View Poll Results: What should be the forum policy as to price discussion and price posting?

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203. You may not vote on this poll
  • It's fine the way it is

    69 33.99%
  • It should be less restrictive

    27 13.30%
  • It should be more restrictive

    69 33.99%
  • It should totally forbid any price discussion or posting

    4 1.97%
  • It doesn't matter to me

    34 16.75%
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  1. #91
    Bachelor of Arts RJ California's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gino View Post
    but the little group that doesn’t have an opinion and thinks that total discussion on a totally open forum….. should probably just stay to their own stamp collections and scrap-booking hobbies and leave the real business of making signs to the real sign makers that know what they’re doing.
    I like that "scrap-booking hobbies" line .

    I know that Fred walks a thin line here between MM's, CM's and the large majority of members who choose not to pay anything but still play a big part in the S101 show. I'm sure that the large, and mostly unpaid, membership is a big draw to the MM's. It seems to me though that if more members became Contributing Members (14¢ a day too much for ya, c'mon!) we could have more honest discussions about the sign and graphics business and fewer discussions about which $300 sticker machine to buy.

    And... Blah, blah, blah... time to get off my soapbox.

  2. #92
    Bachelor of Arts sarge's Avatar
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    i gave my imput and when i did someone suffering ols jumped my 6 .. imo some differences are healthy .. but because my view is different from yours why be contrite .. something for all to know . .watch the bridges you burn .. you might need to cross that gap .. 2 mm in here have already done that with me .. i am wondering how many others .. i am a small shop .. but i bought about 60k in wholesale supplies this year .. pi$$in me off could have cost you .. in 1 case he did .. remember to watch the hand you bite .. cuz it might be the one that could feed you!

  3. #93
    PhD iSign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJ California View Post
    I'm sure that the large, and mostly unpaid, membership is a big draw to the MM's. It seems to me though that if more members became Contributing Members (14¢ a day too much for ya, c'mon!) we could have more honest discussions about the sign and graphics business and fewer discussions about which $300 sticker machine to buy.
    yeah, and if more stepped up, and then we all agreed to pay double (28¢ a day too much for ya, c'mon!) ...we could quite likely eliminate the merchants completely. We would still use them of course, & they could still join the fun for 28¢ a day, but no more spamming & there would never be a topic that had to be handled in such and such a way so as not to **** off our meal tickets (not that this really happens here... but you get my point... Merchants are cool, but could become like lobbyists, that we owe some form of allegiance to)

  4. #94
    PhD Doyle's Avatar
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    It's 1:23 am and I'm drunk as a skunk and still think that there are a bunch of crybabies here that expect everyone to feel the same way that they do about how the sky is falling and that their so called "customers" shouldn't be able to search on google and find out how much a 4X8 sheet of MDO costs or how much a 6X12 digitally printed banner costs them.......

    If they want to know THAT BAD, they will FIND OUT ANYWAY..... and if YOU also believe that your job simply entails MARKING UP a printed banner or some other stupid %^&*$ than it is no wonder you are so pissed off........ I am not a middle man.... and my job is much more complex than that. If my customers view my product as a commodity, and they are searching for a source to get it cheaper and cheaper, then I don;t want them as a customer anyway.... they have absolutely no respect for the service that I provide and I probably shouldn't be serving them anyway.

    Maybe I feel this way because I come from a small town, I don't know...... but it sure seems to me that a lot of members are awfully worried about their customers logging onto Signs101 and cutting them out of the equation...... I am sorry that this is an issue, but it simply is not a worry of mine, sorry I can't share the frustration with you...

    however, out of respect for everyone's wishes, I will keep my discussions of wholesale pricing out of the open forums and will keep it in the premium forums, next time I have a price question, that is......


    Forgive me if I seem out of line, but this is really how I feel about the situation....

  5. #95
    Merchant Member Fred Weiss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gino View Post
    I’m not sure I’m quite getting a grasp on what everyone is saying here. I see some saying they don’t care what their customers might see here at 101, others saying they’re not sure what to think of any of this, while still others could care less what anyone sees here or anywhere else.

    I guess anyone not caring could just take a frickin’ leap into the unknown of business and get lost because they don’t give a rat’s behind about business and what gets things accomplished in their own backyard let alone anyone else’s. Those that seem to care could keep on discussing in the premier section, but the little group that doesn’t have an opinion and thinks that total discussion on a totally open forum….. should probably just stay to their own stamp collections and scrap-booking hobbies and leave the real business of making signs to the real sign makers that know what they’re doing.

