Auction needs major improvement 

What do you like, dislike or see that needs improvment on Openherd?
Fourcornersalpacas
Posts: 1

4/18/2011
Fourcornersalpacas
Posts: 1
I think that you should drop the reserve price and just have people list at the lowest price they will accept and make that the reserve. This way if you bid on something you know that bid will be accepted instead of constantly getting reserve not met.
That is the most frustrating thing about this auction. I hate ebay for that exact same reason.
If people list their alpacas for sale than they should be willing to take whatever their listed price is. and stop playing stupid games.
Do you actually ever look at how many of these alpacas sell?
I know, leads leads leads..but your wrong people are starting to know the farms that constantly list their alpacas at one price, but the reserve is NEVER met.
Yes we know you don't really care because you've already gotten paid, so does it really matter if the general public is really getting tired of your site because of this kind of thing.
There are very few bids anymore where before there were a few. You need to change the rules to no reserve other than the listed starting price.
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MadaVemiAlpacas
Posts: 8

4/23/2011
MadaVemiAlpacas
Posts: 8
I'll agree it's frustrating that the reserve price is usually much more than the listing price. Since this happens with most of the animals on the auction it's difficult to tell how many actually sell. I bid on an alpaca, didn't meet the reserve price, emailed the farm and bought the alpaca. That didn't get registered in the "sold" section of the auction because I didn't meet the reserve price by the time bidding closed. I'm sure that happens quite often.

As a farm listing animals in the auction, I've decided not to use the reserve price. I list the alpaca for the minimum I will take for that animal and if the person bids then they've already met my reserve so to speak. I just find that I'm happier doing it this way.

Reserves have a purpose. Don't click on the farms that constantly frustrate you with how they use that reserve price. That is the best solution to avoid the frustration. smile

Dawn
Mada Vemi Alpacas
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joe
Administrator
Posts: 57

5/10/2011
joe
Administrator
Posts: 57
Thanks Fourcornersalpacas and MadaVemiAlpacas for your criticism and constructive ideas - they are positively received and we are very aware that there are areas that the auctions could be improved.

Firstly I'd like to say that it is not true that we don’t care. In fact our goal with Openherd was to do more for breeders when other sites were happy to take their money and not innovate anything new to keep up with current trends and improve members’ marketing results. However, with any new innovation there is a process of finding out what works and what doesn’t and evaluating the pros and cons of any changes so that they will be a benefit for all members. This just takes time. The online auctions were a new area that we stepped into less than a year ago and a format that other sites had not had much success with. We feel that, given a very tough economy, the auctions have done very well, both directly through bidding and via post-auction negotiated sales, as MadaVemiAlpacas has pointed out. We probably see an equal number of alpacas - possibly more - sell via post-auction sales.

There will always be one or two farms that will exploit a system beyond it’s intended use. This has not gone unnoticed. Your idea, Fourcornersalpacas, of doing away with reserve prices altogether is actually a very good consideration. In fact, starting with the Quechua Benefit auction in January, we have been testing out this idea of running purely “no reserve” auctions. The Quechua Benefit auction in January, Openherd's own “No Reserve” auction in mid-March, and the West Coast Genetics auction at the end of April, all saw every lot sell to legitimate bidders, except 3 lots in the WCG auction. So we have seen that people like to know what the real “asking” price is and what they can expect to have to pay to get that animal.

So we have been actively working and testing to see what modifications could work better with the current market that would make Openherd's auctions better for both buyers and for consignor farms. Expect to see some changes and improvements coming soon!

Joe Preston
Openherd.com
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MadaVemiAlpacas
Posts: 8

5/10/2011
MadaVemiAlpacas
Posts: 8
Joe,
Looking forward to seeing what you come up with for improvements and changes. Keep up the good work.

