Anywho, for what it's worth, i sent a link of this thread to CPS... dont know what or if things can change now that they have let things get out of control, but one can hope.
Lastly John, i could have done your same thing... I could have done what my parents wanted me to do and join the Navy. I could have gone to some Community college and gotten some other training... But as a kid, every day my dad would come home pissing and moaning about his work, how much he hated it, how much he was doing it to support the family, you know, being a martyr... I swore I would NEVER allow myself to do that. I would do what I wanted to do how I wanted to do it and live my life. I didn't settle and now i'm working in the best job (for me) that I could have. I didn't "SUCK IT UP", i did everything i can be a professional in every sense of the word. How many people can truely say they are doing what they love? Not many.
BUT, in the end, a photographers sucess and endorsements go a long way in marketing, two big examples are Sandy Puc (Canon) and Doug Gordon (Nikon), and then you have some betweeners like Tamera Lackey and Bambi Contrell who at some point in their career shot with both systems. When Doug wins an award, Nikon is always praised, when Sandy when her awards, Canon is brought up... Professional Services are meant to aid and support their professional base. They aren't stupid... Endorsements are key, especially if they dont have to pay them, they just give them the best support possible. While I'm not in the same league as many of these world class photographers, I do aspire to get there some day and thats why they cater (nikon and canon alike) to their professional base. It's not that pro's are any more important than any other consumer, but they know that when a pro, me or anyone else, is asked by a typical consumer, "hey, what gear do you use"... that professional endorsement goes a long way in whether that consumer goes to costco and buys a rebel or a nikon.