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Sales, Swaps, Auction & Approvals/Auction Disc. : How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

 

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rrraphy
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Retired Consultant

03 Jul 2015
01:57:09pm
Quoting (in a related post on Approvals):

"[b]Now for AUCTIONS.[/b] I have been listing my higher priced items under Auctions recently and I agree with ALL your comments. I can even make more remarks and suggest many changes that would improve the experience...which currently is quite disappointing..from a seller standpoint. The problem is NOT with Approval Books, but with Auctions. I would suggest that we revisit this, and [b]I will start a dedicated topic for this discussion[/b], so that it gets its proper platform, and does not muddy this discussion on Approvals."



As an Auction seller (recently), I am quite disappointed by the results. I think, more than the material being offered, it is indicative of conceptual problems with the AUCTION platform of SOR. (let us not forget that contrary to Approvals which is unique, there are dozens of sizeable Auction platforms, many very efficient at their job. So I am opening a discussion on what could be done to enhance the SOR Auction platform to make it more attractive to Sellers and Buyers alike.

and on the topic from CactusJack:

"A bit more on the auction. The auction is an auction in name only. As I was scrolling through the 738 items in the Other Western Europe category I counted just 6 items out of 738 that had more than one bid. That means that .88% would be sold by auction, i.e., multiple bids. The other 99.12% actually default, in reality, to just being a fixed price sale since they would be sold with only one bid. The auction is an auction in name only. In reality it is a fixed price sale system just like the approval books. The difference, the approval system is user time efficient, i.e., it takes less time to find what you want and the auction wastes more of your precious time that you have to “play” with your stamps. That is the bottom line. The approval system is buyer time efficient and the auction is what people would call a dog in computer lingo. It takes much, much more time to find what you need on the auction"

.

So, why are Auctions not delivering? What could be done to improve the Auction platform?

rrr

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rrraphy
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Retired Consultant

03 Jul 2015
02:26:04pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

RELISTING on Auctions. Today, if you want to relist your unsold items on Auctions, you prices are reduced automatically by 20%.

I would like to suggest changes to this rule.
1. Make the increments 10% instead of 20%. Often it is NOT the prices, but the level of traffic and the timing that determines interest or not for an Auction item. Because SOR's Auction traffic is low, compared to commercial auction sites, reducing the prices sharply does not have a direct link to sales. Having the item available for longer time does (But often a buyer also wants a quick resolution to a purchase...so one plays a balancing game).
2. Allow 2 or 3 consecutive price reductions, then capture the unsold stamps under a "UNSOLD, PRICE REDUCED", store like listing..and append it to the Auction platform.
Make the Store only accessible after going through Auctions and multiple discounts.
3. Fix each of the relisting duration to 7 days (my pick..but we can discuss what makes sense to others)....this goes with the Store capture at the end.
4. Use the SALE icon rather than the NEW icon to designate relisted items. If we go with multiple listings at reduced prices, a Sale Auction icon with 10%, 20%, and 30% indicated would improve communications. The last one would be used for the "Store items"

Just a start...but I think that having a Store to capture unsold auction items, (after mandatory price reductions of 3 x 10%) would make Auctions more successful to sellers and buyers alike. As would better communications on pricing reductions.

rrr...

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michael78651
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Moderator, MT Member

03 Jul 2015
03:04:37pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Here are some of my thoughts.

I think that the big thing needed has just been implemented. That is to allow sellers to post about what they have listed for sale. As people start using that privilege, I think you'll find sales increasing.

An example is I used it to notify members that my approval books are in closeout status and will be closed later this month. I quickly sold a large number of stamps.

Sellers will do better when they market their items so that others know what is being offered, especially better material.

I would like to see more auction lots with a Buy It Now option. (No, don't require it.) For me, I don't like waiting for an auction lot to close. When I find an item that I want, if it has a reasonably set BIN, I take it.

If buyers could search for items by selling price - sliding scale where lower or higher valued lots won't appear in searches. That would keep the large number of low-priced stamps from appearing in auction searches.

We can subscribe to sellers and receive an email when they post new approval books. I don't think that function exists on the auction side. It would be nice to get notified when a favorite auction seller lists new items.

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d1stamper
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03 Jul 2015
03:06:32pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Auction sales would improve if sellers adopted a Title listing, starting with the country name, not using other numbers etc to start the title of the listing.

The title should stated if Mint or Used, do waste the buyers time by having them open the lot or guess if the stamp is used or mint.

If the stamp is worth listing in the auction them it should have the catalog number and which catalog the number is from.

If sellers would take Paypal or some other form of electronic payment.

Sellers would sell to other countries, eg. Canada.

Do NOT charge the buyer for making an electronic payment over a $5.00 or what ever limit the seller would like to set.

List the shipping charges with the listing, do make the buyer have to ask or hope for the best.

Doug


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michael78651
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Moderator, MT Member

03 Jul 2015
03:10:18pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Regarding the suggestion of auction items dropping to a "holding store", I don't think that will increase sales overall. A thought would be to do that to an auction item after it has run through the required number of auto-relists, but for a limited number of days. That way, just in case someone forgot or got too busy to place a bid on it before it closed, they can get back to it and buy it. I know I have missed a few items, because I forgot to get back to it in time. Just don't leave those items up there permanently. It'll just clog the listings up. Maybe ten days maximum, then they are closed.

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d1stamper
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03 Jul 2015
03:16:21pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

The other thing for auctions would be if all auction lots could be viewed, not just newly listed lots.

I know you can search by country, but the search does not work well with the way listing are Titled. Also I prefer to look thur all listings and then I may see items I would buy.

Doug

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michael78651
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03 Jul 2015
03:23:20pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"The other thing for auctions would be if all auction lots could be viewed, not just newly listed lots."



Newly listed lots and lots closing in 24 hours are easily viewed. You're right that the lots in-between those two events are not easily viewed in the same manner, or in a long "viewing string" like from newly listed to oldest listed, or vice versa. But, without a specific search, is it really worth it to see simply everything listed? I suppose sometimes that is a valid search too.

Sounds more like this wouldn't be as much an issue if sellers would use a standard listing practice.
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Cactusjack
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03 Jul 2015
04:16:50pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Some members want to improve the auction. I will discuss that. My opinion is that the auction system is a “dog” system computer wise. I think most agree that sales from the auction are sluggish. That is putting it mildly.

First, it takes a huge amount of time for a seller to list items in the auction. That, and the fact that few lots sell, is one of the reasons that good stuff does not get listed in the auction. No one wants to waste their time listing lots that probably will not sell. Good stuff will sell better in other competing auctions or in approval books.

It is much more efficient to list things in the approval system. I can list a 100 stamp approval book in about the time it takes me to list 10 auction lots. So in reality it takes about 10 times longer to list action lots than to create approval books. The auction wastes a lot of the seller’s time. And as I discussed in my original posting, the search time to find what you want to buy as a buyer is far faster with the approval system than with the auction. So the approval system wins hands down in both selling and buying efficiency.

A couple of more examples as to why I think that the approval system is superior to the auction. In December of last year I listed 12 Faroe Island used stamps for 14 days on the auction. In those 14 days they received zero views, that is, no one even looked at them. About a week later I entered an approval book of just greater than 100 used Faroe Island stamps. I included the 12 Faroe Islands stamps that were previously in the auction. 10 of the 12 stamps that were previously in the auction sold within the first 36 hours.

Another example: do a current auction search on “Great Britain used stamps”. The auction search returns zero lots. Wouldn’t you think that a visitor would probably use that search criteria if he was specifically looking for Great Britain used? If you do a search on just “Great Britain” you still get zero lots. Now if you go straight to the Category List you will find that Great Britain has 447 lots. The search function of the auction is not very useful at all to view limited items.

Stamporama has to compete with all Internet auctions, both big (eBay, Delcampe, etc.) and small (eBid, Stampstogo, etc.). We also have to compete with other stamp societies like APS and sites for collectors of certain countries, topics, etc. Many of those sites also have stamp sales. I think that Stamporama is one of the few, if not the only site with online approval books. I believe if we tweak and tune up the approval system I believe that we can increase our membership dramatically if we can offer reasonably priced stamps in a supper efficient selling platform. That platform is the approval system. That is my firm belief.

Again, to me, trying to modify the auction (a computer time efficiency dog) would be like trying to modify an old DC3 commercial aircraft to carry 300 people at 500 mph at 35,000 feet. It just can’t be done. As the old saying goes, you can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig. The approval system (if tweaked) is by far and away the best sales system and would set us apart in the online stamping community. Most everybody has auctions, few have approval systems..

Just my 2 cents worth.


James M. McCain
Cactusjack

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BobbyBarnhart
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They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -Benjamin Franklin

03 Jul 2015
04:34:17pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I have no issue with the premise that the SOR auction is a nonstarter if one wants to "sell" stamps. So why do I list stamps here? I enjoy it. I am not a dealer nor am I a motivated seller, I buy sell and trade for fun, not profit. The SOR auction permits me to indulge myself in my childhood fantasy game of "playing store," and, just like my childhood game, I risk absolutely nothing! Sure, there are lots of other auction platforms, but how many charge no fees? How many have a hierarchy that responds to questions with alacrity? How many are so comfortable and friendly? Admittedly, if I have quality stamps which need a bigger audience, I journey to Ebay or one of the other sites, pay my fees, and it is still problematic whether I will realize more than a small percentage of catalog value. But on how many of those other platforms can I list, buy and sell for free, address issues and get answers from the auctioneer promptly, and have as much fun?

Frankly, other than changing the relisting percentage to 10% (as suggested by michael###s), I have no changes to suggest.

Basically, I am on Stamporama to "talk about stamps," the rest is just gravy!

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michael78651
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03 Jul 2015
04:49:56pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

That was Ralph who suggested the change in relisting percentage.

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BobbyBarnhart
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They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -Benjamin Franklin

03 Jul 2015
04:54:53pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Regardless, it is a good idea, even if it is ralph's Big Grin

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copy55555
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03 Jul 2015
07:06:04pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I thought I might add my two cents worth as a buyer of Auction lots and items from Approval books. My interests are fairly limited – used US & Canada. I will also buy other items if they strike my interest at the time.

I see that some sellers are complaining that lots don’t sell. There are also a bunch of opinions as to why that is. So my opinion, as a buyer, is that price and selection matter. A lot. As an example, in the US auction section there are two sellers who offer a large selection of US material, though mostly mint. Seller A offers his mint plate blocks with a starting bid of face value and has a large selection. Seller B offers his mint US sheets and stamps with a stating bid of retail and also has a large selection. Seller A has bids on most of his material while Seller B has few if any. Both seem to be offering material that can be found in discount postage lots. But here we don’t need to buy huge lots to obtain just a few items. There are also other sellers who offer very common material with no bids or a very small selection which wouldn’t justify shipping costs, or obviously defective stamps, etc. And, occasionally, there is a seller or two who offer quality items with realistic starting bids. Well, maybe more often than occasionally.

I was under the impression that originally the auction and approval benefits were created to provide members with an avenue to dispose of their duplicate material AND for members to acquire material for their collections. So far, it seems to me that SOR has accomplished that and very well.

Some technical changes to relisting unsold lots and a dead area to put lots that no one wants are OK. Maybe a separate area for dealers who are offering their material at retail prices like a store with BIN prices.

As for the Approval section, I have no complaints other than there is a shortage of 24 page books of Lithuania.

I’m planning to take the plunge in the fall, probably start with the Auction category first. There’s a lot of “stuff” I would like to offer members.

Tad

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snowy12
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03 Jul 2015
09:52:45pm

Auctions
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

One suggestion I proposed some time ago was, A reminder be sent 24 hours? before any watched lots you have finish.As I tend to forget I have items in my watch list (Old Age)
I missed out on several lots because of this,luckily the seller relisted and I was able to get them.
Brian

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TuskenRaider
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03 Jul 2015
10:20:34pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi Everyone;

Here is a tweak that would be a major upgrade to Auctions.

When I went to "Auctions" and then selected "UNITED KINGDOM (Great Britain) & ISLES", I too saw
412 auctions. However when I tried to filter out everything except "USED", the system overrode my
selection of "UNITED KINGDOM (Great Britain) & ISLES" and returned instead "USED" in all categories.
This doesn't allow me to view only used in "UNITED KINGDOM (Great Britain) & ISLES". A serious flaw
there, that probably needs to be fixed.

The search function could be a bit more sophisticated, and would help buyers find what they need.

Just Thinkin'....
TuskenRaider

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philb
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04 Jul 2015
12:51:54pm

Auctions
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

There are and can be some great buys on the auction...but for some reason it seems like the majority of people bid on the minimum value stamps...if they bid 25 percent to 1/3 of cat on better stamps it would give some of us more incentive to list.

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Stampaholic
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04 Jul 2015
01:00:36pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I pretty much feel the same way Bobby does. I'm not out to make a killing on selling stamps. I am mainly selling so I can buy more for my collection and the enjoyment of
(as many GB cancels state "The world's greatest Hobby")stamp collecting.Happy
BTW: As for paypal, etc., stick it where the sun don't shine. Thumbs Down Other than that I'm
happy with the way things are. As to approvals, didn't know about the 100 stamp limit (is the a minimum on covers, too?).
I find listing them there generally twice as much work as the auctions.

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michael78651
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04 Jul 2015
10:19:16pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

99% of my buyers pay with PayPal. I thank all the sellers who don't accept PayPal as a means of payment for buyers. Means more sales for me.

Also, I rarely buy from someone who doesn't accept PayPal. I am sure that a very high percentage of other buyers do the same as me.

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copy55555
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04 Jul 2015
11:51:00pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I usually pay with Paypal but I have no problem in using snail mail and a check to complete a purchase.

Tad

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snowy12
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05 Jul 2015
01:08:56am

Auctions
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

It's a little awkward sending a cheque to the US,and costly if you live in Australia.Even after you purchase a cheque it's nearly another $3-00 to post it.If you send cash you are still up for the postage ,which unless you are buying something expensive is more than Paypal charge in fees
If sellers are prepared to lose sales because they choose not to accept paypal payments that's up to them ,but I'm afraid they will not get my business.

Brian

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philb
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05 Jul 2015
10:03:17am

Auctions
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Well, i guess we have covered the Paypal situation anyway...i look at the auctions all the time and list stamps ...i would like to see it expand beyond the 4 and 5 cent buyers. I do appreciate the buyers who bid on my 20 and 30 cent items !Happy

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auldstampguy
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Collector, Webmaster

05 Jul 2015
10:46:56am
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

An interesting discussion with some good ideas. For those who are finding the Auction time consuming to post large numbers of items, I offer a couple of suggestions.

1. Have a look at the Bulk Auction Lot Loader. It is very easy to use and means that you can load lots of auction lots in one process. You build the information in a spreadsheet, preload the images and upload and process the file of auction lots all in one go. You can load up to 20 images in one upload process using the image upload function in the Members Area.

2. You can build a batch of auction lots using either the normal auction lot posting process or the batch uploader, and then activate them all at one time. That way they will all close at the same time. Which means you are not waiting around for all your auction lots to close.

For those who are finding they are not selling a lot, have a look at the Sales Reports found at the bottom of the Sellers dropdown menu. These reports will give you a feel for what has been posted and what is selling. Also, watch who's lots are selling. Look at the type of material they are presenting, the way they present and describe each lot and the size of the image they post. It is very important to have an image big enough to see the details of the stamp/s.

Hope these thoughts help.

Regards ... Tim.

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05 Jul 2015
11:03:34am
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

First, this is NOT a complaint about the Stamporama auctions or approvals, because there really is nothing that can be done to make them more suitable for my collecting style.

My problem -- and it really is my problem -- is that I am usually looking for specific individual stamps, in either or both used and mint condition, with clean, circular cancellations or other type of cancellation (no wavy lines or ink-jet cancellations, please!), fresh appearing without obvious damage, and nicely centred. Lightly hinged mint stamps are OK, but heavy hinged stamps are out. Depending on the issue, CTOs are OK. Obviously, I'm a condition freak.

Usually I have to search for a long time to find even one or two stamps I would buy, but I am loathe to go to the effort to pay for a stamp that usually priced at much less than a dollar, and I don't want to ask a seller to put $2 or $3 worth of effort, or even more depending on his or her circumstances, into such a small sale.

I've often thought that a better search engine, which would allow multiple keywords, would help, but in the end there would still be the basic problem of too small an order for any one dealer. And I can't see any way around this problem. My only option, which I do employ, is to find individual dealers with large stocks and shopping cart functions, who are willing to wait for a reasonable time before requesting payment. Poppe Stamps in the Philippines is one such dealer.

If I were a worldwide collector of stamps of all periods, Stamporama would be wonderful for me. But I'm not that kind of collector. One of the lessons that life teaches us, if we are paying attention, is that no one person or organization can be all things to all people at all times.

Bob

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BobbyBarnhart
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They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -Benjamin Franklin

05 Jul 2015
02:20:24pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Bob, I think if sellers were better at title description, the search function we do have would work much better.

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auldstampguy
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05 Jul 2015
03:49:45pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@Brian (Snowy12)
I have implemented your request to be sent an email notification if you have an Auction Lot in your Watch List that is going to close in the next 24 hours. I added it to the Auction Close program so it will run every 15 mins. If it finds more that one lot in your Watch List that will close in the next 24 hours, it will group them into one email, listing them for you.

Regards ... Tim.

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snowy12
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05 Jul 2015
11:31:37pm

Auctions
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Great Tim Thankyou
Brian

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rrraphy
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Retired Consultant

06 Jul 2015
06:03:21pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

More thoughts on AUCTIONS:

How do you feel if unsold items on Auction, after one mandatory price reduction step (currently 20%), would end up listed in a BIN for a fixed duration of (my number) 3 months....at a fixed price (which would be the latest discounted price). This may help alleviate the issue of low traffic, lack of competitive bidding and may encourage more sellers to list better stamps for a while on Auctions, and for buyers to look for them there rather than on commercial sites.
I feel (but I have no firm proof, as I am too new at it) that the low activity is not just a function of what is being offered, or prices set, but more fundamentally of timing opportunity and range of material on hand. I know I personally work on my collections in spurts, and when I am active, say in one country or topic, I scan for all material available, beginning with SOR Approvals, and then Auctions from all sources...etc..
As it stands now, my timing has to be exactly (within 14 days?) the Auction seller's timing for any sale to occur in Auctions...but the range of offerings pales when compared to commercial sites making it the lesser choice, from an efficiency of my time standpoint.
As there are very few competitive bids in our Auctions, I suggest we really approach it, after the first auction period has elapsed, as a leftover store at a fixed price...which is what is almost always is, anyway.
The work done by sellers to list would not be wasted, and buyers would have more time to find what they are seeking..and hopefully more material to look at. For those who buy regularly on Auction, nothing would really change.
One caveat. I would restrict the items going into "Bin" to items listed above a minimum threshold price (say $1.00 or higher...but open to discussion). I would not want it to be a Bin for the penny stuff!
Any thoughts?
rrr...

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TuskenRaider
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06 Jul 2015
06:18:49pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Again don't fix what ain't broke....
TuskenRaider

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads

06 Jul 2015
07:17:11pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

i've read this, and reread this, several times.

most of the commentary is about the platform and fixes to it to allow it to better conform to some of our buying (or selling) habits. Some, by virtue of increasing the options available to us, are fine; others, by mandating certain actions over certain periods, seem destined to please some and frustrate others. All of these require programming, and few seem likely to have much, if any, impact.

Instead, if we look at what's offered and how it's offered, I think we'll see fairly consistent activity.

Groups of low priced covers, for instance, sell well. John and conway have a nice relationship going. Anything military gets bids, much to my chagrin. A few sellers, by virtue of the quality of their material and finese at packaging, always have dedicated buyers.

Others, because they haven't learned how to price or how to crop images, tend to get few, if any, bids. Many use scott numbers without a description; some images are eseentially worthless being the size of peas (enough has been written about this to fill a Scott catalogue); and then there's the common material with torn perfs, tears, and such. No matter how low one prices a 3c Jeff from the prexie series, if it's damaged, it's not going anywhere.

All this is to say that I can easily predict what will get bids and what won't (except my own stuff, which I always over-esteem). I can't account for vacations, sickness, or philatelic ennui, but I've seen enough to guess with some accuracy.

That's not to say that new members won't change the patterns; they might. But I think the best advice for upgrading the auction experience is for our sellers to look at the buying patterns of our members and list accordingly. I don't think there's any amount of programming that will do as much.

David

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TuskenRaider
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06 Jul 2015
08:30:14pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi AMSD;

Thank you for sorting the wheat from the chaff, and pointing out the obvious....
TuskenRaider

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meostamps
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06 Jul 2015
08:38:56pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

David, like you, I have read & re-read the postings under this topic with interest. I fully agree with both your latest and Tim's comments of July 5. Other than refining the search program so it would only search within a single category as compared to the whole database of auctions, I see no need to make any changes to the auction platform.

I always try to list auctions that research showed would appeal to at least 1 or more active bidders. So I always look at what new items are getting bids and who is the bidder. I have mental (yep, know that is dangerous) notes on all my recent active bidders as far as what they like to see. I also review their buying for the past 60 days (using their profile) to see what was of recent interest to them.

Some material almost never sells, regardless of price, so that stuff I either ship off to a stamp club or use it from swapping with other collectors, mainly in Europe, who are looking for it. For example, over the past 2 months, I have traded over 300 common used UN New York issues for recent issues from Malta, Italy, France and Norway. I have listed most of these recent used in the SOR auctions and just about all have sold.

So, in recap, I strongly suggest that if sellers want to improve sales, get to know what bidders are looking for in both material and price levels. It is always easier to put a round peg into a round hole instead of a square one. Bidders can also help out by posting some sort of general wants list in the "want to buy" section of this board also. It does not have to be detailed, something like 'used 2000-2015 Israel' would be enough.

Mike in NC / meostamps


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06 Jul 2015
09:10:21pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Ralph - any change in the manner in which an item is listed for sale should be the seller's choice, and not automatically imposed by the system. When accepting the relisting function, a seller knows that the starting bid will be reduced 20% by the system, so there is consent.

Dave - good points. I too have seen images of stamps in the auction area that not even an electron microscope will bring the stamp into view. Some sellers seem to think that they can throw up anything in any sort of presentation and it will sell. Their laziness in not providing buyers with an appropriate presentation would definitely be frowned upon by themselves if they wanted to buy such an item. That is a slight to all buyers. Sellers should provide a selling presentation in the same manner that they would like to see when they are buying stamps. If their items don't sell, because they are too lazy (and not learning how to use image editing software is lazy when in sales), then they are out of line if they blame SOR for the lack of sales.

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cocollectibles

06 Jul 2015
10:40:18pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

First, let me say that I have no problem with the auction process here and appreciate the work that has gone into it. But I stopped listing auctions here not from a lack of bids; it was lack of multiple bids (read: more than one bid) and hence, a poor return on time and energy investment. For example, here are the stats from my last auction:

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All 60 items sold; the starting price was 10c each. The average return was $0.14 and less than 50% had multiple bids. If I recall, only one had more than one bid. There were only three winners, very few views, and no watched items. This tells me that the issue is lack of traffic, not poor auction architecture. This is not atypical of my experience here in past auctions.

I'm just trying to sell my collection and, to be honest, I'd like to accomplish the dual goals of getting as much as possible for my sets AND meeting the needs of collectors such as myself. I don't think I'm alone in those goals. As for higher value items, the data are worse: I tried selling some of my Queen Victoria sets at less than 10% CV; not one bid; very few views. In a way, I'm glad no-one bought them at that rate.

I don't list auctions for "fun"; it is not fun, in my opinion, when there is such a poor return, as it takes a lot of time even with Bulk Uploader. Perhaps if I were retired, I might change my mind. For now, as I am in no rush or need to sell at this rate, I'll avoid this auction block.

