First - a link to actual FAQ:
This is an OPT-IN offer to sellers who want it.
Amazon will be seller of record. That means Amazon will handle all sales tax issues. That alone is a big win.
Amazon is handling all return costs (huh?). So in short run until that changes another win.
Amazon probably thinks they can do a better job pricing products than sellers, increasing the cut for both parties potentially. I'll let reader decide if amazon has any skills in pricing.
This continues a trend towards automation that amazon has adopted when they think computers can do (on average) a better job than people.
If this is a stupid idea, ebay won't copy it. If it isn't a stupid idea - look for SBE (sold by Ebay) in the future :)
The issue is that (according to legal theories on anti-trust) market control, no matter how helpful, is anti-competitive in the long run. Even if companies don’t have to set their own prices, they would be crazy not to: over-price and they don’t sell anything; under-price and they leave money on the table.
I know those rules sound like we are punishing success and good service but the idea is that if a company dominates, no one will challenge them. The service won’t improve or innovate, new companies won’t be able to scale to prove their ideas. It has happened repeatedly in the past, for beloved services. Thinking about those things dynamically helps.
Well, that depends on the service itself. I often buy from Amazon not because it's cheaper, but because I know that shipping will be quick, even if it's imported the charge won't be taken by the carrier with an absurdly high fee, that if something has to be returned it will be easy. I even usually avoid third-party sellers on Amazon because of that, even if they are much cheaper.
> under-price and they leave money on the table
You just said that overprice and they won't sell anything. Seems like the alternative isn't money on the table but nothing at all on the table.
> if a company dominates, no one will challenge them
I think that's the wrong part. If someone can do just as good or better than Amazon, they'll do it. Amazon is the proof itself, there's so many products that still have third party on Amazon itself that compete against Amazon.
This option will just let Amazon have access to a bigger inventory for a lower cost than owning it themselves... That's not a huge advantage. I'm sure their algorithmns are already pretty good to balance the right amount of stock.
100% agree with you, the click-bait is totally FUD. This program is not a big deal and won't hurt anyone.
I was actually contacted by 2 different journalist (CNBC,WashingtonPost) and both were dying to turn this into an Antitrust article. I didn't really see it that way but agreed it could help LESSEN antitrust liability by being OPT-IN.
Prices are key to free market efficiencies and market for loanable funds.
Amazon really has a marvellous way of being completely anti-capitalist while appearing as it's golden child, too.
Amazon is a scam. Jeff Bezos has succeeded where Jeff Skilling failed.
Because Amazon moved from selling products (and setting 100% of prices) to inviting competition from new and USED products, including letting those compete against its own listings - we are going to bust them for anti-competitive behavior?
There are entire catagories of product where you can save a ton with almost no loss of function by buying used.
Amazon has lowered per unit cost on everything from ebooks to other products because they have data showing increases in demand will beat out loss of net margin. They've sued publishers to try and drive down prices or be able to set lower prices than publishers want. They will generally accept much lower margins than a corner retail store.
They offer all you can eat books (KindleUnlimited) which dramatically LOWERS the per unit cost of books for heavy readers.
Same thing with Prime, they are driving a far far lower per unit cost with movies and music.
The worry should be that Amazon has been an absolutely ruthless competitor since day one. Good union jobs at UPS may be threatened if Amazon thinks it can do the job cheaper with dirty renta-vans and contractors. Any high margin business out there should be a little worried - for example, pharmacists making $175K+/year should wonder what happens if Amazon does 2 hr delivery of Rx with computerized interaction screening. And this is all clearly anti-competitive?
They have a whole platform around de-skilling and automation. Their warehouse workers are told, literally second by second where to go and what to do - fully sequenced and monitored including discipline. This doesn't strike me as a process that will increase prices.
They also do seem to screw - not their customer, but merchant partners from time to time. Customer says product was defective to avoid a return shipment fee. This is actually pretty common. The warehouse DOES NOT do much screening to see if this is true. The customer is not asked for specific details. I'm sure some customer accounts are cancelled over abuse related to this but it seems likely to be low given the number of folks doing this.
This is literally price fixing.
Furthermore, Amazon hasn't lowered the price of anything not already in-process of technological price changes (like e-readers); if prices are lower it's because the margins shrank, the quality was reduced or the overall tech advanced without Amazons help.
