Jul (07-05) - eCommerce oversold?

July, 2005 Editorial

Over the past 25+ years have tried virtually every method of advertising we could think of and have been frustrated at each attempt. Years ago, before the internet, advertising was accomplished through various trade magazines and periodicals. Slowly those shifted their focus to the burgeoning PC marketplace. There were countless ads for KVM devices with full page exposures which detracted from those placed for used and/or refurbished gear. The costs continued to climb, and the number of third party suppliers who bought space dwindled. Now, with the continued growth of internet advertising, notably Google, the costs have gone even higher. It seems that the top "hits" on Google are those that get the most "face time". That is, not counting the AdWords that we and other vendors buy, the results of a search usually turn up one of the pricing engines such as Epinions or Shopping.com. The longer you and others look at a web site, the more popular it is deemed, and the higher it rises to the top of the "found" list. This is grossly titled toward the largest advertisers and leaves out the niche players. If Shopping.com buys enough advertising, they get the face time that ranks them higher on the non-advertised results. I don't expect Google to change its wildly popular strategy, but those of us that rely on our clients to find us are finding that search engine success depends upon consistent and expensive advertising. If not for the utility bill from Google (et.al.), we'd perhaps emphasize other destinations for our advertising and marketing dollars. Seems that we are stuck with this paradigm at least for now.

Why should you care? Because the spiraling costs of advertising and marketing are reflected in the prices of the products you buy. What to do about it? Call Argecy and skip the searches!

Its been a relatively slow summer here, but there are many news items to present you:

TallyGenicom announced a new line of high speed impact printers, the 6200 and 6300 series. They range in speeds from 600 to 1800 LPM and are sure to be a high quality and durable addition to their venerable traditions. They even offer and ethernet IPDS solution. They are priced competitively with offerings from IBM/Printronix. Also announced were new enhancements to their robust portable printer line. These are excellent for niche markets such as printing in the warehouse, vehicle, or kiosks, etc.

We have now sold over 4,000 coax/twinax to ethernet conversion cards/boxes. We successfully prototyped our second generation card for 4224's and are delighted to have liquid inventory starting at the end of August. So, consider carefully before buying new printers. These old 4224's are built better and last longer than any other printer we've found in the mass market. Conversion is simple, inexpensive, and does not interfere with the clients' ongoing business. Before you buy or recommend a plastic printer, ponder the cost-effectiveness of the combination of our 4224-4xx card in IBM's 4224 printer line.

We are pleased to announce our authorization as a Visara SCON and ICON reseller. Visara has a robust and carefully thought out product line, offering solutions for your thin client, terminal, controller, and printer requirements. Bring us your most difficult environments, and we'll show you some excellent choices. We now offer their products in the IBM 2074 arena which compare with the IDG 9074 line. We look forward to your calls regarding these fine products and offerings.

IBM and Lexmark have both announced their "new" product lines. There are the usual speed and feature enhancements, along with the requisite toners. There is, however, a cool feature which allows the user to configure the printer to as to dedicate resources to either speed of first page out, or continuous print. On short jobs, the speed at which the first page is completed has a greater bearing on the throughput speed than the potential running speed. Memory and processor resources can be allocated to apply to the current printed page instead of beginning to rasterize the successive pages. Pretty cool, but I question whether users will bother. One other item is notable: At running speeds of 50ppm, the new offerings are sure to suck in clients who would have been much better off with a higher end console printer than the cartridge based ones being offered.

IBM also announced their new 6500 series of impact shuttle matrix printers. They are now sold with black cases, as is fashionable of late. There are some minor enhancements, but it is primarily more of same. Their new 6700 series of thermal label printers now offer RFID functionality to replace the 4400 series.

I found it interesting to note that Ricoh engines are used in the IBM 20xx families. I once sold copiers (over 20 years ago) made by Ricoh, and was impressed with their quality and engineering. I should not have been surprised by this discovery. Seems that there are fewer and fewer sources for high speed print engines with all the consolidation that has taken place over the last few years. With the closing of IBM Endicott plant, it seems that IBM has no intention of manufacturing for the printer market, at least in the USA.

I received an email from a European company who is considering jumping in to the printband business. I haven't heard back yet, but I suspect they will not find enough demand to offset their initial investments. I'll keep you posted.

We are sorry to report the loss of yet another participant in the secondary market. Star Computer has closed its doors. No one said being in the refurb business was easy. They were one of the last independent refurb facilities in the nation. We wish Dave and Mike farewell.

Here's the latest hots and nots:

Sweet spots:
IBM 4000-id3/id4 Venerable printer with excellent Roll Systems attachment options (ID3: PAGE COUNT = 25,777,683 W/FEATURES: 4840, 9403, 9410, 4404, 4540, 4481; ID4: COUNT 25,933,478 W/FEATURES: 4840,8524,9410,9941,9993,4367,4540,4540,9470)
IBM 2770-001 InfoPrint 70. We have one banded now.
IBM 6400-015, 008, 050, P50 Get them while they're still cheap.
IBM 1332 (4527-001) sitting NEW IN BOX below dealer cost.
IBM 1352n and 1352 (4528-n01, 4528-001) over 250 pieces sitting NEW IN BOX below dealer cost.
BM 4230-102's and 4230-4i3's. Most others are fairly tight
IBM 1100 (45xx series) series (1125, 1130)
InfoPrint 1228 (4928-001) - 28ppm in color! NEW in box
InfoPrint 62 (4370) High-quality, continuous forms printer - IBM banded
Lexmark 2480 - fast and durable desktop narrow carriage impact printer
Lexmark Optra E 4026-070 cute 8ppm desktop laser
Lexmark Optra M410 - more just in
Lexmark Optra S1250, S1255, S1625, S1855�s � lots and lots sitting (most with ethernet).
Lexmark Optra S2450 -- 24ppm laser

Lexmark Optra Se3455 -
34 pages per minute and cheap-to-keep (16)
Lexmark T612's -- over 70 units in stock now.
Lexmark T614's -- over 25 units in stock now.
Lexmark T522's - over 300 pieces in stock now.
Lexmark T620n's - 23 in stock now.
Lexmark T630's -- over 100 units in stock now.

Lexmark Optra W810 - 35ppm and 11x17 in a very solid printer.
Lexmark external Ethernet print servers 4034-103 - over 100... less than each!!
Lexmark 4227plus- fast ASCII impact printer
More trays and drawers for above lasers than I care to admit....

Multifunction upgrades for IBM and Lexmark machines (we have a few)
Lexmark Optra T622
Lexmark Optra T520
Lexmark Optra T616
Lexmark Optra T610
IBM 1100 (45xx series) series (1120, 1125, 1130, 1140). We have a few of each
IBM 1145 (45xx series) - one left
IBM 1312
IBM 1412
IBM 4247-003 - one left
IBM 4247-V03
IBM 4232-302
IBM 4224-1e3 twinax
David T. Mendelson
Argecy Computer Corporation
27280 Haggerty Road C21
Farmington Hills, MI 48331
248-324-1800 x122
248-324-1900 fax