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Thread: An open letter to Classifieds users

  1. #76

    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    It's a real disappointment to learn some users here take no responsibility. I read the classifieds but have not placed an ad there.

    I have been an administrator at other free boards and know how much time is required and how difficult it is to deal with troublesome members. For what it's worth, I have never seen another message board offer the quality and quantity of information offered here with the courtesy and thoughtfulness of its' administrators.

    I hope the responsible parties clean up their acts and show appreciation for what is offered at Mandolin Cafe.

  2. #77
    Registered User Lorenzo LaRue's Avatar
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    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    I'm am appreciative and sorry that you had to present us with a sort of 'ultimatum', maybe that's a bit harsh but I understand, therefore and although personally not feeling guilty, I tossed in a few extra shekels in the pot in hopes of encouraging others to do likewise. I love this site and check it out almost daily and have used the classifieds myself several times, and mostly remember to chip in. Thanx Scott for your hard work.
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  3. #78

    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    This is quite representative of many of the longer Cafe threads. OP brings up a subject of interest, then many (admittedly not all) respondents completely ignore the essence of the OP's statement and laboriously address entirely different questions that were never asked.

    The offending parties who abuse the Classifieds by never paying back anything on tens of thousands of dollars of sales should be ashamed. The only problem, however, is that they have already shown themselves to be beyond shame.

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  5. #79
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    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    A two percent surcharge on successful classified sales sounds entirely reasonable to me, especially considering the extra mile that Scott and Dan seem to be willing to go to resolve seller/buyer disputes. Most dealers and auction houses charge 15 percent or more to consign and list an instrument. I'm not knocking dealers and auction houses, as I've happily consigned quite a few instruments that way. However, the Mandolin Cafe classifieds seem like a bargain by comparison.
    Robert H. Sayers

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  7. #80
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    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron McMillan View Post
    ...The offending parties who abuse the Classifieds by never paying back anything on tens of thousands of dollars of sales should be ashamed.
    In some cases it's MUCH more than tens. I'm going to guess some folks are going to have to alter their business models.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  8. #81

    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    In some cases it's MUCH more than tens. I'm going to guess some folks are going to have to alter their business models.
    Even worse. That is quite despicable.

  9. #82
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    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    For me MC offers a relatively safe venue to look for, sell and trade arguably rather expensive stuff -- mandolins, etc. Most of the folks here are "regulars" and I have found MC to be quite good at self-policing and I think Scott does a great job of keeping it that way. Most everything bought here is an act of hope (hoping to get what the ad described) and everyone I have had the pleasure of dealing with has lived up to my hopes. I think that is testimony to the administration of the site and the people who use it. I don't get that feeling with any of the other sites and I think that is worth something.
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    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    One point that hasn't been brought up is that you need not be a member of Mandolin Cafe to place a classified ad. So to those who think that it is more desirable to buy from a seller there because we Cafe members are such an upstanding bunch, they are not registered members unless they state that in their ad (assuming they tell the truth).

    Other online forums that I belong to (for dulcimers, fiddles, and ukuleles) require registered membership to place a classified ad. It seems like this keeps out businesses per se and they are mostly individual sellers. I have had successful transactions on those but of course they don't have anything close to the bells and whistles we have here and as far as administrator oversight, protection, and involvement, I would speculate little to none.

    I am not suggesting that Scott should go members only on the ads. As pointed out above, the purpose of his letter was not to solicit suggestions for improvement. I am just saying that those who buy here need to do so with eyes open. Sellers may be individuals, and business are supposed to disclose that they are businesses, but it is possible (certain, actually) that some sellers are de facto "businesses" in disguise.

    This confirms a theory that I have had for some time for life in general. If you set up a system, any system of any type, no matter how carefully thought out, there will always be somebody who will figure out where the loopholes are, and there are always loopholes. You can never eliminate those who are jazzing the system, all you can hope for is to keep them at a minimum.
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  11. #84

    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron McMillan View Post
    This is quite representative of many of the longer Cafe threads. OP brings up a subject of interest, then many (admittedly not all) respondents completely ignore the essence of the OP's statement and laboriously address entirely different questions that were never asked.
    You have a point Ron. By now though, I'd say the issue Scott raised has been addressed and is understood by most of those who've read it. There are a few tangential subjects that arise and might not necessarily deserve beginning a new thread. I'd like to address one of those 'side issues' if I may, without starting a new thread.

