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

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    Of course you are so right, the price is what someone is willing to pay. The same frag on our Bargain Frag page on our site may be $15, we could move it to our Premium Frag page and charge $100 and it would sell quicker because often quality in corals is linked to price, someone would think if they don't price it high it must not be good. And of all places I'm talking about the name game on this board, a place in my opinion where many members love the name game and several vendors live by it. Buy, hey, we've never done the game anyway and our new site will give us a launching point to rebrand and get more away from it.

    The purpose of this thread was to entice some discussion and get a temperature of the crowd. We have already decided to change the way we market our corals. As an illustration, we might for example have a page on which every frag is $40 regardless that we might use a silly name or a descriptive name, or whatever name, all the same price. Free shipping will be at a very low threshold and as you buy more frags on that page the price goes down on each one. There might be a $40 page, a $60 page etc. Not sure exactly, but that's kind of the basic idea. Still probably use the same names you might see elsewhere, but they won't affect the price.
     
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  2. PacificEastAquaculture

    PacificEastAquaculture Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    Indeed! Ridiculous that folks won't buy a coral they like that does not have a designer name or a vendor's label. But, I guess we are all this way to a certain extent, look at clothing lines or women's accessories--if it doesn't have the designer label they don't want to be seen with it. I agree though, I think the name game started innocently enough and now it this cloud that hangs over so much of the hobby.

    Generally, I think it's also a generational thing, Hey, I'm an old fart, old school kinda guy, still use 20 year old downdraft skimmers and love them!
     
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  3. KIRBLIT

    KIRBLIT Well-Known Member

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    I have to say I agree we all get caught in the trap of selling corals at elevated prices when they have "names" but this is just because the market has created a situation of branding corals. Whenever I'm a vendor at a show I have plenty of corals that I sell that don't have names that I have had for years and I bought because I like the way they looked. I always get the question "what is that one called?" who cares what it's called, it's whether you like it or not. Other than the type of coral it is and it's care level it shouldn't matter to anyone. I wish we could get back to just letting the market decide what a coral is worth because of how it looks. If it's pretty then charge more and people will pay for it. Im always looking for that brown acro with potential that I can get for cheap and color up.

    I'm only 33 but I'm with you, if it ain't broke don't fix it. I still run MH/T5 and have a lifereef venturi skimmer.
     
  4. JaimeAdams

    JaimeAdams Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad PMAS Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Totally this.

    I have friend who buy only named designer corals and only from the source not second hand grown out frags. Oh, green slimmer, oh no, mine is "XYZ Green Slimmer". Mine was $80 for half an inch frag. It's so much better than the identical coral in the next tank over selling for $20 for a 3 inch mini-clonony because this is "XYZ Green Slimmer" and that other one is just "Green Slimmer". I also love when some well known high end vendors sell frags grown out from other vendors named stock. People want to talk about lineage, but a good amount of time places like WWC or Cornbread or whomever have grown out pieces from lesser known vendors and charge more for a frag the the original source, yet people will say with pride that the got it from those well known vendors over the people who originated the cultivar.

    You will always have people who just want cheap frags to fill a tank with and you will always have those who search out the big names. There is simply no way around that. It is just who you want your clientele to be.
     
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  5. dragon99

    dragon99 Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    That alone could be hugely helpful. So many times I see a named coral and have to rack my brain to figure out where I've seen it before. Even if it's just "we think this is similar in color to "xyz"
     
  6. gioNVA

    gioNVA Well-Known Member CAMS Member Photo of the Month Award

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    Naming corals is ok for identification. The biggest issue I have now is that vendors are slapping a name on the coral and then charging 20x as much for such a small frag. I've noticed this in some of the facebook groups and it is getting out of control. I am also very wary of vendors who post pictures of corals that have a black background as it's easier to manipulate the photos that way. I think what you're doing is awesome and would do a great service to the hobby if you can also attach a species name to the coral. It would also be nice if a vendor sold corals that are starting to encrust on the plugs or maybe include a date of when a coral is cut. Same for maricultured or wild corals, maybe a date as to when a coral was received from the supplier.

    Also, based on the video of how you take coral photos, I would like to suggest investing in an Olympus TG4 or TG5 underwater camera for photos.
     
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  7. Ghxst

    Ghxst Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    If the name game provides a clear description and the fundamentals of how to keep that coral, it has done its job. I believe it was used to serve this purpose, some vendors keep up with this, others do abuse it. It is unfortunate now when new corals come out that are named, they are untested and no one knows what they are, how to keep, etc.

    The other major component of named corals in the past was that they were aqua cultured. Named or not I will pay more to get a hearty aquaculture peice. Wild colony’s don’t have a place in the hobby anymore.
     
  8. PacificEastAquaculture

    PacificEastAquaculture Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    Some LPS corals do still have a place in the hobby, things that can not be fragged.
     
  9. Pola0502ds

    Pola0502ds Zoa Addict R2R Supporter PMAS Member

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    I hate the name game only because of how high the prices are. I jumped into the hobby ans couldnt wait to buy corals until i found out there isnt anything i like affordable. Its unreal
     
  10. Ghxst

    Ghxst Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Which ones?
     
  11. PacificEastAquaculture

    PacificEastAquaculture Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    Trachyphyllia, Cynarina, Acanthophyllia, many Euphyllia, Symphyllia, Lobophyllia, Fungia, Heliofungia, etc. There are no issues with these corals as far as hardiness or being able to keep them in captivity or accessibility.
     
