Humble [AMX, Biamp, Crestron – Are they capable of being humble?]
What exactly is a domain name? It is a part of the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) and is a unique name that identifies a website and serves as an address which is used to access the website. It is a company’s public face to the world. Does a company own every variation of that name just because they own one? Of course not, that is how other companies and individuals make hundreds or thousands of dollars — selling these distinctive names.
But there are some companies that would like to believe they own every domain name variation, including the letter “C”. This article deals with the actual details from AMX, Biamp, and Crestron concerning their domain names. They all have one but with three dramatically different approaches. For this article, let’s put aside who should own a domain and look at how the situation was handled. Before I closed down my company, I bought several different domains, all of which were completely available for anyone to buy at the time.
Biamp Systems, are they humble? – you decide
One of the domain names that I bought through GoDaddy in 2012 was Biamp.us. By the summer of 2013, it became a marketing problem for Biamp Systems. Due to my association with different LinkedIn and Facebook DSP Gurus groups (DSP Gurus), companies began complaining to Biamp Systems about me owning this particular domain, including most likely other software programming companies offering the same service as my previous company did.
I would like to invite everyone to join LinkedIn DSP Gurus. DSP Gurus is a place for people who have a passion for audio.
Join – DSP Gurus
By the end of that summer, Biamp expressed the desire to have the address Biamp.us. Keep in mind the words that I chose to use – “expressed a desire”.
Biamp Systems did not declare that I had to give them the website address. They did not say or mention anything about retaining an attorney. All of the discussions were very courteous, professional and friendly. At no time did I ever believe I had to give up or sell the domain.
However, I understood Biamp Systems point of view even though I legitimately bought the name. Some individuals (and companies) would have taken advantage of this situation and asked for tens of thousands of dollars because for them, money is everything. I simply asked if Biamp would be willing to exchange a Tesira Server, with cards, for the domain. The person that I spoke with indicated that would not be an issue but he would have to confirm the agreement with senior management.
I would rather have the knowledge and tools to make tens of thousands of dollars instead of unfairly taking it from a person or company. Biamp Systems and I agreed to exchange the equipment for the name and everyone would be happy. This was around September and I was scheduled to go on site to commission a large project that I was working on. Biamp management said “no problem, we will go ahead and send you the equipment and when you get back home a few weeks later, arrange with our IT person the domain transfer”.
When I did get back home, the Biamp Tesira Server and the cards were waiting for me as promised. I called Biamp’s IT and we started the transfer. A couple weeks later, everything was completed. I had the test equipment and Biamp Systems had their domain name. I appreciated their trust in me in sending a $5,000 piece of equipment before I had the chance to initiate the transfer.
Because of this experience I will personally remember how professional Biamp was and everyone reading this article will know the answer to the question. Now let’s fast-forward three years and the same situation but with a different company and outcome.
Crestron Electronics, are they humble? – you decide
This brings me to another situation involving a domain name that I owned legitimately for over three years. This link was on Code Creative XL’s websites and Twitter accounts, publicly for everyone to view.
Crestron Service Providers was a domain I owned until just a few months ago. Around the first part of April, Code Creative XL had a marketing campaign associated with this name. As every marketer knows, campaigns ads are designed to get your attention. Crestron is famous for this – why do you think they have attractive female models at events such as infocomm? Because it gets your attention, doesn’t it?
I certainly got the attention of other CSP companies who probably viewed Code Creative XL as a competitor. Crestron told me there were many complaints about me owning this domain name despite the fact that I bought it legitimately from GoDaddy.
I told R#####d the CSP Crestron manager that I would be willing to make the same great arrangement I worked out with Biamp Systems. It seemed to me that this person got irritated just because I mentioned Biamp Systems. I made numerous phone calls to Crestron management to see how they would like to move forward with working out an agreement to transfer the name over to them.
Keep in mind – I owned this for 3+ years and Crestron management knew I had this domain. It did not become a problem until other companies (CSP’s) started complaining about it to them.
I told this Crestron manager I did not want a large sum of money. Yes, I really said that. “I do not want a large sum of money”. The more money you have just translates into more trouble that you have in life. I rarely even play the lottery. But I stated the agreement should be fair for both Crestron and me.
It is worth noting that this is the same Crestron manager that oversaw the Crestron Masters 2016 event.
After about a week of not hearing anything and not being able to get in touch with anyone to discuss this, I received an email from Crestron’s legal counsel, clearly a step to intimidate me. The letter stated that I could not use the Crestron CSP logo or name because I was not a CSP company. I returned the attorney’s email and I stated that this had to be a mistake. My company (Code Creative XL) had been part of Crestron’s CSP community for almost 8 years and never had a single complaint. Also, I confirmed the 2016 CSP agreement I had made with them back in December, 2015 and, at the same time, I had sent in the $1,000 2016 CSP membership fee. Crestron received my paperwork and payment and it was processed that same month. In fact, I even had the email confirming my membership in the 2016 CSP program with the Crestron CSP manager. I finally got in touch with the Crestron CSP manager (after many phone calls) and he said “Crestron had a clerical error and somebody misplaced your paper work”.
