Let's have a discussion about "The Name Game"

Discussion in 'Pacific East Aquaculture' started by PacificEastAquaculture, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. PacificEastAquaculture

    PacificEastAquaculture Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    495
    Location:
    Mardela Springs, MD
    OK, so I know this is a risky and delicate subject and will wrinkle some toes probably including mine. But, here goes......bash if you wish, leave comments please.

    We've been in business online for 18 years. In the early days it was quite sufficient to have a WYSIWYG photo and a basic descriptive name such as for example "blue Acropora" and folks gladly bought the coral based on the photo. OK, its a given that online photos are difficult and a generally accepted name helps identify some corals and I understand that, but putting a crazy name on a newly "released" coral and charging a super high price has been identified by many here on this board as part of the problem making this hobby unaffordable. The price was the price back then and everyone was happy. Then things changed and folks would only buy "Smurf Acropora" or "Jim Bob's Blue Wowza Acropora" that were priced 5 to 25 times the same coral that use to be just "blue Acropora". At the time we were actually ridiculed online for being so dumb as to still use generic names and to a certain extent we caved, but never went big time into the whole named coral genre. It all started with vendors suddenly naming Acropora by species name, even though most are all but impossible to identify to the species level by gross visible appearance. Then it got into fancier descriptive name, that are actually perfectly acceptable, such as Rainbow or Superman Montipora, which no long carry a crazy high price but remain the same coral. Then it got really crazy as the names and prices went just insane. I've been selling to many of the popular online designer vendors for over a decade and am often surprised to see the same coral that was a colony one week we sold to them suddenly at a swap a week later sold as a "designer" frag that was cut from that same colony. Not calling anyone out or shaming anyone here, I just know that sometimes hobbyists are more trusting of fellow hobbyists without knowing what goes on behind the scenes.

    It reminds me of a frag swap years ago, we've been doing swaps for over a decade, when we had some nice blue zoanthids for sale. Many folks came up and said hey those are nice zoos what's their name. I shrug my shoulders and said blue zoos, they shrugged their's back at me and walk away even though they liked them they didn't buy because it didn't have a name! Later that afternoon I got tired of that and started calling them King's Ransom zoos and guess what--we sold some! Soon folks were coming up asking if we had any more King's Ransom and sure enough we sold every one. The same exact coral at the same price that a short time earlier we couldn't sell one we suddenly sold all. Lesson learned, dumb names sell corals. BTW, this was before there were sites with a catalog of zoanthids names.

    Fast forward to modern times. Suppliers around the world, divers, and farmers at the source, have the internet and view boards like this, wow what a surprise. They see and copy dumb coral names and raise their prices. Prime example of this are Jawbreaker and Bounce mushrooms, years ago they came in the same price as other mushrooms, now suppliers are charging insane prices because they see a few vendors started selling them crazy high and the cycle started and they are cashing in too. Or another example is tge Stawberry Shortcake Acropora from Australia. We can get as many of them as any other Acropora but because solely on the name many exporters charge 2 to 3 times the cost of the other Acros. OK, I can't really change that so I won't rant. I can't change the world or the name game, and so-called "designer" corals are here to stay. However, I can change some things and would like your honest feedback and opinions. Let's not lament and dwell on what has transpired until now. If someone wants to call it "Jim Bob's Radioactive Blue Wowza Acropora" and charge 50 times the normal price and he can sell it, then more power to him, it's not my business.

    We are about to launch a new site and we sre kicking around ideas so give us feedback please. At my own peril and possible financial loss and this probably will confuse and maybe upset some folks, I want to get back to more descriptive names and realistic prices where we can, that is when suppliers don't sock it to us by jumping on the named coral bandwagon. OK, dont yell at me, I get it, many folks like the names so they are readily identifiable, and many folks just like the whole so-called "high end" coral genre, I never did get into that classification--so-called "common" leather corals are beautiful to me in a mature reef tank, but I digress.

    My thought is to use more generic names, but keep some commonly accepted names, and sell frags at all the same price, within pricing categories, with free shipping and quantity discounts. As we prepare our new site to launch we would like to know your thoughts on the subject of "designer" and "named" corals. Feel free to post your thoughts and comments. Some folks love the names, others shrug their shoulders, and others enjoy paying more to have the latest cool coral and are totally into the designer trend, while others feel it's destroying the hobby and making it unaffordable. What are your thoughts, where do you stand? (Bashing acceptable to a point, try to be kind please, I know this is long winded--I'm old and didn't get the memo that folks have short attention spans in the current digital world)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Tags:

  2. derek yoonie

    derek yoonie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2017
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    63
    interesting, a name of colors that describable of the corals seems fair, with a fair pricing !
     
