More info here. https://support.google.com/maps/thread/24546479?hl=en
We wish Bill all the best on his retirement. We’ve worked with him when we were Singapore distributor of Nodal Ninja products.
The part on IVPR is a good read.
Below republished in full in case IVPR removes it.
Posts that may draw an unfavorable light to IVRPA have been known to disappear due to “technical difficulties”. I do hope this post does not meet the same fate as we would like to share some recent and important developments which also include thoughts about the IVRPA.
It is with great sadness that today I am announcing our plans to close Nodal Ninja operations here in the US effective Oct 28th, 2019. Nodal Ninja will now be headquartered in Hong Kong under the control of Nick Fan of Fanotec International. All future orders will funnel through our authorized dealers throughout the globe.
We owe you!
We are not like other companies when one day you wake up and find a company gone. Other panoramic hardware companies close the doors without so much as a goodbye to their customer base. We, on the other hand, feel a debt of gratitude is owed to our hard-earned and loyal customer base as well as the panoramic community. With that said I would like to expound on what brought us to this point. It is a little long-winded.
Sales in 360 panoramic hardware have been declining for some time. Many factors play into this to include:
360 one-shot solutions. While it will be some time, if even possible, before these solutions will reach the output quality of DSLR’s consumers are accepting the compromise in quality.
Chinese market. With the advent of more Chinese companies producing cheaper hardware keeping that competitive edge has become more challenging to maintain.
Inflation. Considering that over the last 10 years the US has experienced a 19.5% inflation rate while at the same time we have been lowering retail product prices is another challenge we faced.
New small business laws and taxes. Very complicated system but at the end of the year, the numbers tell the tale. The result of which over the last couple of years has not favored us to the tune of about 7%.
We have reached the point in the US where we can no longer financially sustain our base of operations here in the US leaving us with 2 possible options.
Stop sales to all dealers and funnel orders through the US. Needless to say, this would be heartless and cold as many dealers rely heavily on the sales of our products, with many opting to only sell the Nodal Ninja brand. This would also be a great disappointment and inconvenience to international customers as well who currently buy from their local dealer.
Close operations in the US. This would force “all sales” to our international dealers which may actually result in a boost in their overall sales. Customers inside North America will purchase directly through B&H Photo.
Really a no brainer. In order to keep the Nodal Ninja brand moving forward in a positive direction, we have decided to make the sacrifice and close operations inside the US. Trust me this was not an easy decision to make, especially in light of the fact we have 2 super employees (Thuy and Jason) who are also affected.
What will I do?
For me personally this is the culmination of a “15-year” journey. The conferences and events we have attended around the globe have rewarded us with memories that will last a lifetime. We have made hundreds of friends along the way.. I may no longer be in the public face so much but I will stay on as a part-time advisor helping with this early transition and going beyond.
For Kim and me, the timing is right for early retirement. The next panorama you see from me might be from some tropical destination with feet in the sand and a beer in hand 🙂
From the bottom of my heart, I thank everyone for everything – it’s been a fun ride 🙂
In a final note, I need to add the IVRPA has been part of our history since 2007 and I personally feel a responsibility to the community to share our concerns and opinions surrounding its declining state of affairs. I understand if some may not agree but we have formed strong opinions based on our own experiences during many of the conferences – much of which has been swept under the rug.
As a sponsor, we have invested in 9 and participated in 7 of the 14 IVRPA conferences. We have strongly supported the core values for which the organization once stood for. Since our own very unfavorable and uncomfortable experiences in helping to curate the IVRPA event in Las Vegas 2014 (few know the real story) things seem to have been going downhill ever since. We are not alone – members and sponsors as well have also shared some serious concerns about how the IVRPA has been handling things that are well documented through several Facebook groups. As an example, Jeffrey Martin, a member of 360° Panoramic Photographers on Facebook, started a thread about “IVRPA is in a state of extreme disarray, on the verge of collapse” which opened a floodgate of response and allegations over 200 comments long. They have been offering some explanations surrounding the accusations in the members-only section of this forum but it’s too little too late.
I would encourage existing and would-be members and sponsors to evaluate your ROI on membership and participation against the overstated benefits https://ivrpa.org/members/join-ivrpa/
With so many growing allegations it’s quite apparent 360×180 degree change is needed from the “top” down and all around. And since we’ve lost passion and enthusiasm for the IVRPA and with the shadowing allegations, unfortuanltly “we” can no longer support or in good conscious recommend the organization. When our yearly sponsorship comes up for renewal there will be one less banner on the sponsor page.