That same manager told me that they would find the paperwork but they needed me to remove an article that I wrote about the Crestron Masters. I asked this person if he believed the article was in error. He replied “you made some very good points and it is a correct article”. But Crestron doesn’t like anyone to see any bad news. He said Crestron’s competitors were going to dealers and saying how bad Crestron Masters looked.
It is also worth noting that I received the letter (in an email) from the attorney the same day that the Crestron US Masters 2016 Review article went public.
I supposed to some freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment only applies if it brings good news. By removing the objective and impartial Crestron US Masters 2016 Review article from AV News, I would be doing a great disservice to the countless people that have served this nation for liberty and freedom. The Crestron Masters 2016 Review is still up on the AV News website so please take a moment and judge for yourself if the review is non-biased.
Crestron stated that I, Code Creative XL was no longer part of their CSP’s organization as of February 2016, there was no possible way that I could have breached any CSP agreements with the Crestron Masters 2016 Review article being published. It was not a negative article about Crestron. Based on their own senior management comments about the article, it was overall positive.
I decided on my own and without being threatened that I would go ahead and transfer the domain to Crestron, completely free. I sent an email to the Crestron CSP Manager, the IT person and legal counsel requesting them to contact me in order to precede. I did not do this out of fear of legal action. So why did I do this?
I did it because I anticipated that Crestron would do the right thing just like Biamp Systems had sent me more than $5,000 worth of equipment before the transfer of the domain name had even been initiated. I was more than willing to believe Crestron would be as humble and honest. Once I transferred the domain, Crestron would do what was right.
The only thing that I have received is a thank you email from the IT person that operates Crestron web site. Not a single thank you, nor email nor phone call from Crestron itself. At the very least, they could have sent an email acknowledging the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars I saved them. I will leave the question open to everyone in the Audio/Video community to answer – is Crestron humble?
AMX are they humble? – you decide
This brings me to the last domain name that I used to own which was valuedindependentprogrammers.com. AMX has an authorized group of individuals and companies that are part of their independent programmers. They were referred to as valued Independent Programmers.
This was the original name of the organization that started around 2008 and it continued until a few years ago; at which time it was changed to Valued Independent Partners, a domain name that I did not own but with the same initials as VIP.
I believe the name change was around the same time the AMX manager discovered that I own the current (VIP) valuedindependentprogrammers.com. The AMX name change could have been related to ownership of this domain name or it could been related to the same reason Crestron changed their CAIP name a few years earlier.
I wonder who owns the current VIP domain name?
results from 8/28/16
I do not know if this influenced AMX’s decision to make the change. They did not asked me to transfer the domain nor did AMX asked me to cease using it.
AMX, simply renamed their program – is AMX humble?
When I owned my company I did a large amount of marketing and I guarantee no one would find one single comment where I trash talked another person or company. Even when somebody responded negatively to me, I simply did not respond back.
I am sure one can make a case why AMX, Biamp and Crestron should have the above domains. The names were available for anyone to register and it’s not my fault that these companies didn’t do so. Reviewing information from GoDaddy’s website and relevant conversations showed I was the legitimate owner of those addresses. I can only imagine if they were bought by someone outside of the audio/visual industry or a competitor within, these 3 companies could have paid tens of thousands of dollars more to secure those domains.
The real meaning behind this article is not whether AMX, Biamp, or Crestron are entitled to these domains but rather how they went about securing them once they became aware of the situation. Crestron clearly had a different approach and one that was more aggressive. I have been told by other media outlets that Crestron’s marketing team will call the moment a media company publishes something that is unfavorable of Crestron. In fact, this person told me they have a reputation of being the most aggressive about biased articles in the audio/visual industry. That is probably not the best title to have.
As a media company, if you do give an honest opinion, you will be punished in some way. For example, a media company could lose advertisement and no access to individuals such as CEO’s. They make their money by placing images on their website or for a fixed payment at the beginning of the year.
A media company may get paid $10,000 from Crestron to post some articles about them during the year. Honestly, would Crestron be willing to pay that type of money to have websites posting articles that showed a negative view of the company? I have actually been told by one residential media company that their readers do not like to read about Crestron disasters but I tend to think it’s wrong to assume that someone would prefer to read only one-sided opinions.
This article reflects a completely honest account of what happened regarding a desired domain name. Like all of my other articles, they are a professional, respectable, and unbiased opinion. Most readers would agree that AMX and Biamp Systems handled this situation the best and this example ensures more for a company’s future then their current products.
