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TWF In 2014

Discussion in 'Forum Support & Feedback' started by Jed, Dec 29, 2013.

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  1. jamhun

    jamhun

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2005
    Messages:
    1,748
    Congratulations on the birth of your baby daughter, it's nice to hear some good news on the forum for a change.

    James
    ladyvgw likes this.
  2. Anthony

    Anthony

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2004
    Messages:
    17,274
    Hello everyone,

    I would agree with anyone who says our communication has been poor in recent months, certainly my 'taking a back-seat' from the day to day has exacerbated that. The community was very fortunate in a sense that for years I would be very approachable, explain decisions we were taking and openly involve members in the running of the community. We must not forget that this was the key ingredient of what made the site a success, beyond of course our exceptional members.

    18 months or so ago we agreed to merge with Stockshifters and committed to make the changes that we thought at the time were in the best interests of the community. Despite some of the perception, the decision we both took was genuinely for the good of both businesses. The feedback for years previously was to expand the marketplace, provide a better, safer solution. Some members were openly against this merger and have been ever since, I understand their reasons. It has become obvious the changes made weren't workable for everyone, on the contrary, it has worked for others. I think with the reduction of SS fees to combat a pricing problem for lower volume transactions was a good first step. For some though, as we well know, that wasn't enough and they wanted the whole merger unravelled. This left me and indeed Helen in a difficult position at that time, as by making those commitments to each company so soon into the relationship, unravelling really wasn't an option we were considering. That doesn't excuse the silence from management (I accept that was a big mistake, and I have been party to my own pet hate) but it gives you all some perspective over the difficulties we had in appeasing some of the views of members. There isn't a one size fits all solution here, there is upside and downside to any change that is implemented, I understand how that impacts a community.

    I think the survey gives members from a wider breadth the opportunity to comment on what they do/don't like about the community. A lot of people have commented within the forum, over email or in person as to their thoughts, but here is an opportunity for us to cast the net wider. I am sure that there are those with a particular view that have become more than frustrated with airing them, I can both appreciate that and understand if they choose not to comment, rest assured, we will have already seen your comments and have taken them under consideration.

    I am sure the survey will present some interesting but differing views, based upon that, we'd look to act accordingly. No decisions have been made, there are lots of possibilities.

    Thanks
    Anthony
  3. Pete

    Pete

    Joined:
    May 30, 2005
    Messages:
    14,067
    Anthony, I must say I am surprised by your post above. You make it sound as if there is an adversarial element to all this, that there are those who not only oppose some of the moves, but seem to want the merger to fail. I don't think that is the case at all. (If there were such folk, they're long gone by now.)

    SS may be a great venue for those selling "stocks" of merchandise, overstocks, etc. It apparently is not for those selling "small lots" and eaches and is definitely not suitable for one piece dropshippers. Why can't they co-exist?

    You mention widening the marketplace, but you have in reality shrunken it terribly for the small buyers and sellers who helped you make the forum what it once was and depended on your support in return. You turned your back on hundreds who helped build the place.

    There definitely was resentment at the way things were handled, particularly the sudden cutting off of advertising by UK sellers, with not even an offer to let their prepaid advertising time run out before removing their privileges, or offering a rebate. That simply was not a good move.

    And while most of the chatter seems to be on the marketplace, about the same time the "SS way or the highway" took affect, a number of quite active members were banned for questionable reasons. It simply seems as if the new broom not only swept clean, it reached into corners that were not even known of.

    Anthony, I don't think anyone here has supported you more than I have over the years. I still often mention you are in business and are making decisions that are for your best interests, which is what you should be doing. But surely, there must be a compromise that will allow the return of the small buyers and sellers to the marketplace while still allowing SS and those who profit by them so well, as well. It doesn't have to be just one or the other.
    Andy777, Gary Ashe, planner and 5 others like this.
  4. Anthony

    Anthony

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    17,274
    Pete, the point I was eluding to is that some members are averse to change and will put road blocks up to derail a movement. I have seen it time and time again when I have previously brought about change to the community. You know this, I know this. Some are supportive, others sit on the fence, and some are just plainly against it. To say that hasn't happened in this case is not the truth, as there have been many, many posts from members here which have not been constructive (pre/during/post-merger). There's no animosity, I was just offering context.

    We don't disagree with each other on the concerns over low volume sales. It took us some time, but we did eventually lower fees impacting those lot sizes. The fees were reduced to the minimum we could go to maintain the level of service (read: to make it commercially viable). Clearly, the reason we have been brought back into further dialogue on this is because we need to re-visit it again (based on members feedback) which we are now doing.

