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Randy Moe
20-Dec-2016, 08:05
Lately and only very lately, have a couple of our suppliers 'popped up' here seeking business.

B&H and Ries come to mind.

They are both late, yet present.

Where is everybody else?


Custom camera makers are also obtuse, with their unfriendly websites and a complete lack of useful info on them.

Richard Wasserman
20-Dec-2016, 08:41
Good question Randy, it is a bit of a puzzlement. Here we are a built-in audience, thirsty for information, and virtually no suppliers are interested. Are we too small a group to bother with?

karl french
20-Dec-2016, 08:42
It's you.

Bob Salomon
20-Dec-2016, 08:48
Gee, I have been on here for all those years until we went out of business! And Rod does pop up here from time to time.

Taija71A
20-Dec-2016, 09:04
It's you.


Gee, I have been on here for all those years until we went out of business...

+100.


Are LF suppliers lazy or stupid?

Lately and only very lately, have a couple of our suppliers 'popped up' here seeking business.

B&H and Ries come to mind.

They are both late, yet present.

Where is everybody else?


Custom camera makers are also obtuse, with their unfriendly websites and a complete lack of useful info on them.

Lazy?**Stupid?**Obtuse?

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The views and opinions originally expressed above are solely those of the author...
And do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions and/or positions -- Of other contributors to this forum.

We make no representation as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any 'said' information
presented by individuals such as this... On this forum.

Jac@stafford.net
20-Dec-2016, 09:04
Gee, I have been on here for all those years until we went out of business! And Rod does pop up here from time to time.

Recognized, and thank you!

jnanian
20-Dec-2016, 09:24
randy

i think some suppliers and businesses while they lurk online they don't
really participate very often.

its was different years ago though i ron wisner used to participate from time to time
and he would be hounded by customers who complained that xyz was wrong with the camera sold
that said i remember on pnet when ron posted something years ago when he was still in business ..
about how there was a customer who had a problem and he met him at the airport, hand delivered the camera
as well as a box of film or something ...

then there are publishers and camera makers who used to be active ( are they suppliers as well ? ) the publisher of VC magazine used be
active online ( and richard littman ) here and pnet, and get into brawls with people all-caps-wars &c because folks were
dissatisfied with product or were aggressive ( and these suppliers were aggressive back, and then some ), kind of unbecoming of people i would ever
want to give $$$ to for any sort of service / product and one of the reasons i unsubscribed & never bought their products.

i have to admit though, mr solomon and mr ritter and mr grimes ( RIP ) and a mr posner, and ms oster and mr galley, + catlabs + mr carnie
are/were the opposite, ... pure class.

Bruce Watson
20-Dec-2016, 09:27
Perhaps they don't want to hang out with people who call them "lazy" and "stupid"?

Such negativity during the Holidays. Sigh...

Willie
20-Dec-2016, 09:44
I know a few who are makers/suppliers and they stay off the boards so they are not seen as trying to push their gear. With them it is a conscious decision.
We have seen others who come on and then we read complaints that they are using the boards as free advertising.

Seems that they can't win no matter what they do.

Most I and friends know and have done business with are aware of the market and the forums. Most are involved in it as more than a business. Most value the customer and know many as friends. I respect their decision on whether to get involved. Guys like Bob Solomon and Bob Carnie and others are a resource to be treasured, not suppliers to bitch at.

djdister
20-Dec-2016, 10:05
Well, Richard Ritter does show up from time to time, but I can understand why Keith Canham and Mike Walker don't generally bother with this board. However I have had direct responses from both of those gentlemen, which I valued a lot. In some cases, I have used that information when responding to other camera users with a similar issue on this board.

Kevin Crisp
20-Dec-2016, 10:20
Maybe they don't want the abuse that has been heaped on some of them.

callmebrick
20-Dec-2016, 10:24
Maybe they don't want the abuse that has been heaped on some of them.

What is it with vBulletin boards and being cranky?

Kevin Crisp
20-Dec-2016, 10:28
I think it is partially explained by the tendency toward perfectionism among those who shoot big negatives. We are a tough crowd to please, and we often have very specific needs that differ just slightly from what is offered or available.

Leigh
20-Dec-2016, 10:58
Maybe they don't want the abuse that has been heaped on some of them.
I'm afraid that's all too likely.

