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Reef Pilot
01-12-2015, 08:38 PM
OK, here is my attempt at starting a meaningful discussion with AD...

Restoring the original thread was a great step in the right direction. But unfortunately it got deleted. So I will try to keep the discussion going with this thread. Hopefully, it won't get deleted.

OK, let's talk products as you, AD, have asked. I am in the camp that actually thinks that you do have a lot of good products and strong sellers. And Ecotech is definitely one of them. As has been discussed, they have their detractors, but for sure, part of the value proposition appeals strongly to a lot of customers. Things like direct service, no wires and small footprint in the water, and availability of parts is good for customer loyalty. And some are willing to pay more for that.

But then there is Jebao. You said that you once considered carrying them, but decided against that. Do you consider that perhaps a mistake, considering the overwhelming customer response and price points? Could you not have worked with them to help with the electrical certifications? Your size in Canada and the US should have carried some weight with them. Or did they just not meet your paradigm of retail?

The marketplace has all kinds of customers, incl some that are just plain "cheap". Do you really want to ignore these? And Chinese suppliers and competition are not going away. Maybe as some say, if you can't beat them, maybe you should join them...

Bblinks
01-12-2015, 09:11 PM
I am with you Walter.

I believe AD as a company does make smart choices on the product they carry, Mind you not all of them were good like Pacific sun....I know first hand and consequently Aqua Digital was just in the mist of working out a deal with him and didn't want to start the new venture with me posting my horrible review on them, so he did convince pac sun for a full refund. BTW, that was another almost $4500 mistake. Obviously he has stopped carrying them shortly after. I did however try to warn him about the whole situation and what happened with pac sun and the previous distributor but he didn't want to listen to me.

Anyways, the problem I see here is when you brand yourself as the dedicated supplier you should have all the info and news bulletins for your products and even if you don't, you will still need to find out so you can properly acknowledge your customers. I know for the most of us, it takes a lot to be active in this hobby and we do need as much support as we can even after sales.

Aqua-Digital
01-12-2015, 09:15 PM
Hiya

Good points and I am more than willing to be fully open on this.

First the history - We Only bring in products we do not have to worry about having lost sleep over, a family business that does not bring in any old product just to make a fast buck! I respect that life has given me this option to pick and choose.

About 5 years ago I contacted Jabao in regards to all their product line, was sent samples etc etc, none came close to what we had hoped, one was an micro tank.

I was contacted again when the WP came out but I simply could not put my company name to a company that blatantly copied another design switched names etc, as i said above we are not a company that is out just to make a fast buck, support, client care, and ethics run very high. Jabao was getting so much bad press I really did not want to be associated with it, I also did not feel I could assure its quality.

It also was not a company we could have any exclusive over they would sell to anyone including end users. This makes distribution on all fronts a nightmare, for example investing $25k in a shipment only to find a basement op buying 10 and selling at 10% margin. Distribution is not free ;) So the risks were just too great with the product putting aside the ethical points.

Did we lose out? Maybe, but I can sleep happy with my choice and happy to have my reputation associated with some of the largest and most respected names in the industry.

After sales and client care are 100% important to us before anything else (ask people who have dealt with us), I personally work 7 days a week supporting end users by email and phone no one goes waiting more than a few hours, we are always on hand, I dont know a single other distributor with that level of care. So we have to be careful what products we carry so we are not bogged down.. We are responsible for what we import so if something feels off we will not go down that road, we do not want you the end user hit. Sometimes we miss out yes, but I can live with that.

Aqua-Digital
01-12-2015, 09:22 PM
Anyways, the problem I see here is when you brand yourself as the dedicated supplier you should have all the info and news bulletins for your products and even if you don't, you will still need to find out so you can properly acknowledge your customers. I know for the most of us, it takes a lot to be active in this hobby and we do need as much support as we can even after sales.

This is great in theory but a manufacturer will only give you the information they wish to give, we cant beat info a client may want out of them, it simply does not work that way.

However we will do all we can to post immediately any info we do have and that is proven by our level of posts you see here on Canreef.

The bottom line is if the info is not in the post we simply dont have it or legally can not share it. We try to be as open as possible but our hands are often tied either by no info to give or restriction on info.

