A couple of threads lately on TB, and a particularly interesting one on another forum got me thinking about an interesting topic for discussion. Basically a manufacturer has come out and told the forum members "the truth" about how much influence they really have on the overall sales of the product and I was genuinely surprised by the figure. Now, to be honest I have to give huge props to the manufacturer who said this because its not a comment thats going to "win the hearts and minds" of his forum users, but it was a very interesting bit of information. In short, the manufacturer basically said that the influence that forum users have on the overall instruments sales is insignificant and therefore its unlikely to have any real influence on build and marketing decisions. I don't think there was any suggestion that forum users' views are ignored, but more that they don't rank particuarly high when it comes to the views of their biggest buyers (ie stores - big chains etc), their own R&D departments and marketing departments. Now I don't think this would come as a huge surprise to many forum users in terms of large manufacturers, but it got me thinking about whether the influence that forum users *think* they have is far greater than the influence they *do* have. I would be interested to hear from both builders, shop owners and TBers generally on this topic. How do you perceive the collective influence of the forum on manufacturers etc. Do you think they listen to the views and do you think that they have any real influence?