    Not sure I have enough input here yet as to what makes some of you tick or not, therefore don’t have a specific answer for those that don’t know what the heck they’re doing in this industry. However, I’ll vote soon, but only after reading a little more of these interesting studies of some of the more intense replies.
    One of the things running Signs 101 has shown me is the incredible numbers and diversity of people who are in some way involved in providing signage to the buying public. The current voting stands at

    60 for the same or a less restrictive policy

    60 for a more restrictive policy

    Your post is decidedly protectionist and highly intimidating to a lot of members. Disregarding the "I don't care" votes, it also represents a valid viewpoint that is shared by half of those who expressed themselves in a vote. The other half have just as valid a viewpoint.

    It just depends, I suppose, on what matters to you. Right now in another thread, a major arguer for more restrictive policies is talking about software prices. He obviously makes a distinction between software prices and prices for services and commodities. One's okay and one isn't okay to post in the open. As a publisher of software, I'm bothered that he doesn't see the contradiction and expand his thinking to cover not discussing any price in an open forum.

    All things being equal, everyone acts and thinks in their own best interests. You are protectionist because you have already built a successful business. Those who haven't are seeking answers so that they can also be successful. The small number of votes show an even divide in thinking and needs. Hardly a compelling expression of any need to favor the preferences of either side of the question.

    It just depends, I suppose, on what matters to you.
    Fred Weiss
    Allied Computer Graphics, Inc.
    Lake Worth, Florida

    Expert Gerber Edge printing for the trade.
    Prices Slashed 50% to 80%! Clip art and seamless texture tiles, collections and individual images, lowest prices ever at www.allcompu.com. Come have a look.
    Our Latest Collection! Plotter Art™ Seamless Texture Tiles Volume Three is now available.

    fred@allcompu.com
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    Always Remember ... STICKY SIDE DOWN.

  6. #96
    PhD signmeup's Avatar
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    [quote=Doyle;456117]

    however, out of respect for everyone's wishes, I will keep my discussions of wholesale pricing out of the open forums and will keep it in the premium forums, next time I have a price question, that is......

    quote]
    That'll be a neat trick considering you can't access the premium forums. You need to pay up to post in those.

  7. #97
    PhD Replicator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Weiss View Post
    The current voting stands at

    60 for the same or a less restrictive policy

    60 for a more restrictive policy
    POINT TAKEN !

  8. #98
    PhD skyhigh's Avatar
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    WHAT A WASTE OF TIME.
    Here we have both the reputable sign shops, voting right along side of those that have bastardized the industry. Kinda like having the fox and the rooster, both having a vote whether or not to eat the hen.

    I guess the real question is....What is Signs101?
    If your answer is, "A professionals sign forum" , then your vote is restrictive.
    If your answer is, "A free enterprise website", then your answer is less restrictive.

    No matter how much some of you think (or wish) it can be BOTH, your dead wrong.



    NOW..... can anyone (that voted less restrictive) tell me why these PROFESSIONAL SIGN companies don't, & will not give prices to the general public or online? (Jump right in there Vid).

    PIONEER SUPPLY
    VSS
    GLANTZ
    GEMINI
    CCA
    FELLERS
    (just a few of my wholesalers)

    PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND, WITHOUT ANSWERING MY QUESTION!!!!!!!!!



    PS. I did say I would not post again, but Vid posed a question for me.
    Vid..... IF "Sir Weiss" (your benevolent king) gives the ok for a change, I will be happy to donate my time & efforts to draft something up.
    Last edited by skyhigh; 11-30-2008 at 01:47 PM.

  9. #99
    Merchant Member signsbydale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Weiss View Post
    Doug, I'm pretty sure that the views count is handled in the same way that the forum software keeps track of unique members logging in each day. it's possible I may have it wrong but I'm pretty sure that once you view a thread a second clicking into it is not recorded as a second view.
    I tested this about 2 years ago and found that it did in fact, register my presents for each visit. Most threads will be visited by posters each time it receives a new post because you will only get notified once. If you don't go back, you will miss what others have said about a subject you were interested in enough to post.

    The visitor numbers are pretty much useless.

    I have never posted my prices here. Most of my sales are to people that are new sign writing and vinyl application. If anything, the CM has hurt my business. When I advertise, I try to find a forum that is public.

    The chances that a customer would see your post in this forum is pretty remote. If one goes out of their way to check what you are paying for materials then, he is not the kind of customer you want anyway. You want customers that are willing to pay you for your time and experience. If they do not want to pay your price then they are not of value to you. You can spend your time doing things that pay better.

    With that said, I guess I better find something else to do.
    Big Squeegee
    A "must have" tool for any shop that works with vinyl.
    Mount a 4' x 8' print in less than 10 minutes(bare table to bare table).
    Mount an 18" x 24" print in about a minute.
    Laminate, and mount prints.
    Apply pre-mask/transfer tape.
    Lower prices for aluminum tools
    Coupon code for 30% discount on plastic tools "s101"

  10. #100
    SignTech
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    Quote Originally Posted by vid View Post
    skyhigh? isag? replicator?... by appearances, you three seem to be the most vocal proponents of a restrictive policy. Are you interested? There's poll results that support your opinion. There's discussion that supports your opinion. Heck, write it, see what happens.
    I just noticed your call out Vid.