  3. ksfulk

    ksfulk Grow sticks, grow!!! R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2014
    Messages:
    1,520
    Likes Received:
    1,114
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, Michigan
    I would be perfectly happy with a generic name (even better - a species specific name, but I digress) if it included information on growth patterns. I often see things like "low flow, medium light" which I guess is helpful(?) but Id like to know things like this coral encrusts, this coral tables, this coral should be place on the sandbed, etc. I think thats why some of the "fancy names" are helpful, because most people know that a PC Superman has this specific set of colors, and has a tabling growth pattern. I appreciate some of the crazy names because they make me chuckle, but I have a frag rack of sticks right now that have silly names but Im waiting for them to grow out a bit before I can ID them to determine growth patterns.

    At this point it seems like every green coral is 'radioactive' or 'toxic' and any coral with at least three corals is 'rainbow'. I purchase some of those corals if I want a certain color - but Im less apt to purchase again if the service and care of the specimen is lacking. Basically, do what you do - it might not be flashy or what everyone else is doing, but its hard to argue with longetivity in this industry. Oddly enough, I rarely think about you guys for corals, but you are always my first recommendation for clams. :D
     
    McMullen and Frenchhorngirl like this.
  4. PacificEastAquaculture

    PacificEastAquaculture Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    495
    Location:
    Mardela Springs, MD
    Thanks for your detailed feedback!

    Just to be clear, we might still use funny names and certainly descriptive names, however we won't raise the price just because of a name. The thought is all frags within a certain category are the same price and that price goes down with quantities bought in that category.
     
  5. reefwiser

    reefwiser LMAS R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2013
    Messages:
    4,612
    Likes Received:
    3,852
    Location:
    Louisville,Kentucky
    The hobby has gotten into the naming craziness sort of like the beanie baby craze years ago. As a something to make money on "This coral is going to pay for my aquarium" I have met hobbyist who new to the hobby want to become sellers of "name corals and spend their whole time searching to find that zoo or acro that they do not have. Like any other collector hobby. Having information about the care of the coral and species is more important that a "name" for the long term health of both the coral and the hobby.
     
  6. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2017
    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    455
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    I love buying from Pacific East Aquaculture because I'm right up the road. Your low-priced frags and Zone 1 shipping make you my go-to when I'm looking for something new. I prefer cheaper, simply-named frags (green acropora, red monti cap, etc), but I can understand how much of a pickle you're in. If you can grow X amount of corals per square feet of tank space, which will make you more money? A generic coral that sells for $25 per frag? Or a named coral that sells for $250 per frag? Or even $750 per frag?

    Personally, I think named and designer corals are one of the more damaging trends to this hobby in recent years. I admit, they have some utility.. if you buy a green slimer, you know exactly what you should expect, regardless of how good the photo is. The problem is that now, if the coral has a name and it's recognizable, expect the price to shoot up. I had no clue that exporters were charging more for named corals, but I suppose it makes sense.

    Lots of people like to blame the wholesalers and aquaculture facilities for this price explosion. I think there's this misconception that retailers set prices arbitrarily in an attempt to gouge hobbyists. The reality is that hobbyists are to blame for these high prices. If we didn't pay a mortgage payment and a half for bounce mushrooms (which are really just rhodactis mushrooms with physical deformities), then retailers would charge less. If we didn't pay $700 for 3/4" of a Walt Disney, retailers would charge less. I think part of the reason hobbyists buy designer frags is because when you say WD or JF Homewrecker, everyone immediately knows what you're talking about. But, I think it's also a subtle game of one-upsmanship too. Not only do most reef aquarists know what WD or HW look like, they also know that you paid several hundred dollars for it. Named and designer frags, I think, have become somewhat of a status symbol in the hobby. If your goal is to impress a whole lot of reefers you'll never meet in real life, post a pic of a WD in your tank.

    If the goal of the hobby is to create a beautiful tank full of healthy corals, then we don't need WDs, Home Wreckers or Strawberry Shortcakes to do that. We just need healthy, fast-growing, different-colored frags. I think Adam over at BattleCorals summed it up best:

    The real tragedy of this dilemma is that reefers are unwilling to pay a 25% premium for aquacultured fish, yet they have no problem paying six thousand dollars for a mostly brown rhodactis mushroom simply because it has a few inflated tentacles.
     
    JoshH, McMullen, VDiBenedetto and 6 others like this.
  7. Perry

    Perry Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2016
    Messages:
    476
    Likes Received:
    471
    Location:
    Lake Helen, FL
    More of this mentality is needed these days, I will be looking over your site more closely, and should I decide to get some corals online, I will most certainly be giving your business a close look. Thank you for your honesty, seeing this thread was quite refreshing, and having the courage to stay off the mainstream path is admirable!
    Cheers :)
     
    TonapahNorth, JoshH, McMullen and 5 others like this.
  8. Stonecold

    Stonecold Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Virginia
    Many factors contribute to The Name Game. From personal perspective, 1 main factor is the introduction of blue LED. Prior to blue LED, most tanks are lit with simple lighting ie PC, VHO and MH. With this lighting combo, all acros look the same. With blue LED, it provides colors that can't be seen with PC, VHO and MH.

