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

Voters
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. #1
    Merchant Member Fred Weiss's Avatar
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    Price Posting and Discussion at Signs 101

    In a couple of other threads currently being discussed, the question of forum policy as to posting of prices and discussion of pricing in general has been called into question. Merchant members are being criticized for posting of prices in their advertising and on their own websites where the general public can find them. Regular members are being criticized for seeking help in pricing questions in our open forums where any visitor can find and read them.

    There is even confusion as to whether or not it is legal to discuss pricing. It is perfectly legal. The only thing having to do with the legality of pricing is conspiracies to fix pricing ... which is not in question or in any way suggested or taking place.

    At issue is free speech versus protectionism and the right of any person to set their own policy and business model as it relates to price focused advertising.

    The current policy is:


    • Management has created a private forum for discussion of pricing that is not visible to non holders of a premium subscription.
    • Members are encouraged to have discussions regarding pricing in this private forum but are not required to do so.
    • There is no rule or prohibition regarding price discussions in our open forums nor is there any rule against posting the prices of any vendor under discussion.
    • Authorized merchant members are not prohibited from posting pricing in their advertising announcements or replies to the posts of others.

    So the question is: How do you feel about the current policy?
    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
    www.allcompu.com

    Always Remember ... STICKY SIDE DOWN.

  2. #2
    PhD iSign's Avatar
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    I voted "It should be more restrictive" and I'd back that up by saying I'd pay more to get that. I honestly hadn't worried too much about the issue before reading of others concerns, and I wouldn't pay that much more... but I see how some hoped the Premium forums for pricing would go beyond inviting private discussions of prices, & also actively discourage (or prohibit) some open forum pricing.

    Also, 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)

  3. #3
    College Freshman
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    Fred you do a wonderful job, and get very little credit for it. I don't understand how you can put up with these BABY'S. I don't go to other web sights and don't care to but some of these people should grow up and get a life. There are so many other things in this world to worry about. Also we live in one of the greatest countries in the world and have freedom of speech as a right and so many other wonderful rights we should enjoy what we have and go from there. Sorry for the rant but I just had to vent it.

  4. #4
    Merchant Member Fred Weiss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iSign View Post
    I voted "It should be more restrictive" and I'd back that up by saying I'd pay more to get that. I honestly hadn't worried too much about the issue before reading of others concerns, and I wouldn't pay that much more... but I see how some hoped the Premium forums for pricing would go beyond inviting private discussions of prices, & also actively discourage (or prohibit) some open forum pricing.

    Also, 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)
    My thinking was posted at length back in April and May and was not supported by the majority of poll responders. That is that we will always have a conflict of interest as long as we have merchants and advertising at all. My suggestion was a forum that was a paid forum totally supported by members of the craft of sign making.

    What is needed to support more restrictive policies is not a higher fee for CMs but more CMs in general. This would not just be a financial benefit for the site but also a participation benefit for the community. Less than 10% of the active membership here has elected to take out a premium subscription and the financial benefit of those fees is dwarfed by merchant fees and advertising to the tune of three to four times the amount contributed by CMs.

    As the owner and manager I am more than willing to respond positively to the wishes of the community. The community, however, must be more than a few very vocal members and is best judged by their willingness to step up and provide both the funding and the participation to reshape what is into what is preferred.
    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
    www.allcompu.com

    Always Remember ... STICKY SIDE DOWN.

  5. #5
    Merchant Member Fred Weiss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The dude View Post
    Fred you do a wonderful job, and get very little credit for it. I don't understand how you can put up with these BABY'S. I don't go to other web sights and don't care to but some of these people should grow up and get a life. There are so many other things in this world to worry about. Also we live in one of the greatest countries in the world and have freedom of speech as a right and so many other wonderful rights we should enjoy what we have and go from there. Sorry for the rant but I just had to vent it.
    Thank you.

  6. #6
    PhD signmeup's Avatar
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    I voted "it's fine the way it is". I won't personally mention or ask for prices in an open forum because I don't want to risk any of my customers (however unlikely that may be)seeing that information. What others choose to do is up to them. I do wish the wholesale prices were kept in a premium or "trade only" forum.
    Last edited by signmeup; 11-27-2008 at 06:22 PM.

