Should Audiogon forum dealers be held to a different standard?

Usually, people take a measured approach in trusting salespersons because of conflict of interest - commission vs serving customer’s interests. It’s great when you find one you can trust on your behalf.

However, I noticed that sometimes when an audio dealer posts, they’re met with seemingly automatic skepticism beyond the usual - like they are automatically dishonest about helping audiophiles, they just want the sale. I do like them informing us they’re dealers in their posts which allow us to scrutinize their claims more closely.

Should Audiogon forum dealers be held to a different standard than other members?


FWIW, when I first got interested in high-end audio, I had a very bad experience at an audio store trying to push a sale of an inferior sounding system. So for years I avoided dealer opinions for lack of trust and did all my own research. Luckily, lately I found a knowledgeable audio dealer with whom I can trust - his knowledge was invaluable in my purchasing decisions.


No need to stratify the dealers in isolation to John Q Public. In a better world, I would like to see ALL forum participants - dealer and all others - be held to a common higher standard. That embraces not just professional integrity but also the reciprocal benefits of practicing the Golden Rule. We had that basic ethereal “honour code” 15 -odd years ago with a progressive slide downward since then.

Your earlier bad experience with a local dealer is regrettable and understandably a bitter and jaded memory; but that is not representative of the retail business. All my fave local dealers have been gentlemen and scholars in a tough sell business.

Fixing trust is a dog’s breakfast that requires education first. Then it’s logistics with a weeding out the bad actors with highlighting bad actors. Then it’s ,excising the lowlife fringe and extended to the fraudsters in the ads.

Trust is fleeting and fragile thing. IMO 99% of dealers are exempt from any criticism in my experience and have never purposely flogged inferior or poor fit gear. It’s counter intuitive to their expansion model, or even their survival model in current hard times. But yes..the acts of the few can still Instill a distrust for the many ,

But again … the acts of the isolated few can stir memories and steer expectations going forward …

I had a recent discussion about 6 months ago with a rep at CARDAS about a “dealer” ad for a top power cord ad listed on both REVERB and AGON. It had no OEM Certificate of Authenticity (COA) . From the pictures he identified the connectors as bona fide cheap build crap fakes that are never installed on any of their OEM cables. To inspect the actual cable materials and build itself could only be done onsite with a removal,of the plugs and visual inspection .

Intuitively, who the hell would swap it cheap fake plugs on an OEM cable? It was a fake - full stop. He informed me that their research approximately an estimated 20-25 percent of ads on ALL the forums were pirated IP fakes and buyers should ALWAYS request the COA.

He researched the listing seller/ dealer info and concluded that the party was not a current customer of theirs. I emailed the ad Seller with the findings. The AGON ad disappeared shortly but the REVERB ad remained with no response back from the dealer: …. Crickets ..,

As in life , the incidents of bottom-feeders are real that should trigger our collective antennae.. But,,, the one-sided focus on dealers at a higher standard ain’t gonna do it , The overall lack of trust problem extends much further to include to either uniformed , ignorant and also some wilfully blind buyers thinking they are saving a few bucks without doing homework first.

FWIW .,,


{Should Audiogon forum dealers be held to a different standard than other members?

However, I noticed that sometimes when an audio dealer posts, they’re met with seemingly automatic skepticism beyond the usual.} Did you answer your own?                                                                                                                                               Members already have different standards when interacting with dealers etc. And each dealer manufacturer is different some are super helpful and don't shill products some are shilling blatantly and some use a soft shill. 

There's only one set of rules that guide this forum and it applies equally to all. Everyone is presumably held to the same standard.

Not sure what is a higher standard, but to me this is a discussion forum, so it shouldn't be used for industry people just to sell their wares. 

They can and should contribute to the discussions, share info and knowledge, debate, like any other person here on what is being discussed, as they are people too, but I think it is not appropriate for them to post try to sell stuff, whether it is equipment, repairs, tweaks.


Just take anything you read only here on the forum where anything can and is often promoted  for free by who knows who with multiple grains of salt.

The most important aspect of HEA you can gain from an honest dealer/salesman is component synergy. Will they suggest a better synergistic brand they don't carry? Probably not. This is when the buyer has to put some time and effort in, the dealer is not there to be your personal audio "Guru". Getting to the OP's question, NO because there are too many variables, you only know the posters "screen name" not the person.

