FurBuy adds classifieds, mulls closure over social auctions
Furry 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'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.