ADMIN REQUEST: Group Buy Sub-Forum

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ADMIN REQUEST: Group Buy Sub-Forum

Postby athousandleaves » Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:49 am

I'm really tired of tracking down group buys across all the different forum sections and would REALLY APPRECIATE IT if in the Marketplace section we could have a spot for group buys only.

It would be best to have a forum for "Group Buys" with two Subforums one for "Proposed Groupbuys" where people can post for interest and then another for "Live Group Buys" where interest has met demand and a new thread of confirmed buyers sign up and the magic can happen.

Off the top of my head I know of 5 topics that could be put in there right away:

Front LSD: viewtopic.php?f=43&t=42339
Ultra Racing Braces: viewtopic.php?t=44661
Rear Diff Bushing kits: viewtopic.php?f=64&t=37137 (almost fully wrapped up)
High Output Alternators: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=43501 (probably dead due to temperacerguy)
Factory Floor Mats: viewtopic.php?f=4&p=419848 (I have an update for this 'gb' actually...)

Also move the future GB discussion thread: viewtopic.php?t=43666 (Possibly time to restart this one?)

Plus I'm probably going to start a new group buy on Cibie H4 retrofit housings+relay harnesses in the very near future so I would like to put it somewhere that it wont get lost!
Members don't see the above ad. Register now - it's free!
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Re: ADMIN REQUEST: Group Buy Sub-Forum

Postby l0ch0w » Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:53 am

It would be nice to also know what the rules are for vendors/group buys. Ive been interested in setting up a vendor status over here, but im not even sure I would need to as I could potentially just sell my products on the for-sale forum. Are the mods over there even keeping track of people selling things that could potentially be considered "products" vs. parts laying around garage etc...???

Most forums require that if you are selling things you make/sell for profit, that you must be an authorized vendor. Also people who part out more than x number of vehicles a year are required to be vendors. As someone who could certainly make plenty of money on this site by selling my products, it bothers me to see so many people selling things here for $ without securing their vendor slot.
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Re: ADMIN REQUEST: Group Buy Sub-Forum

Postby athousandleaves » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:03 am

Mod's have jumped on one guy from Quebec for trying to put his importing business (JDM_Planet) as just regular 'for sale' stuff.

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=41542

I really feel that if you want to be conducting business on this website as a vendor then you should be financially supporting the forum and that someone needs to be put in charge of recruiting and administering vendors.

I would see the propsed Group buys forum to be restricted to volume discount from non associated vendors on products that members desire.

I'm presently confused as to who the main board admin is still and who has full control over the forums so who can make these changes and inforce new policies is a bit of a mystery to me.
I know we went through a dark time where Rober Pina was trying to sell the website for some money then I think Tommy Noonan was the new 'owner' and now the main admin/owner I believe is Pawel Wojcik?
I'll try sending him a PM to see if we can get things rolling and improve the forum a bit!
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Re: ADMIN REQUEST: Group Buy Sub-Forum

Postby pwadm » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:02 pm

All valid questions and suggestions.

I'm presently confused as to who the main board admin is still and who has full control over the forums so who can make these changes and inforce new policies is a bit of a mystery to me.


I own the domain and help with technical stuff, but the forum is run by the following moderators:

darthripley
etantshi
Gary
GT4times2
lumbercis
Mafix
RedCelicaTRD
smog7
theUNYTEDone
toayoztan
turbo4wd

I'm really tired of tracking down group buys across all the different forum sections and would REALLY APPRECIATE IT if in the Marketplace section we could have a spot for group buys only.


Great idea! I already created the new forum for Group Buys. Just one forum to start, but we can split it as you suggested if it gets crowded. I also placed a set of rules for future Group Buy organizers. Basically you should have some history with the board, or be a registered vendor in order to start the group.

Also move the future GB discussion thread: viewtopic.php?t=43666 (Possibly time to restart this one?)


Done, I restarted the Poll

It would be nice to also know what the rules are for vendors/group buys. Ive been interested in setting up a vendor status over here, but im not even sure I would need to as I could potentially just sell my products on the for-sale forum. Are the mods over there even keeping track of people selling things that could potentially be considered "products" vs. parts laying around garage etc...???


