BobbyT touched upon one of the key items in Scott's article. The reason I recommended reading the Despatch was this statement:
we are going to work with the American Philatelic Society to develop a program for remotely teaching techniques to identify stamps and detect faults, repairs or forgeries, using kits containing actual examples that can be sent to par- ticipants and used in a teleconference class. When I mentioned this concept on the chatboard, within two minutes Scott English, the APS executive director, sent me an email saying "we're in" and asking what to do to make it happen. Over next summer we will be building the program, and hopefully by the fall it will be ready to activate.
I thought that this statement was important to note as well and am curious to see where it goes:
Finally, the Siegel firm is committed to creating a space where new collectors feel secure buying stamps. Too many entry-level collectors get burned, either by bad material or inflated pricing, and the result is a rate of attrition that is higher than it should be. Graded certificates have helped protect collectors against the old ploy of "buy it as Fine and sell it as Very Fine," but there is still too much shortsighted transactional business in philately. Most collectors I have met do not set out to make money, but neither do they expect to have their inexperience used against them. From my perspective, a new client is a precious asset, to be nurtured, encouraged and given all the information needed to make smart decisions.
"Eyeonwall" had it right when he said
In my opinion the internet has been a detriment to some of that infrastructure and an enhancement of other parts.
comes to mind when you look at the upside/downside to e-commerce. It has brought voluminous material to the masses that was previously controlled by a relatively small group of dealers. It has also become a minefield for newer collector's and greedy more seasoned collector's. I wonder just how many people have turned away from stamps because of being burned. Impossible to quantify but somehow doing so would be invaluable. You need to quantify the damage in order to bring the proper level of attention and resources to combatting/fixing what caused it.
What would your stamp market "safe space" look like?