    As I have said all along one of my biggest concerns and positions on public pricing has to do with the WAY we talk about how we get to pricing amounts and HOW we talk about customers in the open. Some comments about customers and pricing belong in NHB. If you ask me. It protects our industry as a whole. It's not all about the pricing information for me.

    Skyhigh ... Harbor Sales in another wholesaler that does not disclose their wholesale pricing.

    Vid ... I do not make the policies at signs101, this not my business or position I just give an opinion or perspective. Also ... there are specific reasons why I will not give a policy recommendation.

    I am happy to return to square one and start over on signs101. I have learned a valuable lesson during these discussions regarding this pricing issue. I am back to a regular small shop owning member. I am confident the powers to be will work all this out.

    Have a great Sunday.

    Mike

  11. #101
    PhD iSign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post
    I guess the real question is....What is Signs101?
    If your answer is, "A professionals sign forum" , then your vote is restrictive.
    If your answer is, "A free enterprise website", then your answer is less restrictive.

    No matter how much some of you think (or wish) it can be BOTH, your dead wrong.
    Skyhigh, maybe the real question is who is paying for signs101, and for that question, BOTH of 2 categories of members are paying the bills here, and the lion's share is covered by the group that is helped, not harmed by exposing prices. We pick up the smaller share.

    Vid has a valid point, in acknowledging that Fred is not a remote dictator. He is a sign maker who used to be one of the most helpful & prolific posters on 4edgetalk.com, and soon thereafter became the same kind of helpful contributor over here... later buying the site, maybe in part so it could be saved from extinction, and at least in part, if not entirely so he could try his hand at making it a viable business as well as an excellent community opportunity.

    My point is that the evidence is there that our feedback is sought, considered, and acted upon around here. If we, the signshops, want to move into the role of paying the lion's share of the bills, we most certainly would also have our wishes carry more weight.

    Quote Originally Posted by iSign View Post
    yeah, and if more stepped up, and then we all agreed to pay double (28¢ a day too much for ya, c'mon!) ...we could quite likely eliminate the merchants completely. We would still use them of course, & they could still join the fun for 28¢ a day, but no more spamming & there would never be a topic [or policy] that had to be handled in such and such a way so as not to **** off our meal tickets (not that this really happens here... but you get my point... Merchants are cool, but could become like lobbyists, that we owe some form of allegiance to)
    Edited to add that "More" of us, is a key word in my theory, as is the point of paying "Double" ...I don't know the real numbers, but you get the idea. I know I would pay $100 for the keys to this place, if it was going "members only" ...I don't know for sure that I would vote for that, because I like the volume, and diversity of posts filling this place up each day, and that would go down for sure... but if the decision had been made & I had 2 choices, being locked out, or paying more... I'd pay more!

    Didn't cable TV used to be commercial free, or am I imagining that? I'd love commercial free TV, but if my cable bill went up, I'd have to think twice about it. Can't have it both ways as someone once said!


    Mike, I once had a customer google his own new business name, and found a thread where I was talking about him & although I didn't say anything i wouldn't have said to him, it was momentarily awkward because other people were commenting on his logo & not always favorably.

    I still got his work, but only after he questioned me on if I really wanted it, as the discussion centered on who's jobs we might pass on for risk of a possible unhealthy business association. His logo was a bit over the top for some, but for me it was one I wouldn't sign my name to, not one I wouldn't do, and in the end, he was ok with that.

    The reason I am addressing this point to you, is that I was surprised to read a few times, that as a result of your misinterpretation of the benefits of a Premium forum, you no longer planned to value the $50 subscription highly enough to maintain it.

    Since your last post brought up that you see value in hiding, not only the general exposure of prices, but also the individual price/client discussions that any one of us might wish to engage in with the security of a members-only section.

    While we didn't get everything some of us thought we were going to get for our $50, we did get a lot of what we were after, and in my opinion what we got is worth the $50 a year.

    In fact what we had before Premium forums was worth $50 a year, which is why a lot of us have been paying it for a few years before the Premium Forums existed.

