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We have no difference of opinion here, I generally agree with what you have to
say but what you did bring up was a point that evoked a few moments of thinking.
Vendors pay, not you the presumtive client,but they pay a third party that has
made the "marketplace" a business concept of its own. The poor presumtive buyer
travels at expense to go to see what the vendors have to offer. Hence both
vendor and buyer spend money to go to the marketplace.
Like many forums on the net they are hot places for third parties that lure
chatters to their site (i.e. marketplace) you get access but are forced to
endure advertising. Some setups are worth the pain, some not. The point here is
that with the current discussion, if vendors are asked to join in on a separate
page, by to large contributions (still, I do think Rob should be financially
compensated for his efforts) or by other means they may feel they have a right
to a share. In addition large contributions by firms also create risk
dependence, of control. At the end of the day we might have an independent TIG
forum that in essence is a chartered marketplace, just like the tradeshow.
There is another angle as well. These specialist forums are of great interest to
vendors because they are potenitally very direct means of communication at a
very low cost. This is not a totally evil thing as it allows extremely forceful
competition to exist. To the buyers benefit. The two forces acting here is the
nets capability to find and compare prices plus the fact that marketing on the
net is very cheap providing greater pricecuts through lower costs. Not that I
believe this will ever provide noticable price cuts between vendors in our
In my mind simplicity in the structure offers the focus on what really is the
power of these forums - the content and its contributors.