My own take on this:
My two outdoor passions are skiing and flyfishing. Having the best possible experience with either one requires unusual combinations of location, weather, travel arrangements, luck, and research. Both have nearly endless resources for discovering that information, and the price tag for those resources can be anywhere from free to expensive.
Here in the US, the published sources for information in both sports are very similar. There are three or four slick, highly professional periodicals that cover both sports and provide destination, equipment, and how-to information about the sport. They have large editorial staffs, in-house and freelance writers, and outstanding photography.
Given all that, I truly have a problem putting very much credence into what I read in those magazines. My prejudice (and I can certainly be wrong) is that there's a pretty cozy relationship between the magazines and their advertisers. It seems interesting that destinations or equipment makers who advertise a lot seem to get great ink in those magazines.
All this is background to bring up my FAVORITE fishing resource, which is anything but slick. It's call The Angling Report and it's a thin monthly newsletter with essentially no paid writers or photographers. I pay $36 annually for it and it's priceless. The "articles" are written by subscribers and simply describe trips the subscriber has taken to a given fishing place somewhere in the world. The reports give all the basics including where, when, how, how much, how the fishing was, bad parts, good parts, contact info, and so forth. It's invaluable to me because it has always turned out to be impartial, basic information from people who do and love the same thing I do.
So, their model is to pay nothing for the reports (OTHER THAN A HAT, MARTIN!!!). They take in a little bit of revenue from classified advertising at the back of the newsletter, but other than that their revenue comes from subscriptions. Every serious fisherman I've run into who subscribes absolutely loves this publication. I have basically stopped buying fancy fishing mags (and also fancy skiing mags) because I just don't find the information to be that useful or objective.
So, I realize completely that my little example is a bad, bad model if you're a professional fishing writer or photographer. That's a harsh reality. Nevertheless, I'm an avid consumer of information about the sports I love and I find this to be more helpful to me than the traditional magazines.
So, Martin's guide sounds more useful to me than the traditional ski press. If his company is able to find contributors who are willing to provide information in return for nothing other than a little recognition, I guess that's good for his company.
Maybe those of you who are complaining about Martin's concept should be copying the idea rather than tilting at his windmill.