Why was Audiogon started?

I had always thought that Audiogon was started to allow audiophiles to sell their pre-owned equipment as well as have discussions about everything audio in the discussion forums.However, over the last two years, it has appeared to me that Audiogon has become a Haven for "direct-selling" manufacturers and a refuge for high-end dealers. As an example, I recently bought a new item from a dealer and it didn't work out in my system. I tried to get a return authorization from the dealer, but because it was a special order( a lot of dealers don't stock items that they carry to keep inventory cost down)the dealer couldn't take it back, unless I upgraded to a more costly item. At this point, I was either stuck with the item or could take another option to re-sell it on Audiogon( where the dealer also advertises heavily).I put the item up for sale on Audiogon( much to the chagrine of the dealer as I advertised it for much less than I bought it from the dealer( It was now a used item)I finally sold the item after a couple of weeks and a few "price-reductions" . After marking the item as SOLD, I got a friendly e-mail from the previously mentioned dealer who asked me to kindly remove my ad now that I had "sold" the item. I e-mailed the dealer back and told him that I would remove the ad, but only after I had shipped the item and the buyer had received the item and acknowledged that all went well, hence making the sale final.I'm just concerned that the original intent of starting up Audiogon might be turning into a chaos of commercialism. Any comments in agreement or disagreement would be appreciated.
Thanks for posting your experience, so others can be aware of potential shortcomings in buying, and selling on Audiogon. You are correct that the dealer was out of line telling you when to mark an item as sold. It's up to the two parties involved to decide when the deal is completed. "It ain't over, 'til it's over."
There cannot be such a well ordered, and maintained site without some aspect of commercialism. If you ever have to get a website up, and running, and maintained, the cost becomes significant. Member fees are reasonable, because members who are hobbyists do not have to pay for it all.
I think the commercialism is increasing, but entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of our economy, and there is a lot of interest in the advertisements, and links provided. I don't know where the line is crossed into a chaos of commercialism, but there continues to be plenty of room for ordinary members to exchange questions, and answers, and even say good words on behalf of the components we find to be great, but undiscovered, or underappreciated. That might well be termed a chaos of personal opinion, and that's fine with me. It gives us as much clout as the business people on this wonderful Audiogon site.
The problem is not Audiogon's, it is yours by purchasing an item without being certain it would work in your system. From what you've disclosed, it was you that neglected to insure a return if the item didn't work in your system. Is this Audiogon's fault? No.

Once you found out that item would not integrate in your system, the dealer offered you an up-grade path which you denied. You took the option of selling the unit used on Audiogon. (Your choice, not Audiogon's, not the Dealers) Used items sell for less than your NEW purchased price. Anyone that has ever bought a new car knows that you lose money the minute you drive off the lot. You realize that in order to sell the item, you must sell it at a price according to a "used" item. You lost money. Is this Audiogon's fault? No.

The whole problem seems that you are upset because you failed to get a RETURN AGREEMENT from the dealer that you'd bought the item from. You lost money and it pisses you off. Fair enough, it would me too. But, the problem is not Audiogon's, it is yours. The dealer contacting you and asking that you kindly remove your used item ad after marked SOLD, further upset you, because it is a reminder that you lost money on the original deal with the dealer, because YOU forgot to get a return agreement if the item didn't integrate well in your system.

In no way is Audiogon at fault here, nor is the dealer. A lawyer would tell you where you made your mistakes, though you could re-read my explanation above and save yourself a few hundred dollars.
Audiogon was started by a dealer in Ann Arbor, MI. So it kind of makes sense that it is going in the direction it is. I'm not so sure I care for it. A fews years back there were hardly any dealers. The one nice thing about all the dealers is that if you are looking for a new piece of equipment, it is almost always readily available. We shall see what the future holds for audiogon.
Not sure what your sour grapes are about. Audiogon continues to offer more and better opportunities for 'philes to buy and sell equipment.
Trust me if you owned Audiogon it would go the same way...the way that makes you more money. Everything evolves in order to flourish. Stagnation leads to....
PS. How bright a phile are you if you expected the dealer to take back the product you purchased and didn't like?
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Khaki8, No sour grapes here regarding not getting a return authorization from the dealer.I accept full responsibility for my purchase. I don't blame the dealer for not wanting to take the item back.I wouldn't want it back either. The point I was trying to make was when I was trying to make a sell on Audiogon, the dealer e-mailed me asking to take my ad out because I, the private seller, became competition to that dealer. In addition,, I believe my low asking price was making that same dealer item which he was advertising appear to be fairly expensive.
Seems to me the intent of the original post had to do with a dealer emailing Sherod & asking him to remove his ad. Even though the dealer had previously sold the item, he had already completed the transaction, so no longer has any control over it nor any say about the ad.