You should be a registered vendor to sell on a commercial scale. The rules were always in place, but were not actively enforced. I updated the list, and posted them in more prominent location - they display now at the top of each Marketplace forum. I will also scan new posts - please use the 'Report This Post' button to let moderators know if someone is breaking the rules.

Thank you all for making the suggestions!
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Re: ADMIN REQUEST: Group Buy Sub-Forum

Postby underscore » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:12 pm

And thank you for listening & implementing the requests!
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It's for sale! http://www.alltrac.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=52181
Build thread http://www.alltrac.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=44216
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Re: ADMIN REQUEST: Group Buy Sub-Forum

Postby athousandleaves » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:17 pm

Amazing! :D

Pawel I can't thank you enough for taking care of this stuff so quickly!

Looking forward to using the updated features and seeing more people become vendors on this website :)
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Re: ADMIN REQUEST: Group Buy Sub-Forum

Postby l0ch0w » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:27 am

Can't access the marketplace rules page.

I apologize for "airing out the dirty laundry" but:

There are plenty of ongoing group buys and items for sale that are clearly made by the op, intended to make then money, and aren't being deleted (ex. Klue's diff mounts)... Is GT4times2 aware that this kind of activity in the regular for sale forums scares away vendors?

I know this would be unpopular, but I personally disagree with allowing normal members to organize group buys (even I've been guilty of this). The point being that it is unfair to vendors for non-vendors to make business profits off these forums period even if by proxy. Afaik only koracing is an authorized vendor...
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Re: ADMIN REQUEST: Group Buy Sub-Forum

Postby athousandleaves » Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:37 am

I agree with what l0ch0w has to say however there is a bit of a grey area in between someone being a vendor vs someone with a skill set making a limited run of a product vs someone organizing members to get a discount with a company that isn't an official vendor here.

I don't think it's wrong that someone makes some money if they're producing a unique product for the community out of their garage, they shouldn't be expected to do it for free. However I don't see them in the same light as a full time vendor that has their own business with website/online shopping cart etc. Vendors in my mind are looking to make more than 10 sales at a time on one item once every 2-3 years they want a steady stream of people ordering stuff with the occasional group buy discount deal passed on by a manufacturer.

If we begin charging individuals for small group buy products made by members then where will this money go and who will it benefit?
I believe that the GT4OC guys put membership fees into product development for their store and to fund events as well as cover the costs of hosting and managing their website.

By having members in our community with specific skill sets willing to make specialized products benefits us almost in the same way that a financial contribution to the website would. Also if you tried to get the same product made by a vendor it could cost even more and take even longer to get to market.
By taking a slice of an individuals profits from a product they made to support this forum it will make it a bit of a disincentive for people whom are willing and capable to actually make things that vendors wouldn't be able to see a profit in.

Perhaps we could require people that are interested in making their own products for the community pay a one time or annual fee for a special type of "Enthusiast" membership like the Gold memberships that were available a while back. With this special membership they can run their own limited group buys on products they designed + made and if they feel they are ready to step it up, or if moderators see fit, they can pay to upgrade to full vendor status.
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Re: ADMIN REQUEST: Group Buy Sub-Forum

Postby l0ch0w » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:22 am

^vendor status isn't that expensive... I still think that if you plan on making a specialty product, out of your own garage, you should be willing back up your product by becoming an authorized vendor, and to show that you are serious about selling your product. If you are a backyard hobbyist and only make onsies and twosies, then I invite you to become a more active member of the forums and actively seek out and privately message members who's problem may be solved by your garage contraption.

The biggest problem i see though is organizing group buys through outside companies... this practice undermines the vendor community. This opens up a whole can of worms... lets say the middle-man decides he wants to skim a little off the top for himself? This introduces an unfair element of competition to vendors. Vendors pay to be on forums so that they are protected by the moderators on that forum to sell and showcase their products, the primary competition they must work around is only the other vendors on the forum. This pact between forum owner/mods and vendor is violated by allowing non-vendor members to undermine their business by orchestrating group buys originated from outside companies.

