Thoughts on Commerce

Discuss the policies of ePlaya here.

Thoughts on Commerce

Postby AntiM » Thu Jul 10, 2008 1:46 pm

It has been suggested now and then, that a forum be created to allow restricted commerce other than tickets. The potential guidelines would be strict, and the mods would have final say on what goes or stays. No freedom of speech in the commerce zone, as it were.

So how do you eplayans feel about a section where art cars can be sold? Fundraisers? Shipping services? Would costumes and blinkies be alright? Or as with the JRS resource issue, a place to post links to a service or goods? I've spoken with other mods who thought this is a generally good idea, but a lot of work would have to be done, likely post-event.

With the current disagreement about the truck from Seattle, perhaps this is a good time to open a discussion about commerce. I'd like to gather constructive thoughts, please.

My view: I constantly have to tell folks no, they can't sell their RV, their art bike, their costumes, they can't post their professional info ... and so on. Sometimes it would be a good thing to have a commerce zone. Yes, it would be arbitrary, but eplaya already is moderated that way. I know I'm trusted for the most part, and I appreciate that. But the eplaya is not The Playa, so if we did have classifieds, I wouldn't feel we'd sold out. Sold out to who? Other burners?

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Postby ragabashpup » Thu Jul 10, 2008 1:48 pm

I like the idea of people being able to post costume sales etc. I also didnt mind the post about the trailer either. Maybe I just havent gotten barraged as much with sales ads since I havent been on here for years so it just doesnt annoy me.
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Postby gaminwench » Thu Jul 10, 2008 2:19 pm

I like the JRS Resource page.....maybe something along those lines???
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Postby capjbadger » Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:33 pm

It could be done. The guildline would have to be quite tight. And do the mods really want to take on that much more work?

AntiM wrote:Sold out to who? Other burners?

The minute we open up to ads, you're going to get a lot more than burners. You're going to get every Tim, Rick, and Larry slapping "burner" on their product and trying to sell it here.

While it is an interesting idea, I like haveing an "island" of no spam/ads. They have other places build to run ads (like Craigslist). We don't need them here.
The money we pay goes to running the servers for this board, right? I don't want to pay for ads.

I say no.

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Postby ZaphodBurner » Thu Jul 10, 2008 4:35 pm

Absolutely.

Commerce is as old as civilization and, arguably, is a hallmark of civilization itself. (As opposed to, say, the old viking tradition of killing your neighbors and taking their shit.)

Stuff is sold at the Oregon Country Fair. There's a bit of elitism there, but, otherwise, it works fine. It would be even better in this sort of context, where people aren't out to screw tourists, but basically to make money for the burn and to re-purpose stuff for other burners to use. Money isn't the root of all evil, greed is.

I think it's a great idea.

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Postby Marscrumbs » Thu Jul 10, 2008 6:24 pm

I believe the lack of commerce has changed Burning Man in ways not found in any other festival. I say if you have to buy it then it is not your "art" but fashion. Too many second year clones as it is at burning man. But do what you like outside of burning man with your truck and stuff.
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Postby ragabashpup » Thu Jul 10, 2008 11:20 pm

See I needed to buy costumes because of lack of time and skill to build them. I have made some of the items purchased others.
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Postby capjbadger » Thu Jul 10, 2008 11:52 pm

ragabashpup wrote:See I needed to buy costumes because of lack of time and skill to build them. I have made some of the items purchased others.

That's fine and dandy. But not here. Do you really want to pay to see ads from Malwart's new "Playa Crusier bike" on here?
Extreme example, but you get my point. I am not willing to pay to see ads on here.

You can get ads damn near everywhere else. Why do we want it here too?

No commerce means exactly what it says.

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Postby ZaphodBurner » Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:37 am

capjbadger wrote:I am not willing to pay to see ads on here.



You pay to read the ePlaya?
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Postby AntiM » Fri Jul 11, 2008 9:00 am

Actually, you do. Part of your ticket funds the servers.

And the thing is, we'd have a zone, and guidelines, and no um, commercial commerce. If that makes sense. No NIkes or phones or Big Box stores. Perhaps a simple directory to actual classified ads on places like tribe or craigslist. The idea is in flux.
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Postby Dork » Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:43 am

I don't want to click "Show new posts" and see 100 ads for costumes and glowies. I also don't want existing threads being stretched out with 1 line replies and 20 line sigs promoting their business.

