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Man these guys have ruined a great thing. I wish so bad there was an alternative. If there is someone please let me know. I tried asylum trader quite a few times and never got a single response to an ad.
The following has been arranged in chronological order:
JUL 14, 2012 | 06:34PM EDT
Original message, Neil wrote:
Besides the increase in scammers on your new site (despite all your PR about how you're protecting us ;~) there is also a noticeable (to me anyway) increase in the ratio of private-to-commercial advertisers IN THE ACTUAL CLASSIFIED LISTINGS. Many/most of them are simply listing/introducing new products at retail prices (msrp).
If a private party is selling something brand new for one reason or another, then great! Usually it's going for less than retail. But now, having so many commercial listings for retail priced equipment mixed in with private ads for used equipment makes the browsing experience tedious and disappointing; not to mention the fact that YOU DO allow these commercial advertisers to list their contact information in their ads!
Once again, you seem confused about what this site should be! I have no problem with a business model designed to increase revenue; it's the American Way! But you people have gone about it in a juvenile and amateurish way -- starting with those silly transaction fees, which have forced you to police all aspects of the buyer/seller relationship. And along with your specious (look it up!) reasons for doing so, it all leaves a bad taste in everybodys' mouth!
If you wanted to make more money (which you have every right!) you simply should have been honest and up-front about it, and charged listing fees pegged to the asking price of the item, something easy enough to "police" -- instead, you insert yourselves as a third party into your members' transactions in order to make sure you collect those 'back end' fees. If you continue to dig in your heels, and defend this childish arrangement, you will eventually drive most sellers away, because all the people I talk to are getting fed up with your intrusion into what should be LIVELY and PRIVATE negotiations between buyers and sellers ONLY! That was the BEST THING about the original Audiogon site -- IT'S REASON FOR BEING, and the VERY BASIS OF ITS SUCCESS!
You've lost that magic quality for now, and NO AMOUNT of other features can compensate for that loss.
Thanks. I'm going to archive my email along with your reply,
as another classic example of a "non-response" from Audiogon.
I know it will help many others understand, as it has helped me.
I used to be a dealer selling and promoting on Audiogon, in fact all the way back to just a few months after the site began. around a dozen or so years ago, until the big surprise in January. I don't even want to boil my blood again with all the frustrations that hit me then - I'm sure many of you experienced at least some of them.
Unfortunately, the way Audiogon got to be by far the dominant online marketplace for audiophile goods, their change in policies severely affected my ability to earn a living, right at the peak of this already terrible economic recession.
I did try hard to make a go of it, but their new treatment of dealers became almost impossible to function within. Get this: On top of wanting around $300 per month to be a most basic level commercial advertiser with very little benefit over just running conventional ads, they would also take down my ad after the close of just a single sale. Say I was selling cables, which is my biggest speciality. I'd pay $30-40 for decent placement and exposure, then one single sale of a $300 cable, and I'm having to pay another $30-40 to do it again. For $300 a month, they couldn't just let your ad run and collect their 2% all month long?
I don't know how many of you understand the overhead cost of a small business, but wen you give up $40 on an item you've already discounted say 10-15%, and receiving payment with credit cards or PayPal eating up about another 8% of your net, there's really not much left. Never mind the months an ad didn't create a single sale yet cost the big bucks to run just ONE item.
Also, cables are needed in SO many different lengths and configurations, yet they went so tight at monitoring rules so strictly that I could only advertise ONE length and configuration - eliminating the potential to serve more people needing the right length for them. Just nuts. Very greedy. Impractical. Unworkable. How little value they offered us anymore.
And yes, I agree with the previous comment that their fee collection on the sale really changed things a lot as well, in exactly the way he described. Just a note - dealers are required by manufactures to advertise no lower than a MAP price (minimum advertised price), often at retail. MAP is a healthy thing for the industry. It prevents a small few internet advertisers from squeezing out almost all the profit from a item. Dealers are dependent on profit for a living, and good ones make the service worth paying for. When there is not enough to be made on a product or manufactures line to make it worth bothering to carry and invest in, we just drop it. All the hard work a manufacturer puts into building his network of dealers dissolves. Not enough dealers will carry for the manufacturer to stay in business, and the industry becomes that much weaker and less able to serve the community.
Audiogon used to be such a free, open place and a beautiful community that offered a market for individual sellers as well as an opportunity for dealers to reach beyond a narrow local market of audiophiles.