As to the other points raised, A-gon is known for buying/selling audio & the commercial aspect is part of what goes on here. Another activity that goes on here are knee-jerk responses to posts that are presented in a less than helpful manner. I see jes45's post as a denigration of sorts that has added nothing to the original intent of the thread. Same goes for the Khaki8 post. Seems like the preferred mode here is ganging up on somebody to tell them what a dumba$$ they are for trying different gear. That's part of what A-gon is all about-letting those involved with this hobby have a place to buy/sell/talk about audio gear.

I first came to A-gon to buy gear & have found a great place to fine tune my system through a series of purchasing & selling equipment. That there are dealers here only adds to the choices & although I have a local dealer I support, if I was searching for an item he didn't carry I would probably look to A-gon for a recommended dealer.
I don't mind commercial participation on audiogon, though perhaps it ought to be identified in a manner so that I can look at private ads, as opposed to dealers or manufacturers, separately.
I do mind the arrogance of some dealers that Sherod speaks about. I bid in an auction on one dealer's item and lost. After the auction closed, I began receiving solicitations by e-mail for other items the dealer was selling. When I complained to him that I should not have to expect junk e-mail merely because I bid on one of his items, he sent me a nasty e-mail, including profane name-calling, and insisted he had every right to use the bidder's list as an e-mailing list. I complained to audiogon, but I never got a response and that dealer is still active on audiogon. I'm sure he is the exception, but something should have been done about it.
No, I don't mind the dealers, with certain exceptions. I only hope it doesn't become like audioweb.com, which I rarely look at anymore because it is so clogged with dealer ads.
My take is a bit different - I have recieved very valuable information and opinions from the folks in the audiogon forums. Even if one were to simply 'lurk' and read, as I do - you can't help but get a feel for the type of equipment to purchase/preview in your system and budget. I recently purchased a Joldia JD-100 from a dealer here at Audiogon, simply because of the feedback that other 'goners had posted about this business. I feel the level of service I recieved, along with the price and add-on goodies was great. The thing is, I didn't respond to an ad, simply others experience with him in the forums when researching my next CDP purchase. As it turned out, I got a hell of a deal also on an IC that he sells along with the CDP. Yes the dealer ads do sometimes get annoying - but at least there are no popups!

Keep up the great work - I read audiogon just about everyday.
I love this site. Although, I participate more in the winter months. IMO, Connecticut sucks in the winter. I feel like a caged animal. Consequently, I listen to my music more and participate in the forums more often during the winter months. Soon, this will no longer be an issue, as in July I will be relocating to So. Cal. My family has lived out there for over 20 years.

It's funny. I find that many people tend to only look at small bits and pieces of the forum and tend not to look at the whole forum "picture". A forum is an open exchange of ideas. You must be willing to accept other persons opinions. If you can't, stay out of the forums. I have never asked anyone to agree with my opinions, but I do ask that they at least respect my opinions.

From the perspective of private/dealers sales, I have found AudioGon to be a tremendous source for used/new equipment. I have bought/sold many items and have always been very pleased with the people I have done business with, and the manner in which everone has conducted themselves.

I would not want to be a retail dealer in today's marketplace. While attending college, I worked in a small chain of mid/uppermid stereo stores here in Connecticut. Back then? There was no internet. There was no AudioGon. Not only did we have to represent our equipment, but we also needed to represent ourselves. It was personal integrity and commitment to our customers that made us successful.

That does not seem to be requirement today. Many people are driven by price point. Which is fine. Although, a very close friend of mine who is also an Audiogon member had proposed a concept to me that I still value very much to this day. It goes like this:

There are three primary things a consumer wants today.
1):Price, 2):Quality, and, 3):Service.

Well, pick two, because you can't have all three. If you really sit and think about it, it makes sense.

If you enjoy the ability of buying stereo gear at discounted pricing, it's very hard to expect a retailer to provide you with top notch service also. You must be willing to give up something. Unfortunately, many retailers (because of the internet) have to make the one time "kill". I would never expect a retailer to sell me a new $5000.00 item for $3500.00 and then have to service the shit out of me also. That is what I would consider, unfair from my behalf.

That retailer is compromising by giving up margin, I think the buyer needs to compromise also.