  12. #102
    Master of Arts vid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post
    WHAT A WASTE OF TIME.
    Here we have both the reputable sign shops, voting right along side of those that have bastardized the industry. Kinda like having the fox and the rooster, both having a vote whether or not to eat the hen.
    ...good observation. As of this posting, the numbers are still leaning towards your preference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Weiss View Post
    I'm really trying to keep an open mind and listen to what is being said but I still don't see how to tell those merchants here or who may come along in the future...(edit)

    (edit)...So I'm left to weigh the responses here and to the poll as to providing a good value to all our advertisers including those who have business models based on aggressive pricing that benefit many members here and protecting those members who feel their businesses may suffer because a wholesale price may become known to any member or visitor to Signs 101.
    IMO --- I'm still seeing a green light for a well reasoned and fair policy. It could be posted in the Site Rules, Policy, and Etiquette Forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post
    NOW..... can anyone (that voted less restrictive) tell me why these PROFESSIONAL SIGN companies don't, & will not give prices to the general public or online? (Jump right in there Vid). ...(edit)
    I don't know their specific marketing strategies. However, in my retail and wholesale experiences, I like wholesale customers because of their knowledge and potential for a greater volume of business. I don’t have to train them on every order and their orders turn faster. Retail is fine... as I use it, it pays considerably more in labor fees (buried and specific). As you know, the issue with the sign and graphics industry is that more and more “hobbyists” feel they have adequate skills to deserve wholesale pricing. And, as witnessed by the vendor that prompted this thread, it’s not real good PR, either.

    Yet, there are vendors at Signs 101 that do offer “fair” pricing on products and services. Signfonts, Big Squeegee, GraphixCALC, Marketing Partners, CADlink, Activity Software, SignProof Pro... I can’t type them all, but all the merchants are listed here.

    So, are you proposing that we stifle their ability to market themselves as professional sign people?...

  13. #103
    Bachelor of Arts sarge's Avatar
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    Skyhigh i am confused .. i may be wrong .. but i have got prices from SW's website and fellars all you have to do is call them .. isnt that is the same with SW .. i am just saying this more out load then anything else .. i normally dont get involved with buying stuff .. i just say get it .. but here is a deal about the wholesalers .. are they the bad guys as well cuz they will beat the other guy in pricing?

  14. #104
    Master of Arts vid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isag View Post
    ...I am back to a regular small shop owning member. I am confident the powers to be will work all this out.

    Have a great Sunday.

    Mike
    Sorry to see you've abandoned your enthusiasm for the forum.

  15. #105
    PhD iSign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarge View Post
    .. are they the bad guys as well cuz they will beat the other guy in pricing?
    no, they are only bad guys if your lifelong established sign company was going to get a digitally printed banner for $3 a foot, so you could sell it to your next door neighbor for $8 a foot... until the neighbor finds the same wholesaler to sell her the PTA Christmas banner she needs for $3 a foot, and you not only lose a sale, but have an irate customer bad mouthing you for price gouging.
    Last edited by iSign; 11-30-2008 at 04:54 PM.

  16. #106
    Banned Bradster941's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vid View Post
    So, are you proposing that we stifle their ability to market themselves as professional sign people?...

    To address this point about the Merchant Members, then a simple solution, if the software will allow it, is to Not have the Banner Ads etc. appear to anyone that is not a registered member and for those who do register, not have the Ads appear until after the first 5 log ons.


    .

  17. #107
    PhD skyhigh's Avatar
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    Doug, no question that this site is a great place....lets start off with that.

    While we didn't get everything some of us thought we were going to get for our $50, we did get a lot of what we were after, and in my opinion what we got is worth the $50 a year.

    What exactly did you get besides the title CM? While a CM can post in a premium section and discuss price (hiding as you call it), did it really help when others are not?

    Skyhigh, maybe the real question is who is paying for signs101, and for that question, BOTH of 2 categories of members are paying the bills here, and the lion's share is covered by the group that is helped, not harmed by exposing prices. We pick up the smaller share.

    No arguement with what your saying.... nor am I trying to say anything derogatory about the site....but, it is what it is (IMO), a "free enterprise internet site" rather than the "Professionals sign forum" that it was before. Does that change the value of the information here? Absolutely not. Does it change how I interact here? Probably so.

    Actually my thinking is not too far off from yours. I would pay substantially more, but NOT when those that DON'T contribute (regular members) are allowed to undermine my principles for which I paid to uphold (or which I thought I was paying for)...and MM that don't play by the same rules as the wholesalers I mentioned above.


    Doug, I did post a link to the thread you asked about. What was your thinking? Also, you didn't answer my question about the wholesalers and "hiding" their prices.

  18. #108
    PhD skyhigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vid View Post
    ...good observation. As of this posting, the numbers are still leaning towards your preference.


    Pull your foot out anytime there buddy.
    (you can add, right?)

    As of this posting, its 66-62.... NOT in my favor.



    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Weiss View Post
    As of this post those who would leave the policy the way it is (32) or make it less restrictive (11) total 43 votes. Those who would make it more restrictive (39) or totally prohibit price posting or discussion (4) also total 43 votes.

  19. #109
    PhD skyhigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vid View Post
    So, are you proposing that we stifle their ability to market themselves as professional sign people?...
    you stifle my ability to talk religion in an open forum.....

