I don't think it takes much reading here to be able to figure out which of the Manufacturers have the communities respect as honest, truthful advisers for us newbies. If someone were merely trying to make a sale, and offering inferior gear, I'm sure it would be obvious.

There is enough context here if someone is truly interested in getting the facts and figuring out relationships. I see no reason that Pan shouldn't offer his suggestions and views. I would expect that a manufacturer would think that their products are the best or among the best, and so would recommend them. I'm quite sure I have read posts in which Pan has explained his relationship to JRB, so no deceit is intended.