I agree with most of what you said Rich - it is a cash cow. I worked for one of those companies, and ink and toner was often referred to as 'liquid gold'. But, the cost of R&D that went into creating the formula was extensive.I've owned lots of printers two of which were expensive and one mid range one, all Epsons. All clogged at one time or another. The best luck I had was with the 3800 but with that one I took special precautions covering the printer with a large towel each time I finished using it. What annoyed me was the amount of ink the printers used 'cleaning' the print heads each time I turned it on. With one (a 4800 IIRC) the ink catcher filled up after I had gone through the cartridge set once! At $450 for a set of eight that is a lot of waste!
In truth I have never used 3rd party refillable inks and won't pontificate but considering the amount of money I've spent on ink which found itself in the waste cartridge I'm willing to take a chance. The fact that there is a lot of experience with this particular ink supplier and it's very positive it's worth the risk. On the other hand I find it difficult to defend printer manufacturers who put special circuitry in each ink cartridge to frustrate users using other brand cartridges or inks, charge very high prices for it and then consign so much of the ink to the junk pile...and then warn about the dangers of other products. Auto manufacturers used to do that with their branded oil and warn that using other brands voided their car's warranty till the laws changed that. Can you spell 'cash cow?'
If I am going to put a photo I printed on the wall, or sell it to a client, then the last thing I want it to do is fade - and that would be a major concern with 3rd party ink. Dye based inks - even from the OEM - have a nasty habit of doing just that. If you look to any of the big printer manufacturers, they always refer to '100 years' or so but the catch is to use their ink and their paper in their printer. As for putting special circuitry into the cartridge - I would have a hard time comdemning them for it - free enterprise. I would imagine there are technical reasons I would imagine and do not supose to be in the know enough to comment. Also, sometimes when you replace the cartridge you are replacing the print head as well as the ink - and the heads do have a finite life span.
But, some companies - like HP - have been increasing the price of their printers and decreasing the cost of the ink. The high cost of the replacment cartirdges (ink or toner) is what spawned the 3rd party market for printers - well, that and the lawsuits that were launched based on patent infringement. If you don't believe that, look at the price of a cartridge for a printer that is 6 years or so old and compare that with a current model.
I own a DesignJet with 12 cartridges, each costing about $60 at B&H new. I always keep one full set in stock just so that it does not hurt so much when I need to repalce one. Fortunately there are only 6 print heads that need replacing (just had 3 die).
Clogging - I have never had a printer clog - even my DesignJet. The trick is to never turn them off. Most high end printers have a maintenance cycle that it goes through on a pre-determined time. It wakes up, checks the ink flow and then goes back to sleep. The good news, it will never clog. The bad news, yes it does eat up ink. The best way to prevent that, is print - print alot and print often... the ink companies will love you....