Aqua-Digital
01-12-2015, 09:27 PM
if anyone wants to know how we are set uo run where we came from what we do what we dont do, ask, we have nothing to hide, we are here to support always have these last 7 years. Do we always get it right hell no, but we do our best.

I think this thread has legs looking forward to being a part of it. But please lets not get personal :lol: If we can Keep it to the company and the products etc im all for it. But if this turns into another gripe about personal axes to grind then it will just end up getting removed.

Lets see where it leads ;)

reefwars
01-12-2015, 09:33 PM
Any word on ecotech releasing anything new in 2015 ?

Aqua-Digital
01-12-2015, 09:36 PM
Nothing yet. You will be the first know here on Canreef should I hear anything though ;)

Reef Pilot
01-12-2015, 10:16 PM
About 5 years ago I contacted Jebao in regards to all their product line, was sent samples etc etc, none came close to what we had hoped, one was an micro tank.

I was contacted again when the WP came out but I simply could not put my company name to a company that blatantly copied another design switched names etc, as i said above we are not a company that is out just to make a fast buck, support, client care, and ethics run very high. Jabao was getting so much bad press I really did not want to be associated with it, I also did not feel I could assure its quality.

It also was not a company we could have any exclusive over they would sell to anyone including end users. This makes distribution on all fronts a nightmare, for example investing $25k in a shipment only to find a basement op buying 10 and selling at 10% margin. Distribution is not free ;) So the risks were just too great with the product putting aside the ethical points.

Did we lose out? Maybe, but I can sleep happy with my choice and happy to have my reputation associated with some of the largest and most respected names in the industry.

OK, thanks, for responding. I understand your points about not having exclusivity. But don't you need a foot in the door, before you can ask for that? And isn't some business better than none? With your overall volume and contacts with the retailers, I would think that you are in the best position to build up those sales. And with that comes vol discounts and rebates,... I am sure you know the game.

As for ethics and legalities, I will leave that to the govt and the companies involved. There are laws, patent provisions and remedies that are available to anyone that wants to protect their rightfully proprietary assets. If Jebao or any other company flaunts that, they could be liable. On the other hand, just talk or threats do not make a case.

But you can't deny that Jebao has become popular (and has evolved) to become a major player in our business. And from a reefer's perspective they are very welcome. As you well know, keeping saltwater aquariums is very costly. The more we can reduce and keep those costs down, the better it will be for everyone, incl the vendors.

Aqua-Digital
01-12-2015, 10:32 PM
Hi
In regards to foot in the door etc, as I said above we did not want to carry the product. It was not for us.

I agree also it has become popular that there is no doubt and many dealers are buying them direct which was another large reason for not investing in a company that sells to anyone. We then have multiple warranty issues, being asked to support products we had not originally sold, pricing issues, potential devalued stock. It simply was not worth it.

But I think for those that want this option they are well covered for supply.

Our main company focus is on companies like GHL and Ecotech where we can support the hobbyist fully. We even help ecotech clients out that have not purchased through one of our dealers, yes we will see if they can get assistance first through that point of sale but if not we will always step in to help out.

Reef Pilot
01-12-2015, 10:57 PM
Our main company focus is on companies like GHL and Ecotech where we can support the hobbyist fully. We even help ecotech clients out that have not purchased through one of our dealers, yes we will see if they can get assistance first through that point of sale but if not we will always step in to help out.
OK, fair enough, that is your choice and I understand your reasons.

So, if you provide full support for Ecotech, does that mean now that I can get my Radion Gen 1 upgraded to a Gen 3 without having to send it to the US and deal directly with Ecotech? I purchased all my Radions in Canada. And because I got the Gen 1's early, I paid through the nose, too... I was OK with that, though, as I was led to believe that any upgrades would be more than feasible and easy. So did I pay for just an empty promise?

Aqua-Digital
01-12-2015, 10:59 PM
This is Ecotechs policy not ours, they do not supply us with G1 to G3 kits. I do understand the reasons though. The G1 had many variants and needs multiple parts, so for them to know what it needs for us to send you the parts without seeing it is very hard.

The upgrade option is there so it is feasible and easy, the unit just needs to go back to Ecotech. (which of course to some is not feasable or easy)

I could look into a rental program to get people by but then that just adds to the cost of getting the lamp upgraded.

Reef Pilot
01-12-2015, 11:14 PM
This is Ecotechs policy not ours, they do not supply us with G1 to G3 kits, if they did I would be more than willing to help.

