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Re: Calling all NANOG'ers - idea for national hardware price quote registry

  • From: Richard A Steenbergen
  • Date: Fri Sep 16 18:20:28 2005

On Fri, Sep 16, 2005 at 02:48:43PM -0700, Matt Bazan wrote:
> I can see your points here.  But, I think there still is value to the
> medium and small companies that are not bound by these types of
> agreements.

If they wanted their pricing published, they would do so themselves. Most 
vendors go to extreme lengths to make certain that not even the list price 
of the high-end gear gets out, let alone examples of discounted price. 
Most companies do want an NDA signed, and even those who are lazy/slack 
about it for smaller customers would quickly crack down on anyone 
contributing to such a list.

Why do they do this? Well, for starters they want to make certain you have 
to interact with a sales person. Yes we've all had to deal with companies 
who's sales people are difficult or impossible to get ahold of (some days 
this seems to be a common theme of this industry :P). Yes we've all ended 
up stuck with sales people ("order takers" really) who are incompetent, 
don't have any product knowledge, and who take days or weeks to return a 
simple quote. If you're an educated consumer who wants to compare multiple 
options, it can be a nightmare. But, understand that you are the 
exception, not the rule. Even in this very technical industry, most 
consumers are idiots, with no idea what they want or need. A sales person 
basically required in order for them to figure out their purchases, which 
of course presents the opportunity to upsale.

Also, in regards to the extreme "list" vs "discount" pricing differences, 
you may be wondering why vendors do this. It all leads back to the idiot 
consumer. You'd be absolutely astounded at the number of government 
agencies, universities, banks, etc, to whom money is not an object 
(especially when people have a budget that they need to spend in order to 
not have their funding reduced next year :P), who will buy things at list 
price and not think anything of it. Even when someone gets a discount, the 
vendor can tell them ANYTHING about how good that discount really is...
10%? 20%? 25%? 30%? 38%? 42%? 50%? 80%? These are just numbers, that can 
easily be changed on a case by case basis. Remember the goal is to extract 
the most amount of money from each customer, which means having highly 
flexible prices depending on what each customer is able to spend.

Obviously no one is wasting their time sueing you if your company leaks 
the price of a low-end router to one or two of your neighbors, it isn't 
worth the price of the lawyers, and it isn't easy to prove. In cases of 
larger companies with an employee who leaks the data, they simply apply 
political pressure to have the employee fired. But if you were to start 
publishing this data in any large scale, and especially if it even 
impacted one of the cash-cow sales mentioned above, they would come down 
on you like the hammer of the gods. :)

> Actually, not the case.  CDW and Dell (and all the others) only publish
> their prices for the low end gear that they sell.  Anything else
> requires a call to a rep and establishing a relationship.

Same concept really, they only list retail pricing for low-end products. 
Anything bigger, and you need to talk to a rep who is trained in maximum 

Richard A Steenbergen <>
GPG Key ID: 0xF8B12CBC (7535 7F59 8204 ED1F CC1C 53AF 4C41 5ECA F8B1 2CBC)

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