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Sales, Swaps, Auction & Approvals/Approvals Disc. : Buyers Leaving ?

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cardstamp
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02 Sep 2017
01:38:24pm

Approvals
In the past 2 weeks - I have had two long time buyers (one that is well known to most sellers) tell me that they are no longer buying stamps from the approval books here. They seem to say they have had some negative experiences lately with some of the sellers. In addition, I have noticed that several other of the buyers who used to select stamps from my books are no longer doing so. On top of that - I have checked I have not had a brand new buyer for the past couple of months - just the repeaters. So I am not sure what to make of this ? Have any other sellers experienced anything similar ? Maybe it has been just a summer slow down ! Steve
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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
02 Sep 2017
02:59:22pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

I have had no buyers contact me regarding any problems with sellers in quite some time.

When someone does leave and doesn't report a problem seller/buyer, they leave the problem behind for others to have to contend with. It would make more sense to report the problem so that it can be properly addressed to make things better for everyone here. However, that requires communication, something that unfortunately some people refuse to do and which is the cause of a large percentage of the problems encountered in the sales area.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
02 Sep 2017
03:43:30pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Michael's response is on the money.

tough to deal with unidentified third parties with unspecified dissatisfactions.

worse, if cardstamp's commentary is correct, said third party is generalizing a problem from one or more approval sellers to the rest of us. I, for one, am, well, some unspecified something.

David

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Benque
02 Sep 2017
04:25:28pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Hey! Don't worry, I'll be back!

Some buyers simply have personal reasons, completely unrelated to the seller, for pausing in their buying.

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copy55555
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02 Sep 2017
05:02:43pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

So, now with my two cents worth as a buyer from approval books. I have fairly limited interests = mainly used US and Canada.

Recently, I made a large purchase (number of stamps not $$) from a dealer offering several approval books of used US stamps, mainly post 1980 used singles and a few multiples. The total number of items was about 160. I selected several entire pages because I still do not have an accurate wantlist. Relied on memory. Most were minimum value commems. Out of this total more than 60% ended up going to the Holocaust Project. The used stamps were plagued with thins, tears, creases, perf problems, etc. I received one used self-adhesive that was tissue thin and you could actually see through it. Most of the more recent SEs were thinned to some degree. Would have been better to leave them on the paper. I contacted the seller before I received the shipment because I noticed that one of his books had two identical pages and I had purchased the same stamp on both pages. I was told that the pages were mostly representative and he would be glad to credit me if I didn't want both. The amount involved wasn't worth the hassle. Anyway, I decided not to complain, just not to make any additional purchases from that person.

Experiences with all other sellers have been mainly positive. For me, it is easier to just not visit a store that doesn't provide a positive experience.

Tad

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Soundcrest
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02 Sep 2017
05:15:57pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

I have noticed a drop off but besides the person that you mentioned Steve, almost all my regular buyers are still active. I have had a couple of new people both for approvals and auctions. I also wonder if it is the make up of the books. I could just be creating books for countries no one collects. I have always thought that there is a subset of buyers here that will not buy from dealers, only other collectors. I say that because at least in auctions, there re people buying penny auction items from others who have not ever bought a stamp from me. I have thought of cutting back the books each week and increasing the auctions. The books always have the added problem of what to do when they are a couple of months old. If a 125 stamp book has 90 stamps left, you need to restock it and maybe then it still won't sell - but you will have put in a lot of time redoing it. Auctions at least for me don't pose that problem. One and done and if they don't sell, they are moved easily.

Greg

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cardstamp
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02 Sep 2017
06:04:05pm

Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

I now have a stack of old approval books almost 3 feet high with all of the leftovers. It is a real mess to figure out what I could do with them. I occasionally have taken some of them and merged the leftover stamps into new books when I had more of the same to sell. The ones from a few years ago may be of interest to some of the newer buyers who came later but it would be repeat material for others. I would have to re-do the books to make them whole again. I feel like I have created a Frankenstein Monster !
I did have 2 regular buyers tell me they are no longer buying for various reasons. A few of my regulars stopped buying from me - but I see they are still buying - so perhaps I just have not had anything that interests them.
Bottom line for me - I just will do less books for awhile and figure out what I can do with my monster. I will probably need to pull stamps out and move them one by one to Hipstamp - which is another beast - altogether !
Steve

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Soundcrest
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02 Sep 2017
06:30:56pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

I know what you mean about Hipstamp. I don't put as much there as I should as I spend more time here and on ebay with things other than stamps. Thing is if you cut back here, what do you cut back on approvals wise?

I too have a lot of older books and in fact, I'm running a sale, something I rarely do. Yet not a single stamp sold so far. Could be the countries involved everyone already has, but I really think its more of the "dealers don't belong here" thing that is going on. For now, I won't change anything. Summer could have been part of the downturn. We'll see what happens in the fall. Truth be told, the sales money just pays for other auction lots, so if the books aren't selling, I won;t be buying new. I have enough for 4-5 months so its not a big deal

Greg

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Soundcrest
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02 Sep 2017
06:41:22pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Then too, I just did a check on the two people who were regulars that have not bought anything from me since August 1. One hasn't bought anything from anyone, and the other, not in almost three weeks. For that one, and we know its the same person, the amount he was spending weekly was staggering. At some point he has to be taking time off just to put stamps in his collection! The problem is with that buyer, he only buys from current books so unless you rework the book, and I have done this as proof, he is not going to check them. Also no new books seem to be selling that well, not the 60% gone the first weekend that I was used to seeing.

Greg

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
02 Sep 2017
07:30:57pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

You may find that it is just the time of year.

OR

The quality of stamps being offered is not good enough
e.g. Take the current lots under the category of Germany. Yesterday there were listed some 1000+ lots on offer, (more than the U.S.A. category) the majority being in the 4 to 10 cents range. i.e. very very common stamps which at that price should be in the Approvals section:- that is what the Approval section was designed for!!

OR

Buyers maybe fed up seeing the same items. (Should the three times the scan can be used be re- introduced?) I try to adhere to it but I am just human and mistakes can be made.

OR

Should the listing times be reduced. e.g. A stamp selling at 5 cents (and less) can currently be listed in the Auctions for 42 days. Should this be reduced to 28 days?

OR

We need to get more members!

Personally, I remove my Approval Books after approx. six weeks as Sales from anything older are non existent. Who is going to trawl through a book that is only 50% - 25% complete, especially if it is 20+ pages long. A little and often is my motto.





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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
02 Sep 2017
07:35:56pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Cardstamp.

You could always put the old approval books into a couple of boxes and put them into your local auction house. You may be surprised at what you get for them!!

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snowy12
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02 Sep 2017
07:37:19pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

I have had the same thing happen a regular buyer of my auction/approvals informed me the other day that he had stopped buying off SOR after a few bad experiences.
As was mentioned earlier if complaints were made to the auction/ approvals moderators I am sure something would be done ,but if they don't know ??
They really need to be told of problems so they can be fixed.We need to weed out any bad apples to keep this wonderful site running smoothly
That's IMHO
Brian

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smaier
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Sally
02 Sep 2017
08:07:27pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

All the buyers can't be leaving because although I try to check the approvals daily, the last couple of books where I would have bought a substantial number of the stamps, I was too late and the book was mostly gone.

I too have fairly narrow active collecting interests and really only check US and Canada (unless I am buying something, then I will check all the other books from the same seller).

I haven't had a bad experience yet when buying from the Approvals. But I am very selective - I check the terms of sale and look closely at the presentation. If I cannot see the stamps clearly (taped or cloudy vario pages) or if the stamps are obviously damaged, I won't buy anything.

Having dealers here doesn't bother me. I can always exclude someone's sales from the list. The problem for me is that I usually see just one or two things I would like and it just isn't worth the shipping for that.

Sally

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
02 Sep 2017
10:28:47pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

People tend to slow down with the hobbies when it gets to the last month of summer. They have to think about getting school supplies and new clothes for their children. End of summer vacations also take place. This year, people became focused on the eclipse with many taking a trip to go see it. That took time and money. Now, the weather has knocked out many people from buying as they have to make repairs and take care of other personal needs.

It could also be a saturated market. As of this moment there are 1,176 active approval books. That's plenty of choice for a small number of buyers. That means that their money is spread out over more books and don't forget that the auctions will take some of that money away as well.

Someone stated that we need new members. That would certainly help. We have been clearing out the member database to close out the member accounts of those who no longer want to be members here. If you know someone like that, try to get them to return. All they have to do is log in to reactivate their membership. When we started the clean-up, we had almost 4,000 active members. No one actually thought that was a good indicator of the truly active members.

After a few weeks, our membership is at 3,338, and it is expected to continue to decline for a while longer. The lowest estimate for when this bottoms out is that the true active membership will be around 2,000.

By active, I mean those who log in to the site. That does not mean that they are posting, selling or buying. They just hang around. That's fine. It's their choice, and hopefully they are learning things to increase their enjoyment of the hobby. My personal thoughts as to how many people are regularly participating on this site through posting, buying and selling is probably less than 200, with most of those doing so in the sales area.

So, sellers, remember that you have a small audience for your product. Persistently relisting auction lots and re-configuring approval books with basically the same stamps from the previous book(s), the buyers for the most part have seen it all. You are competing for a small pot of money. An over-abundance of sellers and a shortage of buyers is probably more in line of what is happening here, and on other sites like HipStamp.

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Richmond
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RICHMOND FC PREMIERS 2017
03 Sep 2017
01:29:51am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

None of the comments above seem to take into account new members. Being a new member I have tried my best to trawl through the majority of the books, I collect WW to 1970 but, at this time, am more interested in MNH with some Mint. If you start removing stamps then you are missing out on the new member market.

