Being an Eclipse dealer and past best dealer, I'd have to say YES and NO.
One thing to remember is that as dealers we are also customers. We often get to see first hand how companies operate both internally and with customers. You'd be amazed at what has been said on the inside years ago. i'll just leave it at that.
I make decisions to deal with a company due to many factors and about the only way that Eclipse might be compared to best is that they are a hot up and coming company and use the forums to a beneficial end. They also both listen well to customers and have excellent customer service.
NO - in many ways though. I used to be a best dealer, but dropped them due to how they ran their business. There was absolutely no respect for any of the other companies who were there way before best. The attitude by the powers to be at best was quite arrogant. On the flip side...I remember hearing Kent at Cabrinha complimenting another company online and months later, I was a Cabrinha dealer and dropped best. i spoke with my wallet and haven't looked back.
NO...in how both companies respond on forums. SQ and Gumball would without hesitation take the low road and diss other brands products and this just reduces credibility and respect. Dimitri, Chris and the dealers for Eclipse do not do this at all.
No...in that Eclipse and most other brands support the dealer network first and may sell direct, but most sales go through the dealers. And...the price difference is getting smaller and smaller.
NO...the bullet proof warranty set's them apart from every other company. It's a great warranty and sets them apart.
NO...in that the "hype" for the most part = the performance of the Eclipse kites. If it wasn't for the timing of the waroo and the price, it never ever would have sold nearly as well. It was just an OK kite when it first came out, but the hype made it seem to be one of the better kites ever. Relaunch was subpar and fluttering was a problem and the bigger sizes were just not up to other kites standards. The 1-1 and price though hit it well. Kudos for that.
In the end, there's a lot of really good products throughout the world, so it comes down to other tangibles or intangibles as to why dealers...as customers...carry a brand and why consumers...as customers...buy from certain dealers or direct from the manufacturer. BTW...I think it's great that best set a pricing trend that only benefited the industry for the most part and they do make a decent product for the most part.
That's my opinion which is based on dealing with both companies for years.
hell...i'll take this opportunity to say that i'll have full run of Kimas, Thrusters, Nanos and Poacher kites sometime soon. 1-2 weeks?