Since they've earned literally half of their past 12 years of Net Income in 2018 alone, it's difficult to reason how they have cut the cost of anything while not making money, nor producing products through greater economies of scale than existing suppliers, while acquiring billions upon billions worth of logistics assets, another billions upon billions of business subsidiaries, and somehow had enough free cash flow to create robots, pay decent wages (even for shitty work environments) and still provide Jeff Bezos with enough money to buy almost equal number of businesses under the Bezos Expedition banner.
Amazon is a fraud, Jeff was a VP on Wall Street before he became a fake ass tech guru, and he and his cronies have been pumping up the stock price fraudulently as a means of providing cash through the sale of treasury stock and because interest rates have been so low since the financial crisis that investors will let them.
Amazon provides a promise that it will pay folks a minimum price for their products, revisited periodically. That is the same thing any other retailer does with their suppliers.
Amazon current net profit is 4% of sales. This is actually one of their HIGHEST % of sales net income number in their history, they've historically been at 1-2%.
Take healthcare for example. They rarely publish their cash list prices making it extremely difficult to comparison shop, they consolidate local competitors into major network to reduce choice, they adhere to minimum price schedules, they surprise you with all sorts of unexected charges which are difficult to impossible to avoid (out of network charges in an in network hospital). Many of those items are flags of anti-competitive behavior by the way.
Amazon has clear pricing, has introduced a marketplace for competition between types of items (including new vs used) etc. When you see folks going after Amazon and not other much clearer issues of competition (false advertising, the health care industry etc) that should raise a red flag. If you look at whether Amazon or the medical industry leads to more consumer bankruptcies, it's not even close.
The worry should be that with huge sales volume they can put future potential competitors out of business in spaces like a digital home assistant etc by underpricing their products.
Sales of pencil cases etc is not going to be their high margin area, their high margin will be in marketplace / fulfillment and compute fees among others.
Not really. https://www.amazon.com/Polyhedral-Dungeons-Dragons-Pathfinde... is selling for $10.98 the same thing you can buy wholesale for $1.50. Of course, you can get it from https://www.krakendice.com/faux-stone-green-jade-dice-set-fo... for the bargain price of $8.95.
https://www.krakendice.com/dice-by-collection/pearl-dice/ is selling sets for $5.95 when the wholesale price is $0.49.
Even after accounting for the cost of shipping, I'm pretty sure these are margins of over 100%.
In general the products that sell well will have a very competitive wholesale market and you'll be lucky to squeeze out 20% margin. It's certainly possible to get large margins in closeouts if you buy items that aren't popular, but it's difficult to scale that. And that's arguably liquidation anyway.
I don't know what you mean by "unbranded generic version". For reselling purposes, you can order a little card with a design of your choice on it (1 design total, 1 card per set of dice) from hengdadice.com, and both merchants I mentioned do that. That increases the wholesale price by a few cents.
The dice themselves are unbranded in all cases.
You can't sell on that listing legally, unless the goods were authorized by the brand owner.
Wholesale would be buying directly from the brand owner, in this case which would be "Shenzhen Lichen Trade Co.,Ltd.".
I don't know if they'd even sell you but if they did they'd definitely charge more than that.
You can't buy directly from the factory without the brand's permission. That's counterfeiting.
From your link: "this same doctrine enables reselling of trademarked products after the trademark holder put the products on the market."
In other words, it must have been owned by the trademark holder at one point, and sold by them into the market.
The brand owner is a trading company, and buys from factories, but is not a factory itself.
HDDais is living the exact dream mentioned upthread, in which his business consists solely of buying things wholesale and shipping them to Amazon.
What is the difference you're seeing?
The primary difference is that you need to spend to promote the listing because nobody has heard of you.
Retail at prices around $10 is all about psychology.
This is why some items on AliExpress either won't let you order more than quantity 1, or switch to FedEx only shipping if you increase the quantity.
Talking about gross profit without including fees is effectively meaningless.
My rule of thumb for a successful wholesale business is 50% cogs, 30% Amazon fees, 20% margin. There are companies that do a lot worse, and I'm sure some that do better but it's extremely difficult to beat 30% margins at any kind of scale without doing liquidation, getting some lucrative exclusives, or otherwise find a very uncompetitive niche.