Some sellers have actually advised me that they do not sell MNH so I don't waste my time trawling through those books (at this time).

Another issue is some of the books or sellers may offer very little of what you are interested in - recently I jumped into some quick purchases and then realised I could only find about 5 stamps from the aggregate of the sellers books. This means I am now paying less than $1.00 for stamps and treble that in PP.

I think there are two issues

1, We (the existing Stamporama members) need to attract more members (buyers and sellers).

2, Can we improve the approval system?; this is difficult as it would require knowledgeable members to dedicate their spare time to improve on an existing workable system to placate the sellers. Maybe this is incumbent on the sellers.

Finally, I am new to the various stamp forums, however this is without doubt the best forum I have located as it fulfils all the following:
a great database of knowledge
helpful members
diverse range of stamps
system which allows easy purchase of multiple stamps from single sellers
reasonable prices
dealing with, in my limited experience, honest sellers.

Personally I am very nervous about having to purchase stamps from ebay.

Regards


Richmond

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bobstew617
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03 Sep 2017
08:09:17am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

I have to admit that this past year, I have moved more of my buying over to HipStamp, PLUS I am more involved in my local club now. I have also bought quite a bit from auctions at EPA (Ireland) and AHPS (Swiss) society auctions.

For the most part, like Richmond, I am looking more for MNH singles and sets for the countries I do collect.

I am seeing way too many common stamps in both the auctions and approvals, pulled perfs, and a lot of overpriced US mint sheets (above face?!!)

I will continue to lurk around the auctions and approvals, but I am becoming a lot more picky buying here now.

BOB

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
03 Sep 2017
04:57:00pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

As a reminder, based on what you all have noted: stamps pictured MUST be the stamps offered, not representational. Stamps must NOT have unidentified faults.

For all our benefits, please let us know when these or other rules are broken. You will do your fellow collectors a favor, rather than allowing them to be plagued by the same problems.

David

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angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
04 Sep 2017
11:39:46am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Unless there is a constant stream of new people, I have to believe the market gets saturated.

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philb
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04 Sep 2017
12:28:55pm

Auctions
re: Buyers Leaving ?

i don't know why they should "leave" we are just collectors trying to dispense our duplicates to other collectors, it costs them nothing to browse .

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
04 Sep 2017
08:33:17pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

A couple of thoughts. First, I agree it's summer. Everything slows down.

I buy and sell mainly through the auctions. I have bought from the approvals too. I have not run into anyone objectionable at all. I have limited my view to the USA category.

The problem with the venue overall is that there is no activity. As a buyer there is really nothing interesting to buy. There are extremely common used stamps listed for 3-10 cents each. One seller has 20 of those listed and is asking $1.20 postage for USA. The total of his lots listed don't total $1.20 so nobody will buy.

There are currently 799 items for sale in USA auctions. One seller owns 508 of those and at very high prices. I just went through and he has ONE bid. I know how to limit my view to exclude him, but since the controls on the board are not that obvious, I'll bet a lot of buyers don't know how to work them. Thus, after viewing pages of pages of one sellers high priced stuff, they give up and never return.

That leaves 291 items posted by a variety of sellers. A lot of it is at face value or less, without bids, which tells me there are no viewers. On the items I've listed (you can see the views on your own items) I see a lot of my items had no views, some had one or two views max.

As a buyer in approvals I've noticed where sellers have put a few plums buried in their books to get attention. The buyers here have no problem grabbing just those and nothing else. That's like eating the cherries off all the cupcakes! I've always felt a sense of fairness to place a decent size order when someone has loss leaders.

I am an occasional seller, every few months when I get up the gumption to list 100 or so first day covers. Within the past month, I had 160 items listed for 14 days. I had them priced at the "Buy It Now" price to let people have them immediately since I know there won't be competitive bids. In listing FDCs at a fair 50 cents each I only sold 14 cover for a grand total of $7.60. I've surmised that it's just not worth the effort. And as someone said, I sell to the same small group of buyers every time I list.

So I thought maybe my stuff was not desirable. Then I go to eBay as a buyer and I'm getting outbid on the same type of covers where bids are going in the $2 plus range!

So it's a wicked circle. Without buyers, nobody is going to list good stuff at low opening bids. And without good stuff there won't be any buyers! I don't know the solution.

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Stevo45
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04 Sep 2017
10:08:14pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

mmmmm......

I have hundreds of FDC's, Mini Sheets & Larger items - Can't put 'em in the approvals & the Auctions here don't work for me (All too hard to constantly re-list items) So I have been moving my stamps to my eBid store (Moderator note: Text removed for violation of the external self-promotion rule.) where they can stay until they are sold. Much less work.

When/If Sellers leave - So will the buyers/members.

Some buyers here seem to think that Sellers/Dealers & Stores should not be here ?

Cheers

Steve


(Modified by Moderator on 2017-09-05 00:16:58)

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musicman
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APS #213005
04 Sep 2017
10:18:13pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

I certainly have no problem with the dealers who are here...

...that's one of the things I enjoy about SOR.


However, I don't agree with Stevo's comment that if the sellers leave, so will the members.

I'm a member of this site for as long as I gain knowledge about the hobby, whether there is a sales outlet here or not.

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Stevo45
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05 Sep 2017
12:10:51am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Quote:

"However, I don't agree with Stevo's comment that if the sellers leave, so will the members.

I'm a member of this site for as long as I gain knowledge about the hobby, whether there is a sales outlet here or not."



Yep, fair enough - Good point.

Stevo

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Soundcrest
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05 Sep 2017
04:03:18am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

I know for me, I try to list items that are not the same as everyone else. For auctions I have one buyer who came with me from another site. I am quite lucky to have him as for my penny auctions, he will bid on every one as he hates to see one of my penny stamps go unsold. Another came over from my days as a mixture seller and he buys the backs of my books that no one seems to frequent (the more expensive items). Without those two, with a couple of my other larger buyers not buying, I would have to seriously rethink my time as BenFranklin1902 stated "its not worth the effort". He is also correct about the prices here vs ebay. I can tell you, items that don't sell for 20% CV here, can easily sell for 60% CV on ebay. I don't do relists, as my logic says if the collector isn't interested this week, they probably won't be interested next week either.

I do check from time to time to see if my pricing is competitive. I just checked Germany, a country I rarely list at auction except for some odds and ends, as there is just too much listed here, and I noticed a couple of things. One, there are a lot of stamps there, extremely common selling at a high percentage of catalog. There are a couple of stamps selling at an extremely low percentage of catalog. There are stamps with no catalog number. The are stamps with Yvert catalog numbers. I can't speak for everyone, but for probably 50 years I have had a Scott catalog and while it may not always have been current, it was a couple of years old. If I am buying Germany at auction, I would be looking at catalog values for a stamp I needed. After going through half a dozen or so of what I see there, I would be turned off and not bother to check the rest. As a seller this presents a problem. How is a collector going to find my stamp that sells for a penny, and possibly the same stamp that is selling for much more, if it is buried in hundreds of listings? I have yet to figure that out. You can't say search on catalog number as you might miss one that doesn't put the catalog number in the title. In a way its like searching for something you need in Stampworld, that uses their own numbering system.

I also just did a quick look at auctions ending within 24 hours. Of 514 stamps, 81 have bids. I'm pretty sure that that will be about the final tally, about 16% of the lots. For the most part the bids are from only a couple of people, and these people buy across multiple sellers, myself included. It's not just us experiencing a lack of sales.

Approval books is a whole different story. After 3 years I still can't figure out why some sell, and some don't. I do know that buyers want first crack at a book, and if they don't buy in the first 3-5 days, they don;t look. Time after time I have reworked books and found that buyers who did not get to the book the first 3 days, now buy stamps that were there even three months later. I really don't understand that. The prices did not change. Sales don't work, at least for me, and I am reluctant to mark any stamp already selling at 40% CV or less down to 20%. I don't know the solution to the approval books problem, but it has been the same for probably longer than I have been here.

As far as more members its a tough sell. Just as we cannot self promote here, ebay and Hipstamp does not allow it either (Delcampe and Webstore also probably frown on it as well). That being said, you can't embed a link. I used to send out little paper business cards for Stamporama, but I found that it did not seem to bring any new collectors over. How then do we get new members? I had a collector buy Christmas Seals from me on ebay, and since I have a Christmas Seals book here I sent him an email saying to come over and take a look at us. Nope, never came and joined.

More questions than answers. That't two cents. An interesting way to spend my 3-4AM hour!

Greg

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angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
06 Sep 2017
07:16:58am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

I have never purchased anything through SOR auction or approvals but have been interested. I am focusing on mostly US now to finish out eras and when I went to the US approval section I see mostly used stamps and very common mint US. Given the number of pages per book, it is a lot of looking for some common things. In the auction section, I see a lot of overpriced sheets (IMHO) in the modern era.

I have not given up yet but trying to fill some spaces.

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Soundcrest
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06 Sep 2017
08:47:21am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

It is indeed a very interesting problem on this site. If you think about it in terms of a club where people are selling their duplicates, which I suspect is a large portion of the listings, then what you are going to see I think are a lot of the same stamps, and quite possibly not better ones. This makes sense. What are the chances of me finding a stamp that I need with a higher catalog value within someones duplicates? This is where we dealers SHOULD be providing stamps at a reasonable percentage of catalog. It is the niche we should be filling. Personally from experience, I have found that few stamps sell upwards of 3-4 dollars each, at least for what I list. In my auctions and sales books I try to cover the whole spectrum, at least as much as 24 pages will allow. I ran penny auctions for years on another site mainly to get people into my store. When I brought them here it was to give anyone who wanted a chance to bid on a stamp that may have never done anything like that before, a chance to "try their luck". Obviously I purchase via auction lots to break down and even after doing it for 20 years (bidding that is) it is still exciting even though I snipe everything. You just don't know if you have bid enough. Its fun! For the rest of the Wednesday auctions I try to offer sets and singles in a relatively inexpensive range. Monday nights are usually better lots that did not sell over the weekend. I don't sell much of those here, but the chance to buy a $50 stamp for $10 is out there.

