Done! New members and marketplace

A suggestion that has been implemented and is available

EDW

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It seems there have been a number of instances of brand new members posting questionable or bogus sale listings in the marketplace. Perhaps there should be a waiting period and a number of postings required before new members are able to post in the marketplace.
 
This suggestion has been implemented. Votes are no longer accepted.
I agree that some sort of requirement would be good to sell here.
 
How about a "third party" sales policy?
The seller will ship their ukulele, pre-paid shipping, to a third party who will forward the ukulele to the buyer when notified by the seller that sufficient funds have been paid and shipping fees have been sent to the third party by the buyer to cover forwarding costs.
In the event of a default by either seller or buyer the third party will keep the ukulele for grins. If my Nigerian counterpart (who is reliable because after all he is a Prince) is not available, I volunteer to be the third party.

Yeah, sorry, just kidding.
 
So if a guest viewer sees your for sale notice and decides to join UU immediately to start a buying process, are you proposing that they will have to post 100 messages or wait a month or pay a $5 toll or some other onerous thing, before you will deign to let them talk to you so they can buy the item you have for sale? Or do you want to have a set up so they can contact you easily and you can check them out and work out a deal if they are bon fide?

And what if that is their one and only post ever, to arrange to pay you $1000 for the item you have had listed for a month with no response, should we vilify them and use them as an example to avoid every other new member?

What is the vision for the MarketPlace. Do we want to make it easy for buyers to bring the best ukes on the planet, or do we just want the cast-offs from other UU members? I would like to see the best ukes on the planet personally, and I ignore most of the cast-offs that appear for sale. I am very happy to welcome bona fide sellers who make short or long visit to UU to sell a great instrument into the UU membership. It should be as streamlined and as easy as possible for the bona fide sellers, so we get the best stuff ahead of Reverb, eBay and FaceBook.

I suggest that UkeTalk is about community and the MarketPlace is about serious folding cash money business. Two separate entities, we can easily keep separate.
Well, i think the issue at hand is new members in a first post offering a ukulele for 600-2500.00 u.s.d, often with wording and images taken from other resale sites. So, you potentially have a problem of credibility: does this unknown person really own this uke and what is his/her history in the ukulele community? There are rules and guidelines for participating in marketplace. That's the initial springboard. Requiring participation in this community beyond marketplace only makes sense.
 
the concept of public or private does not necessarily have to do with ownership. Sigh, I really miss the good old days of usenet
Oh don't even. I used to love usenet, it was free and you could find literally anything.
 
AND... They must agree to provide, by PM, to any interested buyer their name, address, & phone number and be willing to speak personally to the prospective buyer before any deal is completed.
I personally would feel very uncomfortable giving out my name, address, and phone # to random strangers.

I've sold 5 or 6 ukuleles here, (yes, UAS was a real thing, LOL), and bought maybe 5 here, and never gave out my address. I don't think I ever gave out a phone # either. I had ukuleles shipped to a FedEx or UPS place where I could pick them up, so that was the address given when buying.

Whew, I'm glad that my UAS days are probably over, (sure, I've said that before, about 2 ukuleles ago, LOL), so I don't have to give out personal info to strangers.
 
For some reason, I seem to find myself in conversation with the other person when either buying or selling. I guess I sort of encourage (prefer?) engaging with other people who also are stoked about my hobby or particular interest. That tendency of mine incidentally has served as a problem filter wherever I've been buying or selling over the years - online hobby forums, Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, or wherever. Seems that those who know nothing about what they are selling tend not to be the best custodians of the item they are trying to sell. Also seems that those who know nothing about what they are buying can spell hassle or even trouble down the road for the seller that wants to keep it simple.
 
How much protection do payment systems like PayPal actually offer buyers? Because it strikes me that if they really do protect the buyer a fairly simple solution would be to strongly suggest that PayPal goods and services (or some equivalent) be used in the marketplace. Particularly when dealing with unknown sellers. It wouldn’t have to be an actual rule, but any buyer could (and can) insist on using it and cover the extra cost so the seller’s not out of pocket.