Source: have done several million in sales across hundreds of thousands of units on Amazon in the last few years.
Even the sources of auctions are a constant whack a mole. Any consistent auction source soon gets overrun with a constant supply of newbie buyers that overpay for anything and everything just to try and make their trip worth it.
I used to frequent postal auctions for products to resell. Then the droves of bloggers and wantrepreneurs started moving in.
I stopped going when people started bidding up the price of MacBooks of unknown provenance to higher than retail.
You keep thinking, well these guys are going to lose their shirts and never come back. They don't come back. But 4 more will take their place the next month.
> Your margin is my opportunity.
I don't your brother's business to last forever. While I'm happy for his accomplishments, I hope he's thinking about the competition from above.
This is what the retail business is.
He's not just "driving around".
That's like saying "Property owners just sit around and collect rents, so they shouldn't make any money." It totally misses the point of using capital to invest in and maintain real estate, which is not "sitting around" at all - it only becomes easy after you've done a significant amount of work to make it so.
I can watch videos/read blogs about how to duplicate a specific win, but by that point so has everyone else and margins drop.
A few people who find the deal early can make a ton, and they get paid well for knowing what to look for in a good deal. Even then, I'm sure pretty much everyone who does well with this has plenty of stories where they lost big, and they only win on average. It's the same as stock picking; investors don't get paid well to watch their investments tick up, they get paid well for finding the bargains, and sometimes an investment opportunity is too good to be true.
They also get to look at all that sweet data and if any one product or group of products starts to look too good for those small 3rd party sellers, they aren't afraid to just drop right in on top of everyone and push their own product to the buy box everytime.
After which they will drive away most of the 3rd party sellers before starting to creep the price upward.
To say he makes 200k driving around all day is like saying senior developers make 200k playing with computers all day.
It’s not the driving that he is making money on. It’s the risc of being able to buy the stuff and the know-how of what to buy.
Not advocating a race to the bottom, but...
(Go ahead, you can fill in the rest.)
I love using eBay; it puts a bit of excitement back into e-commerce when you get packages from overseas -- the stamps, the names, the exotic goods. This year I ordered from 4 different countries things that weren't available in the US. But most products on eBay are shipped domestically, and they won't slow-roll your shipping for a week because you didn't pay for Prime.
My ebay thought process, which makes searching a chore..
- Returns will probably be a hassle so I really better want it.
- Is it buy it now or do I have to bid?
- Exorbitant shipping price or it's "freight" with no price
- Shipping may require signature and I have to be at home
- Checking seller reputation
- Checking seller location
It's a completely different experience.
Since then I've really re-awoken to ebay and tried to get in the habit of looking there and not just on Amazon. So I would second the parent's comment. I could even see there being an ebay revival.
Because Amazon pads the price of everything by about that much to cover the super fast prime shipping.
This line needs to stop - it's flat wrong.
It's not monkey level work - and it's exactly how the entire manufacturer-distributor-wholesaler-retailer relationship has always existed, and it brings obvious significant value to the entire chain, all the way down to you, the customer.
The only difference is the end customer is now more aware, or thinks they're aware, of the chain. Nothing has changed - and it's not going to change. There's too many things and doodads out there in the world that people want to buy for any single company to procure and manage them all.
Same products, pricing, conditions, number of listings - similar effort per platform.
Amazon outperformed eBay by more than two orders of magnitude, so after 12 months she discontinued eBay sales, because daily Amazon sales started exceeding annual eBay sales.
But it gets even worse. They will send you a spreadsheet and ask you to fill it out… with all the information Amazon needs so that it's easier for them to upload into Seller Central.
And in the event of damage or customer service? They tell the customer to reach out to the manufacturer.
90% of Amazon sellers are just leeches. You can pretty easily make money doing it though. A lot of manufacturers still aren't savvy to the game. I had a company that literally had "Arbitrage" in their name reach out to me the other day.
They can't compete with their customers. Many manufacturers have started selling direct as well, but they usually sell at a bit of a premium to avoid undercutting their own customers.
It's just bad form to do that. And large retailers like Walmart will usually stipulate that you can't sell it cheaper direct.