    What I'm saying is, there are rules no matter where you go.

    Would you be stifling their marketing abilities if you didn't let your competitor post a business card at your front counter??? I guess so.

    Last I looked, this WAS a Professional forum, not the friggin yellow pages.

  20. #110
    PhD iSign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post

    Doug, no question that this site is a great place....lets start off with that.

    What exactly did you get besides the title CM? While a CM can post in a premium section and discuss price (hiding as you call it), did it really help when others are not?
    As has been mentioned numerous times, as I'm sure you are well aware, there are at least 2 if not more issues being discussed here.

    Regarding the protection of anyone visiting this site ever getting a look at any pricing, by anyone, that is not as big of a concern to me as it is to others. However, if it was packaged with the right trade-offs (cost/benefit) I might be swayed to vote with you.

    A second issue seems to be the discussion of retail pricing, which gets responses ranging from "who cares, it's different all over", to "why help them hobbyist cut-throat *&^%#!'s"...

    ...so, as to your question "...did it really help..." on the two parts of this question I just identified, no it didn't solve those concerns. If exposing price info is a bad thing, is exposing MORE pricing a worse thing? Is exposing LESS pricing a better thing? I don't know, so I'll concede the point that the CM investment did not help those concerns at all.

    ...so, for the other part of the question "What exactly did you get"

    Well, the quoted section of my post preceeding this question was address to Mike as a response to his most recent post at that time, where he said:

    Quote Originally Posted by isag View Post
    As I have said all along one of my biggest concerns and positions on public pricing has to do with the WAY we talk about how we get to pricing amounts and HOW we talk about customers in the open. Some comments about customers and pricing belong in NHB. If you ask me. It protects our industry as a whole. It's not all about the pricing information for me.
    I don't know if he really mean NHB, or just the Premium forums, but to me it address's the one area that I feel we did get something of value, && I tried to identify an example of where I think that value delivers specifically to part of what Mike wants out of a Premium forum.

    Besides the 2 areas of concerns identified above, and agreeably not solved by the current Premium forum policies, a 3rd area where I feel we did "get" a ROI as a CM, is in having place to speak about our specific prices or customers, where those specific customers will never see what we wrote unless they lie their way into a signshop subscription to signs101. This is why I recounted the awkward situation where a client told me he found my posts about his company. Over the years, I have read several other posts where clients have read things on-line that they were not intended to see. Now we have some protection against that, should we choose to post accordingly.


    Quote Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post
    ...it is what it is (IMO), a "free enterprise internet site" rather than the "Professionals sign forum" that it was before.
    This is the first I've realized that anyone feels that we have lost something. I thought the only gripe was to have invested in a subscription, and not gained all that we hoped to gain. How was the forum more of a "Professionals sign forum" before, and when did that change? (when is "before")


    Quote Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post
    Actually my thinking is not too far off from yours. I would pay substantially more, but NOT when those that DON'T contribute (regular members) are allowed to undermine my principles for which I paid to uphold (or which I thought I was paying for)...and MM that don't play by the same rules as the wholesalers I mentioned above.
    Agreed! And in my not entirely hypothetical scenario... (if I remember correctly, Fred actually mentioned a preference to this type of arrangement when his discussion of a new Signs101 Business model first came up) ...the forum would be ALL pay-to-play, so those that don't contribute wouldn't be able to undermine anything on this site, as they wouldn't be on this site any longer.


    Quote Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post
    Doug, I did post a link to the thread you asked about. What was your thinking? Also, you didn't answer my question about the wholesalers and "hiding" their prices.
    Thanks for the link. I read a bit, but there was a lot there. I remember going to 3 or c or whatever you said. I don't recall having the same perception of policy that you did, but once again, it has never been as important of an issue to me, as to others, so for that reason I may not have really tried to figure out what exactly the changes would be, and instead turned my attention to whatever was of more concern to me at that time.

    Ask me the question again & I'll answer it. I couldn't find it.

  21. #111
    Merchant Member Fred Weiss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post
    you stifle my ability to talk religion in an open forum.....

    What I'm saying is, there are rules no matter where you go.
    My management style is to attempt to provide solutions to the few without harming the many. That is why the No Holds Barred forums were created where you can talk religion or politics or anything you like with little intervention ... but also with no disruption to the experience of all those who come here to talk signs.

    Quote Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post
    Last I looked, this WAS a Professional forum, not the friggin yellow pages.
    It is neither. That choice was put forth in May in THIS POLLING THREAD where it was discussed at length and then soundly defeated. The issues of privacy, which were a large part of that discussion, were addressed with the creation of the premium forums ... which also included the moving of the Sales, Marketing and Pricing forum to that area. This was primarily an issue of retail pricing discussion. I do not recall any discussion of publishing of wholesale pricing in open forums and nothing about the premium forums was ever intended to address anything about wholesale price announcements as advertising.

