View Full Version : Alpine Hires Net Enforcers to Shut Down Unauthorized Online Sales

10-07-2003, 12:41 PM
Alpine Hires Net Enforcers to Shut Down Unauthorized Online Sales
Tuesday, October 7, 2003 by Rob Granger

Alpine Electronics of America, Inc. has announced that it has hired Net Enforcers Inc. to police the Internet on its behalf as part of a stepped-up effort to combat unauthorized sales and trans-shipments of its mobile electronics products. The initiative is designed to protect and support Alpine's authorized dealer network and to defend the Alpine brand and trademarks from misuse.

Net Enforcers focuses on online auction sites and Web sites that are not authorized to sell Alpine products and through its Enforcement Department, has the ability to take down those sites if an intellectual property violation has occurred. Alpine intends to prosecute those engaging in unauthorized sales of its products to the fullest extent possible. In the case of trans-shipping of product, Alpine will take all necessary action afforded by its dealer agreement, including but not limited to, termination of a company's right to operate as an Alpine authorized dealer.

Alpine has already taken action on several infringements since partnering with Net Enforcers last month.

"Since its inception, Alpine has had very stringent policies to control the distribution of its products and protect its premium brand image. Through this coordinated initiative with Net Enforcers, Alpine is taking a strong stance to protect both its retail partners and consumers who may unknowingly purchase an Alpine product from an unauthorized source," states Steve Witt, Alpine's vice president of brand marketing. "The bottom line for Alpine is customer satisfaction and we believe strongly that manufacturers and retailers must be synchronized to deliver the premium value and satisfaction that consumers associate with our brand. We will continue to fiercely protect our brand and our dealers by any means necessary."

i pulled this from carsound.com its on the front page.

10-07-2003, 01:24 PM
so...how do all the unautorized dealers get their products to sell anyway?

blue LEDz
10-07-2003, 05:37 PM
yeah, all the brands listed in the company makeover thread are also doing the same thing:( RF is taking a huge stand on internet sales, and tracking them to make sure the get no warranty work;) hell, even audiobahn is doing it:rolleyes: good thing we've got all our internet based companies to support our habits at low cost:p:

10-07-2003, 06:04 PM
Originally posted by Rider69
so...how do all the unautorized dealers get their products to sell anyway?

There are several layers to the distribution of most audio hardware with a very few exceptions. Alpine North America will have two to four major distributors for the country dividing the country up into regions, and they will then sub divide the regions and sell to district level warehouses, who in turn sell to the local audio store. What happens is a one stage or another someone gets a little greedy, instead of selling downrange to the next level at the standard 100% markup, they decide to off load a ton of hardware to a "gray market" seller at perhaps a 50% markup, and the volume of hardware will offset the difference in discount. The grey market seller then may sell for a 50% mark up of his own, and undersell the local shops who have had to take the full 100% margin hit to get the products in a legit way.
I won't cry to Alpine either though, they pretty well allow it to happen, they want the distributors to sell more, so they make more. If a distributor increases the unit he is pushing out the door, he often gets rewarded for it, often with better pricing, which increases the margin the distributor makes in selling to the grey market; he might cut the cost a little to the grey vendor, but have a bigger overall margin. That will let the grey vendor lower his price against the local seller even more and still make a killing.
A few companys are partolling the internet to try to protect thier product from any internet sales and protect thier local resalers, Eclipse comes to my mind, not much grey market out there on it. They desire keeping the cost of the product at the level they dictate, the local shop likes that because they get a bigger margin this way.
Sadly many folks though are not protecting anyone but thier own wallets. Alpine allows authorized internet sales, crutchfield for example. Best Buy has a building, and employees, electric, local taxes and a bunch of other "real" cost for overhead- so we will call them a brick and mortor. An internet company has a server, and maybe a warehouse- lets call them dot.coms. Alpine demands that the product not be sold below a certain price point from authorized retailers to retain the perceived value of the product. Heck if that Alpine cost 550.00 dollars it must be worth it right? The difference between the true cost and the retail price is eaten up at most brick and mortors by the overhead cost of the building, people, etc. If alpine makes a sweeheart deal with a dot.com, which they do, to sell at the same price as the Brick and mortor or a few dollars less, there is a ton of overhead that does not exsist, which turns into a nice profit for both Alpine and the dot.com. We still get gouged at the same price then at Best Buy and Crutchfield for the same product, but the margin is much much better on the Crutchfield sold product for both them and Apline.
That sweet extra internet margin is what Alpine is working to protect here, not consumers in any way shape of form.
Hate to go on so long, but this purely a matter of who gets your money in the end at how much of a profit. :cool:

10-08-2003, 12:53 AM
thats got the be the best explanation i've ever heard about unauthorized internet sales. good job dacinokc

blue LEDz
10-08-2003, 06:46 AM
definitely a great explanation:biggrin: course i wouldn't expect any less from dave, since he's got more connections in the business than probably anyone esle on here;) speaking of connection dave, you wouldn't happen to know anything about the saucer subs from blaupunkt?:confused: i had heard a rumor that they infringed on some patent, but i thought you got your hands on one? my distributor doesn't know anything about it:( but they were definitely a cool idea:biggrin: i mean c'mon, putting a 10" woofer in your front door would be sweet:p:

10-08-2003, 07:58 AM
I still have two of the saucers in the shop. Not for sale, sorry. What I got were evaluation units, and the "true" cost per unit was apparently through the roof. My understanding was that Blaupunkt had done the design work, and had the unit in limited production (like mine) via a sub-contractor, but when they went to production, their sub ran into a contractual conflict- they would no longer build them at the set price in the timeframes needed. Blaupunkt could not find another manufacturer to meet the same standards at the same price, and there was no one else who had the technology to do the manufacture. One thing about Blaupunkt, rather than build a unit that did not meet their standards, they did not manufacture at all.
I would not be surprised at all in there were patent issues with Luxman, they used to do a very similar design, but that would have been easy enough to fix with a fee per unit. Luxman no longer makes saucers either.
The head of North American sales told me of what was built about 50% reside in the U.S. at various shops and individuals. How many, he won't say. :cool:

blue LEDz
10-08-2003, 08:08 AM
cool, thanks for the info:biggrin: speaking of blaupunkt, you wouldn't happen to know why their new HU's have a low S/N ratio? it's like 85 dB's:confused: i know my old san francisco had like 108 dB's:eek:

10-08-2003, 12:30 PM
I almost wonder if stores will be a thing of the past with all of the internet companies that offer great products at reasonable prices. This could kill the local shops though. The disadvantage is not being able to hear things before you buy them unless the are set up like some computer (i.e. Gateway) where you order your computer, but have a store just for demo purposes only. Otherwise, how can companies survive with all of the overhead that drives up their prices.

Just a thought.

10-08-2003, 01:14 PM
alot of people will not but speakers unless they can hear them. but places like best buy and such offer financing so that allows alot of people to buy stuff that way. not to mention the whole warranty deal.

10-11-2003, 02:37 AM
so who's to stop some dude selling some alpines that fell off the back of the truck so to speak? i mean, is alpine now VOWING to buy back surplus units that their retailers are unable to sell or what? from an economic standpoint, it's smart business, but there are so many fallbacks, they'll never kill it completely.