Possible marketplace forum

For the past few months we’ve been kicking around the idea of a Marketplace forum, and have decided to put the matter before the house for comments and suggestions.

Here’s our current thinking on how this would work - this is subject to revision:

  1. Only SDMB subscribers (Members and Charter Members) would be allowed to post. (Anyone could read.) There would be no additional charge for basic posting. Conceivably we might charge at some point for special services - making a post a sticky, for example - but at the outset at least we’d like to keep things simple.

  2. Standard SDMB rules would apply, with the following exception: subscribers would be free to tout business ventures with which they may be involved. In addition, they would be permitted to post links to a post in the Marketplace forum in their signatures. We envision this as a sort of interactive classifieds section - you could offer to buy, sell, rent, barter, or engage in any other legitimate commercial activity.

  3. Images would be permitted.

We’d probably try this on a trial basis for six months and see how it worked out.

Thoughts?

Would people be able to embed YouTube videos inline, as this is often done on other classified adverts sites?

Edited to add: Gormless Wienie?

Is there some other site you are using as a model? (I’m trying to envision how this would work.) Unlike eBay, this would be promoting/selling services instead of products?

Wouldn’t Craigslist be the obvious model (and competition)? And that’s the question. Craigslist is already there, and quite successful. Why would I want to advertise here instead of there? What’s the competitive advantage?

There’s a similar forum over at Something Awful that might be worth looking at as a model.

This is a good idea and worth pursuing IMO.

Well, you may know a little more about the buyer here. Of course a little knowledge can be dangerous, caveat emptor etc. And putting an ad in your sig sounds to me like a very affordable form of advertising.

This sounds like a great experiment to me.

Re: another thread. Would discussion of advertised products or product reviews of unadvertised products be appropriate? Would GQ or GD rules apply?

ETA: Holy guacamole: a forum where advertisers could advertise and adults could discuss their claims would be quite a unique market niche. Ka-ching!

Sounds very interesting - and I might be tempted to start subscribing because of this…

Questions:

Are you talking about registered business only? - or could, say, someone who knits custom sweaters advertise their service as an individual?

Do you think there would be any need to implement measures to prevent hogging? Is it a problem if one business or individual posts lots of different ad threads per day?

You’re already a Charter Member and it’s supposedly free. So why would it have to be ‘instead of’?

Well, I can’t say that I expect it to do much, but I don’t see anything obviously problematic at first glance either. I say, give it a go, and if it doesn’t work…well, it’ll just sit at the bottom of the fora list collecting dust. Which is not that big a deal. Just…can it go above the Barnhouse, please? I’m pretty sure most people here stop scanning the fora list after they hit the Barn House. I know I do.

Will users be able to close their own threads? (if, for example, they are time-limited offers)

I’m interested.

I sell books on Amazon, & this would be a big boost for me.

This is why I’d like a bit more clarity on the issue of hogging - absolutely no disrespect intended to you, Bosda - What I mean is: you’ve probably got dozens or hundreds of titles listed at any one time - as will have other sellers.
You won’t want other sellers shoving your threads off the front page by posting theirs at one thread per title (any more than anyone else wants you doing this - not that I’m suggesting you would)

How - in practical terms - will usage of this new forum be made fair for all?

First random thing I thought of:

What happens if a dispute occurs between two members off the boards (i.e. Amazon)? Obviously the Mods stay out of it unless it impacts the boards… But it might be good to have that in writing.

I find it interesting, but as someone else pointed out there is Craigslist, and Etsy [I actually like Etsy a LOT, and have been actively shopping over there]

I think maybe we could allow each subscriber to start one thread about their goods and services [like an author posing a link to their personal webspace/etsy page/merchant site, a short description of what type of books they write, not a general listing of everything they have.] Make is short and sweet, and the titles businesslike and listing the type of good/service offered.

People looking for a custom knit penis cozy or copyediting service or personal telephone sanitizing service could use the search function in the thread and if we format the titles in the thread to include the name of what they are merchandising so it could be found in a search they could find the thread and ask any questions in the thread or by PM if the thread author prefers.

Is there some way of closing threads after a specific period like 6 months?

I’d avoid it completely. I come here for intelligent discussion, not to be advertised at.

My sentiments exactly.

I dunno, what I’m seeing is a suggestion of it having its own forum…so wouldn’t the whole “if you don’t like it, then just don’t go into that forum” sense apply?

Throw me into those who think it’s an interesting idea and would be nice to try out.

This.

I think there are enough avenues for people to buy/sell/trade goods and services already, and I don’t think it suits the flavour of this board.

The only place I could see it working would be under the Chicago section of the board, with trade limited to a geographical region around Chicago.

[speaking as a member, not a moderator]

This, and the Craigslist suggestion, don’t entirely make sense to me. For some types of services or items for sale (yard work, a refrigerator), obviously you want to advertise at the local level – for other services or items (website building, CDs, custom-knit penis cozies), being able to advertise on an national/international basis to a group of more-or-less like-minded people seems like a great idea.

And for those who hate the idea – as a couple of people have pointed out, if you’re not interested, don’t go in the forum. I personally go months at a time without sticking a toe in Great Debates. The posts would be in a specific, clearly marked forum.

[/saam, nam]