  7. #7
    Digitall
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    I may be wrong completely, but I tend to believe that people who are searching for pricing are trying to make sure that they are pricing high enough while staying competitive - not trying to undercut.Most of them are more conserned that they are not charging enough.

    It is also my belief that apprentices should be able to view and get involved with the expertise of pros. what a better way to tudor the novice with proper technique, tips and especially pricing.make sure they are trained at proper pricing from the start. Maybe not everyday but sort of like forum seminars made available to them

  8. #8
    Banned Bradster941's Avatar
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    Undecided at this point.

    What I would like to see is some real world examples where someone came in to your shop and said they saw such and such price discuss on Signs 101.

    Seems to me if someone does a Google search for say Banners, it will return 77.9 million links. How many of those are from Signs 101? I don’t know but I would guess that because they are created by the SpyBots, they are position way in the back.

    So if a person does a Google search for Banners, Signs, Car Wraps, or whatever, I’m guessing they are going to have to click through a few million links before they ever hit a post posted on Signs 101
    And right at the top of the search is page after page like this one http://www.power-graphics.com/pages/pricing.html
    Could be wrong.

    Would love to hear how many people have come into your shop and said they saw your post on Signs 101 or I saw on Signs 101 a Guy is offering Banners for a buck a sq. ft..


    Seems like the only legitimate concern is if you use your Company Name here, or anywhere on the net., and a customer does a Google search on your name. Then they may get hits to what you posted here.

    Besides, if a customer is spending his time looking for a better price, do you really think he is a good customer?

  9. #9
    Preppie
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    I think we should all look at this from a business standpoint. Some sign companies are larger and more experienced than others. But, no matter which side of that your on, we all share the same site! And on the other hand we all live in completely different market areas, where the same job could be very different in price. I like the idea of being able to ask ppl in this forum if I am out of line on a price I given or "charged" a customer. Because your competitor down the street is definately not gonna help you with that one. However isn't this a discussion forum? It's not an advertising agency!! If they want to advertise their price and cut everyone else's throat, let them do it on their business website.
    PS. Fred you do a great job and thanks for the site which I have learned a lot from.
    Just my 2cents.

  10. #10
    Master of Arts
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    google printed banner pricing, s101 is on page 2
    Fred & Stacy do a great job running this place.

  11. #11
    College Freshman bryan's Avatar
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    I use this forum everyday and enjoy it so. I apologize as I have missed the contribution/membership options along the way. With that said, I just become a contributing member and found that the yearly contribution is nothing for the help I get from the site. As an owner of multiple companies, including an Internet company, www.txol.net, I am understanding of the costs and efforts required to run the site and oversee it's continued sustainability. After reading, I like the current policies but would kindly respect it if it was different as well. Nothing will ever please the masses and your methods have apparent success Fred.

    Thank you and Blessings for your continued efforts,

  12. #12
    PhD Replicator's Avatar
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    My feelings have been made perfectly clear already . . . That being said, thanks Fred and Stacey and others, you know who you are, for all you do !

  13. #13
    SignTech
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    My stance on this subject remains the same.

    I believe pricing should be private and not in open forum for Retail and wholesale. This won't change.

    My contributing membership went in (my view) for the overall operation of the forum and to include creating a private area for private issues. I now realize that being a CM has zero to do with private area benefits. This (private area) was created to appease the masses .... in other words ......

    if Mike (isag) wants a private area to posts pricing chat he can have it ..........

    if Joe (a different member) wants to post pricing in an an open forum he can do so .... no harm no foul. It's an appeasement.

    CM contributions are for overall operations. Personally knowing what I know today the premium area serves no purpose anymore ... (for me) I can only speak for myself.

    Being a CM I at least now know definitively what my CM membership is doing financially. Because it is not a benefit to have a premium pricing area when I can post in opn forum for zero cost.

    A war almost came about due to this pricing issue. The ground rules where NOT clearly understood and out there for full understanding. I hope in the future, new rules, forums etc ... will be CLEARLY laid out and understood.

    Great threads today and a lot was learned.