Dawn
Mada Vemi Alpacas
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Chimera Ranch

Bennett, CO

chimera ranch
Posts: 5

5/30/2011
Chimera Ranch

Bennett, CO

chimera ranch
Posts: 5
Joe and team, Keep up the excellent work on this site and for presenting innovative methods for enabling alpaca owners and breeders to succeed.
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breezyridge
Posts: 1

7/8/2011
breezyridge
Posts: 1
I have been watching the auctions for sometime, thinking it would help me to see where the industry is at right now. IMO I think it is very hurtful for the industry when someone posts an alpaca for sale with mimimum bid $1. or even anything under $100. Even $100 is too low in my opinion but I know some farms really NEED to sell, but surely they can put a higher price than $1. That looks awful next to an alpaca for $1000+. I think there should be a minimum on placing alpacas up for auction.
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southernson
Posts: 4

7/15/2011
southernson
Posts: 4
I agree with you Connie, but I don't blame the owners. They are just taking advantage of an ill-conceived service through Openherd. I don't know why Openherd believes it is a good idea to eblast the entire industry on a weekly basis about underpriced alpacas that would normally sell at low-end livestock auctions. It is taking the sad realities of livestock ownership, and broadcasting it with the loudest microphone they can find.

Not only does it not make sense, it shows a lack of concern for Openherd customers. The farms and breeders that need to make a living off these animals, their fiber, and products, and will stuggle to do so as long as we have a website that provides a service to give the most promotion often to the least viable of our alpacas. I would expect more from a website that claims to be a reputable means to buy and sell alpacas. Unless Openherd's goal is to be known amongst breeders as a the last stop marketplace before the butcher, in which case, I don't think this is the kind of site I should even bother to list my animals.

As a prospective customer, this hardly encourages me to spend my advertising dollars with Openherd. And, I would encourage anyone else I know that cares about our industry to do the same.

--
Jeremy Dyson
Southern Son Alpacas
southernsonalpacas@gmail.com
www.southernsonalpacas.com
Farm Manager
Andean Vista Ranch
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MadaVemiAlpacas
Posts: 8

7/15/2011
MadaVemiAlpacas
Posts: 8
Jeremy,
Wow that's a pretty harsh opinion about Openherd and Openherd Members especially considering you're posting on the OPENHERD FORUM. I'm all for everyone having an opinion but I also believe in not being critical of something without offering a way to fix the problem. Got a way to fix the economy, Jeremy?

The truth is that Openherd has nothing to do with the low prices of alpacas. I took a call today from California from someone that told me bred females are selling for $250 in her area. There are two female suris listed on craigslist in my area for $700 for both. That is not Openherd's fault. The prices for animals on their auction vary wildly from one animal to the next. Starting prices do NOT reflect the selling price in most instances and usually the prices don't reflect the quality of the animal. I'd bet alot of the low prices reflect the despiration of the seller. With the current economy alot of farms are struggling to feed their animals and most farms are questioning the wisedom of continued breedings without a way to sell their offspring. That makes selling breedings, selling animals, and even just staying afloat in this business very difficult for the majority of alpaca farms right now.

Openherd offers a way to market our farms and our animals...nothing more. One of the nice things about listing animals on their website and/or auction is that WE (the owners) get to choose the price for our animals. That's the way it is on most if not all websites that list alpacas. I must say, I would be less inclined to list animals on Openherd if I had to follow someone elses price guidelines.

I've been buying/selling alpacas for 8 years now and one of the best things about this business is that no two farms are alike. We each have to do what makes the best sense for our own farm and everyone should respect the fact that we have that right. It's completely unfair of you to bash Openherd or any of the farms on Openherd because you are unhappy with the "sad realities of livestock ownership". I would much rather have a buyer that is well informed of the "sad realities of livestock ownership" then a buyer who has an unrealistic approach to alpaca ownership. To each his or her own...


Dawn Dolpp
Mada Vemi Alpacas
434-770-1972
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southernson
Posts: 4

7/16/2011
southernson
Posts: 4
Hi Dawn,

Where better to post than on a thread that is already relating to the topic on the very site that could do something about it? Perhaps if you read up, you will see I did not start this thread, I simply read the posts from numerous others that voiced their opinion and added mine to it.

And, why would Openherd not want to know their prospective customers feelings about their services?

I don't believe I posted to a thread about fixing the economy... I posted to a thread about fixing the auction, so let's talk about that.

Have some sort of price tier, including a free level that does not include main page advertising and national email blasts. How is a farm paying $240 per year to list their $1 alpaca helping make them any money even if it sells? Is that helping farms stay afloat, spending $239 to get rid of an animal??? Do you need a national marketing email to move a $1 alpaca, or is that in any way, shape or form good for our industry?

