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Whilst waiting for the new ND


Here's a copy of an e-mail I sent to the editorial staff at a well-known Photo Mag here in the US regarding misleading advertisers and question how they turn a blind eye to this practice in order to preserve ad revenue. My point is not that "I can't believe this happened to me" but that this needs to stop, if only to save some poor guy who ACTUALLY buys from the less reputable advertisers, since it's not good for the photo business as a whole...anyway here's the e-mail, I'd love to hear others' thoughts:-

Dear Editorial,

May I first commend you on a great magazine: interesting, informative and in most cases very helpful...

My question to you is: how do you let some of your advertisers place ads for cameras/lenses that are misleading to a potential buyer and sometimes outright falsehoods?

For ex&le, A&M Photo World currently advertise the Nikon D100 for $949.99, which would appear to be a very good deal when you know that others are asking $1300-1400 for the same thing. A&M are very happy to take your order (including cc numbers, shipping address etc) and upon completing the transaction will ask if you:-

a) need a battery for it
b) need a charger for said battery
c) need a cd-rom with accompanying software
d) need a usb cable
e) need a usa warranty

Now obviously you know where this is going...it's the old gray/usa deal! The most annoying aspect of this routine is that I've spent half a day ordering/confirming the initial deal (their customer support is legendary) before having the choices spelt out to me, which is: Do I want a N100 body ONLY (they do provide some sort of box I was assured) for $949.99 OR do I want the "FULL" USA version for $1400? Basically, I could have saved myself all the aggravation by going to Adorama/B&H in the first place and bought the thing at the same price in about 5 minutes! The ingenious sales person at A&M had the guile to suggest that he was giving it away at $1400 since I'd have to pay over $2000 elswhere! He reasoned that the $949.99 "deal" was an "Import" model...import from where? What market deals in camera bodies with only a body in the box and nothing else? I've travelled quite extensively in my time and NEVER have I seen a camera (or anything else for that matter) that is sold in this manner.

The old adage: "if it looks too good to be true..." comes to mind; however I think you owe it to your readers and yourselves to weed out this sort of nonsense. How many people are going to then agree to pay the same price as Adorama/B&H having been made to jump through hoops like this?

These photo-sales people are the same kids who used to work in boiler-rooms in the 90s fleecing unsuspecting investors out of their savings by selling them useless penny stocks: they should be locked away (for the greater good of man) or at the very least given some sort of incentive to go back to school so that they can finish their high school diplomas!

I'd like to see you take some steps to change this sort of advertising. I've read numerous caveats about this sort of practice in yours and other publications but I think that's a cop out. Whilst I understand that you'll want to preserve precious advertising revenue, I think you should stand your ground with these people (another culprit is Smile Photo - ironic name, I know). This sort of practice only serves to drive more customers to Adorama/B&H...surely that's not their intention?

I'll be posting this same e-mail on a couple of websites to get feedback from fellow photogs because I'm sure that I'm not the only one who feels this way. If you want to see the follow-ups to my posting you can see them at: dpreview.com, photo.net and contaxinfo.com

Thanks for your time...I don't expect much in the way of a response so I won't be holding my breath!