Any good alternatives yet?
Jeff; You asked about any good sites other than Audiogon. Try www.usaudiomart.com I think you will like it.
There is just one word to describe the new Audiogon and that word in FUBAR! I was very active on Audiogon, selling things to places I never imagined doing business with. My last ad was a disaster; the site refused to accept any photos and I had 2 or 3 responses, none serious. At least one was an obvious scam. I use to spend a lot of time on the site, now I hardly look at it. Thank God I sold about $12,000 worth of gear in the last couple of months before the change.
Hey guys, I cannot believe what i just saw on Agon. There is an ad that is using pics of my Shindo Vosnee Romanee preamp in my listening room with the same wording as the ad I placed on audiogon back in March. He did not hijack my account but it seems that he has hijacked a long time member account as there is much feedback for the so called listor. He is asking for wire transfer and to email him directly to europe. He is also asking a lot less than it would be worth. I notified agon so it will be interesting to see how long it takes them to shut that down. This never happened in the old system. Is becoming as bad as craigs list.
there is also a noticeable (to me anyway) increase in the ratio of private-to-commercial advertisers in the actual listings. And many of them are simply listing/introducing new products at retail prices (msrp).
If a private party is selling something brand new for one reason or another, then great! Usually it's going for less than retail. But now, having so many ommercial ads for retail equipment mixed in with private ads for used equipment makes the browsing experience tedious and disappointing; not to mention the fact that these commercial advertisers ARE allowed to list their contact information!
I'm as disappointed as anyone about the Audiogon collapse...
Funny, in a recent thread, I mentioned such was the case, and a few people jumped right up to disagree with me. Even more surprising was that my post was allowed in the first place.
Today's Audiogon really sucks in every way. I've witnessed a decade of decline in the Discussion Forums. Whenever I think it's reached the very bottom, it gets even worse.
I've really hoped AA Trader Classifieds would take off, and have tried to use them. For a short time, there seemed to be some momentum and excitement building. Alas, there just isn't any traction whatsoever. I sure wish the tide will change, as Rod and the AA folks are truly the good guys.
Trelja, I agree with you, especially the part about hoping AAT would take off (I presume you meant in the wake of the Agon debacle?) The solution to that if course would be for Rod to start advertising, if he's up to it.
Audiogon doesn't have to advertise, having the advantage of years of familiarity; though it never hurts, even for Audiogon ;~) Ted Turner, once when asked about the secret of his success, famously said, "Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise !" As far as I can tell, AAT now offers all the features and functionally that Audiogon does (minus the Thought Police!) and I think Rod might increase 'circulation' enormously by investing in some well placed notices (banners/links) for the Trader. I believe there's a huge number of audiophiles out there who simply don't know the AAT exists!
I post ads on AAT when I place Agon ads. I mention that in the Agon ads, and often I actually sell the item from my AAT ad. Buyers are attracted to use the ATT ad both for easy direct communication with me, and to avoid certain additional fees. Today, I got this (my response below):
----- Original Message -----
From: Audiogon Support
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 7:12 AM
Subject: Unauthorized Contact information in your listings.
It has come to our attention that you are including personal contact information in your recent listings. We are requiring removal of this information. To make this convenient for you, we have edited the listing on your behalf.
This policy is for the safety and security of our users, we request that conversations be kept on site. This helps us to prevent fraud by being able to stop communications once a user has been identified as fraudulent. By taking conversations offsite, you are opening yourself up to fraud, and transactions completed offsite are not eligible for any of the protections Audiogon provides.
Listings by private users may not include email addresses, links to your personal website, or personal phone numbers. If you need assistance with editing your listing, please let us know.
My ad did not include:
links to a personal website
or any phone numbers
It did include language indicating that my items were also available on other popular classified sites and/or eBay; a necessary disclaimer to prevent action against me if I sell the items elsewhere. You should know that if you read eBay ads/auctions . . . . Further, your stated reasons for this policy are specious, since you do not and cannot offer any kind of buyer or seller protection.
Audiogon is a public site which anyone can access. Therefore, I will thank you not to edit my listings in any way without notifying me beforehand, showing cause, and then allowing me to do such editing at my discretion. You have just violated my freedom of speech in a public forum, an actionable violation under the U.S. Constitution First Amendment, which allows me to say whatever I like, with the possible exception of pornography, religious belief, hate speech, or incitement to riot.
