mocheur wrote: "Yes, it's a huge distraction and casts a completely unnecessary dark cloud over the company and its products. They could be building an honest reputation for good products at attractive prices. Instead, the merits of their products tend to get overshadowed by questions about corporate integrity."
It could be that we're all a bit dim and that offering a quality product at a "deep discount" under a wildly inflated retail price is the stuff of marketing genius, but I don't think so. At best it's a short-term strategy that may induce a flurry of sales among a gullible minority, but the anglers I know are a discerning group who are quick to share opinions, so it's a safe wager that in the end it will do the brand more harm than good. Probably already has. So...I don't see it as a question about integrity but rather intelligence.
All of that said, I'm in the market for a quality, modestly priced, tough-ass 8-weight for use in the Everglades and on Andros, and—beyond the TFO Axiom and possibly the Redington Predator—the Albright EXT has my attention. I'd be obliged to anyone who can share their experiences and/or opinions on that specific rod. And I acknowledge that, after my diatribe above, an Albright product making my short list might be proof that there's genius at play in their maligned promotional approach, after all.
And that my own intelligence is, by extension, suspect.