I have set up sites that service BOTH their branded resellers and end-user sales for the same products. The computer distributor sites always had this same senerio since they knew that most of their sales were channeled through their resellers. My solution their was to web enable their e-catalog to book sales to the resellers ( lower prices) as well as allow the resellers with web sites to tie into their e-catalog with affiliate sales tracking to book sales & commissions direct to end users.
One site I did was trying to streamline order processing on their patented hardware store items which were sold to large chain retail stores ( Ace Hardware Home Depot etc) small independents and home repair mom-n-pop contractors. All had different wholesale prices.
The manufacturer wanted to signup more hardware chain stores and reach independents without infringing on the Mass retailer and branding campaigns. I also advised them to build a simple online database of local storefronts where the end-user could jump in their car and buy. The end-user could buy online and their info given to the local stocking partners for followup. One e-catalog served all parties as to displaying the correct prices based upon login username/password.
The automative warehouse distributor sells to a variety of resell outlets from parts stores to gas stations..correct? Every damn one of them EXCEPT the warehouse distributor advertises with shelf space the BRAND. If I take the brand and place it on Jeff Gordon's NASCAR racer would your brand be enhanced. Would it sell on a NASCAR related site as well as a general auto parts site? Brand has everything to do with public awareness advertising and has nothing to do with limited channel distribution.
Your man just wants to assure his bread-n-butter channel they aren't playing an end-run and going consumer direct. If the product stinks they'd best stick with the suckers still stocking it. If it excells over the competition then web enable it. I can make a web site and publish within 2% what you pay for every part you carry. Nothing is hidden or proprietary on the net. If the item sells for under 100.00 it's a commodity and very few branders like SONY can get away with restricting distribution channels. "Classic Car Wax" sure isn't SONY and the manufacturer would benefit over competitive choices buy allowing affiliate sales.
If the Brander only wants to advertise via web affiliates then tell him to save his money. We only want to showcase superior products at better than local store prices or the savvy shopper just buys local.