I did ask Ecotech again recently and it was the same response. I do understand the reasons though. The G1 had many variants and needs multiple parts, so for them to know what it needs for us to send you the parts without seeing it is very hard.

The upgrade option is there so it is feasible and easy, the unit just needs to go back to Ecotech. (which of course to some is not feasable or easy)

I could look into a rental program to get people by but then that just adds to the cost of getting the lamp upgraded.
Yup, that is what I was told before. But it does not support your narrative of providing full support for Ecotech, and why you chose to only deal with premium manufacturers and suppliers. In light of that, perhaps you should tone down your promotion of some of these suppliers. Paying more does not always mean getting better service and support.

I can say that without hesitation, because even with my cheap Jebao, I was able to quickly get a replacement when I had a problem. Heck, even with the hated brand Coralife I got a quick replacement on a pump without having to even pay shipping. These are certainly a lot cheaper brands, but I don't seem to be getting any less service and support from them.

Aqua-Digital
01-12-2015, 11:18 PM
I personally think Ecotech offer the best support out of all brands.

I will make contact for you tomorrow i will see if we can find a solution, send me your serial number.

Reef Pilot
01-12-2015, 11:41 PM
I will try again for you tomorrow i will see if we can find a solution, send me your serial number.
OK, I have 4 of the Gen 1s, although only wanted to upgrade 3 of them. I will have to look up the serial numbers and will send you a PM. I know they are big long numbers, so hope I don't make a mistake copying them.

Don't know what the current cost is either, as I know the loonie has dropped a lot since I last wanted to do this. So that will factor into my final decision as well.

As for rental, there has to be a better way. Last year I had to replace a starter that had failed on my airplane. The vendor sent me out a new one even before I was able to remove the old one and send it back in for repairs. They respected that summer was prime flying time for me (floatplane) and did their best to minimize my downtime. All they asked I first pay for it by credit card (by phone), and they refunded it when they received the old one.

So why can't Ecotech, or you, do something similar. I would pay for the new ones, and you would send out the new Gen 3's. When you received my old Gen 1's you could refund the appropriate difference. I could live with that. And my tanks would never be without lights. And oh, it is a big deal doing this all within Canada, too. That way I don't lose on the extra exchange rates both ways when dealing with credit cards and US transactions, over and above the bank exchange rates.

Aqua-Digital
01-12-2015, 11:45 PM
There is a lot of legs in what you are saying, the only way we could do it is to ask Ecotech to supply us some ex demos and then the end user would pay for them until received back in working order then refunded. Of course ex any shipping costs.

We could never do it without payment as protection as I 100% guarantee at some point the units would walk! Nature of the beast sadly.

Reef Pilot
01-12-2015, 11:52 PM
There is a lot of legs in what you are saying, the only way we could do it is to ask Ecotech to supply us some ex demos and then the end user would pay for them until received back in working order then refunded. Of course ex any shipping costs.

We could never do it without payment as protection as I 100% guarantee at some point the units would walk! Nature of the beast sadly.

Don't you have an inventory of these that you send out to retailers based on their inventory replenishment needs? Or do you just drop ship them the inventory directly from the manufacturer?

And yes, no problem paying up front, as long as I get full refund for the difference. And like I said, don't want to have to deal with US exchange on my credit cards.

Aqua-Digital
01-12-2015, 11:59 PM
We have a mass of retail stock at all times, but demos are supplied on request as most dealers now have what they need. Nothing gets drop shipped from manufacturers we deal with.

Leave it with me I got your PM so I have all the info I need from here.

albert_dao
01-13-2015, 01:29 AM
I'm a little late here, but to answer Walter's question, the idea of jebao granting exclusivity is a joke. Jebao's business plan doesn't include any form of relationship building with its dealers. No amount of massaging is going to change that.

Reef Pilot
01-13-2015, 01:39 AM
I'm a little late here, but to answer Walter's question, the idea of jebao granting exclusivity is a joke. Jebao's business plan doesn't include any form of relationship building with its dealers. No amount of massaging is going to change that.
I am not advocating exclusivity. I think that was AD's desire. I was just saying you can't ask for that, unless you at least have a foot in the door with selling their product.

