Undercutting Partners, Arbitech Sells Millions In Unauthorized Axis

By John Honovich, Published Mar 29, 2019, 09:22am EDT

One of integrator's top complaints about Axis is poor margins.

An enterprising, ethically questionable distributor is solving that. Inside this note, we explain how Arbitech is undercutting Axis partners with unprecedented low prices on Axis products, including input from Arbitech and a response from Axis.

How ** *****

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** ****** ****** ****' claim.

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*** ******** *** *** integrator ** **** **** cannot ***** ***** *** our ******* ******* *******, or ******* ******* **** pricing.

*******, ***** ********'* ***** discounts **** *** **** than ****** **** *** many *******.

Gray **** ** *****

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*******, **** ******** ** IPVM *** *** **** them ***** ***** ****** we ***** **** ****** be, ** *** ********** and ********** ** ***** top ******** ** ***********.

Poll / ****

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*** ****** ** *****, Arbitech *** ***** ************* to ******* ***, ******* technology ******** ** ***** regions, *** ********** **** here ** *** ***.

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*************, ********* ** **** misinformation ** ******* ******** from ****** *** *** incentivized ** ******** * higher ******* ********* ** the ***.

***** **'** ****** ** instrumental **** ** ******* Court ********* **** ****** the ******** ** *** independent ******.

Comments (104)

Some other points that did not make the post but may be of interest:

  • Arbitech is an authorized Milestone partner and had a booth at MIPS. You can, I suppose, connect your unauthorized Axis cameras to authorized Milestone servers.
  • Arbitech also told IPVM that they could sell Hikvision at 65% off of MSRP, though lots of people sell Hikvision at various incredible discount levels. In contrast to Axis, Arbitech posted in 2018 showing that they were a 'Gold Dealer Partner' with Hikvision.
  • Axis US employees are unlikely to get paid / commission on Arbitech sales since they are unauthorized and bough / brought in from overseas (though whomever the Axis rep in those territories are is getting the benefit). This problem is not unique to Axis, though. Hikvision has the same type of problem (e.g., Hikvision USA salesperson losses every time a US buyer buys Hikvision from LTS branded rather than Hikvision branded).
  • Arbitech will be at ISC West in the Lenovo booth promoting their OEM offering Velasea.
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I guess their booth at MIPS wasn't all that inviting as I didn't even realize they were there. Had I known all this I would have blasted them and that they are part of the problem developing rapidly in this industry. 

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Arbitech reached out to us.  Very aggressive pushing their line card.  I must say however, the guy I had a chance meeting with at a non-industry show where we had a booth (he was working the floor, not exhibiting) is an admirable salesman with a lot to tenacity and excellent follow-up skills.  Good article, informative.

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At this point I might be willing to buy just to get the camera within 8 weeks...

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We would buy from them.. Issue we have is Axis kit is hard to get hold of. You go to order it and its always on xx week delivery. Distys never have it in stock.

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Interesting. I thought this stuff only happens with HikuaView.

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Sean, think of the upside! Now you can sell Axis at super low prices :)

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Thats exactly what I thought. Although super low prices is a relative term. For example, instead of selling a 720P indoor dome for $1000, now I can sell it for $750. 

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Very funny, because it is true. I asked my Axis sales guy why they even continue to make 720p cameras. He said that it was because some RFPs still specify 720p. Hmmm. Then explain this I said: why not make all of your cameras outdoor rated. He couldn’t say.

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Because most consultants don't update part numbers and they took them on a booze cruise 10 years ago.

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While I appreciate this article, I dont know if it will serve as an advertisement for Arbitech, or a call to action for Axis. A little secret here, Arbitech is, in fact, the Amazon Reseller "BecTech Global" and is now one of the biggest contributors to price degradation in the marketplace (sorry B&H). While selling at 20% MSRP, and with Amazon taking an additional 8%, a tenured and loyal Gold Partner getting 28% off can't compete even if they gave it away. You honestly cant blame Axis, as these guys have found a way to trick the system. But it may be time for Axis to take to consider what Hik did with the gray-box sales, and not warranty anything with an overseas serial. 

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While I appreciate this article, I dont know if it will serve as an advertisement for Arbitech, or a call to action for Axis.

Lol and sigh! It definitely was not meant to be an advertisement for Arbitech. I am a bit confused by Axis lethargic response to this. However, I think they will have to do something. Right now, I am pretty positive they cannot track these serial numbers or else they should have simply said that, i.e., they will deny support to those models with those serial numbers.

