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Feedback Wanted re: Charging Buy and Sell Fees at Mu-43.com

Discussion in 'Help and Feedback' started by Amin Sabet, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Costs of site maintenance are rising faster than our ad/affiliate/donation revenue, and while we're still doing okay, the "rainy day fund" (to cover expenses in case a major advertiser/affiliate like Google/Amazon/B&H pulls out) and funds available for site improvements are not as healthy as they were a few months ago.

    A lot of people sell a ton in our Buy and Sell forum, and we've never charged a listing fee. Many of those folks have never contributed anything outside of Buy and Sell, and I'm pretty sure at least a few of them do so for a living despite the fact that our TOS does not allow commercial vendors to participate there.

    Because of this, I am considering charging a listing fee for Buy and Sell use, and the model I had in mind would be as follows:

    Basically, we'd be on the honor system. If you sell an item via listing here at Mu-43, then after that sale you would pay a fee. If you list here as well as elsewhere (eg, FredMiranda, Ebay, GetDPI) and you end up selling on the other board, then you pay nothing here.

    The implementation would be that at the top of the Buy & Sell forum, it would say something like this:


    As noted above, this would be for the most part according to the honor system, though I might take action (ban, etc) with users who were obviously not paying fees - ie, someone piling up the listings and feedback while never or very infrequently paying fees.


    This is just an idea and not set in stone. Genuinely interested in feedback from our members.
     
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  2. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    Amin, I think that is a good idea.

    I'd probably prefer a membership scenario, a la FM, or have Buy/Sell rights included with a certain donation level, but I imagine that may be complication you don't need.
     
    • Like Like x 6
  3. rklepper

    rklepper Mu-43 Top Veteran

    733
    Dec 19, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    Robert
    I personally don't think an honor system would work. I would prefer a system where a membership allows you to post in the for sale. Not sure it should be required to buy. Makes good sense to me.
     
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  4. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Thanks, Dean. I want to keep it simple and non-offensive. Tell me what you think of this revision of the note that would be posted at the top of Buy and Sell:

     
  5. radamo

    radamo Mu-43 Regular

    183
    Aug 22, 2012
    Long Island, NY
    Rich
    I think it is a good idea to charge a fee. I would like to think that the honor system would work... but feel it probably would not. I will however send in a donation today since I did just sell a lens.
    Thanks for running a fun and (usually) informative board,
    RA
     
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  6. simonz

    simonz Mu-43 Regular

    89
    Jul 20, 2010
    New England
    Tiered Membership

    I like the idea of a tiered membership. There are some sellers on here who almost seem like dealers, while others are just hobbyest photographers who sell a few items per year.

    Here is what I was thinking:

    DEALER: This is for the heaviest volume (one item per day) sellers and have highest membership fee.
    PRO: An active seller (one item per week).
    ENTHUSIAST: A frequent seller (on item per month).
    HOBBYIST: Infrequent seller, free membership (6 items per year).
     
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  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Just so I understand correctly, you prefer that members should be required to pay for a Buy & Sell membership in order to do a listing? Please elaborate why you prefer that. I'm confident that a lot of members would pay though I don't doubt there would also be a lot who wouldn't.

    The reason I wanted to have the fee dependent on making the sale is that a lot of us list on multiple sites. As an example, I'm currently selling a Leica M9 and listed on FM (paid them), RFF (paid them), DPI (they are moving to a pay model), and here as well as SeriousCompacts and Craigslist (both free). I skipped Ebay because they take 10%, but these little fees here and there add up too.
     
  8. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    I like the revision.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    As an aside, the FredMiranda model would not be technically difficult to implement here. It's just that I don't know if it is better or worse than the honor system I'm proposing here. I want it to be fair, revenue generating, and not kill the activity level in our Buy & Sell :smile:.
     
  10. radamo

    radamo Mu-43 Regular

    183
    Aug 22, 2012
    Long Island, NY
    Rich
    I also think this is a fair way to do this. Good idea.
    Rich
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. BeyondTheLines

    BeyondTheLines Mu-43 Veteran

    262
    Sep 23, 2012
    Spain/USA
    Patrick
    This sounds good to me. I've only bought one camera on here and have yet to sell anything. Someday I might sell something but I'm not one to go through gear often so for me only having to pay per sold item (in excess of $300) would be much better than a yearly membership. I think it's only fair that the site should be able to benefit in some way from sales.
     