    There is never an ideal time to make changes to advertising agreements, we had to make a very difficult call on how best to implement the changes that were necessary in a sensible and reasonable time frame. The trade off was that the changes to the way advertisers posted in the marketplace had to be expedited. All advertisers were offered free conversion accounts with access to two communities for no extra charge, plus they got a . Could we have done it differently? Of course!

    For your comments around moderating, SS have never had any operational control over the forums managing or running. There has always been a buffer between the two, as described in our editorial code. When we have banned members it is because they have breached the rules and one of the moderating team has made that call. In rare cases, I have been brought up to speed and a decision is ultimately made.

    You know I have always appreciated your opinion (I can always count on you to keep me on my toes), but through thick and thin we have usually found an acceptable middle ground. We're all sat at the table to try and make that happen.

    Thanks,
    Anthony
  5. Fishpalace

    Fishpalace

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Messages:
    286
    I am new to this forum (just over 12 months) so cannot comment on what it used to be like.

    What I can say is that the community was not fortunate for you doing your job which was running a business as effectively as you possibly can.

    What appears to have happened is that captain pugwash has left the bridge whilst in the middle of the ocean and master bates has let the ship drift but because it's in the middle of the ocean no rocks have been hit and despite the crew jumping up and down the captain has been elsewhere. Upon his return master bates is lost and the crew are angry, jumped ship and are now being asked where are we and what direction are we going.

    The good thing is you know where you was and the threads will tell you where you need to be and despite all the frustration this can still be a great ship with a great crew that needs new additions and clear navigation to the pot of gold called marketplace so that the principle of supply and demand can be met for all.

    It is Friday and it has been a long week so excuse my bizarre comparison and apologies to those who are too young to remember the good captain.

    Lets hope this ship doesn't just sail into the distance with fond memories. Let the titles roll.........
  6. Volantary

    Volantary

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    4,015
    I'm not sure I understand your point of view Anthony, from those two posts I read "what we did was right and benefitted everyone once we'd lowered the fees for smaller lots and you're all bitter because you don't like change." I really hope I've misinterpreted what you've said...

    What no-one has been able to adequately explain to me is how removing the right to sell directly through TWF was of any benefit to the sellers, or the forum as a whole. If you felt people wanted an escrow service you could've provided an optional one. If you were hoping to persuade people to use the SS platform that would bring you regular income, I'd like to ask how well that went as there don't seem to be many people who (publically at least) have indicated that they've continued selling on SS and I'd argue any increase in uptake could've been achieved just through cross-promotion (as it was between when TWF and SS merged and the changes taking effect) and not decimating the marketplace. What you've done by effectively removing the marketplace (what's there isn't a marketplace, it's an advertisement) and replacing it with a platform that isn't suitable is force those sellers elsewhere.

    We're not bitter about change, change is re-painting the walls, what you did is blow the house up with a bazooka and replace it with a bouncy castle. We don't necessarily want the old house to be reconstructed, if you want to construct a new equally suitable house go for it. But the old house was just fine, barring the odd theif who'd run off with the TV.
  7. psxgamer

    psxgamer

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Messages:
    3,466
    And that's just what I'm missing on TWF. There were lot's of posters I didn't know before. Several of them like Rick, Ebafy, Pete,... I don't considers just a member of TWF but have become friends.

    A lot of these are advertisers. They can no longer advertise the way they should. They still regularly visit TWF but a lot less than in the past. In the past I would go to TWF to have a chat with my friends. Sometime some banter often good discussion. Some of these people are gone. Others just dop in now and then.

    I don't blame them, but all the changes. I've never been a buyer on TWF and will never be. But the marketplace was the core of TWF. This core is now broken. And the cracks go to other parts of TWF.
    UKbuyer1 and Volantary like this.
  8. Dave Casuals

    Dave Casuals

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    Messages:
    2,898
    I've been away last 2 days so havn't had time to view this survey...will get on it over the weekend. However, after reading a few additional replies to this thread since last on I'm even more baffled and the saga just goes on...To say the changes have worked for some and not others speaks for very few who actively use this forum now. You seem to want to overlook what the majority of your members are saying...you seem to want to disregard many within this post, thinking the wider audience of users probably think differently...many of us have history on this forum. Some a couple of years, and many longer...if you took all our posts of help and guidance over the years off from this forum you would be left with very little content on your site and what have many of us ever got back from offering our help...then you wonder why some of us feel like we do! We are speaking on behalf of the long term future of the forum.