There are numerous venues o purchase stamps and it just might be that people are going elsewhere. I've seen the move from site to site before. Back in the days of Bidstart, people were leaving ebay in droves, and the amount of stamps being listed there probably dropped in half. Ebay slashed their fees and waited it out. When Stanley Gibbons bought Bidstart, the reverse happened. Everyone went back to Ebay. Now it seems to have stabilized with Hipstamp, but still the ability to search for a particular stamp in a store is where the buyer is going to go. If you are looking for a US #619 are you looking at ebay or Hipstamp or are you browsing 105 US books of stamps?

I have heard the anti-storefront argument here, but to keep people buying here I believe it should be explored. No this is not a commercial site but if you go back to the example of a US #619, there needs to be an easier way to find it. You could also expand the sales books by a couple of pages and have the first two pages be a list of the contents by page. It's work for the sellers to be sure, but at least a buyer has to only check 2 pages in 105 books rather than thumb page by page. The problem with that though is so many sellers don't number their stamps. That would be their loss though as I believe that the person looking for specific stamps would not bother with unindexed books. It would have to be simple though like a scan of the sheets used to make up your book. This is how I start my books every week. It would just have to be improved upon a little bit. Below is the sheet for an Indo China book starting Friday

Image Not Found

By scanning the sheet (or photoing it I suppose) you can create an index. For me, it usually is 2 pages. All that is really missing on here is to add the page number in a more legible fashion other than the tiny tally number next to the circled number of items.

Once again, that's my two cents!

Greg



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TuskenRaider
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06 Sep 2017
09:57:09am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Hi Everyone;

Some great ideas Greg, and thanks for taking the time to post them.

I think Tim may have to look into the possibility of making the text associated with the "buy button" as a searchable piece of data.

If it were searchable, many more buyers would try to include those numbers. The numbers could even have suffixes with a two letter code for which catalog the numbers are from. For example Scott = 103-SC, Stanley Gibbons = 536-SG, Michels = 733-MI, Yverts = 615-YV and so on.

Just my 2¢....
TuskenRaider

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sheepshanks
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06 Sep 2017
12:38:29pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Just my two pennyworth, I like the idea of an index page but am not sure that the extra work involved in correctly identifying stamps by catalogue numbers would be justified for a stamp selling for a few cents. Maybe ok for bigger ticket items.
As an example I recently put up four books with 1006 items for a number of countries. To have properly identified and numbered these would have taken days.
By the time I had sorted into a reasonable order, scanned and uploaded these, probably minimum of 30 hours. Not taking into account the previous sorting and soaking. Sales have been slightly over 350, generating maybe $25.
I'm not complaining, I'm retired and will never get to mount all the stamps I have and am happy to pass on those countries not in my interests. What gets left over will be lumped together and put up on that other site as a bulk lot by country for whatever someone is willing to pay, usually very little.
Catalogue numbers for stamps in the auctions should be the norm and might relieve that part of cheaper stamps which should, in my opinion, be in approvals.
Ah well back to the soaking.

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Soundcrest
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06 Sep 2017
04:38:04pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

I think the index page would be optional. For the most part I put catalog numbers on my stamps and once spent hours doing a 5 cent book (for the most part) which in the end generated less than $5. Yet, I put no catalog numbers on a book of 300 or so and it just about sold out. It makes no sense to me and I've stopped trying to figure which is better. For me its no extra work IF you can scan a page like I did in my post and put it in the front. To enter all the information manually is doing double the work, entering the information in two places. If the stamp field was searchable it would probably help find stamps though you would more than likely have to search within each book. That being the case, I would think its a lot less work programming wise to add 2-4 pages for an index rather than searching by book entering info into a search field. Maybe I'm wrong and it is something easy to accomplish. Again, it should not be a mandatory thing to put the catalog numbers into a book. It does take time. For me the average book takes 3 hours or so start to finish, maybe a little more depending on the country. If I am consolidating books and adding to it, it takes longer.

Greg

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
06 Sep 2017
06:55:28pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Quote:

" In the auction section, I see a lot of overpriced sheets (IMHO) in the modern era."



Yup, that's the seller I mentioned had 508 of these listings active. Once someone wades through a few pages of this, they leave auctions forever!

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
06 Sep 2017
08:08:20pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Catalogue numbers???

Which Catalogue?? Scott? Gibbons? Yvert? Michel? etc etc etc?

As we are an online club, with members from around the world, should we not use an online catalogue like Stampworld.com. Therefore every seller would be using the same/latest up to date information.

The PROBLEM is separating the wheat from the chaff.

What is wheat? What is chaff? One mans meat is another mans poison.

The main problem is the amount of cheap stamps in the auctions. My personal opinion is that there should be nothing under 15 cents in the auctions, with the 20% reduction per repeat listing removed with only a total of 28 to 30 days per item.

Approvals are meant for the cheaper stamps and to expect sellers to put cat nos for each book (a book has to have a minimum of 100 stamps) is just *********(speechless)!

An index page with Scott Nos is totally meaningless for some buyers.

You will sell your items in the approvals, if you put up stamps that the buyers want at that particular week/day/hour/minute/second, and price/country.




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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
06 Sep 2017
08:51:17pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

I have refrained from answering this thread until now, because I really wanted to hear other people's thoughts.
Now for my 2 cents.

The Approval Books platform was created almost 4 years ago to provide SOR collectors a place to dispose of their duplicated, trade with fellow collectors, and fill those pesky slots that (especially at the low price end) they could not buy efficiently elsewhere.
The system was designed to be simple and to put as few restrictions as possible. This would encourage all to list stamps for fellow collectors, at reasonable prices, and without too many restrictions for seller or buyers alike. With time, some sellers displeased with auctions, also started to list higher valued stamps on Approvals and we also generally relaxed some rules or refused to tighten rules that would have made Approvals better.
Yet we still have listed auction items at 5c or less, so Approval did not really succeed in culling out the low cost stamps from the Auction platform, as was hoped for.

We learned a lot in the last 4 years, but we have hardly implemented any changes at all.
I think it may be time to review Auctions, Approvals, how the two fit together, and more specifically our rules. I have repeatedly heard...if it ain't broken, don't fix it! Well it may not be broken, but it needs another look, or buyers and sellers will migrate elsewhere, as some have!

Some general remarks:
No buyer wants to go through 20 pages of Approval stamps listed in random order, with no identifying information, when 40%-50% of the stamps have already be sold, and the book stays on for a year!
There may be room for books with less than 100 stamps, as long as they are MNH and/or more high valued. This could be designed to be part of Approvals.
Automatic retirements of book should be tightened. Books with NO sales for 2(?) month should be taken off permanently, no matter the percentage sold, unless prices were reduced. Automatic price reductions of all items could be implemented (20%?). Books with 70%(?) or more sold should be retired automatically after 1(?) month with no sales. This can be easily automated.
Books should be better organized. While I like adding year/cat #s I know it is a lot of work, and would discourage sellers. But organizing books by grouping, or some sort of order (years, chronological etc...) would be a major plus, and could be asked. Indexing the content (better organized for indexing) could be asked as well....
I hate to regulate pricing, but some sellers over price their stamps. Some under-price them too! Some price one stamp per page, instead of relying on Auctions to sell individual stamps! Should we have some better guidelines and rules? Should we impose a minimum number of stamps per page? How do we handle exceptions?
Billing is an issue in my view. You can accumulate lots of stamps in Approvals, and your shipping costs are still high relative to purchases. Maybe Approvals sellers should only bill on a different schedule than auctions or commercial sites, (like monthly), or above a minimum purchase ($5-10?) giving buyers better chances to buy?
There is a need at SOR for a platform to sell BETTER STAMPS. I promoted this idea some time ago, and worked quite a bit on conceptualize how it could be done, via Approvals or some other platform, but Management did not feel the effort was worth it for SOR. Neither Approval, nor Auctions as they exist today, are proper solutions, for selling better stamps, so people complain that there are too many cheap common stamps.
Finally, stamps should not have un-noted defects, and we could be aggressive in assuring that this rule is respected, by providing tighter rules, and a reporting system?

We have learned a lot in the past 4 years. Approvals is a pioneering platform, unseen elsewhere...so we opened new grounds and established the rules, but it is not perfect..not by a long shot. we are approaching our 10,000th book...so we know a thing or two!
By design, Approvals was left with initial conceptual issues, as some conflict areas could not be bridged when the developing task force that worked on it got deadlocked.
It also maxed out our software developper time requirements..it was not easy.. (Thanks Tim..it is superb) and left other SOR urgent needs behind. The current product is a compromise solution which has been static more or less for 4 years, and I have not asked for any major improvements or major changes, given all the above. But it needs them.

It may be time to take a NEW look at Approvals, and at the relationship between Approvals and Auctions. We are not a commercial site. We can implement what is best for the members.

It may be time to put together a development team to discuss what can and should be done. Any first crack at a new product is never perfect...and this one, after 4 years and 10,000 books is in need of another look, possibly in conjunction with Auctions, and possibly providing a modified place for a Better Stamps platform. Also SOR may wish to look at some other policies changes, related to billing and payments.