    If Signs 101 uses a business model like something else, it is like a print publication for the trade. I know of no rules at Signcraft, Sign Business, Signs of the Times and others that in any way governs whether or not I can display aggressive prices to attract business.

    What has been done here at Signs 101 is for Stacy and I to screen new registrations more aggressively. We not only ask a lot of extra questions but also run IP lookups and compare for spammers and banned member attempting to rejoin. Our stated policy is that Signs 101 is a forum for professional sign makers and those who want to be. That results in our rejecting two or three registrations a day out of the roughly 20 a day we process. Our efforts have made Signs 101's membership a higher ratio of "professionals" which by my definition means that one makes signs for others and receives payment for it.

    My feeling is that you may have picked up some notion from the discussion of Signs 101 going to a "smaller, higher quality forum" and transposed them into an expectation that was never adopted.

    In summary, the changes that took place were to provide a privacy option to those to whom it was important. Retail price discussions were encouraged to take place in the private, premium forums but were never prohibited from discussion in the open forums. Price announcements from authorized merchants at Signs 101 were never part of our rules and we have never regulated them or even discussed them until LowenDirect came along.
    Fred Weiss
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  22. #112
    Certified Circle Designer Rick's Avatar
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    All this over pricing but some are failing to see something, a lot of times we are telling people why they should charge more when they come up with low ball quotes. A customer will most likely come away with an opinion that our profit margins are pretty low just as much as they think we are raking in the big bucks. Most people who want to talk pricing will not be paying the 50 bucks. The 50 bucks is not the issue, I have been giving sign advice for free for nearly 10 years as many others on this site have been doing. In my experience, customers who deal with price only will always go low ball and they will always find it cheaper. Them knowing our actual profit margins (which ain't much) is not going to hurt anyone and in fact may help with arguing that you have to make a living at this too.

    By the way this site, like most sign sites, will probably always be a mixture or sign pros, newbies and part-timers. It would be pretty boring if it was just pros who shelled out 50 bucks. We give out valuable information all the time. What sparked this was a 3 buck a square foot digital printer who has a huge retail company behind it... he is not the only one charging that and it should probably give you an idea where digital printing is going. We have weekly request of newbies purchasing a digital printer... like vinyl cutting was 10 years ago, digital print is now entry level. Digital printing is not the sign industry, we just happen to have quite a few here that do it. What you all are going to have to learn is that any monkey with only a brain stem and credit can press print, and laminate, it takes hard work to sell, design and install it. and thats what we are getting paid for.

    I thought the 50 bucks was to pay for running the site which has gotten to be a very time consuming thing for Fred. the reason for the sites success is the flow of information. We may be stifling that flow and growth more if we start limiting more access.

    As with any stale mate there needs to be a compromise, those not able to do that can go on their marry way, I am sure Fred will make the best decision possible.

  23. #113
    PhD skyhigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iSign View Post
    Besides the 2 areas of concerns identified above, and agreeably not solved by the current Premium forum policies, a 3rd area where I feel we did "get" a ROI as a CM, is in having place to speak about our specific prices or customers, where those specific customers will never see what we wrote unless they lie their way into a signshop subscription to signs101. This is why I recounted the awkward situation where a client told me he found my posts about his company. Over the years, I have read several other posts where clients have read things on-line that they were not intended to see. Now we have some protection against that, should we choose to post accordingly.
    Good Point! Definately a plus over the pre-premium days.
    I find myself posting more examples of work, & retail pricing, where as I avoided that before.

  24. #114
    Certified Circle Designer Rick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iSign View Post
    Besides the 2 areas of concerns identified above, and agreeably not solved by the current Premium forum policies, a 3rd area where I feel we did "get" a ROI as a CM, is in having place to speak about our specific prices or customers, where those specific customers will never see what we wrote unless they lie their way into a signshop subscription to signs101. This is why I recounted the awkward situation where a client told me he found my posts about his company. Over the years, I have read several other posts where clients have read things on-line that they were not intended to see. Now we have some protection against that, should we choose to post accordingly.

    Quote Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post
    Good Point! Definately a plus over the pre-premium days.
    I find myself posting more examples of work, & retail pricing, where as I avoided that before.
    This is where I am paranoid, I don't worry about clients seeing me post work, it's sign shops who are trolling for work that will contact a client. I usually post work after the work is started or completed.

  25. #115
    Master of Arts vid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post
    Pull your foot out anytime there buddy.
    (you can add, right?)

    As of this posting, its 66-62.... NOT in my favor.
    I'm either interpreting the results too literal or too liberal.
    39.73% for the restriction holds the majority of opinion on the question.

    or

    Your math: 66-62, BUT THERE'S THAT 18 DON"T CARE..... 66-80.

