I started my reply early today and had to head into a meeting so I am a little late to the show. I have been trying to wrap my mind around this issue as a Hunter and Member. I do not know if I have it figured out yet but here are some thoughts thus far. There does not have to be an "attack" in the thread. Public offerings are the back bone of the hunting deals from member outfitters. As a hunter I feel this site has to be open to every legitimate offer available. Someone posting a competitive offer that is similar to a previously posted offer is fine by me. Is it in response to the previous post or simply timing of the post? It is a competitive market, right? Just because someone got up an hour earlier and posted an offer should not preclude another outfitter from posting an offer. However, in a small (outfitter) community it causes ranker and pushes offers under ground because they try and avoid the backlash behind the scenes. Trying to limit the market entry will cause creative individuals to find another entry point. Hence the PM's will start happening. (As others have noted) I noticed this belief in action a while back when Jaco started posting on AH. Jaco alluded in a post with something to the effect about AH being Louis' turf. Quite frankly this turf concept pissed me off as a consumer and member. It effectively undercut the concept of a public forum. My response was quickly posted to the contrary; Every legitimate outfitter is welcome to post offers and participate. If a hunter wants to go for the absolute lowest dollar amount for a hunt they are going to do that no matter what. Outfitters need to decide what there market is and understand it. "Price fixing" by restricting participation on this site is not acceptable either, in my view. Every legitimate operator must be allowed to post offers here! I use Jaco as the example because at no point has he ever come on AH and low balled anyone. He refuses to get into the low ball pricing war. He is actually openly supportive of other outfits and suggests people use them. I have not hunted with him but given his public interaction I would have no problem doing so, as with some others who have demonstrated similar actions. What I really think this new rule stems from is something that undermines the community. Those outfitters who "mine" the site and PM interested hunters and "low ball" the public offers. Why would an outfitter continue to participate in AH? It becomes self defeating for the community. No public offers, no competition and business is funnelled away from participants and supporters. PM's are also an excellent place to stay in the shadows and avoid public scrutiny for the less scrupulous. By participating, members undercut one of the major benefits of the community; Experience of other hunters and outfitters. Caveat Emptor! How do you reward member outfitters who bother to participate and contribute to the community by actually posting a public offer for members to consider and compare? Supporters and advertisers are given primacy through their ads and through familiarity by repeated participation. At least reputation and experience play a role. With a PM offer there is no open competition. Better public offers attract more attention and business for everyone. Defining "better" is always the problem. Comparing apples to apples and not just low $. "Value for money", it is hard to get across. "The more the merrier" and we (consumers) will then be more likely to be able to discern "Value for Money". Just my nickels worth!