Threadwatch Marketplace?

46 comments

A while ago Bob Massa commented that a shopping mall without stores is not really a shopping mall. DaveN and I have been chatting a bit and have been thinking about creating a members marketplace of some sort.

Early ideas we have are
- make sure there is a user feedback / rating system
- try to filter out noisy spam offers by requiring some sort of payment (money / membership so long / so many posts / something like that)
- possibly offering tiers of access

So the question is: what do YOU want in a community marketplace? What can we do to create a marketplace that adds value to your business?

Comments

Scope?

Are we talking, professional services marketplace a la WMW, (which would be super useful, to look for / post jobs), related industry physical goods, or free for all (a la, my collection of WW1 trench knives?)

Please

Please do, that'd be great.

Yes I'd be very interested

Yes I'd be very interested in that Aaron. I really enjoy working with clued up, intelligent people so the TW audience is very appealing ;)

I would strongly agree with a payment system. IMO of using the other marketplace's out there, that has a huge effect in filtering out the rubbish and increasing the quality. Minimum project prices also help and people having to pay to post might make them think a little harder.

User feedback is 'ok' but somehow that concept has become rather twisted elsewhere, so people are working at below cost just to build up the reputation. Once they have this 'reputation' they start getting picked for projects.

I think that pushes away the quality companies, who already have normal priced work and have years invested in their reputation. It's rather unpractical to start over for each new marketplace site! Let us upload work/credit/give links for projects done outside this system.

RSS on projects posted - an absolute must these days. I can't believe some of the big marketplace sites have yet to do this. *cough*elance*cough* It seems an insanely good use of the technology.

HTH

Sorry nick

Quote:
I really enjoy working with clued up, intelligent people so the TW audience is very appealing ;)

Nick's clearly got me on some sort of ignore list. How does that work?

Back on topic, as long as there's some sort of user feedback it'd be great. If the feedback is coming from trusted members here it'll mean something. Otherwise us the end user can just ignore it or realize it's untested.

I think this is an excellent

I think this is an excellent idea. I'm leaning toward liking a marketplace "loosely" related to SEO/SEM Internet products and projects. I don't think it needs to be hyper-focused, but I don't think we want to see eBay's Grilled Cheese Jesus' here either.

martin

two thoughts: 1. i think

two thoughts:

1. i think people need to be incentivized to build up their reputation in a non-quantitative way here, on the community itself. IMO giving merchants a blog is a simple way of doing that (or allowing them to import their blog here, or just linking to their blog).

2. i'd really like to see an active intermediary that enforces transactions. presumably TW will be more of a service marketplace (as opposed to a product marketplace) and service transactions are always a bit murkier (i.e. buying SEO is a cloudier issue than buying a tshirt). complex transactions like SEO and programming might benefit from having an arbiter(s), almost like a court judge, preside over the transaction.

what about ...

Domain names and websites ( NOT turnkey.. but real sites )

DaveN

A trusted

marketplace in this arena would be very useful. It would be great to know who here is taking on clients, new projects, etc.

> trusted source feed back
Slippery slope here, as what is one man's white hat is Doug's black hat.

I would prefer to just read testimonials from other TW users, or something along those lines.

a marketplace for jv/rev

a marketplace for jv/rev share opptys? microfinancing?

I am very wary on jv's

I am very wary on jv's because I think you have to know and trust a person to do those and have them not be a waste of your time. Most JV propositions I have got thusfar are along the lines of

Aaron I noticed you have a strong brand. Why don't we work together. Each take 50%. You do everything and I will get 50%.

I also think that the best JVs are kept quiet and behind closed doors unless heavily hyped to use the hype as a marketing mechanism.

I would love to have a useful outsourcing thing where I could hire decent writers though. That market needs to get a lot more efficient.

Come on Aaron I would do at

Come on Aaron I would do at least 20% of the work....