If you wish to enforce limits on what Audiogon advertisers can say, then you will have to make Audiogon a "members only" closed website, or otherwise face vigorous prosecution for violation of First Amendment rights, and for Restraint of Trade under the Interstate Commerce Act. Remember, one cannot buy items on eBay, unless one has an eBay account, which makes eBay a "members only" site. As long as Audiogon is opened to the public, please do not attempt to edit my advertisements unless they contain any of the four exceptions to First Amendment rights indicated above.
note: They'll probably try to ban me, in which case I'm going straight to the ACLU. Can you believe this Chutzpah?!
> > You have just violated my freedom of speech in a public forum, an actionable violation under the U.S. Constitution First Amendment, which allows me to say whatever I like, with the possible exception of pornography, religious belief, hate speech, or incitement to riot.
Wrong. Audiogon IS NOT a public forum, it's a private site and your right of speech is NOT protected. It's their sire and they can do whatever they want: allow you to post, not allow you to post, edit your posts, etc.
It's their site, paid with their dime. So you have to play by their rules.
Are you an attorney? You might be right (I hope not ;~) It's my understanding that as long as the site, or more specifically, ALL its contents ), are viewable by the general public, that the FOS rules apply.
The ads are meant to be seen by the general public (not just members) in the hopes that the seller's ad will attract the widest possible audience -- Audiogon's only real claim to fame ;~) Which brings me to another point:
On the original site, you could contact a seller through the Agon email system (it was the sellers' option to reveal their personal email address) however, you didn't have to be a member to do so; now you do. To me that makes no sense, as it reduces the potential buyer pool to only Audiogon members -- and of course, not everyone wants to become a member just to be able to contact a seller and/or buy an item! (I wonder if that has crossed their minds?)
I know, eBay is similar; you have to have an account to place a bid. However eBay does not prohibit sellers from publishing their email addresses, phone numbers, or a website address. I'm sure they (eBay) WOULD LIKE TO, but the've already been threatened with enough FOS lawsuits that it's just not worth it to them to have a few sales take place outside of eBay. Instead, eBay uses software to track cancelled auctions and/or bid withdrawals; and if you have too many, they suspend your account ;~)
I think Audiogon have tightened censorship since the changes, and they were pretty good at it before. Of course being a private business it is their prerogative to censor content on their site. Recently there was a forum thread asking "what are your favorite LP covers?" and most replies included attached pictures as well as text responses. I proffered the Blind Faith LP cover (the one of a bare chested young lady holding a futuristic chrome jet in her hands) but DID NOT include a picture of said LP. Audiogon deleted my message nonetheless and next day I received a do not respond reply from Audiogon suggesting my post was offensive and against Audiogon rules. Audiogon the audio prude forum extraordinaire? Who knows? I suspect it's foremost about taking zero risks on anything perceived as a threat to their cash cow, to include anything they think might be controversial to another member. Best I'd stuck to LP cover showing bucolic scene of dappled light woodlands with fully clothed fairies plucking harps.
More expensive doesn't necessarily mean better.
Subject: Re: Unauthorized Contact information in your listings
JUL 10, 2012 | 02:33PM EDT
I will thank you to keep this unauthorized advertising out of your listings in the future.
and my reply . . . . .
"One cannot buy or sell items on Audiogon unless they have an Audiogon account, therefore Audiogon is NOT a public website"
I know what you're saying Shannon; eBay is just the same, however the general public still has access to all materials on the site, which puts it in the public domain. As such, you are forbidden to tamper with, or censor any individual's material unless you are willing to restrict site access from the general public, as with pay porno sites for example.
EBay has even stronger terms/policies than Audiogon, but they have tested this issue (believe me!) and now only "suggest" that buyers and sellers follow eBay policies; they cannot ( and do not !) alter/remove ad content, nor can they prevent members from exchanging private email addresses. They CAN suspend members' accounts, but except for repeated and aggressive violations, they don't. Why? Well, for two reasons: first, they don't want to discourage people from signing up and transacting business on eBay; that would really kill profits ! And second, eBay has already tested the First Amendment issue and found they'd be on very shaky ground as long as anyone can see the site and read the copy, (even if they don't have an account.)