  12. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    I think a tiered listing system would be a good idea. Astromart, a dedicated astronomy equipment buy and sell website, charges 15 dollars a year for basic membership. Lots of people don't like it and list their stuff on cloudynights classifieds since it is free, but astromart does get lots of traffic.

    While 15 is rather high, I think 5 dollars a year for X listings and then 10 for Y listings...etc. I've thought for a long time that members, especially new members, abuse this a little because very little other contribution is made to the forum otherwise. While some might get turned off by this and go elsewhere, I think enough members would use it.
     
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  13. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    Is this based on listing an item or selling an item? I guess I could see too many people just saying that it didn't sell through this site. I think a listing fee, at a slightly less price, would be better. JMHO.
     
  14. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    I think buy and sell selling privilege should be available to people who donate.

    You could simply modify the donation screen to say if you donate $20 or more (as an example) you get access to the buy and sell.

    An honor system won't work, lots of people won't care. And yes I agree some of the folks on the buy and sell are semi commercial. Although I suspect they don't see it that way.

    BTW the donor link in my user profile went to Serious Compacts when I tried it from there (I decided to top-up so to speak).

    I think anything else will involve you writing a ton of code for little value. Also trades don't involve $$$ so how would those get valued?
     
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  15. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    I think the honor system approach based on actual sales is the most fair, as long as people are honest about it and it doesn't become an administrative issue.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  16. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    I think most active members would be fair about it. But just one glance at the buy and sell area, and 75 percent or more of those individuals do not contribute this forum in any other way. I doubt they would use the honor system.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  17. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    937
    Feb 22, 2013
    Connecticut
    A dealer level membership or power seller or something might work. You might actually get more revenue that way, if it is viewed as a good way to sell items.

    I like the idea of items under a certain price being free. That would make it easier for casual sellers to sell older bodies and lenses when upgrading. It would also be good for those who want to sell an older legacy lens they found at a garage sale or flea market.

    And a general suggestion about the buy/sell -- maybe some sub-forums for different categories. Bodies, lenses, lots, accessories, and non-MFT? That would make things easier to find, and people wouldn't need to bump their items so often.
     
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  18. swampduck

    swampduck Mu-43 Veteran

    334
    Mar 29, 2013
    Taneytown , MD
    Dan
    I feel like it would ruin the Buy and Sell here. I have bought and sold here and it is a good deal both ways even with the added PP "fees". I feel like you should instead enforce the rules on the books, not create new ones that potentially hurt the rest. Alternatively, restrict Selling to 2 POSTS a month, not ITEMS, but POSTS. If you want to sell as a dealer, anything over that a month then charge a fee for that. I like this site because it is actually more of a community. I would rather see it remain that way than become a pay to play.
     
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  19. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    How would it ruin it for people to pay $5 if the item falls between 300-1000? At most, it is a 1.7% fee (less the "charges" paypal has). Sold something on here for $22, and probably wouldn't have bothered if the fee would have been for less expensive items, but as Amin said, it allows legacy collections to grow, and turn over, and expensive stuff to help pay for the site. I think it makes a lot of sense, but am worried about the "honesty policy" actually working. Maybe a listing limit if your stuff repeatedly "sells somewhere else"?
     
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  20. Kilauea

    Kilauea Mu-43 Regular

    110
    Jun 9, 2012
    Canada
    Nicolas
    First of all, thanks for asking our advice and for telling us of the situation before things turn sour.

    If the problem you face is one where people use the B & S for an almost commercial purpose, why not impose a yearly limit. Say 3 threads per year (once per year and once its all sold, lock it). Afterwards, if you wish to do more than that, you need to donate x amount. Part of that system, I would suggest a system based on honor like the one u suggested and if someone donates, it is automatically comptabilized in their yearly bank.

    That way, let's say I do 3 sales of 400$ each and donated 5$ each times, I have donated a total of 15$. Now let's say that the requirement for having 4-6 threads per year is 15$, then I do not have donate anything because of regular donations already cover the expenses of this "new status".

    I am not sure if what I am saying is clear, it usually isn't.

    I know, I am not the biggest contributor the forum, but I am an avid reader and do come here a few times per day and check everything. In the end if there was a system such as the one u suggest, it would NOT make me leave the forum altogether and I find your option to be better than those pay to post ones, I would continue to support this forum.
     
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