Hi! I am here as summoned.
Tuluk has a caste system that is built upon four basic castes:
slaves, commoners, nobles, and templars
With this in mind, to answer the question posted on the imm board, blooded merchants are commoners and bards are commoners therefore relative status is a matter of social rank.
What does this really mean?
Well, bards have four ranks:
Apprentice, Seeker, Bard, and Master Bard
Merchants have a bunch of ranks too. I tend to simplify it down to four.
Merchant, Ranked Merchant, Upper Merchant, and House of House
Now, a bard is a third level in the social standing and a merchant who is fresh faced to the world is at the first rung. Being a blooded merchant provides a boost to that social standing. After all, a blooded merchant who is starting out is typically higher in social status than a hired merchant employee - even though they occupy the same social slot (as dictated by their job within the merchant house).
Patronage also has an effect on relative social standing.
Personal influence, power, renown, achievements, deeds, friends, etc all have affects as well.
In other words, a bard bard will be probably higher in influence (ie, social standing) than a new blooded merchant. Why probably? Well, it may be that the bard in question has done a bunch of really stupid mistakes - everyone hates them, known to hang out with magickers, loses all competitions, etc while the new blooded merchant makes some very powerful friends... in that case, the merchant is of a higher standing.
Basically, the system in Tuluk is complex and can be difficult to figure out. I keep track of base positions (like apprentice artisan, or master bard, or aide of so and so) and then apply modifiers from there to figure out where people are relative to one another.
Further examples in Tlaloc's post
(he said it better than I did)