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Sales, Swaps, Auction & Approvals/Approvals Disc. : Why Stamporama Approval Books are definitely NOT stores.

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
30 Sep 2016
09:24:13pm
Why Stamporama (SOR) Approval Books are definitely NOT stores:

Some have implied in some of the posts in the past that approval Books are de facto stores...WRONG!
If you have ever gone through an older book sitting on the shelves or even a recent book that is partially depleted, you KNOW it is NOT a store. The whole process of picking stamps from such a book is depressingly frustrating and complicated, and you cannot search and find the stamps you want in any other way than going page by page looking at the scans, and when you have found one you want, you must next go find out if it is available or if it is already sold. (This may explain a lot about the pattern of sales in Approvals, Jansimon).

The design of the SOR Approval Book platform was deliberately set in order NOT to provide a store-like platform. If one wanted a store, the design would have been quite different! And the 1 year cutoff impacts this as well. As a matter of fact, most Approval Book sellers will not keep their books active over the 4-6 month period.


So why no stores?
I think that this has been well answered, in the discussion that Jansimon started on statistics for Approvals.:

Quote:

""So I have a question: What is it that some dislike about "stores" ?
Are there a few pros and cons that can be explained easily ?"

The answer is simple as to those who do not want stores here. Adding stores, adding anything to the sales platform for that matter, is seen by opponents as an over-commercialization of Stamporama, and not in line with the original premise of the site.

"Adding stores ... is seen by opponents as an over-commercialization of Stamporama, and not in line with the original premise of the site."
Very well said.
"




BUT WILL another sales platform such as a store detract further from the other features and activities of SOR, that some (including myself) want to promote?


Selling and Buying is already a big activity and I did not feel it needs more emphasis. ( I remember that we did have such a HEATED DISCUSSION in the past, as I was lamenting the lack of articles, studies etc...)
But more selling does NOT necessarily impact the rest of Stamporama, or does it...I venture to guess that there is no evidence to it?

Quote:

""""EDITED, from Deleted 5/27/2016 initial post: This is probably going to be a bit controversial but I think it merits a discussion.

I have noticed, as of late, that the Discussion Board has been dominated by messages having to do with selling and buying activity, and has been delinquent and lagging behind on discussion related to Philately, Education and Research.
Now I know we are going through a number of transitions and are in the middle of an education campaign to resolve a number of issues the selling and trading platforms have experienced...
But I am afraid that we are shifting too much emphasis on the commercial aspects of the site, and not paying attention to other aspects of Philately. Yes trading, buying and selling are important, but ....so are other Philatelic Club activities (in my opinion).
I do think we need to take a step back from the DB selling and think about the other content of our Discussion Board.
"



So NOW some additional comments with a bit of retrospect, after some personal experience: I think NOT. And I should know, because I have tried to get out of all selling and buying activities for a little while and to try to shift gear (as suggested by some) to writing articles about various philatelic subjects (see my multiple part series on: Stamps of the French Mandate Area for Syria and Lebanon.
https://stamporama.com/discboard/disc_main.php?action=20&id=15410#115813 for the last part).

The response has NOT been encouraging to a writer or researcher, based on the number of views, the comments, the active participation with additional information or even just from the encouragement stand point (number of "Likes")! (It could have been my choice of topic, in this case pretty specialized, and yet no curious people?... yet it is a fact I noted that few cared!).
I also recall the lack of feedback Mitch "AntoniusRa" daily pages were getting, and he commented about it when he thought no one cared....and yet they are such a terrific contribution to this site.

So let me add here that POSITIVE FEEDBACK and COMMENTS are very important to those who contribute their time and effort in the non commercial aspects of SOR, and without your encouragements and "two-cents", it will not expand easily! But I doubt that selling activity adds or detracts to this aspect of SOR

I think that a store will do nothing to it, positively or negatively!

And while I don't personally see any point to a separate store platform at SOR, I do think we do need a separate platform of some sort to sell, buy and trade better (higher valued) stamps, and I will return to the topic one day, as I see it as important to the more advanced collectors here, just like Approval Books was important to those filling many voids at the lower stamp value price end. ( But let us leave it to another topic at some other time ).

rrr... (still jet-lagging, but almost caught up)



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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
30 Sep 2016
11:53:45pm
re: Why Stamporama Approval Books are definitely NOT stores.

