Star Seeker (jurann) wrote,
Star Seeker
jurann

Good Business Sense

FurBuy's road has come to the edge of a cliff. It will take a community to build a bridge, otherwise the future falls off into the sea.

The Situation

Auction sites are dying. We've been actively tracking all of the furry auction sites for nearly 2 years now and the data are quite conclusive on this - Furbid is officially gone, Dealer's Den is close to nil, and FurBuy has lost about half of it's projected business over the last year. The sales aren't disappearing, they're moving: to furry image board "journal auctions". Over the last 8 months we've been carefully tracking (by hand mind you) the growth and success of these unregulated and unlicensed online auctions hosted in image board journals and submission posts. We've watched time and again as paying FurBuy subscribers move to the journal auction format, for one reason or another. Every time this happens, FurBuy loses ground and it makes the point clearer that furry auction sites had their day and may no longer be needed.

It's simply not possible to compete with journal auctions in the current climate where they are unregulated and unmanaged by site admins. This is not a complaint, it is simple business logic and sensibility - it is not worthwhile to continue running FurBuy in an environment of rampant journal auctions.

Bridge Building

This is where community comes in (i.e. YOU). If FurBuy is going to be successful and continue operating and improving then it will require community action to build bridges into other sites. The teams responsible for the image boards need to understand that journal auctions are a detriment to their purpose and that there is a team of people here willing to help them by taking on the responsibility and challenge for them. The people who are posting journal auctions need to understand that there's a better way and place for them as well. You need to be the champion of such a cause and voice your concerns to site admins and sellers posting journal auctions.

FurBuy exists to serve the furry community and provide auction and sales services to everyone - that includes third party sites regardless of what they do. We can provide sales features and portals for them with minimal effort on their part. We need people willing to voice their concerns to those teams and help us reach out and connect to synergize and elevate each other - and the community in return.

This is not about money - FurBuy never has been about money. It's about community and providing service. FurBuy was started in order to serve a need for the furry fandom and to provide excellent service and reliability. More than anything all we want is to be successful at our goal of serving the community and seeing our hard work pay off for those who make use of the system. It takes a village though and we need your vocal support through communicating your want for the site to others, spreading the word about FurBuy, and keeping traffic and interest up about the site.

Why Furry Fandom Needs FurBuy

So why should third party sites integrate with FurBuy? Online auctions are typically licensed, bonded, regulated business with legal ramifications and impact. FurBuy runs in compliance with State and Federal regulations and further also complies with the Uniform Commercial Code to protect buyers and sellers and ensure the highest quality interaction for users. Our systems are designed with this in mind, and FurBuy provides a rich framework for feedback and communication that are necessary for a thriving sales community. In addition we provide full transparency in order to prevent any wrong-doing and auction manipulation, and a team of paid administrators to keep a constant monitoring on the system and interaction with users. We believe these are of great value and purpose to the smooth and fair operation of furry sales and auctions, and we're willing to provide this service for anyone's site - free of charge.

What's wrong with journal auctions?
  • Longevity: in many cases both the journal owner and those leaving "bid comments" can remove any evidence (and legal claim) of the auction's existence
  • Regulation: sites where journal auctions exist have no policies or regulations on how they're run and therefore there's no fairness or common business decency enforced, much less compliance with law and legal regulations
  • Monitoring: admins of image boards have a completely different set of administrative priorities and cannot or do not monitor journal auctions for foul play such as shill bidding, bid shielding and fraudulent bids made by the seller to pump up their own sales
  • Transparency: in many cases both the journal owner and those leaving "bid comments" can remove or manipulate records of bids and auctions to change or completely remove information
  • Structure: journals are not setup for fielding bids, making the whole bidding process confusing and convoluted
  • Features: image boards are simply missing crucial auction/sales features which slight both the bidders and sellers

Two Paths

The bridge gets built somehow (community support) or FurBuy goes over the cliff. As of now, the community message is clear: journal auctions are adequate, reasonable and trustworthy enough for furries. In June our contract expires with the hosting facility for our servers and unless the bridge is being built we plan to deprecate FurBuy at that time. The site may continue to run but we will not be maintaining it anymore and there will be no more admin staff.

If the bridge is being built though and it looks like FurBuy might be given a fair chance at success we will instead invest in two new servers for the system, and continue on the path of rewriting the existing FurBuy site as a fresh, new HTML5 design with modern features that will make using the system faster and easier - in addition to investing in third party site integration. We're hopeful that the community will choose to go down this path, but the choice to build the bridge relies on you and your ability to motivate the community to support a dedicated, reliable, trustworthy furry sales system.
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