plus, loved the camera shootouts

When I was with a large integrator, an A/D Tyco Rep bad mouthed IPVM at a "Product Day" Lunch meeting, so I knew it must be worth investigating....

After subscribing, I learned of the 16:1 cost savings one could yield with HD-Analog 16 Ch DVR's and Milestone VMS, then took one of their courses and have been here ever since.

I joined to get a broader security camera outlook on what was in the market place, politics, laws, etc., etc.. And, for the most part I'm happy with what is provided.

I would urge you however to make available native resolution files for camera tests.

The camera written review information you provide is good but the video snap shot information you provide us, is from my point of view, is of no help in making a decision whether or not to purchase a particular camera as they do not accurately portray what you will actually see from that camera in real life.

I realize that there are challenges with video storage, security, bandwidth, legal, etc. but you could start by providing downloadable Native Res. files for say just the high-end cameras.

A dedicated FIFO ftp server could be stood-up specifically for this purpose.

I don't believe a Live Stream per-camera setup would be a good choice just because of the same caveats I mentioned above and in addition, the human factor.

The camera written review information you provide is good but the video snap shot information you provide us, is from my point of view, is of no help in making a decision whether or not to purchase a particular camera as they do not accurately portray what you will actually see from that camera in real life.

Gary, thanks for the feedback. Can you clarify? We do real-life camera testing, e.g., sample copied below:

WDR Static Scene Performance Comparison

Does that make sense? What are you looking for?

Weird seeing another Gary Allen. I was a Cisco VoIP engineer for 9 years. Moved over to project management 7 years ago. I needed to learn the physical security biz and this site was by far the most informative (ditto on the google search comments). Nowadays, I use the site to keep up with what's new and trending.

The independent product reviews, educational offerings, and discussion boards help me to work more effectively with our integrators. I also find the industry news articles and product shootouts valuable for specifying products. IPVM is a great resource for security managers without much technical experience.

I was on twitter. IPVM and some other company kept coming up. I was undecided who I should signup with at the time. Then I watched a video of John H speaking at an event on why open VMS was better. I realized he was my kind of guy. So I gave him my hard earned money.

"I was on twitter. IPVM and some other company kept coming up."

other company?

I needed to understand Genetec SC better and not having the initial CCTV foundation, I looked around for CCTV IP training that fit the budget and fit my schedule. I took both CCTV cameras and the CCTV networking courses and it helped me considerably. Now I have techs asking me the tough questions. Also, enjoyed Sean Pattons info on the genetec forums, great move to have him aboard with IPVM. He is very very knowledgeable when it comes to the deep dark inner workings of Genetec security center.

Thanks for the kind words Dean. If you dig deep enough into the depths of the Genetec Forums, you will find posts from another member of IPVM, Ethan Ace (user "eace" if I remember correctly).

The unbelievably well balanced extremeness of John's snark level. It's a thing of beauty.

I was at Milestone MIPS in Copenhagen, not remember exactly which year it was, 2005 or 2006, and John was one of invited speakers there. John's presentation was... let's say different from other speakers and I thought "wow, IPVM must be interesting thing, I need to check it". Checked, liked and later became Pro member, still no regrets.

Frankly, I joined because I recently was informed about Hikvision being partly communist party owned - and really needed to look for alternatives. The idea of an information portal that is not supported by manufactures is brilliant. I had for years ran into the IPVM paywall in searches and always said "maybe some day" but the Hikvision situation made that day now.

I have to admit - I thought there would be a good chance that once I got in, it might be filled with a bunch of globalist that would mock my ethical problems with companies like Hikvision. But looking at some of the post it looks like that won't be the case. I'm looking forward to learning more - and of course as a new user I see myself in a huge candy shop of information and a little overwhelmed. I have a feeling a year from now I am going to ask why I didn't subscribe to IPVM a whole lot sooner in my career.

Matthew, thanks for sharing how you joined and welcome! Let us know if we can answer any questions as you use the site more.

I joined for the camera tests, the articles, along with the excellent camera calculator tool.

Bryan, thanks for your first comment! If you have questions about any of the site's content or features, just ask!

you offer valuable information in way that avoids the sales pitches. helps in positioning our company and deciding on vendor partners. money well spent.

I am hoping to find out information on the Ubiquiti Unifi G4 Pro and the G4 cameras.

The calculator