Just my 2c.

Peter

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07 Jul 2015
01:02:43am
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Well, you can now tell people what you have for sale in the auctions and/or approval books by using the Selling portion of the Discussion Board. I did that one the first day that the new topics were started, and sold over 200 stamps in a couple of days.

Prior to this, we couldn't self-advertise, and it was extremely difficult to know what anyone had for sale. As more sellers start to use this new feature, I think sales will begin to increase on both the auctions and approval books.

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17 Aug 2015
06:36:25am
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

In order to have more buying on any auction site there must be more items listed, therefore there must be more sellers listing more stamps..

I will not list auctions here (I do have several Approval books listed) because of the mandatory reduction in price (20%). And the short term nature of the listings.

I do list items elswhere and many items sell after an extended period of time. (A year or two is common).

Having looked at the listings here in a certain category, I believe that the prices are too high and maybe the sellers here are making allowances for the price reduction and maybe the buyers are waiting for the prices to drop ?

The price of several items at auction here is well over the price for the same items in the Approvals section.

Having said all that - Do you really want to compete with the other auction sites ?

I think not....

Steve..

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17 Aug 2015
08:21:22am
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I enjoy the auctions, even though (as I have previously stated in other posts) The prices realized are minimal and bids are scant.

Like Steve, I really do not like the mandatory relisting reduction and wish it could be eliminated.

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amsd
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17 Aug 2015
08:40:52am
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Steve,

first, we do NOT mandate a 20% reduction on subsequent listings of auctions. That 20% is IF you choose to use the automated relister. We purposely introduced that to keep the auction fresh. If you wish to relist a lot without reduction, you may do so. You may even raise the price.

competing with other venues: I don't think so; we're merely providing a convenience.

David, the auctioneer

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17 Aug 2015
08:50:53am
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"In order to have more buying on any auction site there must be more items listed, therefore there must be more sellers listing more stamps.."



"I will not list auctions here "



Well, if people want more variety and better stamps being offered for sale, but aren't willing to list stamps to sell...what do you expect???????
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17 Aug 2015
08:59:14am
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Re: Mandatory relisting 20% reduction

If you don't use the relisting function, but reload the "relists" using the bulk uploader, the reduction is not required. It is just treated as a new listing.

There is a rationale behind all these rules. Since I wrote the original set of rules, and the currrent ones are mostly an extension of the same principles, allow me to explain.

When I created the first Stamporama auction (must have been back around 2003) Yahoo auctions had just folded, for some very clear reasons, and I wrote the rules to avoid the fundamental problem they ran into. The basic problem was that the listings had become bloated with overpriced material that sold less than 10% of the listings. It became bloated because of auto-relisting. The sellers only had to list the item once, check the auto-relist box and let it run forever. So what if only a small fraction sold? THEY NO LONGER CARED! The work was done. However, it was at the expense of the usability of the site, and the site eventually folded.

I wanted to avoid that in Stamporama. Thus, the fundamental principle is that the seller must expend some effort in listing. That makes him/her care about whether the material will actually sell or not, avoiding the overpriced "bloat".

During a redesign of the auction, and a discussion of whether to continue to offer auto-relist (I was opposed), the VC compromised by instituting the "-20%" rule to use auto-relist, which was to accomplish the same fundamental purpose through a different mechanism.

There is a fundamental principle in economics, that any resource which is not rationed by price must find some other means of rationing, or be subject to abuse. In other words, if listing is free, it will be abused unless some other means of controlling the resource is implemented. Without these rules, I guarantee that we would be subjected to multiple sellers who put up 10,000 items with a bulk uploader with auto-relist checked, and it would all be overpriced junk that would swamp the auction. We would be in a position to have to create rules, retroactively, to deal with it. Instead, we anticipated and created the rules proactively.

So, (and this comment is not directed at any particular individual, but to the membership at large) when considering the impact of any auction rule on your own activities, please consider what it means to Stamporama as a whole. The basic principle is that it is free, but requires a little bit of effort on the part of the seller in order to make sure he cares about the results.

Roy

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17 Aug 2015
09:55:49am
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I have a work-around for the re-lister program which I use. I click "relist" then select "Place on hold" (as opposed to "Active"). I then click "submit." On the next screen I choose "Click here to go to the Auction Lot Edit" and on the next screen, I change the price to anything I want (same, less, or even more than the original), switch from "Place on Hold" to "Active," and click "submit." The whole process takes considerably less time than it does to explain (roughly 30 seconds).

Why not just relist the item as a new auction? Because that takes a lot more time: I have to relocate the original image to upload (if you knew how disorganized my filing system is, you'd appreciate the dilemma here), then I need to re-enter all the data before submitting the auction.

Why don't I use the bulk uploader program? I rarely list more than a few auctions at a time, so it is just not something I feel I need. Additionally, I like the freedom to adjust the prices of each item individually (same, less, or even more than the original).

Why do away with the auto price reduction? I am lazy and do not want to spend the extra 30 seconds relisting the item. With the relisting function it takes all of 2-3 seconds to relist an item, and if I were able to do so where I can choose my relisting price (same, less, or even more than the original), it would be so much easier.

The rationale behind the auto price reduction is valid, but I feel it is just another constraint upon my freedom of choice. I do not see that the considerations for its continued use outweigh arguments for its elimination.



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17 Aug 2015
10:08:33am
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"The rationale behind the auto price reduction is valid, but I feel it is just another constraint upon my freedom of choice. I do not see that the considerations for its continued use outweigh arguments for its elimination. "



It is intended to be a constraint. Not against the "few auctions" that you list, but against the user who would do precisely the same thing with 1,000 listings or maybe 10,000.

Consider the extra 27 seconds spent as an investment in the viability of the Stamporama auction.

Roy
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17 Aug 2015
12:58:07pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Could the auto reload option give the seller a choice of price reductions? Starting at 10%? then 15%, 20%, 25% etc...
Would it make a difference?
Just a thought, although I am still not sold on the suitability (for me) of the auction platform at SOR, given how much material and competition there is on other sites, and as a seller, how much traffic it generates.
On the other hand, for the convenience of sellers and buyers alike, I am not suggesting ever that we get rid of it or change it dramatically, but maybe we should take a look at what would make it more widely used. A few minor changes may be all that is needed?

I had felt initially that Approvals would primarily work for lower cost stamps (and that they would migrate from Auctions to Approval Books. I was wrong.
So if you are putting an Approval Book together, of mostly lower priced material, add a few pages with higher valued stamps at the end and test the waters.
As a collector, I work by topic or country...and so I am trying to fill gaps in the collection, not just low priced stamps, but all stamps! Convenience is paramount, and it works for me.
Just a thought (or 2)
rrr...

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17 Aug 2015
01:26:43pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Ralph,

"Could the auto reload option give the seller a choice of price reductions? Starting at 10%? then 15%, 20%, 25% etc..."



the default is 20% but you may insert any number from 20 upwards. When I do it, I typically choose a percentage that gives me a round dollar amount so that it doesn't look like a 20% discount.

Thinking more about Steve's comments, which resurrected this thread, I'd hate to wade through the same lots for several years. If I wanted them initially, I'd have bought them. The approvals makes more sense if one is looking for a long period in which to park some stamps; once one has viewed it, one can bypass the entire book henceforth.

I think that our approvals and auctions have done nicely in offering different approaches to selling AND buying. I'd hate to the beauty of one approach become the yoke on another.

David, auctioneer
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17 Aug 2015
01:47:44pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Roy, I see your point. I still don't like it, but will concede this argument is best resolved with the old "agree to disagree" scenario. This is a minor matter anyway and there are other enhancements much more important to consider.

Expansion of Categories:
I think sub-categories within the existing categories would greatly enhance the listing of better material. For example, within United States: (1) 19th century, (2) 1900-1940 used, (3) 1900-1940 unused, (4) 1941-present.

Limiting the number of Categories you can select to 3.

Require a minimum bid of $0.10: This is a very affordable lower range, but doing this will eliminate a huge percentage of the common stamps routinely offered, which should be sold through the Approval Books anyway.

I collect just about anything issued before 1940, and I buy a lot of items through the auction, but I would buy a lot more if I could find them easier.

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17 Aug 2015
03:09:55pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

One area I would like to see in the Auctions for buyers is to be able to SAVE SEARCHES.
This is especially true for me since I only collect certain countries, and predominately those that are in MNH condition. BOB

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17 Aug 2015
04:29:53pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"
1) Expansion of Categories
2) Limiting the number of Categories you can select to 3.
3) Require a minimum bid of $0.10
4) SAVE SEARCHES.
"



Personally, I like all of those suggestions. One thing we have to keep in mind, is that these are all calls upon Tim's, our webmaster, time. He just spent an entire weekend (plus) migrating the site to this new server and fixing the few bugs that popped up. We can't expect anything significant form him in the short term, but this is, nonetheless, a useful discussion for the future.

I would go one better in #3: minimum value of a lot. The biggest complaint I hear from people who are members, and who would, but don't buy from the auction is "the value of the lots is so low, they are not worth the postage cost, so it's not worth browsing through all the nickel and dime stuff". These are people who would seriously buy stamps, and they are simply not even looking because they are turned off. These are precisely the people the auction needs as buyers to attract a better calibre of listings by sellers. I have heard this again and again. I have periodically listed higher value stamps at very good prices, but have given up. They are not getting looked at, so I don't list anymore. If my listings weren't getting drowned by 4,000 5c listings, I would try again.

We have the approvals section for cheap stamps. The "hope" was that the availability of the approvals mechanism would take the load off the auction by moving the nickel and dime stamps to that venue. That hasn't happened, probably due to inertia. I believe it is time to force that effect. Even our local stamp club has a $2.00 minimum value in our monthly auctions. I propose that we move the minimum value of an auction lot to $1.00. Cheaper stamps can be put into lots of a few stamps or can go into the approvals. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the club saying "under a dollar, into the approvals, over $1.00 you have a choice."

I realize this will stir up a hornet's nest, but it bothers me that the "nickel and dime" sellers have both venues (approvals and auction) and their actions are, in my mind, swamping the auction. Let's preserve the auction for lots that are worth paying the postage to get.

Roy
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17 Aug 2015
04:40:17pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Roy, I like the $1.00 minimum opening bid for auctions.

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17 Aug 2015
05:21:25pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I haven't bid on any cheap auction lots in months and months, primarily because there are too darned many low value stamps and not enough better stamps to make hours of plodding through everything worth my time. Sometimes I find a stamp or two that I'd like to have, but they're simply not worth the hassle of bidding and paying for them. In fact, the bids I've made have resulted from messages from the seller, who knows my collecting interests.

Bob

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17 Aug 2015
06:02:18pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I agree with the sentiments expressed by members regarding raising the minimum bid for auction lots. As a new member, I'd love to bid on classic Era engraved stamps. I just don't see many in the auctions. I'm probably not in the market for great rarities but I'm also not interested in stamps from the late 80s that were printed by the hundreds of millions. I'm looking for that middle ground sweet spot. Don't see much of that stuff listed.
-Ernie

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17 Aug 2015
06:06:18pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

" I'd love to bid on classic Era engraved stamps."



That's exactly the type of stuff I'd like to list.

Roy
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17 Aug 2015
06:11:49pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Roy, if I can ask why you haven't been listing them? Is it the lack of traffic and bids? Oh, and by the way, come down to jacksonville and I'll take you to the dog track!
-Ernie

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17 Aug 2015
06:40:45pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I definitely like the minimum bid idea; but with a few qualifications:

1) Most sellers are offering stamps at about 20-30% of cat. value; so maybe 25 cents might be a good starting point. That would give us stamps with cat values of about a buck.

2) Certain categories, like mixtures, should maybe be exempt from this rule. It's been a while since I was involved in auctions, but getting a bunch of stamps for pennies is an incentive for new collectors and WW collectors. That's open for debate or discussion, I guess.




On another tangent, I'm writing this with a full understanding that all of these great ideas are time-sucking suggestions to use Tim's skills and expertise. I noticed in other DB topics that the lack of an efficient searchable function was a drawback for many sites. I was almost tempted to start a topic on this yesterday. Serendipity...

A database can only perform accurate queries if everyone is inputting the same data. The easiest way to accomplish this is to introduce mandatory fields with a specified set of values to be entered in that field to ensure commonality in everyone's entries. I confess my ignorance at the potential and limitations of our auction listings online; but perhaps something like this would work when you load in your auctions (and after you've selected your categories):
1) Select country from a drop down (put in as many as we can
2) Select Catalogue (sot's, Minkus, Gibbons, Unitrade, other - with option to write in the catalogue name)
3) Enter catalogue number (numeric only)
4) Enter description/title (free text)

For certain categories (Topicals, Philatelic Materials, for example) we could use a different set of drop downs, such as trains, butterflies, space, cats, etc.

The auction search engine would then have these same mandatory fields to allow others to search available lots. That way, if I was interested in Australian stamps numbered by Scott's, I could be reasonably sure that I can get a search result of every stamp listed under these parameters. If I wanted to narrow the search, I could type in "14*" and get every stamp in that range with catalogue numbers in the 1400's. Yes, I would also get #14 and 140-149, but those can be filtered out by the searcher.

I don't know what the rest of you think about this idea - maybe its more work for the listers (I'm not sure how much); but it might just give you a chance to not have your offerings lost in a multitude of other listings. What do you think?

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17 Aug 2015
06:43:08pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"I have periodically listed higher value stamps at very good prices, but have given up. They are not getting looked at, so I don't list anymore. If my listings weren't getting drowned by 4,000 5c listings, I would try again."



@erieinjax

Above is your answer.

Haven't been to Florida in about 7 years, but if I do get to JAX I'll take you up on it.

Roy
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17 Aug 2015
06:56:13pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@Andrejs

I am afraid I would have to say, "way too much work". Both on the programming side and the listing side. All of these "Search issues" are an issue only on the big sites, where it is necessary to refine the search to limit the hits. And Stamporama qualifies as a "big site" that needs such a search only because of the presence of so many cheap listings. From a seller's standpoint, if a buyer is looking only for a specific catalogue number from a specific country, it's not likely I'm ever going to sell him anything.

To me, the object of the auction is to capture the attention of the serious "browsers". People who don't know exactly what they want, but will recognize it when they browse a reasonable sized list. For example, if there were 200 Canada items and only 30 new ones a day, it would be a pleasure to log in every few days to see what's new. With that size, a catalogue number search is not necessary.

Roy

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17 Aug 2015
07:03:32pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Point well taken, Roy. With your own business and searchable database, I bow to your expertise. I won't give up yet - maybe not the cat #'s, but what about country drop downs? I've seen people getting flustered just by the difference between GB, Great Britain, UK, United Kingdom... Just a thought.

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17 Aug 2015
07:18:05pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

On second thought, maybe we can accomplish similar goals by introducing sub-categories (also suggested), as long as we don't allow multiple listings within the sub-categories to clutter up the offerings. Maybe a sub-category of higher value stamps, with a minimum CV? Sorry for the stream of consciousness ramblings...Thinking

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17 Aug 2015
07:45:25pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

A lot of great ideas, Roy, Bobby, Bob, Michael etc...
Some can be implemented easily. Some may be more complicated to do.

Maybe the simpler ones can be put in place first...and they may well solve the bulk of the current problems. Worth a try
I like the imposition of a minimum price.
I also like setting a minimum invoicing price (no billing until you get to it...maybe with some reasonable time limitations)
$1 seems high to me for the minimum price. I for one price at 20-25% of catalog (old one to boot) so it would limit the offerings to stamps with catalog values of around $5. I would favor more something in the $0.50 range, capturing more stamps.
A $10.00 floor for billing seems reasonable to me as well. But I am flexible on both concepts.

Concurrently I would suggest we add a upper limit to what is offered on Approvals. I have seen some very high items listed occasionally, and I do think they would be better under Auctions, and quite frankly they don't belong in Approvals (even if they do sell!). Often there is just one such item per page, again, not the intended structure of Approvals. So how about a $2.50-$5.00 MAXIMUM listing price on Approvals to go with the MINIMUM on Auctions, and we can reach some consensus for a compromise number that will please most people, or ask the VC to select for us without opening a Pandora box.
For Approvals, it could easily be monitored by the moderator since the upper and lower prices appear in the summary table...so no software need, just vigilance. And add this condition to the checklist of RULES one must agree to before activating a book, just as we do now.
For Auctions, I would suggest doing it with a small (I hope it will be small for Tim's sake) software addition/modification, or a notation where the auction price is entered.

Uncluttering Auctions at the low end may be all that is needed to make Auctions more appealing to sellers and buyers alike. Moving high value stuff from Approvals to Auctions may also be a good concurrent move.
This would continue to set us apart, and better in my view, than all other sales platforms.

Rrr...

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bobstew617
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17 Aug 2015
08:09:39pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Ralph,

I like .50 more than a $1.00, especially with if some are selling at 20-30% CV. (Not all are) This would also cut down on the need to have saved searches, at least until the Auction got bigger.

I would also say for items over a certain $ amount, potentially consider extending the time an auction could be kept open (2 weeks instead of 1).

Just some more thoughts. BOB

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17 Aug 2015
10:00:47pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I would not be in favor of the invoice minimum. If someone wants to buy just one stamp from me then I should be able to send an invoice to get paid for that sale regardless of the amount of purchase.

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17 Aug 2015
11:24:54pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I must say that I am gratified at the direction the discussion is taking. So far, there seems to be a fundamental consensus the auctions would benefit from more forcibly encouraging the cheap material to move over to the the approvals. At least there have been no defenders of "nickel and dime" listings in the auction, and several cogent comments supporting the idea that a less cluttered auction would encourage both browsers/buyers and sellers.

There have been several good suggestions for improvements to the functioning of the auction, however the fundamental question seems to be "where is the 'cheap' threshold?".

Several members mentioned 50c, on the basis of reference to catalogue value and average selling percentage of catalogue. Personally, I think catalogue value is the wrong focus. We are really asking "what belongs in approvals and what belongs in auction?".

The essential difference between the venues is that, when ordering from the approvals, one expects to build an order of several items from the same seller, and can build an order that is "worth shipping" i.e. worth paying the postage for. On the other hand, in the auction, I believe the lots should be "stand alone". In general, if I am an auction buyer, there should be enough value in each lot that I don't have to worry if the seller has something else that I want, or if I am going to be able to build an order that makes paying the shipping worthwhile. In this context, even $1 minimum is "borderline", but I can envision liking a stamp enough that I don't mind paying the postage on top of a $1 purchase. The auction site was never intended to be a "store", where one shops a particular seller's inventory. I truly believe an auction composed of listings, each of which is worth buying and shipping on its own would attract more looking.

And there is nothing wrong with 50c stamps in approvals.

Roy

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18 Aug 2015
12:19:18am
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Roy, when I had my store on StampWants, I also ran auctions. There were many buyers who would buy just one item for even 25 cents and pay the $1.25 postage. I think paying by credit card through PayPal "softens" the blow of the postage cost. People are more than willing to make small purchases with credit cards. I saw a woman buy one 49 cent stamp at the post office and used a credit card to pay for it.

In my other comment where I agreed with the $1.00 minimum opening bid, I was going to suggest a 50 cent minimum. It really doesn't matter to me what the minimum is ultimately set at. I think what matters is how much do we want to shuffle the lower-valued auction material over to the approvals.

With that in mind, it would then be advantageous for those posting auction lots to also post approval books. Someone buying an auction lot may want to spread the shipping fee over a larger number of stamps rather than just one auction lot. Thus the buyer will look to see what the seller has in the approvals and combine purchases between the two selling venues.

Most sellers will take catalog values into consideration. If the minimum opening bid was set at $1.00, and an average calculation for that was 20% of catalog value, then the minimum catalog value for a stamp listed in auction would be around $5.00. If that is considered to be too restrictive, then a 50 cents minimum opening bid using the same average would bring the average catalog value for such a stamp to $2.50. That may be a more palatable start to see how much of the riff-raff is cleared out of the auctions. If the desired results are not seen (I'd give it three months), then raise the minimum bid up to 75 cents or $1.00. I think everyone will understand that it will take a little tweaking to find the pricing level that provides better stamps and diminishes the low-valued stamps to a level that is acceptable.

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TuskenRaider
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19 Aug 2015
01:30:01pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi Everyone;

If you mandate a minimum bid in auctions at $1.00, it very likely will NOT have the intended effect.

If I want to keep illegal aliens out of the US and I change an 11 foot high wall to a 15 foot, it will
not keep them out, but it will create a demand for 16 foot tall ladders!

You are a small club of under 3,000 members. If you are whining about not enough better quality
stamps like 19th century, to buy then making all lower priced material disappear will not increase
what sellers have available to list.

Bobstamp mentioned that his wants are too specific to make SOR a good place to find them.
Changing the starting bid will not help Bobstamp find what he needs.

If sellers are doing well in auctions and do not have enough of the same type of material to use
approvals (200 stamp minimum), then they will have no choice but to go to WebStore, (no fees)
or eBid (3.5% FVF). There is always lots of demand for quality low priced stamps, and likely their
buyers are loyal, and will also move to those seller platforms and leave SOR.

I tried approvals for several months, and did not do well at all. When I moved to auctions I
started to have much greater success. And I've been doing well ever since.

The buyers who are advanced collectors should stop trying to get SOR to cater to just their fussy
needs and create a market for just them, and go to Delcampe and eBay. I've used both of those
sites and scored lots of good stuff and great bargains.

No matter how many auction lots there are, a good search engine would help everyone find what
they need and make buying a smooth and enjoyable experience.

No amount of changes to anything is going to magically make lots of classic stamps suddenly ma-
terialize if members do not have those stamps to sell.

Just pointing out the obvious....
TuskenRaider

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michael78651
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19 Aug 2015
01:38:33pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"No amount of changes to anything is going to magically make lots of classic stamps suddenly materialize if members do not have those stamps to sell."



Ken, you raised some interesting points. Regarding your statement above, I think that is true, but there is also a second part to that:

Also, no amount of changes to anything is going to magically make lots of classic stamps suddenly materialize if members are not willing to sell those stamps on SOR.
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Philatarium
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APS #187980

19 Aug 2015
01:44:24pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Here's one improvement I would like to see, and I appreciate that it would take some time and work in order to implement (it's a policy issue, though, so it would require no system development work from Tim!):

>> Require all s&h fees, including additional fees for paying with PayPal (although I think that's against PayPal's terms in the US), to be specified upfront in the listing.

Keeping them vague and having to contact the seller to find them out is very out-of-date these days, especially once eBay started requiring full upfront disclosure.

SOR requires this in offerings in the classifieds on the discussion board and in the approval books -- doing so in the auctions is the missing piece. I, for one, would look at a lot more auctions if that were the policy.

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19 Aug 2015
02:41:41pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

From a policy standpoint, that is already covered (from the Auction Rules):

Shipping Terms
7) In the majority of cases, the auction seller will have setup their standard Payment and Shipping Terms in their Auction defaults. The seller's default Payment and Shipping Terms apply to all their auction lots, but may be overriden on exceptional auction lots by describing the exception in the lot description. If no shipping terms are listed in the either the seller's default Payment and Shipping Terms or the lot description, the buyer has the right to assume Stamporama Standard Shipping Terms apply.

Stamporama Standard Shipping Terms:

Buyer will pay actual postage costs. No additional handling or packaging charge is to be assumed unless specifically mentioned in the lot description.


Seller will use reasonable care to properly package goods in such a way as to protect against damage in transit.

(emphasis added)

Anything beyond this would require policing of an individual's terms, and that's something that were are just not going to be able to do.

