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Kiwi

Improvements to the Marketplace.

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[font=Arial]Woohoo![/font]

[font=Arial]It's taken 9 months to get this far but finally we can announce some improvements to the classifieds section! The new layout will include the following features/benefits.[/font][list]
[*][font=Arial]Easier and more convenient to use (more attractive, less clicks to see price and pics)[/font]
[*][font=Arial]It won't be possible to list an ad without stating a price (this means less monitoring for mods)[/font]
[*][font=Arial]Gallery view means more visibility for ads and hopefully will help sell stuff more quickly.[/font]
[*][font=Arial]Streamlined search facility means its easier to get relevant results.[/font]
[*]Easily mark items as sold
[*]Filter results for category, for sale/sold/exchange/all items
[*]'Ask a seller' question function with automatic notification for seller
[*]Easy image upload system
[*]Mobile theme
[*]Share listings on FB/Twitter/email etc.
[/list]
[b][font=Arial]Free access to the classifieds section for members will not be changing. [/font][/b]

[font=Arial]You can view the test forum here:[/font]
[font=Arial][url="http://isaaclewis2.invisionzone.com/index.php?/classifieds/"]http://isaaclewis2.i...p?/classifieds/[/url][/font]

This is a good example of how an advert will look on its own page:
[url="http://isaaclewis2.invisionzone.com/index.php?/classifieds/item/9-warwick-brand-new-with-case/"]http://isaaclewis2.i...-new-with-case/[/url]

[color=#000000][font=Arial]We are planning on introducing the new format [/font][/color][b]on November 14th[/b][color=#000000][font=Arial]. That's next Wednesday.[/font][/color]

[i][font=Arial][color=#222222]Using the new layout:[/color][/font][/i]
[font=Arial]The process of listing an advert will be slightly different to posting a thread. Advertisers will need to complete fields and pull down menus rather than just post a topic. While this is more structured than before it will mean greater consistency in the information provided in each advert.[/font]

[font=Arial]A small fee will be charged for using the gallery view feature. This is because we had to pay the developer to get the plug in installed and the forum isn't generating enough to pay for this, the development of drumchat and guitarchat as well as the usual maintenance upgrades and hosting. So whatever support you can offer by using this feature would be very much appreciated.[/font]

[i][font=Arial]Transition from old to new:[/font][/i]
[size=4][font=Arial][color=#222222]Unfortunately the old format can't be incorporated into the new format so there will be a[b] transitional period[/b] of [b]4 weeks after the new layout is introduced.[/b][/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=#222222]This is to help make the adjustment process as smooth as possible. The old classifieds layout will be closed and locked so those who have recently posted ads in the old format still get visibility OR enough time to repost under the new system. Once the transition period is over, the old classifieds will be [/color]archived but will still be visible.[/font][/size]

[i][font=Arial]Subject to review:[/font][/i]
[font=Arial]This is unchartered territory so we'll be reviewing how well the new layout is working and be making adjustments along the way. [/font][font=Arial]We've also been looking into whether we can retain a bumping facility. However the problem is that bumping isn’t part of the original classifieds plug-in and is likely to need custom coding. The question in our mind is...is it worth it? Especially since there will be up to 60 items visible per page.[/font]

[font=Arial]We're waiting to hear back from the original developers of the classifieds plug-in on whether its technically feasible. But to be honest while[/font][font=Arial] some have found bumping useful, others have questioned it. Any thoughts or comments on the bumping feature?[/font]

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Really like it!

On bumping, as long as the 36 hour rule is kept to I think doing it the original way is fine. Sometimes the 'bump' posts are quite amusing to read too, and offer additional info :)

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Hmmmm ... my first impression is: Solution in search of a problem.

Please forgive me if I contain my enthusiasm until I've lived it with it for a few weeks.

I rather like the way the current forum allows completely free-form description (which often tells you a lot about the vendor) and actively encourages "conversation" between vendor and prospective buyers. I suspect this new approach will stifle both of these.

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£20 for a brocolli sandwich..? Does it have an OHSC..? What year is it..? Trade for a Mars bar, little used..? :ph34r:

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[quote name='Dad3353' timestamp='1352325655' post='1861839']
£20 for a brocolli sandwich..? Does it have an OHSC..? What year is it..? Trade for a Mars bar, little used..? :ph34r:
[/quote]

My thoughts exactly!

But the new layout does look good mind

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I'm with Happy Jack on this - the current (old) format with plenty of chat does let you suss out what's what with a lot of sales and, I've felt, gives me more confidence in purchasing e.g. by post which is a real trust thing. This new format seems much too open to gumtree-style scams in comparison

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[quote name='LawrenceH' timestamp='1352328515' post='1861911']
I'm with Happy Jack on this - the current (old) format with plenty of chat does let you suss out what's what with a lot of sales and, I've felt, gives me more confidence in purchasing e.g. by post which is a real trust thing. This new format seems much too open to gumtree-style scams in comparison
[/quote]

Hi mate

You can still comment on the 'questions' tab.

Cheers

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[quote name='LawrenceH' timestamp='1352328515' post='1861911']
I'm with Happy Jack on this - the current (old) format with plenty of chat does let you suss out what's what with a lot of sales and, I've felt, gives me more confidence in purchasing e.g. by post which is a real trust thing. This new format seems much too open to gumtree-style scams in comparison
[/quote]

+1

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I think it looks good. Nice to be able to see what's what at a glance, and force people into putting up decent pics!

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Sterling effort guys! wow :)

my tupence:

+ very attractive, clean, clear information, forced price stating a very good thing etc, very interesting new features especially the powerful search filters!