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  12. 100gallonreefer

    100gallonreefer Well-Known Member

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    I have never been one to have to buy a named coral. Most of the lps,sps, and zoas I bought originally had no fancy names as I was scared as hell I'd kill such pricey corals. Now much later I admit I've bought a few designer corals but none of them shine any better than any of my no named corals. I'm much happier buying something I like the look of from my tested group of sellers.
     
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  13. John Gemmel

    John Gemmel Well-Known Member

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    I don't care what names are or how much it cost!! If I like it I'll try to save and get!! Funny thing is the good looking stuff. Does cost little more that's with everything in life!! Ask a women if a lv bag look the same as a coach bag!! Lol
     
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  14. Jacobscorals

    Jacobscorals Active Member

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    Let them play the game.I love getting frags of the same thing 6 months after its not "this weeks most awesome designer frag"for a much reduced price:)
     
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  15. Baiggann

    Baiggann Well-Known Member

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    I think it's crazy the way people slap a name on a $10 frag and immediately jack the price up 50 bucks!!

    I buy all my corals at the great annual frag swaps in my area. The most I have paid is $30.
     
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  16. nkyreef

    nkyreef Well-Known Member

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    I support your stand completly. I've only been in the hobby for a year but I've never got into the designer naming hype. On a side note I visited your website first time today, it looks amazing! When I'm ready to add my clam I'll be checking you out again (how long do you recommend before adding one?).
     
  17. PacificEastAquaculture

    PacificEastAquaculture Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    The cultured clams we offer are hardy. If your tank is fully cycled and all water parameters correct and stable then you should be good to add them after a couple months of having some fish in the system and everything still is good.
     
  18. BkReefBaby

    BkReefBaby Well-Known Member

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    This is a great topic. I have designer corals and I also have, as some people would say “regular” or “classic” corals. If I buy a designer coral it’s because I can’t find it no where else at a cheaper price for example the “JF home wrecker”. If you were able to sell me this same exact coral and told me it’s a rainbow tenius, here it is at 50$ I would buy it from you and not spend over 500$ because it’s called “JF homewrecker”. There are some pieces out there that are truly UNIQUE. I remember I bought a strawberry shortcake frag for 15$ from my LFS but online and a certain site because it was (insert crazy name here) strawberry shortcake it was going for 60$ for the frag.

    The whole lineage thing kills me too. people on this forum are always asking oh what’s the lineage? Honestly who give a F$:& if I have a frag of a rainbow chalice with every color on it and you like it and I have for 100$ what does it matter if I came from this vendor or that vendor?
    I know why it matters! and let’s be honest it’s because people want to resell it for what they paid right away and it goes faster if you say oh I bought this from such and such. JUST MY OPINION
     
  19. Renn

    Renn Well-Known Member

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    A couple of thoughts on this...
    First of all, it is a complex and multifaceted issue and one post won't be able to explore all the nuances. There are many factors that go into the phycology of buying.

    Take, for example, cars. Why do Ferrari's exist today? There is a certain "thrill" to owning something that not everybody has or can afford. How much more for something involved with a hobby. A hobby, by nature, is a non-essential part of a person's life (I know there are exceptions to this but I am speaking in general terms. If it is part of your job, it is no longer a hobby although it can be your job and also your hobby). One of the purposes of having a hobby is to use it to relate and interact with other people. Every person that has ever kept a SW tank has known the thrill of somebody new coming into their house and spending the vast majority of their time staring at their tank and pointing to different things, asking questions, etc.

    How much more exciting when someone who knows about reefing comes in, looks at your tank, and says "oh man, is that a JF Homewrecker?" as opposed to "oh, thats a cool new rainbow acro."

    I don't think that it is morally bad to give something a cool name in order to sell it better. If it makes something sell better, that is just good business practice. For example, you guys implied that when you sold to the prominent online vender they gave your coral a new name and sold it for several times the price. If you had named it with a proprietary name then they should have given you credit which would allow you to sell it to future customers at the same price.

    What IS immoral is not being honest with giving credit for the lineage, photoshopping pictures, and not being honest with lighting conditions!

    If you were to sell acros all at the same prices, I venture to say that you will get a very practical lesson in economics particularly related to scarcity. My guess is that you would run out of some and have an abundance of others. To sell some you might even have to lower the price further and some that you sell out of, you may get some messages saying something along the lines of "I'll give you X more money if you can save a frag for me." This is just basic business economics.

    In conclusion, I don't think that there is anything morally wrong with playing the name game even if it creates a diversity of arbitrary price points because it allows for different levels of excitement and pride in the hobby. Is it stupid from an objective perspective? Yes! So is owning a Ferrari but I still want one of those too!

    Sorry this got so long winded. There is much more that could be said and I understand there's an argument to be made the other way. A couple of the best books I have read pertaining to the subject are "Why We Buy" by Paco Underhill and "Predictably Irrational" by Dan Ariely
     
  20. PacificEastAquaculture

    PacificEastAquaculture Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    I'm not naive or ignorant of why the name game exists. As a hobbyist for 50+ years and business owner for 18 years I get it. It's about marketing, drawing attention, building desirability and exclusivity, and ultimately a higher price or volume of sales. Hard core collectors and other vendors laugh at me on this subject and also at the same time buy from me to get a lot of their new releases. That's all fine, I'm not naming names nor shaming anyone. I'm an old school guy and think the name game has clouded the hobby. No longer will some folks buy a nice coral unless it's got a name. At swaps folks are constantly talking names, even though the average hobbyist hasn't a clue of which is which. So, in my little world and in my little way I push back at the mountain. Maybe I climb it or maybe it slides and crushes. So it goes!
     
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