Bottom line, if it's not shown, you have the right to assume the Standard. If that causes problems, have the Auctioneer straighten the seller out with a form letter (I assume David has one for this).

Roy

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APS #187980

19 Aug 2015
04:06:28pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Ok, here's a seller's terms that I believe is his default set. (It's been in every lot I've seen of his.)

Is this in the spirit of the SOR guidelines?:

- - - - - -

S&H charges depends on 1.Country of mailing;
2.Type of delivery: a.Standard first class.b.First class with certificate of mailing.;c.Certfied letter (for U.S.A.)d.Registered letter(for overseas)
3.Weight & size of envelope.
4.Charges related to Paypal payment.
IMPORTANT-attention;
IF YOU BUY IN ONE SHIPMENT IN VALUE OF $ 250.00 ,THE POSTAGE IS FREE.It will becharges for HANDLING & PAYPAL related charges.

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nl1947

19 Aug 2015
04:18:06pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"Is this in the spirit of the SOR guidelines?:"


I would say the spirit here is to help someone whose mother tongue does not appear to be English.

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APS #187980

19 Aug 2015
04:24:51pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

That's fine, and that's not my criticism. In fact, I almost edited his terms before posting them in order to avoid anyone saying that.

For what it's worth, the seller is in California, and has sold more than 20,000 items.

And in the major country category that I used to look at, has, as of about 30 mins ago, about 80% of the listings.

I would think by now he has enough experience in shipping orders that he could provide a more explicit fee structure.

To me, there is so much wiggle room in the terms that I'm uncomfortable with it. (This is what some unscrupulous eBay sellers would do back in the day when the charges didn't have to specified upfront.)

His dominance of this country category (I don't know about others) has tainted my perception of the SOR auctions for several years now. (Edited to add: ) I appreciate that the approval book and classifieds sections of SOR don't seem to have this problem, and I participate in those.

And the title of this thread is: "How can we improve the auction platform, to make it more successful?"

I'm suggesting that such vague wording should not be allowed. If it abides by the SOR policy, then I think SOR policy should be changed.

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TuskenRaider
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19 Aug 2015
04:45:07pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi Everyone;

Michael##### said:

"Also, no amount of changes to anything is going to magically make lots of classic stamps
suddenly materialize if members are not willing to sell those stamps on SOR."



Classic stamps usually are not cheap and command higher prices than most modern stamps. We
are a stamp club, not a commercial auction platform as is Delcampe and eBay. With as few as
3,000 members or less there is no way a savvy seller is going to list expensive stamps on here if
he can realize much better profits on a commercial site. He knows that on Delcampe or eBay he
will almost certainly get competitive bids, but not on here.

I guess I should not have assumed that everyone was aware of this difference between selling
at a club as opposed to a broader market.

I'm new to selling on SOR, however I'm not new to selling on the internet. I started in 2007 with
my first stamp sale in Finland. I have sold stamps, coins, banknotes, and jewellery all over the
world, in 25 nations from Norway-to-New Zealsand.

So I'm no amateur at this stuff. My feedback score across all these 5 different sites before SOR is in
excess of 950+, and never a negative. I have never had a buyer ask for a refund or return an item.
I take great pride in my customer service.

Life is just a funny funny riddle....
TuskenRaider
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19 Aug 2015
05:11:05pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

That's exactly my point. However, that is a double-edged sword too. If sellers list more valuable items, people may begin to buy them. Without the items being listed, people can't buy them.

When StampWants began, those who were selling in the beginning took losses in sales by under-pricing alot of material to attract buyers. If sellers aren't willing to do that here on their better items, then sales of better material won't materialize.

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TuskenRaider
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19 Aug 2015
05:43:38pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi Everyone;

After just re-reading some of these replies, I would like to make a suggestion to sellers, who
don't think they are doing as good as they would like.

After someone buys from me, I start a database of everything they have purchased. When I
have similar material to offer, I private message them that it is posted. I also tell them that I
will not tell others that it is available until they get a chance to see it first.

Then I follow up with that buyer, and if they aren't interested I send a PM to a different buyer.
My buyers know that they can bid with the confidence that I would never send others to bid
against what they selected.

I have had past buyers and even strangers that have never bought from me, PM me with re-
quests for specific items. "Ken if you ever list any more of those again, please message me".
This is called building a business relationship with the buyer and usually results in some of
my listings selling within 24-48 hours after posting.

I also sometimes look at a buyers profile, and if I see a high number of won lots, I click on
that number (which is a link to their won lots), to see what they are buying from other sellers.
They may be buying items that are not even listed in their "Interests" of their profile.

I then decide if it is possible to list similar material that they may want to buy.

All this is just a bit of proactive selling, using well known marketing skills (I had a sales back-
ground in real estate). All of that information in the profile is part of every members public in-
formation and is not an invasion on privacy.

Another way to do the same thing, is go to live auctions, of material similar to what you may
have and see who is bidding on what and how much. This can be helpful to decide how much
your items should be priced at.

Also buyers should not hesitate to private message sellers directly to see if they might have
what you need, and if not then please message me if you ever get any of them. A good pro-
active seller would make a note of your request and follow up later.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST: Never SPAM or annoy members, send repeated messages with
offers to sell. Pestering buyers or sellers is not ethical, and is bad business practice. If I mes-
sage a buyer and they respond that they are not interested, I leave them alone PERIOD. They
know of me and my listings, if they buy later on that is fine, but I'll not bother them again.

Just thinkin' too much again...ouh my head hurts....
TuskenRaider

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TribalErnie
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19 Aug 2015
06:24:47pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

There's over 5100 auction lots available now on SoR. I think that's a fairly big number. The question(s), as Ken points out, is/are:

1. Do SoR sellers even have such material and are they willing to list it on SoR?
("Such material" = classic Era 1840-1940 engraved stamps with cv $5+)

AND

2. If they do, what's holding them back from listing it on SoR? Are they afraid it won't fetch as high a price?

Is there any way to poll the SoR sellers? Just a thought. I've made two small purchases on SoR from Oldpaul and I like the thought of doing more transactions with members here.

-Ernie

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cocollectibles

19 Aug 2015
06:43:45pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I've listed Queen Victoria GB and Empire stamps in previous auctions; all started at less than or just at 10% of CV. This included several large sheets of reconstructed penny red by different plates, and Natal issues. Minimum CV for what I listed was at least $5, to much higher for some of the higher plate numbered reds.

Not one sale.

Very few views.

All up for 14 days.

What prevents me from listing here isn't that I might not "realize" the minimum I would expect from stamps, but that no-one seems to be looking at the items. That is true for these "classic era" items and others I've listed; at most, four or five views per stamp, perhaps two or three bids at the most on some. Maybe that will change now that we are allowed to promote items in auction.

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Liz

19 Aug 2015
06:50:46pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Ernie, I'll be one of the first persons to reply to your suggested poll of SOR sellers by saying I have no 'classic Era 1840-1940 engraved stamps with CV $5+'. The only stamps I have in my possession from this era are in my collections and they are not for sale.

Liz

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Andrejs
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19 Aug 2015
06:52:24pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@ Ken - I appreciate the efforts you go through to keep your customers/our membership happy and engaged. You've invested a lot in this process and it shows through your success.

@ Ernie - (I've got a bunch of early stuff that's going to be ready to go at some point in time) For me, when I actively listed in auctions a few years ago (darn work has interfered since then), I would put up higher-priced stuff; but I did so with a higher asking price because I knew that I would be lucky to get more than a single bidder on any given lot. Not crazy high prices, just boosting the ask to 30+% of cat value, instead of 20-25%. Maybe that's the answer. These stamps are rarer than most offerings, so maybe having sellers consider attaching a bit of a premium to them in listings would be an incentive for more higher value stamps to be listed. At the same time, I put up a bunch of lower priced stuff, just to keep to a theme and entice buyers to bid on multiple lots to save on shipping. Win-win. It worked, and I had a pretty decent core of regular buyers. I even remember selling a lot to Bob - the picky guy! Applause

So, back to talking about improving the auction pages:

Can we introduce a search by price range function? Would that help?

What about going back to the thought of sub-categories and introducing bargain bins for each category - say 25 cents and under? That would give the bargain hunters their outlet to look for the deal of the year and other buyers to be a little more focused in their search for (let's call them) more unique items.

My two cents (but you can bid it up, if you're interested).

Andrew

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19 Aug 2015
06:54:36pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Cocollectibles,

I may be wrong but I suspect one factor that contributes to that is simply the sheer volume of auction lots list (5100 currently). Speaking just for myself, it's tiring scrolling through page after page of penny stamps. People begin to "anticipate" that there's nothing on there and then it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

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Sally

19 Aug 2015
07:06:01pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I agree - I haven't looked at the auction for months (except for one quick peek when I got an email from TuskenRaider). Too many penny stamps to wade through. I support moving all that to the Approvals and having the auction be for the higher valued items. I really like the Approvals books and think they are an efficient way of shopping for lower valued items. Just don't clutter up the Auction lists with Approval book items.Happy

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roy
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19 Aug 2015
07:25:39pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"I suspect one factor that contributes to that is simply the sheer volume of auction lots list (5100 currently). Speaking just for myself, it's tiring scrolling through page after page of penny stamps. People begin to "anticipate" that there's nothing on there and then it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. "



That is precisely the point. The people looking for the $5 catalog value and up stamps do not want to scroll through page after page of nickel and dime offers. I have had that conversation with potential buyers many times, and that's what I was talking about in my original posting.

It's not about "better search", better marketing techniques (my eBay registration dates from April 1996, I have 38,983 feedback. I know what I'm doing!). There are some valid suggestions for "tweaks", but it's not about those either.

It's about having an auction for things that are worth auctioning.

Stamporama members put a lot of work into building a "sand-box" specifically for nickel and dime stamp transactions (the approval books). All we (potential auction sellers) are asking for is to have our own sand-box back, unlittered by 5,000 cheap auctions that aren't worth auctioning.

And we don't have to go off the deep end and talk about "classics" in the hundreds of dollars. Just desirable stamps that might get bid up from $3.00 to $3.75. That increase is only a little competitive "fun" for the buyer, but makes a big difference to a seller who does it 100 times.

I want an auction back! Who's with me?

Roy

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thebiggnome
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19 Aug 2015
07:44:48pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Umm, the auction already has a search filter for minimum value. If you enter "1" in the box you won't see any of the penny lots, or indeed anything under a buck. If you're looking for higher value stuff, it couldn't be easier to avoid wading through the 5100 items.

If I search the USA category (1542 items at time of posting) for anything a buck and over, it returns only 309 items. Searching for two bucks and up produces only 91. Only 34 items are over five bucks. It doesn't take long to scroll through 34 items.

As they say, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

Chris

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19 Aug 2015
07:52:43pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"As they say, if it ain't broke don't fix it."



It is broke. Regardless of the fact that the filter is there, member after member has said they no longer bother looking, and the lack of views prove they aren't alone.

The auction was intended to be an auction ... for stamps that are worth auctioning. It was never intended to be a store. The venue is being monopolized by a few sellers who are listing stuff that I wouldn't expect to sell from a penny box. No member should have the right to list 1200 lots out of the 5,000 listings. Now that we have the approvals, there is no reason the sellers of nickel and dime stamps should monopolize both vehicles.

Roy

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19 Aug 2015
07:57:34pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hey Chris,

I just searched through as you said. The vast majority of those items are modern sheets, booklets and philatelic produced covers. Again, very few classic era singles. I'm just wondering why there's isn't more that material on here. I'm not talking about block buster show pieces but rather the 19th and early 20th century stamps that I always thought were the backbone of the hobby.
-Ernie

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19 Aug 2015
08:02:08pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I haven't posted many responses here since this discussion began, because Roy has said it all for me. He asked earlier, "I want an auction back! Who's with me?" Well, count me in! While I would still like expanded categories as described above, I think the most important issue is raising the minimum bid acceptable. I believe a requisite minimum bid of $1.00 would drive all the lower cost stamps to the Approval Books (this was one of the prime goals behind the creation of the Approval Books) and leave a revitalized auction platform.

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Andrejs
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19 Aug 2015
08:02:09pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Roy - As Public Enemy once said, "Fight the Power!"

I guess that the auction is different things to different people. I think there's a genuine appreciation of cheap stamps out there to fill random holes in collections. I've done that too. Personally, I agree that a person who can list hundreds of stamps in a category at around 5 or 10 cents a pop as an opening bid would be better served by using an approvals book to do the same. But that doesn't necessarily mean that I am right and they are wrong.

For some of the countries I collect, I'm pretty (and proudly) advanced in my collection. With few exceptions, I don't need any Canadian or Australian stamps that are below $50.00 in catalogue value. That part of me also does not want to sort through 331 Canadian lots and 176 Aussie lots currently up for auction (at last count).

SOR is supposed to be the site for everyone who has an interest in stamps and stamp collecting. I think it is. But we need to be mindful of how this diverse group collects and uses SOR to enjoy their experience as collectors. The discussion here is not trying to purposely exclude people (I don't see that in anyone's comments); but it has definitely revealed a conflict in how we can get the most out of this club.

I'm not going to berate the point; but maybe discerning between higher-priced offerings and lower-priced ones may be the way to go and to allow everyone to get what they want out of the auction site. I'm brainstorming again here, but maybe a split between higher and lower priced lots could be automatic. If the cut off is 25 cents, for example, the new listings would get automatically listed in the bargains sub-group or the unique sub-group (whatever you want to call it) according to the opening bid that is set by the seller. That way, we can all browse whatever we want to fulfill our needs.

What do you think?

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TuskenRaider
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19 Aug 2015
08:03:24pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi Everyone;

cocollectibles said:

"I've listed Queen Victoria GB and Empire stamps in previous auctions; all started at less than
or just at 10% of CV. This included several large sheets of reconstructed penny red by different
plates, and Natal issues. Minimum CV for what I listed was at least $5, to much higher for
some of the higher plate numbered reds.

Not one sale."




Did it ever occur to you, that your prices might be too low? If you feel that they are only worth 10%
of catalog, to some buyers they may see that as tho you do not value those stamps very much. If
they think you are having a fire sale, they will not value your stamps very much either. Maybe they
are so cheap because there is something wrong with them.

As far as the plated penny reds, I doubt there are very many collectors on here that would even be
interested in them at all, or that can even afford that grade of material.

If you take the time to look at a few dozen members profiles, you will see quite a few collectors who
have been members for two or more years, and have never bought or sold anything. If you take
those into account there are probably only a few hundred members that are very active buyers.

Also of all those active buyers, most of them are buying material under $1, and it's not likely they
will have that kind of money you need for your offerings. You would be better off listing on Delcampe
or eBay to get a fair price.

When I sold real estate, and saw a real low price, you know what my buyers would say? "Ken that
is probably a fixer-upper, just skip that one okay?"

I'm not trying to denigrade either you or your stamps, just trying to show you a different prospective,
that might help you to sell those items. Good luck with them.

Just chillin'....
TuskenRaider
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roy
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19 Aug 2015
08:17:41pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"maybe discerning between higher-priced offerings and lower-priced ones may be the way to go and to allow everyone to get what they want out of the auction site."



I'm not knocking the "nickel and dime" sales. That material plays a big role in collecting, and I carry no "elitist attitude" to it. In fact, I have dozens of 10c/stamp books that go to the local stamp club with me, including 5 volume Scott Internationals. I just don't have the time to fill orders like that online.

However, that stuff does not belong in an auction. We have a perfectly acceptable venue for the sales of "under $1" stamps ... the approvals. All I'm saying, is let's reserve the auction for stamps that are worth auctioning.

I'm going to turn that into a mantra.

Roy
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sheepshanks
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19 Aug 2015
08:27:59pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Not sure if this has been addressed in this thread, have not, as far as I know, seen it mentioned.
Why not make a rule that all auction stamps must be listed by Scott/Gibbons etc number and make a search function that will only return exact search. eg Bermuda SG 47; Scott USA 38 and so on. This would hopefully take out a lot of cheaper stamps that I feel should be lumped together as sets or year collections.
It would allow those searching for specific stamps to immediately ascertain whether the material they require is available.
As an alternative why not have a want list section, again searchable, by country, catalogue, number etc. (someone will no doubt tell me we already have one)
The search system could work on drop down menu boxes in either scenario.
This way there would be no need to impose a minimum price per item, it would be set by seller as starting price.
Although I have looked in auctions I have not purchased anything as if only buying an odd stamp or two from any one buyer the postage makes it too costly to be economically viable.
As to selling items I tend to hang on to duplicates, guess that's the stamp hoarder rather than pure collector.

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TuskenRaider
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19 Aug 2015
08:28:09pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi Andrejs;

I agree with everything you just said 100%. I have no problem with either a search filter that can
eliminate certain price ranges, or a sub category to each main category for bargain stamps.

Just Chillin....
TuskenRaider

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19 Aug 2015
08:31:47pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@ Sheepshanks. I made a similar suggestion, but Roy pointed out the work involved and the extra work for sellers. I tend to agree with him. Getting a better search engine means bringing everyone on board to use common language in their listings. Not an easy task...

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19 Aug 2015
08:35:43pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"I believe a requisite minimum bid of $1.00 would drive all the lower cost stamps to the Approval Books (this was one of the prime goals behind the creation of the Approval Books) and leave a revitalized auction platform."



Yeah yeah, Let us define the two platforms more restrictively...(I cannot believe it is you Bobby Big Grin).
But I still think that we should put the cutoff lower than $1.00, and my suggestion was $0.50 for minimum listing price. Someone said earlier (was it Michael?) that if it does not achieve its intended goal, we can always bump up the minimum price. I am afraid that with too high a minimum, we will run into the other problem...not enough material to warrant looking at auctions!
By my calculations, a $0.50 minimum is likely to reflect stamps with Cat values of around $2.00. That seems like a good place to start. And as a side line, I think $0.25 is too low if we truly want to separate the two platforms. Yes they can overlap, but not too much!

The other point we need to address is HOW do we get more seller of better material to post under Auctions, and how do we get more participation of potential buyers.

So let me make another radical suggestion (that in my opinion will improve on the traditional Auction experience):
Let us also require that ALL items on sale under SOR AUCTIONS MUST have a FIXED Price option for Purchase.
And if you don't want to set up a fixed price option for every item yourself, we could make the system assign a default Fixed price (say at 1.5 or twice or whatever we chose?? above the minimum...just tossing numbers...but focus on the concept...).

Many hate the unknown character of Auctions bidding, the time to monitor, last minute bids, the wasted time when you loose something you wanted, the delayed gratification, and above all someone at the last minute swiping an item you wanted, because you were not watching it live or closely monitoring your mail box.
This way, if one wants it, one can buy it! I know this is not how other Auction sites work, but we are not other commercial sites, and we are not bound by what others do. This will make SOR Auctions better in my view.

rrr...

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19 Aug 2015
08:43:43pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Nice post rrraphy. Worthy of some consideration. Yeah, 25 cents was just a line in the sand that can be moved forwards or back. I don't care.

But let me ask this of buyers: For all of these low priced auctions out there, would it be better/easier/whatever if a lot of these lower priced offerings were posted in approvals books instead? I mean, if something's listed for 5 cents or 10 cents, or whatever, wouldn't you just rather be the first to spot and buy the stamp rather than waiting to see how your nickel bid does in 10 days? If you missed it, there's a good chance that someone will post the same stamp in the very near future...

I think this perspective is maybe one that we're missing from the discussion.

Andrew

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cocollectibles

19 Aug 2015
08:45:05pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@Tusken

"Did it ever occur to you, that your prices might be too low? If you feel that they are only worth 10% of catalog, to some buyers they may see that as tho you do not value those stamps very much. "



That's the starting bid, not a buy it now price. My point isn't just that they didn't sell; it was more that no-one seemed to find them and view them.

Roy, I'm with you too. I like the idea of coordinating the auctions and approvals for differently priced items, so keep the lower priced items for approvals. I have no problem starting the classic era stamps at higher prices (although for some of them even 10% CV is over $5!) and adding a buy it now feature to all auctions. I just hope they get more traffic as a result.
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19 Aug 2015
08:48:25pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@Andrejs, The extra work involved for putting up a few higher priced stamps would not be too great ( most sellers with decent stamps probably already have them in stockbooks with cat. numbers) but would be for those listing a lot of cheap stamps. Hopefully therefore eliminating a lot of searching, even if we implement no other refinements to the system.
Whatever alterations that are made are going to involve extra work for our tech expert in some way.
As far as common language goes this could be specified as part of the rules of auction terms and conditions. Although as an Englishman I would probably be gobsmacked if we could agree on definitions. Even though we speak a common tongue (supposedly).

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19 Aug 2015
08:54:25pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Requiring that all items be accompanied by a catalog number would not work for the simple reason that there are many items which are not listed in the major catalogs: Cinderellas, most revenues, precancels, perfins, EFOs, stampless covers, etc.

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Andrejs
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19 Aug 2015
08:59:57pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I hear ya, laddie.... Rolling On The Floor Laughing

I work with a database in my job. We found out that addresses in our d-base were searchable, but there was no intuitiveness in the search. What that meant was, if you entered an address as:

123 Main St., Apt. 301, Toronto, Ontario, M6P 1J4

a search of that address wouldn't return a "hit" for:

123 Main Street, Apt. 301, Toronto, Ontario, M6P 1J4
301 - 123 Main St., Toronto, Ontario, M6P 1J4
123 Main St., Apt. 301, Toronto, ON, M6P 1J4
Apt. 301, 123 Main Street, Toronto, Ontario, M6P 1J4...

You get the idea.

As Tim will say, "Garbage in, garbage out."

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19 Aug 2015
09:14:10pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"Whatever alterations that are made are going to involve extra work for our tech expert in some way."



No, it will take no "work" to require that the minimum bid field be greater than $1. That's not even one line of code.

All other tweaks can come at Tim's convenience.

Roy
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sheepshanks
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19 Aug 2015
09:15:32pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Point taken Bobby but these are more specialist items that you probably do not have to wade through 1000's of entries to find. I presume that they all have their category in the current listing. If not perhaps they should.
If we are going to populate the auctions with better quality items then the search feature has to be altered or we have to remove the weeds to allow the flowers to blossom and bear fruit.
Whichever choice we make is going to upset someone somewhere but will be of benefit to all in the long term.
Personally I would not be looking for anything in the auctions that would cost me less than $10-20 minimum. Items less than this I would be looking for in approvals.

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michael78651
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19 Aug 2015
09:27:56pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Ralph, on SOR, there is no last second sniping. Auctions are extended when they receive late bids (sorry I don't recall the time frames right now). The Buy-It-Now price is the ultimate snipe where that will end an auction to the BIN buyer, but that is the only way that an auction lot can be purchased where it supersedes the auction bidding activity. I like the BIN function here.

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sheepshanks
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19 Aug 2015
09:38:05pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Ok have just looked at the auction listings for UK and isles, on the first page I find

"SPAIN 1855-1937 set all hinged"

no image, no description as such, just a price. No wonder then that people get put off wading through the dross. How the heck would I even know what I'm bidding on?
A couple of items down is yet another Spain item again without image. Same seller.
We definitely need changes to be made if we are to improve the experience of both buyers and sellers.


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19 Aug 2015
09:52:16pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I hate to bring up EBay here, but it is a point of comparison for me. There is a seller from Belgium who has very nice MNH material, especially souvenir sheets, and all his auctions start at .99. He does have BIN items also. The market then takes care of itself.
I ended up buying 12 really nice lots for $21 USD plus $3 postage.

This seller does have a high volume of what he puts on the website, so it works for him.

My point, in the end, is that right now, SOR is not a major place for me to buy, EXCEPT for MNH or premium used items in the Approvals (thanks, cardstamp and Soundcrest!) or used stamps to fill spaces here and there. Herfabu44 is one of the few sellers that offers multiple full MNH sets and sheets from one country at a time here, and often I do not see any bids on his lots.

