Sunday, March 25, 2012

Vendors allege partner program misuse feeds gray market problem

The abuse of vendor channel market programs -- including partner rebates and other incentives -- plays a bigger role in the sale of gray market IT gear than previously thought, according to an industry group made up of IT vendors.

Gray market resellers sell used products as new or counterfeit products as the real deal.

According to The Alliance for Gray Market and Counterfeit Abatement (AGMA), a group backed by Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Cisco Systems and Deloitte Development LLC, a majority of the 12 vendors surveyed think abuse of channel incentives such as special channel pricing feed the gray market.

“We’re always looking for root causes, and we found that channel incentive program abuse had a bigger impact than we thought,” said AGMA spokesman Scott Olsen. Improving partner programs, but tightening up reporting requirements, could help ease the problem.

Some VARs agreed that fine-tuning partner programs could bolster VAR-vendor relationships and keep partners on the straight and narrow.

“It might help. It’s just another form of enticement, and it does help build a better line of communication,” said David Dadian, CEO at “I can understand why vendors are trying to tighten partner programs.”


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Unauthorised network reseller spams local IT professionals

Recent spam highlights the importance of knowing how to spot authorised solicitations

The Australian networking community found itself spammed recently by a reseller of secondhand Cisco, Juniper and Alcatel network equipment.

Numerous IT professionals received an unsolicited communication from West Gosford-based Network Re-Marketing Pty Limited (Networkr) titled ""Cisco/HP/Juniper/Alcatel / SFP EOFY Sale.

Despite the reseller priding itself as an “established reseller of used Cisco and other networking equipment” on their website, the direct mail from Networkr raised more than a few eyebrows among IT professionals.

“I was surprised, as I didn't think an Australian company would stoop so low as to send unsolicited email,” said an IT professional, who wished to remain anonymous.

“Any company who has dealt with the networking sector in Australia would know we frown upon the whole practice and would go to great lengths to never buy anything from them.”

The contents of the mail were limited to a short message - “We have the following equipment in-stock ready to be sent out. Each item comes with the Network Re-marketing 1 year RTB warranty. All prices are ex GST.” - and a list of used network equipment that are currently stocked and available to buy from the reseller.

The fact that the direct mail arrived without any prior solicitation was enough to send alarm bells ringing in the minds of some recipients.

“A certified Cisco reseller shouldn’t be stooping to unsolicited email,” the IT professional said.

“If it was solicited, for example through a previous business relationship with a subsidiary or perhaps the company name had changed, then they should have made it clear it had occurred.”

While most IT professionals are aware who their authorised partners are in the channel, those who don’t should be aware of the potential pitfalls of dealing with unauthorised resellers.

“Cisco takes the providing of partners and customers with reliable, high-quality network technology and services very seriously,” Cisco public relations spokesperson, Linda Horiuchi, said.

“Cisco recommends that our customers always purchase products from authorised sales channels as Cisco can offer no assurances to the quality, authenticity, or legitimate ownership of products bought outside the authorised channel.”

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