It will be interesting to see what they do. They can easily also have someone buy products from Arbitech and track back the serials numbers to see where the source is (i.e., which country, which master distributor, etc.).

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A little secret here, Arbitech is, in fact, the Amazon Reseller "BecTech Global" and is now one of the biggest contributors to price degradation in the marketplace

#4, thanks for that, I did not know.

I called BecTech Global and a salesperson immediately confirmed they are the same company, noting that BecTech Global was "their online platform". However, generally, online, Arbitech hides that connection, not disclosing the relationship and using privacy protection for the domain names.

Right now, BecTech Global lists 171 Axis products online:

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Trying to be sneaky is something they have had to become good at with their business model. When I did some digging more than a year ago, before I knew of the connection, I thought it was interesting that Arbitech and BecTech were both out of Irvine, CA, until I mapped the 2 addresses: 

Arbitech, 64 Fairbanks, Irvine, CA 92618

BecTech, 2 Astor, Irvine, CA 92618

One building sits at the intersection of Fairbanks and Astor. They denied the connection until I asked about the addresses. 

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You honestly cant blame Axis, as these guys have found a way to trick the system.

You can blame them. Their lackadaisical approach to this that John pointed out is one reason to blame them. Axis can and should obviously track serial #'s. All they would have to do is buy one off Amazon and look at the serial # to see who the original distributor is who purchased it, contact that distributor and say "hey, stop selling to Arbitech". And if they are like "who is Arbitech?" Axis would just say "Its that company out of Irvine California that you are shipping millions of dollards worth of Axis products to"

This isnt brain surgery yet these manufacturers act like it is. Honestly, they probably just dont care. I expect this attitude from the Chinese manufacturer but from Axis Im surprised.

Manufacturers are going to have to address their archaic sales channel strategy to take into account online sales. They will either have to come up with a legit way for people to sell online that doesnt involve ridiculously crippling MAP pricing or become tougher cracking down on people who break their distribution rules. 

Im defendant of Arbitech. If they can buy and sell Axis and make money and keep their customers happy without breaking the law, then more power to them. Dont be mad at them for price degredation, be mad at Axis. 

Its almost like security cameras are like the drug trade now. 

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Agreed, you can also blame axis in the fact they take on Distributors that don't hold stock.. people will exploit the gap.

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I am an Axis dealer and I can totally relate to the sense of unease this situation brings.  

Many years ago I was New England RSM for a well known 12V Electronic Manufacturer - DEI.  In the larger Northeast region, a very important territory, we had a real problem with "trans shipping" with one of my largest accounts.  Sales of our most popular car alarm and remote starters were going all over the Northeast and beyond.  I discovered it after some  investigating and following up on rumors.  Dealers and mom and pop shops who never would have qualified or had access to the product were selling our restricted product, degrading the price points  and the quality of the installs were awful.  The impact on a neighboring RSM commission or making quota is real and impactful. They weren't making the sales, I was.

I knew what I had to do but needed to talk with the owner Darrell.  We sat in his office in Vista, he sat on his desk, his legs hanging over the front .. we chatted.. I voiced my concerns and that I wouldn't appreciate it happening me and that all of our collective territories were being degraded by all these unauthorized accounts selling into our market. ( My customer was very antagonistic and overtly hostile when I snooped around the question about how it was possible he was making all these sales with only 2 installation bays...)  Darrell said to me "This is your territory.  Run it like its your business and mine.  These jerks have my cell phone number, they'll call and yell but I'll back you 100%"  

It was a very valuable lesson for me - and I really admired the way he was willing to back me and allow me to take it on.  In the process, my sales increased because the other dealers in the territory knew I was a straight up guy working for a straight up company. I had the respect of my RSM's for defending their rights to make a living.. I had lots of wooden plaques on my walls..  It's funny how doing the right thing can work well for all involved.  IF YOU ARE WILLING TO DO SOMETHING, and thats my point.  I have asked Axis this question directly through contact with my RSM and PM and ..... Crickets.

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From conversations with my Axis reps and actually with someone who monitors this they are trying to get this from happening. Problem is it's almost impossible. Often times they will buy from authorized suppliers in bulk then resell the products themselves. Locally I got a supplier barred from selling directly to an end user but in the end it didn't matter as that supplier got with another company 300 miles away and they ended up buying from them. Morally of this story is we don't use that supplier anymore and didn't use them much before that either. 

As far as warranty is concerned this company shouldn't be able to get technical support or warranty claims as they aren't an authorized distributor, but that doesn't always matter either. 

B&H Photo is another big site like this. Although I have heard Axis has cracked down on them as they were using multiple shell companies to buy the Axis products. I haven't been on their website lately to look either.