I just posted this on another thread, but it fits this one pretty well:


Just keep in mind that the posters here who are not involved in the audio industry except as users of the products are even less objective than those who work in the industry. They have less experience with a variety of audio products, have a lower level of listening skills and their tastes in audio gear and music are all over the map and we have no idea where those tastes are on the map. There are exceptions, of course, and you can have a conversation that provides useful information about a product you’re interested in.

People write rave reviews here for gear that I have sold because I didn’t like it or just found something better. There are all kinds of people raving about gear that has to be the best because they own it. There are unofficial clubs, think Vandersteen or Magnepan, where the members think there is no question their brand is the best, and for those people that may be true, but not necessarily for everyone.

I don’t have a problem with posts by dealers in general or Dave Lalin in particular. If I go into a dealer’s store I expect him to try to sell me the gear he sells. I would fall over if he told me, You know, the guy across town sells what you need. It’s much better for you than the stuff we’re selling.

If I find that I don’t like the posts of a particular contributor, I don't read them and I take all posts with a large grain of salt.

As long as the dealer identifies himself as a dealer, I have no problem with them adding to the Forums.


Never trust a human who is trying to sell you something including audiogram Sellers. As a rule humans are way to ...slippery.  I have known some great dealers over the years. Experience is always the best teacher. He

Dealers should have two log-ins. One in the dealer's name and one in their own name. Separation of the business vs the person. 

Should Audiogon forum dealers be held to a different standard?


Audiogon is an ecommerce site. It is a profit-making venture. It has a discussion forum attached.

We should be celebrating every HiFi brick & mortar dealer that still has the tenacity & temerity to survive - in this online world.

This thread about T.H.E. Show in Long Beach has only 3 responses. Years ago, it would have been several pages long. Dealers and manufacturers spent big bucks to be there.  Was it worth it to them - with the poor attendance?

We should be encouraging - not discouraging - industry professionals to join the discussions.

I can only think of one dealer who should have his cowbell confiscated.

The others are great, IMO.



There's enough unwanted advertising around that I think a discussion forum should be "shill free." No problem with a comment here and there, but, for example, running a link to a review and then saying hey, you can buy this thing at MY STORE is over the line and just lame.

No.  All dealers should work to the same high standards.

It is said that bricks and mortar dealers add value by giving objective and useful advice to customers and that justifies their sticking to list pricing and not discounting (as well as the cost of their bricks and mortar, of course).  But can we be sure that advice is really objective and useful when they have so much skin in the game.

eg   Advocating a more expensive component when a cheaper one is just as good or better.

eg   Advocating a component where the dealer's gross margin is larger.

eg   Advocating a component that will take the dealer's sales of that marque over a super-commission threshold.

Gotta have a busload of faith to get by?

audiogon is a curious hybrid of commercial site and anything-goes user forum, and it's a fair question of whether a dealer should be allowed to, in essence, advertise to free, especially since a non-dealer has to pay to sell its gear. i personally find the flagrant hucksterism of one or two particular dealers annoying, and i may choose not to read their posts or to buy from them, but there are also dealers who are very knowledgeable and illuminating, and like anything else you gotta take the good with the bad.

It sounds like you have a way to identify dealers.  If so can you tell me how to identify them.  I have always felt dealers should be identified because this certainly could explain their bias.  The should identify themselves with the name of dealer so we can Google them to find out what lines they carry.  I wonder if Tammy could address this.  

Just like going into a hi-fi store many times ot is best to keep quiet and find out what the other fellow doesn't  know. 

Perhaps the YMMV disclaimer should be imprinted on all posts here?
What falls between the cracks of what you propose aren't the dealers, who properly identify themselves, and who should have valuable knowledge given their exposures to multiple products, set ups etc. The real issue comes from those "civilians" who take it upon themselves to proselytize particular components, manufacturers, etc with the blind zeal of a travelling preacher. There's a fine line between 'hey this worked for me' and post after post, no matter the subject, pushing products the civilian finds superior. 

I’m not sure about instituting different standards for dealers. Should we also institute standards to differentiate between ‘experts’ and ‘noobs?’ Personally, I find I welcome posts from dealers, especially when they self-identify. When it is an obvious ‘advertisement,’ I generally discount it and move on. If every fifth post were such an ‘advertisement,’ it would be a problem for me, and I would likely frequent another forum.