It is for Management to decide if they want to prioritize program changes or not, and upgrade what we have. We are a volunteer organization of Collectors, and we rely on dedicated volunteers. It is always hard to implement changes, and the general membership has in the past objected to most changes proposed. So I leave the question open, but it is my perception.

Meanwhile as Past Moderator, and current Temporary Moderator since Theresa left, I need someone new to step in and Moderate the day to day activity. Luckily it has gotten A LOT easier. Please contact me, or the Management Team if you are interested in volunteering your time. This may free me to work with a development team on some modifications to the platform that will insure that what we have learned in the past can now get implemented. Or to take a break, as I will be traveling a fair amount as of mid October, and will not be able to continue moderating all by myself.

rrr...

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
06 Sep 2017
09:13:44pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Since Ralph has brought things up, as Auctioneer, it is my task to handle and try to resolve disputes between buyers and sellers on both the auctions and approvals. The vast majority of disputes involve non-payment by buyers, with a few non-shipments by sellers.

Some of the rules for the auctions also apply to the approvals. Here is one example as stated by Ralph:

Quote:

"Finally, stamps should not have un-noted defects, and we could be aggressive in assuring that this rule is respected, by providing tighter rules, and a reporting system?"



I have stated several times in the Discussion Board that if a seller does not disclose any defects on a stamp listing, then that stamp is considered to be in sound condition without any defects. I have also warned sellers that selling stamps with defects without disclosing those defects is selling the item "not as described". Any and all disputes filed from buyers with this complaint will, if the seller has not disclosed the defects, be ruled in favor of the buyer. This may result in a seller having to refund payment, including shipping costs, and the seller being suspended from the sales platforms either temporarily or permanently. If fraudulent activity is determined, expulsion from Stamporama will certainly result.

While the rules for approvals are not explicit regarding this issue, selling defective stamps without disclosing the defects can be construed by some to be dishonest. The Auctioneer's role is to maintain the integrity of the sales platforms. Thus the overlapping of rules applying to both platforms.
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michael78651
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06 Sep 2017
09:19:07pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Ralph, regarding your request for someone to take over monitoring of the approvals, since I am already involved with the other side of the sales area, I would have no problem doing this. It seems to be a natural extension of the task I am already performing. However, in order for me to do this, I would need at least one person to step forward to take over the moderator's role of the Discussion Board. I am handling that role as well as the Auctioneer. I could not add the approvals to that and expect to enjoy my retirement at the same time.

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
06 Sep 2017
09:29:35pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Michael, a more seamless overlap of the two platforms, with more defined content for each, consistent rules and shared categories would be a first step.
There are many overlap areas that could be removed. A clear distinction between what is sold in the the two, could also be mandated....such as Auctions minimum price, and Approvals Maximum price. This may require changing some other rules to accommodate the shift, and clear distinction between the two platforms...such as lengthening the time an item can remain in auction, at the same price, or what a minimum number of stamps (currently 100) means in Approvals...for example by using an index in the front to group categories more broadly.

I have noted often, but also refrained from de activating approval Books with blatant, un-noted, defects as they do sell, and I feel for our fellow sellers who put a lot of time to assemble their books, and may be computer proficiency limited. Is it time to be more "brutal"? Losing buyers because of sellers selling knowingly defective stamps is not acceptable to me either.

rrr...

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
07 Sep 2017
12:10:22am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

The problem with creating new rules lies with the fact that the more rules that there are, the more work it will take to enforce them.

The two platforms have many functions that are very similar, but there are many major differences as well. I think overall the rules for both the auctions and approvals are, by design, relatively simple. The approvals could use a little tweaking, but not much. I think the auction rules are fine. If this were a commercial site, things would be much different.

I'll go on the record as being against adding a new sales platform to the existing ones. It isn't necessary. Also, I am not in favor of imposing minimum pricing restrictions on the auctions. Sellers like Greg would be unable to do their one cent auctions, for example.

Buyers and sellers have for years complained that the quality of the material offered in the auction is no good. Well, whose fault is that? Certainly not Stamporama!

Buyers, if you want better stamps in the auctions and approval books, you are going to have to buy the better items when the sellers offer them. Don't expect to get the good stuff for pennies. In many ways, the sales platforms here remind me of the flea market. People want Neiman-Markus quality at flea market prices. It isn't going to happen, and that is an unfair expectation to put on the sellers.

Sellers, if you want the auctions to have a higher quality, you're going to have to start consistently listing the better items. Yes, I hear the argument that no one buys the good stuff, because no one looks at the auctions because there is so much cheap stuff there. Well, there's so much cheap stuff in the auctions, because you are putting it there. It just doesn't miraculously appear. You are the ones who must take the steps to transform the auctions into something where people can find better quality items. Since you aren't paying any listing, store or final value fees here, you can entice the buyers by offering the better material for a little bit less than you do on other sites. Don't use the lack of fees here subsidize the fees you pay on other sites. That is putting unrealistic expectations on the buyers.

We at Stamporama created a pretty good, and free, sales platform for members to use. It is up to the users to decide how good they want to make it. Don't cry for more rules to make it better. The quality of the items being sold here is totally up to those who are selling it.

Buyers, like I said you need to step up and buy the better material when it is offered. There is no rule prohibiting spending more than $1.00 on any one item. There is no rule prohibiting bidding on an item when someone else has a bid on it.

So, the bottom line is buyers and sellers, if you want better, you'll have to make it better yourselves through listing and purchasing better material.

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Stevo45
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07 Sep 2017
01:55:31am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Quote:

"Automatic retirements of book should be tightened. Books with NO sales for 2(?) month should be taken off permanently, no matter the percentage sold, unless prices were reduced. Automatic price reductions of all items could be implemented (20%?). Books with 70%(?) or more sold should be retired automatically after 1(?) month with no sales. This can be easily automated."




For me most Sales do occur within a few days of a book being activated - So I agree if there are no sales
in the first month only then there may be a problem with that book.
However I do not think it is OK to mandate the permanent removal of a book with no activity before the 12 month period is over.

Less than 12 months would lead to lots more books needing to be refurbished in a much shorter time and I just do not have that much time to spare, as it is I have a stack of books to re-do to the point that I can not get to list "new" Countries.

Often for me a buyer will find a few gems in an old book that will make it worth the postage, to shop through all my other books. For this August I have had sales from books as old as 9 months - Some buyers appear to be "newer" members while a regular buyer or two has also been looking.

Automatic price reductions of all items for me seems to be one of the problems with the Auctions and I would not like to see that happen in the "Approvals"

For me the Approval Books are just fine as they are.

The Auctions are a different matter - Lots of issues there - For me, as a Buyer and a Seller, they are not OK.

I have in the past returned to the Auctions to buy a few stamps that I saw earlier, only to find that the items of interest have expired/gone or the price is too high.

But first, you (the members) must decide on them staying as a limited (in my view) resource or expanding the Auctions to be a more effective "selling" platform for the benefit of Buyers and Sellers.

Cheers

Steve






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Soundcrest
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07 Sep 2017
04:41:08am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

So many statements so little time....

Firstly to ban all auctions under 15 cents is wrong. I have seen penny auctions, which for me is usually stamps that cat under a dollar go for as much as $3. Makes no sense I know. I don't follow the auctions all that much but it sounds like when the image numbering issue was changed back, the auctions filled up with junk again. It's no surprise. I do not care for the automatic price reductions and can totally understand why people use the spreadsheet upload thing which I have never done. In truth for auctions I don't think a stamp should be able to be relisted within 30-60 days but that could never be enforced.

Catalog numbers meaningless? I don't know. For me if I am looking for a stamp searching on catalog number I am using Scott. If you are listing with Gibbons or Yvert, then I am not going to find you. If as a seller you choose not to use a catalog number, that is a choice you have decided. However I have noticed a very interesting thing in my books. I suffer at times from what i call fat finger failure - I hit the wrong number for a the catalog number. Even in books that have only a stamp or two on the page if the catalog number is wrong it is still in the book when I go to combine it with other books. Logically if it is a 5 or 10 cent stamp you would think it would have been sold, but no. Obviously some collectors do check catalog numbers

I disagree totally about not listing higher priced stamps in a book for a few reasons. First the 100 stamp rule is a killer though I do see some creative books. I have done it myself. Small British N countries. The other is I have a collector who ONLY buys from the back of my books because he is getting decent stamps for around 40% catalog. Eliminating stamps that sell for an amount call it a dollar from books will totally clog up auctions. I myself would get into the relisting on a spreadsheet thing only I would not do it week to week but probably put a break in between the stamps being relisted. I certainly would not be listing them at my usual 20% CV. There are also those that will not under any circumstances bid in auctions. My back of the book buyer is a good example of that. He has told me so.

I agree no one wants to go through an approval book that is 50% sold. But what about 20%. No one goes through those either except for perhaps new members. It is major work to go through and redo a book as Steve says. And when you fall down to around 60-70 stamps in the book then what? Yes I have experimented with the 70 stamps and then take a page and fill it with unnumbered common stamps to get to 100 (and oddly enough all those stamps actually sold), but I believe it violated some sort of rule. I don't recall. Its a work around to be sure and would be a way to reworking books and making it a little bit easier.

Billing - I won't go into that and I refuse to get Michael involved. I am not big on constant reminders to pay your invoice. I have no time for that. However to keep adding invoices onto invoices for people to save on the postage (my guess) is crazy. I don't even send out an invoice for one stamp that sold for 10 cents unless a couple of weeks go by and there is no further purchase. If I send an invoice out what I usually get is an email saying they will be adding to it in the next auction cycle or two. What I do now is check to see if there are bids on next weeks auctions before sending out an invoice. Accumulating them for a month before billing is another headache for the seller.