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Update: Cisco sued Arbitech (and their online store Beccela's / BecTech Global) in 2018, claiming:

Cisco has uncovered a significant and willful infringement scheme by Defendants, which involves the purchase and resale of counterfeit and otherwise non-genuine and infringing “Cisco” branded products, offered to the public as new, “factory sealed” genuine Cisco products. Customers purchasing such products are duped into thinking that they are in fact getting a new, “factory sealed” genuine Cisco branded product for a cut-rate price, causing significant harm not only to the duped customer, but also to Cisco

Here is Cisco's complaint against Arbitech and here is Arbitech's response. We have not yet gone through the details of the case and it is still in litigation.

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In their Cisco lawsuit answer, Arbitech acknowledges that BecTech and Tuksy are both brands / outlets they sell through:

Tuksy.com redirects to BecTech but Tuksy has an active Newegg store with 600+ items for sale right now (but only 4 video surveillance ones).

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Very interesting post.

1. The poll shows the integrator doesn't care abt the channel, only the price.

2. Amusing to see how mellow the responses are . If Hik was the subject of the post there would be much more sulphur and fire in the air... 

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Those that think this Is great just wait until that very same website starts selling directly to the end user and you then lose those sales. Not so great once that starts happening. 

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The poll shows the integrator doesn't care abt the channel, only the price.

It's 58 / 42 in favor of buying from Arbitech and it has hovered around 50% all day so pretty clear a sizeable percentage do care 'abt the channel'.

how mellow the responses are . If Hik was the subject of the post 

I agree. Integrators like Axis, overwhelmingly. And we are happy to do articles critical about both Axis and Hikvision.

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The poll shows the integrator doesn't care about the channel, only the price.

But IPVM is not an integrator only site, though. Couldn't the numbers supporting Arbitech not be mostly end users?

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This specific poll can only be answered by members that are categorized as integrators, not end users, not manufacturers, etc.

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Why wouldn’t folks purchase at the best price? I’d wager a guess that the people that answered no are well established in the channel, yes are those who aren’t. That’s all the poll reveals. 

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My thinking is just the opposite:

I think of those purchasing from unsanctioned methods are trunk slammers and people that don't have an actual business model to follow.  They just find the cheapest path and run for the days highest profit...and usually aren't thinking of the customer in that process.

So my question is:

Why would someone risk buying from unauthorized sources?

Maybe an incorrect stereotype but...

(btw...I'm a big Axis fan but but a very little integrator because I almost never do jobs more then 12 cameras or so.  So I hate the lack of profit from their hardware but that doesn't make my decision to go with something else for my customer who deserves the best I can offer regardless of my profit potential--without losing money of course).

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We aren't disagreeing at all, I re-wrote that post so many times and condensed it that I didn't successfully get my point across.  An important edit was-  this a good poll question would be "Do you prefer to purchase from a vendor with tight channel controls", it would paint a different picture. I've tried to post things like that in this thread but I'm trying to be careful, I do enjoy a very good relationship with Axis, my rep is fantastic and we buy at a level that allows us to make fantastic margins for the projects we worked hard to get Axis in. A couple of people have posted inference that they people who can't make money on Axis don't sell Axis - I agree for the reasons stated above - we have had great success making money with Axis.  Then again, we don't respond to many IFBs or chase box sales.  Additionally the tech support we've gotten with Axis has been absolutely top notch.

I like the way my primary camera manufacture controls the channel (and their cameras are the best in the world and the other "bests in the world" use their sensors ;) ) I value our relationship with Axis and have had nothing but positive experiences with them even though they chose to go to market very differently

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Update: Arbitech has provided the following response to us about Axis claim to sell "all over the world with similar pricing":

Arbitech was founded on a simple premise: Major technology manufacturers charge higher prices in the USA than in other parts of the world. Why should American customers be forced to pay more?

For nearly 19 years, Arbitech has found opportunities to acquire new, genuine technology products in other regions, and distribute them here in the USA.

We're proud of what we do in helping SI's and VAR's obtain top-quality products at discounted pricing.

Unfortunately, sometimes we hear misinformation or receive pushback from people who are incentivized to maintain a higher pricing structure in the USA.

Twice we've played an instrumental role in Supreme Court victories that uphold the validity of the independent market.

While Arbitech responded generally and did not directly answer about their Axis pricing, we are skeptical about Axis claim, simply because it is hard to understand how Arbitech can sell for so much less and not be buying Axis products for significantly less in other parts of the world.