Internet fora are a ripe feeding ground for folks with an axe to grind.
Unfortunately they're often encouraged by other members.

The percentage of posts backing the vendors as opposed to criticizing them is rather small.
Most likely they just don't want to deal with the nonsense.

- Leigh

Leigh
20-Dec-2016, 11:13
Gee, I have been on here for all those years until we went out of business!
Bob,

I for one very much appreciate all of your knowledge and wisdom which you generously share.

Thank you.

- Leigh

jp
20-Dec-2016, 11:57
Lately and only very lately, have a couple of our suppliers 'popped up' here seeking business.

B&H and Ries come to mind.

They are both late, yet present.

Where is everybody else?


Custom camera makers are also obtuse, with their unfriendly websites and a complete lack of useful info on them.

Is this a loaded question like, "Have you stopped beating your wife?"

Bruce Barlow
20-Dec-2016, 12:11
Well, Richard Ritter does show up from time to time, but I can understand why Keith Canham and Mike Walker don't generally bother with this board. However I have had direct responses from both of those gentlemen, which I valued a lot. In some cases, I have used that information when responding to other camera users with a similar issue on this board.

I think Richard participates at a level and breadth that Keith and Mike can't really match.

It's a delicate thing, methinks. We'd carpet bomb someone who came on and tried to sell us stuff, but looking at where this thread began, for some folks having vendors only supporting products in subtle ways appears to be not enough.

I think Bob Salomon got it right when he was in business, and continues to be a treasure trove of knowledge that he is willing to share with us mere mortals. I have learned a lot from Bob, and anticipate continuing to do so.

John Kasaian
20-Dec-2016, 12:41
Also Carol at Flutot's has posted here on occasion, so has Bostick and Sullivan and Michael Smith (Lodima paper.)

I tend to agree with john nanian that either dissatisfied customers or suppliers have far too often gotten into knock down drag out brawls that do no one any good.
If I supplied anything, I'd be treading kind of lightly around these parts myself.

BrianShaw
20-Dec-2016, 13:20
Maybe we aren't as valuable to them as we think we are. How much revenue does anyone think we really represent? I, personally, don't spend much money anymore on camera gear and when I do I'm buying used and trying to get a bargain. I buy way more film and processing than gear. Maybe they are smarter than we look.

jp
20-Dec-2016, 13:31
I don't sell/support photo gear, but if I did, I'd keep a low profile on the forums except for product announcements, etc.. The forum could turn into a support/customer service forum and an Internet bulletin board is not the ideal system to handle that work.

Michael E
20-Dec-2016, 17:16
A friend had an online shop selling DSLRs and lenses. She was very active on fora and I supported her with practical knowledge. A few things I have learned (not all of them might apply to the US):

Many fora and boards do not welcome dealers or manufacturers, many of them specifically stating so in their rules. They want to be a place for equals sharing a common love, not a place for free advertisement. There usually are exceptions for contributors who are willing to offer valuable advice, personal views and in general act as members of the community. For these individuals, it is a fair practice to disclose their affiliation (signature, etc.).

That is another sore point in the relationship between community and corporation: It is a common practice (as far as I know) to use a forum under a pseudonym, monitoring and influencing the members without their knowledge ("viral marketing").

Using social media to connect with (potential) customers, if you want to do it right, takes a lot of time. Big companies have employees who do nothing else. Small businesses usually don't have the resources, they often rely on extra commitment or personal interest of staff members.

John Kasaian
20-Dec-2016, 17:19
Maybe we aren't as valuable to them as we think we are. How much revenue does anyone think we really represent? I, personally, don't spend much money anymore on camera gear and when I do I'm buying used and trying to get a bargain. I buy way more film and processing than gear. Maybe they are smarter than we look.
)
Brian, we are a different demographic! When I assembled my kit from nothing I needed quite a bit of stuff even though a lot came from studios converting to digital. These days, film, paper, chemicals, mounting supplies and services (cla's etc...) are what I'm most likely to spend $$ on. For some just starting out it is a different world---inexpensive used gear is more rare and while new lenses are now made from rare, unobtainium glass (for most hobbyists) there is still a need for filters, cable releases, lens boards, cassettes, tripods, packs, etc... and that's not including a traditional dark room stuff if that is the row one wants to hoe.