I can tell you after 3 years here there is no market for better stamps. Maybe its what I sell, but the number of stamps that sell at auction for over $5 (which for the most part for me means it catalogs at $25 or more) just does not happen with very rare exceptions. It's not just here though. That seems to be on other sites as well. Again though we are talking completely different sets of buyers. Time and time again on another site I have listed a stamp at auction at 20% with no sales, bumped it to 60% in my store accepting a best offer and having it sell for 40% of CV. Different set of buyers. Here as well. Only one or two do both for my approvals and auctions. I tried the BIN option once. No extra sales and just one more field that had to be changed and easy to overlook, slowing down the listing process.

I don't think though that the above address the issue of why buyers are leaving. I do not think it is stamp quality. What level of collector is leaving? That we do not know. Because of this we can just guess. My guess's are the inability to find a stamp that they need for their collection and they are going elsewhere to find it, or the level of stamps for sale here is lower than their collecting needs. Have you ever looked at Stampworld.com? Best catalog out there. Now open one of your albums and try to find a stamp you need. Preferably it should be an album that you don't know the issue year. Good luck. I was thinking of selling there and contacted them to see if they would ever add any catalog numbers other than their own. I was told no, as they wanted to become the worldwide catalog of choice for all collectors. In a way its like looking for a stamp here and I truly believe that is why better buyers are leaving. It is not worth the hunting.

Finally this (and I really should be working)

I just did a quick browse of the France books. If I was a buyer here is what I would find:

39 (maybe miscounted) books, 34 (yes 34) with either no catalog numbers or Yvert catalog numbers. Only 5 had catalog numbers. What are the chances of someone who collects France and is willing to spend more than a dollar or two actually purchasing something? Sorry Ian, to my way of thinking catalog numbers are important to a collector that is not just filling pages of stamps in a 3 ring binder and calling them FRANCE (I have seen those collections at auction). For the couple of sellers like me who do put the catalog number in, we feel the same results as those that do not. If a buyer checks 5 books looking for a specific stamp (and I won;t even go into the quality of the books) and mine is not one of them, I'm feeling the same no sales as everyone else. We cannot force people to use catalog numbering, but we then can;t wonder either where buyers have gone to.

More than I wanted to say. Now I REALLY have to get the morning mail done

Greg

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smauggie
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07 Sep 2017
09:40:46am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

In the approvals I generally find that the stamps I want to buy have been bought so I usually don't bother. Now recently Vince had some nice Latin American stamps up that I bought.

I am happy to try out purchases with anyone offering items for auction that I like. There have been a number of sellers, though with whom I have done business and do not do business with them anymore because of a negative experience.

One of them I sent a message to (a $2 purchase) that the stamps were faulty and the pictures show in the auction lot were purposefully imcomplete to hide the faults. The seller never responded. Now I did not bring this up with the auctioneer, but I do keep an eye on their auctions and it seems they have straightened up and fly right now. Note the seller never responded to my message.

One seller I bid on their item and got a nice deal on it. After payment the seller sent me a stamp of inferior quality which I did not bid on saying they had misplaced the stamp. Because the seller seemed to try to "force" a sale it seemed a bit like seller's remorse. So I returned the the stamp expecting a refund of my paypal payment for the item. Instead I got a check in the mail. So now because of the sellers mistake I have to mail back the stamp I didn't want and make a trip to the bank just to get a refund of my electronic payment. A simple message before all this started would have been a better way to go about it. Needless to say the whole experience was a turn-off.

One seller I bought from sent the stamps which were so thin that there were small holes in the stamp where there just wasn't enough paper to make up the whole stamp. It wasn't that the stamp had a thin, but the whole stamp was a thin. There were also some obvious repairs. None of this was mentioned in the listing. I returned the stamps and got a refund and so did not feel the need to bother the auctioneer with that transaction. Offering obviously faulty and repaired stamps as whole stamps (by failing to describe the stamp as faulty) is a turn-off.

The endless stream of continually listed stamp sheets is annoying to me. That being said if you look at that persons auction activity there are some people who do buy his stuff.

I wish there was a 3 listing limit (with price reductions) as is the normal relisting process programmed into the auction page. I have bought items that were on their third relisting as I missed them when they were previously listed.

This is not, however realistic. Sellers may list an item a second time just because they have more than one of that item. That would be a serious pain in the behind to try to adjudicate whether someone was relisting or simply selling another of the same item, which is why I think that rule is not in place.




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michael78651
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07 Sep 2017
10:48:31am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Greg and Antonio, very interesting comments.

Interesting that you have had problems, especially the problems noted with sellers possibly acting fraudulently, but you refused to involve the auctioneer. Who are you trying to protect? If someone defrauded you, they certainly will do the same to others. I think there's a responsibility for each of us to keep things honest.

Bad sellers and buyers only diminish the quality and value of the sales platforms. We need to weed them out.

Greg, when we dropped the relisting maximum, I don't believe that there was an increase in what you called "junk". It was always there.

We do have many people who join Stamporama for the sole purpose of selling or buying. Some sellers probably stick around, because they can list their left-over stamps without any fees, and hope they can find someone here to buy them.

A great number of stamps offered in the auctions and approvals are low-end stamps. One might be able to say that the sales area here is like the slums of a city. If you open up a high-dollar steak house in the middle of a slum, it'll probably go out of business.

If the Stamporama sales platform has a reputation of being a site where one can get cheap stamps, those who buy the expensive stamps won't come around. A brand's reputation is hard to change. It take alot of time and effort from every participant to try to change it. In retail, often the result is a failure.

The sales platforms were created and made available to everyone. It is a tool. How well that tool is used determines how successful it will be. Of course, the term "successful" will mean different things to different people. Some are satisfied with how the sales area works, and others are not. Is it possible to make everyone happy?

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
07 Sep 2017
11:09:20am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Jings! Crivvens! Helpmaboab!

I seem to repeat myself at this time of year.

Buyers Buy and Sellers Sell

Sellers list their items either in the Auctions or Approvals. They name their price, and delivery conditions/prices (The important thing for the Seller is to list the right stamps, at the right time, at the right price).

Most sellers do the right thing, however they are human and errors can be made.
Buyers see an item they want, they buy it and then wait excitedly for the items to arrive.
That is what should happen in an ideal world and no doubt that what happens in the majority of cases.

The problem occurs when the Buyer or Seller are disenchanted.

Communication is the KEY.

Stamporama has a system whereby complaints are dealt with.

ANY Seller or Buyer who does not report a disenchantment that has not been resolved with communication is doing EVERY member a disservice if they do not report it.

I have mentioned in previous posts possible amendments to the systems but in all honesty there are certain important things we must remember:-

a) This "organisation" is manned and run by VOLUNTEERS.

b) This site is only available due to the KINDNESS of Roy.

c) You will NEVER please all the people all of the time.

d) This is not a COMMERCIAL site.

The System and Rules we have in place are fair enough and I for one am tolerant/respectful enough to let the current System remain unaltered, ad infinitum.

Quote:

"The Universe does not revolve around me or any other individual (no matter what I/they may think)..............Ian Balloch, Sept 2017."




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Soundcrest
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07 Sep 2017
11:10:48am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

I for one will try out the indexing thing with the first page of a book or two next week. All it may mean in a 24 page book is that there will be a psge of more expensive stamps missing. I will also begin to put in my titles that the book is all Scott numbered and b) if there is an index I will mention it. We'll see if that improves anything

Greg

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
07 Sep 2017
11:16:35am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Greg, I thought possibly the index could go in the book description. However, the book description can only handle 512 characters. I'm sure that is not enough for your idea. If this could be expanded and the index put in there, that should serve your purpose, right? If it could be expanded so that the description box could accept an image, you could simply make an image of your index and upload it there.

Not sure how that fits into Tim's programming plans, though...

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
07 Sep 2017
11:20:32am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Catalogue Numbers,

I do not have an up to date Scott catalogue and have no intentions of purchasing one.

I recognise that this is a North American site and that the rest of the world should fall into line.

Any buyer who is just expecting to type in a Scott No is missing out on the most basic of human emotions.
Namely the thrill of the chase.
But there again in todays modern world the motto seems to be "I want it and I want it right NOW, this minute, this second and at the lowest price possible. You got that you dumbo".............Hee Hee Hee.

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Soundcrest
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07 Sep 2017
11:37:36am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Michael, to do that even if the limit was infinity is too much work. It would mean filling out the same information twice. My way, using a more legible list that I use for making up my books fits the bill. Simply scanning that list and making it page one takes no extra time at all. I will be trying it with at least one, maybe two books next week. The third is a rework and I may not do it. We'll see. Something has to be better than selling only 3 Stamps out of a Malawi book. 3 Stamps out of a book of sets and singles? Not another Malawi book out there. Does no one collect it? I guess that is possible.

I don't know Ian. I don't think there is a lot of thrill for an intermediate collector to go through 39 books of France with no catalog number. I admit, doing French books just might be the toughest of all which is why I have thousands of used France on stock cards looking to be put in a book, but to research them is just too time consuming

Greg

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
07 Sep 2017
12:09:46pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Greg, let me know when you do your first book with the index. I'd like to see how it looks.

Ian, I agree with you on the catalog numbers. People use what they have.

This has been an interesting discussion, and it gives me cause to rethink even some of the things and opinions I said earlier.

You have to understand, as I stated before, that adding more levels of rules and restrictions add to the amount of work that the auctioneer would have to do to monitor the platforms. Fortunately, Tim has programmed some tools that reduce the level of effort needed to enforce some of the rules.