Maybe I’m being naive, if so I’m sure a bunch of people will chime in and tell me that buyer protection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, or there are tax implications, or MI6 are tracking my shopping habits.
 
The seller will ship their ukulele, pre-paid shipping, to a third party who will forward the ukulele to the buyer when notified by the seller that sufficient funds have been paid and shipping fees have been sent to the third party by the buyer to cover forwarding costs.
That would be a lot of work, but I will take on the hardship and volunteer to take any of the vintage Martins. Of course, I may have to hold them for some period of time to get them acclimated, to break them in and to fully assess them before sending them out. It would be a huge sacrifice on my part, but that is just the kind of guy I am! :LOL:
 
I'm relatively new on here and I would have to say that if you're interacting with the site at all 5 posts is nothing. An easy minimum for non-scammers to meet.
 
I've been thinking about this for the last few days.
1- We need to make it more difficult for the scammers.
2- Maybe the site admins can set the Marketplace forum so that to make a posting requires reading and agreeing to the buyers/sellers threads.
3- Some kind of 'cool down' mechanism should be installed.
4- As a suggestion to add to the buyers, [and sellers?] thread, buyers, or...., could ask for a Bibsyval [Bibseval] [Ego speaking] with the seller. Bibsyval= a short, 5 mins or so, Zoom [or video phone] meeting with the seller. I recommend asking for something unexpected during the meeting. These can be recorded ,by the way, at both ends. I would think that anybody could ask if the buyer/seller will agree to a Bibsyval type event, it's like a face to face after all!
5- Finally, the folks who have been members for awhile and buy or sell need to follow the recommendations currently set and reread them occasionally. For example some of the new For Sale posts don't have the requested 'hostage photo' for whatever reason. Bad example to set!
 
-25 INTERESTING posts
-at least a month being a member
-maybe even a requirement of 25 likes as well.
-Proof of possession of the thing being sold, I believe this is already a rule.
 
To some extent, it seems like the overarching rule just needs to be: Buyer Beware. You can't stop other people from buying a uke without a hostage photo, but you can insist on that before you buy one. Arbitrary limits like 'Y points' might filter a some organized scammers, but it won't solve all the problems. If you aren't comfortable with a transaction, don't buy it, or pony up the Paypal cost as 'insurance'. Concerned that you're dealing with a 'bot, or that the seller doesn't have the item? Please ask follow up questions or ask for a unique photo of the uke, "May I see the heel, please? I'm thinking of adding a strap button." If you don't like the answer, don't buy. But please don't tell me that I'm not allowed to buy something because the consumer protections didn't meet your standards.

That said, if you see something that is genuinely hinky, like the same uke posted on two sites with different contact information, please do ask the question. There might be a good explanation, or you might be helping someone out.
 
How about a "third party" sales policy?
The seller will ship their ukulele, pre-paid shipping, to a third party who will forward the ukulele to the buyer when notified by the seller that sufficient funds have been paid and shipping fees have been sent to the third party by the buyer to cover forwarding costs.
In the event of a default by either seller or buyer the third party will keep the ukulele for grins. If my Nigerian counterpart (who is reliable because after all he is a Prince) is not available, I volunteer to be the third party.

Yeah, sorry, just kidding.
You joke, but there's a seller on the acoustic guitar forum who sort of does this -- if you have a trusted friend who lives in his town, your friend goes and tries out the guitar for you and makes the cash transaction in person on your behalf, or if he has a friend near you, then he'll ship the guitar to the friend and let you go do the in-person deal with the friend. Seems like a good system for someone with a lot of friends...

As far as a solution for our forum; I agree with the others saying that this is a community and the Marketplace should just be for members, but also that membership looks different to every single one of us, so it's kind of hard to vet that with a defined example. A time limit + number of posts may encourage new members to actually become members of the community, but I also don't know how much it'll deter scammers. They're already doing minimal work for a potential no-cost reward. What's it to them to create an account, make some fluff posts, then set a calendar reminder for a month from now to log on and scam?