One problem with the articles is that there is no index to easily find an article, such as a topical table of contents. The articles are merely arranged from newest to oldest. Also, some articles are actually procedures for using the system, and some may be in conflict with tutorials or certain platform use rules.

If I may offer a suggestion, you could take a look at the long list of articles and get with Tim and the other Ralph (who is the articles administrator) and develop a way for everyone to easily find/access articles, and see if any of the procedural ones could be deleted for being outdated or superseded by posted rules/procedures elsewhere on the site.

I think that would be much more beneficial to everyone here to do something like that rather than complaining that someone misspelled the name of a country, and constantly dredging up the same trivial matters by writing huge missives every six months about the sales platforms and calling them problems when the platforms are actually working fine.

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01 Oct 2016
02:07:48am
re: Why Stamporama Approval Books are definitely NOT stores.

An indexing project was started and is still available for anyone who wants to volunteer to help index the discussion board, articles and publications. A few offered their assistance but the index project went into a stall. It would be fantastic to have individuals volunteer to assist in indexing.

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
01 Oct 2016
04:23:53am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Why Stamporama Approval Books are definitely NOT stores.

ARTICLES:-

It may be a lot easier, and encouraging to members, if the article writer stated in the title what country(s) they were writing about, and the search facility had a "Keyword" section. Therefore if, for example, the keyword was "France" all the Article titles that contained the word "France" would pop up and then I would not have to scroll/guess what any article was about, as I currently have to do.

INVOLVEMENT:-

Members get out of Stamporama what they want.
Some will be active in all areas,
Some will be active in a few,
Some will be active not at all.

We will have the hyper-active/dictatorial/experienced to the very shy/introvert/beginner.

The main reason for some members thinking that there is insufficient involvement is simple and straight forward:- WE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH MEMBERS.

Every time I log on to this site I look at the number of "visitors on line". I have only ever seen it register 60 as the highest, (10 for the lowest).


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Soundcrest
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01 Oct 2016
06:39:14am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Why Stamporama Approval Books are definitely NOT stores.

My reason for thinking we could use another way to list higher priced material is based on my own observations of my auctions. It is a known fact (unless this site has buyers who are radically different than every other site) that for the most part there are two groups of buyers (actually 3 but it doesn't matter for SOR) The first is the auction buyer. They are very happy to place a bid or multiple bids on an item throughout the week. Auctions tend to be a little less expensive than stores or on this site approval books. They want a bargain if they can get it. Approval buyers don't want to get into the auction aspect as they WANT the stamp. They don't want to take a chance that they won't get it and they want to know exactly what they are going to pay for something. Yes, we have a buy it now feature but I'm not sure that it generates that much more in sales. To be honest I have not tried it in awhile, but since the higher priced stamps get zero views, it's probably not worth the effort (and the correcting when I forget to change it from listing to listing). Because there are 2 different groups, auctions that have a starting bid of more than a dollar or two, at least for my stamps, get no views. Since the prices are very reasonable at my auctions, my thinking is that the approval buyers would be the ones that might buy the stamp IF it wasn't at auction. With a 24 page book limit, you really can't take up a page with one stamp, so auction is the only way to go. Now if the books were to expand, and programming might be impossible for that, then you would not need a platform for higher priced material, you would just extend it out in the book. The third type of buyer? These are the bargaining type. The "let me make you an offer" group. An interesting bunch that should not be overlooked. You can generate a lot of sales with them. If we were to ever have a storefront kind of thing, that is something that should be implemented.

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
01 Oct 2016
09:15:50am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Why Stamporama Approval Books are definitely NOT stores.

Due to the lack of bids on my auctions, from today ALL auction lots listed from today will be as Buy It Now. (The auction price will be the same as the BIN price. This is in case any member just has their search set as auction only).

It appears that most auction lots do not attract bids or there is just the one bidder.
The conclusion I have drawn from this is that this happens due to the small membership we have.

Higher priced items should have a "seperate" listing time other than the 14 days. It would have to be at least five weeks. This would ensure that the item would be available during a month end, to allow at least one monthly pay day to occur during the listing time.

A new "Premier" auction platform could be introduced by duplicating the current auction platform but put in new limits re price, time, no of relists etc. etc.

If this is too much work or there is insufficient server space to accommodate this then it would be no loss.