    I have no doubt that there are unscrupulous dirt-bags who have made tidy profits buying and selling on this site without kicking in their fair share. Ideally (to my way of thinking), the payment for the use of this site would reflect those profits.

    What I'm driving at is this. There is a thread running concurrently to this one, that is following someone's quest to find his ultimate mandolin. If he buys (loves, posts pictures and videos of, falls out of love), then uses this site to sell a $2000.00 instrument for no profit, he owes 2% or $40.00. Seems fair to me.

    If that same guy buys (loves, posts pictures and videos of, falls out of love), then sells a $20,000.00 instrument at zero profit, he now should pay $400.00? That, to me seems a bit skewed. Or is this a case of 'If he can afford that kind of big-dollar instrument, he can afford to pay the associated costs'?

    I don't know the answer. As I said before though, it seems like those who are using this site as a business tool and profiting by it, should be ponying up a percentage in support money. Other times, a flat fee might be more appropriate. It's just too bad that there are those who don't 'honor' the 'honor system'.

  12. #85
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    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    If it a music shop/store that is selling a mandolin then I believe the 2% should be figured on the profit that they are making on the sale, not on the total price, some of you may dis agree but that is what I feel...I know some dealers sell for a high dollar sale and probably don`t add the 2% on to he sale price, and I wonder how many even know the guidelines to start with...The amount us small guys sell for isn`t so much that it would break us to send in the 2%......

    Edited....sorry the above message was being sent same time as mine...

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  14. #86

    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie Poole View Post
    If it a music shop/store that is selling a mandolin then I believe the 2% should be figured on the profit that they are making on the sale, not on the total price, some of you may dis agree but that is what I feel...I know some dealers sell for a high dollar sale and probably don`t add the 2% on to he sale price, and I wonder how many even know the guidelines to start with...The amount us small guys sell for isn`t so much that it would break us to send in the 2%......
    Two percent on the profit? To me that's not correct and is not what is being suggested/recommended by The Landlord. Does Scott and Co. put in any less time and effort into helping people move merchandise around for deals that involve no profit for the seller?

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  16. #87

    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    If he buys (loves, posts pictures and videos of, falls out of love), then uses this site to sell a $2000.00 instrument for no profit, he owes 2% or $40.00. Seems fair to me.

    If that same guy buys (loves, posts pictures and videos of, falls out of love), then sells a $20,000.00 instrument at zero profit, he now should pay $400.00? That, to me seems a bit skewed. Or is this a case of 'If he can afford that kind of big-dollar instrument, he can afford to pay the associated costs'?
    Just my opinion, but there seems to be a confusion about profit vs cost of advertising. Nobody is "entitled" to a profit. Nor is it more "noble" to buy and sell while searching for your dream instrument than it is to buy and sell while running an instrument business. It is exactly the same -- if he used this site to find his buyer. There is an old expression that states, "that's just the cost of doing business." Or maybe, "there's no free lunch!" There is no guarantee that you can buy a $20K mandolin and use it for a few weeks and get ALL of your money back. That doesn't make any more sense than thinking you can buy one, use it for a few weeks and make a profit on it. $400 is the "price" of having that luxury to decide, in this particular case.

    Using that same hypothetical $20K instrument as an example, the associated fees on eBay would be approximately 14 percent (11% final value fee plus 3% Paypal fee) or $2800. So, you can see the 2% suggested by MC Classifieds is actually quite a bargain, compared to the going rate. And you have the advantage of a mandolin specific audience here.

    Great job, Scott! I've never bought or sold here, but I hope to someday.

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  18. #88
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    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    If you are selling a $20,000 instrument and have to buy ads that reach enough people to actually sell this instrument you most likely will spend much more than $400 and reach a much smaller audience of people not interested in an instrument of that price range. It doesn't seem like too much for the pleasure of owning such an instrument for whatever time it has been owned. If you were to consign it, it would cost you $4,000 for the safe transaction and advertising a store gives you. I don't hear anyone complaining of the cost of shipping an instrument back that you might not like. If you are insuring a $20,000 instrument shipping and insurance would eat most of that. It is the cost of actually getting the instrument sold and safely, with few hassles.
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  20. #89

    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    Some other sites I frequent have a separate classifieds section for dealers. That way, if you are looking for a new instrument from a dealer, you can go to the dealer site. I'd be fried too if I knew of $100,000 in sales with no support. I'd also like to know who not to buy from, but it is obvious you don't want to go there, correctly so. Since web sites are not a democratic entity, perhaps, after due warning, you can just edit out adds as you see fit. It will be interesting to see if any behavior is modified.