The question they raise about being 'forced to pay more' is certainly an interesting one. I am skeptical though of the premise there. What Axis and Hikvision and other manufacturers provide in the US is different than what they provide in Uganda or Uzbekistan. It's not just the widget or the camera. It's the local, native English support, the local training, the local field engineers, the local account managers, the money they invest to build the brand locally with end users, the junkets for consultants, etc. Those non-widget expenses cost a lot of money and overall does provide a lot of value to the dealer and user.

Arbitech and I are planning to talk more about their model. In the meantime, please let us know what feedback you have on their response.

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Excellent response by arbitech. Im amazed though they are able to make such a large and sustainable business model this way.

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Why should American customers be forced to pay more?

One thing I was thinking about here. Let's accept this, for argument's sake. What should all of Axis Gold Partners do? If they stick with authorized Axis, they are at a competitive disadvantage to those who buy much lower volume from Arbitech.

If Axis and other manufacturers are the bad guys here (and that's implicitly the argument of 'forced to pay more'), what about Axis dealers? They would be, as the customers of Axis, the 'victims' here and they are even more victimized if they pay more to Axis than what others buy from Arbitech.

My other thought is that overall market competition restrains Axis from 'forcing' customers to pay more. Axis faces serious competition from Avigilon, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, etc. on various dimensions, including price, so it is hard for me to imagine that in the case of Axis' channel model that American customs are the victims and Arbitech is the hero. Thoughts?

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"it is hard for me to imagine that in the case of Axis' channel model that American customs are the victims and Arbitech is the hero."

I don't think that this is true on either level.... 

I would argue, as I have in this string, that though it might be that customers suffer (by increased pricing), it is the channel partners that suffer more (by decreased margins due to unfair competition with arbitragers).

further, Arbitech is no hero here.... they are simply doing what Axis allows them to do - which is really the only risk involved in their biz model.

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The question they raise about being 'forced to pay more' is certainly an interesting one....It's the money they invest...the junkets for consultants, etc...

so you’re saying that Arbitech has the moral high ground over Axis? ;)

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Axis is not dumb.

They clearly must know that "arbitrage has the effect of causing prices of the same or very similar assets in different markets to converge." (last sentence of the 1st paragraph from the arbitrage link in the OP).

For those that are confused by the above, 'causing pricing to converge'  does not (and will never mean) 'go higher'.

So, in the immediate term, their U.S. (and other high-priced) market dealers are getting chopped off at the knees on their earned 'loyalty' pricing - while Axis themselves are directly contributing to the race to to bottom by allowing the arbitrage to occur.

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I have heard directly from Axis that they are trying to put a stop to this. Problem is this will take a while to correct since it has gotten so out of control. 

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"this will take a while to correct since it has gotten so out of control."

that's the Axis public stance to be sure...

except - imo - Axis is not the 'feather in the wind' that this position portrays.

As many have stated above and here on IPVM over the years, the actual solution is quite easy to deploy - as each of their devices has a unique identifier.

Axis has allowed the situation to 'get out of control' because their short(er) term sales went up by simply ignoring the cost burden they shifted to their own 'protected' dealers in their largest market.

 

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I do not believe Axis does not keep track of their serial #'s and where they go. They have different part #'s for different regions. Seems like this would be production/distribution 101.

 

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Jay, good feedback! That's generally, though, not the case. 

Specifically, the M1045-LV is a consumer camera with only DC power support. In terms of Axis part numbers scheme, from our checking, it is an outlier rather than the norm.

For example, see below, part numbers are all the same for minidome, fisheye panoramic, and multisensor models:

Early in our research into this, we thought "Oh the part numbers are different so it will be easy to detect", then we looked at different models and saw that the part numbers are generally the same across regions, making it harder to know.

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Guess I got lucky, because that was the first camera I chose. We do not sell much Axis so I dont have much experience but I remember the few cameras we looked at, seemed to have different part #'s.

 

I still don't believe they do not know where serial #'s are going. It just seems to be such a fundamental part of manufacturing/distribution.

 

 

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I don't know but my hunch is similar to yours that they know the origin / route of serial numbers. What I don't is whether this is readily available to tech support?

As an example, we once did an experiment with Hikvision USA. We bought a Hikvision camera off Amazon. We called them twice. Both times we gave the serial number, but one time we said we bought from Amazon, the other time we did not. On the former, we were denied support, on the latter, we were given support.

I don't know how tech support teams are trained on this matter. Anyone with insights here, I'd be interested in hearing.

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Both times we gave the serial number, but one time we said we bought from Amazon, the other time we did not.