REMEMBER you can alter the price band in the auction search facility. If you want to see what higher priced items there are in say "France" then change the Search parameters to "Keyword", type in France, enter the price band say $5.00, press refresh and hey presto all France items at $5.00 and above come up.

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
01 Oct 2016
12:42:44pm
re: Why Stamporama Approval Books are definitely NOT stores.

Quote:

"I think that would be much more beneficial to everyone here to do something like that rather than complaining that someone misspelled the name of a country, and constantly dredging up the same trivial matters by writing huge missives every six months about the sales platforms and calling them problems when the platforms are actually working fine.
"



Michael: I do take exception to this portion of the post. Do you have anyone in mind? Are you now deciding what can and cannot be discussed, and how it should be worded? And where do you see sales platforms being called problems, now? And noting an error is not complaining by my definition, unless you want to see it negatively. I should call the Moderator Big Grin to look at this very personal hurtful comment! (and he can edit this out as well).

Re:
Quote:

" To sell, buy and trade better (higher valued) stamps, and I will return to the topic one day, as I see it as important to the more advanced collectors here, just like Approval Books was important to those filling many voids at the lower stamp value price end. ( But let us leave it to another topic at some other time )."



Greg and Ian: I agree 100% to what you are saying. We do NOT have the adequate sales platform for selling or buying Better Stamps at SOR (higher valued), given the number of active members or the platforms we have. We can either increase the number of active members, try to adapt the platforms to handle them, or create a brand new platform. I had made in the past such a suggestion for a Better Stamp Marketplace (BSM) to the SOR managing board, but it was not accepted in the form it was made. Been thinking a lot about it, but I am not ready to re-visit it yet without a concrete alternative.
So I was hoping to leave this subject off the table for now, as I indicated at the end of my LONG At Wits Endpost.
Should you want to open it up to discussion I would suggest you tackle it under its own Discussion Board Subject Heading...just a suggestion to be able to find it more easily in the future.

rrr...

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keesindy
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01 Oct 2016
01:12:24pm
re: Why Stamporama Approval Books are definitely NOT stores.

Ralph, I have to agree with you re the lack of response to your articles. I often don't have (or take) time to respond to such contributions, but I think I do a pretty good job of including my "likes" to your contributions and the contributions of others here. I'm frequently surprised by how few members bother to even take that simple step. It's not an encouraging sign for the SoR membership when something as simple as leaving a "Like" for worthwhile contributions is too much trouble.

Tom

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sheepshanks
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01 Oct 2016
01:40:12pm
re: Why Stamporama Approval Books are definitely NOT stores.

Quote:

"as simple as leaving a "Like""


Not sure that it is about it being simple, it is a Facebook / social media site thing that a lot of us older generation are not comfortable with.
If the "like" button was not there how many of us would take the time to actually write "thanks that was ... (superlative of choice here).
Being of the old school I still use a fountain pen to write letters and did so only recently when I retired from work and penned a thank you note to my colleagues.
Hitting a like button, to me, is an easy way out and really becomes meaningless after a while. Folks tend to like things even without reading them, just an automatic reaction from some.
Maybe the button should also record who liked the article and perhaps to be fair we should have a "dislike" button.

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
01 Oct 2016
03:37:16pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Why Stamporama Approval Books are definitely NOT stores.

Quote:

"Maybe the button should also record who liked the article and perhaps to be fair we should have a "dislike" button. "



Please can we avoid this hoary old chestnut again?


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Soundcrest
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01 Oct 2016
04:27:45pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Why Stamporama Approval Books are definitely NOT stores.

Ian I don't know if its the small membership as at least for me, my auctions get only one bid no matter what site. One would then think that if you are only getting one bid, raise the opening bid, but I have never operated that way. I think its because of 2 things - a decreasing number of stamp collectors, primarily because the younger generations don;t have a lot of interest (except maybe in China) and secondly, you can't eat stamps. The economy for many did and continues to leave for msny little money to spend outside what they need to live. The remaining money can be spent on a lot of different things but not as MANY things as it once could be spent on. If the choice is a bunch of stamps or dinner out with your spouse, I think a lot of folks will choose dinner (as will most of their spouses). Things have gotten better, no doubt about it but as a seller of many different kinds of things (stamps, vinyl, books and now postcards) I am constantly tweaking the way I sell and what I sell. I never got into the online selling thing to make a ton of money. Good thing. It does occupy a lot of time its true, but I enjoy it and how many people can really say they enjoy what they do?

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