Basically, third party sellers find a way to get a wholesale discount and then sell it through Amazon for a bit more. So the price on Amazon is artificially low. Say you have a $10 item. Maybe your wholesale price is $5. The third party seller puts it on Amazon for $7. Amazon sees this. Now Amazon only agrees to pay you $4, because to them the $10 price is irrelevant. $4 is too low, so you don’t accept and Amazon doesn’t buy from you.
Now, you can sell yourself on Amazon, but then existing retail partners get mad because suddenly you are selling the item for $5 to compete with the arbitragers. I’ve even found some relatively large retailers selling on Amazon under dummy companies to hide their name, but still be able to profit off their high wholesale discount.
Things are changing. But it can be a slow and painful process for small manufacturers.
...for what? It's a miserable place to look for stuff, miserable to pay for, miserable to remediate conflict. If you're lucky you'll get what you pay for with no hassle. I can't imagine ever buying a commodity on ebay that I could get from another online retailer.
I can't imagine being out here expecting large internet stores to give a shit about my problems. That ship sailed a long time ago--buy local or accept the shittiness.
Well, then I've been "lucky" thousands of times over!
> Since only brands in Amazon’s Brand Registry can apply for SBA, the pitch is that SBA will guarantee that the brands themselves won’t be priced out of ownership of Amazon’s buy box by other gray market sellers that focus on undermining retail prices. The buy box all but ensures the product listing on Amazon that will get sold over competitors, and sellers “win” the buy box by offering the lowest price.
> To ward off concerns over margins, Amazon is offering SBA sellers a minimum gross proceed — which guarantees set profit for sellers based on a set selling price, even if Amazon lowers the price — for each product. The catch: Amazon wrote in its FAQ about SBA that MGP would be revisited “typically once every six months,” and that brands would have seven days to accept the new MGP, or reject it and deactivate a product from SBA.
So basically, Amazon always promotes the cheapest products, and they'll automatically lower your product's price to make it cheaper than the knockoffs. You get a guaranteed profit no matter the price, but that can also lower every six months.
This strikes me as a bad deal for sellers.
Retailers also force suppliers to buy advertising in their owned media channels (e.g. in-store and online) as another way to squeeze them. Amazon is doing/will do the same.
And consumers benefit. This is the power and peril of the free market. Everyone loves competition as a consumer and hates it as a seller.
I include folks that sell labor aka employees.
Consumers might benefit if mass retailer accumulates liability when it does this but the mass retailer shoves it right on to the party with the razor thin margins.
Keeping prices high doesn't protect against that - a counterfeiter will happily sell at a high price, and a traditional supplier might cut quality in theory supply chain to increase profit.
The only solution is to have vendor and supply chain transparency (buying local, and supply chain offering video monitoring of their operations, maybe some Blockchain for tracking shipments end-to-end?), and to be willing to pay for the monitoring and for the quality you ask for. But at the end of the day must consumers talk a good game and then would buy whatever is cheapest
or slickest marketed regardlesss of inherent quality or externalities, so it's more efficient to skip the charade.
Totally agree. Talk to your local CSA farmer if you want to hear about the difference between what people say they want and what they actually spend money on.
If other people would prefer to buy dirt-cheap jerky from whoever can offer the lowest price this week, I don't see why it's bad to have stores catering to them too.
The quality at Whole Foods has gone down fast since Amazon took over.
And that's assuming product quality is really lower. The only evidence of that I've seen is anecdata.
Then find a brand or local business that makes what you want. You'll pay out the nose online probably, but I've found a modestly priced local place that makes great jerky because as you said the store stuff is...not great, and questionable.
For example, Walgreens expects ITS VENDORS to stock the shelves, cycle expired product, and install and replace in-store advertising. Walgreens doesn't do it themselves.
And as for sales, often a supplier is required to buy back stock that goes unsold after a period of time. It's crazy, but that's how much power retailers have.
If I'm spending serious money, it's not going to be with Amazon.
Whenever I hear about someone selling at a loss, I automatically assume that either they’re buying market share as a long bet (e.g. typical new gaming console) or more commonly misrepresenting the actual economics (e.g. car dealers neglecting to mention all the rebates they get off their supposed price).
You're basically betting that the other guy doesn't have the stamina to survive at this price.
Of course, if what the OP says is true, if the other seller has a much lower price point than you do, you can't outlast them. They could still be making a profit at $20 while you're losing $5 per unit trying to push them out.