Jac@stafford.net
20-Dec-2016, 18:39
Maybe we aren't as valuable to them as we think we are [...]

Let's consider the site's international scope. It is strictly English. The site does not reach further. How many other LF enterprises reach, for example, the Asian market?
.

jnanian
21-Dec-2016, 06:02
i was under the impression "house rules"
said that dealers were not permitted to advertise here,
not permitted to sell things in the classifieds
and not do more than once in a blue moon make an announcement.

Peter Lewin
21-Dec-2016, 06:05
While I cannot guess how manufacturers choose their online platforms, Keith Canham posts regularly on Facebook. I belong to three FB groups which overlap in interests: Large Format Photography (which I believe was started by Steve Simmons of View Camera), the Large Format Photographer's Society, and the Large Format Darkroom. I don't remember specifically which one Keith posts to, but his posts, both on custom film orders and camera manufacturer, appear regularly in my stream.

Oren Grad
21-Dec-2016, 07:29
i was under the impression "house rules"
said that dealers were not permitted to advertise here,
not permitted to sell things in the classifieds
and not do more than once in a blue moon make an announcement.

Forum guidelines now allow FS postings by retail establishments with no more than $1 million in annual revenues, subject to the same rules as everybody else. New product announcements are allowed with prior approval - not a "blue moon" rule per se.

Vendors who are comfortable earning their visibility through a steady, low-key presence responding to technical questions about their products and otherwise contributing to our collective knowledge are welcome here. Those who want to use discussion boards as platforms for aggressive promotion need to look elsewhere.

Forum participation can be a big time-sink and at times requires a thick skin. Speaking for myself, although I'm happy to see vendors here if they are OK working within our guidelines, I can certainly understand those who prefer to use other channels to communicate, and I don't hold it against them.

In addition to his company website, Keith Canham has his own Facebook page - that's his most active web presence at this point and his main venue for announcements on special film orders.

jnanian
21-Dec-2016, 08:22
hi oren

thanks for setting me straight regarding the guidelines &c ..

good to know !

Drew Bedo
23-Dec-2016, 09:50
Lessee . . .Styeve Simmons was a rtegular poster some yearsd ago.

jnanian
23-Dec-2016, 10:33
Lessee . . .Styeve Simmons was a rtegular poster some yearsd ago.

hi drew

from what i remember that was when the vc magazine was suffering for poor editing and poor image reproduction
and jorge g. used to regularly drag the publisher through the mud and pick fights with him, and the publisher
would then fight back ... it wasn't pretty.

i've made announcements of things i have for sale before ( for 7? years ) and explained how they worked &c and
i received trollish mail, nasty in-thread comments and was bothered by people, often.
i eventually decided outreach to online photography "communities" wasn't really worth it. maybe other "suppliers" have decided the same.

BrianShaw
23-Dec-2016, 14:23
Ahhh, what memories!

jnanian
24-Dec-2016, 07:09
Ahhh, what memories!

one of my favorite "jorge memories" was after he badmouthed ink prints
for years calling them and the people who produced them every insult in the book
and chris jordon offered to meet him and show him some of his ink prints ...
and jorge came here and ate crow and never said another bad thing about ink jet prints
or the people who made them again. it was a beautiful thing ...

LabRat
24-Dec-2016, 08:06
Great having reps online to help out, but sadly many abuse them... Some advice would be to try to get them to help, but not try to lash them to a whipping post, and organize one's question for them to be able to answer them (without long rambles) and recognize when the ??? has been answered, and be reasonable as they are human, and might not have EXACTLY the answer wanted & expected...

Be professional, and be answered in-kind...

Steve K

Pfsor
24-Dec-2016, 08:06
Does anyone know if Jorge survived his cancer he went back with to Mexico?

Oren Grad
24-Dec-2016, 08:52
Does anyone know if Jorge survived his cancer he went back with to Mexico?

He did. There are many traces on the web of his more recent activity in woodworking, including a current LinkedIn page.

Wayne
24-Dec-2016, 09:30
He did. .

Wonder how is he faring with the copralalia? :)

John Kasaian
24-Dec-2016, 09:53
This is an interesting thread.
I don't think the lazy criticism is as accurate as the stupid because the LF market is extremely small and specialized and
suppliers are not going to get rich off of us---there simply isn't a large enough demand. Being a LF supplier, like being a LF photographer takes passion.
There are much easier ways to make photographs and there are far more profitable (and realistic) ways to earn a living.