You will have to keep in mind that as the amount of work necessary to enforce the rules increases, the number of friendly reminders would probably diminish, and more summary actions would be taken. This would be seen primarily through removal of items that were not in compliance, and potential suspensions from the sales platforms for continued non-compliance would probably increase as well). By necessity it would be a more stricter environment. This is something that users of the sales platforms would have to accept. That is the trade-off for the efforts that management will have to do to raise the level of quality in the sales platforms. The rest would be up to the users to follow the rules, and report problems.

That may have sounded like "tough-speak", but all that is really needed is for people to follow the rules and communicate. Compliance results in smooth operations.

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meostamps
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07 Sep 2017
12:50:40pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Since the summer vacation time here in the US is over, I am planning on adding more approval books shortly. I have found that ones in which I tend to show items in close to issue date order helps buyers follow my books with their albums. Also listing regular issues, then airmails, bob. etc helps out also. I seldom mention a catalog number and if I do it is usually when there is a similar design with different watermark.

I normally use 3 or less price ranges per book. The few times I have put something in them that had a cv of $ 5.00 or more and priced it at 25% or so, they went unsold. So I have just stopped putting that type in them. For now, I intend to use the auction platform only for some bulk country lots. I have been listing items with a cv of $2 or more elsewhere and they have been selling there.

SOR is a non-commercial CLUB site and as such, I try to create and price my offerings based on what I see buyers are willing to pay. This comes from years of experience selling here. I wish there were buyers for the higher cv items, but I just do not see it.

Mike / meostamps

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smauggie
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07 Sep 2017
12:57:26pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Quote:

"Interesting that you have had problems, especially the problems noted with sellers possibly acting fraudulently, but you refused to involve the auctioneer. Who are you trying to protect? "



I am not sure that is entirely fair. I am not personally acquainted with any of the sellers I referred to.

In the latter case I got my money back so I wasn't sure I could be said I was "defrauded". Perhaps you could weigh in on when you want to hear about this type of situation.


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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
07 Sep 2017
12:58:37pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Greg,

I can appreciate the length of time to do a book, to look through a book especially when 25%+ of that book has sold.
That is why the majority of my books are 9 pages long with about 108 stamps per book.
A number of books sell 50%+. I then remove the books after 4-6 weeks as I do not see the point of leaving books any longer with no or very little sales. It also gives members fresh books to look at, and those that didn't get a chance on the first 9 pages, get a chance on the second 9.
When I look at a book I click on page 1, then page 2, (that way I can assess what quality and possible range of stamps are available) I then click on the last page to see if the book improves, (many sellers put their higher priced items on the last page) and if so then I work my way backwards.
Why people put their "worst" stamps first, as first impressions are always most important.

Let me tell you a story. I was at an auction and The very best lot was an album of Penny Blacks and Twopenny Blues, estimated at £80 - £120. Every Collector there knew it was underestimated. However it was the last item in the sale. Everybody was waiting to bid on this lot. I purchased several lots at the reserve prices (which were very very low) because everybody was saving their money. The Penny Blacks etc went for £1500 (including Buyers Premium) and 20 Collectors went home with nothing.
That is why my Approval Books have the higher priced items (if any) at the start.

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cardstamp
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07 Sep 2017
03:07:57pm

Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Well one of my buyers who prompted me to start this thread has returned to the fold !! I guess he could not resist !

Anyway - I am starting to rethink my strategy for leaving my books up for 4 to 5 months before I put them on sale and retire them. I am thinking of cutting down that timeframe. I am trying to create new books by merging older retired books with some other newer material and then pricing them lower and keeping these books up only for a short time and then take them down. I noticed that a few buyers now wait for me to run a sale towards the end of life of a book - so I might as well run a sale a little sooner after the book has been up for awhile - then retire it.

Steve

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michael78651
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07 Sep 2017
05:52:17pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Quote:

"I am not sure that is entirely fair. I am not personally acquainted with any of the sellers I referred to."



Antonio, you're right, and I'm glad you commented on what I said. You're right. It is not a fair statement in and of itself. Except that when you add it to what Greg said, and what others have said in the past, I read into it that people are trying to not pile work on me to fix problems with buyers and sellers.

While I appreciate such consideration, I don't want anyone to believe that if they file a dispute that it will be a burden for me. I will handle it just like I do all the others. I want to know when there are problems so I can get with the people involved. Often it's a case of lack of communication. Those are generally easily fixed. Sometimes it's a matter of a buyer and/or seller never having read the rules. That's easily fixed as well. Of course there are the times when one party "goes dark". Those are a little harder to work, but if they don't surface or cooperate, that is easily fixed with an axe.

Most disputes take one or two weeks at the most to work. I in no way feel imposed upon by anyone who has a problem and asks me to help them. That's my role here as Auctioneer. If I didn't want to handle problems, I never would have taken the role. All I ask is that everyone follow the procedures for filing disputes. When that is done, they are quickly handled.
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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
07 Sep 2017
07:44:29pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

There are three basic types of active Buyers in Stamporama. They are :-

1) The Buyer who buys from both the Auctions and Approvals.

2) The Buyer who only buys from the Auctions.

3) The Buyer who will only buy from the Approvals.

So Sellers must treat the two systems differently. You cannot treat the two systems the same.

It still comes down to the simple statement:-

Sellers must place the right items in the right place at the right time at the right price.

Simples.

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stokesville
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07 Sep 2017
09:37:33pm

Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

There's been a lot of good information here. Back to the original question of the dwindling of the buyers base. I'm under the impression that non-members do not have access to the auction or approval platforms- even just to peruse. Just before starting this post there were 51 visitors online- 12 were members and 39 were not. This is generally par for the course- there's always more non-members on the web site than members. Why not open the auction and approval platforms to non-members to allow them to see what's available and how unique the approval platform is. They wouldn't have the privilege to buy until they joined but maybe some new members will be generated that would like to buy.

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roy
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07 Sep 2017
09:50:16pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Quote:

"I'm under the impression that non-members do not have access to the auction or approval platforms- even just to peruse."



That is definitely not the case. Non-members are free to browse, they simply cannot bid without logging in.

Most of those "visitors" you see are actually members who have not bothered to log in. If they want to participate in the Discussion Board or buy something, they will then log in, but for now they are just browsing.

You can test this yourself by logging out and browsing the board, auctions and approvals.

Roy
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Stevo45
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07 Sep 2017
10:01:34pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Quote:

"I seldom mention a catalog number and if I do it is usually when there is a similar design with different watermark."



I also rarely use Cat. Nos. but I also rarely list USA Stamps and I always list two of each stamp if possible. I always try to list stamps in year order and I've tried several other things (like freebies etc..) and nothing seems to make much difference

Also most of my books have about 500 items. Not sure if any of that makes a difference ??

Maybe smaller books would be better ??

Quote:

"I thought possibly the index could go in the book description. However, the book description can only handle 512 characters. I'm sure that is not enough for your idea."



512 characters is often not enough for me now - Even 600 would be better.. :-)

I like Greg's idea of an index page - not for every book - And for me not for Cat. numbers..

Hope it works out ..

I wonder what our buyers think ?

Cheers

Steve.

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rrraphy
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08 Sep 2017
12:29:18am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Index Page. I like the idea, but not for the 5c 10c stamps.

I am about to try it in my next book.
Also, going contrarian, it will be France and it will all be MNH
All priced at $0.20
I am also going to try Ian's approach....just around 100 stamps, and virtually no duplicates.

Let us see who, or what turns out....
rrr...

Edit 2 hours later. Index...It takes way too much time. I will post the book to see people's reaction on its usefulness, but from a seller stand point, it took way too much time.

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stokesville
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08 Sep 2017
06:12:13am

Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Thank you Roy for the information- so much for what I thought was a good idea!!

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Soundcrest
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08 Sep 2017
08:29:53am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

In a way I use Ians idea of smaller books mainly due to the 100 stamp thing. I always need to have stamps on hand to restock a book. In the unlikely event that I put up a 200 stamp book and 150 sell, I'm stuck (except for that thought of "filler" stamps in the back). Better to put up a little more than 100 and leave 100 in reserve. Of course sometimes it is mostly sets and you cannot usually put more than 5-6 to a page, so it makes for a lot of pages. I'll index everything starting next week. One of the books I'm redoing had little in the way of sales BUT I notice one of my larger buyers is back. Could be he was on vacation, which will mean down the road redoing every book from August as he is not one that buys after the first week, at least not with me

Greg

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
08 Sep 2017
12:29:30pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Quote:

"There are three basic types of active Buyers in Stamporama. They are :-

1) The Buyer who buys from both the Auctions and Approvals."



That's me. I always want to place a sizable order (say $10) to make it worth the seller's while and lessen the postal burden per piece on myself. It's often difficult based on how much stuff (or how little) a seller is offering.

On a regular basis, I see a seller with one or two cheap items I would like to have, but refrain from bidding / buying because I cannot do a 50 cent transaction!

I will do my auction buying, waiting for items to finish, and then I will see if that seller has approval books and if I can add to my order that way.

As a seller, I had done approval books of covers early on. I had thought the 6 month life would be good and that new buyers would show up on a regular basis. That wasn't the case, as others noted, I had that initial flurry of activity and then crickets!



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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
08 Sep 2017
07:21:49pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

For small amounts most sellers are prepared to wait a wee while for payment to allow buyers to add to their initial purchase to help ease the postage costs.

I have one regular buyer who on average buys 2 or 3 stamps from every other of my Approval Books and I get paid when he gets near $10, including postage.


Not every member can afford to spend thousands of dollars each month. (Hee Hee Hee)

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Richmond
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RICHMOND FC PREMIERS 2017
08 Sep 2017
09:00:33pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Some things that may help to attract more buyers

A check box so the buyer knows which books he /she has reviewed.