And to your car dealership point - the way it works for GM at least is that GM sets sales goals for their dealers. Dealer X's monthly sales target is 75 vehicles. They will happily sell lets say vehicles 73, 74, and 75 on August 31st to get their $20k bonus for the month of August. They might not be misrepresenting their supposed price like you think. Also, the same concept of inventory holding costs applies really well for car dealers. It's purely an inventory turnover business. If your lot is full of fusions and you can sell 2 f150s in the time that you can sell 1 fusion at similar profit, you're going to want to get those fusions off the lot potentially at a loss so you can sell more f150s.
In my particular case, there is an "anti-FBA" culture at the company I work for. No one can sell our product for as cheap as we can because we make it. However, without access to FBA, it's much more difficult to have complete control over your pricing on amazon. With complete control over pricing you can ensure that your margins will be better than whatever distributor pricing is. Also the competitiveness of our products on the platform against other brands is directly affected by how much the seller (either us or an unauth)can afford to sell the product to the consumer. If a competing brand sells the same thing for cheaper, they will get more sales and thus more market share.
I say "my particular case" but in reality I know of several CPG companies where the anti-FBA culture exists, even though it is the most advantageous approach to selling on amazon with regards to pricing. I wrote this kind of fast so I hope it all makes sense.
Did you notify Amazon or any authorities about this? Would be curious to hear the response.
...but a good deal for buyers!
Also big nitpick here: gray market has a specific definition and this author misuses the term. The sellers he refers to are not necessarily selling gray market products. Another inaccuracy is that you win the buy box by having the lowest price. This is not true. Any experienced Amazon person could tell you that it is a blend of price, fulfillment method (prime or not), delivery latency (is this offer for a product that is in a warehouse physically close to you), and seller feedback rating.
SBA is actually a good idea from Amazon and they even put in some volatility protections for people who enroll. It is also a good alternative to the Vendor program with some of the benefits without some of its headaches.
If you look at it from the perspective of it being a better alternative to Vendor for some brands, it makes a lot more sense. It is not pitched to conventional sellers who stock tons of brands. It's pitched to brands who want to sell direct to consumer on Amazon. Historically Vendors have also gotten the kinds of indirect marketing benefits that are being pitched to new users of SBA, so even that is not actually a big change.
For example, Vendor products (those shipped and sold by Amazon.com) have always received a massive buy box benefit even if the price is not the lowest. In the weighted buy box system Amazon has always assigned itself a massive bonus score. So in that there is not much that is changing.
Naturally, "incremental bureaucratic change pitched to brands as a middle ground between two existing bureaucratic programs at gargantuan mega-company pitched to other faceless corporations" is not that interesting of an article. This type of opt-in program would work for a very specific type of company and isn't really indicative of a big upcoming change of how the whole thing works.
On a personal level I hate Walmart and their business practices. Not much of a fan of Target either. But, on a professional level, I'm excited to see their marketplaces take off. Amazon is absolutely horrible to work with and their tools for sellers are obnoxious at best. I'd love to see some real competitors in this space.
If a live conversation is it a fairly hostile "look at all the sales we're driving for you. Give us this price or they go away because we have all the leverage here"? Or is it a bit more of a back and forth?
Curious to hear any real world examples of how that typically goes.
Walmart in upscale areas tends (in my unscientific observation, n = approx 10) to be full of people who are working there and shopping there as a last resort and it shows.
>The recently published 2017 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) for retail stores and websites shows that customer satisfaction is down slightly overall from a record high posted in 2016. The retail sector slipped 0.3% overall from an index score of 78.4 to 78.1.
>Department stores and specialty retailers lost the most ground, likely due to continuing satisfaction from shopping online. Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) dropped one point to 71, the lowest among the department/discount stores included in the survey.
>Among supermarkets, Walmart again finished dead last with an index score of 73 versus an average of 79 and a high — for Publix — of 86. Costco scored 83 while Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) and Amazon's Whole Foods both scored 81.
>Walmart also was the lowest scoring retailer for health and personal care stores, with an index score of 75 against an average of 79. Sears' Kmart stores tied with Kroger for the top score of 80.
The key here would be product differentiation, reviews, external marketing, or something else to keep sales up. But for sellers competing on price, SBA could be a disaster, regardless of participation.
It is terrible but they aren't exactly breaking new ground here.