  14. #14
    PhD Air Art Girl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The dude View Post
    Fred you do a wonderful job, and get very little credit for it. I don't understand how you can put up with these BABY'S. I don't go to other web sights and don't care to but some of these people should grow up and get a life. There are so many other things in this world to worry about. Also we live in one of the greatest countries in the world and have freedom of speech as a right and so many other wonderful rights we should enjoy what we have and go from there. Sorry for the rant but I just had to vent it.
    Babies??? Give me a friggin break.

    What we want is to continue to see this forum grown into a great PROFESSIONAL network site. It's a question of keeping wholesale pricing private on the forum or not. It's not about retail pricing. It's that simple. We want to take this site one step at a time to continue to be a place where merchants and members network, not the general public.
    But obviously "the dude" you have not joined the CM forum and do not know the benefits. Yes, Fred has done a wonderful job as well as Stacy but we don't want to see our forum turn into a site like (no offense Josh) but, the tshirt forum where people that don't have clue one about the business can hop on there and get all the wholesale details they want.

    This last summer we had merchant members donate thousands of dollars to 2 network events that were made possible by this network forum. This forum is about learning, sharing and growing as a sign business. Let's keep growing it in that direction, professional. Don't post wholesale prices. Do that in the CM forum or via PM or email.

  15. #15
    Bachelor of Arts sarge's Avatar
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    i just dont get this crap .. why are all these people so worried about the other guy .. are so insecure with yourself that you cant see past your nose .. reach down .. grab your boot straps .. pull'em tight and do your job .. if your running your business like your running your mouth, it is no wonder your business is in the crapper .. i am thinking it isnt the guy posting prices on here or under cutting you .. it is that guy looking back at you! .. in the mirror

  16. #16
    SignTech
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarge View Post
    i just dont get this crap .. why are all these people so worried about the other guy .. are so insecure with yourself that you cant see past your nose .. reach down .. grab your boot straps .. pull'em tight and do your job .. if your running your business like your running your mouth, it is no wonder your business is in the crapper .. i am thinking it isnt the guy posting prices on here or under cutting you .. it is that guy looking back at you! .. in the mirror
    Care to point your educated finger in any direction or do you prefer the shot gun effect?

    Maybe people can answer your question if it is known where your pellets are being spread ....... step up and be definitive in your advise.

  17. #17
    PhD Air Art Girl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarge View Post
    i just dont get this crap .. why are all these people so worried about the other guy .. are so insecure with yourself that you cant see past your nose .. reach down .. grab your boot straps .. pull'em tight and do your job .. if your running your business like your running your mouth, it is no wonder your business is in the crapper .. i am thinking it isnt the guy posting prices on here or under cutting you .. it is that guy looking back at you! .. in the mirror
    Read your friggin PM

  18. #18
    PhD Replicator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarge View Post
    i just dont get this crap .. why are all these people so worried about the other guy
    I don't give a rats a$$ about what the other guy charges, I just don't want my customers having the ability

    to know the cost of my goods or what others might be charging . . . It's none of their business !

  19. #19
    PhD skyhigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by signmeup View Post
    I voted "it's fine the way it is". I won't personally mention or ask for prices in an open forum because I don't want to risk any of my customers (however unlikely that may be)seeing that information. What others choose to do is up to them. I do wish the wholesale prices were kept in a premium or "trade only" forum.
    I'm sorry but did I read you correctly? You vote one way, but believe another? WTF???

    My vote (my compromise) is "More Restrictive". Buy a CM and talk price all you want.

  20. #20
    Bachelor of Arts sarge's Avatar
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    have you been to signware house website .. the prices are right in there .. also in fellars .. and they dont care who they sell it too .. neither one asked me for a ubi number or my business license .. so, what you get your stuff for is right where everyone can see it .. this is not the only place .. does this mean we are to boycott these guys because they post our cost of supplies openly? .. i dont use either of these places because i choose to deal with wholesale shops that do require some sort of etiquette for retail shops .. imo doing business with these kinds of businesses (sw and fellars) are far worse then people asking how to price jobs here .. so i am understood .. if the truth hurts change your ways
    Last edited by sarge; 11-27-2008 at 10:21 PM. Reason: had to add that last

  21. #21
    PhD skyhigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarge View Post
    the prices are right in there .. also in fellars
    Wrong !!! you can view a "NO PRICE" catalog, unless you supply a customer number.

