"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist", Keyser Söze as Roger "Verbal" Kint "The greatest trick a marketing genius ever pulled is convincing the world that they're the best", Pearl As a marketing genius, you are supposed to say you're the best and you started everything; if you don't, how can you expect anybody else to. I see no fault, business never personal when it's business and there's no sentiment in business. Truth be told, the only thing any vendor here or there ever started was their business and afterwards some started running their mouths. People have been selling oud, sandalwood, rose, incense, musk, wood, etc. waayyy longer than any of us have been here. People have used the web as a platform to sell products longer than any oud vendor has used the web as a platform to sell product. It's not copying, it's one's chosen vocation or hobby, nothing more. If I say I started selling oud, bought it to the west, and some believe, winning. Even better when some repeat the lie. If I say I started selling and bought oud to the west and some doubt and talk about it the on boards, free publicity that keeps my name alive, winning. If I say that people copy me, my website, my style of marketing and some believe, winning. If some doubt and talk, free publicity, winning. If some vendors seemingly IMO dumb down their site to not appear anything like mine for fear of being seen as a copier by my believers, winning. In fact bi-winning, winning over here and winning over there. Some of the vendors travel from Vietnam to Assam, Pasadena to Medina, picteresque places that deliver an experience, if I was them I'd inundate my sight with those pics and lovely prose, and the last thing I'd be thinking about is another vendor claiming I copied them. The consumer wants that; it certainly won't hurt and is not hard to do. In fact, I'd set up my site so that anytime anyone searched oud, rose, incense, wood, etc. or any other vendor, this board, my site would show in the query results. If a vendor says this or that negatively about another vendor or somehow hurts another vendor and that vendor doesn't respond or right the wrong done to them, winning. If a vendor can talk another out of their game, winning. It's yours and if you won't, I won't, not again. Indeed the oils will talk, but there's nothing wrong with anyone talking too. Buying any luxury item such as oud is an experience, and consumers want an experience from pre-purchase shopping to packaging and fast delivery. Go to Brown & Co. and plop down 9k on a new Submariner Date and watch them put on the white gloves and break out a bottle of champagne before they bring out the beautiful green box, and if they want to give you the full experience they'll bring out the timepiece in its original clear plastic Rolex shipping case, that way you know no one else has touched it, then they'll set up the box, hang tags and all (By the way, its gone now but nice AP on whoever that was holding that chunk of wood, hahhahahahaha). But what do I know I'm biased in business, biased towards brilliance, success, longevity, and winning. If people want sandalwood, it's a complementary product to what I have and I can get it to sell, I'm selling it, winning. Likewise with rose, attars, mukhallats, incense, sprays, wood, etc, winning. Some are brilliant and use this forum as their own personal target market focus group, winning. The masses say we want value in oud, I diversify from my $2000+ oils and concentrate on what the consumer perceives to be higher value oils (that they likely make an even higher margin on, and most of it being near dreck), winning. Don't believe me, look at many of the recent releases, winning. When was the last time you've seen the release of a $2500> oil, long time as there's no reason, it's not what the mass market and boards are demanding. For those that still want those oils or a portion of them, I'm sure there still available. If you think it's charity and business men are sacrificing their margin to please you, it's not. There is no doubt that this board has had an impact on price, this is something I was going to address in the "Current Oud Scene" thread, but is apt here. There are only a few ways that oud price has stabilized where it has currently, based on demand for higher value oils. 1.) Vendors are concentrating on lower priced, inferior quality oils that are perceived as higher value based on price and backed by brilliant, monster marketing campaigns that tout them as near equal to high quality oils. From what I've tried, many of the new oils are near dreck. 2.) Vendors are lowering prices of higher quality oils by subsidizing the margin with lower priced, inferior quality, high margin, fast moving oils. Balancing profits. 3.) Vendors are aligning their mission with demand for higher value oils and are changing their procurement method by getting wood several links closer to the jungle in the supply chain, instead of buying from collectors or some store on oud street in Vietnam. Buying from oud street or collectors is easier than dangerous jungle treks and getting closer to the jungle, but that ease comes at a higher price. Vendors who get closer to the jungle, going places that are potentially dangerous as evidence by the recent accounts of vendors here, are able to get high quality wood and make high quality oils for a reduced cost. The result is high quality oils on par with oils >$2500 oils, being sold at mid-range price, those are the ones that represent a truly higher value. Big recognition and respect for the vendors who are getting closer to the jungle and bringing high quality, truly high value oils to the market. 4.) Scouring the distiller minefield in hopes of finding a decent oil that can be resold at a sweet spot, perceived high value price. 5.) Lastly, remember the oud game is a dirty game, so there's theivery, deceit, backstabbing, stealing of oils, wood, etc, of that I'm sure despite not having concrete evidence. But, where there's smoke.... Some will get it, some won't.