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On business relationships

Discussion in 'Forum Support & Feedback' started by Volantary, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. Volantary

    Volantary

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    4,016
    I'd just like to say a few words on some of the true reasons the recent changes to TWF have gotten to me.

    I'm currently working with a trusted supplier on here on a brand new, pretty large scale project. If it goes well it could make us both some very nice money, enough for me to be able to support myself (at the moment I only have a part time job that is struggling to run the car, I have a couple of other projects going on but the income from those isn't substantial). At the moment I live at home so need to stop sponging of my parents at some point!

    I have a fairly long-standing member of the forum as a (now email) contact for buying items I want to clear. He bought a few bits and bobs in my last tablet fire sale and a followup message from him with his email address means I now have the opportunity to generate some money, granted at break-even or a loss, whenever I need it.

    A little bit off the forum but I have a lovely lady in a city nearby who's currently working as a sales agent with me for a modest but regular amount of items. I simply sent the items to her, she sells them, I collect the money minus her commission. She started as a buyer from me over Christmas. She then acted as a sales agent for another guy who screwed her over (she basically took about £30k on his behalf in exchange for a whole £250 pay over a few months). I saw how effective she was, offered her much better terms than him (not hard!) and the rest is history. She's taken almost £1k for me over the past 2 weeks, earning herself a nice percentage of that to pocket.

    My point? None of these scenarios can come about with "vendor528". They all came about because I could identify people, observe their actions and make judgements of their character and finally trust them with various things (my time, my contact information and my money respectively!). Unfortunately the way TWF is set up at the moment, save for maybe a few international advertisers who don't seem to be getting the same level of traffic as they used to, there is absolutely no possibility for more of these opportunities to come up. Between not being able to make deals on here and a general declining population, I think the place has lost its clout.

    I fear that if I joined now (at the same age I joined before), my life would have turned out substantially differently. While it's all well and good having the information you can glean from the forum and trying to go it alone, you will achieve far more in much less time by having a network of people you've dealt with in the past to go back to.

    Today I've mainly spent the day making contact with these three people, hence the thought forming. I'm sure the importance of business relationships is clear to all you veterans, but as a guy still with a lot to learn these epiphanies are pretty important.
  2. Twisty

    Twisty

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2009
    Messages:
    411
    TWF/SS want a slice of that '£1k over the past 2 weeks', basically.

    SS won't really amount to anything, in my opinion. Bad move for TWF.
  3. Volantary

    Volantary

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    4,016
    To be honest I'm all for TWF making more money, the more they make the longer they're likely to be around. To be honest if they wanted that all they had to do was increase the advertising membership price (which was absurdly low for the potential money you could make from it, I made mine back in about 2 weeks). What they've done isn't so much throwing the baby out with the bath water but carting the whole bath out of the window.
    Pete likes this.
  4. ebafy

    ebafy

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Messages:
    1,341
    Not having a go at you Alex, in fact quote the opposite. I empathise with you and many of the long standing contributors to the forum. I've lost some sterling contacts on here too! What can we do... absolutely nothing as we all are treading on thin ice these days. Not knowing where we stand with the points system (no idea if I have any or not, if I have I have absolutely no idea why). These kind of posts certainly drum up a lot of attention but soon run out of steam. I'm not familiar on how SS works, but something has certainly knocked out the services marketplace so you're not alone. A domino effect speaks true here. It is practically dead in the water these days. With less active members, bouncing off each other, I too fear for my own contribution to the forum after over 4 years, providing the same level of service, week in week out. It's a shame really :( 'if we ask nicely can we have it back to how it was' peeeessseeeee!
    Volantary likes this.
  5. planner

    planner

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    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    6,793
    All the best Alex. There's a old saying if it ain't broke why fix it. :(
    Volantary likes this.
  6. toysandgifts

    toysandgifts Banned Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2,451
    Give it another 3 months and I think TWF will be a ghost forum. Half the regular posters are gone. No one seems to care about the market place anymore. I certainly don't use it anymore. Many members still log in, but hardly post.

    I think a point will be reached, in the next few months, when Gary and lovinit will sit back, rub their eyes, and say, "Well, what shall I post?"

    As their will be nothing to post to, aside from maybe a 'hello' to some new member, who in most cases, will never be seen ever again.
  7. Simple Aquatics

    Simple Aquatics

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    Messages:
    4,015
    Ok guys - time for a suggestion. As far as i understand everyone is unhappy about the changes of late in terms of the market place and the introduction or at least the effect SS has had. I have to admit the place does seem a lot more less active but is still as helpful as always from my point of view.

    There also seems to be continual moans about members being banned and the emergence of the 'points system' heralded by some as a battering ram operated by a secret police force which is systematically removing the 'best' members on here..................just my view......................so my suggestion............or probably more of a question is thus?

    What positive changes would you make, that are both logical and achievable, to the operation of the forum?

    My thought process here is that rather than criticising things destructively, that perhaps some constructive feedback is the way forward??!?