We are also dependent on the internet now that B&M camera stores have practically succumbed to the sands of History.
If I need goods or services to support my addiction,
I can come here or one of the handful of other LF friendly forums and simply ask.
The response is nearly always right on---either recommendations from users with first hand experience with what I want, or suggestions of appropriate second hand gear.

One difference I've observed between the Pros and hobbyists such as myself is that hobbyists can waste time being vitriolic while Pros will buckle down to work and get the shot.
When I read a review about a really great piece of gear or service, that means a lot----advertising copy---not so much.
I have a select circle of suppliers I'll confidently trade with when I need something because they've treated me well, but breaking into this "circle" isn't especially difficult.
My thoughts anyway.

Pfsor
24-Dec-2016, 20:07
He did. There are many traces on the web of his more recent activity in woodworking, including a current LinkedIn page.

Thanks for the good news, Oren! Woodworking then, good again, I have that passion with him in common. Good for him, it makes me glad!

Ries Tripod
26-Dec-2016, 21:19
All in LF,

We do not exist without your support. Soon after posting our warranty under the new products section we received the following email which I have cut and pasted below.

"Hi Spencer,

First, thanks for joining us. It will be nice to have a Ries representative to respond to questions about Ries tripods and heads.

Please note, however, that the forum is staunchly non-commercial. As a "vendor" you'll need to be particularly cautious about staying within the guidelines, and avoid making posts that are promotional in nature.

Your post in the New Products section is OK, but should have been approved by the moderators prior to posting.

Regards,
XXXXX"

Anything we say will be promotional in nature. So which way is it? We are the only LF tripod company in the world and here is a community of LF. Your magazines are all failing or have already failed. Most of the other equipment suppliers are gone. There has to be a balance. We are a very small company and cannot afford the $$$$ that our competitors spend each year to only reach this small market. The remaining photography magazines that are still out there are a lot like the new CBS comedy "The Great Indoors", and charge $3,800 a month for a small add in the back of the magazine.

We are not trying to take over your forum. We just want to hold your camera.

Spencer Hughes
Ries Tripod

Oren Grad
26-Dec-2016, 21:45
Spencer: the PM you received is precisely "the way it is". As I posted up-thread:

Vendors who are comfortable earning their visibility through a steady, low-key presence responding to technical questions about their products and otherwise contributing to our collective knowledge are welcome here. Those who want to use discussion boards as platforms for aggressive promotion need to look elsewhere.

That is our "balance". You are genuinely welcome here if you can abide by that. If you are ever in doubt about what is appropriate, please ask before posting - we're happy to help you work within our guidelines.

Leigh
26-Dec-2016, 21:48
Hi Spencer,

Speaking only as a regular member, not a moderator or operator of LFPF...

The standard issue with vendors on fora is the question of "free advertising".
I am definitely not accusing you of that.
I only mentioning it as a subject of universal applicability to this topic.

People who own and run fora don't want commercial interests using them for free advertising.
After all, the owners pay $$ out of their own pockets to do this.

Looking at this from the other side, vendor participation can definitely benefit the members.
This is usually in the form of answering questions and providing information that may not be readily available.

This doesn't constitute "conducting business", which should be done at the vendor's website or via PM.

I realize it's a fine line, and not clearly defined.
If you keep these comments in mind, and participate as befits your expertise, you should have no problems.

I for one am happy to have you here.

Thanks.

- Leigh

Randy Moe
26-Dec-2016, 22:36
Hi Spencer,

I was tarred and feathered for this thread, particularly my 'Headline/Title' which I 'designed' to get attention. not for me, but for us all. To get us talking.

It's true that our sources of info are fast drying up. Magazines fold. Other's, that support LF threaten to add digital tiny format cameras.

I see Ries has vastly upgraded their website. Fantastic! It also has all data needed.

However, I also see 'Modern' websites from LF builders contain way less, some won't show the whole camera. Like the back...

Other older and more established suppliers have decades old websites, how do we even know if they are still in business?

One of the major new LF camera suppliers has very little data on their website. Like what size are the lens boards!!!

Full disclosure.