If raising the minimum attracts more sellers with better material here, I am all for that--especially since there are no fees.

One last thought from a buyer's perspective: since there ARE no fees, as a potential buyer of better material, I would expect a seller to at least SHARE the savings he or she is getting for not paying them, ESPECIALLY if they do not take PayPal. I've seen a very MIXED result on that score in the Auctions and the Approvals. BOB

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rrraphy
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19 Aug 2015
09:53:52pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

The Moderators, Auction or Approval (or even discussion board) cannot monitor all aspects. But when an error or a lapse, something like this, occurs, it should be brought to the attention of the appropriate moderators for prompt action. He/she has latitude on how to proceed: private message, email, or plain deactivating until corrections are made. That should be simple enough. So, when you find something not right, inform the moderator privately.
rrr...

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rrraphy
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19 Aug 2015
10:07:19pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@Michael:

"Ralph, on SOR, there is no last second sniping. "


I know Michael, but just the same, one still has to monitor, and that assumes that you have nothing else to do. I much rather buy it and move on.
Andt this is a Club which is different from an Auction site, I come here to talk, to learn and to interact, not just to buy or sell, and I don't want to set my alarm bell to ring and remind me daily to look for the latest bid option.
I don't know what the current time extension is here..it is immaterial to me.

I think that mandating a Buy it Now price would set us apart from the rest of the universe of Auctions, and I bet you it will work better for most sellers and buyers. Certainly it will for me, (even if I like being cheap)! It is just another "think out of the box" suggestion.
And I am not suggesting that we regulate it and tell the sellers what to do, just that we have an option to have the system set it, should the seller have not made a specific choice. In other words, ALL Auction items will have a Buy It Now price.
rrr...

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auldstampguy
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19 Aug 2015
10:46:12pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I'm coming in late on this conversation, but I really don't understand what the issue is. Sometimes when I go into the Auction I don't have time to look at everything, so use the Min Bid option on the Auction Lot filter to only retrieve lots that have a min bid of $5 or greater as per the following:

Image Not Found

Where is this falling short for you guys? I don't get it. Some people like to look at and buy 25 cent stamps. Some people like to buy $10 stamps. You already have the ability to do both.

Tim.

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19 Aug 2015
11:00:50pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@Tim

There are many folk who do not use the search function, they merely scroll through the auctions to find something they like. If there are 100 5 cent stamps surrounding my $5.00 stamp, it will be lost in the sea of cheap stamps. We created the Approval Books to get the cheap stamps out of the Auction, now lets take the next step and do it. Personally, I think a $0.25 minimum bid would effectively eliminate 90% of the items which should be in the approval books, but I can support anything between $0.25 and $1.00 (inclusive).

Bobby

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19 Aug 2015
11:24:54pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

So you are telling me that if I'm a new member and I have a few 10 cent stamps that I want to try in the Auction to see how it works that I can't do that anymore. I ABSOLUTELY DISAGREE with with this. Stamporama has been implemented with as few rules as possible. We have tried to provide the most functionality that we can without making rules saying that you have to do it THIS WAY. This is a club not a business and it is open to all members, not just the more experienced members who are only interested in $20+ stamps. If you can't find the stamps that you are looking for in an easy fashion here, I suggest you try ebay and pay their charges. But using the filters, you can find whatever there is in the price range you are interested in. Just use the filters provided the same as I do.

Regards ... Tim.

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TuskenRaider
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19 Aug 2015
11:40:33pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi Tim and Everyone;

I just now tried the filter and it works just fine, so EVERYONE what is the problem? Just use the filter, and don't exclude anyone.

nuff said....
TuskenRaider

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19 Aug 2015
11:49:21pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"I just now tried the filter and it works just fine, so EVERYONE what is the problem? "



Because people don't use it! Even long standing members are saying they didn't know it was there. And we do not get the chance to educate someone who comes in to give it a try. They visit, see the sea of junk and immediately turn away. I repeat, I hear the same comment again and again. "It's not worth wading through all the stuff that isn't worth the cost of shipping!"

Roy
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TuskenRaider
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19 Aug 2015
11:57:21pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi sheepshanks and Everyone;

sheepshanks said:

"Ok have just looked at the auction listings for UK and isles, on the first page I find

Quote:
"SPAIN 1855-1937 set all hinged"

no image, no description as such, just a price. No wonder then that people get put off wading through
the dross. How the heck would I even know what I'm bidding on?
A couple of items down is yet another Spain item again without image. Same seller.
We definitely need changes to be made if we are to improve the experience of both buyers and sellers."



I private messaged this seller to tip him off that he is not listing by the rules. He messaged me back and said
thanks, and could I help him. I replied for him to read the rules for auctions a couple of times, and get back to
me afterwards.

I will help him with whatever questions he has or whatever he doesn't understand. Our moderators are busy
enough as it is, and it's the least I could do for the club. He is just a newbee, and just joined like a week or
so ago.

Keep on stampin'....
TuskenRaider
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20 Aug 2015
12:01:22am
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@Roy,
Don't you remember, I put that filter in specifically at your request a couple of years ago.

Regards ... Tim

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20 Aug 2015
07:16:43am
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@Tim

Yes, I saw the need for it during the first onslaught of nickel and dime auctions and appreciate the effort. But creating a tool and getting new people to use it are clearly different. Every single person I have introduced to Stamporama auctions has come back at me with "too much cheap stuff to wade through". The ability to filter out the cheap stuff doesn't change their minds.

I saw the opportunity to stimulate change when the original poster to this thread raised the same issues that have concerned me for two years. However, I am seeing the ground-swell of opinion turning against my position in favour of status quo. I concede. This will be my last post on the subject of the auctions. If anyone wants me on the subject, please PM me.

Roy

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20 Aug 2015
10:51:23am

Auctions - Approvals
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Tim

I have used the filters quite often and they do work.

Would it be possible for you to add Used to the filter list.

Thanks

Doug

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Andrejs
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20 Aug 2015
08:21:48pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Under the category of "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing," I have to apologize to Tim especially for not cluing in on the minimum bid filter. Yup, I've been a member for a number of years and never did tweak onto this filter. Totally my bad/lack of awareness. My only comfort is that I'm not alone in this.

As I said in an earlier post:

"SOR is supposed to be the site for everyone who has an interest in stamps and stamp collecting. I think it is. But we need to be mindful of how this diverse group collects and uses SOR to enjoy their experience as collectors. The discussion here is not trying to purposely exclude people (I don't see that in anyone's comments); but it has definitely revealed a conflict in how we can get the most out of this club."


I have to say, looking at all of the responses to this DB and my informal survey to see where we go from here, there's a diverse range of opinion. That's not a bad thing. Just as we welcome expert and newbie alike to this forum, I agree that we have to maintain that same standard for auctions. I think there are still the legitimate concerns that what we can term lower volume sellers (and I count myself as a former member of that category), who are overwhelmed by the multitude of listings and have a legitimate concern that they may not perhaps get the exposure that they deserve in the sea of bulk listings. A lot of these members - and you know who they are - are very dedicated and meticulous sellers who try to offer quality and unique items for bids. I think that it is fair to say that bulk sellers don't demonstrate that same level of filtering. I think that's a fair comment, though not necessarily detrimental to a bunch of folks who love searching for bargains. For buyers, the need to sort through the huge amount of listings to find what they want can also be frustrating at times. In some cases, where a lower price is an issue, you won't be able to differentiate between the so-called quality of listings. For example, if I offer a Penny Black for a cent (hoping to get way more than one bid), any filters on minimum bid will likely exclude this hidden treasure. And, yes, I can post a message on the DB saying that it is out there for everyone. Shame on me if I don't.

By satisfying everyone, we've created a system where (maybe) few are satisfied. I don't know about the accuracy of the last sentence, as there have been few posts about the appreciation of all the lots that are on offer. I don't doubt there is an appreciation; but is it generally viewed as a benefit or detriment by the majority of buyers?

It's pretty obvious that most of us didn't know about the price filter. Survey aside (and I'm asking everyone to please put in their opinion so we get a decent representation of members who buy or sell on auctions), how about, Tim, if we add in a header message on the auction pages that tells everyone that we can use the price, seller and other filters to refine our search? That way everyone who lands on the page knows that there are options to there browsing experience.

If this works, we can look at the other issues in the survey discussion to see how relevant they remain.

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michael78651
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20 Aug 2015
09:11:19pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I don't think it is a bad thing to now and then have a post like this about the web site just to see what people think about it. If nothing else, it gives people who don't normally post a chance to voice their opinion, and it gives the powers that be a chance to see how things are going. A sort of progress report, if you will.

That doesn't mean that anything will be enacted upon, maybe just one or two suggestions are implemented, or maybe plenty is done. Just depends on what else is going on.


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smaier
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Sally

20 Aug 2015
10:18:51pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Well, I have used some of the filters but never saw the price filter. Been here for several years and just never noticed it. Learned something new thanks to this thread. Thanks to those that pointed it out.

I still think that most of the 5 and 10 cent items belong in Approvals but with the filter, it is most likely not an issue anymore....although, if they were in the Approval Books, I would probably see them there....

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doodles69ca
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Suzanne

21 Aug 2015
02:08:06pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

One thing I would like to see, if it could be done, is a filter for members who do or don't accept paypal. I am not opening the discussion for or against it here. It's that I don't have a chequing account and I don't want to pay for a money order, so I only buy from members who take paypal.

Anyone can buy from me, with or without paypal. I don't care. As long as I get my money. hehe!

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rrraphy
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21 Aug 2015
05:58:39pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"I'm coming in late on this conversation, but I really don't understand what the issue is. Sometimes when I go into the Auction I don't have time to look at everything, so use the Min Bid option on the Auction Lot filter to only retrieve lots that have a min bid of $5 or greater "


Wow, Tim Thumbs Up had already anticipated and dealt with this issue. And figure how I have been looking at Auctions for a while, and did not notice it? I guess it was not a high priority item for me. Others discussed issues were more important.
Let us spread the word somehow. It is not intuitive, although it should be!

The fundamental question remains however: How do we make the Auction Platform more Active (I am not going to use the word successful again, it is successful for some and it does work!). But having posted some higher valued items on Auctions more than once, and relisted them discounted further, I have not found it rewarding, sales-wise, or even if I ONLY measure how many persons viewed my items over a combined 30 days period.
It could have been the type of items offered? it could have been the pricing? (about 20% of catalog?), it could have been timing? it could have been my small "client" base? who knows..it did not work well for me.
And just looking at the number of persons who took a look at the posted material, and the number of items that were bid on and purchased, out of the total (10% maybe? all were single bids, by the way), my feeling remains the same. So I will not list this type of material again on SOR Auctions.
Would more popular areas have generated more interest? Don't know?

What are sellers with popular material: US, Germany, UK, France, China etc... have to say?
If the one who is just focusing on better stamps can eliminate the lower cost items when perusing the Auctions and he/she does it, will it be enough to increase the level of activity on Auctions...views if not sales? Curious.
rrr....

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michael78651
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21 Aug 2015
09:31:02pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

One thing so far is not too many people are taking advantage of being able to let the SOR members know what they are posting in the auctions. Soundcrest does it regularly, and I think is about the only one who consistently uses this tool. Greg, have you noticed any increase on views, bids and sales through your posts when you post new auction lots?

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stampmanjack

APS Life Member

22 Aug 2015
11:05:08pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I am a little late on this thread but I would add as my "two cents worth" that auction sales are always "iffy". I do a number of shows during the year that have silent auctions during the course of the day. I put material in all of the auctions and it is generally the same type of material in all of the auctions. Sometimes I sell all of the lots - sometimes by reducing the price during the day and sometimes by negotiation after the last sale closes and sometimes I could not the material if I was giving it away. Other times everything sells. There is no rhyme or reason as it is the same club, same location, same time of year and same type of material. Sometimes the weather is the difference but that should not be a problem with the SOR auctions. Personally I like our auctions and would not change a thing. I do not sell yet but hope to do so soon. I buy quite a lot from a limited number of dealers as I do not like to buy one stamp at a time unless it is a great buy. I have found in other organizations, that the more rules added the more problematic it becomes.
Jack

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Cactusjack
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23 Aug 2015
12:26:28pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Well, I got shot down before with my Approval Book/Auction suggestions but I think that I will try again. From the discussions it seems that many are not happy with the current setup. I totally agree.

The Auction is an auction in name only. A few months back I searched for Great Britain. I got 683 hits. I went through all 683 lots and found only 11 that had more than one bid. That means that 98.3% of the auction lots would sell with one bid if all closed immediately. Granted some may have picked up a second bid before they closed but I am sure that it would be a tiny few. That means that probably 96% to 97% of all lots in the Auction probably sell with one bid. Call it an auction if you like but in reality the Auction is just another fixed price selling mechanism. So on SOR we basically have two different fix price sales mechanisms. There is no true auction. For an auction to be a true auction it must be competitive over 95% of the many collection areas that exists. That would probably take a minimum of 10,000 active bidders to achieve 95% competitiveness. To be fully competitive over most all collecting areas would probably take 25,000 active bidders. On a weekly basis I would bet SOR has less than 50 active bidders. We can’t have a competitive auction due to our small size. It is impossible.

I think that our best course of action is to figure out how to change one or both of our fixed price selling mechanisms to make them compatible, one where our beginning and intermediate collecting members have a place to buy and sell and another for our advanced collectors to also have a place to buy and sell. No one would enter a $100.00 catalog value item in the SOR Auction and start the bidding a 1 cent. Well, maybe someone would but I would question his sanity. On eBay or Delcampe you might end up with a fair price. That is because there are a large number of bidders, enough to have competitive bidding. Chances are slim to none that you would get a fair price in Stamporama Auction. Because the Stamporama Auction does not work is no one’s fault, it is just the nature of the beast. We are too small for a true auction to work properly

My suggestion would be to leave the Auction as it is to serve the beginning and intermediate collectors and to tweak the Approval system to serve the advanced collectors. To change the Auction would force some of the “SOR old timers” out of there long time happy buying and selling routines. The Auction has been “patched” before by putting in the Approval System. The patch did not work. If you patch the Auction with a minimum opening bid (50c or $1.00) you will drive out all of the cheaper stamps but will you see a lot classic stamps appear? Probably not. You will see a few. I sure don’t think that hundreds of classic stamps will appear. The reason is
that the reputation that has built up over time that good stuff doesn’t sell on the Auction. Another reason, it takes time to enter a lot in the Auction and that lot goes away in 14 days max. Unless someone needs the better item it will not sell in a short period of time and therefore will go away. You have nothing to show for your time and effort of entering the lot. That is the major reason I do not list on the Auction. A few months back I listed 12 Faroe Islands used stamps for 14 days. Not one lot was even viewed. About 2 weeks later, when I located enough Faroe used to have a 100 stamp Approval Book, I entered the Book. In the first 24 hours 8 of the Faroe stamps that I had entered in the Auction sold from the Approval Book. Two months later when I closed out the Approval Book due to good sales 3 more of the Auction listed stamps had sold. My score, zero sales (and views) in the Auction and 11 of 12 sold in the Approval Book. That was my last attempt to sell in the Auction. I think that my experience is in common with a lot of members. Those used Faroe stamps were not classic stamps either. They were common used all selling for under $1.00.

In order for better (classic or otherwise) stamps to be sold in the Approval System, the rules will have to be greatly modified. Some have suggested that few duplicate classic or better stamps exist among SOR members. I don’t believe that for a minute. I have a number but they will not go into the Auction. The work of listing for them short terms (days at most) and poor to nonexistent sales does not excite me. I can’t put them in the Approval System because I don’t have a minimum of 100 classic stamps in the same category as highly suggested in the Approval Book rules. In fact, it is one of the questions asked as you try to activate a book. Rule 4 says “The book offers stamps in topics clearly described by its title”. A no answer prevents you from activation the book. So unless you have 100 classic stamps in the same category you are out of luck entering the in the Approval Books.

To get classics into the Approval System the number of stamps required for a book would have to be drastically reduced. I doubt few people have 100 classic stamps. Yes, it would totally upset the apple cart but it could be done. Tweak the Approval System to sell the better, classic and more expensive items and allow the Auction to remain as it is a place for the inexpensive stamps to sell. The Auction today does that job very well. In my opinion no amount of patches will transform the Auction to sell classic or better stamps.

My suggestion is to leave the SOR Auction as it is. It is serving the beginning and intermediate collectors very well. To allow classic and better stamps into the Approval System I would remove the 100 stamp limit and replace it with $5.00 minimum per book. This would still allow a book of 100 5 cent stamps to still be entered into the Approval System. Theoretically this would also allow a 1 page book with a stamp classic stamp of $5.00 or more to be entered. A one page book rule may have to be modified if the computer overhead needed to store a one page approval is significantly larger than the space needed to store 1 Auction lot. Tim would have to tell us where the number of pages in an Approval Book and the number of auction lots use approximately equal disk space in storage. That is, does an Approval Book of 5 pages take the same storage space as 5 Auction lots? If so, To me, the number of pages in an Approval Book should be based on computer efficiency, not an arbitrary number.

Our main goal in Stamporama should be how to get the maximum number of stamps efficiently transferred from members who have duplicates to the members who need those duplicates. I am not sure that this is being efficiently done now.

This is just my two cents worth on the “problem”.
James M. McCain
Cactusjack

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TuskenRaider
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23 Aug 2015
03:15:44pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi James;

You should give the bulk up-loader a try, If you want to learn it I can help you do that.

I list all my lots using this tool. I started with 19 lots in January of 2015. I sold only one lot but
with four bids. Just lucky I guess. However I learned how to upload 50 lots at a go. Within a
few months I was up to 400 lots. I now have 700+ lots available most of the time. I can re-list
700+ lots with the bulk uploader in about 20 MINUTES. I can upload faster with the bulk up-
loader in auctions that you can in approvals.

I always list for 14 days, giving more time for buyers to find what they need. When my lots ex-
pire, as long as they get re-listed within 14 days the photos will remain on the SOR server so
that I do not have to re-upload them, each auction cycle.

The last few months I have transfered funds from PayPal (buyer payments) to my checking
account, at a rate of $50-$80/month.

I now have about 150-200 stamps that I have to generate invoices for. Some of the stamps
were purchased 4-5 weeks ago. I always allow buyers to have me hold their selections until
they can find more material so as to save on shipping. I do this as a service to only my repeat
buyers. These 150-200 stamps represent about 6 or 7 different buyers.

Since January 2015 I have had 15 different buyers. These are active buyers who buy from me
and several other sellers.

However I have no active auction lots, as I'm taking a day off for a break.

Just Chillin'....
TuskenRaider

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rrraphy
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Retired Consultant

23 Aug 2015
04:17:26pm
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"My suggestion would be to leave the Auction as it is to serve the beginning and intermediate collectors and to tweak the Approval system to serve the advanced collectors. "


James: Disagree 100%. Approval was designed for the lower cost stamps. Its whole structure is built for it. The pricing of all the stamps per page at the same price is set up for it. Everything else as well..rules and all. While we did not put a maximum limit on the price of stamp sold, it was NOT meant to be the high stamp value store outlet, and such a rule could be instituted in the future.

The volume of low cost stamps selling daily attests to the success of this platform as conceived, for the low cost stamps. The higher valued stamps sold by some complete the range of offerings but are not the intent of Approvals.

To suggest that we should modify Approvals to fit your approach for selling higher cost stamps makes no sense at all in my view. If developing an alternative platform from both Auctions and Approvals is what you are suggesting, be my guest, and good luck getting it launched. I for one would not oppose it, but I would not volunteer to work on developing it! Developing Approvals was no trivial job, and reaching a consensus was as painful as pulling a tooth without novocaine...actually, more!

Now many of your comments about Auction are well taken, and the discussion here is about Auctions. I see no reason to tinker with Approvals myself. There are however many reasons (in my view) to take another look at Auctions. The two are separate platform, although we have made a serious effort to use virtually identical categories. They could be used to work more closely in tandem by separating items sold by some criterias (prices?), but most people favor the "less is better than more rules" philosophy, which is what we now have. And as pointed out by Tim, we have filters in place to restrict displayed items in Auctions to suit individual preferences.
If this does result in occasional "misuse" of both platforms, we have volunteer Moderators who try to resolve. From what I have seen here, every structural suggestion for changes, even the tiniest ones, brings a symphony of objections.

Maybe there is no way to make our Auction platform compete with ebay, delcampe etc.. but it does not have to. As a club, we only need to meet the expectations of our membership..we are not driven by the same commercial goals, as for-profit sites. Your analysis about volume is correct..we don't have enough size or traffic to make it a lively competitive Auction platform...but some are quite happy with that.
Which is why I suggested that mandating a "buy it now" option, or making unsold auction items stay in a "store" like status for a certain additional time may add to the volume of better material sold on Auctions and drive up the use of the platform..sellers and buyers alike. But I am guessing here. May or may not work..it is worth a try in my view, and they are just suggestions to resolve what I had noticed as well..not enough weekly interest in Auctions to guarantee that all that you put up for sale will even be looked at, let alone bid on. Seems to work for some specific philatelic categories as David indicated, and not for others.

Now to reluctantly (because I was hoping we would stay on Auctions in this thread, and this discussion belong elsewhere) go back to the 100 item rule in Approvals that seem to cause you so much trouble to accept, you can bend your strict approach and adapt it to Approvals rather than trying to bend the rules of Approvals to meet your strict approach. Several suggestions were offered. You can combine categories (if meaningful...and examples were given on how it is done), you can broaden what you sell (mix used with M and MNH), and you can mix and match what you sell to make it easier to reach the 100 (add sets, multiple copies (max is 3), etc..).
Also, as indicated in the rules, you can ask the moderator for an exception prior to issuing a book. This is in place precisely because it was clear to the platform developers that 1. some members would be hard pressed to assemble 100 items books and 2. some collectible areas cannot possibly meet the 100 item rule. (Has anyone put together a book of 100 stamps of some of the smaller dead countries?) The rule is in place for covers and for set, S/S etc. Some countries or topics don't have 100 stamps, and you may want to sell only that country or topic!
Some sellers in spite of all their efforts are just missing the magic number of 100 by a few stamps. No one is unreasonable..and as moderator I always allow these, or discuss with the issuers ways of being able to activate such a book, grant an exception, or relabel it or modify it to become acceptable.
But Approval is not meant to sell one item per page, each one at a different price..mostly higher values. If that is still your goal, Auction is the place..and you may want to focus on making Auctions work better for you. As I said before, it is Approval Book, not Approval "one word per page".

rrr...

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Stevo45
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13 Sep 2015
05:38:21am
re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I find it difficult/impossible to find Auction items here, for example: Australian stamps issued in the year 1988.

I know there are at least some here because a few are listed by the Scott #..

I would like to find Auctions for ALL 1988 Australian stamps so that I can chose the ones that I want.

I, (like millions of stamp buyers world wide) do not use a Scott catalogue, So as a buyer, I search by Country and year so when a seller lists his stamp as: "AUSTRALIA Living Together - Mining - Scott No. 1066 New" That may mean very little to me so I might assume there are no 1988 stamps for sale here and I'll move on........

Am I missing a simple search engine somewhere here ?
Do sellers in the auctions here not describe stamps by Country and/or year?

I find the habit of some people's reliance on Cat. nos. to SELL stamps - Extremely limiting.. For them.

Cheers

Steve

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rrraphy

Retired Consultant
03 Jul 2015
01:57:09pm

Quoting (in a related post on Approvals):

"[b]Now for AUCTIONS.[/b] I have been listing my higher priced items under Auctions recently and I agree with ALL your comments. I can even make more remarks and suggest many changes that would improve the experience...which currently is quite disappointing..from a seller standpoint. The problem is NOT with Approval Books, but with Auctions. I would suggest that we revisit this, and [b]I will start a dedicated topic for this discussion[/b], so that it gets its proper platform, and does not muddy this discussion on Approvals."



