In general, there are many industry suppliers who sell through a variety of channels: distributors, retail stores, incentives houses and on the internet. Questions and concerns sometimes arise if and when a supplier sells through different channels, especially at different prices. Legally, ASI cannot have any rules or guidelines directing what channel or channels a supplier might decide to use to sell its product – or what a distributor can or cannot do. Our position is consistent with legal requirements under anti-trust laws, including that we cannot tell anyone what price they can sell their products for or who they can sell to.
Based on discussions with other organizations in the industry, all of us operate with same understanding of what we can or cannot do. We don’t exclude a supplier from membership simply because they sell through another channel, including directly through the web, because that exclusion would not be legal.
However, in ESP and on www.asicentral.com ASI provides “marketing policy” information so a distributor knows if a specific supplier sells only through industry distributors, or also uses other channels like incentive reps, or even if a supplier sells directly through email marketing campaigns or a website(s). Although this is partly self-reported by suppliers, when ASI sees evidence or hears about examples showing the supplier sells through other channels, we do our best to check it out and make any annotations required to ensure that our marketing policy information is accurate.