BD World Takeover


Original Post
ClimberRunner · · Redmond, WA · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 0

When I started climbing, not too many years ago, BD made core climbing gear and distributed SCARPA boots/shoes, Beal Ropes, etc. into the USA from Europe.

Since becoming a publicly owned and traded corporation, they've launched a goal to basically make (or have their logo on) everything anyone would ever want or need for mountain sports. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing for climbing and customers in the long run, but I do know that their very good products (Camalots) have basically paved the way for them to sell a ton of generic, or not-so-good products (clothes, harnesses, neutrino carabiners), and still make a killing based on the logo and consumer ignorance. 

A year or two ago, BD started selling ropes. They were not designing and making ropes, just designing the packaging and selling some Roca ropes with their logo on them, and for a lot more $$ than Roca charged. Despite not comparing to Edelrid, Mammut, etc in terms of quality, they were making a mint on the new "BD" ropes. 

Now it looks like they are selling climbing shoes (boots next?) and I wont be surprised if they make a bunch of money doing so. 

But all this makes wonder: Apart from Camalots and C3s, what do they make which is really exceptional in terms of quality, innovation or value? 

5 or 10 years from now, are climbing consumers going to regret buying BD EVERYTHING if it means that some innovative smaller companies are out of business?

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 81

Not sure why all the hate. Their products tend to be good, albeit sometimes a little generic. I've got a descent amount of BD mountain/ice gear and it is all top notch. Their clothing seems really nice too. 

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 30
Chris C. wrote:

Not sure why all the hate. Their products tend to be good, albeit sometimes a little generic. I've got a descent amount of BD mountain/ice gear and it is all top notch. Their clothing seems really nice too. 

The complaint isn't about the quality of BD products. The complaint is that many BD products are not actually BD products; they're designed and manufactured by other companies. In those cases BD is just rebranding other people's work and charging more for it. For those products, BD are just middlemen, who are charging you more money while providing you no service.

I agree, this is a problem with a lot of companies in a lot of different industries.

Scott O · · California · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 50

Their clothing is great. 

20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128
David Kerkeslager wrote:

 For those products, BD are just middlemen, who are charging you more money while providing you no service.

You could argue the entire brick-and-mortar retail sector does that. The fact that Amazon is the third most valuable company in the USA seems to mean most Americans agree.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15
David Kerkeslager wrote:

I agree, this is a problem with a lot of companies in a lot of different industries.

Why is it a "problem"? Sounds like a good way to make money. BD knows if they put their name on inferior products, it will tarnish their brand.

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 30
20 kN wrote:

You could argue the entire brick-and-mortar retail sector does that. The fact that Amazon is the third most valuable company in the USA seems to mean most Americans agree.

You're correct that a lot of companies do this, but that doesn't make it any less of a problem.

I'd also say that brick-and-mortars aren't a good example of the problem: a brick and mortar store provides a service in that they transport the goods to a physical location near the consumer.

I'm not sure what you're saying most Americans agree on here, or what Amazon has to do with the discussion. Are you arguing that Americans would choose to spend 40% more money to have a logo stamped on their product if they knew that was what they were choosing?

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 30
FrankPS wrote:

Why is it a "problem"? Sounds like a good way to make money. BD knows if they put their name on inferior products, it will tarnish their brand.

I suppose it's only a problem if you think people who do work should get the credit and money for it. If you're fine with paying BD a big markup to take credit for other people's work, then I guess there's nothing wrong with it.

that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 0

The shoe's look pretty crappy tbh, their stretch knit one boggles the mind, they are literally intentionally introducing a sloppy fit.

Scott O · · California · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 50
David Kerkeslager wrote:

I suppose it's only a problem if you think people who do work should get the credit and money for it. If you're fine with paying BD a big markup to take credit for other people's work, then I guess there's nothing wrong with it.

They wouldn't get any credit or money if BD didn't bring their product to market for them. 

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15
Scott O wrote:

They wouldn't get any credit or money if BD didn't bring their product to market for them. 

Exactly.

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 30
Scott O wrote:

They wouldn't get any credit or money if BD didn't bring their product to market for them. 

On the contrary, it's quite possible to purchase (for example) Roca ropes on the internet without Black Diamond's interference.

Eplumer400 · · Cleveland, OH · Joined May 2016 · Points: 80

You're going to have a bit of a markup on virtually any product unless you buy directly from the source. That's the point 20kN was trying to make. But that's also the good thing about capitalism, if you don't like the price or the quality there's plenty of other companies that will gladly take your money instead. 

Black Diamond is one of the largest climbing equipment companies in the world, and they didn't get that reputation overnight. To be honest I had never heard of Roca ropes until I learned about BD selling their ropes. Does that mean I wouldn't trust the company before? Not necessarily. Would I trust that company more now knowing that BD sells them under their own name? Absolutely. Frank is spot on with his comment. And if these products were found to be inferior, they would get rid of them immediately so they don't tarnish their brand.