I think a better solution may just be more education for members. Encourage potential buyers to use G&S, to have a zoom/Facetime call with the seller first, set the expectation that the seller will acquiesce to silly photo demands (ie make it difficult for them to fake a photo with photoshop; like ask them to show a weird angle of the uke or stick the paper between the strings or include their pet in the photo, something like that).

In the meantime we all keep a lookout and flag the red flags like we have been doing.
 
How about a "third party" sales policy?
The seller will ship their ukulele, pre-paid shipping, to a third party who will forward the ukulele to the buyer when notified by the seller that sufficient funds have been paid and shipping fees have been sent to the third party by the buyer to cover forwarding costs.
In the event of a default by either seller or buyer the third party will keep the ukulele for grins. If my Nigerian counterpart (who is reliable because after all he is a Prince) is not available, I volunteer to be the third party.

Yeah, sorry, just kidding.
All kidding aside. the "third party" sales policy does work in real life sales of used stuff. You see it in action in every consignment store. Sellers drop stuff off at a third party's location to be sold at a set price that includes some consideration for the third party. Buyers pay the third party and pick up their purchases from the third party site. The third party pays the seller keeping their consideration.
All our market place needs is that third party site to serve as the way point between sellers and buyers. Scams become impossible because if the ukulele doesn't arrive at the third party first, the ad will not appear and no money will be sent.
Since the temptations may be too high for me to volunteer myself as the third party, I recommend a known and trusted entity like TUS to be the third party.
 
It's a nice thought but I suspect there would be two issues that would not be workable. One is that they are already incredibly busy. Two is then you have to account for shipping both ways to Hawaii.

Once the bona fides are established, there really is no issue for the two to proceed without further involvement from others. Right now the first step is to just make sure they follow the rule of providing a "hostage photo".
 
We're a community, so I don't think that a handful of posts is an unreasonable requirement. If you want to sell a uke without being part of a community, there are a gazillion places to do that. Facebook, eBay, Reverb, so many more. We're different than those markets are, so we should have a different standard than "Sign in and start selling."

I also think that the situation is changing. Even a year ago, I'd have said, nah, we got it... but now, it feels like the bar needs to be higher. Nobody's coming in to fake being buyers, but the number of fake sellers is up dramatically. If it doesn't seem that way to some of you, I assure you that it's because we're catching quite a few of these before you're seeing them.

Someone mentioned in a private message that other musical instrument community forums only allow paying members to post. Our VIP membership starts at $5, which I also find reasonable for NEW posters. Note that I would never consider this for people who've already been in the scene of course...but it really is clear to me that the bar needs to be higher for me members who want to sell than it is now.

Maybe even offer an option for new members who want to sell: "Five posts or $5", or something.

I also suggested a while ago that we should have badges of a sort, like where it says "Staff" under my name, to indicate that the person has participated in a successful transaction, and the only way to get a badge is for the other person in the transaction to nominate you... or something.

I haven't fleshed out the idea enough to propose something more specific, but that too is a part of other communities, where your profile page includes reviews from people who've been in transactions with.

I respect that the folks IN the Marketplace are doing a phenomenal job MANAGING the Marketplace, and I've intentionally deferred to you. I'm not suggesting that you're not doing the job well enough. I'm saying that you need help. We have a lot of tools on the basic mod side of things that tell us a lot, including email addresses and IP addresses, and I'd say we block 30 new spam accounts for every "real" account and we STILL miss some.

Spammers are getting cleverer and more frequent, and they're obviously ramping up their moves into the ukulele world. There are some easy, basic safeguards we can put in place, so let's do it.

