Your recent moves aimed at cutting off Internet sales of Gibsons from all dealers except for your pet online sellers (and I should note that I have absolutely nothing against Musician's Friend or American Musical Supply for purchasing commodity items, but their prices in many cases aren't the lowest by far) has irked a lot of musicians. While I can understand trying to protect dealer territories, the fact remains that a lot of dealers cannot or will not follow through on anything out of the ordinary (for example, if you're looking for an ES-345 instead of an ES-335, the average dealer will probably throw his hands up in frustration at the prospect). That necessitates tracking down dealers in other areas who do indeed stock such guitars, a fairly easy matter, but it would be nice not to waste those dealers' time while searching for the instrument of my dreams. I fail to see the harm in allowing dealers to post pictures of their inventory. There might be a particular flame or quilt top that highly appeals to me, and I could make a decision offline and conduct the transaction in a highly efficient manner for both the dealer and myself. I'm sure that music dealers would prefer not to waste employee hours answering the cycle of e-mails that characterize someone in the pre-sales stage of shopping for a guitar.
And pricing. Obviously a sore spot, as unless there's some profit in it, no one is going to commit to carrying inventory (and the attendant carrying charges can be huge, as anyone who's ever looked at "floor planning" can tell you). The prices have gone up again, not unexpected after Christmas, and obviously since costs aren't static, some increases might be necessary. However, your recent reissue of the Les Paul Deluxe was a really odd case. Musician's Friend had them before Christmas for $1499. They're now $1999. While it's obvious that once they leave your factory you're absolved of any role in the final retail pricing, the only way a commodity seller like MF is going to jack up prices such a huge amount is if their cost has increased significantly, and I can't believe that a Deluxe has increased that much in less than two months, especially when Standards only increased $200. There isn't that much difference in the guitars, especially considering the cheaper pickups in the Deluxe.