Most of my climbing equipment has come from BD, along with a few clothing items and a headlamp. Everything I own from them has been top notch, and I haven't had any issues with any of it. Through this I've become pretty loyal to the brand, and if I'm looking for a particular product I usually try to go through them first. Now if only they would cash in on the locking belay device market...

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 5
David Kerkeslager wrote:

I'm not sure what you're saying most Americans agree on here, or what Amazon has to do with the discussion. Are you arguing that Americans would choose to spend 40% more money to have a logo stamped on their product if they knew that was what they were choosing?

Clearly Americans are willing to pay for a label. Look at every "popular/name brand " clothing item. Why do millions of people who never go outside own Patagonia, or Gucci or Lexus or Starbucks. I mean this list of name brand shit Americans waste money on is literally endless 

Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 282

I first bought ropes from BD in I think about 1998, and pretty sure Neutrinos and a BD Harness (Momentum?) a while before that. BD has been making a wide range of gear since the early 70s when they were Chouinard. By the way, the ropes were about the kinkiest I've ever encountered. BD (or whatever name they had at the time of the transaction) replaced them immediately, I think even before my return was received, and the replacement pair worked well. 

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 748
ClimberRunner wrote:

A year or two ago, BD started selling ropes. They were not designing and making ropes, just designing the packaging and selling some Roca ropes with their logo on them, and for a lot more $$ than Roca charged. Despite not comparing to Edelrid, Mammut, etc in terms of quality, they were making a mint on the new "BD" ropes. 

But all this makes wonder: Apart from Camalots and C3s, what do they make which is really exceptional in terms of quality, innovation or value? 

5 or 10 years from now, are climbing consumers going to regret buying BD EVERYTHING if it means that some innovative smaller companies are out of business?

What makes Roca ropes inferior to other brands?  If you're American, it's likely that you've never used Roca ropes or even heard of them.  I have a BD (Roca) 70m rope and so far it's on par with every other rope I've owned- including Mammut, Bluewater, Edelrid, Metolius and Sterling.

They make a lot of products besides cams that are good quality.  But why does something have to exceed the market?  It doesn't.  It just has to be competitive.  A good example is helmets and slings.  Are they super innovative and the best value possible for that product?  No.  Are they of good quality and as good or better than their competition?  Sure.

 I'm not sure why you're asking what you're asking. BD is a corporation.  Their chief goal- as the chief goal for any corporation is for revenues to exceed the prior quarter or year.  That's the ugly truth of capitalism.  They do this by capitalizing on branding through their sponsored athletes and their long history and reputation of making quality products that arguably matter the most.  Cams.

This alleged world takeover you're purporting simply isn't the viral tragedy you suggest.  Look at threads here and you'll find plenty of people that think C4s aren't the best.  And companies that specialize in just clothing or clothing and "niche" gear, e.g. Marmot, MH, OR, Arcteryx, and others still have a healthy market share.

To listen to you, one would think there's an epidemic monopoly and that just isn't true.  Not everyone is choosing BD over other gear simply because it has the diamond symbol on it.  The more advanced and skilled a climber is, the more research they do and the more selective they are when shopping for gear.

Eplumer400 · · Cleveland, OH · Joined May 2016 · Points: 80
Jake wander wrote:

Clearly Americans are willing to pay for a label. Look at every "popular/name brand " clothing item. Why do millions of people who never go outside own Patagonia, or Gucci or Lexus or Starbucks. I mean this list of name brand shit Americans waste money on is literally endless 

Except the difference is most of those Americans don't have to trust their life to a brand. Well maybe Lexus, but still. Another argument is would you be willing to pay a few extra dollars to buy a product from a large company that extensively tests their products that they make or put their name on that you need to trust your life to, as opposed to saving a couple dollars on something you don't know the quality of? Maybe some of it is marketing, but a lot of other times the quality speaks for itself. How often does one see Black Diamond, Starbucks, Porsche, Patagonia, Petzl, or Ferrari commercials on television? Never, because they're quality speaks for itself.

Tim Lutz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 0

BD = Walmart of outdoor sports

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 748
Tim Lutz wrote:

BD = Walmart of outdoor sports

If I were to make a comparison like this, I'd say BD is the Bass Pro of climbing and skiing.  ClimbX is Wal Mart.

Jim Turner · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 90
David Kerkeslager wrote:

On the contrary, it's quite possible to purchase (for example) Roca ropes on the internet without Black Diamond's interference.

Roca is a willing partner.

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 511

Keep in mind, the small companies, such as Roca benefit too from increased sales and profits by selling to BD.  Win win.  

And if a corporation is no longer profitable, hundreds or even thousands of people will lose their jobs.  And nobody is forced to buy BD products in the first place.

Profit is not evil.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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