Z#0 Saturday Bazaar Review - FREE!
Saturday Bazaar Review - Issue #0
We're gonna try a new thing here on OpenBazaar, and create some content right here.
Shopping is great, but to be a truly effective marketplace, we need to have communication, and as the market grows, advertising within the platform will become more and more important. I know the OB1 crew has some plans to make the OpenBazaar Token work to enhance listings, and they have some ideas working for curation, but nothing beats just doing stuff!
Since this is the first issue of the Saturday at the Bazaar Review, and since mazaclub just got our first shop opened up here on OB, I'll tell you what I've thought about the experience, and the corresponding experience I had this week doing the same on eBay. And I'll tell you why I canceled all my eBay listings, and decided that I'd rather sit on my inventory, and wait for buyers here than take one more step forward with eBay.
I've been a fan of OB for a long time, having installed one of the early (pre-OB1) versions of DarkMarket. OpenBazaar v1 was a huge improvement on that, but with the requirement of the store being online 24/7 to make sales, it just wasn't feasible for us at the time. OpenBazaar v2 was definitely worth the wait. Ah, but just about the time we were ready to make our first real OpenBazaar push, Bitcoin(BTC) made it nearly impossible to make small value sales on OB. Again the OpenBazaar team busted ass to make the market usable again by adding alternatives to BTC, and stepping up development on more alternatives. The multicoin wallet is going to be a big bonus.
So, I'm not new to OB, and this wasn't the first time I've used it, and I knew much of what to expect, but I'd never loaded up a decent sized inventory. For that matter, I hadn't really done much of large inventory listing on eBay either. I decided to compare my experience with both.
With OpenBazaar, I simply opened the app, and started loading inventory. My only concerns were about how to make the listing look at nice as possible, given the limited feature set for the editor, the listing title and pic (to get noticed), the tags to get noticed in search, and the price. I had no concerns about what I was listing, the content in my listing, or advertising other alternative ways of making purchase from us. Just list it, price it, and wait. I noticed a few minor bugs and issues along the way, but nothing show stopping. I tweeted about what a joy it was to work with the app.
After a few days, I could see that pageviews on my items weren't likely to be happening with just the BCH store. Most of the items are in BTC, and BTC is the default on the OB1 search tool. I kinda didn't want to go through the extra effort to set up another store, but, it's not clear how long the wait is for the multicoin wallet, and multiple choices for payment in a single listing. Still, it just doesn't seem like the page views are there. I know there's only a few thousand people really using OpenBazaar, but I want some action!
In my quest for action, I thought I'd give ol' eBay another go. It's been some time since I've listed items there,
Let's start with the comparison of just loading the inventory listings up, by hand like we do here on OB. I didn't see that much difference in the actual mechanics of the two platforms. eBay is a litle more polished, and certainly has more listing options (many coming to OB soon), but didn't really offer any different experience loading up listings. It still took a long time, and was tedious. One thing stands out on eBay - FEEEEEEEES!
Oh boy. Fees. Basic insertion fees aren't so bad - and they even give everone 50 free listings per month. There's more options to enhance your listing, but those are pretty expensive as flat fees. The price point of your item may simply price you out of enhanced listings. You can list in a second category, but that costs you double. The kicker is the "Final Valuation Fee" which is the fee charged when your item sells. Determining this fee is no less complex than filling out your US Income Tax forms. This fee is as high as 10% for low volume sellers, and as low as 4% for high volume sellers. You can see that margins evaporate quickly for all but the higest volume sellers that already have lower costs per good. But there's MOAR! eBay says that they can charge up to 4% ADDITIONAL above their Final Valuation CAP if you don't meet their performance standards for your region! It's very difficult to have confience in your pricing if you don't know what your final cost is actually going to be. Want one more? If eBay "thinks you intended to complete a transaction outside eBay" they'll charge you the Final Valuation Fee whether you sell your item or not! WTF?