I Love it

hey Aaron, I'd like to take you up on one of those JVs where you do all the work and I get 50%. :p

More seriously, I've done some joint ventures, and have not had any bad experiences because of being realistic going in and setting expectations appropriately.

But, if you're going to do a marketplace, why not add a section for JVs? But, to add an even bigger BUT, having moderated a thriving marketplace, I caution you, it's not a glam job at all running a marketplace, and it can get very, very dirty.

Domain names and websites (

Quote:
Domain names and websites ( NOT turnkey.. but real sites )

Love that. LOVE LOVE LOVE that. Would it be an auction type of thing? Or just a flat sale..those who see it first and click "buy" get it?

real sites...

Domain names and websites (NOT turnkey.. but real sites )

Yeah, that would rock. The ability to sell / buy a reasonably "confirmed" site would also be something I'd be happy to pay a premium for -- I'm thinking, streamline the research process, and keep the details relatively private; you'd be better than any other current option.

I think keeping the domain info priviliged information is attractive for those who want a smooth transaction without a bunch of people being able to point at all your buy/sells...

i'd gladly pay for access to

i'd gladly pay for access to this and would prefer to pay for it so that its less BS. great idea guys.

Paid access

Yup. I second the motion. So moved :).

paid access

Not so sure about paid access, if only because there are plenty of independents who may not show up. Just cause you're big doesn't mean you're the best choice, and not everyone is trying toget big.

One of the best things about TW in my opinion has been that it did not induce every TD&H with something to say to actually say it (many, many lurkers help keep S2N high). Following was a wortwhile endeavor.

one more vote

what about ...

Domain names and websites ( NOT turnkey.. but real sites )

LOVE IT

(although, how many of these sites are actually selling on any given day.... not many)

i volunteer

traffic audit services

They are selling...

(although, how many of these sites are actually selling on any given day.... not many)

The real hitch would be, nobody wants the world at large to know what sites they are buying and selling. But the market's definitely there. Even if you look at eBay, when a decent site comes up (usually a couple a month) it will generally fetch a good price, and almost always attracts a nice selection of qualified / motivated buyers.

I'd love to see a TW

I'd love to see a TW Marketplace.

marketplace rating system

marketplace rating system = (membership age) * (Posts) * (Trader Reviews)

I do like the idea of having different access levels, think think dnforum.com does this well.

thoughts

Marketplace is a good idea. I would set the scope to be "anything the members here want to buy/sell" which is pretty broad, but I'm sure that it's better to start out broad and then narrow it down later.

I'm not sure what to think about all this rating / reputation stuff ...

I would warn against tieing any such system in with regular posts or comments on the site. I would not like to see inflation in the number of comments just because somebody wants to "earn credits" to make a sale. Better keep the two things separated.

>> Domain names

I thought there were whole forums dedicated to that specific activity already?

Nevertheless, I say "no limits on scope", so let's just include that anyway - let's see what flies and what does not.

I agree claus

marketplace rating system = (membership age) * (Trader Reviews) + (small fee)

I'm a big believer in paying a little hurt money to get access - one thing that always drives me nuts is that an SEO doing 6 figures in revenue can be shouted down by johnny come lately making $1.5/month at CJ. plus as soon as you start trading we'll be flooded by people from lower GNI pc countries trying to rip us off. (I know that is so elitist, western world of me but it happens)

cats

cats could be, eg.

- services
- software
- domains and sites
- wholesale & bulk (> 10 pieces)
- single items (max 10 pieces)

I support a pay-to-trade model with a one-time or annual fee of, say, 10-20 euro/dollars or even pound (about that range, not more) to be able to sell.

To earn TW some cash a markup or percentage of sales would be OK with me.

plus as soon as you start

plus as soon as you start trading we'll be flooded by people from lower GNI pc countries trying to rip us off. (I know that is so elitist, western world of me but it happens)

Yes I agree. I've been assessing online marketplaces for the last 6 months and the ones that are free are flooded with these responses. Most just seem to put down ridiculously low placeholders on every project.