HIK: And where did you purchase the unit?

IPVM: Not on Amazon.

HIK: Please hold for the next available technician...

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Axis does S/N (MAC) tracking, but only on first stage, i.e. to whom camera is shipped from Axis. So it would be easy to track Arbitech source by any camera S/N, at least distributor, which is involved to Arbitech supply chain can be tracked. But most probably it is done not directly from distie, some reseller (or several resellers) with privileged Axis status must be present in this scheme.

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Having some experience with this, I could not agree more.  It's very difficult to shut this down.  The distributor isn't selling it just to 1 end user.  Arbitech is most likely buying it from an authorized gold partner until Axis bans them, then they move to the next one.  The distributor is most likely selling millions spread out through several accounts at a time.  Making it harder to track and shut down at the source.  Basically it turns the whole thing into a whack a mole game.

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I would liker to add that Axis also gets a thorough sell through report from each distributor worldwide.  This means that they know exactly who would be buying millions of dollars of cameras or 1 camera. Once upon a time those reports were shared with RSM's so they could claim some of the "gray area" sales...that stopped many years ago though.

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It has been my experience that Axis Tech Support will support any camera, no matter where it was purchased.  Usually their only limitations are older models that have been  discontinued for so long there are no more firmware updates.

It's a nice feature for customers, to be able to call in no matter what but it can obviously be taken advantage of here too.

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I've called Axis tech support several times and have never been asked for the serial #.

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Actually Both John and Jay are right. On the invoice or unit box, the axis product will be according to region. However at the product label sticker on the unit you will usually see the base product (-001) and the revision. Still axis can derive which distributor the unit was sold to just by the serial number. I have been once ask to send the D.O.A unit back to US for D.O.A claim.

 

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At any of those prices points, good luck selling them. Axis cameras are very nice but I have yet to market and sell them. They are waaay over priced thru any channel, when compared to other options. I personally wished they would give a bigger discount to us integrators, they would probably see an increases in sales.

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Jeremy, thanks for your first comment!

Axis does very well for larger projects. And based on that, they still sell significantly more total than Hikvision and any other competitor in the Americas. Because of that, I don't think bigger discounts are coming.

They have been expanding their Companion line which is targeted towards smaller projects, e.g., Axis ~$100 Camera Tested

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I strongly disagree with that.  We've been selling almost exclusively Axis for over 5 years and have definitely reaped the benefits when it comes to service and maintenance on those jobs.  You have to take into account Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) not just the upfront sell price too.  

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I think the market the dealer is selling too also affects and shades the comments about the value of the cameras. Axis' playground is in the upper mid and enterprise markets. They are not going to be competitive on the small smaller and lower mid-tier markets.

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Axis passively allowing this just commoditizes the product.  A gold/silver/bronze dealer status will be irrelevant.  Soon we will all be forced to buy from Arbitech to compete.  Is this not the same gray market shenanigans the industry just spent 3-4 years watching happen with Hikua?

Congrats to Arbitech for exploiting a loophole and making a (sustainable?) business model of it.

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But then is their partner program any good? Nope its worthless. Not worth the time to invest it. This just proves it, the OEM will do anything to sell tin.

 

 

 

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What about warranty support from Axis when you buy through this channel?

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James, we noted that in the report, copied below:

While Arbitech emphasized they are not authorized by Axis, Arbitech said that buyers could still get regular Axis technical support and that they would handle warranty and RMAs.

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Thanks, John...

To be clear, I LOVE Axis. I buy through their channels, get great support, and deal almost exclusively with their cameras. Their sales team is responsive, and provide me with a reasonable price. While the margins could be better, I have very few post-install problems. That alone makes up for tighter margins. 

That said, Arbitech does provide an option.

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By Axis warranty terms one should not be able to get warranty support on a camera if not purchased through an authorized channel. With that said that doesn't mean you couldn't get warranty support. Arbitech could do the RMA's through whoever they bought from.

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And this is why we never went "full in" with Axis, we deal in Axis only when we really have to.

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#10, I am curious, what do you do for cameras then? I ask since channel issues are widely a problem, except for a handful of non-distribution sold products.

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Sorry, I prefer not to disclose. Based on who we are (which you know), you can guess. But this is not the only reason. Over the years we've looked at Axis from time to time, but high prices, low margins, and yes even though you do find many brands online so Axis is not the only problem, I would by far see Axis more often in ads from Joe Blow computer outlet than other top tier names.