    As the thread has progressed, better arguments for restriction have been stated since the voting has begun. Personally, I wouldn't count out some change of mind votes. In any case, it's my feeling there's enough doubt ...heck, just the idea that most everyone despises spam advertising would win a lot of hearts.

    skyhigh, I'm not stomping your opinion. I'm encouraging anyone to develop a fair and reasonable plan for advertisers to pitch their wares. ...or a plan that generates enough CM participation to fund Signs 101 without MMs.

    One idea might be to cease the MM option and call it a Sponsor Membership. Reduce the cost and offer only a rotating banner with logo and tagline for a fee... I dunno. That's going to depend on the membership and how it votes with its dollars.

    Signs 101 members have never been shy about taking a vendor to task. From that perspective a "preferred vendor" could be a very strong partner in the forum offering discounts to Premium Members, only.

    There are 8 new members today. Who's to say one of them isn't a lowend supplier, or, the next generous contributor to the forum. I dunno. But, I don't believe it's good sport to lock everyone out. For the forum to maintain it's existance and grow, IMO, it needs to offer a taste of professional opinion on the sign industry. Otherwise, I'd think it'd become an elitist "franchise" of thought and function.

    Finally, as Rick points out, price discussions also reveal the value of signs beyond the cost of materials. That's important for a customer/lurker/noob to understand. That's another reason I'm have a difficult time with this topic...






    As long as we're at it, we might as well point out where someone might get more information on becoming a Premium Member --- here.

  26. #116
    PhD skyhigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Weiss View Post
    If Signs 101 uses a business model like something else, it is like a print publication for the trade. I know of no rules at Signcraft, Sign Business, Signs of the Times and others that in any way governs whether or not I can display aggressive prices to attract business.
    .
    Here's where the problem lies.

    Signs101 is not like a print publication. Signcraft magazine 99.999% of the time only finds it way into the hands of the sign professional.

    Anyone with a computer and the internet (lets just say EVERYONE for the sake of arguement), only needs to do a search for banners, coro, wraps or just plain "signs" will undoubtly get a link to signs101 on that list. The more polular s101 gets, the closer to the top of the list they are.

    I would tend to think, if MM were only allowed to post wholesale pricing in the premium sections, you would have a rush of members who pony up to get that info. (a win win)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Weiss View Post
    I'm really trying to keep an open mind and listen to what is being said but I still don't see how to tell those merchants here or who may come along in the future who are focused on keeping their equipment busy and do so by offering highly aggressive pricing that they cannot mention the actual prices in their posts and announcements here.

    Just because they can't state a price, dosen't mean they can't advertise.
    If someone is looking for a wholesale printer, the customer (us) will respond (with a phone call or a hit on their website) to an ad here that states...."CHECK OUT OUR WHOLESALE PRICES".

    Really, what choice does the wholesale customer have, when they don't do printing in house anyways?


    Without mentioning names, I can recall off the top of my head a widely respected merchant here who introduced himself with 99¢ per foot pricing on finished banners. Another offers 4 color coro signs at $4 each.

    Off the top of MY head, I can recall this type of aggresive advertising LOST you "merchant memberships"...Inkfish for example wasn't going to compete with 99cent work. How many others have you lost, catering to a couple????


    Each of them has received any number of glowing reviews for the quality of product and service delivered and the aggressive pricing has increased the profitability of dozens if not hundreds of members here who have become their customers.

    Doug mentioned the MM as paying for the "Lions Share" of profits for your website. I contend that the number of members (whether CM or not) is the lions share. Without them, Mr.99¢ wouldn't have gotten the HUNDREDS of sales that HE did. He would be an idiot to drop his MM status over price posting, because the wholesale customer is going to call him anyways....again, what other choices do they have without a printer in house?

    Putting on my sign guy hat.
    Vs the web site owners hat? LOL....better you than me.
    Thanks for keeping an open mind Fred.

  27. #117
    PhD skyhigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vid View Post
    skyhigh, I'm not stomping your opinion.
    Thats because your a "class act", and a gentleman.

    Thanks for your spin on things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    This is where I am paranoid, I don't worry about clients seeing me post work, it's sign shops who are trolling for work that will contact a client. I usually post work after the work is started or completed.
    That wouldn't happen....would it? Now you have me paranoid.
    Rick, have you ever known that to actually happen?

