Why can't I sell? The Answer.

Howdy. This is the answer to the question, ?Why can?t I sell anything on my site?? It?s long.

Every now and then, we get asked why members are not allowed to sell things in their galleries. It?s never really been adequately explained to people who haven?t been here since day one, so I figured now would be a good time to explain why we don?t allow this.

First, a bit of history. This site was opened for in August 2001 with a single post on the cels.org message board and a few e-mails to friends telling them that I was a fellow collector working on a web site creator tool that will host anime cel galleries free of charge.

Originally, this site was never intended to be terribly large or heavily trafficked. Our one rule was basically, ?don?t make trouble for anyone else and you can do whatever you want.? Unlimited space. Unlimited bandwidth. No annoying advertisements. Editorial freedom to say and do whatever. Just don?t do anything that would cause us, the operators of the site, undue stress or inconvenience. No artbook scans. Nothing overtly pornographic or racist. And a final thing.... no sales.

For the most part, everything we allowed in the beginning (unlimited web hosting resources of bandwidth and space and no ads) we still allow. However, being a free site that constantly operates in the red, our goals are simple:

1) Avoid anything that will cost us money or administration time.
2) Keep the site on-topic.
3) Try to encourage communication between members and create a self-sustaining community.

Why do we disallow sales? Some of you may recall that we used to allow sales for a week on the honor system. However, this inevitably led ? mostly accidentally ? to a few people leaving sales up indefinitely. Naturally, this leads to a sense of suspected favoritism. ?If noisywalrus can sell things for a month, why can?t I?? Then we have to explain our secret honor system sales thing. Or we had to remember who we said could sell. There were a few who were constantly selling things at least once every two weeks and constantly asked for extensions. As you can imagine, this took lots and lots of time to deal with. Site development ground to a halt. I elected a few moderators to help with the process. They did and still do wonderful jobs. But I was dealing with either ?someone took my cel? or ?why can?t I sell?? questions for about three hours a week.

By making sales on a permission basis, we thought we could control any questionable elements sneaking into the system. It didn?t quite work out that way.

There was more than one instance of sales going bad. No one held me responsible, but everyone seemed to assume that I should arbitrate an argument about sales transactions I had no part in. Then there were a few times ? given the nature of easy uploading and cataloguing of items on the site ? when someone would come in during the night and upload three dozen $5 bargain bin cels. Clearly, goal #2 (keep site on-topic) was failing due to our inability to dictate an iron law about what is and is not allowed. We don?t want 5 real cel galleries for every 50 shells of cel galleries that are merely offloading random junk. They do not deserve spaces on the home page that should be reserved for actual collectors with new things to share from their personal collections. I was quite angry the first time a non-gallery took a place on the home page update list, and I don?t get angry often. If most cel galleries are run by ghosts, then goal #3 (create community) is also shot.

All of these arguments ignore the financial one that asks, ?We?re giving away unlimited bandwidth and space away combined with an photo album tool to simplify life for free. Isn?t asking to make money off us on top of that a little much? Shouldn?t we be charging for this or selling ad space??

To make a long story short, sales are a very bad thing for this site... for now. For sales to be viable, we need two things:

1) A very visible ?use at your own risk? type thing that states that if you have problems with a sales transaction, I do _not_ want to hear about it. We?ll give you everything you should need to make your decision including as much background info about the seller as possible, but past that we will not arbitrate sales.
2) Editorial separation between personal cel gallery content and sales content. I don?t like mixing personal galleries with sales. It encourages fly-by-night galleries.

A new marketplace area separate from personal cel galleries is the way we will be addressing this problem. Sales from personal galleries will probably not ever be a reality so we don?t have to explain why some people can do it and other people cannot.

Thanks for understanding and sticking with us during our growing pains (and various contagious diseases). I hope this clears things up. If you have any questions about this, please post them here and I will do my best to answer them.
Edited Jul 26 at 12:00 AM
noisywalrus
Plastic Future
Jul 25 at 10:48 PM
Very well explained^^
I do have a question though, what was that "honor system" you were talking about?
Ore-sama
Money's Grave - Mother's Grief
Sep 04 at 3:21 AM
3 years ago, the "honor system" meant that you could sell "once", if you asked the site admin first. It was abused, so it was stopped. You had a gallery then, don't you remember? :-)
Edited Sep 04 at 7:44 AM
E
E
Sep 04 at 7:42 AM
Here's a question that may have come up, but probably should be addressed in this main thread...

What about one-time sales, to other RS members?

For example, take myself. I'm looking to unload a couple cels (weeding out, so to speak), and would much prefer setting a price, and posting here - NOT on my gallery page! - that I have 'x' cels for sale. Seeing as how I use rubberslug, and enjoy its services (even if I am quiet on the forums..), I'd much, much rather sell them to other Rubberslub members instead of forking them up on eBay..

Me.
foxtrot_xray
Key Drawings
Oct 22 at 7:00 PM
Hey foxtrot.

This is all going away. I always want to work on it, then I get pulled away to do something else. I really want to make a central area where people can sell stuff and have a clear separation between personal sites and sales. It's sorta why we're pushing community features like weblogs and such -- primarily to get that type of content out of the galleries and into a more appropriate format/venue.

We don't **like** telling people they can't do things (contrary to popular belief), but we do have a great interest in keeping things on topic.

I was thinking about mid-week that maybe I can get something up and running really quickly, even if it's very primitive just to tide people over. I've been saying that I'm getting sales up for months and that has made me into a big liar. I'll see what I can do about this.
noisywalrus
Plastic Future
Oct 23 at 12:46 AM
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