    Also problematic, when businesses have their own online stores, how would one determine if a sale was even made? So really, the honor system is the best way to go.

  21. #90
    Registered User Matt's Avatar
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    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    You tell 'em Scott!

    I doubt there is anyone frequenting this site that has not lost something they love. People, retailers, restaurants, writers, movie and TV entertainers, you name it. This website is something thousands of us visit frequently and we should appreciate it AND support it by not taking it for granted.

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  23. #91
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    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Just my opinion, but there seems to be a confusion about profit vs cost of advertising. Nobody is "entitled" to a profit. Nor is it more "noble" to buy and sell while searching for your dream instrument than it is to buy and sell while running an instrument business. It is exactly the same -- if he used this site to find his buyer. There is an old expression that states, "that's just the cost of doing business." Or maybe, "there's no free lunch!" There is no guarantee that you can buy a $20K mandolin and use it for a few weeks and get ALL of your money back. That doesn't make any more sense than thinking you can buy one, use it for a few weeks and make a profit on it. $400 is the "price" of having that luxury to decide, in this particular case.

    Using that same hypothetical $20K instrument as an example, the associated fees on eBay would be approximately 14 percent (11% final value fee plus 3% Paypal fee) or $2800. So, you can see the 2% suggested by MC Classifieds is actually quite a bargain, compared to the going rate. And you have the advantage of a mandolin specific audience here.

    Great job, Scott! I've never bought or sold here, but I hope to someday.
    Well said. There's an old business axiom that those who don't believe in paying for advertising will usually go out of business, then have to pay for an ad to try and sell what's left.
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  25. #92

    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    I don't know the answer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Nobody is "entitled" to a profit. Nor is it more "noble" to buy and sell while searching for your dream instrument than it is to buy and sell while running an instrument business.
    Okay...That's why I asked.

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  27. #93
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    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    Time to lock the thread !
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    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    In some cases it's MUCH more than tens. I'm going to guess some folks are going to have to alter their business models.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron McMillan View Post
    Even worse. That is quite despicable.
    I quite agree -- despicable and outrageous too -- I'm the kind of curmudgeonly person who just might name names.....
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    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    You have a point Ron. By now though, I'd say the issue Scott raised has been addressed and is understood by most of those who've read it. There are a few tangential subjects that arise and might not necessarily deserve beginning a new thread. I'd like to address one of those 'side issues' if I may, without starting a new thread.

    I have no doubt that there are unscrupulous dirt-bags who have made tidy profits buying and selling on this site without kicking in their fair share. Ideally (to my way of thinking), the payment for the use of this site would reflect those profits.

    What I'm driving at is this. There is a thread running concurrently to this one, that is following someone's quest to find his ultimate mandolin. If he buys (loves, posts pictures and videos of, falls out of love), then uses this site to sell a $2000.00 instrument for no profit, he owes 2% or $40.00. Seems fair to me.

    If that same guy buys (loves, posts pictures and videos of, falls out of love), then sells a $20,000.00 instrument at zero profit, he now should pay $400.00? That, to me seems a bit skewed. Or is this a case of 'If he can afford that kind of big-dollar instrument, he can afford to pay the associated costs'?

    I don't know the answer. As I said before though, it seems like those who are using this site as a business tool and profiting by it, should be ponying up a percentage in support money. Other times, a flat fee might be more appropriate. It's just too bad that there are those who don't 'honor' the 'honor system'.
    Well, you seem to be completely missing the point here. The 2% requested donation is based on the SALE PRICE, not the profit. So please don't make this about something that it's not. Besides, the sale price is fairly well defined, and it's generally somewhere around the asking price in the ad, give or take a bit (things sometimes sell for less). The "profit" is not a very well-defined quantity. It's not really possible to define a profit (or loss) for instruments that are held for a long time, or items that are traded, or items that have been received as gifts, or had work done over time, and so on. And if you sell something at a loss, how do you reckon the value of the loss? So no, selling at a loss does not exempt you from making a donation to the MC. And why should it? You're using exactly the same advertising services!! Profit or loss are on YOU, the seller. The MC is not responsible for your business decisions, be they good ones or bad ones!