    Apologies if this has been done to death
  8. Ross

    Ross

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,241
    James I think that with the Services section being at the bottom of the forum list and the increasing number of SS advertiser threads and TWF advertiser threads, I think that the services section is just getting lost amongst it all.
  9. ebafy

    ebafy

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
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    I don't know the ins and outs of the merger as I never read up or followed it in much detail as this was or is not my area of business. However coming from a development background, it looks as though a separation is needed between the marketplace/s. I haven't spoke with Anthony for ages, don't even know if he is active on the forums anymore as I have not seen him post for a while.
  10. Volantary

    Volantary

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    4,016
    [Addressed to all but inspired by the first bit of your post] Please voice your opinion, my post isn't really meant to change anything, it's just the first time I've managed to gather my general negative emotions into a coherant post! One of those moments where you appreciate what you have at the moment, think about how you got there then get saddened because others don't have the opportunity of doing the same. If anyone disagrees I'm fine with that :)

    But moving past the first 7 words, I've heard similar things about services from a few people now, not least our resident dropshipper Pete. Sales of my ebook have more or less come to a stop, whereas I could rely on selling several per week (depending on my level of activity, my signature being the main thing that drives sales) I haven't sold any at all for about 2 weeks, barring one that was sold yesterday. No negative reviews or any normal reasons like that, just a gradual decline and stop. To be honest this doesn't bother me too much, the fact that I was able to write it and sell it regularly to good reviews is more than enough for me, but it's yet more anecdotal evidence as to where things are headed.
  11. ebafy

    ebafy

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
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    1,341
    I'm airing no voice lol.... just scuttling back to my creative cloud before I get whipped. Back to ebafy HQ where I feel safe :)
    Proudlock likes this.
  12. Pete

    Pete

    Joined:
    May 30, 2005
    Messages:
    14,070
    2 different matters.

    1) Restore the marketplace to the active, vital place it once was by allowing everyone to return as they were. Understand you can't fit square pegs in round holes. There are so many who simply sell to those who for whatever reason will not use SS. I'm not praising or damning SS, simply saying they are trying to make it a one-size-fits-all, but it a far cry for a single solution. Just restoring the marketplace to what it was, even at double or triple the advertiser fees will do more than anything else to revive this moribund place.

    2) Ease up! One of the UK idioms I've picked up over the years is "simple as", and it is. Continue the excellent job of keeping out spammers, continue to name / shame and ban scammers. But for those whose only sin is talk, not larceny, establish a series of bans (or publish their baby pictures). Too many have been permanently banned for idle chatter that "may" be offensive to some, but considered normal friendly conversation by most others.

    There it is. A simple 2-step program. Not like AA or NA or any of those other 12-step programs, a simple 2 step program that could be instituted instantly at a drop of Anthony's hat. (And yes he is still alive, we had a few PMs concerning Peteybaba.)
  13. Volantary

    Volantary

    Joined:
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    4,016
    It's a fair shout but unfortunately, although we are listened to and generally get replies from staff, little action is taken. We suggested a lot of things before the merger happened, then tried desperately to stop the marketplace being closed off but at the end of the day Anthony had made his decision and stuck by it. At the moment it's unfortunately a case of "hate to say I told you so but..."

    The positive changes basically involve resetting to how things were a few months ago, with new regulars popping up every week and regular marketplace activity. People came to do business, hung around for the advice and set up camp for the company and banter. Then sort SS's problems out (there are many which I detailed in one of the threads in the general wholesale section) and once it stopped getting negative reviews use the forum to promote SS. Not by flooding the marketplace but maybe with a "sponsored ad" here and there, banner ads, frequent mentions be staff, highlighting genuinely good deals, stuff like that. And of course raise the advertiser fee which was too low to begin with.
    Looks4U likes this.
  14. planner

    planner

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    6,793
    For me paid advertisers should be highlighted so they are not hard to find. I try my best to point people in the general direction but feel I may miss others out. :(
  15. Import Expert

    Import Expert

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    Messages:
    3,436
    I sell a service so the changes have not directly affected me as such, but there has been a noticeable drop in traffic/activity in the last few months. Throw into the discussion the negative vibe due to a variety of issues which is there for all to see (including new visitors), the disgruntled longer term members that make the forum what it is (those that inspired and welcomed me when I joined) and you have problems (Or dare I say TWF has problems).

    Much of this has been discussed to death but as many of you have mentioned in this post, lets be constructive rather than obstructive and air our suggestions. It's then up to Anthony and his teams whether anything is taken on board.

    The SS Merger was probably a decent bit of business for Anthony and I'm sure it will be here to stay along with the format of listing products via the SS platform. Things change - time for TWF get over it. However there are some major issues with this that in my mind are relatively easy fixes.

    1) As mentioned by Alex at the begiining of this post - People want to know who they are dealing with. I understand that anonymity protects SS to an extent from them being taken out of the equation, but that never seemed to be a major problem in the old format. If this is not possible then perhaps a rating/feedback system as such. At least you then have a guide as to whether you can trust the supplier in question.

    2) SS activity on TWF. Given that I would imagine this is a pretty important entry point into SS, they are not exactly active on the forum. There has been a couple of complaints recently about SS on here and personally I would be responding to them immediately.