Because, just like all of the major wireless carriers today have fairly good voice quality, all of the major audio/video companies will offer a similar products at the same level of quality. So what happens when buying a digital switcher from AMX, Biamp or Clearone is just as good as Crestron digital switchers are today? Control systems are changing and the differences between manufacturers’ equipment are becoming minimized.
Which is a better option to pick in the long run – a company that has a better product today or a company that has a better future and is humble?
Challenges for AMX Crestron, Biamp and those Media companies
As a Crestron CSP or AMX VIP, you sign certain agreements. Depending on how and who is interpreting those agreements, you could say you’re giving up your freedom. So I challenge AMX and Crestron – do not discourage or do not try to silence honest critique and reviews. Do not punish media companies for giving a non-biased review. When a publication such as rAVe Publications publish something that a company does not like, then do not call and harass them.
AMX and Crestron do a lot of work for the government. But how many of those government employees and military personnel know about the restrictions that AMX and Crestron put on freedom of speech.
AMX and Crestron, remove these restrictions that limit honest and professional opinions, whether they are direct or more indirect. Not referring clients/jobs, limiting access to AMX/Crestron websites, limiting access to training are all examples of how they encourage compliance. Perhaps ‘encourage compliance’ could be replaced with shamefully disgracing liberty and freedom.
Everyone knows what inappropriate comments are but professional opinions (journalism) should not be restricted or punished. Do not pretend to use a business model as justification. Biamp Systems is a successful business and they do not require such restrictions. The restrictions that AMX and Crestron places on CSP’s and VIP’s are a way to control information. The very people that are experts in the programming area are limited either directly or indirectly from expressing their own opinions that may be critical of AMX or Crestron. AMX and Crestron ‘do what is right‘ and stop this practice. ‘Do what is right‘ and stop anything that would even appear to suggest this practice.
I challenge AMX, Biamp Systems, Crestron and those audio/video media companies to leave a comment in this article and explain your side of the opinion.
AMX and Crestron both have issues I believe they need to correct, allowing the industry to speak freely and without being penalized. Obviously, there is a difference between just complaining and giving an unbiased and professional opinion.
It is a disgrace when some companies shamelessly disrespect the First Amendment for corporate greed. AMX and Crestron will sure take the government and military money but do they care about honoring liberty when it comes to their own self-interests?
Leave a comment and share your opinion – is it all about corporate greed?
They restrict (directly or indirectly) their own employees from commenting and they make their partners sign agreements that violate this amendment. If a business wants to do work with the government then they should not be allowed to restrict their employees or partners in ways that violates the First Amendment.
I can understand Crestron’s and AMX’s ambition to control information. Most businesses would not want their employees, partners (Crestron CSP’s & AMX VIP’s), and dealers to promote unprofessional opinions about the company. Let me make it clear, I am not speaking about those inappropriate comments. I am concerned about professional opinions and professional comments that are being censored.
For example, based on information from Crestron, they have the ability to remotely monitor the Crestron Tool Box application and buttons on remotes. A certified programmer, dealer or CSP firm should be able to make this publicly known without feeling threatened or being punished. Also, the article that I wrote about the Crestron Masters 2016 Review is another great example of this. It was a professional review that highlighted positive and negative aspects of this training event.
Now I am sure those companies can make a legal argument saying they are not restricting freedom because they are not forcing you to sign those agreements. But if the only way that you can do a particular action or be in a group or be a dealer that is critical to your livelihood and way of life is to sign those agreements, then yes this is shamefully disrespecting liberty. Perhaps legally they would be fine but morally it is a disgrace. This is not an act of being humble.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.(Heb.11:1)
Here is your chance AMX, Crestron, CE pro, and rAVe Publication to prove to everyone that you are humble — leave a comment.
Freedom is about more than just one issue and it is about more than just one article. But censorship and the restriction of liberty can start out small and before you know it, freedom is forever altered.
As a customer, which company would you prefer to do business with? A company that is completely honest and does not restrict freedom and honor the values that we stand for in the United States? Or a company that hides behind the details of legal agreements to restrict freedom and liberty?
This article is not an attack on Crestron and it is not an endorsement for AMX or Biamp Systems. But, rather it is an offense pointed towards censorship and an endorsement for liberty and freedom.
- What if movie studios required us all to sign agreements before we watched a movie, stating we would not speak negatively of that movie in any review?
- What if grocery stores required us all to sign legal agreements where we give up our rights to voice opinions about that store?
Now I understand I’m presenting a couple of extreme examples to drive home my point. After all, they represent restrictions placed on consumers as opposed to the way AMX or Crestron are controlling their representatives and employees. But consider this – what if they restricted your company from telling your customers about a security issue in their products?
Nor am I suggesting Biamp Systems is perfect. I am sure there are some readers who have had a bad experience with a Tesira. Probably, that situation cost your company time and money — just to find out it was a mistake on the Tesira side and Biamp did not tell you they were aware of the problem. But there are differences between how AMX, Biamp Systems, and Crestron each handle their mistakes and failures.