As much as Audiogon (and eBay ;~) would like to control all activity on their sites in order to protect profits, it's just not possible; unless perhaps you were only to list the ad/auction titles publicly, and put the rest of the content behind a password; otherwise, you just can't do it. Sometimes Shannon, our personal, intuitive understandings of legal matters just don't hold up to professional scrutiny. I suggest Audiogon should consult council. Not only about the First Amendment issues, but also regarding your making claims that Audiogon can somehow protect its members' from fraud, and referee customer transactions (to make sure everybody behaves themselves? ;~) You are opening yourselves up to huge liability exposure by making such exaggerated claims about your 'protective' services. And my legal council agrees. Some profits are just going to leak out. eBay has accepted that fact, and so should Audiogon.
Like I said, my ad copy did not include:
1. email addresses, private or commercial
2. links to any public or personal websites
3. or any phone numbers, private or commercial
So in the future, please don't mess with my ad copy without conferring with me first.
who have found ourselves in the same place as you but had not the time or stamina to question the "authority" of Audiogon.
And my 2 cents: I have been a AA member for some years, and have tried to sell on both the AAT and Audiogon at the same time. They are not the same market audience I have come to believe.
Thank you, again, for your efforts.
That is a great response and likely very legal in its POWER.
I don't think they had to change everything quite so drastically nor do I understand why the Asylum Trader doesn't attract more buyers. The first part was explained to me by an aplogetic yet firm message from a site administrator/watcher. She (that's already a mild disconnect) said that the old site's platform antiquated and that there was no room for growth!
The second part of this quandry is really baffling. The asylum trader is a much freer, in multiple senses of the word, market. There isn't the intrusive "gimme my cut of the action" that the business site's seem to require or want anyway.
The Agon change had to have a profit motive or they were just really bored. I cast my vote for greed but it could be part stupidity. I would have checked their old site multiple times by now, I haven't once today and don't have any desire to.
They must realize by now, they did something wrong but are completely unwilling to admit it. They should cut their losses fire the people who came up with idea and return to the old platform. Evidently they can't which is another stupid thing to do. Undoubtedly they hired consultants in this effort and there is no problem a consultant can't make worse.
still the only game in town. About two months ago I listed my Nola Boxer loudspeakers and Nordost Heimdall speaker cables on both Audiogon and AA classifieds. Sold both on Audiogon and not a nibble on AA. Go figure.
In fact, Audiogon is still the premier place to buy and sell, whether we like it or not. Part of the 'hate' is just getting familiar with the new format. I'm not saying it's any better but the fact remains, I can sell my stuff there in a very reasonable amount of time.
It's THE place to sell headphones or headphone amps.
But I've sold other stuff there.
It's a very popular site, lots of eyeballs there.
"Lock up when you're done and don't touch the piano."
-Dr. Greg House
I think you have to have a few posts as a member before you can place ads.
Nsgarch, My hat is off to you.
I recently came here from Audiogon.
If more GONER"s responded as you did ,possibly their attitude would change or maybe we should ALL just bite the bullet and leave Audigon.
I don't agree with all the changes that Audiogon has made, but they are still #1. I've posted items for sale in Asylum Trader and on other forums boards that I frequent. Smaller items/accessories at or under $100 will usually sell on these formats. Any equipment will just languish unsold.
I listed a VPI Scoutmaster for sale here and it didn't move after a week. I postd it on Audiogon and it was sold in less than 24 hours. Same thing with a Ray Samuels Nighthawk. Like it or not, Audiogon appears to reach a seller's target audience much better than these internet forums do.
"religion is the opiate of the masses"
I posted a Bryston 4B here, let it run for two weeks and got no offers.
When I posted it on Audiogon it sold in 1 hour.
I will continue to list everything I sell on the Asylum first.
reelsmith's axiom: Its going to be used equipment when I sell it, so it may as well be used equipment when I buy it.
If many of us would post here first and give it a couple weeks before going elsewhere it would improve the traffic here and the sales to where it may replace the gon. I don't understand why they tried to kill their system.
CAM has announced an operation for the US. Should be another good outlet.
But for the higher end gear, a marketplace needs to be developed before the gon is replaced.
Yeah, that pretty much mirrors my experience. I think the Scoutmaster sold in under 6 hours and the Nighthawk sold in less than 2 hours. Both times I had money transferred via Paypal within 24 hours of the listing.
"religion is the opiate of the masses"
I've had about 10 ads running since shortly after the agon debacle. No, it doesn't compare to agon but it's a start.
As bad as Audiogon is it's still the best game out there. You would think someone with money to Invest would jump into the game but so far that hasn't happened.
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