Saying that though it is a little like drug dealing, responsibility also has to be put on the sellers. If they are constantly posting jobs to 'clone MySpace for $100' then of course the quality companies go elsewhere.

This will be interesting but I can see from all our responses here that the scope is very wide at the moment.

And Wheel - plenty worse than you out there, don't worry ;)

on domains and sites

my guess (and drive) will be quality and not quaintity .. for The Real Players.

Dave

paid does work

Yes, paid marketplace can work, but not exactly in the way you guys are thinking. I'll be at Pubcon Boston, Aaron, if you want to have a chat about how much fun moderating an active marketplace can be. ;)

no reps please

Quote:
marketplace rating system = (membership age) * (Trader Reviews) + (small fee)

Hmm. Big buyers don't live on the forums. They are attracted to a particular thread (or are pointed to it), they may make 1 or 2 posts, they buy the site and never return. Trader reviews/reputation etc is really best left for the amateur buyers who flock to ebay for cookie cutters. We're grown up here and are capable of judging a site without a trader reputation system in place. Or any other hand holding for that matter.

Reputation is a bad idea in other ways. If you're going to give your SEO some green here on TW for each site he does for you... are you going to disclose those URLs so we can see that he's really doing SEO work for you?

I say scrap the reputation idea.

>> scrap the reputation idea

Ditto.

I don't see how it can accurately work. Maybe some sort of *verification* process would be better? You know the type - makeing sure someone is who they claim.

The problem with any system that takes into account the number of posts or membership age is that it can be gamed. My WmW age (under a different nick) is pushing 5 years, but I'm still short of being a senior member. That said, all I have to do is mention that I've been working from my home for 8 years (10 actually, but two are not internet related) and I get tons of instant messages from *senior* members wanting to know how it's done. Some people are just not prolific writers and others just don't want to share valuable information. It shouldn't have anything to do with reputation.

If push came to shove, I would prefer the Editors to simply use their personal judgement and *assign* reputation values. Sort of like the college football polls here in the states. It may seem capricious, but at least it's done by real people who have the ability to reason, judge and hopefully discern duffers.

#1. What do you want? More

#1. What do you want?
More money? More members? Higher traffic levels? More recognition? To piss off someone else? Just want to sell some crap.

#2. Why
To get rich? To become more powerful in the marketplace? To sell ads? Like to sell crap? Just want to piss off someone else?

Once you decide what you want to happen and why now you're ready to

#3. Set an objective stating what you realistically plan to acheive in what timeframe

#4. Set a strategy.
Decide what actions you feel will give you the best chance of meeting your stated objective in the timeframe you allowed. Make sure you have leading indicators identified so you can track your progress and know when you are hitting your numbers, (keep doing what you're doing), and when you are not, (time to identify the reason you are not and alter the strategy).

I don't mean to imply this is all there is to getting a new product or service up and running. I'm merely making suggestions here as there are as many ways to launch a marketplace as there are webmasters to use it, BUT, that is kind of the problem. Everyone has different objectives, desires and motivations and their motivations to them are just as important as yours are to you. For any "idea" to actually take shape as a business instead of a discussion, those steps, in some order, are going to have to be taken.

The good thing is that there is obviously interest and support for an idea like this. If there is a market, then the procedures for getting the product delivered aren't nearly as important as the ability to deliver the product in the first place. If there is value in the end proposition, people will accept and adapt to the procedures you set or they will see them as diminishing the value and that illustrates a weakness that offers opportunity for someone to build something to compete with you which is as it should be.

PS:
Just in case anyone doesn't know, I am not an expert at this stuff. It is only my opinion and what I would do. I offer it as free advice only because I want to help. If anyone should choose to take the free advice they should be aware they may be overcharged.

that'llnever work

Quote:
If push came to shove, I would prefer the Editors to simply use their personal judgement and *assign* reputation values. Sort of like the college football polls here in the states. It may seem capricious, but at least it's done by real people who have the ability to reason, judge and hopefully discern duffers.

