At this point, I think the most important points were made throughout the thread, but I feel compelled to add my proverbial two-cents.
What it all comes down to is trust.
I don't trust the marketing verbiage of most retail subwoofers (and other audio products). I do trust the opinions of many people in these forums and that is what brought me to buy very expensive ID subs. Now I do trust many of the ID vendors themselves and their data, but by principle, having a third party (whom we trust!) able to actually reproduce those numbers is extremely important IMHO. Call it basic science or journalistic integrity if you will. As most end users won't have the knowledge and/or time and/or setup to reproduce the tests, Josh Ricci's role becomes increasingly important.
But equally important is the subjective impressions of those we trust. The value of this forum (and others) is in the network of trust it creates between members, manufacturers, and testers, and is probably the main driver behind most ID sales, and how the ID market could develop in the first place.
If I had the money to buy a Submersive (and the HT room that would have to come with it), I'd feel confident enough to do it right now because I trust the subjective opinion of many Submersive owner. The same is not true with similarly-priced retail subwoofer owners. But having a third-party tester confirming the manufacturer numbers would add another layer of confidence that it would be money well invested.
+1^^ Imo well said...