Ray Romeo’s Wagglepop Swan Song

{mosimage}Wagglepop’s seller membership has been dropping steadily since Ray Romeo increased the fees to $29.95 a month.

In a long crybaby post, similar to the “Wagglepop we hardly knew ya” from Wagglepop 1 days, Ray Romeo (appearing here once again as Andrew Pittino) lays out all the blame and shame on ignorant sells that can’t see his Vision. It seems this may be one of the last great paragraphs of hooplah we may see from Ray and his second failed Wagglepop site, due to these ignorant sellers that “don’t believe in a trust based system”.

He also makes threats and gestures to the sellers that have signed up and not paid for the Wagglepop non-service.

I gleaned this here from TulipTools.com.




Just a small update for loyal membership and our dedicated seller base on how the restructure is progressing.

As expected, as we abandon completely our original vision for Wagglepop as an eBay competitor (due to pronounced lack of good faith participation in the numbers required to do so ) and re-invent ourselves as a diverse retail-type marketplace, we start a new chapter in the history of our company.

Existing Wagglepop Marketplace sellers continue to leave, and we anticipate a merchant body of around 75-100 independent merchants will remain under SmartSell Enterprise. At some point we expect to cap that number and likely close the Marketplace to new merchants while we introduce a new requirements package to join the Marketplace.

The very fact that so many (who are leaving or who have left) consider less than $1.00 per day in fixed operating participation costs – in totality – to be too much to continue only cements for us as a company that the decision to set aside the original vison for Wagglepop as an eBay competitor was indeed the correct one to make and implement.

Wagglepop continues to represent an afforable and feature rich online selling opportunity – but outside of the handful of wonderfully visionary and dedicated members we have currently – woefully underutilized or underappreciated in general.

In many ways, that might have been expected to some degree – eBay has “institutionalized” it’s seller body in many ways by making the very mechanisms that it offers seem as if they are the actual business dynamics, such as “listing” alone being a sum total of a business plan.

Based on current numbers, eBay sellers do not mind very much the fees and fee increases (beyond public complaints), and eBay apparently knows that and will continue to exploit that. Our own research indicates two more increases over the next 36 months as likely.

We will continue to offer a truly effective and affordable alternative, though we have very little expectation that we will increase the anticipated merchant base of 75-100, total. Should the merchant population drop to 10, then that is the number we are prepared to support.

Wagglepop was founded on a simple principle: That people would and could come together to support their own auction-style site, and based on that ability to organize generate the media attention and activity that would start and sustain growth.

Unfortunately, quite the opposite was the case. Sellers came, gave it 30-60-90 days, listed a few things, and left – oftentimes without honoring their outstanding balances, now in collection.

For some of us here it is difficult to verbalize our feelings about that. An awful lot of time and expense went into building and sustaining Wagglepop, and the continuation of it in any form reflects that very effort. We want those who wish to be here to get the very best site we can provide. Dedicated membership deserves nothing less.

As far as eBay goes, I can state with full assurance that the original Wagglepop vision and support structure was most likely the last best chance eBay members had to support something of their own. Built independently with private funds, we were prepared to re-invest every penny of participatory revenues back into the site to keep growing towards our competitor goal based on participation.

Sadly, none of that original vision has come to or will ever come to pass.

Many smaller independent sites are now closing (such as Bidville) or are woefully understructured to handle either traffic or customer needs.

For those remaining with us, we are honored to have you as a part of the Marketplace and we will soon begin population of the site under Wagglepop Marketshare so that we may offer a truly item and product rich destination for online shoppers.

I am unsure exactly why the online selling community continues to discard opportunities such as Wagglepop and favor instead villification of any attempts at non-eBay alternatives. While I understand that everyone wants to be heard – to have a voice on forums and blogs – I am confounded that so many would not recognize that a single voice of people building and working together at an alternative would speak volumes to both eBay and the media.

I am disturbed that so many of the so-called “independent” reporting/help sites have ignored Wagglepop, yet continue to tout themselves as impartial and part of the solution rather than an obvious symbol of the problem that eBay itself represents.

We waited two years for the online selling community to recognize this opportunity and do the work required, together, to finally show eBay that they work for membership, and not the other way around.

As a company – at worst – we lost some invested finances in the original Wagglepop vision through construction and operation. We can and will write much of that off in coming statements, and the restructure near ensures our ability to continue operation for many years to come.

The general online selling community and the people they serve?

They lost so much more.

Ownership has made it very clear to myself and staff that it is our responsibility to ensure that all merchants make on-time payment of seller fees as invoiced monthly.

The payment record for the “30-60-90” day crowd is utterly abysmal, and ownership contends that our management policy of a fully “open” marketplace is partly to blame.

I agree. I am personally tired of witnessing over 50% of staff resources dedicated to account referral and collections, malicious behavior, and processing of closures or suspensions.

New merchants who understand the User Agreement? We welcome them with open arms.

A continuation of past non-payment history? Ownership says “absolutely not”, and I agree and support that 100%.

Expect changes related to that in the coming weeks, including introduction of a “requirements” package that will ensure we do not dilute oue existing dedicated merchants with dissimilar ones and/or waste valuable staff resources on basic User Agreement enforcement as related to seller invoicing and payment.

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