I'd suspect brands aren't all that widely adopted by Goreans for the same reason as they're not that common in the rest of the fetish scene.
Perhaps. I think it's more likely that most of the people who profess themselves to be Gorean (or twoo slaves for that matter) are only so in the bedroom. The idea of a brand might be powerful, but it subsides quickly after orgasm.
Whatever Lange/Norman and Pauline Reage say in their fiction, it's very difficult to brand somebody showing a design rather than a blob of scar tissue, not guaranteed to show the design that's intended very clearly, and bound to fade and become less distinct however good a job is done initially. Slavegirls just don't have the sort of thick hide that lends itself to branding, and tattoos are a lot more permanent, even if they take a lot longer to apply.
This would certainly be true if someone tried to use the same type of branding iron that is used on livestock. As you say, we have different sort of hide than they do and as such, different tools and techniques are required. When done properly by a skilled practitioner; a legible, long lasting strike brand is readily achievable. It may lack the "romantic" nature of pulling a red-hot iron out of a fire and branding your kajira over your Home Stone, but such is life in the real world. If you want professional results, you see a professional.
As for the permanence of tattoos, it's far easier, and less painful, to remove/cover a tattoo than it is to excise a brand scar.
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