Thoughts on specifics?
I’m brand new on here, with a long history on AGF and Reverb etc. I got into ukes some years ago and started buying and selling on Ukulele market on FB. I was told about this place about a month ago. I’ve posted 5 so far and sold 2. I was planning to post (and buy) more as well. I’m an addict. But an addict that has been able to keep my kids clothed and housed, so… no harm no foul? (…ok, so they may not have any inheritance 🤷🏽‍♂️ but a lot of cool instruments)

All that said, I don’t think anything Will is saying is unreasonable and have no issue adhering to any of the above proposed
 
To review the thread so far:

Problem to be solved: the increasing number and sophistication of scammers in the Marketplace, most of whom are new members, making their scammy offerings in their first or second post.

That's it. There aren't any other problems to be solved in my view. The rest of the Marketplace is working great from my perspective.

Not that there aren't great issues being raised on this thread that I'll continue to chat with you about...but as far as problems that NEED addressing NOW, there's just this one.

My general approach is to look for the "least possible" solution that gets the job done. In this case, I think it's enough to place a very small bump in the road that would make the typical scammer decide to go somewhere else that makes it easier to scam, without changing ANYTHING for current buyers, sellers, and traders, who are all doing fine.

Proposed solution: 10 posts before offering your first sale, or become a UU VIP. UU VIP happens for as little as $5, but I'll leave that up to them if anyone wants to pay more. 🙂

This is indeed how I've set this up. Here's the notice you get if you try to start a Marketplace thread with fewer than 10 posts:

10post.png

The links are to the UU VIP page, and to my email.

Why I think this will work: The primary intent of this is to deter scammers. They will hopefully think that this is too much work for a scam, and just move on. Needless to say, if this doesn't work, we'll refine it...but there you have it.

As for non-scammers, posting in our community should be reserved for people who want to commune with us, communicate with us, what have you. This does that, with no complications, and NO CHANGES for anybody already in the Marketplace. Unless they have fewer than 10 posts. in which case they can contact me, and I'll help 'em sort it out.

Anybody with under 10 posts who is in the midst of a legit transaction also need not worry. This restriction is only for starting THREADS. Anyone new can POST on existing threads at will here, as always.

That also means that people with fewer than 10 posts are free to buy or trade if the offering party is up for it, as it should be. We're having no reports of scammy buyers. Only people trying to sell with their first-ish post.


Release notes:
  • At this very moment, the feature works as intended in all themes, but I haven't finished styling it in anything but Underground (the current default). I'll finish the rest tomorrow. It's past my bedtime. LOL
  • Yes, there's a typo -- a colon hanging there after the exclamation point. That's not in my text, but somewhere in the HTML that I haven't tracked down. Also on my agenda to fix for tomorrow.
  • And yes, as noted earlier, I have lots of replies to other folks on the thread, but once I saw the solution in my mind, I wanted to nail it down so that I could sleep for at least a little while without first coding it in my head, and then composing and editing this email in my head on a loop. :ROFLMAO: Sweet dreams, beautiful people!
 
Another forum I frequent only allows people to use the marketplace after they have clocked up 6 months of registration and a minimum of 100 posts (and throwaway posts to build up this tally are monitored and removed). It removed any scamming overnight. You can get to know a member before you do business with them, and build trust. And new members also have an incentive to engage and join in, which is also great.

And to be honest, new entrants to this hobby will likely be playing a starter instruments and learning the ropes in that time, so the marketplace is not yet of great relevance for them - sales tend to be intermediate and professional level instruments.
 
Personally I’m not so keen on the badge idea. It feels like it takes value away from the community and simply places it on to the number of transactions, like eBay or something. There are several well known and highly regarded members on here that hardly ever, if at all, sell instruments in the marketplace, it just doesn’t quite make sense to me that they’d have a low rating compared to someone who maybe only interacts with UU in order to sell their stuff.
Thanks for posting this. I've been a member for awhile. I can see that one day when my hands have completely "had it", I'll have to move my instruments on to another player. In the best of circumstances, I'd like that to be one of you.

Bluesy.
 
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