A manufacturer has a right to sell how they want, but I think they are playing ignorant and have been for years. They are so proud of their dealer program, but like others have said this gives it very little meaning. Reminds me of an 80 year old commercial property landlord I knew once; she was as sharp as a whip when it came to market pricing and rent valuation, but when you cornered her on fixing problems she was responsible for like the electrical, she'd suddenly become this confused and befuddled little old lady who had trouble understanding what you were talking about.

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An integrator once told me, "the only people making money selling Axis, is Axis". 

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I am going to lay that one on my Axis sales guy. The margins are a joke.

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The only people who say this are not selling Axis and don't know how to add value to their sales...i.e. they only sell on price.  I can say I personally know hundreds of integrators who not only made money selling Axis but built their business doing so...And no I am not an employee and have reason to bad mouth them but in this you are incorrect.

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I agree with you but I also agree that Axis is in this for themselves otherwise they would put a stop to this gray market stuff.   

Also if your current partners give you 30,40 or 50 off its really hard to switch to Axis only to start at 15% and lose all that margin on projects. 

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Also if your current partners give you 30,40 or 50 off its really hard to switch to Axis only to start at 15% and lose all that margin on projects.

That presumes one is getting buyers to pay MSRP (or close to it). Is that roughly correct for you with Avigilon?

A lot of brands give 50+ off MSRP but since they are so widely available online, it is hard to sell anywhere close to MSRP (e.g., Dahua, Hikvison).

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I agree with the premise but many that have made the move and bitten the bullet, so to speak, have been very happy with the ultimate outcome and rarely go back to lesser brands.  The way to beat the system is to control your bids through "project pricing" which can get even the  authorized partner "gold" pricing.  If you are driving project then you can get to the better levels fairly fast.

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Yes, I agree on the project pricing helps but those extra hoops I have to jump through are a waste of my time.  Give me my pricing on a spreadsheet so I can load it into my quoting tool and let my engineering team bang out quotes.  I despise having to call to get my best pricing every time I want to send a quote.  Huge waste of my time.  

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I despise having to call to get my best pricing every time I want to send a quote. Huge waste of my time.

This 100%.  The latency when buying through (most) distribution really hurts.  The distributors with websites or product with a price list where I can get accurate, quick pricing gest more of my business than any other.  The time to request a quote, disengage, engage on another quote, receive quote from distributor, disengage from that 2nd quote, re-engage on initial quote over and over again really eats up time.

For commodity products I tend to go to Amazon more quickly than saving a couple points going through the distribution quoting process.  Time has a cost.

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Well, not sure how they made this list then...

Resellers in the United States

Seems like a pretty exclusive, given how many people are selling Axis in the same area...

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Resellers in the United States

I'm not able to find Arbitech on there.

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I'm not talking about Arbitech. 

#11

An integrator once told me, "the only people making money selling Axis, is Axis".

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The only people who say this are not selling Axis

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I'm not able to find Arbitech on there.

though it would be damn funny if they were there...

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The good news is with higher priced brands like Axis, even slim 10% margins will give you the ability to buy a Lamborghini. Would you rather make 10% on a typical Axis camera or 50% on a typical Hikvision Camera? What makes you more money?

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What makes you more money?

When selling Hikvision? The cabling.

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“the only people making money selling Axis, is Axis".

Michael Cohen did ok ;)

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I see what you did there

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Interesting read of the complaint and answer. 

If I read it correctly, Cisco says in part that 4 of the WS-C2960X-48FPS-L switches that Arbitech sold (that Arbitech purchased from HongKong Sellsi) were identified as counterfeit, having been originally manufactured as 24 port switches and later modified with non-Cisco parts.  This was discovered when one of the switches stopped working and a service call was made.

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Larry, yes, and Arbitech counters that Cisco makes up counterfeit claims:

I don't know what's true and, theoretically, both could be true. That is one of the risks of buying from an 'independent distributor' like Arbitech, being sure that what is bought is genuine. Arbitech also claims they have procedures to detect and have found counterfeits:

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The Axis “Project Pricing” is bull. As far as we have been able to discern, it is just a ruse. We have submitted several projects to Axis, had them consult with various distributors, and yet the “Project Pricing” has never been more than a couple of percentage points less than the “Gold Partner” pricing.

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I am curious about this because you don't mention getting your RSM involved in the projects?  Maybe you do and don't say but these folks are the key to your partnership.  A good RSM will go to bat for you and fight for more points when deserved.  The second key point is how large the projects are...under 50k will get you nothing over 100k will get you significantly(relatively) more if you are actually driving the project from day one.  Get your RSM in on everything you can as early as possible and that should help you win more.