If it is to have value, it can't be so assigned. Same old trust issue.

This is like asking a bunch of bankers how to write banking regulations.

Or asking politicians to sit

Or asking politicians to sit in on a politician pay review committee :)

I'm for no reputation of any sort. It's not fair to put the onus on moderators/editors.

Early ideas we have are
- make sure there is a user feedback / rating system...

May I ask why feedback is so important to you that you led with that point?

why some sort of feedback?

-well there needs to be a way to disincentivise shit from crowding out the idea...
-and, if people complained that they got burned by someone how do YOU suggest we deal with that?

there needs to be an easy way for people to let others know they felt they got scammed without putting this site in a situation where monthly we were spending $20,000 on legal fees.
and if there is no easy way to leave at least a menial rating then you can be sure that stuff will be hitting my inbox hard and/or work its way into many threads.

not saying everything needs lots of feedback, but I think not even offering the option on any transaction at any level makes it hard to create efficient marketplaces. I mean, am I typing this, or is my dog? you just can't trust what one person says about themselves.

this may not be much of a big deal for any large transactions where escrow would be used, but for that one off php job you wanted to outsource for around $1,000 there needs to be a way to determine if the money will be well spent or a complete waste. what is the best method to do that?

Feedback on request?

Perhaps there is should be a mechanism where a prospective client can request comments from previous customers, and/or this goes onto a notice board where people can reply directly (comments are not published) with their own comment, whether they are a previous customer or not.

This allows direct feedback, they may or may not trust that feedback, depending if it is a 'trusted name' from within the industry, or somebody they personally know or a complete stranger. But it may only take one positive from somebody they do trust to make them happy to proceed. It also removes the legal worries as these comments are not posted.

I don't need feedback

Quote:
-well there needs to be a way to disincentivise shit from crowding out the idea...

If I see something from 'notsleepy' or 'John Adams' or 'seobook' or 'massa', I've got my own rating system. If it's from someone I've never heard of here, tread carefully. Requiring some sort of fee for entry gets rid of a lot of the crap.

Alternatively, don't worry about seperating good from bad. DP lets all sorts of crap in and is still successful. Fact is, a lot of stuff that's sold there looks like crap to me but there's plenty of eager buyers. Proving that either 'crap' is subjective, or that some people like buying crap :).

Quote:
-and, if people complained that they got burned by someone how do YOU suggest we deal with that?

What does ebay do? Nothing. Caveat emptor.

the reputation issue might

the reputation issue might be easier to deal with if the nature of what is sold is more clearly understood. ebay deals primarily with selling products; selling products is generally less complex than selling services. for instances, lets suppose someone wants to sell SEO services on TW. what exactly is being promised? what rights are afforded to the SEO? presumably there would be a contract of some sorts -- but what if there are genuine misunderstandings/misinterpretations of the contract? this happens all the time with software projects; i.e. the project manager or whoever is drafting the specs will write what he/she believes is perfectly clear, but the lead developer will interpret it in a different way. it is not a matter of deception, as both parties genuinely are trying to deal honestly; but at the end of the day, the buyer is not satisfied. who is right? how to deal with such a situation?

perhaps wheel is correct in that it should be an entirely qualitative system, just like how hiring an employee or making a friend is. complex service transactions are largely about emotions, psychology, and relationships -- these things generally cannot be boxed up and put into some bulletproof, systematic format.

on the other hand, all these questions are irrelevant if the TW marketplace is going to be more about products -- i.e. domain names, web sites, etc. in that case, perhaps a standard rep system would work best. although rep systems have network effects, and hence larger communities may be better able to deal with this than TW.

banks don't rep your business suppliers

presumably there would be a contract of some sorts

Who cares? It shouldn't be TW.

if people complained that they got burned by someone how do YOU suggest we deal with that?

