I'm typically not one to engage in open letters to the community, but something has been gnawing at my brain for a very long time. A few days ago I was contacted by a buyer with a question regarding a transaction with a well known seller with a lot of transactions. This resulted in several hours of my time invested in resolving the situation amicably so that the sale stuck. That's my job, but I also do it without pay most of the time, and when I'm putting in hours of free time for the benefit of a seller with a history of not supporting the site or supporting it poorly that makes me very unhappy.
The individual I dealt with expressed surprise in my tone of voice. He was right. This has been building for a long time and rather than shooting a dart at one person I thought more therapeutic to share that email here composed to no specific name. So allow me to engage in a bit of therapy, and I do need to get this off my chest.
This is not meant to be a "roll call" for those that have contributed fairly or those that have not. Just read it and think about it. If I could be assured of that much I'd be pleased.
Dear (name removed)
Let me explain part of my displeasure with your use of the Classifieds. As much as you use them I think you deserve as much. I apologize if my contact the other day sounded a bit harsh. I have very good reason. I thought about not saying anything but I really think I should get this off my chest, and it's clear I need to. I don't like harboring ill feelings. It's unhealthy, so allow me to engage in a bit of therapy.
It has always been a part of the Classifieds policy that we ask for a 2% donation back to the Mandolin Cafe to offset operating expenses on successful sales. Maybe you're under the impression the Cafe rolls in money and that this all happens by magic and that no effort is involved. Not the case. I can't begin to calculate how much protection sellers and buyers benefit from every day, the scams and bad sellers that attempt contact you'll never hear from. It all looks like it's wide open, doesn't it? That's the beauty. You're being protected at every use and the people trying to take advantage of you never find out, and neither do you. Site security is a 24-hour operation because people wanting to take advantage are knocking on the door round the clock. Dan Beimborn and I have invested hundreds of hours in the security of the Classifieds, and because of those efforts we're as close to fraud free as Classifieds and sales resources get on the internet. I compensate Dan quite well for his work. That's my opinion, I think he'd agree, and he's welcome to weigh in.
Continually dipping the hand in the cookie jar and not supporting the site or sub-par contributing is little more than poor taste. Successful resources on the internet come at a price. They're not free, and it doesn't appear there by magic. It's the result of hard work, diligence and showing up every day, multiple times to make sure it's right. Holidays included.
The Classifieds are the way they are by design. They're intended as a perk for site visitors.
Let me make this very clear: I have no interest in engaging in forced up front PayPal or credit card payments or the possession of your credit card number in return for the privilege of placing or replying to an ad.
If you contact us with a concern about a Classified ad, a human answers--me. Try that at Reverb, eBay or Craig's List. Two of those don't let you off without paying.
I'd like to think this is just an oversight, but I know from the numbers of people that engage in this that it's just in poor taste.
I love running this web site and there are many benefits. I will continue to do so, but seeing people use the Classifieds continually and not supporting us in return is just sad. So, you asked a question and I answered.