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First off to heck with a company that comes out with tiered discounts for integrators, yes I understand it but when their gold level discount is still a joke and with their requirements to reach gold level... no thank you I will continue using our go to brand(s). Even the big companies are realizing they can save money by moving to another lesser costing brand. It's not like a 'medium level' brand isn't built for long lasting results comparable to what Axis sees their cameras as and when you show them the savings they have all switched away from Axis.. and thanks to Axis they have set the price so high that it makes us smell like roses cause we save the clients money and all the while we put more money in our bank accounts.

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Wow. What do you sell? 

Axis has marketed past the integrator, I get that, but there are a bunch of manufacturers that use a more integrator centric model. If we are out here leading with a product and providing that marketing and support for a manufacturer we need to be rewarded for it, can’t be loyal and place product only to have another guy come in and get your pricing. And I mean daily pricing as well, not just project pricing,earned levels are critical. Relationships with our manufacturers are critical for long term success IMO, unless you ARE Axis, loyal support is a critical to a manufacturer’s sales and marketing last mile. 

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Tell you someone else who has a near unobtainable Partner top tier level - Milestone. Its crazy..

You can bang out their products online and be considered platinum level, but do a few $/£ off of the partner level and your in hot water...

Its a anti sales target.. makes me want to work less with them not more!

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Many times the top levels of VMS manufacturers are really hard to obtain and then keep unless you buy their recorders. Problem with that is the fact that typically what they want to charge for recorders is ridiculously expensive as compared to buying say a Seneca or Dell or DNF. Exacq gives you either four or eight licenses depending on the model but even with the free licenses are still expensive considering the horsepower or lack of. 

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We have a good relationship with Axis despite the ability for anyone to Google the product and check our prices. In my opinion Axis has always gone the route of marketing to the end user and specifiers, they don’t wait for the integrators to do it for them. It’s worked well for them and they have some of the best computers in the camera business. With such a developed marketing and sales structure they call the shots. 

Does seem that they could get some points from integrators by fixing this issue with Arbitech but historically it hasn’t mattered to them. Look forward to how they handle this. 

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This of course is not a new business model concept.  Profit centers other than name brand or other than normal channels have been happening all the time.  It happens at the grocery store with an "off or store" brand of a name brand product.  This just seems to be a normal in almost all industries.  As for the security industry companies (especially distribution) have either had direct and open alliances or behind the scenes alliances.  The whole concept is to get them to come to you for name brand and then shift all or a portion of that spend into the profit center line.  It could be Axis cameras and move them into add on products like servers and such.  The genius thing about Arbitech is they have also found a way to make good margin on the name brand stuff as well.   

Burtek, Richardson, Honeywell, ADI, 

Northern Video Systems, Arm Electronics, Security Cameras Direct/SuperCircuits

Anixter/Tri-ed, Northern Video Brand,

ADI, HIK, White Box  

Cisco, Dell and others have white box as well

BlackBox is another one that has been doing this with many products in addition to Integration services.

The other thing to remember in this model is that Axis is making their number no matter what, because the haven't lost any volume or margin.  They know they are specified into the project and they really don't care (profitability wise) where the cameras are purchased.  Of course they have to put some effort into keeping the dealer installer base happy but for the most part that is just "lip service"

 

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The other thing to remember in this model is that Axis is making their number no matter what, because the haven't lost any volume or margin. 

Probably Disagree. My presumption is that Axis is selling products for less money in other countries (otherwise Arbitech could not sell at the prices they do), so Axis now makes less money than they would of from 'authorized' sales since it is losing higher priced USA sales for lower-priced foreign ones. The main counter is that Axis may be gaining volume if the sales would otherwise not have taken place at the higher prices, i.e., how much is this a volume gain vs cannibalizing of existing authorized USA sales?

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i.e., how much is this a volume gain vs cannibalizing of existing authorized USA sales?

 

My guess would be very little because:

1.  Customers buying from Arbitech probably would not have bought Axis at the higher price.

2.  They probably wouldn't be allowing it if it wasn't making them more money or close the same money with more volume.

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The problem is not just sales cannibalization (which I actually think is quite significant) but that end users take the online pricing that Arbitech's pricing allows for and use it to bludgeon authorized resellers into lowering their prices (which some might argue is a good thing). This makes it less interesting for those resellers to promote Axis.

I'm little skeptical about the claim that Arbitech is able to offer the low Axis pricing by buying at lower pricing in foreign markets. Doesn't ring true for a few reasons. Would like to hear from any IPVM Axis resellers overseas if they can substantiate lower pricing in their markets.