  28. #118
    PhD iSign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post
    I would tend to think, if MM were only allowed to post wholesale pricing in the premium sections, you would have a rush of members who pony up to get that info.
    Surely you're joking right?
    The same guy who points out that a MM advertising their name alone, is cause enough for the interested buyer to pick up the phone, or click on their web link... and now you have the interested buyer sending in a paypal subscription fee instead, just so they can read the price here on the Premium forums, instead of option A or B

    Quote Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post
    Doug mentioned the MM as paying for the "Lions Share" of profits for your website. I contend that the number of members (whether CM or not) is the lions share. Without them, Mr.99¢ wouldn't have gotten the HUNDREDS of sales that HE did.
    no ****... us being here is why they are here, but still, money talks ******** walks... and someone has to pay the bills. Take away some of what MM's get for their money, and expect some of that money to dissappear!

    like I said in the second post on this thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by iSign View Post
    I realize the stats for the total number of users is what our MM's are paying for the right to advertise to... so I realize that those resources, which we have to thank in part, for funding this site, can not be counted on to remain at the same level if they are going to lose any privileges... so I think any additional restrictiveness will have to be limited & I can see how it is unlikely to ever be an absolute prohibition without a great deal of revenue being replaced by another source (us CM's) or done without! (unlikely)

  29. #119
    Merchant Member Fred Weiss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post
    Here's where the problem lies.

    Signs101 is not like a print publication. Signcraft magazine 99.999% of the time only finds it way into the hands of the sign professional.

    Anyone with a computer and the internet (lets just say EVERYONE for the sake of arguement), only needs to do a search for banners, coro, wraps or just plain "signs" will undoubtly get a link to signs101 on that list. The more polular s101 gets, the closer to the top of the list they are.

    I would tend to think, if MM were only allowed to post wholesale pricing in the premium sections, you would have a rush of members who pony up to get that info. (a win win)
    It's the closest cousin I can think of. Signcraft for example is sold in art supply stores all over the place and has the highest "pass around" numbers of any trade journal. In addition, nearly all of the trade journals have gone over to electronic versions that can be read without restriction by anyone with internet access. They all are seeking advertising dollars by providing the largest readership they can. And they have no incentive whatsoever to limit their readership to sign professionals.

    If that doesn't suit you, then consider most of the other sign forums who largely feature unmonitored forums or, if monitored, don't spend much time telling their advertisers what they can and cannot say in their advertising.

    Quote Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post
    Off the top of MY head, I can recall this type of aggresive advertising LOST you "merchant memberships"...Inkfish for example wasn't going to compete with 99cent work. How many others have you lost, catering to a couple????
    Oh boy is your memory or available information running on empty. Inkfish generated more complaints than any merchant other than Lowen and RapidTac. He was rude as often as not and even stood accused of stealing accounts.

    Bottom line ... you or anyone else is invited to submit a comprehensive, written plan for the rule changes you would like to see implemented. If you choose to do so, be prepared to deal with back and forth Q & A. As I stated back in May, I was willing to make Signs 101 a smaller, higher quality forum, supported by paid membership. So I'm not opposed to a change in the business model that would better tie in with your ideas. Unfortunately, 72% of those who cast a vote at that time were opposed.

    So until such time as the sign company owners decide in large numbers to financially support the operations of Signs 101, we will continue to accept merchant subscribers and banner advertising while providing an audience that is sufficient to attract their dollars.

    I will make a rare reference to Dave Darlak and his Signs 201 adventure. He felt like he had answers that were different and better than mine to forum issues he cared about. So he opened a competing forum and used the back channels here to get about 250 members after two or three months. The actual results of his thinking resulted in a forum that rarely discussed sign making, had a higher percentage of banned members to total members than we have here after five years, and closed for whatever the reasons ... which I suspect was his own lack of willingness to actually do the work of managing and moderating a forum.

    My point is that you have a viewpoint and toss out ideas to support it that are largely based on the limited information available to you which is incomplete and partially erroneous. If you had been a co-admin for the last five years sharing the work, you would never entertain them in your own mind much less propose them as changes we should make.

    I respect your viewpoint and the time you've taken to express yourself. Please respect my experience and caring for Signs 101 in the choices in make in managing its operations.

  30. #120
    PhD skyhigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iSign View Post
    Surely you're joking right?
    The same guy who points out that a MM advertising their name alone, is cause enough for the interested buyer to pick up the phone, or click on their web link... and now you have the interested buyer sending in a paypal subscription fee instead, just so they can read the price here on the Premium forums, instead of option A or B
    They read the price on here NOW!!! Possibly MM's could offer a "special" to CM's? Besides, if members know they can actually get the "Inside" track on pricing, they will wonder what else they will find if they join. Curiosity & the Cat syndrome.


    no ****... us being here is why they are here, but still, money talks ******** walks... and someone has to pay the bills. Take away some of what MM's get for their money, and expect some of that money to dissappear!

    I've read enough of your NHB political posts Doug.....Its the MIDDLE class thats important, remember. (not them Big Business MM's)
    You sound like a friggin Republican.

    like I said in the second post on this thread:
    Just throwing some things out there for discussion.

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