As an Auction seller (recently), I am quite disappointed by the results. I think, more than the material being offered, it is indicative of conceptual problems with the AUCTION platform of SOR. (let us not forget that contrary to Approvals which is unique, there are dozens of sizeable Auction platforms, many very efficient at their job. So I am opening a discussion on what could be done to enhance the SOR Auction platform to make it more attractive to Sellers and Buyers alike.

and on the topic from CactusJack:

"A bit more on the auction. The auction is an auction in name only. As I was scrolling through the 738 items in the Other Western Europe category I counted just 6 items out of 738 that had more than one bid. That means that .88% would be sold by auction, i.e., multiple bids. The other 99.12% actually default, in reality, to just being a fixed price sale since they would be sold with only one bid. The auction is an auction in name only. In reality it is a fixed price sale system just like the approval books. The difference, the approval system is user time efficient, i.e., it takes less time to find what you want and the auction wastes more of your precious time that you have to “play” with your stamps. That is the bottom line. The approval system is buyer time efficient and the auction is what people would call a dog in computer lingo. It takes much, much more time to find what you need on the auction"

.

So, why are Auctions not delivering? What could be done to improve the Auction platform?

rrr

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rrraphy

Retired Consultant
03 Jul 2015
02:26:04pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

RELISTING on Auctions. Today, if you want to relist your unsold items on Auctions, you prices are reduced automatically by 20%.

I would like to suggest changes to this rule.
1. Make the increments 10% instead of 20%. Often it is NOT the prices, but the level of traffic and the timing that determines interest or not for an Auction item. Because SOR's Auction traffic is low, compared to commercial auction sites, reducing the prices sharply does not have a direct link to sales. Having the item available for longer time does (But often a buyer also wants a quick resolution to a purchase...so one plays a balancing game).
2. Allow 2 or 3 consecutive price reductions, then capture the unsold stamps under a "UNSOLD, PRICE REDUCED", store like listing..and append it to the Auction platform.
Make the Store only accessible after going through Auctions and multiple discounts.
3. Fix each of the relisting duration to 7 days (my pick..but we can discuss what makes sense to others)....this goes with the Store capture at the end.
4. Use the SALE icon rather than the NEW icon to designate relisted items. If we go with multiple listings at reduced prices, a Sale Auction icon with 10%, 20%, and 30% indicated would improve communications. The last one would be used for the "Store items"

Just a start...but I think that having a Store to capture unsold auction items, (after mandatory price reductions of 3 x 10%) would make Auctions more successful to sellers and buyers alike. As would better communications on pricing reductions.

rrr...

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michael78651

Moderator, MT Member
03 Jul 2015
03:04:37pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Here are some of my thoughts.

I think that the big thing needed has just been implemented. That is to allow sellers to post about what they have listed for sale. As people start using that privilege, I think you'll find sales increasing.

An example is I used it to notify members that my approval books are in closeout status and will be closed later this month. I quickly sold a large number of stamps.

Sellers will do better when they market their items so that others know what is being offered, especially better material.

I would like to see more auction lots with a Buy It Now option. (No, don't require it.) For me, I don't like waiting for an auction lot to close. When I find an item that I want, if it has a reasonably set BIN, I take it.

If buyers could search for items by selling price - sliding scale where lower or higher valued lots won't appear in searches. That would keep the large number of low-priced stamps from appearing in auction searches.

We can subscribe to sellers and receive an email when they post new approval books. I don't think that function exists on the auction side. It would be nice to get notified when a favorite auction seller lists new items.

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d1stamper

03 Jul 2015
03:06:32pm

Auctions - Approvals

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Auction sales would improve if sellers adopted a Title listing, starting with the country name, not using other numbers etc to start the title of the listing.

The title should stated if Mint or Used, do waste the buyers time by having them open the lot or guess if the stamp is used or mint.

If the stamp is worth listing in the auction them it should have the catalog number and which catalog the number is from.

If sellers would take Paypal or some other form of electronic payment.

Sellers would sell to other countries, eg. Canada.

Do NOT charge the buyer for making an electronic payment over a $5.00 or what ever limit the seller would like to set.

List the shipping charges with the listing, do make the buyer have to ask or hope for the best.

Doug


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michael78651

Moderator, MT Member
03 Jul 2015
03:10:18pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Regarding the suggestion of auction items dropping to a "holding store", I don't think that will increase sales overall. A thought would be to do that to an auction item after it has run through the required number of auto-relists, but for a limited number of days. That way, just in case someone forgot or got too busy to place a bid on it before it closed, they can get back to it and buy it. I know I have missed a few items, because I forgot to get back to it in time. Just don't leave those items up there permanently. It'll just clog the listings up. Maybe ten days maximum, then they are closed.

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d1stamper

03 Jul 2015
03:16:21pm

Auctions - Approvals

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

The other thing for auctions would be if all auction lots could be viewed, not just newly listed lots.

I know you can search by country, but the search does not work well with the way listing are Titled. Also I prefer to look thur all listings and then I may see items I would buy.

Doug

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michael78651

Moderator, MT Member
03 Jul 2015
03:23:20pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"The other thing for auctions would be if all auction lots could be viewed, not just newly listed lots."



Newly listed lots and lots closing in 24 hours are easily viewed. You're right that the lots in-between those two events are not easily viewed in the same manner, or in a long "viewing string" like from newly listed to oldest listed, or vice versa. But, without a specific search, is it really worth it to see simply everything listed? I suppose sometimes that is a valid search too.

Sounds more like this wouldn't be as much an issue if sellers would use a standard listing practice.
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Cactusjack

03 Jul 2015
04:16:50pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Some members want to improve the auction. I will discuss that. My opinion is that the auction system is a “dog” system computer wise. I think most agree that sales from the auction are sluggish. That is putting it mildly.

First, it takes a huge amount of time for a seller to list items in the auction. That, and the fact that few lots sell, is one of the reasons that good stuff does not get listed in the auction. No one wants to waste their time listing lots that probably will not sell. Good stuff will sell better in other competing auctions or in approval books.

It is much more efficient to list things in the approval system. I can list a 100 stamp approval book in about the time it takes me to list 10 auction lots. So in reality it takes about 10 times longer to list action lots than to create approval books. The auction wastes a lot of the seller’s time. And as I discussed in my original posting, the search time to find what you want to buy as a buyer is far faster with the approval system than with the auction. So the approval system wins hands down in both selling and buying efficiency.

A couple of more examples as to why I think that the approval system is superior to the auction. In December of last year I listed 12 Faroe Island used stamps for 14 days on the auction. In those 14 days they received zero views, that is, no one even looked at them. About a week later I entered an approval book of just greater than 100 used Faroe Island stamps. I included the 12 Faroe Islands stamps that were previously in the auction. 10 of the 12 stamps that were previously in the auction sold within the first 36 hours.

Another example: do a current auction search on “Great Britain used stamps”. The auction search returns zero lots. Wouldn’t you think that a visitor would probably use that search criteria if he was specifically looking for Great Britain used? If you do a search on just “Great Britain” you still get zero lots. Now if you go straight to the Category List you will find that Great Britain has 447 lots. The search function of the auction is not very useful at all to view limited items.

Stamporama has to compete with all Internet auctions, both big (eBay, Delcampe, etc.) and small (eBid, Stampstogo, etc.). We also have to compete with other stamp societies like APS and sites for collectors of certain countries, topics, etc. Many of those sites also have stamp sales. I think that Stamporama is one of the few, if not the only site with online approval books. I believe if we tweak and tune up the approval system I believe that we can increase our membership dramatically if we can offer reasonably priced stamps in a supper efficient selling platform. That platform is the approval system. That is my firm belief.

Again, to me, trying to modify the auction (a computer time efficiency dog) would be like trying to modify an old DC3 commercial aircraft to carry 300 people at 500 mph at 35,000 feet. It just can’t be done. As the old saying goes, you can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig. The approval system (if tweaked) is by far and away the best sales system and would set us apart in the online stamping community. Most everybody has auctions, few have approval systems..

Just my 2 cents worth.


James M. McCain
Cactusjack

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03 Jul 2015
04:34:17pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I have no issue with the premise that the SOR auction is a nonstarter if one wants to "sell" stamps. So why do I list stamps here? I enjoy it. I am not a dealer nor am I a motivated seller, I buy sell and trade for fun, not profit. The SOR auction permits me to indulge myself in my childhood fantasy game of "playing store," and, just like my childhood game, I risk absolutely nothing! Sure, there are lots of other auction platforms, but how many charge no fees? How many have a hierarchy that responds to questions with alacrity? How many are so comfortable and friendly? Admittedly, if I have quality stamps which need a bigger audience, I journey to Ebay or one of the other sites, pay my fees, and it is still problematic whether I will realize more than a small percentage of catalog value. But on how many of those other platforms can I list, buy and sell for free, address issues and get answers from the auctioneer promptly, and have as much fun?

Frankly, other than changing the relisting percentage to 10% (as suggested by michael###s), I have no changes to suggest.

Basically, I am on Stamporama to "talk about stamps," the rest is just gravy!

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michael78651

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03 Jul 2015
04:49:56pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

That was Ralph who suggested the change in relisting percentage.

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03 Jul 2015
04:54:53pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Regardless, it is a good idea, even if it is ralph's Big Grin

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copy55555

03 Jul 2015
07:06:04pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I thought I might add my two cents worth as a buyer of Auction lots and items from Approval books. My interests are fairly limited – used US & Canada. I will also buy other items if they strike my interest at the time.

I see that some sellers are complaining that lots don’t sell. There are also a bunch of opinions as to why that is. So my opinion, as a buyer, is that price and selection matter. A lot. As an example, in the US auction section there are two sellers who offer a large selection of US material, though mostly mint. Seller A offers his mint plate blocks with a starting bid of face value and has a large selection. Seller B offers his mint US sheets and stamps with a stating bid of retail and also has a large selection. Seller A has bids on most of his material while Seller B has few if any. Both seem to be offering material that can be found in discount postage lots. But here we don’t need to buy huge lots to obtain just a few items. There are also other sellers who offer very common material with no bids or a very small selection which wouldn’t justify shipping costs, or obviously defective stamps, etc. And, occasionally, there is a seller or two who offer quality items with realistic starting bids. Well, maybe more often than occasionally.

I was under the impression that originally the auction and approval benefits were created to provide members with an avenue to dispose of their duplicate material AND for members to acquire material for their collections. So far, it seems to me that SOR has accomplished that and very well.

Some technical changes to relisting unsold lots and a dead area to put lots that no one wants are OK. Maybe a separate area for dealers who are offering their material at retail prices like a store with BIN prices.

As for the Approval section, I have no complaints other than there is a shortage of 24 page books of Lithuania.

I’m planning to take the plunge in the fall, probably start with the Auction category first. There’s a lot of “stuff” I would like to offer members.

Tad

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snowy12

03 Jul 2015
09:52:45pm

Auctions

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

One suggestion I proposed some time ago was, A reminder be sent 24 hours? before any watched lots you have finish.As I tend to forget I have items in my watch list (Old Age)
I missed out on several lots because of this,luckily the seller relisted and I was able to get them.
Brian

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TuskenRaider

03 Jul 2015
10:20:34pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi Everyone;

Here is a tweak that would be a major upgrade to Auctions.

When I went to "Auctions" and then selected "UNITED KINGDOM (Great Britain) & ISLES", I too saw
412 auctions. However when I tried to filter out everything except "USED", the system overrode my
selection of "UNITED KINGDOM (Great Britain) & ISLES" and returned instead "USED" in all categories.
This doesn't allow me to view only used in "UNITED KINGDOM (Great Britain) & ISLES". A serious flaw
there, that probably needs to be fixed.

The search function could be a bit more sophisticated, and would help buyers find what they need.

Just Thinkin'....
TuskenRaider

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philb

04 Jul 2015
12:51:54pm

Auctions

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

There are and can be some great buys on the auction...but for some reason it seems like the majority of people bid on the minimum value stamps...if they bid 25 percent to 1/3 of cat on better stamps it would give some of us more incentive to list.

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Stampaholic

04 Jul 2015
01:00:36pm

Auctions - Approvals

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I pretty much feel the same way Bobby does. I'm not out to make a killing on selling stamps. I am mainly selling so I can buy more for my collection and the enjoyment of
(as many GB cancels state "The world's greatest Hobby")stamp collecting.Happy
BTW: As for paypal, etc., stick it where the sun don't shine. Thumbs Down Other than that I'm
happy with the way things are. As to approvals, didn't know about the 100 stamp limit (is the a minimum on covers, too?).
I find listing them there generally twice as much work as the auctions.

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michael78651

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04 Jul 2015
10:19:16pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

99% of my buyers pay with PayPal. I thank all the sellers who don't accept PayPal as a means of payment for buyers. Means more sales for me.

Also, I rarely buy from someone who doesn't accept PayPal. I am sure that a very high percentage of other buyers do the same as me.

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copy55555

04 Jul 2015
11:51:00pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I usually pay with Paypal but I have no problem in using snail mail and a check to complete a purchase.

Tad

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snowy12

05 Jul 2015
01:08:56am

Auctions

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

It's a little awkward sending a cheque to the US,and costly if you live in Australia.Even after you purchase a cheque it's nearly another $3-00 to post it.If you send cash you are still up for the postage ,which unless you are buying something expensive is more than Paypal charge in fees
If sellers are prepared to lose sales because they choose not to accept paypal payments that's up to them ,but I'm afraid they will not get my business.

Brian

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philb

05 Jul 2015
10:03:17am

Auctions

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Well, i guess we have covered the Paypal situation anyway...i look at the auctions all the time and list stamps ...i would like to see it expand beyond the 4 and 5 cent buyers. I do appreciate the buyers who bid on my 20 and 30 cent items !Happy

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auldstampguy

Collector, Webmaster
05 Jul 2015
10:46:56am

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

An interesting discussion with some good ideas. For those who are finding the Auction time consuming to post large numbers of items, I offer a couple of suggestions.

1. Have a look at the Bulk Auction Lot Loader. It is very easy to use and means that you can load lots of auction lots in one process. You build the information in a spreadsheet, preload the images and upload and process the file of auction lots all in one go. You can load up to 20 images in one upload process using the image upload function in the Members Area.

2. You can build a batch of auction lots using either the normal auction lot posting process or the batch uploader, and then activate them all at one time. That way they will all close at the same time. Which means you are not waiting around for all your auction lots to close.

For those who are finding they are not selling a lot, have a look at the Sales Reports found at the bottom of the Sellers dropdown menu. These reports will give you a feel for what has been posted and what is selling. Also, watch who's lots are selling. Look at the type of material they are presenting, the way they present and describe each lot and the size of the image they post. It is very important to have an image big enough to see the details of the stamp/s.

Hope these thoughts help.

Regards ... Tim.

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Bobstamp

05 Jul 2015
11:03:34am

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

First, this is NOT a complaint about the Stamporama auctions or approvals, because there really is nothing that can be done to make them more suitable for my collecting style.

My problem -- and it really is my problem -- is that I am usually looking for specific individual stamps, in either or both used and mint condition, with clean, circular cancellations or other type of cancellation (no wavy lines or ink-jet cancellations, please!), fresh appearing without obvious damage, and nicely centred. Lightly hinged mint stamps are OK, but heavy hinged stamps are out. Depending on the issue, CTOs are OK. Obviously, I'm a condition freak.

Usually I have to search for a long time to find even one or two stamps I would buy, but I am loathe to go to the effort to pay for a stamp that usually priced at much less than a dollar, and I don't want to ask a seller to put $2 or $3 worth of effort, or even more depending on his or her circumstances, into such a small sale.

I've often thought that a better search engine, which would allow multiple keywords, would help, but in the end there would still be the basic problem of too small an order for any one dealer. And I can't see any way around this problem. My only option, which I do employ, is to find individual dealers with large stocks and shopping cart functions, who are willing to wait for a reasonable time before requesting payment. Poppe Stamps in the Philippines is one such dealer.

If I were a worldwide collector of stamps of all periods, Stamporama would be wonderful for me. But I'm not that kind of collector. One of the lessons that life teaches us, if we are paying attention, is that no one person or organization can be all things to all people at all times.

Bob

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05 Jul 2015
02:20:24pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Bob, I think if sellers were better at title description, the search function we do have would work much better.

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auldstampguy

Collector, Webmaster
05 Jul 2015
03:49:45pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@Brian (Snowy12)
I have implemented your request to be sent an email notification if you have an Auction Lot in your Watch List that is going to close in the next 24 hours. I added it to the Auction Close program so it will run every 15 mins. If it finds more that one lot in your Watch List that will close in the next 24 hours, it will group them into one email, listing them for you.

Regards ... Tim.

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snowy12

05 Jul 2015
11:31:37pm

Auctions

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Great Tim Thankyou
Brian

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rrraphy

Retired Consultant
06 Jul 2015
06:03:21pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

More thoughts on AUCTIONS:

How do you feel if unsold items on Auction, after one mandatory price reduction step (currently 20%), would end up listed in a BIN for a fixed duration of (my number) 3 months....at a fixed price (which would be the latest discounted price). This may help alleviate the issue of low traffic, lack of competitive bidding and may encourage more sellers to list better stamps for a while on Auctions, and for buyers to look for them there rather than on commercial sites.
I feel (but I have no firm proof, as I am too new at it) that the low activity is not just a function of what is being offered, or prices set, but more fundamentally of timing opportunity and range of material on hand. I know I personally work on my collections in spurts, and when I am active, say in one country or topic, I scan for all material available, beginning with SOR Approvals, and then Auctions from all sources...etc..
As it stands now, my timing has to be exactly (within 14 days?) the Auction seller's timing for any sale to occur in Auctions...but the range of offerings pales when compared to commercial sites making it the lesser choice, from an efficiency of my time standpoint.
As there are very few competitive bids in our Auctions, I suggest we really approach it, after the first auction period has elapsed, as a leftover store at a fixed price...which is what is almost always is, anyway.
The work done by sellers to list would not be wasted, and buyers would have more time to find what they are seeking..and hopefully more material to look at. For those who buy regularly on Auction, nothing would really change.
One caveat. I would restrict the items going into "Bin" to items listed above a minimum threshold price (say $1.00 or higher...but open to discussion). I would not want it to be a Bin for the penny stuff!
Any thoughts?
rrr...

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TuskenRaider

06 Jul 2015
06:18:49pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Again don't fix what ain't broke....
TuskenRaider

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amsd

Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
06 Jul 2015
07:17:11pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

i've read this, and reread this, several times.

most of the commentary is about the platform and fixes to it to allow it to better conform to some of our buying (or selling) habits. Some, by virtue of increasing the options available to us, are fine; others, by mandating certain actions over certain periods, seem destined to please some and frustrate others. All of these require programming, and few seem likely to have much, if any, impact.

Instead, if we look at what's offered and how it's offered, I think we'll see fairly consistent activity.

Groups of low priced covers, for instance, sell well. John and conway have a nice relationship going. Anything military gets bids, much to my chagrin. A few sellers, by virtue of the quality of their material and finese at packaging, always have dedicated buyers.

Others, because they haven't learned how to price or how to crop images, tend to get few, if any, bids. Many use scott numbers without a description; some images are eseentially worthless being the size of peas (enough has been written about this to fill a Scott catalogue); and then there's the common material with torn perfs, tears, and such. No matter how low one prices a 3c Jeff from the prexie series, if it's damaged, it's not going anywhere.

All this is to say that I can easily predict what will get bids and what won't (except my own stuff, which I always over-esteem). I can't account for vacations, sickness, or philatelic ennui, but I've seen enough to guess with some accuracy.

That's not to say that new members won't change the patterns; they might. But I think the best advice for upgrading the auction experience is for our sellers to look at the buying patterns of our members and list accordingly. I don't think there's any amount of programming that will do as much.

David

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TuskenRaider

06 Jul 2015
08:30:14pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi AMSD;

Thank you for sorting the wheat from the chaff, and pointing out the obvious....
TuskenRaider

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meostamps

06 Jul 2015
08:38:56pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

David, like you, I have read & re-read the postings under this topic with interest. I fully agree with both your latest and Tim's comments of July 5. Other than refining the search program so it would only search within a single category as compared to the whole database of auctions, I see no need to make any changes to the auction platform.

I always try to list auctions that research showed would appeal to at least 1 or more active bidders. So I always look at what new items are getting bids and who is the bidder. I have mental (yep, know that is dangerous) notes on all my recent active bidders as far as what they like to see. I also review their buying for the past 60 days (using their profile) to see what was of recent interest to them.

Some material almost never sells, regardless of price, so that stuff I either ship off to a stamp club or use it from swapping with other collectors, mainly in Europe, who are looking for it. For example, over the past 2 months, I have traded over 300 common used UN New York issues for recent issues from Malta, Italy, France and Norway. I have listed most of these recent used in the SOR auctions and just about all have sold.

So, in recap, I strongly suggest that if sellers want to improve sales, get to know what bidders are looking for in both material and price levels. It is always easier to put a round peg into a round hole instead of a square one. Bidders can also help out by posting some sort of general wants list in the "want to buy" section of this board also. It does not have to be detailed, something like 'used 2000-2015 Israel' would be enough.

Mike in NC / meostamps


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michael78651

Moderator, MT Member
06 Jul 2015
09:10:21pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Ralph - any change in the manner in which an item is listed for sale should be the seller's choice, and not automatically imposed by the system. When accepting the relisting function, a seller knows that the starting bid will be reduced 20% by the system, so there is consent.

Dave - good points. I too have seen images of stamps in the auction area that not even an electron microscope will bring the stamp into view. Some sellers seem to think that they can throw up anything in any sort of presentation and it will sell. Their laziness in not providing buyers with an appropriate presentation would definitely be frowned upon by themselves if they wanted to buy such an item. That is a slight to all buyers. Sellers should provide a selling presentation in the same manner that they would like to see when they are buying stamps. If their items don't sell, because they are too lazy (and not learning how to use image editing software is lazy when in sales), then they are out of line if they blame SOR for the lack of sales.

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cocollectibles

06 Jul 2015
10:40:18pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

First, let me say that I have no problem with the auction process here and appreciate the work that has gone into it. But I stopped listing auctions here not from a lack of bids; it was lack of multiple bids (read: more than one bid) and hence, a poor return on time and energy investment. For example, here are the stats from my last auction:

Image Not Found

All 60 items sold; the starting price was 10c each. The average return was $0.14 and less than 50% had multiple bids. If I recall, only one had more than one bid. There were only three winners, very few views, and no watched items. This tells me that the issue is lack of traffic, not poor auction architecture. This is not atypical of my experience here in past auctions.

I'm just trying to sell my collection and, to be honest, I'd like to accomplish the dual goals of getting as much as possible for my sets AND meeting the needs of collectors such as myself. I don't think I'm alone in those goals. As for higher value items, the data are worse: I tried selling some of my Queen Victoria sets at less than 10% CV; not one bid; very few views. In a way, I'm glad no-one bought them at that rate.

I don't list auctions for "fun"; it is not fun, in my opinion, when there is such a poor return, as it takes a lot of time even with Bulk Uploader. Perhaps if I were retired, I might change my mind. For now, as I am in no rush or need to sell at this rate, I'll avoid this auction block.

Just my 2c.

Peter

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michael78651

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07 Jul 2015
01:02:43am

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Well, you can now tell people what you have for sale in the auctions and/or approval books by using the Selling portion of the Discussion Board. I did that one the first day that the new topics were started, and sold over 200 stamps in a couple of days.

