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FurBuy adds classifieds, mulls closure over social auctions

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FurBuyFurry auction site FurBuy has added a classified listings service, among other updates, positioning it as a "furry Craigslist". Listings so far include furry identification badges, a skunk suit for sale, and a request for a sewing partner. However, ongoing competition from social art sites has lead to a threat of closure later this year, reminiscent of those made over a decade ago.

FurBuy betaFurBuy's classifieds are still in beta, and several features are as yet unimplemented. Nevertheless, almost 20 listings have been made already. According to the announcement, the new features include HTML5 animations and are written to better-support mobile devices.

User profiles to chide feedback "failures"

Also announced was a new measure designed to reduce "failure" to leave feedback on completed auctions by highlighting this fact on auction-winners' profiles, along with the ratio of auctions with feedback. This attempt to encourage participation was not viewed entirely positively:

If there's something wrong, I'll try to fix it with the person directly. Only when the person is a soundrel (sic) or a thief will I say something on the feedback.

But requiring us all to say Good or bad? Now you are diluting your data by filling it with pointless "didn't rip me off" and "did the work paid for" and turning them all into "Yay!! Gots Arts! Person is a goddess!! A+++" comments, which do nothing to assist people with telling the reliable folks from the unreliable.

Social competition leads to threat of June closure

FurBuy has built quite an audience over the last decade, currently helping furs sell around 120 items a week – many for three- or four-digit sums. But this is not enough for site owner Jurann, who quoted a $1000/month figure for costs, including staff stipends:

I think FurBuy has had wins, but never tasted success. In light of the predominate climate of FA journal auctions, I do not believe FurBuy can possibly attain any measure of success. So in that vein, I'm planning to pull the plug the first week in June.

The trigger here has been the rise of journal and submission-based auctions on furry community sites such as Fur Affinity, Inkbunny and SoFurry, which offer a low-tech means for artists and artisans to offer goods and services for sale without going to a separate auction site.

In response, Jurann has deployed legal arguments against such auctions; most recently raising Pennsylvanian law regulating online "trading assistants". However, no site appears to agree that it applies to them. Some noted that the law covers only individuals who accept fees or commissions for making such auctions – i.e. professional auctioneers – and merely lists record-keeping features which such people must use.

This month also saw the re-emergence of FurBuy's long-term competitor, FurBid, which was down for several months earlier this year. The formerly-dominant site has a long way to go to become a serious competitor again, currently hosting just six auctions — and zero bids.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

There's a need for a mutual feedback rating system for providers and buyers. Word-of-mouth and review lists don't help people who just look at journal and submission-based auctions that don't have any rating system. (They're also not efficient for selling goods like a store is.)

Efficiency doesn't seem like a big deal for services, like custom commissions that are different each time. But ratings could be even more important, because so much is done on trust. Not saying that lots of artists are untrustworthy, but if they are, word of mouth doesn't offer security like a rating.

Niche selling services are cool too... other services (like Ebay) aren't too friendly for Furry-specific uses. (Searches won't be useful, adult content isn't allowed many places.)

Furbuy is pretty good. I have done a minor 2 dozen sales and they have been very nice to work with... lots of people seem to leave feedback. (Almost 2/3 of those sales! On Amazon it's more like 1 in 10.) I'm doing it more to spread small neat stuff for fandom, than profit (my main business does that)... so before sending a cut, I have been watching how much of their $2000/year sale limit I do, and if it might grow. One obstacle was even getting FA to take my ad money (communication with them isn't reliable.)

For bringing cuts of sales to support the site: how many people make money on there, how often? The community is not large. I can't tell what kind of margin the larger sales represent... I'm guessing it's not too much or too often. That could change if business was as significant as hobby and fandom, and "furry industry" was a thing - like people actually making a living and valuing the site as integral to their business. I guess it's a scale thing. It seems possible to get there with the way cons are growing.

Right now I'd guess the "furry industry" consists of a handful of legit small businesses (fursuits, clothing, publishing, web services, porn), beyond the tons of part-time, small, self-employed art type activities, and people who dabble as part of their other careers. It would be really interesting to get a better picture of that.

Your rating: None

Another seller site is GetMeThe.com

Your rating: None

A site you are familiar with, I'm sure! :-)

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About the author

GreenReaper (Laurence Parry)read storiescontact (login required)

a software developer and Norn from London, UK, interested in wikis and computers

Small fuzzy creature who likes cheese & carrots. Founder of WikiFur, lead admin of Inkbunny, and Editor-in-Chief of Flayrah.