I have faith that Crestron and AMX will do what is right and remove the restrictions they place on their partners and representatives. I have faith that Crestron and AMX will stop punishing those that offer professional opinions they find unfavorable. I have faith that in the future, transparency may also include a company’s failures as well as its successes. I have faith that humility and being humble will eventually become a common business practice.
Please share this article and thank you, for taking the time to read Humble.
Stay Humble – Staying humble means to know exactly your place, nothing more and nothing less, to feel that sense of humility by surpassing one’s ego and sincerely taking somebody or something as is, no judgements.
I dedicate this song to every company and individual that has failed to remember how to be humble.
Perhaps those media companies should be relabeled as marketing companies for the manufacturing companies they represent.
Yes, those media companies are ‘extensions’ of the manufactories marketing team.
How many times have you read something from one of those media companies that was critical of a manufacturing company? To use Fox News marketing slogan – they are ‘not’ fair and balanced.
With all this strategic marketing bu#lsh#t, humble is the last thing you could call these companies, the products are the last thing they talk about, it’s a working solution now being sold as a life changing experience ! Just bullshit marketing, obviously aimed at somebody, certainly not me!
On the subject of the Humble article and restrictions-
I do not know why AMX & Crestron keep those restrictions in place because it diminishes the credibility of every single VIP’s and CSP’s recommendations.
Some audio/video media companies are not biased because they give one sided opinions. The restrictions AMX & Crestron place on their own members (such as VIP’s and CSP’s) has a potential of creating a bias toward one manufacturing company. Those restrictions prevents, in some cases, objective and impartial recommendations they may give to their clients.
So in the audiovisual industry you do not know if media companies are telling you the truth because it could be marketing. Also, unfortunately the individuals that are trained the most (certified programmers) might be providing miss information or biased toward a company because of restrictions placed on them.
Control systems are changing and the differences between manufacturers’ equipment are becoming minimized.” That’s the understatement of the decade! Let me rephrase, “Articulated well, Michael.” Crestron needs to stop acting like the 800lb gorilla in the room. We have eyes, we can see how big you are Crestron. Really. With that said, I have a few friends that work there, but they never invite me to their InfoComm party (sniff, sniff) so whatever. I spend many days per week value engineering their Certified designs and saving end users tens of thousands of dollars (even with their extra 15% discount to the dealer 😳) This is the age of IP for AV. There is a paradigm shift in our industry. Proprietary programming will go the way of the Dodo bird and I have encoders and decoders that are 4K, 60, 4:4:4 color because they don’t use the Valens chipset. I’ve said enough. Great post!
I have really been in a designer position in the AV industry for only about 4 years now, even though I have setup, operated, and worked with the equipment for over 15 years. I had done a lot of freelace stagehand, local tech crew, and other front-of-house operation until about 4 years ago when I was hired by #####. I have been to Oregon and taken all of the Biamp courses, and I have taken the courses to earn my DMC-D-4K certification from Crestron. I don’t do any of the actual programming of the control systems, so I have no experience with the programming aspects of AMX, Crestron, etc.
I read your article on how various companies behaved when they learned you owned various domain names that they may be interested in. I think that your experiences highlighted the quintessential behavior of two of the companies you mentioned.
At #####, we build every system, as much as we can, from source to display. We go as far as to use the exact cables that will be used in the final installation.
In this process, we often discover limitations to a companies’ hardware, or have to troubleshoot issues with their hardware by phone or email. In my experiences, Biamp is ALWAYS willing to work with us, over the phone, or even remotely to figure out the issue. If their hardware is faulty (which is very rare by the way), they will gladly send an advance replacement to us to keep the project on schedule. We also get this kind of service with other vendors as well, like Extron and Digital Projection, but you specifically mentioned Biamp in your article.
It seems that whenever I work with Crestron they do everything possible to blame any other piece of equipment in the chain than take responsibility of their own product. Usually the easiest way to verify that it is their equipment that is faulty is to swap it out with a functional model in the same place.
From my experience, and seeing how they are basically a big bully in the AV industry, I try to avoid using Crestron equipment in my designs. Many of our clients need to use Crestron for their control systems, mainly to try and keep their systems uniform. But I will always use other manufacturers’ equipment when I can when it comes to video and audio distribution. Luckily most of the projects we get are not designed with detailed design with a consultant. We generally get a project and get to play the role of consultant, engineer, installer, and service provider for most of our systems.
Our ##### ##### ##### often says that “corporate culture eats strategy for breakfast”, and I’m really glad you wrote this article. It showcases the culture differences between two vendors in the industry.
I hope your job search is going well, and if you need anything from someone else in the industry, let me know and I will see if I can help.
Please Share Humble – Thank you