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Doesn't ring true for a few reasons

Can you elaborate on what those reasons are? It might be the case, I am not sure.

However,  Arbitech is generally saying it is the case and they are definitely selling for less than gold partner pricing so how can they do that unless they are buying from somewhere else where Axis is sold for materially less?

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as a counter point to the sales cannibalization:

I agree on the fact that the public view of their pricing allows the price shopping, but in my experience: on jobs where we use Axis, the customer is not asking for cheap and therefore is not looking up the pricing.

So again I doubt the the difference between the Arbitech volume and the volume lost is of any significance.

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This is usually true until you get into the education market. I have a customer that still calls us once in a while but typically they will go onto an "Education Approved" buying site, like a cooperative, and get pricing. Even though we would go down and walk the site to tell them what cameras they should use, help design a system they would still beat us up on price after they checked B&H Photo. Even if we were a couple of dollars more expensive they would still buy from B&H Photo. Sure we could drop our price a few dollars but you can only drop your price so much before it becomes too much. 

Sure if we were a labor only "Technology Installation Company, then this isn't such a big issue but we aren't. There are discussions here on IPVM that talk about how integrators charge too much for systems and devices and we are greedy. Well when you get distributors that start selling directly to end users then who is greedier?? Sure they say they can sell at a lower cost directly to the end user but they also make that up in volume. My question is does Arbitech come out and look at a site for a customer to help determine what cameras should be installed where? My guess is they don't but if the customer doesn't care then in the end it really doesn't matter.

Not going to say who but there are some security manufacturers that are now starting Key Account Manager (KAM) positions and one of the major key accounts is Anixter. Go figure. Not because they are selling so much inventory to integrators but because they are selling so much directly to end users.

This is obviously a trend that isn't going away any time soon so we have to adapt in order to survive. I guess it's the old school in me that I am in the business to try and help protect people and their belongings, not to just make a buck. 

 

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This post times 1000. I would love to write a lot more than I will but to do so could be at my own peril, this post has been re-written 10 times and I just can't bring myself to say anymore than distributors seem to be making their business model an opposition to an integrator's

 

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Anixter has cannibalized our business for years by selling direct. There is a defense.  If at all possible I try to sell product that does not involve a distributor - Honeywell Prowatch, RS2, LenelS2, Avigilon, Genetec, etc.

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It’s important to note that Arbitech stands behind everything we sell. If a product has problems when it’s received, we’ll exchange it right away, and we provide phone support. Whenever possible, we don’t refer our customers back to manufacturers.

Arbitech also cooperates with manufacturers, and tries to complement their channel model rather than conflict. By supporting small-to-medium SI’s who work with SMB customers, we provide an important channel for manufacturers to move products, and we give SI’s the opportunity to work with a responsive, money-saving distributor.

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James, do you mind introducing yourself and your role with Arbitech? It may help provide clarity and weight to your post. 

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I’m EVP and a founding member of Arbitech. 

 

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By supporting small-to-medium SI’s who work with SMB customers, we provide an important channel for manufacturers to move products, and we give SI’s the opportunity to work with a responsive, money-saving distributor.

And what's your requirement for determining it's an SI calling you to order or for support?

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And what's your requirement for determining it's an SI calling you to order or for support?

A valid credit card.

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And what's your requirement for determining it's an SI calling you to order or for support?

A valid credit card

After having waited over a week to give Mr Whalen a fair chance to respond to the question, I assume Int 8 response of "a valid credit card" joke is pretty much true. That only mentioning SI's as customers they work with is at best a euphemism.

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Arbitech also cooperates with manufacturers, and tries to complement their channel model rather than conflict.

Would you classify Arbitech like this?

Arbitech is to Axis what LTS is to Hikvision

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Arbitech is to Axis what LTS is to Hikvision

Disagree. LTS is authorized by Hikvision both for OEMing and for Hikvision branded sales. Arbitech is not authorized by Axis, as both parties agree.

The questions for me, still, are (1) what can Axis do here? and (2) how motivated are they to do it? 

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Axis produce mostly nice cameras. Getting hold of them is shocking. I expect support regardless of where I purchase. Failure to supply it would result in a review of camera manufacturer choice.

That's my reality. Yours May differ.

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Unbalanced markets balancing themselves.  It's natural really, the only thing that can break it is law.  But should they?

Also, how many in the channel voted to buy from Arbitech?  Maybe Axis has a channel problem?

How long has this been going on?  Is this problem already accounted for in the prices?  This may be why Axis is not too worried about it.  Most larger companies are not pricing out the cameras, the get a project quote.  There are clever ways to hide the discounts through services.

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