Don't, don't, don't get dragged into that crap! Why do you feel the urge to get involved in disputes?

Whether it's a site or service that someone's selling I need to do my own due diligence and not rely on the fake, easily-manipulated, mutual-wank orgy that reputation systems often are.

In fact, just having a rep system encourages buyers to not think too deeply. The kind of buyers who will then want to sue you. Well, they did rely on your reputation system to protect them!

>> to disincentivise shit
... charge money!

Not a seller

I'm a buyer, not a seller. I dont care about a ranking or rep rating system. Like wheel said, I've got my own rating system. I'm only buying from certain individuals. The markeplace concept interests me only by letting me know which of these individuals are sellers at the moment.

>feedback

Dangerous idea when dealing with services. Some buyers have no concept on how to manage a project or communicate accurately what they need, want and expect.

If it were me, I wouldn't go

If it were me, I wouldn't go into trying to settle disputes. I'd hire a lawyer to write a good, pretty much ironclad, disclaimer stating that while TW offers this space to sellers and buyers, you haven't vetted the products/services, that it is the duty of buyers to do their own due diligence, etc.

I'm sure there are other legal issues; that's what lawyers are good at -- advising you of the issues. Take a look, too, at some of the other sites offering similar services. Even photo-selling sites have rules that it's clear were not written by the designer/developer.

Fact is, a lot of stuff

Quote:
Fact is, a lot of stuff that's sold there looks like crap to me but there's plenty of eager buyers.

Please let's not go entirely for volume. Please!

Quote:
I'm a buyer, not a seller. I dont care about a ranking or rep rating system. Like wheel said, I've got my own rating system. I'm only buying from certain individuals. The markeplace concept interests me only by letting me know which of these individuals are sellers at the moment.

Right on. You do your own competitive research as a buyer, and look for opportunities to get value.

I think all this rating system stuff is amateur hour... it looks really good from the inexperienced perspective, or the broad I-buy-all-sorts-of-stuff perspective, but in a hard core marketplace like SEO selling to SEO it's just fluff.

What's it going to be Aaron, a TW marketplace or a public marketplace?

Don't forget DMOZ

Don't forget DMOZ editorships and removing unwanted SERPS. :)

garden gnomes + reputation

I'm pretty convinced that with the readership here we won't bee seeing many garden gnomes for sale. No reasons for restrictions. And as for "looks like crap" one man's food is another mans poison :-)

About reputation system; seller rep: I am in two minds - on one hand it seems like it's totally not needed, on the other hand it could be nice.

About buyer rep: Totally not needed. The comment (was it Yes?) about the hit-and-run big spenders is 100% correct. I'm not sure I qualify for "big" but I may -- sometimes -- pay a premium over more patient buyers because I'm not the kind of guy that hang around in market places. I only go there to buy, and when I do so I do that and no more.

So, as a buyer I would perhaps like a basic seller rep of some kind (like a ratings system, number of sales, or whatnot), but on the other hand I would only look at that if it was somebody I didn't "know" in advance. Otherwise it would be totally irrelevant. Plus, any kind of ratings system can be gamed.

I think... that my opinion is that there should be no reputation system.

in the rep system vs no rep

in the rep system vs no rep system debate one thing to consider is that introducing such a marketplace to TW will most likely alter the demographic makeup of the community, and expand its size as well (unless measures are introduced to counter).

>will most likely alter the

>will most likely alter the demographic makeup <

That is EXACTLY why it's so important that objectives are set. Without knowing what you want you need to be careful what you wish for. What if you get it?

agree

In this debate I have always thought about it as a marketplace for existing members, not as an activity that should pull in new members. I thought about the objective as generating some income for TW as well as making existing members happier overall.

All my comments have been based on that assumption, as the existing member base (can't speak for the lurkers) are all fairly professional and able to use sound judgement... well, in some cases at least

;-)

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