Despite these difficulties, I bought 2 new LF/ULF cameras this year. One is late. The one that was delivered on time is very nice, but I bought it blindly, without enough data, no regret, from a foolish website.

The only supplier I feel free to name is Ries Tripods and we will be doing business this year.

I could go on, but I won't.

I feel it is now time for all LF/ULF users, suppliers, manufacturers and factories to get out of their depression and work together. That includes the big 3, Kodak, Ilford and Fuji.

I see there are 416 online right now. Pretty low number today.

Now kill the messenger. :)

BrianShaw
27-Dec-2016, 05:56
"Get out of their depression; Work together"... how? Partnerships? Alliances? Join this forum? What are you suggesting???

rdenney
27-Dec-2016, 06:28
Yes, it's a fine line, but examining one's motives will help keep it clear. Is the objective of a post to participate in the conversation as a person, or to promote a product as a company? The latter is for the Announcements section, where we do allow Announcements of new products, or significant changes to service models, with prior approval.

If anyone wants an example of how a vendor can participate as a person, just search on Bob Saloman's posts. He hit the mark well for years, driven by his own love for LF, including the stuff he sold. But occasionally he went too far and the mods trimmed him back. But here's what made Bob a positive force: when the mods did ask him to back down or deleted a post that was too promotional, he accepted it with good humor. I suspect he balanced those rare events against all his thousands of posts as an enthusiast, and didn't let it bother him. When a vendor only wants to discuss their own products for current sale, they won't have the body of participation, integration with the other members, and underlying friendships those things establish, to provide perspective.

I have said in the past that I do not participate in forums in my professional field. Partly it is because I don't want to be quoted (which these days could have other implications), and partly because I don't want to argue on something that could affect my meal ticket. And I have strong opinions on those topics, informed by deep study and decades of experience. There is no doubt that I would end up in a scrape with someone. But by email or in person? Freely. I'm also reminded of a musician friend who is a world-renowned performer in a major symphony orchestra. He stopped participating in forums because he was spending his professional time arguing with amateurs instead of practicing long tones and scales--the very things that had made him world-class in the first place. He gets paid for the lessons he gives, after all.

So, the main thing we value from vendor participants is their own love of large-format photography, which we all share. The more that drives their participation, the less their posts will seem like promotion. But it's neither laziness nor stupidity if they choose not to.

Rick "providing a formula for the balance Oren described" Denney

BrianShaw
27-Dec-2016, 07:13
... and Simon. Let's not forget the good example he also set!

Bob Salomon
27-Dec-2016, 07:44
All in LF,

We do not exist without your support. Soon after posting our warranty under the new products section we received the following email which I have cut and pasted below.

"Hi Spencer,

First, thanks for joining us. It will be nice to have a Ries representative to respond to questions about Ries tripods and heads.

Please note, however, that the forum is staunchly non-commercial. As a "vendor" you'll need to be particularly cautious about staying within the guidelines, and avoid making posts that are promotional in nature.

Your post in the New Products section is OK, but should have been approved by the moderators prior to posting.

Regards,
XXXXX"

Anything we say will be promotional in nature. So which way is it? We are the only LF tripod company in the world and here is a community of LF. Your magazines are all failing or have already failed. Most of the other equipment suppliers are gone. There has to be a balance. We are a very small company and cannot afford the $$$$ that our competitors spend each year to only reach this small market. The remaining photography magazines that are still out there are a lot like the new CBS comedy "The Great Indoors", and charge $3,800 a month for a small add in the back of the magazine.

We are not trying to take over your forum. We just want to hold your camera.

Spencer Hughes
Ries Tripod
I welcome Ries here but they should be completely honest. Ries is certainly not the " only LF tripod manufacturer in the world" while they may be the only one left in the USA there are other quality suppliers of LF and ULF tripod manufacturers still manufacturing tripods. Berlebach makes their UNI series, Linhof makes both the Heavy Duty zero and the Profi III series. Gitzo makes their large series, Novoflex makes their Quadropod series. And there are others out there.

Sal Santamaura
27-Dec-2016, 09:58
... and Simon. Let's not forget the good example he also set!At APUG, not here. Nonetheless, worth Spencer's time to research 'Simon Galley' there. Sadly, when HARMAN was sold, that company's participation fell off a cliff.