Prior to this, we couldn't self-advertise, and it was extremely difficult to know what anyone had for sale. As more sellers start to use this new feature, I think sales will begin to increase on both the auctions and approval books.

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Stevo45

17 Aug 2015
06:36:25am

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

In order to have more buying on any auction site there must be more items listed, therefore there must be more sellers listing more stamps..

I will not list auctions here (I do have several Approval books listed) because of the mandatory reduction in price (20%). And the short term nature of the listings.

I do list items elswhere and many items sell after an extended period of time. (A year or two is common).

Having looked at the listings here in a certain category, I believe that the prices are too high and maybe the sellers here are making allowances for the price reduction and maybe the buyers are waiting for the prices to drop ?

The price of several items at auction here is well over the price for the same items in the Approvals section.

Having said all that - Do you really want to compete with the other auction sites ?

I think not....

Steve..

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17 Aug 2015
08:21:22am

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I enjoy the auctions, even though (as I have previously stated in other posts) The prices realized are minimal and bids are scant.

Like Steve, I really do not like the mandatory relisting reduction and wish it could be eliminated.

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amsd

Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
17 Aug 2015
08:40:52am

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Steve,

first, we do NOT mandate a 20% reduction on subsequent listings of auctions. That 20% is IF you choose to use the automated relister. We purposely introduced that to keep the auction fresh. If you wish to relist a lot without reduction, you may do so. You may even raise the price.

competing with other venues: I don't think so; we're merely providing a convenience.

David, the auctioneer

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michael78651

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17 Aug 2015
08:50:53am

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"In order to have more buying on any auction site there must be more items listed, therefore there must be more sellers listing more stamps.."



"I will not list auctions here "



Well, if people want more variety and better stamps being offered for sale, but aren't willing to list stamps to sell...what do you expect???????
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17 Aug 2015
08:59:14am

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Re: Mandatory relisting 20% reduction

If you don't use the relisting function, but reload the "relists" using the bulk uploader, the reduction is not required. It is just treated as a new listing.

There is a rationale behind all these rules. Since I wrote the original set of rules, and the currrent ones are mostly an extension of the same principles, allow me to explain.

When I created the first Stamporama auction (must have been back around 2003) Yahoo auctions had just folded, for some very clear reasons, and I wrote the rules to avoid the fundamental problem they ran into. The basic problem was that the listings had become bloated with overpriced material that sold less than 10% of the listings. It became bloated because of auto-relisting. The sellers only had to list the item once, check the auto-relist box and let it run forever. So what if only a small fraction sold? THEY NO LONGER CARED! The work was done. However, it was at the expense of the usability of the site, and the site eventually folded.

I wanted to avoid that in Stamporama. Thus, the fundamental principle is that the seller must expend some effort in listing. That makes him/her care about whether the material will actually sell or not, avoiding the overpriced "bloat".

During a redesign of the auction, and a discussion of whether to continue to offer auto-relist (I was opposed), the VC compromised by instituting the "-20%" rule to use auto-relist, which was to accomplish the same fundamental purpose through a different mechanism.

There is a fundamental principle in economics, that any resource which is not rationed by price must find some other means of rationing, or be subject to abuse. In other words, if listing is free, it will be abused unless some other means of controlling the resource is implemented. Without these rules, I guarantee that we would be subjected to multiple sellers who put up 10,000 items with a bulk uploader with auto-relist checked, and it would all be overpriced junk that would swamp the auction. We would be in a position to have to create rules, retroactively, to deal with it. Instead, we anticipated and created the rules proactively.

So, (and this comment is not directed at any particular individual, but to the membership at large) when considering the impact of any auction rule on your own activities, please consider what it means to Stamporama as a whole. The basic principle is that it is free, but requires a little bit of effort on the part of the seller in order to make sure he cares about the results.

Roy

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17 Aug 2015
09:55:49am

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I have a work-around for the re-lister program which I use. I click "relist" then select "Place on hold" (as opposed to "Active"). I then click "submit." On the next screen I choose "Click here to go to the Auction Lot Edit" and on the next screen, I change the price to anything I want (same, less, or even more than the original), switch from "Place on Hold" to "Active," and click "submit." The whole process takes considerably less time than it does to explain (roughly 30 seconds).

Why not just relist the item as a new auction? Because that takes a lot more time: I have to relocate the original image to upload (if you knew how disorganized my filing system is, you'd appreciate the dilemma here), then I need to re-enter all the data before submitting the auction.

Why don't I use the bulk uploader program? I rarely list more than a few auctions at a time, so it is just not something I feel I need. Additionally, I like the freedom to adjust the prices of each item individually (same, less, or even more than the original).

Why do away with the auto price reduction? I am lazy and do not want to spend the extra 30 seconds relisting the item. With the relisting function it takes all of 2-3 seconds to relist an item, and if I were able to do so where I can choose my relisting price (same, less, or even more than the original), it would be so much easier.

The rationale behind the auto price reduction is valid, but I feel it is just another constraint upon my freedom of choice. I do not see that the considerations for its continued use outweigh arguments for its elimination.



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17 Aug 2015
10:08:33am

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"The rationale behind the auto price reduction is valid, but I feel it is just another constraint upon my freedom of choice. I do not see that the considerations for its continued use outweigh arguments for its elimination. "



It is intended to be a constraint. Not against the "few auctions" that you list, but against the user who would do precisely the same thing with 1,000 listings or maybe 10,000.

Consider the extra 27 seconds spent as an investment in the viability of the Stamporama auction.

Roy
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rrraphy

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17 Aug 2015
12:58:07pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Could the auto reload option give the seller a choice of price reductions? Starting at 10%? then 15%, 20%, 25% etc...
Would it make a difference?
Just a thought, although I am still not sold on the suitability (for me) of the auction platform at SOR, given how much material and competition there is on other sites, and as a seller, how much traffic it generates.
On the other hand, for the convenience of sellers and buyers alike, I am not suggesting ever that we get rid of it or change it dramatically, but maybe we should take a look at what would make it more widely used. A few minor changes may be all that is needed?

I had felt initially that Approvals would primarily work for lower cost stamps (and that they would migrate from Auctions to Approval Books. I was wrong.
So if you are putting an Approval Book together, of mostly lower priced material, add a few pages with higher valued stamps at the end and test the waters.
As a collector, I work by topic or country...and so I am trying to fill gaps in the collection, not just low priced stamps, but all stamps! Convenience is paramount, and it works for me.
Just a thought (or 2)
rrr...

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amsd

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17 Aug 2015
01:26:43pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Ralph,

"Could the auto reload option give the seller a choice of price reductions? Starting at 10%? then 15%, 20%, 25% etc..."



the default is 20% but you may insert any number from 20 upwards. When I do it, I typically choose a percentage that gives me a round dollar amount so that it doesn't look like a 20% discount.

Thinking more about Steve's comments, which resurrected this thread, I'd hate to wade through the same lots for several years. If I wanted them initially, I'd have bought them. The approvals makes more sense if one is looking for a long period in which to park some stamps; once one has viewed it, one can bypass the entire book henceforth.

I think that our approvals and auctions have done nicely in offering different approaches to selling AND buying. I'd hate to the beauty of one approach become the yoke on another.

David, auctioneer
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17 Aug 2015
01:47:44pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Roy, I see your point. I still don't like it, but will concede this argument is best resolved with the old "agree to disagree" scenario. This is a minor matter anyway and there are other enhancements much more important to consider.

Expansion of Categories:
I think sub-categories within the existing categories would greatly enhance the listing of better material. For example, within United States: (1) 19th century, (2) 1900-1940 used, (3) 1900-1940 unused, (4) 1941-present.

Limiting the number of Categories you can select to 3.

Require a minimum bid of $0.10: This is a very affordable lower range, but doing this will eliminate a huge percentage of the common stamps routinely offered, which should be sold through the Approval Books anyway.

I collect just about anything issued before 1940, and I buy a lot of items through the auction, but I would buy a lot more if I could find them easier.

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bobstew617

17 Aug 2015
03:09:55pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

One area I would like to see in the Auctions for buyers is to be able to SAVE SEARCHES.
This is especially true for me since I only collect certain countries, and predominately those that are in MNH condition. BOB

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17 Aug 2015
04:29:53pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"
1) Expansion of Categories
2) Limiting the number of Categories you can select to 3.
3) Require a minimum bid of $0.10
4) SAVE SEARCHES.
"



Personally, I like all of those suggestions. One thing we have to keep in mind, is that these are all calls upon Tim's, our webmaster, time. He just spent an entire weekend (plus) migrating the site to this new server and fixing the few bugs that popped up. We can't expect anything significant form him in the short term, but this is, nonetheless, a useful discussion for the future.

I would go one better in #3: minimum value of a lot. The biggest complaint I hear from people who are members, and who would, but don't buy from the auction is "the value of the lots is so low, they are not worth the postage cost, so it's not worth browsing through all the nickel and dime stuff". These are people who would seriously buy stamps, and they are simply not even looking because they are turned off. These are precisely the people the auction needs as buyers to attract a better calibre of listings by sellers. I have heard this again and again. I have periodically listed higher value stamps at very good prices, but have given up. They are not getting looked at, so I don't list anymore. If my listings weren't getting drowned by 4,000 5c listings, I would try again.

We have the approvals section for cheap stamps. The "hope" was that the availability of the approvals mechanism would take the load off the auction by moving the nickel and dime stamps to that venue. That hasn't happened, probably due to inertia. I believe it is time to force that effect. Even our local stamp club has a $2.00 minimum value in our monthly auctions. I propose that we move the minimum value of an auction lot to $1.00. Cheaper stamps can be put into lots of a few stamps or can go into the approvals. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the club saying "under a dollar, into the approvals, over $1.00 you have a choice."

I realize this will stir up a hornet's nest, but it bothers me that the "nickel and dime" sellers have both venues (approvals and auction) and their actions are, in my mind, swamping the auction. Let's preserve the auction for lots that are worth paying the postage to get.

Roy
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michael78651

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17 Aug 2015
04:40:17pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Roy, I like the $1.00 minimum opening bid for auctions.

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Bobstamp

17 Aug 2015
05:21:25pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I haven't bid on any cheap auction lots in months and months, primarily because there are too darned many low value stamps and not enough better stamps to make hours of plodding through everything worth my time. Sometimes I find a stamp or two that I'd like to have, but they're simply not worth the hassle of bidding and paying for them. In fact, the bids I've made have resulted from messages from the seller, who knows my collecting interests.

Bob

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TribalErnie

17 Aug 2015
06:02:18pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I agree with the sentiments expressed by members regarding raising the minimum bid for auction lots. As a new member, I'd love to bid on classic Era engraved stamps. I just don't see many in the auctions. I'm probably not in the market for great rarities but I'm also not interested in stamps from the late 80s that were printed by the hundreds of millions. I'm looking for that middle ground sweet spot. Don't see much of that stuff listed.
-Ernie

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17 Aug 2015
06:06:18pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

" I'd love to bid on classic Era engraved stamps."



That's exactly the type of stuff I'd like to list.

Roy
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TribalErnie

17 Aug 2015
06:11:49pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Roy, if I can ask why you haven't been listing them? Is it the lack of traffic and bids? Oh, and by the way, come down to jacksonville and I'll take you to the dog track!
-Ernie

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Andrejs

17 Aug 2015
06:40:45pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I definitely like the minimum bid idea; but with a few qualifications:

1) Most sellers are offering stamps at about 20-30% of cat. value; so maybe 25 cents might be a good starting point. That would give us stamps with cat values of about a buck.

2) Certain categories, like mixtures, should maybe be exempt from this rule. It's been a while since I was involved in auctions, but getting a bunch of stamps for pennies is an incentive for new collectors and WW collectors. That's open for debate or discussion, I guess.




On another tangent, I'm writing this with a full understanding that all of these great ideas are time-sucking suggestions to use Tim's skills and expertise. I noticed in other DB topics that the lack of an efficient searchable function was a drawback for many sites. I was almost tempted to start a topic on this yesterday. Serendipity...

A database can only perform accurate queries if everyone is inputting the same data. The easiest way to accomplish this is to introduce mandatory fields with a specified set of values to be entered in that field to ensure commonality in everyone's entries. I confess my ignorance at the potential and limitations of our auction listings online; but perhaps something like this would work when you load in your auctions (and after you've selected your categories):
1) Select country from a drop down (put in as many as we can
2) Select Catalogue (sot's, Minkus, Gibbons, Unitrade, other - with option to write in the catalogue name)
3) Enter catalogue number (numeric only)
4) Enter description/title (free text)

For certain categories (Topicals, Philatelic Materials, for example) we could use a different set of drop downs, such as trains, butterflies, space, cats, etc.

The auction search engine would then have these same mandatory fields to allow others to search available lots. That way, if I was interested in Australian stamps numbered by Scott's, I could be reasonably sure that I can get a search result of every stamp listed under these parameters. If I wanted to narrow the search, I could type in "14*" and get every stamp in that range with catalogue numbers in the 1400's. Yes, I would also get #14 and 140-149, but those can be filtered out by the searcher.

I don't know what the rest of you think about this idea - maybe its more work for the listers (I'm not sure how much); but it might just give you a chance to not have your offerings lost in a multitude of other listings. What do you think?

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17 Aug 2015
06:43:08pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"I have periodically listed higher value stamps at very good prices, but have given up. They are not getting looked at, so I don't list anymore. If my listings weren't getting drowned by 4,000 5c listings, I would try again."



@erieinjax

Above is your answer.

Haven't been to Florida in about 7 years, but if I do get to JAX I'll take you up on it.

Roy
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17 Aug 2015
06:56:13pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@Andrejs

I am afraid I would have to say, "way too much work". Both on the programming side and the listing side. All of these "Search issues" are an issue only on the big sites, where it is necessary to refine the search to limit the hits. And Stamporama qualifies as a "big site" that needs such a search only because of the presence of so many cheap listings. From a seller's standpoint, if a buyer is looking only for a specific catalogue number from a specific country, it's not likely I'm ever going to sell him anything.

To me, the object of the auction is to capture the attention of the serious "browsers". People who don't know exactly what they want, but will recognize it when they browse a reasonable sized list. For example, if there were 200 Canada items and only 30 new ones a day, it would be a pleasure to log in every few days to see what's new. With that size, a catalogue number search is not necessary.

Roy

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Andrejs

17 Aug 2015
07:03:32pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Point well taken, Roy. With your own business and searchable database, I bow to your expertise. I won't give up yet - maybe not the cat #'s, but what about country drop downs? I've seen people getting flustered just by the difference between GB, Great Britain, UK, United Kingdom... Just a thought.

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Andrejs

17 Aug 2015
07:18:05pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

On second thought, maybe we can accomplish similar goals by introducing sub-categories (also suggested), as long as we don't allow multiple listings within the sub-categories to clutter up the offerings. Maybe a sub-category of higher value stamps, with a minimum CV? Sorry for the stream of consciousness ramblings...Thinking

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rrraphy

Retired Consultant
17 Aug 2015
07:45:25pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

A lot of great ideas, Roy, Bobby, Bob, Michael etc...
Some can be implemented easily. Some may be more complicated to do.

Maybe the simpler ones can be put in place first...and they may well solve the bulk of the current problems. Worth a try
I like the imposition of a minimum price.
I also like setting a minimum invoicing price (no billing until you get to it...maybe with some reasonable time limitations)
$1 seems high to me for the minimum price. I for one price at 20-25% of catalog (old one to boot) so it would limit the offerings to stamps with catalog values of around $5. I would favor more something in the $0.50 range, capturing more stamps.
A $10.00 floor for billing seems reasonable to me as well. But I am flexible on both concepts.

Concurrently I would suggest we add a upper limit to what is offered on Approvals. I have seen some very high items listed occasionally, and I do think they would be better under Auctions, and quite frankly they don't belong in Approvals (even if they do sell!). Often there is just one such item per page, again, not the intended structure of Approvals. So how about a $2.50-$5.00 MAXIMUM listing price on Approvals to go with the MINIMUM on Auctions, and we can reach some consensus for a compromise number that will please most people, or ask the VC to select for us without opening a Pandora box.
For Approvals, it could easily be monitored by the moderator since the upper and lower prices appear in the summary table...so no software need, just vigilance. And add this condition to the checklist of RULES one must agree to before activating a book, just as we do now.
For Auctions, I would suggest doing it with a small (I hope it will be small for Tim's sake) software addition/modification, or a notation where the auction price is entered.

Uncluttering Auctions at the low end may be all that is needed to make Auctions more appealing to sellers and buyers alike. Moving high value stuff from Approvals to Auctions may also be a good concurrent move.
This would continue to set us apart, and better in my view, than all other sales platforms.

Rrr...

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bobstew617

17 Aug 2015
08:09:39pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Ralph,

I like .50 more than a $1.00, especially with if some are selling at 20-30% CV. (Not all are) This would also cut down on the need to have saved searches, at least until the Auction got bigger.

I would also say for items over a certain $ amount, potentially consider extending the time an auction could be kept open (2 weeks instead of 1).

Just some more thoughts. BOB

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michael78651

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17 Aug 2015
10:00:47pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I would not be in favor of the invoice minimum. If someone wants to buy just one stamp from me then I should be able to send an invoice to get paid for that sale regardless of the amount of purchase.

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17 Aug 2015
11:24:54pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I must say that I am gratified at the direction the discussion is taking. So far, there seems to be a fundamental consensus the auctions would benefit from more forcibly encouraging the cheap material to move over to the the approvals. At least there have been no defenders of "nickel and dime" listings in the auction, and several cogent comments supporting the idea that a less cluttered auction would encourage both browsers/buyers and sellers.

There have been several good suggestions for improvements to the functioning of the auction, however the fundamental question seems to be "where is the 'cheap' threshold?".

Several members mentioned 50c, on the basis of reference to catalogue value and average selling percentage of catalogue. Personally, I think catalogue value is the wrong focus. We are really asking "what belongs in approvals and what belongs in auction?".

The essential difference between the venues is that, when ordering from the approvals, one expects to build an order of several items from the same seller, and can build an order that is "worth shipping" i.e. worth paying the postage for. On the other hand, in the auction, I believe the lots should be "stand alone". In general, if I am an auction buyer, there should be enough value in each lot that I don't have to worry if the seller has something else that I want, or if I am going to be able to build an order that makes paying the shipping worthwhile. In this context, even $1 minimum is "borderline", but I can envision liking a stamp enough that I don't mind paying the postage on top of a $1 purchase. The auction site was never intended to be a "store", where one shops a particular seller's inventory. I truly believe an auction composed of listings, each of which is worth buying and shipping on its own would attract more looking.

And there is nothing wrong with 50c stamps in approvals.

Roy

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michael78651

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18 Aug 2015
12:19:18am

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Roy, when I had my store on StampWants, I also ran auctions. There were many buyers who would buy just one item for even 25 cents and pay the $1.25 postage. I think paying by credit card through PayPal "softens" the blow of the postage cost. People are more than willing to make small purchases with credit cards. I saw a woman buy one 49 cent stamp at the post office and used a credit card to pay for it.

In my other comment where I agreed with the $1.00 minimum opening bid, I was going to suggest a 50 cent minimum. It really doesn't matter to me what the minimum is ultimately set at. I think what matters is how much do we want to shuffle the lower-valued auction material over to the approvals.

With that in mind, it would then be advantageous for those posting auction lots to also post approval books. Someone buying an auction lot may want to spread the shipping fee over a larger number of stamps rather than just one auction lot. Thus the buyer will look to see what the seller has in the approvals and combine purchases between the two selling venues.

Most sellers will take catalog values into consideration. If the minimum opening bid was set at $1.00, and an average calculation for that was 20% of catalog value, then the minimum catalog value for a stamp listed in auction would be around $5.00. If that is considered to be too restrictive, then a 50 cents minimum opening bid using the same average would bring the average catalog value for such a stamp to $2.50. That may be a more palatable start to see how much of the riff-raff is cleared out of the auctions. If the desired results are not seen (I'd give it three months), then raise the minimum bid up to 75 cents or $1.00. I think everyone will understand that it will take a little tweaking to find the pricing level that provides better stamps and diminishes the low-valued stamps to a level that is acceptable.

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TuskenRaider

19 Aug 2015
01:30:01pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi Everyone;

If you mandate a minimum bid in auctions at $1.00, it very likely will NOT have the intended effect.

If I want to keep illegal aliens out of the US and I change an 11 foot high wall to a 15 foot, it will
not keep them out, but it will create a demand for 16 foot tall ladders!

You are a small club of under 3,000 members. If you are whining about not enough better quality
stamps like 19th century, to buy then making all lower priced material disappear will not increase
what sellers have available to list.

Bobstamp mentioned that his wants are too specific to make SOR a good place to find them.
Changing the starting bid will not help Bobstamp find what he needs.

If sellers are doing well in auctions and do not have enough of the same type of material to use
approvals (200 stamp minimum), then they will have no choice but to go to WebStore, (no fees)
or eBid (3.5% FVF). There is always lots of demand for quality low priced stamps, and likely their
buyers are loyal, and will also move to those seller platforms and leave SOR.

I tried approvals for several months, and did not do well at all. When I moved to auctions I
started to have much greater success. And I've been doing well ever since.

The buyers who are advanced collectors should stop trying to get SOR to cater to just their fussy
needs and create a market for just them, and go to Delcampe and eBay. I've used both of those
sites and scored lots of good stuff and great bargains.

No matter how many auction lots there are, a good search engine would help everyone find what
they need and make buying a smooth and enjoyable experience.

No amount of changes to anything is going to magically make lots of classic stamps suddenly ma-
terialize if members do not have those stamps to sell.

Just pointing out the obvious....
TuskenRaider

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michael78651

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19 Aug 2015
01:38:33pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"No amount of changes to anything is going to magically make lots of classic stamps suddenly materialize if members do not have those stamps to sell."



Ken, you raised some interesting points. Regarding your statement above, I think that is true, but there is also a second part to that:

Also, no amount of changes to anything is going to magically make lots of classic stamps suddenly materialize if members are not willing to sell those stamps on SOR.
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Philatarium

APS #187980
19 Aug 2015
01:44:24pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Here's one improvement I would like to see, and I appreciate that it would take some time and work in order to implement (it's a policy issue, though, so it would require no system development work from Tim!):

>> Require all s&h fees, including additional fees for paying with PayPal (although I think that's against PayPal's terms in the US), to be specified upfront in the listing.

Keeping them vague and having to contact the seller to find them out is very out-of-date these days, especially once eBay started requiring full upfront disclosure.

SOR requires this in offerings in the classifieds on the discussion board and in the approval books -- doing so in the auctions is the missing piece. I, for one, would look at a lot more auctions if that were the policy.

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19 Aug 2015
02:41:41pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

From a policy standpoint, that is already covered (from the Auction Rules):

Shipping Terms
7) In the majority of cases, the auction seller will have setup their standard Payment and Shipping Terms in their Auction defaults. The seller's default Payment and Shipping Terms apply to all their auction lots, but may be overriden on exceptional auction lots by describing the exception in the lot description. If no shipping terms are listed in the either the seller's default Payment and Shipping Terms or the lot description, the buyer has the right to assume Stamporama Standard Shipping Terms apply.

Stamporama Standard Shipping Terms:

Buyer will pay actual postage costs. No additional handling or packaging charge is to be assumed unless specifically mentioned in the lot description.


Seller will use reasonable care to properly package goods in such a way as to protect against damage in transit.

(emphasis added)

Anything beyond this would require policing of an individual's terms, and that's something that were are just not going to be able to do.

Bottom line, if it's not shown, you have the right to assume the Standard. If that causes problems, have the Auctioneer straighten the seller out with a form letter (I assume David has one for this).

Roy

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Philatarium

APS #187980
19 Aug 2015
04:06:28pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Ok, here's a seller's terms that I believe is his default set. (It's been in every lot I've seen of his.)