    As a vendor, you could try this. Make 2 same size frags of the WD Tenuis. Place 1 under MH, name it "Dr Mac Tenuis", $50. Second frag under blue LED, name it WD Tenuis, $150. I believe 90% of your customer will buy the WD rather than Dr. Mac.

    We could thank and blame blue LED. Thank them because it provides colors that no other lighting can. Blame it for ridiculous colors which caused The Name Game. While you have good intention, but I don't think that the Name Game will end. At the end of the day, people (vendors and consumers) will do what their hearts desire.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  9. PacificEastAquaculture

    PacificEastAquaculture Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    495
    Location:
    Mardela Springs, MD
    No doubt about the destiny of the two frags you mention. But, Actually the name game started way before anyone ever thought about using LED for an aquarium.
     
  10. PacificEastAquaculture

    PacificEastAquaculture Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    495
    Location:
    Mardela Springs, MD
    Thanks, we appreciate your business! One thing for sure is the name game will not go away. I see frag packs with 6 Acros selling for $900-$1100 and while the Acors are nice, they are not that nice, folks consider buying them because they all have a name! While some folks complain that they think it's killing the hobby, enough others will continue buying the name and not the actual coral. Sad, but true and it fuels the game.
     
  11. leahfiish

    leahfiish Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,054
    Likes Received:
    723
    I appreciate the names because I can look it up online and see other people's photos of the same coral, sometimes with different lighting examples, and get an idea if it will look the same in my tank. Or to try to estimate how photoshopped the picture it. Some vendors seem to try to photograph the coral's potential - the colors and growth patterns it will have under 100% ideal conditions, which, in reality, will probably never happen in my tank. I'd rather have a realistic photo of the coral to get a better idea of what to expect. I know that's a little bit off topic but sometimes the names do make it easier to keep my expections in check, and to compare prices more easily.
     
    McMullen, that Reef Guy and Ghxst like this.
  12. Cronicreefer

    Cronicreefer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2017
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    84
    Location:
    Orlando
    I think the naming of corals is beneficial for identifying a well known species that is widespread in the hobby but is definitely being used to mislead people who are willing to pay high prices or are ignorant of what a real price of coral should be. I happen to live close to a well known coral store and they have ridiculous prices to me because everything is one inch frags or 1-2 polyps for $50-200. I can go to another LFS and buy mini colonies of the same or similar corals for $50-100. I can understand charging more for something that is truly hard to find or grows slowly but a lot of the pricing from vendors seems unrealistic to me. I also would like to see larger size frags being sold in this hobby more often than tiny 1-2" cuts. I stopped shopping at all my LFS except one because they all stopped selling their small colony corals and instead "frag upon request".
     
  13. Cjp63

    Cjp63 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2017
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    8
    Hi PacificEastAquaculture. Very well said. I have been in this hobby for over 40 year and think this coral naming micro frag is pure BS. Will be checking out your website in the future. Thanks for being so honest. Carl.
     
  14. DSC reef

    DSC reef Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Messages:
    2,556
    Likes Received:
    5,139
    The name game gets annoying when a vendor has the same exact montipora for 75 dollars and the other is priced at 200 dollars because it had a lighter bleached appearance and ultra in front of the name. I've called this vendor out before because it was the same exact coral but instead of blasting I just know which vendors I'll spend money with. I also disagree that all acros look the same under halides. Thanks for posting this @PacificEastAquaculture
     
  15. Robin Haselden

    Robin Haselden Turtle R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2017
    Messages:
    2,237
    Likes Received:
    3,246
    Location:
    South Carolina
    The most I've ever paid for a frag was $60 and it was a bonsai. Is it a true blue original GARF? I don't care. I like the purple with green polyps. I try and stay under $50 a frag and I don't care what it's called. I want something with decent color that isn't crazy priced. "Pink yellow acro" for $20 would be fine with me instead of a "pink lemonade acro" for $80...
     
  16. PacificEastAquaculture

    PacificEastAquaculture Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    495
    Location:
    Mardela Springs, MD
    Thanks everyone for your comments and I very much appreciate you voicing your opinions in this thread and via emails and PM!

    It's certainly a subject that can evoke strong feeling on both sides. Some folks enjoy the silly names, many others like them as identifiers so they know what to expect when buying a frag, and still others feel the whole designer naming of corals is a pyramid scheme--first ones in make a mint and by the time others buy in and grow out enough to sell the bottom falls out of the value.

