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Stamp Auction Network Will No Longer Be Free For Bidding- Subscription Based Only

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Pillar Of The Community
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Posted 02/02/2022   7:07 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In Tom Droege's post a link was included. That may be contrary to SCF rules. If deleted by the moderator, I included the text from the link. If there is part of the quoted text below than fails to pass the "no promotion rules" especially if less than 50 posts, please snip as needed moderators, but the balance of the quote is on point for this topic.



Quote:
This from Tom Droege at StampAuctionNetwork. First there seems to be sense that we are rolling in revenue from the Auction Companies. We do not get a percent of anything. All our sales are posted at a fixed fee. We do well enough, but it is no gold mine.

You can read the full explanation of the price increase here:




Important News from StampAuctionNetwork

In 1994, we created the first marketplace for stamp auctions. It has grown to be more than any one might have imagined. Together we have changed the face of stamp auctions with online catalogs, online bidding, live bidding during auctions, and now access to the largest database for stamps.

To continue delivering on our mission to provide the best experience and tools to the philatelic community, on April 1st, 2022, StampAuctionNetwork will move to a subscription service.

With your support as a subscriber, StampAuctionNetwork will:

Incorporate new technologies to enhance your experience.
Enable us to add staff to continue offering LIVE phone support and other services.
Keep the site Advertising Free.
Continue to create and enhance bidding tools and resources.
Develop programs to attract new collectors of every age.
Add a StampAuctionNetwork Community for peer to peer connections.

The basic membership will be $49.95 / year to bid, search, or use any of the interactive features of StampAuctionNetwork. Free access to all online catalogs at StampAuctionNetwork will still be available to all.
Click (here) for Sign up Information

To encourage early registration, you can signup and we will include a one year subscription to BASIC extended features for $49.95 / year (a $79.95 value). If you were thinking of signing up for Extended features, this would be the time to do so. We also will continue our 25% discount for signing up for Premium Extended features. Your memberships will auto renew at those prices unless you cancel.

These are your options if you do not already have a paid account.

Membership (best value). Become a member by signing up for BASIC Extended Features (value of $79.95 / year) for $49.95. After April 1st, StampAuctionNetwork Membership will be $49.95 / year and BASIC Extended features will be $79.95 / year.
Sign up for BASIC Extended Features for $7.50 / month. If you want a low monthly payment, this is it.
A discounted Membership plan at $19.95 / year is available for infrequent bidders. If you have placed less than 50 bids (lifetime), you are eligible.
Free 1 year membership. At any time, you can sign up for a free 1 year membership. Free 1 Year memberships are also available to anyone that has used Unattended Live Bidding.
Sign up for Premium Extended features at either $29.95 / month or $325 / year, discounted from $39.95 / month or $420 / year


We are grateful to the stamp collecting community for joining StampAuctionNetwork over the last 28 years. I enjoy running the site and helping collectors build their collections. Recently I had an interaction with a collector who had been searching for years for an obscure version of an old Scott specialty album that he wanted. We had set up a saved search and just a couple weeks ago, he received a notice from a firm in England that had what he needed in an upcoming auction. He would not have found it otherwise.

You can follow this (link) to sign up and to see an explanation of each of the service levels. If you have signed up for another plan before, it will show you your current plan. We also have a (video) that explains each of the options and will be offering Zoom sessions to ask questions in person.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by email or phone.

Tom Droege



By the way, no website is free of costs. At minimum it requires an altruistic owner, begging for donations, sale of ads, sale of stock or pay to play; at maximum it becomes a multi-trillion dollar company.

For me it will be interesting to see if Kelleher now moves off the SAN site as did Siegel; even though Kelleher just recently moved over the SAN.

[Edited for grammar]
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Edited by Parcelpostguy - 02/03/2022 01:34 am
Pillar Of The Community
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Posted 02/02/2022   7:25 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Some possibilities as to why this took place:
1) SAN will be sold and needs to pump up revenue.

Nailed it. In real estate it is location, location, location. With tech companies it is recurring revenue, recurring revenue, recurring revenue. You can't attract investors or a buyer without it.

The question becomes whether the convenience of the service and the data it gives you are worth the fee. Being a occasional bidder, although good for $5K to $10K in spending a year, I'm probably "out"I will certainly take 3 to 12 months after April to see if indeed this, and return and pay only if I can justify it.

The "independent of the auction houses" argument falls flat with me. I would have no problem if auction houses own and ran SAN because I see it as an extension of their services.
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Posted 02/02/2022   7:28 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add shermae to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Tom,

So many internet companies have flourished by monetizing the supply-side of their audience- Facebook, eBay, Google, HipStamp, and countless others. These companies have equity based on providing their precious audience to the supply-side companies without charging the audience fees. And, you have built a channel over 25 years that is virtually unique. Putting this equity at risk will devalue SAN in the eyes of the auction houses. As an auction agent for Stanley Gibbons, that was my first reaction to your email- "darn it, advertising our auctions on SAN has just lost a bunch of it's cache." :-(

The decision to charge bidders through a pay-for-play model goes against the grain of the most successful internet companies who's main product is their audience. Remember Netscape?