I guess it comes down to volumes. If a distributor can get better pricing due to volumes, then it can be a benefit to the consumer as well. But our new world of online retailing (even all the way from China) makes it harder and harder to compete given the volumes they can sell directly.

I think this Alibaba Express is really going to have an impact, and it is just starting in Canada and North America. And BTW, BABA might be a good stock to hold, too. I think they are now already bigger than eBay and Amazon combined with e-Commerce. And they just went public a couple months ago...

Aqua-Digital
01-13-2015, 02:42 AM
I am not advocating exclusivity. I think that was AD's desire. I was just saying you can't ask for that, unless you at least have a foot in the door with selling their product.

This in theory makes sense, however for a distributor to get a product going in a territory costs a lot of investment, not having rights to it can be a costly exercise when they find tom dick and basement Bob selling it at some crazy margin. So we NOW only touch stuff we have some level of rights to. This business is way to cut throat to have anything else.

Some lines we do share but these are long standing arrangements where typically there are silent agreements and manufacturers bind us to selling levels.

Aqua-Digital
01-13-2015, 02:46 AM
We will have another one on board by April ;)

mikellini
01-13-2015, 03:02 AM
An issue I have with AD (and I've already spoken with them via email about this) is regarding 'reviews'. From an ethical perspective, essentially offering someone a sale price on an item in exchange for doing a review on that item is a bad idea. You would never presume to do this with a publication/journalist, but for some reason it seems that this has been done many times (and continues to be common practice) with hobbyists. Putting the aside the issue of inherent bias due to money invested and desire to buy the product, the biggest problem with this is gross misrepresentation of a 'sale price' as a 'review opportunity'. I'd like to hear what others have to say about this (since I've already heard from AD).

Reef Pilot
01-13-2015, 03:07 AM
You would be surprised how common this is everywhere, incl journalism. Very hard to find true reviews anywhere... Do you really believe what Motortrend says about a new car review??...

That's actually where these forums are in fact very valuable. You get experiences and opinions from real users, who actually paid for the product.

Aqua-Digital
01-13-2015, 03:10 AM
Here is why we do it.

when investing in a new product it is good to get honest open feedback of a product. These products typically are not cheap we distribute and to give someone the product for free simply does not work, we did this once and the guy ran off with the unit and we never heard a word back!

The idea is that end users get the chance to hear from other end users what they think about the product. This then feeds interest and then dealers know if the product is worth selling it also gives us a good representation of expected issues or concerns.

If by offering the product at typically import cost to someone is an issue then they dont have to take the offer up. But so far in 7 years of doing this we have had nothing but good feedback, however if that policy is now negatively accepted we simply will stop offering this to Canreefers.

Bottom line if you dont like it we wont do it.

Aqua-Digital
01-13-2015, 03:10 AM
You would be surprised how common this is everywhere, incl journalism. Very hard to find true reviews anywhere... Do you really believe what Motortrend says about a new car review??...

That's actually where these forums are in fact very valuable. You get experiences and opinions from real users, who actually paid for the product.

+1

mikellini
01-13-2015, 03:26 AM
You would be surprised how common this is everywhere, incl journalism. Very hard to find true reviews anywhere... Do you really believe what Motortrend says about a new car review??...

That's actually where these forums are in fact very valuable. You get experiences and opinions from real users, who actually paid for the product.

Motortrend (and other journalists) do not have to pay to review things. They aren't usually given things free of charge either. They are given 'review units' that are returned after the review is completed.

I completely understand that it wouldn't often work (except with low cost items) to just 'gift' items to hobbyists for review. I also understand the worry about someone taking the product and running. But I suggested what I feel is the right way to do it (taking a deposit, then giving the option to purchase or return after the review, split shipping costs) and was told that I should essentially just read someone else's review.

Ron99
01-13-2015, 03:30 AM
I've had some experience in this industry with review units and the ones I have seen were provided free of charge to select bloggers/reviewers. They are a marketing write off for the manufacturer etc.

I've done some automotive writing and reviews and in that case the car companies usually give me a car for a week or so to drive and review. Cars are big ticket items so no give aways there. There were a couple I would have loved to keep :)

Aqua-Digital
01-13-2015, 03:30 AM
I completely understand that it wouldn't often work (except with low cost items) to just 'gift' items to hobbyists for review. I also understand the worry about someone taking the product and running. But I suggested what I feel is the right way to do it (taking a deposit, then giving the option to purchase or return after the review, split shipping costs) and was told that I should essentially just read someone else's review.