    3) Advertising fee. Correct me if I'm wrong but its £350 for basic advertising when selling products from within the UK now? I know with this there are added benefits but its a big hike from the £100 it was originally via TWF. And I agree completely this could have been higher and I still would have paid it.

    I was as shocked as anyone to see some important members on here get banned for reasons other than fraud, etc. They were important not because they were long term members, but because of what they put back in to the forum. You guys and these people make it attractive to new visitors when compared to other forums, visitors which would then be new potential clients of TWF/SS. However I understand that there is a lot behind the scenes we are quite rightly not party to, and rightly or wrongly these decisions have to be made - as has been said rules are rules. My only suggestion for this has been mentioned in the last day or two by a few other members, that when someone has reached the end of the line when it comes to warnings, etc. and the reasons for the warnings are not, lets say illegal activity, they should be given one final chance - A maybe three month suspension. As well as the indignity of being suspended, they lose three months advertising money and trading profit from this portal. After the suspension they are on a final strike so anything worthy of a warning and you are out. That way, they get a wake up call and we (TWF members) have no reason then to complain if they end up getting banned afterwards. If they behave themselves after this then TWF/SS win as well.
    Volantary and SimonN like this.
  16. Gary

    Gary

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    Aug 22, 2009
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    16,366
    Whereas I personally agree with a lot of your post, this last part would make little / no difference in reality, people would still complain that active members are suspended, then when allowed back, if they behave for say 6 months or so, many will forget about the suspension (and obviously newer members wouldn't even realise at all), and then if they are removed people will complain again, fact of the matter is, there is no black and white answer and it's impossible to keep everyone happy, any forum (or anywhere else there is a collection of people), people will leave, people will be removed and other people will come, it's just how it works, and to be fair, nothing that anybody can do will change that or the fact that people will still complain.
    Dave likes this.
  17. Volantary

    Volantary

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    I see what you're saying but if the member has been well behaved for a full 6 months I'd submit that they're not a suitable candidate for a ban.
  18. Gary

    Gary

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    Again I can and do see your point, but it really depends on many variables, but most of all the severity, quantity and frequency of violations, this is why lines need to be drawn (as they are), as mentioned in my post (and now proven), no matter what the forums (or anyone, anywhere), does, there will be people that will not agree, just the same as if unlimited chances were given, and multiple offences continually overlooked, then this would be unfair on those who do not get these chances, and would cause and equal (or more likely far greater) dispute, and rightly so.

    This is the point, a line HAS to be drawn somewhere no matter who it is or how active they are from new members right through to moderators, and as was explained the other day, active, contributing members are often given more chances than most in the fact that they may get some warnings without points where points may have otherwise been issued, some private messages / emails, etc. all of which are at staff discretion, but the bottom line still remains that it is staff / admin decision, and whether we agree with them or not, we need top respect that.

    Sometimes opinions do vary and what people do may not seem right to you just as I'm sure that at times what you do may not seem right to others but you do it anyway as it's your choice, sure, people can offer advice, or maybe suggest alternatives, but at the end of the day it's still your decision and people need to respect that, this is no different, it's just a part of life whether here or anywhere, again, no-one wants to see active contributing members banned or even suspended, but the fact remains that if they continually break rules there really is no other option.

    Look at it in another way, you have a friend round your house, they occaionally do things that you don't like or don't want them to do in there, you ask them to stop, they stop for a while but then do it again, how long before you don't have them round any more? your other friends may say, "ahh that's just them you know what they're like" but again, it's your decision and your friends / other visitors need to respect that, this is exactly the same, but this time it's Anthony's house and his rules and his choice.
  19. Volantary

    Volantary

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    I fully understand what you're saying and more or less agree with you. It's true that it's Anthony's house and what he says goes but it seems that's where the problems have come about! Anyway I don't really want to turn this into "let's bash Anthony's decisions" because that really is biting the hand that feeds you.

    I don't think we're ever going to agree, which is fine. I'm just saying breaking apart the community for the sake of following guidelines and fairness to other offenders is missing the forest for the trees. I think if you can keep people around and the community as a whole happier for the sake of saying "please don't do that thing" every 6 months it's worth it.
  20. Gary

    Gary

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    I don't think it's a case of we're never going to agree, as to be honest in the most part I agree with you and vice versa, all I am saying is that to find that common ground where everyone is happy would be impossible which is why we'll never fully agree (on this at least), as the point to agree on simply does not and cannot exist as it could potentially do more harm than good (keyword potentially). If anything, the more experienced forum members should be setting examples to the newbies as they should know different, not doing things which if the newbies repeated they would be warned / banned for, as many newbies look to what they see for what's allowed as opposed to the rules, and even if they did, if they see them being broken, they would think there was flexibility or it wasn't really enforced, as always, there's 2 sides to everything.

    No-one likes to see actively contributing members banned, least of all the forums as they know fully that it's these that are the bread and butter of the forums, but sometimes things need to be done which we don't want to (again, anywhere, not just here).
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