Walmart's retail arm will squeeze water from a stone. However, their online division actually works with suppliers since they're still trying to compete with Amazon and eBay.
Edit: On second thought, if Amazon has dynamic control of the pricing it may be difficult for the vendors to accurately forecast and stay in-stock.
I believe their automatic pricing checking engine only bothers to go to work when it notices a sudden drop in sales of a product. Otherwise, their 'dynamic' pricing seems to try to increase the price as often as possible!
This is not a good thing for boutique shops selling premium goods because Amazon will not respect your MAP. This is a reasonable deal if you're selling commodity CPG items and less sensitive to MAP but are not a big player.
Source: low eight-figure seller on Amazon, had a few manufacturer/wholesaler friends get booted off vendorcentral during the VC purge earlier this year.
Not to be confused with Fulfilled by Amazon Donations, which will donate unsold merch to non-profits instead of trashing it.
Another example of fraudulent products is posting an existing ($10) book at $100 and have it at the top of the results because they changed the publication date with a fake one.
"Still have not received my package even after paying for expedited shipping. Order was shipped 4 days after ordering. I would like a refund for payment of expedited shipping."
Seller now has a 0% feedback score so it is pretty obvious to any buyers that the seller is garbage. The real interesting thing though is the buyer is complaining about a refund on the review so it kind of leads me to believe that the buyer doesn't know how to do a refund lol?
1. Allowing brand owners to completely remove 3rd party sellers and sell directly on Amazon without much effort
2. Helping new sellers to sell at least something; these days one has to immediately subscribe to some realtime algorithmic repricer if they want to get buybox for/sell a single item; this makes algorithmic repricer a part of SBA
(which isn't always a bad idea, mind... especially at the beginning, before Amazon whittles away at the margin)
Right now it's optional but it's clear that it's only a matter of time until it becomes mandatory.
I think these companies, especially Google & Amazon are only going to stop when they are split apart by the government due to monopoly concerns.
HN Tuesday: "It's awesome when governments use their monopsony power to force down pharmaceutical prices, that has no downsides except for lower profits for someone who didn't deserve them anyway."
Not to mention there has been some egregious mark ups. Drug companies are highly regulated anyway, and the "free market" is failing, which is why the market price for some generics is increasing.
If not, you agree that the the identities of the victims don't break the similarity.
And its laughable, reframing big pharma as some poor unprofitable wretches.
I wasn't saying HNers are biased, I'm saying they're inconsistent in reasoning about these cases. (They're biased too, but that wasn't the criticism I was making here.)
>And its laughable, reframing big pharma as some poor unprofitable wretches.
It's even more laughable thinking that "whether pharmas are unprofitable wretches" is relevant to the economic effects of pseudo-price controls after the fallacy and inconsistency are explained.
Its obvious to me we're not discussing this in good faith any more. Pendantry will get us nowhere.
Given the sea of corruption inside the US since it is an oligarchically run state where the citizens basically have no rights (if in doubt look at IP law).
See here for if you want more acedemic take:
There are all sorts of things wrong in reality with how capitalism actually functions. The reality is most people are too irrational and too stupid for any market to function as a "market". The videogame "market" is a perfect example. For the first 20-30 years of PC game history, we were getting good software for a fair price. Then the masses got internet and shit went sideways.
AKA people started buying software they didn't own, nor control, giving super powers to corporations to extort them and engage in all sorts of abusive practices and raise prices astronically because the internet now gave them access to people with addictive tendencies and impulse control problems 24/7 and in order to gather the worlds evolutionary unlucky regarding gambling addiction all games now have microtransactions.
I watched my hobby be destroyed, my software robbed and my os infested with dishonest code because stupid got internet. Before the internet Microsoft and game companies had no incentive undermine software ownership because it was impossible to do so.
The market for videogames today is a market for lemons, a total shit show of broken games, stolen games, etc. Because a rational game buyer would never buy a piece of software that a corporation controlled.
Software is being stolen en mass and coded fraudulently to remove your basic rights and freedoms to own what you buy because the masses are technology illiterate.
All apps on mobile spy on you and are controlled centrally, and stupid gacha games are defrauding a tiny minority and they don't even get acopy of the game they are spending hundreds of dollars gambling for virtual characters in.
We live in a lawless world, that's reality.