As the owner of your audience, YOU actually have control over the degree to which the auction houses influence your policies. It's all about how aggressive you're willing to be in driving the perceived value to the auction houses in exchange for making the rules.

Just one little opinion from one old man. Personally I'd work to build my audience, not risk losing a bunch of it. When that happens, you'll have even less influence on the auction houses. Best of luck- SAN is great so I hope it works out.
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Posted 02/02/2022   7:44 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It seems curious to me that there is never any mention of the value of data that is gathered, who owns it, how it is currently used/monetized, how it might be used/monetized in the future.

From my chair, which is miles away from SANS and its intentions, the first attempt (premium membership) to monetize the data they gathered did not pan out and this is 'Plan B'.
Don
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Posted 02/02/2022   7:54 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The auction houses were alerted to this change a few weks ago, but as I use an agent and not SAN I never remembered to report the coming change.
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Posted 02/02/2022   8:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add widglo46 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Tom is getting beat up pretty bad here, so I'll give him and SAN a plug.

I use SAN to do searches on higher valued items before I buy at auction. Many of these items are easy to find in previous auction sales, and besides giving an indication of market value, the previous listings will sometimes list details that the current listing does not. It is very convenient to be able to search through sales at multiple auction houses at one site.

The other feature, which I think is even more valuable, is the ability to use "Unattended Live Bidding". If you don't have time to participate in a live auction, it is a huge advantage to be able to enter a maximum bid without the auction house knowing what your maximum is. I trust that Tom keeps unattended maximum bids private, and I have secured several lots under my high bid with this service. The auction houses, on the other hand, are working for the consignors, and when they know your maximum bid they can take advantage of it. Even if a lot is opened somewhere under your bid, the auctioneer is fully aware of it and may be inclined to keep the lot open a bit longer in an attempt to encourage more bidding.
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Posted 02/02/2022   8:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mootermutt987 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Even if a lot is opened somewhere under your bid, the auctioneer is fully aware of it and may be inclined to keep the lot open a bit longer in an attempt to encourage more bidding.


Or, quickly allow 'the bid' way in the back of the room, which he knows will be outbid instantly by the absentee bid that he can see right in front of him.
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Posted 02/02/2022   9:31 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tldroege to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I just noticed the title of this thread. May I ask that the moderator correct it as it is wrong in several places. Our announcement clearly indicated that anyone can sign up for a Free 1 Year account, and if you go to the sign up page, you will also find that those free accounts can be renewed for free in the future. So it is not "No Longer Be Free" or "Subscription Based Only". It might more correctly to be described as "Membership Based", however even in that case, people who don't login have extensive access to all the catalogs and information at the site.

This move was carefully planned so that we will have the revenue to support and improve the site in many ways, including new offerings. It may be hard to conceive, but it is our contention that this will grow the site (even as it has been growing -- we had 3,000 new registrations in both 2020 and 2021). StampAuctionNetwork will become more important not less relevant. That remains to be seen to many in this group, I understand, but this is a good move for everyone.
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Posted 02/02/2022   9:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rismoney to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
SAN's business model should have been something as simple as charging auction houses a dollar or 2 per lot. This fee could have easily been absorbed back through the house, in the form of 'handling fees' unbeknownst to the bidder. They tack on so many fees noone would have noticed a buck or 2. By establishing this type of deal, it becomes in SAN's interest to encourage a growing number of auction houses and lots to their offerings. In stamp collecting the number of avid stamp buyers at auction is proportionally smaller than the lots available. This would imply that the monetization via user membership is broken, and failure to achieve their membership goals will just result in higher membership fees going forward - a further losing proposition to subscribers.

My belief is Siegel and others might have kept a relationship with SAN if the value add was there and goals were aligned. Playing both sides, will benefit noone. If you wanted to make a site to appeal to collectors, it should have been an annex with its own mission of educating and providing data, analysis, etc. Transparency and price discovery isn't a common goal between houses and collectors, and this should be obvious to everyone. Siegel's real hopes are that with every lot, people lose their minds and bid on trophies with no historical means for comparison.




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Posted 02/02/2022   9:40 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Tom - So to be clear, you are saying that after 1 April I can still bid without paying any type of fee?

I have reread your announcement multiple times and do not see the free 1-year account language.
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Posted 02/02/2022   9:44 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If the starter of the thread (rogdcam) desires the thread title changed, he can contact me. It is a public forum and folks can post their opinions, if I started supporting changing content every time someone felt another's persons opinion was wrong the forum would be a mess.
Don

Edit: In my opinion, any website which monetizes the data they collect is not really 'free'.
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Posted 02/02/2022   9:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Don - I think that it would be fair enough to say that SAN will no longer be free for "Bidding".
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Posted 02/02/2022   10:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add No1philatelist to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Rogdcam, what you just said is what I asked in my first sentance in my previous post. That was my understanding.
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Posted 02/02/2022   10:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tldroege to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

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Posted 02/02/2022   10:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tldroege to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
And Free Membership means Free Bidding.
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