I understand the theory, the issue is cost, believe it or not distributors have the tin margins, and to give a product away that then comes back effectively second hand that can not be sold is a huge loss, where as giving someone the opportunity to have something they may not be able to afford in return for as best as possible an unbiased review is a two way positive deal.

Distributors in this industry do not have the luxury to give away products even if it can be written off or seen as a marketing plus point. I wish we could just give out units, but it just can not be afforded.

Sadly nothing in life these days is free. So we offer a middle ground, nobody is making that reviewer take up the offer of course ;)

Aqua-Digital
01-13-2015, 03:34 AM
I've had some experience in this industry with review units and the ones I have seen were provided free of charge to select bloggers/reviewers. They are a marketing write off for the manufacturer etc.

I've done some automotive writing and reviews and in that case the car companies usually give me a car for a week or so to drive and review. Cars are big ticket items so no give aways there. There were a couple I would have loved to keep :)

100% agree, manufacturers often will give away products, but as a distributor if the manufacturer wont play ball we try and find a way to still get a review so everyone is happy.

Bblinks
01-13-2015, 03:36 AM
An issue I have with AD (and I've already spoken with them via email about this) is regarding 'reviews'. From an ethical perspective, essentially offering someone a sale price on an item in exchange for doing a review on that item is a bad idea. You would never presume to do this with a publication/journalist, but for some reason it seems that this has been done many times (and continues to be common practice) with hobbyists. Putting the aside the issue of inherent bias due to money invested and desire to buy the product, the biggest problem with this is gross misrepresentation of a 'sale price' as a 'review opportunity'. I'd like to hear what others have to say about this (since I've already heard from AD).

I totally agree, giving some one a discounted product to review when they are ready to replace the current model isn't the best practice. Not saying all of those reviews are bias but we all know no one likes admit they have spent their hard earned money on a piece of junk even if you got a deal on it.

AD, do you always try to get exclusive right on product distribution in Canada? If you can enlighten me those products that would be great. Thanks

mikellini
01-13-2015, 03:51 AM
I understand the theory, the issue is cost, believe it or not distributors have the tin margins, and to give a product away that then comes back effectively second hand that can not be sold is a huge loss, where as giving someone the opportunity to have something they may not be able to afford in return for as best as possible an unbiased review is a two way positive deal.

Distributors in this industry do not have the luxury to give away products even if it can be written off or seen as a marketing plus point. I wish we could just give out units, but it just can not be afforded.

Sadly nothing in life these days is free. So we offer a middle ground, nobody is making that reviewer take up the offer of course ;)

It's likely you'd only receive a product back if it wasn't a good product. I can't see why someone would essentially take a loss on their time and money by sending back something they were happy with. And if second hand products can't be sold, I guess we should close the Buy&Sell forum...

Your 'middle ground' is getting a free review. I can see how you might call it a 'win win' situation, but clearly you are taking no risk and getting a potentially nice, free reward. It's this viewpoint, and many other comments by many other people in many other threads, that I hope you consider.

Aqua-Digital
01-13-2015, 12:32 PM
Your 'middle ground' is getting a free review. I can see how you might call it a 'win win' situation, but clearly you are taking no risk and getting a potentially nice, free reward. It's this viewpoint, and many other comments by many other people in many other threads, that I hope you consider.

We get emails and calls all the time asking for free stuff in return for a review, we have even got recently from someone an email on this exact subject demanding to do a review for free and got very upset when we turned them down, total idiot in my view:( Some people do think they can bully you with the threat of negative posts on forums to get what they want. So you see we have to be careful, give into one it sets a precedent.

Business is about limiting risks, so I have absolute no issues with this. And currently the mass majority do not either.

Currently this is not a policy we will be changing, I have seen absolute no evidence other than yourself and BB that feel it alienates anyone,I also spent a ton of time trawling through the forum to find complaints about this as you say and there is not one from I can find, in fact more posts on here about the subject are for it than against. So the majority rule

we have been doing this for 7 years in this country and about 14 years in Europe with not one single complaint, so I see no reason to change now.

As it stands dealers we have asked (and we do) like the idea as it gives insight to the product and end user like having something to review at a cheaper price. we benefit from the review and so do the reviewers, dealers and end users.