Nuff said.
I can only speak for myself as someone who moved from a very large midwest city full of audio dealers to a very small southern with no dealers anywhere within reasonable distance. I don't know how I originally got started with Audiogon, but it was probably after reading some advertisement in Stereophile or The Absolute Sound. I found it to be a source of information on equipment and discourse on related subjects that offered me something no other media had. The one thing it did do was rekindle my interest in audiophilia. Sure it's changed over time, it would have to to be relevent. I, for one, welcome the input from dealers and independents alike because that gives you both sides of the equation. I've bought from dealers who I was exposed to here on Audiogon that I would never have had the opportunity or occasion to do business with. I've also bought quite a bit of equipment from other members who have moved on to bigger and better things. Today email and phone contact are even more powerful marketing tools when people are seeking information and don't have the time or the inclination to shop in person. Audiogon supplies a forum for anyone to use as they see fit, whether one uses it for information gathering or uses it to buy and sell equipment, either way name another site that gives you so much for so little. I promise you that if I were to try to sell my Tenors in Beaufort, SC that I would probably not get one phone call or if I did it would be from someone who would want to know how many cylinders it had!
As I was reading down through the initial posts here I found myself in staunch disagreement with several mentioned comments. As I read further, I was thinking what I would write in response. When I came to the last four posters before me, I realized they have done a nice job in responding to the original thread and I echo their opinions strongly. Nice job in turning this into something constructive.

Bless you for buying a new component and selling it here. In a small way we used buyers stimulate the new buyers, but it's buying new that keeps the economic engine running.

Your reply to the dealers request was spot on since here at Audiogon it takes two fat ladies singing in harmony to finish the deal. It would have been more polite for the dealer to check your add until he saw feedback posted for you indicating the deal was finished and then request you to remove it. If he didn't get rude then he simply was over anxious and forgot his manners.
It's clear that it (Audiogon) was and is primarily a for-profit venture. The forum and discussion stuff is just an ancillary marketing thing to draw viewers and build community. If it wasn't about making money, why would they bother keeping the site running? Something with this level of bandwidth and back-end systems (not to mention advertising budget) costs quite a bit.

By having done many things well, Audiogon has evolved into the pre-eminent online marketplace (at the moment) for new and used high-end gear (and, increasingly, mid-fi as well). They don't really adapt their services as quickly as they could, but thats ok too since the stability of known quantities is good in a way too.

But realize: the people behind it are in it to make money - like any other business - anything that gets in the way of that or distracts from it is secondary, one would presume. (At least that is the logical conclusion one could draw from it.) And, it's probably a safe bet that the real money is not in $2 classifieds, it's in the multiple-hundreds-per-month that the online dealers with 'stores' generate to the bottom line, along with the manufacturers who also choose to be involved behind the scenes (they pay as well, I believe, if they choose, for services from audiogon).

I just offered the facts, Elizabeth, not an angry response. I just have grown tired of the whole "I've been taken advantage of" and "I'm a victim" outlook that many have in today's society. Grow up. Take responsibility for yourself. From my veiwpoint, the whole situation could have been avoided by asking for a Return Agreement with the dealer. Tell me I'm wrong.