Clear marking of stamp condition - MNH,MH or Used - I was reviewing a book earlier which was advertised as MNH and MH but there was no indication which was which. Could we consider some sort of check box next to the stamp number where a page of stamps is not completely, MNH, MH or Used (to make this easier it could default to used).

Clearer definition of mint - at the moment some sellers do not make the distinction between MH and MNH

Catalogue numbers are very useful as are years when reviewing books.

An additional column in the book lists which state the date the book was issued.

Ditto country (see my dislikes below)

Ditto years coverage of the book

More search functions - date ranges, countries, books not reviewed

My Dislikes
Stating that a book is MNH, MH or Used and finding that there is only one stamp in the whole book on the last page which is MNH!Angry

Mixed country books

Unclear distinction between Mint, MH, MNH & Used

No catalogue numbers /years on the stamps

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
08 Sep 2017
10:18:05pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Much of what you ask for is already possible. To achieve it sellers will have to take a little bit of extra time to add that information to their approval books titles, book descriptions, page descriptions and individual item descriptions. Some sellers already do this, some don't.

Here are my comments on a few of your other comments:

Quote:

"Clearer definition of mint - at the moment some sellers do not make the distinction between MH and MNH"



This is on my to-do list, as well as clarifying other definitions that would be used in the sales platform. I just have to find the time to work on it, as well as complete working on the Auction Tutorial.

Quote:

"A check box so the buyer knows which books he /she has reviewed."



We already have that. When you look at a list of approval books, every book that you have not yet reviewed will had a red encircled "NEW" to the left of the book title. If it doesn't have that, then you have looked at the book. It is not an indicator for everyone to know that a seller posted a "new" book. The indicator is specific to the user.


Quote:

"An additional column in the book lists which state the date the book was issued.,An additional column in the book lists which state the date the book was issued."



Right now, you can sort the books on a list by book number. You can do that either from low to high, or high to low. The higher numbers are the most recent ones issues.

Also, when you are at the main page for the Approval Books, click on NEW BOOKS. You will get a list of all the approval books that have been added over the past seven days.

Quote:

"No catalogue numbers /years on the stamps"



Again, this is something that some sellers do, and some don't. For people who do not have the catalogs that are referenced, the catalog numbers have little use. However, year of issue is always helpful.

In your reviews of the various approval books, you can always make notes of the sellers who offer material in a manner that works best for you, and then buy from them.
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Stevo45
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09 Sep 2017
12:16:14am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Quote:

"
Quote:
"No catalogue numbers /years on the stamps"

Again, this is something that some sellers do, and some don't. For people who do not have the catalogs that are referenced, the catalog numbers have little use. However, year of issue is always helpful.

In your reviews of the various approval books, you can always make notes of the sellers who offer material in a manner that works best for you, and then buy from them."



You could also contact the seller(s) and ask him/her to add a feature that you like.

Some of the sellers here are constantly trying new or different things to make the books just that little more "user friendly"

Feedback to sellers is lacking on most websites - I for one, would welcome feed back from any buyer. :-)

Cheers

Stevo.

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Soundcrest
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09 Sep 2017
04:36:29am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

The mint/mnh issue has been around forever as in the us mint has always meant mint hinged (and least as long as I remember) but elsewhere people think that mint is MNH and mint hinged is what we call m int. It may be that they do not use the term MNH elsewhere. I do not know. My terms (I think) describe my definitions, but I will have to check that. In 20 years only one in 20 years have I ever sold a stamp I described as mint and have it returned because it was not MNH. The buyer was from Europe.

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Richmond
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RICHMOND FC PREMIERS 2017
09 Sep 2017
06:52:08am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

I hope no one took these comments personally. They were just my views on what would make me purchase more from approvals sections. I actually keep away from certain sellers as I find the books so difficult to wade through. I could be missing some 'gems' in those books, however if a book:

is not sorted chronologically,

contains a mixture of countries,

has no catalogue numbers (I am happy with Scott even though I use SG as this still helps with chronology if no year is stated)- I am surprised that sellers do not state this

has no clear labelling of MNH or MH

Then I am more than likely to stop trawling through the book.

To other buyers these issues may not be important.

Regards


Richmond

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Soundcrest
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09 Sep 2017
07:57:16am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

No Richmond, you kind of share my views on how I make up my books. I know that a lot of people don;t use catalog numbers here for various reasons. In a book of mixed values, which most are, I don't understand it. If you had to look up the stamp to find out the value, why not supply the number? I will see going forward if indexing makes a difference. I think if it does, others may just jump on that bandwagon. We shall see

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Richmond
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RICHMOND FC PREMIERS 2017
09 Sep 2017
08:00:23am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Michael

Re the automatic marking - I have now noted this but it doesn't really help me with confirming I have reviewed the whole book - just that I may have opened it. Sometimes it can take sometime to review a book checking catalogues and wants lists. For example I have just started reviewing a US MNH book - but now I have to go off and do something else. That book is now marked as 'read' when in fact it is only part read. With so many books to look through the book I started to review could now be forgotten

Regards


Richmond



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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
09 Sep 2017
08:55:54am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Jings! Crivvens! Help ma Boab!

I must reiterate the following:-

All members are DIFFERENT!!

They have different abilities.

They DO NOT have the same expertise.

They have different expectations.

THIS IS NOT A COMMERCIAL SITE.

This site is run by VOLUNTEERS.

NO system is perfect.

You cannot please everybody.

The founding fathers done a very very good job with this site/systems.



Quote:

" The Universe does not revolve around me or any other individual no matter what I/they may think"



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Richmond
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RICHMOND FC PREMIERS 2017
09 Sep 2017
12:59:51pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Brechinite

The sellers raised the issue and I assumed they were seeking feedback from buyers. I provided feedback. I was just explaining what sort of books I personally would not bother to trawl through and what could be improved to increase my buying activity. However I am just one buyer amongst many buyers.

I understand the site is run by volunteers.

Regards


Richmond

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
09 Sep 2017
03:49:48pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Richmond

My comments were NOT aimed at you.

I was trying to remind EVERYBODY that this site is here for EVERY member, that each member is different, their levels of interest and competence is different.

That because the site is NON COMMERCIAL we all rely on the goodwill of the volunteers and any alteration or change to the system means somebody has to spend their time working on it.

My minor concern was the way the thread was heading with more and more information may be required from the sellers,(especially for dirt cheap stamps)..Too many rules and regulations and the sellers may disappear and then choice and quality will be more limited.

NO system is perfect but this site is unique and is very very good.

This site is informative, educational and can be fun.


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rrraphy
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09 Sep 2017
03:53:31pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Very Good points Richmond.

I have always wanted to tighten the rules for Approvals or at least clarify them without ambiguity. I have asked at the minimum for the sellers to make their title more descriptive, and to organize their book in some orderly fashion, not to post mixed books, and to structure their Approval Books to help buyers find stamps they want rather than rely on luck, or scanning through pages and pages.

But every time we discuss tightening the rules, there are those in the membership and the MT who prefer us to do nothing...so 4 years later, we still have the simple rules we set up. These were left vague and subject to wide interpretation...by design...,they were set up to encourage members to try and post any Approval Book within reason during the learning curve. Remember, there were no such platform anywhere!

I am quite disappointed that the MT and the membership does not see the benefit of using what we have learned with now almost 10,000 Approval Books activated to make Approval Books better for both sellers and buyers. Without a mandate to get it done, Approvals will be always what you have now.

Now many of the points you raised are already implemented. Documentation however does not explain all (however few people bother to read documentation anyway). Thanks Michael for pointing this out. Others are simple steps to implement, but there must be willingness for change, and as Moderator, I do not de-activate a book for a simple violations...as I realize the seller has put a lot of work to assemble it. I am permissive, because the MT at the time wanted Approvals open to all to try with a minimum of rules (almost none). They also wanted to learn from its actual use.

I have re-posted the Activated Rules which every seller acknowledges he is abiding by, with personal comments about my perception of where we could tighten or modify written word and enforcement. Without too many changes we could make Approval Books so much better...if there was a will to do so.

Please refer to this separate post.

rrr..

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
09 Sep 2017
04:00:03pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Surely, 10,000 books shows how the APPROVAL Book System is working well it shows the MT has got it right.

If the sellers have to spend too much time making up books then they will not put up books.

It is a lot quicker to stick 100 stamps on a stocksheet and stick it on ebay, delcampe, ebid, webstore etc etc etc than make up an Approval Book and put it on here.

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"One persons idea of improvement may be detrimental to others...........Some are more equal than others. (Always to be avoided)"
rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
09 Sep 2017
04:17:19pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Quote:

"Surely, 10,000 books shows how the APPROVAL Book System is working well it shows the MT has got it right."


True. It also shows that there was a huge appetite for such a product.
That does not make is good. That makes it the only game in town.

Working well does not preclude us from applying what we learned and making it better.

Changes do NOT require more time and effort, just because they are changes. They only need being learned and applying a different sets of enforcement rules.
Example: A book with a title "CANADA Used" is now accepted. A tighter rule on the title would require something of this nature: "CANADA, singles in rough chronological order, 1950-1960. Used"
I would suggest banning the first title and requiring something like the second title. Is that so hard?
rrr...

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
09 Sep 2017
06:24:23pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Titles are titles and that's fine as long as it stops there.

Any further requirement, especially Indices, Scott cat nos, and cat values for each and every stamp in an Approval Book, especially for dirt cheap stamps, is a definite No No!!

Please remember that one members "improvement" may be to the detriment of another member.

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Richmond
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RICHMOND FC PREMIERS 2017
09 Sep 2017
08:56:21pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Buyers and Sellers - its a mutual relationship.

Anything that attracts more sales is a benefit to all and surely clearer categorisation would lead to more sales.