    So YES, if you churn over several expensive instruments that cost $20,000 or more within the course of a few months (based on MC ads) -- regardless of whether you make a profit or take a loss -- you absolutely should be donating 2% of the sale cost, each time, to the MC, according to the written guidelines. Why is that so hard to understand?

    You should not expect a discount for being a lousy businessman in pursuit of a great mandolin by buying, then selling, one right after another, after all...

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  31. #96
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    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    If I knew that any of the brick and mortar music stores, or people in business who buy and sell instruments from their homes, (or whatever other configuration) who regularly advertise instruments on here were not contributing, I'd be inclined to not patronize their business any further.

    Matter of fact, they could count on it.

    Scott's certainly a great guy for doing all of this on the honor system, but it may be time to just start charging 2% of every sale. The details would be tricky, but I'd certainly consider it worth the cost of being able to advertise on this site.
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    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    The only people that know the details the of each sale are the Seller and the Buyer. With shipping involved the actual transaction - and return - can take a few weeks (and that's after a Sale has been agreed). How do you track a Seller who links his ad to his website where the actual transaction will take place? Or a Seller who also advertises on Ebay and that's where the transaction will take place...
    It was even more confusing when people would call the phone number listed in the ad...
    Scott is doing a marvelous job and he has aired his justifiable grievance of being shafted by a few LARGE Sellers who are taking advantage of free advertising and may not even be bothered tracking Sales that were generated from it. I am sure that he will address this issue fairly, and in his own time. Right now this outpouring of support for him (and financial contributions) will go a long way to taking the sting out of the shabby response by the ignominious few.

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  34. #98
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    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    The retail community has been very supportive of the Cafe. This has never been about them. I'm not concerned about the individual on a budget that has one mandolin and upgrades every few years. By and large those people are supportive.

    That gets us back to the subject/s of the opening post. I've had dialogue with several people that were on my list. A couple contacted me first, I contacted others, others I'm watching to see what happens. Some of them post here so they'll get to read this. This is between them and me, not outing anyone so don't ask. From the list of people I'm concerned about? I heard a few promises and two good sob stories which were anticipated. So far, the results of these conversations? A single donation that amounted to enough that I may take my wife out to dinner tonight, provided we eat at Popeye's, get the 3-piece chicken wing meal and skip the red beans and rice and sodas. With tax I'll be in the hole on that single donation.

    You don't stop a speeding car going 100 mph on a dime (maybe a poor metaphor) when the driver has had their foot on the pedal for years. Only a brick wall stops them. At some point soon I'll pull the plug on a few select high volume, high dollar abusers.

    Lots of talk about do this and do that and while I appreciate the gesture, I know what I'm doing and don't intend to change much. This is a great community, always has been, but it's no surprise that there are people that take advantage of a good situation. Those days will end soon, or not, it's their choice.

    Probably best this conversation be allowed to die down. I don't think much is being accomplished. The opening post still says everything I want.

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  36. #99

    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    Maybe distinguish between dealers and private party sales (like Craigslist does w/autos, iirc.) I was going to suggest charging in advance but that gets complicated and pretty soon you're doing a mini eBay business with all the associated extra labor.

    Ads that include links to dealer sites are an additional complication. To be honest, if I see a dealer ad with a link to an external site, I'm likely to click on it to a) look at more photographs and b) see if they accept Visa/MC and have an automated ordering system, which I find more reliable than replying through the ad here and hoping for a response. I'd rather go to their store site, order through the system, badda-boom, done. (IIRC, eBay doesn't permit external links in their listings.) However I haven't actually purchased any instruments in this fashion so far.

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  38. #100
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    Default Re: An open letter to Classifieds users

    Lots of talk about do this and do that and while I appreciate the gesture, I know what I'm doing and don't intend to change much. This is a great community, always has been, but it's no surprise that there are people that take advantage of a good situation. Those days will end soon, or not, it's their choice.

    Probably best this conversation be allowed to die down. I don't think much is being accomplished. The opening post still says everything I want.
    What's not to understand or continue talking about?

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