    Going on your reply Anthony, the majority of companies that your changes have benefited are the larger clearance companies. I noticed a few became advertisers on this forum not long before the merger a little over a year ago, and it is quite apparent from viewing the stock in a few of your market places on stockshifters that it is nigh on half their stock being sold there. Hence the reason why the word 'clearance' and 'end of line' go hand in hand with 'shifting stock' as the website name suggests. But to go and merge from being a wholesale website with a large wholesale customer base of advertisers/buyers to then suddenly think all will be happy selling under the banner of 'clearance' leaves me baffled and wondering how you thought this would work for everyone!!! It works for a minority regardless of the items being sold and the quantity of the items one is selling. I have some fanatasic new wholesale lines this year, but in no way do I want to be operating under the banner of 'clearance', and the way you currently operate on stockshifters...and you just do NOT see that you are alienating the general wholesaler and, if as you say, your system is working, you are more than likely only attracting a bigger wider clearance company type of advertiser, an I'm sure many if not all are only to happy to sit behind a 'vendor' number without wanting any kind of communication with the buyer. Thats how many of those people work!

    Why don't you just give a direct answer with regards to whether at any time soon, you are/are not, going to bring back any type of advertising feature within the forum, so at least if not, some of us can get on our way, as the only threads these days I seem to only bother responding to and that give me any real joy, are the those relating to bringing back the old forum, partly because there is so little else going on in the forum.
    planner, jamhun, Pete and 1 other person like this.
  9. ladyvgw

    ladyvgw

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    Messages:
    5,175
    I have to agree with Dave. I too did not want to be lumped into a selling platform with a load of clearance guys trying to sell off car boot stock. In my opinion it would devalue my products and lower the tone. I didn't want my buyers to think I was selling end of line stuff that didn't sell well through normal channels. I am a serious wholesaler and sell well priced, good quality merchandise. To say it is stock that I am trying to 'shift' gives the wrong impression completely.

    I also agree that the lack of personal interaction is a big downside. I like to chat with my regular customers and get to know them. I am in regular contact with most of them by email and they all know that if they email me with a question they will get a response within an hour or two. To make the process anonomous reduces the chance of making a sale as you are not able to build up any trust.

    I would love to be able to come back on here and sell as per the old days but if it means going through SS then you can continue to count me out.
    Apardal, Import Expert, Jed and 4 others like this.
  10. willhof

    willhof

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,294
    I tend to pop in on a monthly basis, but have only posted a dozen times or so in the past 3 years. I'm of the view that there are a number of different reasons for the "death" of the forum, but clearly Stockshifters is one of the more prominent. From a totally objective point of view, Anthony, I think Pete asked the $64,000 question - why can't Stockshifters co-exist with a TWF marketplace for smaller/individual lots? What's preventing this from happening and why?
    Gary Ashe, Tango34uk and Pete like this.
  11. planner

    planner

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    6,792
    Hi Vicky,

    .Congratulations on you're new arrival. Hope you and the family are well.
  12. Dave

    Dave

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,809
    My 2p worth.
    I dont think anything will change Or if it does it will be very minor.
    I agree with Dave and Vicky, nobody wants to try and build a brand or business and then see their stock labelled as ' clearance items ', all your hard work is wasted.
    In my opinion people normally buy from people they know and trust, Pete is a good example of this. He has worked very hard making sure his customers receive a great service with a real person and not a nameless advertiser who uses SS.
    I don't understand why TWF and SS can't see this.

    I wanted an advertising option where members could pay an amount and have a link in their signature to their website, I asked Anthony about this more than 12 months ago and heard nothing since. I don't understand how an option like this would hurt SS?
    But hey what do I know :)
    jamhun and Pete like this.
  13. planner

    planner

    Joined:
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    In my eyes Helen/Anthony you can have TWF & Stockshifters working along side each other. SS for clearance items. TWF for advertisers who don't want there products to be associated as clearance items.

    Vicky mentioned it here,
    Why cut you're nose of to spite you're face.
    jamhun likes this.
  14. Gary Ashe

    Gary Ashe

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    Messages:
    582
    Ditto.
  15. Tango34uk

    Tango34uk

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,970
    Just quessing here.... but my guess is that during the takeover (sorry merge I keep slipping on the keyboard there!) SS got access to the forum, its members (as in a mailing list) and TWF got access to SS selling platform. But I agree keep SS running for the people that want to clear old stock, and have a mambership feature that isnt SS selling platform that allows members to purchase the ability to sell like they used to and advertise within the sales area, and suddenly old memers will come back, new members will join, and current members wont leave.

    What I expect (I would love to be proved wrong) is that we will get lots of reasons why this isnt the way forward, how SS is the best thing for all of us, and be expected to go along - which would be a shame - Im not saying do away with SS, just give us the ability to have another way as well! - I would love to see this forum back to what it was a few years ago, but with SS running alongside as well.
  16. Anthony

    Anthony

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2004
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