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Telarus Drops Master Agent Label

TBI last month rebranded as a technology services distributor.

James Anderson

October 18, 2021

3 Min Read
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Telarus has rebranded from a master agent to a technology solutions brokerage.

The Utah-based firm joined the movement of companies formerly known as master agents to adopt a more inclusive description. The decision follows months of debate in the channel about the racial and business connotations of the term master agent.

“The term ‘master agent’ was not coined with negative intent, but the underlying negative connotation and undertones may leave some diverse channel participants feeling uneasy. At Telarus, we strongly believe the term ‘master agent’ needs to be retired,” Telarus chief operating officer Richard Murray said.

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Telarus’ Richard Murray

Disti vs. Brokerage

We wrote last week that TBI has rebranded as a technology services distributor. In addition, many other companies have agreed to retire “master agent” from their vocabulary. Some companies, like TBI, are going with “technology services distributor,” but Telarus and some of its peers prefer the term “technology solutions brokerage.”

Murray explained in an interview with Channel Futures earlier this year that “master agent” is a nearly useless term for describing what he does to someone outside of the channel. Instead, he refers to his employer as a brokerage when he talks to his barber.

“The barber tends to know an insurance agent and knows that that agent is brokering somebody,” Murray said.

Peter Radizeski of Rad Info has argued that “broker,” not “distributor,” properly defines what these companies do.

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Rad Info’s Peter Radizeski

“Like an insurance broker or a real estate broker, the master agency is the contract holder and payee from the vendor. Calling it anything else is kind of misdirecting the relationship. A VAR’s relationship with a VAD is different,” Radizeski wrote in a blog.

Growing Movement

Brandon Knight, co-founder of the Xposure Diversity and Inclusion Council and contact center practice leader at Telarus, told Channel Futures last week that partners and suppliers in the channel have been moving toward consensus.

For example, Telesystem on Monday announced sweeping changes to how it describes its partners. Telesystem will call its customer-facing partners “technology brokers” and the intermediary partners “technology distributors.”

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Telesystem’s Bruce Wirt

“It’s time to ditch the term ‘master agent.’ There’s no reason to continue doing something “just because” it’s the way we’ve always done it,” Telesystem chief revenue officer Bruce Wirt wrote on LinkedIn.

CBTS has renamed its upcoming “Battle of the Masters” event at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, Nov. 1-4, to “Battle of the Brokers.”

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Telarus’ Brandon Knight

“I was really impressed that actively competing companies talked about it openly. To me, that’s also a nod to how important the subject is,” Knight said last week.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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