I would much prefer to buy from here then anywhere else, so the more sellers the better.

Now off to check the closing auctions.

Regards


Richmond

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
10 Sep 2017
04:56:50am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

My fears are being realised.

Go to the thread "Approval Books The simple Activation Rules interpreted for you"

listed in the topic "Stamporama club business"

This thread gives the impression that the current rules HAVE been changed and the Enforcement programme will be more Draconian.

I ask the Management Team to clarify the situation, please please please.

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
10 Sep 2017
05:36:39am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Ian, please relax.

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Soundcrest
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10 Sep 2017
05:41:24am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Actually it isn't easier on Ebay,Hipstamp,Delcampe etc to put stamps in stores. I am positive that to list 100 stamps in one of those places takes as much time as it does here on SOR. I have never timed it but selling on everyone of those platforms, I can tell you that it is pretty close. It is however a completely different experience. This is due to the fact that for the most part, you would not sell on those sites the stamps you list here.

I have said before, when I came over here I did not expect it to be for long. I felt the approval books were impossible to work with and in reality, I had nothing to put in one. My first book was Christmas Seals as that was the only thing I had that I had over 100 of that were not yet in any of my existing stores. Over the first couple of months I began to see how this site reminded me so much of when I was a kid getting approval books in the mail, and those little overpriced packets of stamps from places like HE Harris, but they were only a dime! It also brought back memories of being "dropped" by companies because all I could spend was 10 or 20 cents a selection, if that. And that is why I went into the approval business in 1981 in the first place. To be the guy who didn't drop a customer because they could only spend a dollar a month, and it would take an hour or two to put together an approval selection together for them each month. A lot of the buyers here I do not think buy off ebay or the other giants, probably because of the cost of the stamps themselves. You simply cannot sell a 5 cent stamp on those other sites. Only one of my buyers here does, and he buys books. I have come to really enjoy selling stamps here on SOR and stamp wise, probably spend 50% of my listing time here on SOR and the rest of the stamp time on the other sites. This is why I'm sad to see sales drop off as all I do with the money from stamps sold, is to turn around and buy more stamps to sell on this site. Lack of sales means lack of buying dollars. It is for this reason I will be working to try to increase the sales out of my books without really adding more time to the process.

Greg

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Richmond
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RICHMOND FC PREMIERS 2017
10 Sep 2017
06:35:00am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

I think one of the keys is getting the Stamporama name out there - has anyone got ideas how we can do this - for example at stamp fairs. I am happy to drop cards and leaflets but not sure the legality of doing this.

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
10 Sep 2017
07:03:23am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

If you want to make up cards and leaflets about Stamporama and hand them out at shows and bourses, there is no problem from our end. Just make sure that the show/bourse organizers are all right with you doing so. Many shows/bourses have an information table where you can put the leaflets/cards on the table for people to pick up as they please.

If you don't want to make up your own, one of our Management Team members created cards that anyone can print out and pass around. Here's the link:

Stamporama Advertisement Cards

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
10 Sep 2017
07:22:15am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Micheal I am relaxed.

Unfortunately, strong and direct language/statements must sometimes be used to get a serious point across and to get serious and competent answers.

One also has to stop one individuals ideas, preconceived prejudices becoming part of Rules and Enforcements.

I have asked for clarification.

These are my last comments on this matter.

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
10 Sep 2017
01:48:34pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Quote:

"Unfortunately, strong and direct language/statements must sometimes be used to get a serious point across and to get serious and competent answers.

One also has to stop one individuals ideas, preconceived prejudices becoming part of Rules and Enforcements."



Now Ian...really?
rrr...

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
10 Sep 2017
02:37:24pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Greg:

Quote:

"This is why I'm sad to see sales drop off as all I do with the money from stamps sold, is to turn around and buy more stamps to sell on this site. Lack of sales means lack of buying dollars. It is for this reason I will be working to try to increase the sales out of my books without really adding more time to the process."


Apart from summer seasonality, there has also been a lot more Approval Books posted.
And with SOR limited membership (It has been adjusted down significantly as they clean up our membership ranks) we may be saturating with the same low cost stuff being offered.
Also, books with more than 50% sold are NOT buyer's friendly. I for one, will not waste time on them.
Solutions:
Bring more active members into SOR
List material and countries not listed by others
Lower prices (some lower priced books sell better it seems)
Rework books at the 50% sold level
Make books more buyer's friendly (I know you already do that)
Produce smaller, simpler books (Ian's approach)
I am currently trying MNH books to see if they make a difference.
?????

Anyone else to suggest how we can revitalize sales?
rrr..



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Soundcrest
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10 Sep 2017
02:46:51pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Ah, the 50% sold level. Yes that is a problem, a huge one in that how exactly does a book get reworked if you have no other material? I myself have a few books out there that should new material come along and I can win it, then it becomes a reworked book. I agree 100% people are not going to look through a half filled book BUT if that half filled book is taken down then there is zero chance it gets looked at. Now its greater than zero even though it is half filled. While I have seen some books that truly don't follow the single country rule,I don't do it myself unless its a country that there is no way to get 100 stamps - like Northern Nigeria. I also have a book of St Helena that I KNEW from the getgo, that the back would never sell due to the price of the stamps BUT I needed 100 stamps.

To me the easiest and most efficient way around this issue is to take down those books with less than 100 stamps and put them right back up with 50 5 cent stamps with no catalog numbers in the back.(since there seems to be a VERY strong opinion that we don't need catalog numbers to make a sale) There is no doubt in my mind that there will be sales from the front of the book, even though these stamps had been there for the same price for 6 months. It happens over and over again. I really should redo a book a week in that fashion to prove the point. Others should try it as well. Its still all a single country after all.

Greg

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
10 Sep 2017
03:01:56pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Yes, the 50% depletion level.
Definitely not worth looking, as a buyer, at depleted books...even when the seller has made an effort to put duplicates, so that technically speaking you still have the full choices available.

As a seller, I will rework books more frequently. Issuing new books, and NOT just adding to old books (does not work).

Now for the 100 stamp limit. Most topics can be combined WITHIN our rules. A Cuba Book leftovers could be combined with many Caribbean countries for example to make a new book. An Italy book, could be combined with San Marino (both are "OTHER WEST EUROPE"). As long as it fits into our categories, why not.
I don't buy it that the 100 item rule is such a big deal. Now if it is a specialized unique country, or topic, then the EXCEPTION allows it, Some countries are rare. Some deserve their own books. They will be allowed under our rules. Really, it is not meant to block you.
Just be more creative with your book's content. Our category List is broad enough. Just don't combine France and Germany for example, because as moderator, I will not allow it...each has its own category! And for your stamps of "Alaouites" for example, where the are less than 100 stamps ever issued...ask for an exception...even 25 stamps may be allowed!

rrr..

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Soundcrest
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10 Sep 2017
05:25:06pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Will people though look at a book of say Haiti that says it has Cuba in it when its the same stamps that were in the Cuba book? It's an interesting experiment. You are talking about a smaller number of stamps for a country and maybe the buyer is lured into thinking that it is what they are looking for but probably not, it might work. I still think the one country per book idea is more effective. I still think the bigger problem is not identifying the stamps in the book but from what I see in the approval books I'm in the minority. Would those 25% sales books become 60% sales books? We probably will never know.

No, I would never put up a book of 25 stamps. I've done Alaouites in addition to other countries in the area because of the smallness of stamps issued. I try to always put 95+ to the book, but I don;t rework as often as others (I think).

I did once have an Israel tab book that was the end of all the Israel tabs I had (impossible to get cheap at auction these days) and to fill it put in 50 used Israel in the back. Book completely sold out in less than a week, showing me that the idea of padding a book so to speak, at least that one time worked.

Greg

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
10 Sep 2017
05:57:11pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

I have tried various combinations of price, descriptions, reworking books, cat nos, cat values etc and came to the conclusion that it makes no difference whatsoever. The more you analyse the more confused you become and finally the only final conclusion is the following statement:-

It all depends on the Seller placing the right stamps, in the right place, at the right time, at the right price.


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Soundcrest
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10 Sep 2017
06:22:20pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

You've got that right Ian. It's more than that though. It's also who is on vacation, who has spent their monthly sales budget, and probably a dozen other things. This is in addition to all the other "what ifs". You can surely over analyze the situation. I know I do because back when I had a real job before the Aussies bought the company I worked for, that's what I was. A systems and application programming analyst.

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Stevo45
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10 Sep 2017
09:42:02pm
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Here are a few things that I do that are helpful for me:

I retrieve sold items using the "Edit Pages" - Often I fix a few issues as I find the sold stamps.

I add the BOOK Number to each page of stamps ( 9728 / 1 ) - "Edit Page Number 1 of 19" is at the top of the page but, when I am called away from my stamps I ALWAYS forget what Book I am working on.

I normally list large books - 20+ Pages 500+ Stamps - Often 2 of each stamp - 250 to 300 different stamps per book. - I will try Smaller books next time. :-)

I do sell lots of items from older Books, so I think it is a good idea for the books to be active for 10 to 12 Months as is intended (I think) by Rule 6.

Quote:

"Rule 6: The books are expected to be made available as a resource until such time as they are substantially depleted."



Cheers

Steve
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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
11 Sep 2017
04:28:13am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Yup

Each Seller has his own ideas, system.

AND who is to say who is right and who is wrong?

Whatever works for them.

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lerivage
13 Sep 2017
05:15:58am
re: Buyers Leaving ?

Hello everyone

Sometimes I go back to old and depleted books when I want to complement some purchases for minimizing the impact of shipping costs. Without this possibility it is not worth to buy a few 5 cents stamps in a single shot.

Michel

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