Is this in the spirit of the SOR guidelines?:

- - - - - -

S&H charges depends on 1.Country of mailing;
2.Type of delivery: a.Standard first class.b.First class with certificate of mailing.;c.Certfied letter (for U.S.A.)d.Registered letter(for overseas)
3.Weight & size of envelope.
4.Charges related to Paypal payment.
IMPORTANT-attention;
IF YOU BUY IN ONE SHIPMENT IN VALUE OF $ 250.00 ,THE POSTAGE IS FREE.It will becharges for HANDLING & PAYPAL related charges.

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nl1947

19 Aug 2015
04:18:06pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"Is this in the spirit of the SOR guidelines?:"


I would say the spirit here is to help someone whose mother tongue does not appear to be English.

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Philatarium

APS #187980
19 Aug 2015
04:24:51pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

That's fine, and that's not my criticism. In fact, I almost edited his terms before posting them in order to avoid anyone saying that.

For what it's worth, the seller is in California, and has sold more than 20,000 items.

And in the major country category that I used to look at, has, as of about 30 mins ago, about 80% of the listings.

I would think by now he has enough experience in shipping orders that he could provide a more explicit fee structure.

To me, there is so much wiggle room in the terms that I'm uncomfortable with it. (This is what some unscrupulous eBay sellers would do back in the day when the charges didn't have to specified upfront.)

His dominance of this country category (I don't know about others) has tainted my perception of the SOR auctions for several years now. (Edited to add: ) I appreciate that the approval book and classifieds sections of SOR don't seem to have this problem, and I participate in those.

And the title of this thread is: "How can we improve the auction platform, to make it more successful?"

I'm suggesting that such vague wording should not be allowed. If it abides by the SOR policy, then I think SOR policy should be changed.

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TuskenRaider

19 Aug 2015
04:45:07pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi Everyone;

Michael##### said:

"Also, no amount of changes to anything is going to magically make lots of classic stamps
suddenly materialize if members are not willing to sell those stamps on SOR."



Classic stamps usually are not cheap and command higher prices than most modern stamps. We
are a stamp club, not a commercial auction platform as is Delcampe and eBay. With as few as
3,000 members or less there is no way a savvy seller is going to list expensive stamps on here if
he can realize much better profits on a commercial site. He knows that on Delcampe or eBay he
will almost certainly get competitive bids, but not on here.

I guess I should not have assumed that everyone was aware of this difference between selling
at a club as opposed to a broader market.

I'm new to selling on SOR, however I'm not new to selling on the internet. I started in 2007 with
my first stamp sale in Finland. I have sold stamps, coins, banknotes, and jewellery all over the
world, in 25 nations from Norway-to-New Zealsand.

So I'm no amateur at this stuff. My feedback score across all these 5 different sites before SOR is in
excess of 950+, and never a negative. I have never had a buyer ask for a refund or return an item.
I take great pride in my customer service.

Life is just a funny funny riddle....
TuskenRaider
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michael78651

Moderator, MT Member
19 Aug 2015
05:11:05pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

That's exactly my point. However, that is a double-edged sword too. If sellers list more valuable items, people may begin to buy them. Without the items being listed, people can't buy them.

When StampWants began, those who were selling in the beginning took losses in sales by under-pricing alot of material to attract buyers. If sellers aren't willing to do that here on their better items, then sales of better material won't materialize.

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TuskenRaider

19 Aug 2015
05:43:38pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi Everyone;

After just re-reading some of these replies, I would like to make a suggestion to sellers, who
don't think they are doing as good as they would like.

After someone buys from me, I start a database of everything they have purchased. When I
have similar material to offer, I private message them that it is posted. I also tell them that I
will not tell others that it is available until they get a chance to see it first.

Then I follow up with that buyer, and if they aren't interested I send a PM to a different buyer.
My buyers know that they can bid with the confidence that I would never send others to bid
against what they selected.

I have had past buyers and even strangers that have never bought from me, PM me with re-
quests for specific items. "Ken if you ever list any more of those again, please message me".
This is called building a business relationship with the buyer and usually results in some of
my listings selling within 24-48 hours after posting.

I also sometimes look at a buyers profile, and if I see a high number of won lots, I click on
that number (which is a link to their won lots), to see what they are buying from other sellers.
They may be buying items that are not even listed in their "Interests" of their profile.

I then decide if it is possible to list similar material that they may want to buy.

All this is just a bit of proactive selling, using well known marketing skills (I had a sales back-
ground in real estate). All of that information in the profile is part of every members public in-
formation and is not an invasion on privacy.

Another way to do the same thing, is go to live auctions, of material similar to what you may
have and see who is bidding on what and how much. This can be helpful to decide how much
your items should be priced at.

Also buyers should not hesitate to private message sellers directly to see if they might have
what you need, and if not then please message me if you ever get any of them. A good pro-
active seller would make a note of your request and follow up later.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST: Never SPAM or annoy members, send repeated messages with
offers to sell. Pestering buyers or sellers is not ethical, and is bad business practice. If I mes-
sage a buyer and they respond that they are not interested, I leave them alone PERIOD. They
know of me and my listings, if they buy later on that is fine, but I'll not bother them again.

Just thinkin' too much again...ouh my head hurts....
TuskenRaider

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TribalErnie

19 Aug 2015
06:24:47pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

There's over 5100 auction lots available now on SoR. I think that's a fairly big number. The question(s), as Ken points out, is/are:

1. Do SoR sellers even have such material and are they willing to list it on SoR?
("Such material" = classic Era 1840-1940 engraved stamps with cv $5+)

AND

2. If they do, what's holding them back from listing it on SoR? Are they afraid it won't fetch as high a price?

Is there any way to poll the SoR sellers? Just a thought. I've made two small purchases on SoR from Oldpaul and I like the thought of doing more transactions with members here.

-Ernie

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cocollectibles

19 Aug 2015
06:43:45pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I've listed Queen Victoria GB and Empire stamps in previous auctions; all started at less than or just at 10% of CV. This included several large sheets of reconstructed penny red by different plates, and Natal issues. Minimum CV for what I listed was at least $5, to much higher for some of the higher plate numbered reds.

Not one sale.

Very few views.

All up for 14 days.

What prevents me from listing here isn't that I might not "realize" the minimum I would expect from stamps, but that no-one seems to be looking at the items. That is true for these "classic era" items and others I've listed; at most, four or five views per stamp, perhaps two or three bids at the most on some. Maybe that will change now that we are allowed to promote items in auction.

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Liz

19 Aug 2015
06:50:46pm

Auctions - Approvals

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Ernie, I'll be one of the first persons to reply to your suggested poll of SOR sellers by saying I have no 'classic Era 1840-1940 engraved stamps with CV $5+'. The only stamps I have in my possession from this era are in my collections and they are not for sale.

Liz

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Andrejs

19 Aug 2015
06:52:24pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@ Ken - I appreciate the efforts you go through to keep your customers/our membership happy and engaged. You've invested a lot in this process and it shows through your success.

@ Ernie - (I've got a bunch of early stuff that's going to be ready to go at some point in time) For me, when I actively listed in auctions a few years ago (darn work has interfered since then), I would put up higher-priced stuff; but I did so with a higher asking price because I knew that I would be lucky to get more than a single bidder on any given lot. Not crazy high prices, just boosting the ask to 30+% of cat value, instead of 20-25%. Maybe that's the answer. These stamps are rarer than most offerings, so maybe having sellers consider attaching a bit of a premium to them in listings would be an incentive for more higher value stamps to be listed. At the same time, I put up a bunch of lower priced stuff, just to keep to a theme and entice buyers to bid on multiple lots to save on shipping. Win-win. It worked, and I had a pretty decent core of regular buyers. I even remember selling a lot to Bob - the picky guy! Applause

So, back to talking about improving the auction pages:

Can we introduce a search by price range function? Would that help?

What about going back to the thought of sub-categories and introducing bargain bins for each category - say 25 cents and under? That would give the bargain hunters their outlet to look for the deal of the year and other buyers to be a little more focused in their search for (let's call them) more unique items.

My two cents (but you can bid it up, if you're interested).

Andrew

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TribalErnie

19 Aug 2015
06:54:36pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Cocollectibles,

I may be wrong but I suspect one factor that contributes to that is simply the sheer volume of auction lots list (5100 currently). Speaking just for myself, it's tiring scrolling through page after page of penny stamps. People begin to "anticipate" that there's nothing on there and then it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

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smaier

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19 Aug 2015
07:06:01pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I agree - I haven't looked at the auction for months (except for one quick peek when I got an email from TuskenRaider). Too many penny stamps to wade through. I support moving all that to the Approvals and having the auction be for the higher valued items. I really like the Approvals books and think they are an efficient way of shopping for lower valued items. Just don't clutter up the Auction lists with Approval book items.Happy

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19 Aug 2015
07:25:39pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"I suspect one factor that contributes to that is simply the sheer volume of auction lots list (5100 currently). Speaking just for myself, it's tiring scrolling through page after page of penny stamps. People begin to "anticipate" that there's nothing on there and then it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. "



That is precisely the point. The people looking for the $5 catalog value and up stamps do not want to scroll through page after page of nickel and dime offers. I have had that conversation with potential buyers many times, and that's what I was talking about in my original posting.

It's not about "better search", better marketing techniques (my eBay registration dates from April 1996, I have 38,983 feedback. I know what I'm doing!). There are some valid suggestions for "tweaks", but it's not about those either.

It's about having an auction for things that are worth auctioning.

Stamporama members put a lot of work into building a "sand-box" specifically for nickel and dime stamp transactions (the approval books). All we (potential auction sellers) are asking for is to have our own sand-box back, unlittered by 5,000 cheap auctions that aren't worth auctioning.

And we don't have to go off the deep end and talk about "classics" in the hundreds of dollars. Just desirable stamps that might get bid up from $3.00 to $3.75. That increase is only a little competitive "fun" for the buyer, but makes a big difference to a seller who does it 100 times.

I want an auction back! Who's with me?

Roy

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thebiggnome

19 Aug 2015
07:44:48pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Umm, the auction already has a search filter for minimum value. If you enter "1" in the box you won't see any of the penny lots, or indeed anything under a buck. If you're looking for higher value stuff, it couldn't be easier to avoid wading through the 5100 items.

If I search the USA category (1542 items at time of posting) for anything a buck and over, it returns only 309 items. Searching for two bucks and up produces only 91. Only 34 items are over five bucks. It doesn't take long to scroll through 34 items.

As they say, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

Chris

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19 Aug 2015
07:52:43pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"As they say, if it ain't broke don't fix it."



It is broke. Regardless of the fact that the filter is there, member after member has said they no longer bother looking, and the lack of views prove they aren't alone.

The auction was intended to be an auction ... for stamps that are worth auctioning. It was never intended to be a store. The venue is being monopolized by a few sellers who are listing stuff that I wouldn't expect to sell from a penny box. No member should have the right to list 1200 lots out of the 5,000 listings. Now that we have the approvals, there is no reason the sellers of nickel and dime stamps should monopolize both vehicles.

Roy

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TribalErnie

19 Aug 2015
07:57:34pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hey Chris,

I just searched through as you said. The vast majority of those items are modern sheets, booklets and philatelic produced covers. Again, very few classic era singles. I'm just wondering why there's isn't more that material on here. I'm not talking about block buster show pieces but rather the 19th and early 20th century stamps that I always thought were the backbone of the hobby.
-Ernie

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19 Aug 2015
08:02:08pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I haven't posted many responses here since this discussion began, because Roy has said it all for me. He asked earlier, "I want an auction back! Who's with me?" Well, count me in! While I would still like expanded categories as described above, I think the most important issue is raising the minimum bid acceptable. I believe a requisite minimum bid of $1.00 would drive all the lower cost stamps to the Approval Books (this was one of the prime goals behind the creation of the Approval Books) and leave a revitalized auction platform.

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Andrejs

19 Aug 2015
08:02:09pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Roy - As Public Enemy once said, "Fight the Power!"

I guess that the auction is different things to different people. I think there's a genuine appreciation of cheap stamps out there to fill random holes in collections. I've done that too. Personally, I agree that a person who can list hundreds of stamps in a category at around 5 or 10 cents a pop as an opening bid would be better served by using an approvals book to do the same. But that doesn't necessarily mean that I am right and they are wrong.

For some of the countries I collect, I'm pretty (and proudly) advanced in my collection. With few exceptions, I don't need any Canadian or Australian stamps that are below $50.00 in catalogue value. That part of me also does not want to sort through 331 Canadian lots and 176 Aussie lots currently up for auction (at last count).

SOR is supposed to be the site for everyone who has an interest in stamps and stamp collecting. I think it is. But we need to be mindful of how this diverse group collects and uses SOR to enjoy their experience as collectors. The discussion here is not trying to purposely exclude people (I don't see that in anyone's comments); but it has definitely revealed a conflict in how we can get the most out of this club.

I'm not going to berate the point; but maybe discerning between higher-priced offerings and lower-priced ones may be the way to go and to allow everyone to get what they want out of the auction site. I'm brainstorming again here, but maybe a split between higher and lower priced lots could be automatic. If the cut off is 25 cents, for example, the new listings would get automatically listed in the bargains sub-group or the unique sub-group (whatever you want to call it) according to the opening bid that is set by the seller. That way, we can all browse whatever we want to fulfill our needs.

What do you think?

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TuskenRaider

19 Aug 2015
08:03:24pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi Everyone;

cocollectibles said:

"I've listed Queen Victoria GB and Empire stamps in previous auctions; all started at less than
or just at 10% of CV. This included several large sheets of reconstructed penny red by different
plates, and Natal issues. Minimum CV for what I listed was at least $5, to much higher for
some of the higher plate numbered reds.

Not one sale."




Did it ever occur to you, that your prices might be too low? If you feel that they are only worth 10%
of catalog, to some buyers they may see that as tho you do not value those stamps very much. If
they think you are having a fire sale, they will not value your stamps very much either. Maybe they
are so cheap because there is something wrong with them.

As far as the plated penny reds, I doubt there are very many collectors on here that would even be
interested in them at all, or that can even afford that grade of material.

If you take the time to look at a few dozen members profiles, you will see quite a few collectors who
have been members for two or more years, and have never bought or sold anything. If you take
those into account there are probably only a few hundred members that are very active buyers.

Also of all those active buyers, most of them are buying material under $1, and it's not likely they
will have that kind of money you need for your offerings. You would be better off listing on Delcampe
or eBay to get a fair price.

When I sold real estate, and saw a real low price, you know what my buyers would say? "Ken that
is probably a fixer-upper, just skip that one okay?"

I'm not trying to denigrade either you or your stamps, just trying to show you a different prospective,
that might help you to sell those items. Good luck with them.

Just chillin'....
TuskenRaider
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19 Aug 2015
08:17:41pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"maybe discerning between higher-priced offerings and lower-priced ones may be the way to go and to allow everyone to get what they want out of the auction site."



I'm not knocking the "nickel and dime" sales. That material plays a big role in collecting, and I carry no "elitist attitude" to it. In fact, I have dozens of 10c/stamp books that go to the local stamp club with me, including 5 volume Scott Internationals. I just don't have the time to fill orders like that online.

However, that stuff does not belong in an auction. We have a perfectly acceptable venue for the sales of "under $1" stamps ... the approvals. All I'm saying, is let's reserve the auction for stamps that are worth auctioning.

I'm going to turn that into a mantra.

Roy
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sheepshanks

19 Aug 2015
08:27:59pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Not sure if this has been addressed in this thread, have not, as far as I know, seen it mentioned.
Why not make a rule that all auction stamps must be listed by Scott/Gibbons etc number and make a search function that will only return exact search. eg Bermuda SG 47; Scott USA 38 and so on. This would hopefully take out a lot of cheaper stamps that I feel should be lumped together as sets or year collections.
It would allow those searching for specific stamps to immediately ascertain whether the material they require is available.
As an alternative why not have a want list section, again searchable, by country, catalogue, number etc. (someone will no doubt tell me we already have one)
The search system could work on drop down menu boxes in either scenario.
This way there would be no need to impose a minimum price per item, it would be set by seller as starting price.
Although I have looked in auctions I have not purchased anything as if only buying an odd stamp or two from any one buyer the postage makes it too costly to be economically viable.
As to selling items I tend to hang on to duplicates, guess that's the stamp hoarder rather than pure collector.

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TuskenRaider

19 Aug 2015
08:28:09pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi Andrejs;

I agree with everything you just said 100%. I have no problem with either a search filter that can
eliminate certain price ranges, or a sub category to each main category for bargain stamps.

Just Chillin....
TuskenRaider

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Andrejs

19 Aug 2015
08:31:47pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@ Sheepshanks. I made a similar suggestion, but Roy pointed out the work involved and the extra work for sellers. I tend to agree with him. Getting a better search engine means bringing everyone on board to use common language in their listings. Not an easy task...

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rrraphy

Retired Consultant
19 Aug 2015
08:35:43pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"I believe a requisite minimum bid of $1.00 would drive all the lower cost stamps to the Approval Books (this was one of the prime goals behind the creation of the Approval Books) and leave a revitalized auction platform."



Yeah yeah, Let us define the two platforms more restrictively...(I cannot believe it is you Bobby Big Grin).
But I still think that we should put the cutoff lower than $1.00, and my suggestion was $0.50 for minimum listing price. Someone said earlier (was it Michael?) that if it does not achieve its intended goal, we can always bump up the minimum price. I am afraid that with too high a minimum, we will run into the other problem...not enough material to warrant looking at auctions!
By my calculations, a $0.50 minimum is likely to reflect stamps with Cat values of around $2.00. That seems like a good place to start. And as a side line, I think $0.25 is too low if we truly want to separate the two platforms. Yes they can overlap, but not too much!

The other point we need to address is HOW do we get more seller of better material to post under Auctions, and how do we get more participation of potential buyers.

So let me make another radical suggestion (that in my opinion will improve on the traditional Auction experience):
Let us also require that ALL items on sale under SOR AUCTIONS MUST have a FIXED Price option for Purchase.
And if you don't want to set up a fixed price option for every item yourself, we could make the system assign a default Fixed price (say at 1.5 or twice or whatever we chose?? above the minimum...just tossing numbers...but focus on the concept...).

Many hate the unknown character of Auctions bidding, the time to monitor, last minute bids, the wasted time when you loose something you wanted, the delayed gratification, and above all someone at the last minute swiping an item you wanted, because you were not watching it live or closely monitoring your mail box.
This way, if one wants it, one can buy it! I know this is not how other Auction sites work, but we are not other commercial sites, and we are not bound by what others do. This will make SOR Auctions better in my view.

rrr...

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Andrejs

19 Aug 2015
08:43:43pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Nice post rrraphy. Worthy of some consideration. Yeah, 25 cents was just a line in the sand that can be moved forwards or back. I don't care.

But let me ask this of buyers: For all of these low priced auctions out there, would it be better/easier/whatever if a lot of these lower priced offerings were posted in approvals books instead? I mean, if something's listed for 5 cents or 10 cents, or whatever, wouldn't you just rather be the first to spot and buy the stamp rather than waiting to see how your nickel bid does in 10 days? If you missed it, there's a good chance that someone will post the same stamp in the very near future...

I think this perspective is maybe one that we're missing from the discussion.

Andrew

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cocollectibles

19 Aug 2015
08:45:05pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@Tusken

"Did it ever occur to you, that your prices might be too low? If you feel that they are only worth 10% of catalog, to some buyers they may see that as tho you do not value those stamps very much. "



That's the starting bid, not a buy it now price. My point isn't just that they didn't sell; it was more that no-one seemed to find them and view them.

Roy, I'm with you too. I like the idea of coordinating the auctions and approvals for differently priced items, so keep the lower priced items for approvals. I have no problem starting the classic era stamps at higher prices (although for some of them even 10% CV is over $5!) and adding a buy it now feature to all auctions. I just hope they get more traffic as a result.
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sheepshanks

19 Aug 2015
08:48:25pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@Andrejs, The extra work involved for putting up a few higher priced stamps would not be too great ( most sellers with decent stamps probably already have them in stockbooks with cat. numbers) but would be for those listing a lot of cheap stamps. Hopefully therefore eliminating a lot of searching, even if we implement no other refinements to the system.
Whatever alterations that are made are going to involve extra work for our tech expert in some way.
As far as common language goes this could be specified as part of the rules of auction terms and conditions. Although as an Englishman I would probably be gobsmacked if we could agree on definitions. Even though we speak a common tongue (supposedly).

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19 Aug 2015
08:54:25pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Requiring that all items be accompanied by a catalog number would not work for the simple reason that there are many items which are not listed in the major catalogs: Cinderellas, most revenues, precancels, perfins, EFOs, stampless covers, etc.

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Andrejs

19 Aug 2015
08:59:57pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I hear ya, laddie.... Rolling On The Floor Laughing

I work with a database in my job. We found out that addresses in our d-base were searchable, but there was no intuitiveness in the search. What that meant was, if you entered an address as:

123 Main St., Apt. 301, Toronto, Ontario, M6P 1J4

a search of that address wouldn't return a "hit" for:

123 Main Street, Apt. 301, Toronto, Ontario, M6P 1J4
301 - 123 Main St., Toronto, Ontario, M6P 1J4
123 Main St., Apt. 301, Toronto, ON, M6P 1J4
Apt. 301, 123 Main Street, Toronto, Ontario, M6P 1J4...

You get the idea.

As Tim will say, "Garbage in, garbage out."

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19 Aug 2015
09:14:10pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"Whatever alterations that are made are going to involve extra work for our tech expert in some way."



No, it will take no "work" to require that the minimum bid field be greater than $1. That's not even one line of code.

All other tweaks can come at Tim's convenience.

Roy
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sheepshanks

19 Aug 2015
09:15:32pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Point taken Bobby but these are more specialist items that you probably do not have to wade through 1000's of entries to find. I presume that they all have their category in the current listing. If not perhaps they should.
If we are going to populate the auctions with better quality items then the search feature has to be altered or we have to remove the weeds to allow the flowers to blossom and bear fruit.
Whichever choice we make is going to upset someone somewhere but will be of benefit to all in the long term.
Personally I would not be looking for anything in the auctions that would cost me less than $10-20 minimum. Items less than this I would be looking for in approvals.

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michael78651

Moderator, MT Member
19 Aug 2015
09:27:56pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Ralph, on SOR, there is no last second sniping. Auctions are extended when they receive late bids (sorry I don't recall the time frames right now). The Buy-It-Now price is the ultimate snipe where that will end an auction to the BIN buyer, but that is the only way that an auction lot can be purchased where it supersedes the auction bidding activity. I like the BIN function here.

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sheepshanks

19 Aug 2015
09:38:05pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Ok have just looked at the auction listings for UK and isles, on the first page I find

"SPAIN 1855-1937 set all hinged"

no image, no description as such, just a price. No wonder then that people get put off wading through the dross. How the heck would I even know what I'm bidding on?
A couple of items down is yet another Spain item again without image. Same seller.
We definitely need changes to be made if we are to improve the experience of both buyers and sellers.


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bobstew617

19 Aug 2015
09:52:16pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I hate to bring up EBay here, but it is a point of comparison for me. There is a seller from Belgium who has very nice MNH material, especially souvenir sheets, and all his auctions start at .99. He does have BIN items also. The market then takes care of itself.
I ended up buying 12 really nice lots for $21 USD plus $3 postage.

This seller does have a high volume of what he puts on the website, so it works for him.

My point, in the end, is that right now, SOR is not a major place for me to buy, EXCEPT for MNH or premium used items in the Approvals (thanks, cardstamp and Soundcrest!) or used stamps to fill spaces here and there. Herfabu44 is one of the few sellers that offers multiple full MNH sets and sheets from one country at a time here, and often I do not see any bids on his lots.