I understand and respect you personally do not like it, so all I can advise is dont read them, it is impossible to please everyone and on this topic we cant please you or really try to. We will continue to monitor the policy with our dealers primarily and if they have issues then we will of course listen, as its the dealers the policy more than anything to make a structured choice if the product is right for them.

I have nothing else to add to this topic, so this one is now closed, but thank you for your input (only because i know full well how these things spiral and want to keep this thread open)

Aqua-Digital
01-13-2015, 12:58 PM
AD, do you always try to get exclusive right on product distribution in Canada? If you can enlighten me those products that would be great. Thanks

In the main yes, it is a business strategy that works as we can then invest in large amounts of stock without the risk of it being devalued by someone who may not be as ethical in terms of price point. Too many think this industry is a game even a hobby at business level and do not understand its actually someones income to survive (no different than someone working for someone or running their own business) This industry is full of people running off shoots of their own stable income to make some pocket money, so we insist on exclusiveness to protect "our family income"

Business protection is one of the first lessons in business school ;)

Our 3 out of 4 of our main lines are exclusive, another one might as well be and is considered exclusive as nobody else really carries it and we are working on another one for this year with another European large manufacturer.

"Smaller" lines that are not are under risk of being dropped by us this year as we tighten our business model

We do not discuss openly what is exclusive or not this internal business sorry not for the open forum ;)

mikellini
01-13-2015, 05:37 PM
Most of the posts that show disgruntled or alienated customers have been deleted, so you won't find much by "trawling through the forum". However it's clear you have a business model that works, so I won't fault you for that. Ethics and business don't mix well

Aqua-Digital
01-13-2015, 05:46 PM
I guess the bit about not carrying this on was not seen ;)

So you are saying ALL the posts with the mass of complaints on this one topic of us offering people the chance to review our products have been removed. Hmmm I think most will find that a stretch.

In regards to ethics, lets keep this thread pleasant. AND as asked move on. Thanks.

mikellini
01-13-2015, 06:12 PM
I guess the bit about not carrying this on was not seen ;)

So you are saying ALL the posts with the mass of complaints on this one topic of us offering people the chance to review our products have been removed. Hmmm I think most will find that a stretch.

In regards to ethics, lets keep this thread pleasant. AND as asked move on. Thanks.

Nice straw man. I did say most, not all. There are still a few threads to be found with you openly "disagreeing" with hobbyists.

I am being very pleasant. I have a smile on my face. Perhaps I should give a smiley-winky face to show that ;) or perhaps we can continue the conversation via pm? Then it won't show up in a forum search.

Aqua-Digital
01-13-2015, 06:19 PM
Honestly I have nothing further to say or add, I appreciate the thought but as i said it is a model that works with no valid mass complaints and will continue to work unless we see or deem otherwise, talking it over is really not going to change anything, not my end anyway.

To be clear there is NOT a thread on this forum that I can find or anyone else that has contacted me where anyone has complained about us offering product reviews and the product being offered as a gesture at cost to do the review.

We have a business model that works, 99.99% seem very happy with it and this is not being arrogant or stone faced, why should we change something that the majority like and is causing absolute no issues. If one or two dont like it, sorry I guess just dont read them. I know that sounds harsh but we can not be swayed by the very small minority.

I would really really appreciate this thread moving on from this now.

With best intentions
Michael
(please no more replies on this)

jorjef
01-13-2015, 07:01 PM
Wow, even I'm tiring from the "review for hire conspiracy interrogation " Who cares!

Aqua-Digital
01-13-2015, 07:03 PM
Wow, even I'm tiring from the "review for hire conspiracy interrogation " Who cares!

LOL :mrgreen:

Bblinks
01-13-2015, 07:34 PM
Wow, even I'm tiring from the "review for hire conspiracy interrogation " Who cares!

Just wait, time will come when you will care! :mrgreen:

jorjef
01-13-2015, 07:53 PM
Just wait, time will come when you will care! :mrgreen:

Meh... If you have seen my post in random thoughts I don't think there is much of a chance .... It would be foolish to buy anything on one persons review be it good or bad..:biggrin:

Aqua-Digital
01-13-2015, 08:40 PM
Ok this now has gone way off track from the original OP (which we have now managed to help out to his satisfaction.)