    Now, why do you suppose that is????

    Fellers will have to give me a commission for a new customer.

  22. #22
    PhD signage's Avatar
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    Sarge if people keep feeling the same way as you the value of signs is going to keep going down and you will eventually be one that will not be able to replace your worn out equipment with out getting a part time job!

    I would like one other person to show me what the wholesale cost is for either a 100,000BTU gas furnace or at 480v delta transformer 15Kva?
    When you go to the auto parts store do they tell you what the garage pays for the same parts, or what they charge to replace it? Do you know if they use the Mitchell labor rate chart or do they charge you how long it actually took to replace the part without interruption?

    I have said since I have gotten into this (profession) line of work, that these distributors should be more like the distributor for HVAC, Laminating (counter tops) and several other true professions! Try going to a HVAC distributor and getting a part to repair your furnace even if you know the part number! They will not sell it to you unless you supply them with you business info and you EPA certificate!

  23. #23
    Master of Arts
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post
    Wrong !!! you can view a "NO PRICE" catalog, unless you supply a customer number.
    You can view the discount products section

  24. #24
    PhD GP's Avatar
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    Though I voted "more restrictive," I am some what torn.

    Stacey and Fred do an incredible job (and I would imagine, spend an exorbitant amount of time) mediating this forum and I would hate to give them even more responsibility.

    As professionals, I think we should be able to keep this in check. Upon registering, it should be stressed that we are here to protect the integrity of our trade by sharing ideas, knowledge and experiences. Pricing structure and, moreover, business management is a huge part of this forum. But discussion of cost of goods sold (and wholesale pricing) should be discussed only in the private, contributing member forum.

    If it arises, we, as members, should try to encourage the evil-doer to register as a CM and re-post in the private forum. End of discussion. No personal attacks, no harm done.

    Fred, what sort of feedback are you getting from MMs? Do they feel slighted in any way? Is there are way to email blast pricing specials to the private mail accounts rather than on the forum board? Sorry, thinking out loud.

    Great job everyone. Thanks!

    GP

  25. #25
    PhD skyhigh's Avatar
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    Literally a handful of discontinued items. From what I just saw, you can't even get a picture of the item, just a product code. Some of the items, I didn't even know what they were, without referencing the catalog.

    Hell, the ONE roll (item) of HP vinyl they listed didn't even state a width. I don't think I'll ban them from my list of suppliers over this.

  26. #26
    Master of Arts Jon Aston's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    This is a simple problem to solve, from my point of view. Make all pricing discussions available to premuim members only...in a "Compare pricing" forum. The average "sign customer" is unlikely to pay for membership, and it might help motivate more people to become full members.

    I have often thought that price gets too much ink in the "Marketing" forum anyway, and would love to see it broken out.

  27. #27
    Bachelor of Arts RJ California's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Aston View Post
    This is a simple problem to solve, from my point of view. Make all pricing discussions available to premuim members only...in a "Compare pricing" forum. The average "sign customer" is unlikely to pay for membership, and it might help motivate more people to become full members.

    I have often thought that price gets too much ink in the "Marketing" forum anyway, and would love to see it broken out.
    I agree... and I think it's a good idea to keep our sign pricing comments and questions from popping up in Google searches, especially those about wholesale pricing.

  28. #28
    PhD iSign's Avatar
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    Jon,
    I don't think that represents much of anything different then we have today. It's not really simple, because this is anarchy, and there is little to no control over what people post. Forums can be named for pricing, but people are posting prices everywhere, so the only way to make pricing only available in premium forums is to police all price posts elsewhere. Just asking people not to do it will not work. Policing people not to do it probably won't happen, but I think that is the only way that it ever could work.

  29. #29
    PhD Craig Sjoquist's Avatar
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    didn't know there was a problem...thought it was fine the way it is ...it seems that the most price talk is a minumin....

  30. #30
    Premium Subscriber BobM's Avatar
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    I think Fred is doing a super job. If we simply don't answer pricing questions unless it shows up in the CM section, problem solved.
    " A government that robs Peter to Pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul" George Bernard Shaw

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