If raising the minimum attracts more sellers with better material here, I am all for that--especially since there are no fees.

One last thought from a buyer's perspective: since there ARE no fees, as a potential buyer of better material, I would expect a seller to at least SHARE the savings he or she is getting for not paying them, ESPECIALLY if they do not take PayPal. I've seen a very MIXED result on that score in the Auctions and the Approvals. BOB

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rrraphy

Retired Consultant
19 Aug 2015
09:53:52pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

The Moderators, Auction or Approval (or even discussion board) cannot monitor all aspects. But when an error or a lapse, something like this, occurs, it should be brought to the attention of the appropriate moderators for prompt action. He/she has latitude on how to proceed: private message, email, or plain deactivating until corrections are made. That should be simple enough. So, when you find something not right, inform the moderator privately.
rrr...

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rrraphy

Retired Consultant
19 Aug 2015
10:07:19pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@Michael:

"Ralph, on SOR, there is no last second sniping. "


I know Michael, but just the same, one still has to monitor, and that assumes that you have nothing else to do. I much rather buy it and move on.
Andt this is a Club which is different from an Auction site, I come here to talk, to learn and to interact, not just to buy or sell, and I don't want to set my alarm bell to ring and remind me daily to look for the latest bid option.
I don't know what the current time extension is here..it is immaterial to me.

I think that mandating a Buy it Now price would set us apart from the rest of the universe of Auctions, and I bet you it will work better for most sellers and buyers. Certainly it will for me, (even if I like being cheap)! It is just another "think out of the box" suggestion.
And I am not suggesting that we regulate it and tell the sellers what to do, just that we have an option to have the system set it, should the seller have not made a specific choice. In other words, ALL Auction items will have a Buy It Now price.
rrr...

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auldstampguy

Collector, Webmaster
19 Aug 2015
10:46:12pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I'm coming in late on this conversation, but I really don't understand what the issue is. Sometimes when I go into the Auction I don't have time to look at everything, so use the Min Bid option on the Auction Lot filter to only retrieve lots that have a min bid of $5 or greater as per the following:

Image Not Found

Where is this falling short for you guys? I don't get it. Some people like to look at and buy 25 cent stamps. Some people like to buy $10 stamps. You already have the ability to do both.

Tim.

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19 Aug 2015
11:00:50pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@Tim

There are many folk who do not use the search function, they merely scroll through the auctions to find something they like. If there are 100 5 cent stamps surrounding my $5.00 stamp, it will be lost in the sea of cheap stamps. We created the Approval Books to get the cheap stamps out of the Auction, now lets take the next step and do it. Personally, I think a $0.25 minimum bid would effectively eliminate 90% of the items which should be in the approval books, but I can support anything between $0.25 and $1.00 (inclusive).

Bobby

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auldstampguy

Collector, Webmaster
19 Aug 2015
11:24:54pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

So you are telling me that if I'm a new member and I have a few 10 cent stamps that I want to try in the Auction to see how it works that I can't do that anymore. I ABSOLUTELY DISAGREE with with this. Stamporama has been implemented with as few rules as possible. We have tried to provide the most functionality that we can without making rules saying that you have to do it THIS WAY. This is a club not a business and it is open to all members, not just the more experienced members who are only interested in $20+ stamps. If you can't find the stamps that you are looking for in an easy fashion here, I suggest you try ebay and pay their charges. But using the filters, you can find whatever there is in the price range you are interested in. Just use the filters provided the same as I do.

Regards ... Tim.

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TuskenRaider

19 Aug 2015
11:40:33pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi Tim and Everyone;

I just now tried the filter and it works just fine, so EVERYONE what is the problem? Just use the filter, and don't exclude anyone.

nuff said....
TuskenRaider

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19 Aug 2015
11:49:21pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"I just now tried the filter and it works just fine, so EVERYONE what is the problem? "



Because people don't use it! Even long standing members are saying they didn't know it was there. And we do not get the chance to educate someone who comes in to give it a try. They visit, see the sea of junk and immediately turn away. I repeat, I hear the same comment again and again. "It's not worth wading through all the stuff that isn't worth the cost of shipping!"

Roy
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TuskenRaider

19 Aug 2015
11:57:21pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi sheepshanks and Everyone;

sheepshanks said:

"Ok have just looked at the auction listings for UK and isles, on the first page I find

Quote:
"SPAIN 1855-1937 set all hinged"

no image, no description as such, just a price. No wonder then that people get put off wading through
the dross. How the heck would I even know what I'm bidding on?
A couple of items down is yet another Spain item again without image. Same seller.
We definitely need changes to be made if we are to improve the experience of both buyers and sellers."



I private messaged this seller to tip him off that he is not listing by the rules. He messaged me back and said
thanks, and could I help him. I replied for him to read the rules for auctions a couple of times, and get back to
me afterwards.

I will help him with whatever questions he has or whatever he doesn't understand. Our moderators are busy
enough as it is, and it's the least I could do for the club. He is just a newbee, and just joined like a week or
so ago.

Keep on stampin'....
TuskenRaider
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auldstampguy

Collector, Webmaster
20 Aug 2015
12:01:22am

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@Roy,
Don't you remember, I put that filter in specifically at your request a couple of years ago.

Regards ... Tim

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20 Aug 2015
07:16:43am

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

@Tim

Yes, I saw the need for it during the first onslaught of nickel and dime auctions and appreciate the effort. But creating a tool and getting new people to use it are clearly different. Every single person I have introduced to Stamporama auctions has come back at me with "too much cheap stuff to wade through". The ability to filter out the cheap stuff doesn't change their minds.

I saw the opportunity to stimulate change when the original poster to this thread raised the same issues that have concerned me for two years. However, I am seeing the ground-swell of opinion turning against my position in favour of status quo. I concede. This will be my last post on the subject of the auctions. If anyone wants me on the subject, please PM me.

Roy

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d1stamper

20 Aug 2015
10:51:23am

Auctions - Approvals

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Tim

I have used the filters quite often and they do work.

Would it be possible for you to add Used to the filter list.

Thanks

Doug

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Andrejs

20 Aug 2015
08:21:48pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Under the category of "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing," I have to apologize to Tim especially for not cluing in on the minimum bid filter. Yup, I've been a member for a number of years and never did tweak onto this filter. Totally my bad/lack of awareness. My only comfort is that I'm not alone in this.

As I said in an earlier post:

"SOR is supposed to be the site for everyone who has an interest in stamps and stamp collecting. I think it is. But we need to be mindful of how this diverse group collects and uses SOR to enjoy their experience as collectors. The discussion here is not trying to purposely exclude people (I don't see that in anyone's comments); but it has definitely revealed a conflict in how we can get the most out of this club."


I have to say, looking at all of the responses to this DB and my informal survey to see where we go from here, there's a diverse range of opinion. That's not a bad thing. Just as we welcome expert and newbie alike to this forum, I agree that we have to maintain that same standard for auctions. I think there are still the legitimate concerns that what we can term lower volume sellers (and I count myself as a former member of that category), who are overwhelmed by the multitude of listings and have a legitimate concern that they may not perhaps get the exposure that they deserve in the sea of bulk listings. A lot of these members - and you know who they are - are very dedicated and meticulous sellers who try to offer quality and unique items for bids. I think that it is fair to say that bulk sellers don't demonstrate that same level of filtering. I think that's a fair comment, though not necessarily detrimental to a bunch of folks who love searching for bargains. For buyers, the need to sort through the huge amount of listings to find what they want can also be frustrating at times. In some cases, where a lower price is an issue, you won't be able to differentiate between the so-called quality of listings. For example, if I offer a Penny Black for a cent (hoping to get way more than one bid), any filters on minimum bid will likely exclude this hidden treasure. And, yes, I can post a message on the DB saying that it is out there for everyone. Shame on me if I don't.

By satisfying everyone, we've created a system where (maybe) few are satisfied. I don't know about the accuracy of the last sentence, as there have been few posts about the appreciation of all the lots that are on offer. I don't doubt there is an appreciation; but is it generally viewed as a benefit or detriment by the majority of buyers?

It's pretty obvious that most of us didn't know about the price filter. Survey aside (and I'm asking everyone to please put in their opinion so we get a decent representation of members who buy or sell on auctions), how about, Tim, if we add in a header message on the auction pages that tells everyone that we can use the price, seller and other filters to refine our search? That way everyone who lands on the page knows that there are options to there browsing experience.

If this works, we can look at the other issues in the survey discussion to see how relevant they remain.

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michael78651

Moderator, MT Member
20 Aug 2015
09:11:19pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I don't think it is a bad thing to now and then have a post like this about the web site just to see what people think about it. If nothing else, it gives people who don't normally post a chance to voice their opinion, and it gives the powers that be a chance to see how things are going. A sort of progress report, if you will.

That doesn't mean that anything will be enacted upon, maybe just one or two suggestions are implemented, or maybe plenty is done. Just depends on what else is going on.


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smaier

Sally
20 Aug 2015
10:18:51pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Well, I have used some of the filters but never saw the price filter. Been here for several years and just never noticed it. Learned something new thanks to this thread. Thanks to those that pointed it out.

I still think that most of the 5 and 10 cent items belong in Approvals but with the filter, it is most likely not an issue anymore....although, if they were in the Approval Books, I would probably see them there....

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doodles69ca

Suzanne
21 Aug 2015
02:08:06pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

One thing I would like to see, if it could be done, is a filter for members who do or don't accept paypal. I am not opening the discussion for or against it here. It's that I don't have a chequing account and I don't want to pay for a money order, so I only buy from members who take paypal.

Anyone can buy from me, with or without paypal. I don't care. As long as I get my money. hehe!

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rrraphy

Retired Consultant
21 Aug 2015
05:58:39pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"I'm coming in late on this conversation, but I really don't understand what the issue is. Sometimes when I go into the Auction I don't have time to look at everything, so use the Min Bid option on the Auction Lot filter to only retrieve lots that have a min bid of $5 or greater "


Wow, Tim Thumbs Up had already anticipated and dealt with this issue. And figure how I have been looking at Auctions for a while, and did not notice it? I guess it was not a high priority item for me. Others discussed issues were more important.
Let us spread the word somehow. It is not intuitive, although it should be!

The fundamental question remains however: How do we make the Auction Platform more Active (I am not going to use the word successful again, it is successful for some and it does work!). But having posted some higher valued items on Auctions more than once, and relisted them discounted further, I have not found it rewarding, sales-wise, or even if I ONLY measure how many persons viewed my items over a combined 30 days period.
It could have been the type of items offered? it could have been the pricing? (about 20% of catalog?), it could have been timing? it could have been my small "client" base? who knows..it did not work well for me.
And just looking at the number of persons who took a look at the posted material, and the number of items that were bid on and purchased, out of the total (10% maybe? all were single bids, by the way), my feeling remains the same. So I will not list this type of material again on SOR Auctions.
Would more popular areas have generated more interest? Don't know?

What are sellers with popular material: US, Germany, UK, France, China etc... have to say?
If the one who is just focusing on better stamps can eliminate the lower cost items when perusing the Auctions and he/she does it, will it be enough to increase the level of activity on Auctions...views if not sales? Curious.
rrr....

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michael78651

Moderator, MT Member
21 Aug 2015
09:31:02pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

One thing so far is not too many people are taking advantage of being able to let the SOR members know what they are posting in the auctions. Soundcrest does it regularly, and I think is about the only one who consistently uses this tool. Greg, have you noticed any increase on views, bids and sales through your posts when you post new auction lots?

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stampmanjack

APS Life Member

22 Aug 2015
11:05:08pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I am a little late on this thread but I would add as my "two cents worth" that auction sales are always "iffy". I do a number of shows during the year that have silent auctions during the course of the day. I put material in all of the auctions and it is generally the same type of material in all of the auctions. Sometimes I sell all of the lots - sometimes by reducing the price during the day and sometimes by negotiation after the last sale closes and sometimes I could not the material if I was giving it away. Other times everything sells. There is no rhyme or reason as it is the same club, same location, same time of year and same type of material. Sometimes the weather is the difference but that should not be a problem with the SOR auctions. Personally I like our auctions and would not change a thing. I do not sell yet but hope to do so soon. I buy quite a lot from a limited number of dealers as I do not like to buy one stamp at a time unless it is a great buy. I have found in other organizations, that the more rules added the more problematic it becomes.
Jack

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Cactusjack

23 Aug 2015
12:26:28pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Well, I got shot down before with my Approval Book/Auction suggestions but I think that I will try again. From the discussions it seems that many are not happy with the current setup. I totally agree.

The Auction is an auction in name only. A few months back I searched for Great Britain. I got 683 hits. I went through all 683 lots and found only 11 that had more than one bid. That means that 98.3% of the auction lots would sell with one bid if all closed immediately. Granted some may have picked up a second bid before they closed but I am sure that it would be a tiny few. That means that probably 96% to 97% of all lots in the Auction probably sell with one bid. Call it an auction if you like but in reality the Auction is just another fixed price selling mechanism. So on SOR we basically have two different fix price sales mechanisms. There is no true auction. For an auction to be a true auction it must be competitive over 95% of the many collection areas that exists. That would probably take a minimum of 10,000 active bidders to achieve 95% competitiveness. To be fully competitive over most all collecting areas would probably take 25,000 active bidders. On a weekly basis I would bet SOR has less than 50 active bidders. We can’t have a competitive auction due to our small size. It is impossible.

I think that our best course of action is to figure out how to change one or both of our fixed price selling mechanisms to make them compatible, one where our beginning and intermediate collecting members have a place to buy and sell and another for our advanced collectors to also have a place to buy and sell. No one would enter a $100.00 catalog value item in the SOR Auction and start the bidding a 1 cent. Well, maybe someone would but I would question his sanity. On eBay or Delcampe you might end up with a fair price. That is because there are a large number of bidders, enough to have competitive bidding. Chances are slim to none that you would get a fair price in Stamporama Auction. Because the Stamporama Auction does not work is no one’s fault, it is just the nature of the beast. We are too small for a true auction to work properly

My suggestion would be to leave the Auction as it is to serve the beginning and intermediate collectors and to tweak the Approval system to serve the advanced collectors. To change the Auction would force some of the “SOR old timers” out of there long time happy buying and selling routines. The Auction has been “patched” before by putting in the Approval System. The patch did not work. If you patch the Auction with a minimum opening bid (50c or $1.00) you will drive out all of the cheaper stamps but will you see a lot classic stamps appear? Probably not. You will see a few. I sure don’t think that hundreds of classic stamps will appear. The reason is
that the reputation that has built up over time that good stuff doesn’t sell on the Auction. Another reason, it takes time to enter a lot in the Auction and that lot goes away in 14 days max. Unless someone needs the better item it will not sell in a short period of time and therefore will go away. You have nothing to show for your time and effort of entering the lot. That is the major reason I do not list on the Auction. A few months back I listed 12 Faroe Islands used stamps for 14 days. Not one lot was even viewed. About 2 weeks later, when I located enough Faroe used to have a 100 stamp Approval Book, I entered the Book. In the first 24 hours 8 of the Faroe stamps that I had entered in the Auction sold from the Approval Book. Two months later when I closed out the Approval Book due to good sales 3 more of the Auction listed stamps had sold. My score, zero sales (and views) in the Auction and 11 of 12 sold in the Approval Book. That was my last attempt to sell in the Auction. I think that my experience is in common with a lot of members. Those used Faroe stamps were not classic stamps either. They were common used all selling for under $1.00.

In order for better (classic or otherwise) stamps to be sold in the Approval System, the rules will have to be greatly modified. Some have suggested that few duplicate classic or better stamps exist among SOR members. I don’t believe that for a minute. I have a number but they will not go into the Auction. The work of listing for them short terms (days at most) and poor to nonexistent sales does not excite me. I can’t put them in the Approval System because I don’t have a minimum of 100 classic stamps in the same category as highly suggested in the Approval Book rules. In fact, it is one of the questions asked as you try to activate a book. Rule 4 says “The book offers stamps in topics clearly described by its title”. A no answer prevents you from activation the book. So unless you have 100 classic stamps in the same category you are out of luck entering the in the Approval Books.

To get classics into the Approval System the number of stamps required for a book would have to be drastically reduced. I doubt few people have 100 classic stamps. Yes, it would totally upset the apple cart but it could be done. Tweak the Approval System to sell the better, classic and more expensive items and allow the Auction to remain as it is a place for the inexpensive stamps to sell. The Auction today does that job very well. In my opinion no amount of patches will transform the Auction to sell classic or better stamps.

My suggestion is to leave the SOR Auction as it is. It is serving the beginning and intermediate collectors very well. To allow classic and better stamps into the Approval System I would remove the 100 stamp limit and replace it with $5.00 minimum per book. This would still allow a book of 100 5 cent stamps to still be entered into the Approval System. Theoretically this would also allow a 1 page book with a stamp classic stamp of $5.00 or more to be entered. A one page book rule may have to be modified if the computer overhead needed to store a one page approval is significantly larger than the space needed to store 1 Auction lot. Tim would have to tell us where the number of pages in an Approval Book and the number of auction lots use approximately equal disk space in storage. That is, does an Approval Book of 5 pages take the same storage space as 5 Auction lots? If so, To me, the number of pages in an Approval Book should be based on computer efficiency, not an arbitrary number.

Our main goal in Stamporama should be how to get the maximum number of stamps efficiently transferred from members who have duplicates to the members who need those duplicates. I am not sure that this is being efficiently done now.

This is just my two cents worth on the “problem”.
James M. McCain
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TuskenRaider

23 Aug 2015
03:15:44pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

Hi James;

You should give the bulk up-loader a try, If you want to learn it I can help you do that.

I list all my lots using this tool. I started with 19 lots in January of 2015. I sold only one lot but
with four bids. Just lucky I guess. However I learned how to upload 50 lots at a go. Within a
few months I was up to 400 lots. I now have 700+ lots available most of the time. I can re-list
700+ lots with the bulk uploader in about 20 MINUTES. I can upload faster with the bulk up-
loader in auctions that you can in approvals.

I always list for 14 days, giving more time for buyers to find what they need. When my lots ex-
pire, as long as they get re-listed within 14 days the photos will remain on the SOR server so
that I do not have to re-upload them, each auction cycle.

The last few months I have transfered funds from PayPal (buyer payments) to my checking
account, at a rate of $50-$80/month.

I now have about 150-200 stamps that I have to generate invoices for. Some of the stamps
were purchased 4-5 weeks ago. I always allow buyers to have me hold their selections until
they can find more material so as to save on shipping. I do this as a service to only my repeat
buyers. These 150-200 stamps represent about 6 or 7 different buyers.

Since January 2015 I have had 15 different buyers. These are active buyers who buy from me
and several other sellers.

However I have no active auction lots, as I'm taking a day off for a break.

Just Chillin'....
TuskenRaider

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rrraphy

Retired Consultant
23 Aug 2015
04:17:26pm

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

"My suggestion would be to leave the Auction as it is to serve the beginning and intermediate collectors and to tweak the Approval system to serve the advanced collectors. "


James: Disagree 100%. Approval was designed for the lower cost stamps. Its whole structure is built for it. The pricing of all the stamps per page at the same price is set up for it. Everything else as well..rules and all. While we did not put a maximum limit on the price of stamp sold, it was NOT meant to be the high stamp value store outlet, and such a rule could be instituted in the future.

The volume of low cost stamps selling daily attests to the success of this platform as conceived, for the low cost stamps. The higher valued stamps sold by some complete the range of offerings but are not the intent of Approvals.

To suggest that we should modify Approvals to fit your approach for selling higher cost stamps makes no sense at all in my view. If developing an alternative platform from both Auctions and Approvals is what you are suggesting, be my guest, and good luck getting it launched. I for one would not oppose it, but I would not volunteer to work on developing it! Developing Approvals was no trivial job, and reaching a consensus was as painful as pulling a tooth without novocaine...actually, more!

Now many of your comments about Auction are well taken, and the discussion here is about Auctions. I see no reason to tinker with Approvals myself. There are however many reasons (in my view) to take another look at Auctions. The two are separate platform, although we have made a serious effort to use virtually identical categories. They could be used to work more closely in tandem by separating items sold by some criterias (prices?), but most people favor the "less is better than more rules" philosophy, which is what we now have. And as pointed out by Tim, we have filters in place to restrict displayed items in Auctions to suit individual preferences.
If this does result in occasional "misuse" of both platforms, we have volunteer Moderators who try to resolve. From what I have seen here, every structural suggestion for changes, even the tiniest ones, brings a symphony of objections.

Maybe there is no way to make our Auction platform compete with ebay, delcampe etc.. but it does not have to. As a club, we only need to meet the expectations of our membership..we are not driven by the same commercial goals, as for-profit sites. Your analysis about volume is correct..we don't have enough size or traffic to make it a lively competitive Auction platform...but some are quite happy with that.
Which is why I suggested that mandating a "buy it now" option, or making unsold auction items stay in a "store" like status for a certain additional time may add to the volume of better material sold on Auctions and drive up the use of the platform..sellers and buyers alike. But I am guessing here. May or may not work..it is worth a try in my view, and they are just suggestions to resolve what I had noticed as well..not enough weekly interest in Auctions to guarantee that all that you put up for sale will even be looked at, let alone bid on. Seems to work for some specific philatelic categories as David indicated, and not for others.

Now to reluctantly (because I was hoping we would stay on Auctions in this thread, and this discussion belong elsewhere) go back to the 100 item rule in Approvals that seem to cause you so much trouble to accept, you can bend your strict approach and adapt it to Approvals rather than trying to bend the rules of Approvals to meet your strict approach. Several suggestions were offered. You can combine categories (if meaningful...and examples were given on how it is done), you can broaden what you sell (mix used with M and MNH), and you can mix and match what you sell to make it easier to reach the 100 (add sets, multiple copies (max is 3), etc..).
Also, as indicated in the rules, you can ask the moderator for an exception prior to issuing a book. This is in place precisely because it was clear to the platform developers that 1. some members would be hard pressed to assemble 100 items books and 2. some collectible areas cannot possibly meet the 100 item rule. (Has anyone put together a book of 100 stamps of some of the smaller dead countries?) The rule is in place for covers and for set, S/S etc. Some countries or topics don't have 100 stamps, and you may want to sell only that country or topic!
Some sellers in spite of all their efforts are just missing the magic number of 100 by a few stamps. No one is unreasonable..and as moderator I always allow these, or discuss with the issuers ways of being able to activate such a book, grant an exception, or relabel it or modify it to become acceptable.
But Approval is not meant to sell one item per page, each one at a different price..mostly higher values. If that is still your goal, Auction is the place..and you may want to focus on making Auctions work better for you. As I said before, it is Approval Book, not Approval "one word per page".

rrr...

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"E. Rutherford: All science is either physics or stamp collecting."
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Stevo45

13 Sep 2015
05:38:21am

re: How can we improve the AUCTION platform, to make it more successful?

I find it difficult/impossible to find Auction items here, for example: Australian stamps issued in the year 1988.

I know there are at least some here because a few are listed by the Scott #..

I would like to find Auctions for ALL 1988 Australian stamps so that I can chose the ones that I want.

I, (like millions of stamp buyers world wide) do not use a Scott catalogue, So as a buyer, I search by Country and year so when a seller lists his stamp as: "AUSTRALIA Living Together - Mining - Scott No. 1066 New" That may mean very little to me so I might assume there are no 1988 stamps for sale here and I'll move on........

Am I missing a simple search engine somewhere here ?
Do sellers in the auctions here not describe stamps by Country and/or year?

I find the habit of some people's reliance on Cat. nos. to SELL stamps - Extremely limiting.. For them.

Cheers

Steve

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