Lets say I am a company who is an authorized vendor on alltrac.net that manufactures custom oil catch cans. John Doe on the forums with a tig welder sees this cool new product, and decides he can make the same exact thing, but sell it for $10 cheaper. John is not a vendor, but he makes 10 catch cans, and floods the market with cheap catch cans and steals business away from my company. In this case, the forum moderators in my opinion needed to have removed Johns product immediately. Because this caused a paying vendor on the forums to not be protected. I do understand that interactions between paying vendors is a totally different story... but by having paid vendors on a forum, it helps to separate the guy who thinks he can just make a quick buck from the guys who plan on sticking around for awhile providing their products. Its unfair for us to take and speculate on each case unfortunately... This is one of those things that in alot of ways sucks for the community, but in alot of other ways, it brings in more companies with more money who can build quality products.

I think its a real shame that people like ATS racing, RacerX, Chico Race Works, Hux Racing, and many others are turned away from being vendors on this website.

The fact of the matter is that Alltrac.net has a VAST amount of knowledge and information on it, but until some bigger names in the 3sgte community can get back over here, I dont think we are going to be able to get in on alot of the neat things some of the other car communities get to enjoy... And that first starts with setting some difficult to swallow rules.
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Re: ADMIN REQUEST: Group Buy Sub-Forum

Postby athousandleaves » Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:18 am

I guess that ultimately if you plan on producing an alltrac specific part in any sort of small run then it would be wise to just become a vendor rather than have us debate what constitutes a vendor vs an enthusiast. Using the communities buying power with unassociated vendors is another hurdle though.

I feel that it's going to be difficult to recruit every company we may want to have a group buy with on this website to become a vendor. But it would be equally difficult for the community to be sure that the person organizing the group buy isn't skimming unless the money is paid directly to the unassociated vendor much like how the ACPT Drive Shaft group buy was organized.
I would have a hard time condoning individual enthusiasts undercutting a product that is already being offered by a official vendor or going to an unassociated vendor for a product that is already being offered by an official vendor. However competition is healthy and is keeps prices low for everyone so we cant completely protect every vendor from each other or from enthusiasts that set up and manufacture parts on a limited run. I'm sure that K.O. Racing and ATS both sell many similar parts for our cars but if they're both vendors on here how can we tell someone that decides to compete with them that they can't and how can we protect them from each other?

For example I plan on running a group buy for headlight housings with relay harnesses and bulbs on the boards. No current vendors offer these products and I wont be taking peoples money directly. I would be contacting the unassociated vendor asking them if they are willing to offer a discount for volume and then have all the members interested pay that vendor directly while making reference to the volume discount agreed upon for us.
But if I become a vendor and set up a group buy then would it be okay for me to skim off the top and see some profit from the deal other than the break in price I received by using the buying power of the membership here? How could we possibly regulate this?
I suppose it should be one of the rules that if a member wishes to initiate a group buy with an unassociated vendor that they should offer them the benefits of vendor status on the forum before continuing with the deal? If they refuse then the other vendors will still be seeing competition on something they don't presently offer so I don't see any real hard incentive for the unassociated vendor to register aside from being able to market directly to the membership.

As far as the other vendors that you mentioned, is any one actively recruiting new vendors for our website or is this community still living in the shadow of Robert & 935's bad rep? How are they being turned away from registering with us?

Ultimately the desire for a group buy forum has opened up a large void in the definition of what is a registered vendor, how to protect our vendors, and what is the appropriate protocol for a group buy

This whole topic is incredibly complex and seems to be quite touchy, has anyone had experience with other forums or communities that have successfully implemented a healthy enthusiast/vendor/ unassociated vendor relationship?
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Re: ADMIN REQUEST: Group Buy Sub-Forum

Postby l0ch0w » Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:07 pm

I know that on the mr2oc, that only people who pay for vendor status are allowed to organize group buys. The point isn't so much the unfair competition thing as it is the fact that non-authorized vendors would be directly profiting from these forums. Which is the reason why vendors pay for that service in the first place.

The thing here is that as a vendor you can become an "authorized retailer" of other companies parts. Which is why vendors often host group buys so that they can move a larger volume of parts at a reduced cost.

I say that as a normal board member who is interested in bringing these parts into the market, I suggest contacting koracing and seeing if they would host the gb, or you pay for vendor status and become an authorized retailer.
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