On the other hand, like many here I've had burner-specific stuff I wanted to buy and sell. Unless you're living in an area thick with burners like SF craigslist is of minimal use. I couldn't even give away some really good camp stuff because there aren't many burners where I live. Ebay is tricky because of how BMORG actively blocks using Burning Man in the title. Tribe is going down the crapper. What's left?

Ideally someone would volunteer to build a classifieds system or somehow segregate the classifieds on this board (or the newer version of phpbb). Anyone want to raise their hand?
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Postby Toolmaker » Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:54 am

I'm with Badger..

Once that door gets opened I also feel we will be flooded with commerce.

As it is now we have "borderline" commerce going on.

My personal opinion is that there should be NO COMMERCE PERIOD.

There is plenty of room on tribe for that.

E-playa is run by the org and should represent the 10 principles.

We keep getting further and further away from gifting the more sales are involved.
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Postby capjbadger » Fri Jul 11, 2008 2:36 pm

ZaphodBurner wrote:
capjbadger wrote:I am not willing to pay to see ads on here.



You pay to read the ePlaya?

Yes. As AntiM said, part of what we pay for tickets goes to running the servers and buying the bandwidth for this board.

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Postby capjbadger » Fri Jul 11, 2008 2:46 pm

Toolmaker wrote:I'm with Badger..

Once that door gets opened I also feel we will be flooded with commerce.
As it is now we have "borderline" commerce going on.
My personal opinion is that there should be NO COMMERCE PERIOD.
There is plenty of room on tribe for that.
E-playa is run by the org and should represent the 10 principles.
We keep getting further and further away from gifting the more sales are involved.

Agreed. As long as our "BM Dollars" are being used for this board, it should stick to the 10 principles as much as possible.
Yes, tickets are a nessesary evil, and rideshares are a grey-ish area, but there is no need to open things up further.

Yes, it may be harder to sell stuff as Dork pointed out, but that is still not a reason to open this up for commerce. Burners have gotten there wares out just fine up till now, and businesses have sold to us as well without ads here. If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it. ;)

In my book it really comes down to not being willing to pay for ads. :)

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Commerce on the Playa?

Postby BRC_Santa2003 » Sat Jul 12, 2008 11:48 am

DO see the need for the sale of ICE.

Do NOT see the NEED for the sale of coffee.

DO NOT BELIEVE THAT ANY OTHER FORM OF COMMERCE SHOULD BE ALLOWED.

This non-commercial environment is part of what makes BM unique.

I buy an extra ticket every year to be sold, or gifted, as the event approaches. When it has been sold, it was at the original price.

If BM becomes just another festival where people sell Elephant Ears and such, it seems that extra tickets SHOULD be sold to the highest bidder, which is contrary to what I see the BM Community to be.

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Postby AntiM » Sat Jul 12, 2008 12:23 pm

Dearest Bad Santa ... the specific topic is commerce here on the eplaya. It does crop up more and more as we move closer to the event.
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Postby DragginLady » Sat Jul 12, 2008 3:44 pm

I think there is a big difference between discussion of interesting stuff for the Playa and allowing ads... fine line, maybe?
This year I ordered two rugs made from recycled soda bottles because some one here mentioned them...
I ordered a Springbar tent after seeing them reviewed here by other people...
I got help with a graphic so I could get some shot glasses ordered for gifting....

But, advertisements? Classifieds? I think having a different site for that stuff would be ok, I guess...
I hate to see it, but Burning Man has gotten so big, that it may be inevitable. I hate to see it. It seems way too commercial to me.
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Postby **burn** » Sat Jul 12, 2008 4:02 pm

I appreciate the recommendations for playa proof items being tried and true by a crusty veteran. But I can always PM a member for details.

I'm with captb - there are other outlets for selling items. I think creatively finding the obscure is part of the fun.
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Just my two cents...

Postby lonestoner916 » Sat Jul 12, 2008 4:34 pm

ePlaya is no place to be buying and selling shit. I am however in favor of a seperate site that provides resources and links or even classifieds, and if that site wished to sell ads and DONATE THE PROFITS to some worthy cause, then I might even be inclined to buy some of my burner stuff there.

It's a slippery slope... how long before there's a gift shop on the main BM page? :cry:
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Re: Just my two cents...

Postby Toolmaker » Sun Jul 13, 2008 5:44 am

lonestoner916 wrote:It's a slippery slope... how long before there's a gift shop on the main BM page? :cry:


Believe it or not there already is.

Titled Marketplace at the bottom.