I don't believe I claimed Openherd caused these prices, but their auction hasn't helped them either. I don't know where you are finding alpacas that are price fixed by a website. I don't see that anywhere, I don't believe I mentioned it either, and I definitely didn't suggest it. No one is suggesting that buyers should not be informed when making their purchase, however informing buyers and striving to be a website nationally-known as the home for the $1 five-year old maiden alpaca for sale are two different things. I am simply encouraging Openherd to have a little more awareness in the expectations they create in Openherd customers for the price and quality of animals they can expect to find on this site.

--
Jeremy Dyson
Southern Son Alpacas
southernsonalpacas@gmail.com
www.southernsonalpacas.com
Farm Manager
Andean Vista Ranch
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bweber
Posts: 1

3/2/2012
bweber
Posts: 1
I think the recent change to unlimited animals in the auction has decreased the auction value. Now there are so many animals listed, it is too time consuming.
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joe
Administrator
Posts: 57

3/3/2012
joe
Administrator
Posts: 57
Hi bweber,

We did recently increase the number of auctions that each membership plan is allowed to run (Plus=5, Std=10, Pro=20 at a time), however we have not made them unlimited. This change was part of a system-wide update that included many other features, such as creating a new auctions search to allow you to find the type of animals you're interested in, so that you don't have to go through all of the listings. You can also sort by price, bids, etc. We also put the auctions search in front of the traditional search that includes all the free listings. This gives our paying members premium exposure because all alpaca search traffic comes through the auctions first.

So while the number of auctions has increased, so have the other benefits, most notably, an increase in traffic.

Another benefit of allowing more auction listings, is that it enables farms to run their own mini online auctions that they can then promote themselves. So a Professional member, for example, can run 20 lots, schedule them to end at the same date and time, and then do their own email blast or other advertising to promote the event.

I hope this helps to explain things.

Joe Preston
Openherd.com
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Mountain Jewel Farm

McMinnville, OR

mjewel
Posts: 3

6/4/2013
Mountain Jewel Farm

McMinnville, OR

mjewel
Posts: 3
Joe, I think Open Herd is an extremely valuable, easily navigated, progressive site, not to mention how wonderful the super star support is! I'm not sure why people want to trash something that is so valuable to our marketplace. Yes, there are a few things that aren't perfect, and may need changing just like anything else. My momma used to say "If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say it". Even more appropriate to some of these posts, is "It's not what you say, but how you say it!"
Anyhow, just want to put in my two cents which I'm sure is all it's worth, but since you've changed the postage part, I'm not sure how it gets picked up on the Paypal account when a customer orders from my store. I've just continued to wrap up the postage in with the cost of the item because I can't figure it out.
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK OPEN HERD!
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joe
Administrator
Posts: 57

6/4/2013
joe
Administrator
Posts: 57
Hi mjewel,

Thank you for your kind, encouraging words!

The change that you mentioned to the store didn't change anything, per se, in regards to the shipping. Next to the price we used to display the phrase "Includes domestic shipping". Some members had requested a way to remove that phrase because they wanted to do their own shipping calculation through PayPal.

So we moved that phrase to a new section below the price called "Shipping & Handling". That phrase is still added by default but you can now remove that or make it say whatever you want.

PayPal offers a rudimentary shipping calculator that bases the shipping charges off of pre-determined order amount thresholds. But this isn't very good if you have a more expensive item that doesn't weigh much.

Until Openherd can offer something better than PayPal, we felt this solution would keep in place what we've always done but give those members who don't want to include shipping charges in the cost of their product and calculate it some other way, the flexibility to do that.

Hope that made sense!

Joe
Openherd.com
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kstrohmeyer
Posts: 1

11/6/2015
kstrohmeyer
Posts: 1
I do wish that Openherd would stand behind the auctions. Had seven alpaca purchased through auction, no minimum bid, started at $100 each. I was the winning bidder. Auction closed. Owner decided she didn't like the price and refused to sell them to me. That is NOT the way to do business. But, there was nobody to stand behind me, so I got hosed on the deal. Drove halfway across the country before I was told the deal was off. I was "compensated" with some gas money and a day's wages. Nice, but I wanted the Alpaca. Still have a very bad taste in my mouth from that, and probably won't try any more auctions on this site because of it.
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