So, here I sat looking at my two options - accept eBay's restrictions on what I can offer, pay their unknowable fees & cut my margins (or reduce potential sales, and keep margins), and deal with PayPal or eBay's new payment provider and still be stuck with USD in the end. I don't have any easy way to convert USD into crypto, so I prefer to make sales in crypto and convert that to USD as needed.
It's not clear to me yet how I might get some stats from my own OB node - maybe see how many pageviews, or listing views I'm getting, but I do get that information on eBay. After 24hrs, most of my eBay items hadn't gotten a single pageview. They're not high demand items, but that didn't seem too promising. It did get me to wondering how many users eBay actually has.
They say they have "171 million active users" as of 2018. After doing some digging, finding enough agreement among some disparate site (articles, forums, etc) I cam to the conclusion that 5% of the 171 million are active somewhere between monthly, and daily. If I examine my own eBay usage as a buyer, I'd estimate that closer to monthly. This suggests there's less than 10 million people looking at eBay listings each month. That's just not that many eyeballs per day looking for your wares.
Like OpenBazaar today, there's no real way to reach out on eBay to find potential customers. There's no way for potential customers to advertise their needs when they have needs that go beyond the mass-consumer products. I don't see eBay changing this any time soon. They're competing with Amazon and Alibaba.
What none of them are doing is creating a Market. A Maket is more than a bunch of booths line up on either side of the way, selling their wares. A market has buyers and sellers. A market has information and communication. A market is a place for people to be social with one another, to teach and learn from each other what can improve our lives.
In the end, this isn't what eBay, or Amazon, or Alibaba, or Etsy, or any centralized selling site provides. And, it's not what they can provide. Back in the day, the market in a town was in a commons area - everyone was free to participate. We've lost this (certainly in the US) with all of our malls, and other rented booth spaces, so it's no surprise we've done this online as well It's time for this to change. It's time to move the market back to the commons, and Make the Market Free Again.
Part of what we need to do is to bring community into the commons. Today, few people know to download and open OpenBazaar. Most of the users on the network are vendors, waiting (patiently) for customers, and developers testing stuff. But...where are the developers? Where are the meetings between vendors with ideas how to bring more people to the market? They're on Twitter, in Slack, on Telegram, and github!
I know I want to see more action on OpenBazaar, and I know that's not going to happen simply because a bunch of people hang their shingles out. It doesn't work on eBay or Etsy or other sites, and it didn't work on the internet when people started coming online in droves during the 90s. We have to give the people more reasons to open the Bazaar than just to be relieved of their coin. We have to provide reasons for them not only to open the Bazaar, but to wander around, looking at the booths, and talking to each other.
So, with all this in mind, we've started the Saturday Bazaar Review, and the Sunday Shopper. For right now, till we have other means, we'll just do like this - and post our content right into a listing. As OB grows, we'll grow the Review and the Shopper with it. Once digitally delivered goods are automated on OB, we'll have some premium content for you to purchase as well!
Since this is our first issue, we don't have any store reviews yet, and there's no advertisers to plug, but we did find one thing here on OB that's exactly to the point of what we're talking about today - making the market commons more than just rows of booths with vendors waiting for customers. We need to make the market a social place - we need cafes and pubs and places to hang out. All that is certainly easier in the physical world, where we can buy our favorite customer a coffee or a beer, or sit down and have a smoke with a group of our peers, but we can make do online. And wouldn't you know it? There's already a Pub in OpenBazaar!!
ob://QmdHduEXHFwswBoGahj3o8C6R71E3r7B2THvPcgsmRecaF/store/message-echo-test Check out ThePub group chat on OpenBazaar!!
moved to our back issue aisle, please contribute on this week's listing, unless you wanna give us a lotta money!!
|Store||mazaclub - BTC|
|Tags||article, blog, openbazaar, saturday-bazaar-review, news|
|Categories||Articles And Podcasts|
|Open||Listing with OpenBazaar|