:(
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Postby gyre » Sun Jul 13, 2008 2:42 pm

This is a great idea and doesn't need to be obnoxious.
In a separate area, no one has to look at any of it.
On other forums, manufacturers can even come online and talk about their stuff.
When they are full of crap, they get chased off quick.
There are plenty of great things out there that aren't marketed as heavily as the crap and a discussion area gives people a better shot at finding LESS commercial products when they need something.

It would be great to be able to fundraise for camps too.
I have fifty burners living withing 500 miles of me.
If I put on a show to raise money, will you come from LA to attend?
The standard answer people get is, if you can't fundraise locally, go fuck yourself, you're screwed.

I would be happy to do what I can to keep an area like this acceptable.

Besides, I need a place to sell my NO COMMERCE t-shirts.
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Postby peace » Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:18 pm

If any community could do it well it would be this one. A place to find things unique to the playa would be a resource for me and for those that would like to offer it. Save time and trade with those that I vibe with- all good.

Hey- if I had access to a bunch of art car scraps, props, feral animals, whatever, I might be motivated to build something I never imagined before.

Try it - what the fuck? Having a anarchistic party in the desert in the summer doesn't seem like a good idea on the surface either. A well moderated source could help make the playa a freakier place.
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LOW COST TRAILER RENTAL: Commerce??? NO Just a Service

Postby Setupman » Fri Aug 01, 2008 3:51 am

I agree with no commerce, BUT,. I am not selling. I am serving the BRC
community with ...

[Edited by Dork] - I warned you about not mentioning the service you offer. This is not the place to advertise your business. We're trying to be nice here.
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Postby capjbadger » Fri Aug 01, 2008 10:56 am

Nothing but sematics...

Serving for a price = Commerce.

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Postby DoriumLux » Mon Sep 01, 2008 3:17 pm

I wouldn't mind a section on th ePlaya where things can be sold, traded, or given away by burners for burners kind of Craig's List style. However, it does sound like a lot of work for moderators. I'm a huge fan of supporting DIY clothing, trinkets or tools. I'd rather give money away to an individual over a corporation any day. So I'm thumbs up for it as long as it stays on the ePlaya.

I know of another forum that is completely unrelated to BM that allows posters to post links or sell goods to other members of the forum. However, account has to be well established and in good standing (the poster has met a minimum of constructive posts to the general forum in the past). This helps keep down the number of random advertisements and people getting ripped off, etc.
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Re: Just my two cents...

Postby betrdanevr » Mon Sep 01, 2008 4:23 pm

lonestoner916 wrote:ePlaya is no place to be buying and selling shit. I am however in favor of a seperate site that provides resources and links or even classifieds, and if that site wished to sell ads and DONATE THE PROFITS to some worthy cause, then I might even be inclined to buy some of my burner stuff there.

It's a slippery slope... how long before there's a gift shop on the main BM page? :cry:


I agree . . .
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Postby BoxaRox » Mon Sep 01, 2008 4:24 pm

Commerce? Hell yes, why not. As long as the ads are in their own sandbox.

Might as well auction the space. Advertisers who spend the most money get the biggest ads near the top. The cheapskates get the tiny free ads at the bottom. It's the American way! Let the advertisers put their money where their mouth is, and show how much they believe in their product/service by how much money they're willing to shell out.

It might be an interesting experiment.

I would personally participate by forwarding all the spam I get in email to this space.
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Postby gyre » Mon Sep 01, 2008 6:51 pm

There is no need for ads, just classifieds and forum discussion with advertisers about their products and with other users.

Besides I use adblock, so I never see ads.
Makes everything faster too.
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Postby BoxaRox » Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:17 pm

gyre wrote:There is no need for ads, just classifieds and forum discussion with advertisers about their products and with other users.

Besides I use adblock, so I never see ads.
Makes everything faster too.


An ad by any other name.... is still an ad. An ad is a message posted by someone who is trying to sell something. That means classifieds and forum discussion. Ads. I think you need to think some more about how this new "commerce" is going to be implemented in this forum. The technology isn't going to change. What will change is that there will be a forum for people to boldly hawk their wares without having to pussyfoot around posting fake testimonials and all the cheap tricks they use now to slip around the rules.

Adblock is great, but don't kid yourself. The kind of ads we're talking about here aren't going to be stopped by adblock. The content of the commerce forums will ALL be ads. The only filter (that works) will be YOU deciding which ones to read (or not).
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Postby gyre » Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:39 pm

It makes a big difference when you can talk back to people about their product.

All I was trying to do with adblock was freeze animated ads but POOF! they disappeared and my interweb runs faster!
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