I made a reply to your post regarding $10 records here at Audiogon that you spend hours digging through dirty boxes to buy for 18 cents. My response was that some value their time more than their pennies. Let me make it simple for you; If you work part time at minimum wage, you will have the time (and perhaps the desire) to dig through dirty Thrift Stores. If you work hard for a better living and make suitable income, you will not have the time, and likely no desire to dig through the Thrift Stores. It is a mindset, Elizabeth. One that you may never understand.
Good discussion. Dealers placing ads on Audiogon is fine, but just as with an individual seller, know who you are buying from. From dealers, especially know their return policy. One suggestion: I don't know if the AudiogoN staff has the resources to do this, but it would be nice if classified were more for individuals reselling used items and ads were used by dealers for demos and other discounted items they are selling at a fixed price.
Thank you all for your responses. I wrote this thread late at night,thinking not so clearly, and should have phrased things better. I probably should not have used the term commercialism. Commercialism is a normal part of our economy and fits in with the intent of what Audiogon is partly about. I can see now why the initial posters might want to attack some things that I said. I am not against dealers being on Audiogon. There are some legitimate dealers trying to make a living and I empathasize with them for having to compete in a very small and competitive environment.But there are also a few unscrupulous dealers out there( I don't feel that the dealer I mentioned dealing with in my initial thread is one of them) who take advantage of their relationship with manufacturers and use Audiogon as a tool to promote discounted equipment which they have agreed "not" to discount with the manufacturers. They do this by using various usernames, posing as private sellers instead of the dealers whom they actually are.This is really another issue.Where I am disappointed, and this is where my initial thread is intended to focus, is when the dealer became my competitor because I was reselling his product, and then he e-mails me to kindly remove my ad. Now that bothered me and that's where I was looking for other's input to see what they thought about it. I was hoping not to stir up a "hornet's nest", but to get some constructive feedback and that has happened.
Lugnut, yes it is the dealers( the beloved middle men) who have to sell in order to make a profit and it is the buyer( people like myself),especially those like myself who compulsively "buy to try" who generally take a loss or at best break even, when they re-sell that item.I, for one,have lost money in selling used items on Audiogon( that means I've given other Audiogoners a great bargain),but I also have received great bargains from fellow Audiogoners who have also taken losses and that's part of what makes Audiogon so wonderful.For me, Audiogon has been both a blessing and a curse. Because of Audiogon, I've been able to try a lot of products which I normally would not have been able to afford or have access to( that's the blessing).But I've also spent a lot of money( my wife's not too happy about it( that's the curse). But I've also had the opportunity to build a decent system thanks to Audiogon and in the long run, I'm glad there is an Audiogon.My compulsive buying is my own problem( do you hear that Jes45? My glass is half-full, what's yours?)) and not Audiogon's.Thank you fellow Audiogoner's and thank you Audiogon.
After speaking with Arnie, the founder of Agon, my take may be different than many others. If you get to know Arnie, it is quite obvious that the gears in his head are ALWAYS turning. He is very inventive and creative. As such, he saw the potential for a business opportunity that was not being "tapped" and jumped in with both feet. After establishing the viability of this site via high consumer approval, he took the steps to recoupe his investment and now operates this website like the business that it is. Nothing wrong with that and just further proof that a well devised plan can pay off in dividends.

Having said that, i have NOTHING but respect for Arnie and Agon, even if i don't agree with everything that they do. Yes, there are things that they have done that have pissed me off and that i don't understand. Then again, i don't know all of the things that go on behind the scenes. As such, it is possible that i would agree with everything that they do / have done if i were privy to the same information. Either way, Agon as a source for audio gear and the forums function with or without "personalities" as has been proven many times over.

With all of that in mind, i come here and use Agon because it is useful, convenient, well executed and the forums are loaded with "good people". When you've got something that works, you don't mess with it. Having said that, i just need to apply that same mentality to dealing with my audio system : ) Sean
jes, lighten up. Now you're attacking Elizabeth because she thinks $10 for some records is too much. It is. I agree with her...and I have a full time job that supports my family and my hobbies. And your responses are angry.
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Buscic2, sorry to hear you're moving. But Audiogon is always a click away.
Jes, i assume your favorite talk show host is Rush? Also, I do not have to guess who you are voting for. No more Nukes Dude! Peace!
(what a dullard)
I'm sorry, Elizabeth, that you don't understand my value of time, but this doesn't give you the right or an excuse to call me a Bigot, to question how I spend time with my Family (who I'd rather spend time with than dig through dirty boxes at a Thrift Store), or call my value of time "vile". Thank you for feeling sorry for me, it's very telling.

Suggesting that I have an "illegal immigrant" as a housekeeper shows who has stereotypical and racial traits. Don't hate me because I'd rather pay someone to dig through the Thrift Stores for the 18 cent gem, or because I can afford to pay for the $9.82 service. It is you that has the restrictive mind set. You've determined the value of time and you seem happy with it. Good for you, I'm sorry if I've offended you. You may never understand my value of time, that's okay. I gave examples of my value of time in your thread. You keep hunting the records, Elizabeth, I'll keep buying them from the folks that do.

Audiogon has provided a great service for people like me to find good records at a fair price.
Hey Cdc, How are you? Look at it from this perspective. California is a great place to vacation! My door will always be open. I am relocating to a beautiful little town inland in SanDiego county called Temecula. Other than the landscape, it reminds me a lot of Ct. with large properties and horse farms scattered throughout.

I will probably still stay active on this site. Although, I will probably be executing my activities a little differently. Like sitting on the deck with a wireless laptop, basking in the sun in 85 degree temperatures. It may take a small adjustment period, but I can probably learn to live with it.

As I stated before in my earlier response, we all must be willing to compromise. :>)

And Elizabeth, in regards to jes45, keep this in mind.
"Big Winds Come From Empty Caves".

Stay well, Ed.
Buscis2, thanks for the invite, CA is a great place. No more snow, cold, and 2 months of decent weather, hmmmmmm, I feel your pain :-).