- as has been said - a little apprehensive about the 'questions' tab being in place of the normal communications from the standard forum format. Maybe if his could be opened up in a new window to show the posts full screen and can participate there? If I wouldn't be a big fan of it remaining in a small box with scrolling.

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I've added a couple of demo 'questions' to show how they appear in the associated tab.
http://isaaclewis2.invisionzone.com/index.php?/classifieds/item/9-warwick-brand-new-with-case/#questions

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[quote name='ped' timestamp='1352361667' post='1862060']
I've added a couple of demo 'questions' to show how they appear in the associated tab.
http://isaaclewis2.invisionzone.com/index.php?/classifieds/item/9-warwick-brand-new-with-case/#questions
[/quote]

Major hitch for me is that questions aren't visible in mobile mode :(

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[quote name='ped' timestamp='1352361667' post='1862060']
I've added a couple of demo 'questions' to show how they appear in the associated tab.
[url="http://isaaclewis2.invisionzone.com/index.php?/classifieds/item/9-warwick-brand-new-with-case/#questions"]http://isaaclewis2.i...case/#questions[/url]
[/quote]

Thanks Ped, but if anything that reinforces my reticence. A sub-eBay Q&A system is no substitute for proper communication.

I do appreciate that a lot of work must have gone into this, but I still find myself wondering what's the driver for this proposed change - I have no recollection of a storm of protest from BC Members complaining about the existing system.

Is this a done deal? Or is there still time to pull back and think it through again?

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[quote name='Happy Jack' timestamp='1352363994' post='1862086']
Thanks Ped, but if anything that reinforces my reticence. A sub-eBay Q&A system is no substitute for proper communication.

I do appreciate that a lot of work must have gone into this, but I still find myself wondering what's the driver for this proposed change - I have no recollection of a storm of protest from BC Members complaining about the existing system.

Is this a done deal? Or is there still time to pull back and think it through again?
[/quote]
Yes it's a done deal but we'll continue to adapt and customise as we go. The driver for change is lack of funds - approximately 4% of current sales throught the site end with the seller donating a few pounds. We also feel that the new format is a big step forwards in usability and clarity. 'Proper communication' can be entered into with the seller, albeit in a clearer, less 'stop messing up my sales thread' and more direct kind of way, which is important as the volume of sales is so high on BC.

We feel it'll be less work to look after, easier to see what's for sale and raise some funds to help develop BC, DC (drumchat) and GC (guitarchat).

I hope you'll change your mind when you try it. It's impossible to impress everyone, but the benefits for us as a team running this site are huge, and we believe the majority will enjoy the new format and find it clearer and as useful as before.

Cheers for the feedback, all ideas will be discussed when it's been going for a while and when we can afford to hire more programmers to add any adaptions we might like.

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So, during the changeover period will any existing threads need to be recreated in the new marketplace in order to be able to continue to answer questions about them?

Also, is bumping still achievable in the new styley or is it a bump free world that works very differently from now on?

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[quote name='andydye' timestamp='1352366883' post='1862126']
So, during the changeover period will any existing threads need to be recreated in the new marketplace in order to be able to continue to answer questions about them?

Also, is bumping still achievable in the new styley or is it a bump free world that works very differently from now on?
[/quote]

We'll have to see what happens with existing threads but we'll probably have to close them and ask users to PM the seller unless the seller relists. Maybe we can make the forum locked to new posts but still allow replies. We'll investigate this week.

Bumping isn't happening just yet - there are plugins we can buy that will allow it but with 60 items a page, an item listed in the most popular section (basses for sale) will remain on the first two pages for approximately 3 weeks, so it shouldn't be necessary especially with the gallery view making items more visible and being able to filter out sold items too. Again, as many people disliked and were annoyed by persistent bumping than those who liked to bump daily. I wonder if it's actually very fair to do that.

We currently have a 36 hr rule but that requires constant vigilence by the mods and it's not really enforcable. We may custom make a bumping button that is only allowed to be used once every 36hrs but we'll see how it goes.

By the way sorry I missed the mobile theme question - again, that's coming once we can afford it.

We're trying to bring you the best experience we can, with close to zero money, remember :)

Cheers guys

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I'm sure the new classified format will make the whole thing so much more professional, as long as the users stick with it.

It is a huge part of this forum which also is a major attractant for new members, sometimes they stay sometimes they don't, but the more people that use the Marketplace the better it becomes.

I'm ashamed to see that only 4% of sellers using the free advertising actually make a contribution, we deserve a group kick up the arse for that, come on - where else could you get the target audience this place offers - for nothing?

I agree the bumping has or had got out of control, personally I'd be happy to see the 36 hour rule extended to once a week.

Cheerz, John

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I think this looks great and, most importantly, it makes life easier for the volunteers running the site while retaining the core function of that part of the forum - being able to advertise things for sale.

I think the lack of bumping is actually a benefit - bumps are a pain, and bumping drowns out the listings of people who don't have the time/brass neck to constantly bump their items. This creates a more level playing field where everything is just listed once and left to buyers to find in a clear, bump-less list of items for sale. This is a better experience for buyers and a fairer set up for sellers.

I too was quite surprised and disappointed to see that only 4% of successful sales lead to a donation. That's not very good. I can only imagine that people are not very aware of what the costs of running the site actually are - perhaps a few bullet points on what the costs actually are somewhere in the form for filling in an ad would help explain the need for the small fee? I'm not objecting to a fee, I think it's perfectly reasonable, I'm only suggesting letting people know what the fee goes towards at the point where they're being asked to pay it.

Well done BC bosses,
Matthew

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