I'm going to respond and see if we can keep this breezy and fun. That being said...
You operate from a handful of incorrect assumptions:
1. "...similar batteries" Naturally, this is debatable. There is a VERY wide range of quality in cells.
2. "Obviously they're making a profit, or they wouldn't do it."
a. I think they *are* making a profit. At $50. I was speaking to them quite possibly losing money at $20
b. You assume a profit motive. I assume a support motive. They are not an accessories company. They don't need to make money on this.
3. "Line 6 has no brick-and-mortar costs for their online..."
It's complicated, but they need to compete with their own channel partners "fairly." Meaning they can't ask Sweetwater to stock the battery and then undercut them. Sweetwater probably buys the battery from L6 for around $25 and expects to make their margins.
As I've pointed out elsewhere, my comments are not driven by ego or "blow-hardness" but by real-world experience. I run product marketing for a company (known brand) that sells devices that run off similar batteries. I probably am personally responsible for a couple of miliion batteries out there in the world. (ouch) If you were local, I'd buy you a beer and proceed to bore you with tales about things that might surprise you--like how expensive an accessories business is to run, etc.
Again, just providing a friendly voice of insider knowledge, not trying to be rude or a know-it-all. Hope that's helpful. If not--well, click "thumbs down" and move on.
Edited by sdunmire, 09 September 2013 - 01:57 PM.