    Some folks feel designer naming is cool and they want to see the same named coral in other tanks to know what to expect under different lighting. Many feel that regardless of the name, an ugly coral wont sell regardless of who names it. Others feel naming is abused by many vendors.

    It's very interesting to me that many folks have said they bought a named coral and it didn't look like the photo used to sell it, but because it came from a known vendor they were reluctant to say anything and although it colored up some over time they knew it would never look like the original. They blamed it on their tank, not the vendor, and were just happy to have that vendor's coral in their tank. Sort of like a status symbol even though they acknowledge kinda being deceived to buy it originally.
    Intetesting!


    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/beautiful-wysiwyg-frags.333859/

    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/wysiwyg-colonies-cheap.333863/

    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/wysiwyg-clams.333857/page-2

    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/do-you-need-a-good-cleaning.334395/
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
    Lovemyreef2015 and DSC reef like this.
  17. dohc97

    dohc97 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    chicago
    I do not feel your pricing has ever been out of line, I have always been impressed at your sps pricing specially. I was very active in the Chicago area, even had the pleasure of buying from you in person at a show, then I took a 4 year hiatus as I moved cross country. First swap I hit in dfw I'm told these 3 branch 2" frags are now called colonies and none are under 1k. All tanks at this swap had extreme blue lighting and the prices to go with that. For me this ruins the hobby, I have been lucky to find a few vendors and locals now were I can still pay under $100 for colorful frags but otherwise I refuse to pay for the "designer" corals. I can pay the prices but I refuse to pay upwards of $500 for frags of what used to be $50. Besides maricultured and wild you hardly ever see colonies out there anymore. They all get chopped up, colored up with lots of blue and sold for crazy pricing. I own a WD with proper lineage( I know that matters now) and it happens to be the blandest coral under my 14k lighting, looks like the online pictures for a few minutes in the am and pm as my leds ramp up and down but otherwise no one notices it. My most colorful? Oregon blue tort and garf bonsai, both where bought for under $40.
    I'll stop my rants now, looking forwards to new store and I will make it a point to order. Thank you
     
  18. PacificEastAquaculture

    PacificEastAquaculture Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    495
    Location:
    Mardela Springs, MD
    Thanks for your comments and we look forward to serving you again. I think your opinion is shared by a lot of folks that have been in the hobby for a few years or more. Newer hobbyists don't always have the advantage of the perspective of us old timers;)
     
  19. FishLipz

    FishLipz Cheap and Easy Reefer

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2010
    Messages:
    2,050
    Likes Received:
    99
    Location:
    B-more, MD
    It's all a marketing game. If you can convince someone something is special and create a desire for it, people will plop down stupid amounts of money in an effort to be "exclusive" and part of the "in" crowd. It's like owning Beats headphones, or a Range Rover, etc. There are better alternatives for less, but that doesn't matter because driving your Range Rover with your $300 headphones on makes you "cool". Being in the D.C./Baltimore area, you see it everyday. People in $60k-$100k cars around here are a dime a dozen and many of these people are living paycheck to paycheck so they feel like they look successful and fit in with their neighbor who has the same car.

    Keep doing what you're doing. I'm already waiting for another video of the new shipment so I can start picking my next pieces. By the way, I'm looking for a gold Indo torch and maybe a red Acanthophyllia ;). I say just let people know how long a piece has been in captive conditions, that way people have a realistic expectation if the coral is viable or if the piece may color shift, and are aware of the risk. Heck, you can't even trust names anyway. You see vendors all the time putting designer names on fresh collected pieces that resemble established captive held colonies.
     
    McMullen likes this.
  20. vertigo01

    vertigo01 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2014
    Messages:
    258
    Likes Received:
    135
    Location:
    Louississippi Coast
    As I am just recently setting up my reef, my comment may not be warranted but nevertheless here it is.

    Speaking for myself,
    I am less than impressed with corals that have a fancy name and high priced tag. As they have no true pedigree whose lineage can be traced back to the first speciman collected by Columbus.
    AFIK ( I could be wrong here) they can't be line, and inbred in an effort to better some traits and eliminate bad traits, like other living creatures.

    If you have 50 of the same frags listed for sale. 25 given a commonly accepted name at a reasonable price. The other 25 listed with some off the wall name at a price 4 to 5 times higher and a tag describing both as being from the same colony and continued that practice. Only then will people come around to the fact that they have been duped into paying big $$$ for a few more letters in the alphabet.

    It probably wont go over well with other distributers. I say sc×+w em. They are the dishonest preying on the unsuspecting/uneducated.

    If you did that, I would buy from you, as well as do what I could to convince others to do so as well.

    Just my rambling thoughts.
     
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page

Loading...