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Unseen Economy; A Retrospective Look At Shetlink Classifieds

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#1 admin

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 05:59 PM

£41.4 million

 

No, this isn't the latest Euromillions jackpot! It's Shetlink: your everday Shetland site assisting Shetlanders buy and sell.

Since moving across to the new software Shetlink's been busy cleaning the data contained within the old classifieds section to achieve statistics. Not exactly a straightforward nor exciting job but, what Shetlink can happily announce:


The original Shetlink Shetland classifieds ran from Voar 2009 to Hairst 2013 directly assisting Shetlanders advertise c£41.4m (cleansed data for Accommodation, Motor, Boating **) of local classified items; an unseen economy! Shetlink unfortunately has no figures relating to the period up to 2009 but, members can extrapolate a guesstimate: Shetlink classifieds first started to appear c2008 within the forums before moving to custom software to contain them.

** Classifieds not counted: rental, those asking for 'offers', '+VAT', 'wanted', 'exchange', 'swap for cases of lager'!, duplicates, no value (obviously), 'sold', 'wanted', etc. The other sections have not been taken into consideration as they still require a significant amount of data cleansing.

 

^_^ http://www.shetlink....nk-classifieds/


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#2 JustMe

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 06:59 PM

But do you have a way to split out "sold" from advertised again every couple of weeks?. 



#3 trout

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 07:11 PM

Yes, sold should be included above too.

 

The old 'price' section was free-text so anything saying 'sold' in the price section was removed - those figures aren't known and aren't in the overall figure. The 'price' input box having been free-text is why it's taken so *&"*&^$*&^ long to get to a figure that could be backed up with relevant statistics.

 

Removing duplicates has been a pain. Descriptions had to be compared against prices and shifting and sorting the exported dataset against categories/usernames/description/price to remove anything considered as a duplicate was done. All classifieds considered borderline or clearly couldn't be made sense of were removed.

 

To note also anything 'wanted' was also removed. Where stating 'offers' and variations of that ilk it had to be removed: again those figures can't be known even when stating a RRP price in the description for instance.



#4 shetlandpeat

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 09:54 PM

Imagine if everyone paid just 1% contribution...



#5 trout

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 11:58 PM

Imagine! We'd have paid top-top whack a long time ago for an uber-range server!



#6 trout

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 01:07 PM

So here's a thought. What's the Shetlink community's impression of having moved towards paid trade/commercial advertising in the classifieds section?
 
Had the most random and discerning PM conversation with someone yesterday who was particularly disgruntled by having to pay for the situations vacant section even though they were advertising a position in one of the UK's largest retail outlets. They accused Shetlink of greed; the irony, before stating they were going to delete their account; good luck trying that without asking for assistance.
 
Shetlink's continued interest and usage by it's community means it 'needs' to be developed further. Whilst the assistance provided by the "donation" button helps keep the show on the road it's a stretch to say that can go far enough to actually assist in upgrading/developing. I'm sure you're aware at how much downtime there is / has been - the week long f*kup at the start of Nov being completely out with our control! Without the new framework the entire system would also, for instance, be a flood of kitchenspam as it was with poor moderators running around aimlessly trying to delete it - no fun for anyone.

 

Anyway, as always, happy to hear everyone's thoughts.


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#7 MuckleJoannie

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 01:53 PM

As the owner of a small business I wouldn't object to paying to advertise.


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#8 shetlandpeat

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 02:21 PM

Would the charges extend to charities looking for staff or volunteers?



#9 trout

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 02:25 PM

Any charities looking to advertise can certainly contact Shetlink and they would receive a personalised service.


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#10 owre-weel

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 03:44 PM

 
Had the most random and discerning PM conversation with someone yesterday who was particularly disgruntled by having to pay for the situations vacant section even though they were advertising a position in one of the UK's largest retail outlets. They accused Shetlink of greed; the irony, before stating they were going to delete their account; good luck trying that without asking for assistance.
 .

Noo why du's dat no surprise me, dey lik to roughshot though any other interests which dey tink should bow tae der superiority. Glad tae see du's stuck tae de guns.

I think its reasonable to make a charge for commercial advertising, but please keep in mind there are many " small " one man/woman businesses, (many who sneak the odd advert on here) who could not afford to pay too much. I have found a few folk I needed to do small jobs on Shetlink and they have all said due to the small size of their business they can't afford the type of charges being made on other sites.

As for recruitment ads, these should definitely be charged for.

Looking at the growing classified ads placed each day, which I love looking through, I often wonder how many folk give a donation after a successful sale? A 20p charge would be a drop in the ocean to the sellers, but would have generated a reasonable sum for server upgrades :-)
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#11 Barneys7

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 10:16 AM

i disagree with the selling of guns on this web site any one of any age could be buying them if you disagree with me let the advert stay if not would you delete please


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#12 trout

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 11:51 AM

^^ Yes, 'guns' were always removed - then there were the days of free-for-all. Shetlink is merely a conduit. Selling firearms and or shotguns with the correct certification and storage facilities in itself is not an illegal activity; if you suspect an illegal sale is taking place you would be best to notify the police. Illegal activities on Shetlink are absolutely not allowed as detailed in the T&C's of Shetlink.

 

Thanks owre-weel, yes, it's a funny 'ol world. Those people that have actually donated know who they are. Thank you to them! Your kind understanding and altruistic assistance has definitely been a mainstay in keeping the show on the road.

 

The pricing structure has effectively been introduced and initially was set to curtail the outright abuse by commercial businesses in Shetland using the classifieds section to sell goods and definitely not donating. Through discussion with smaller business holders it was decided to lower this in conjunction with the £41.4m news so as not to marginalise them. It's a very fine line.

 

Any good news stories or other are also welcomed.



#13 Aaron Foord

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 01:44 PM

Just an observation really - when using search you have to search for 4 or more letters in a single word. For instance, today I wanted to look to see if anyone had any Sky TV boxes for sale. It would not let me search for 'SKY' and told me to use more than 3 letters, so I tried 'SKY BOX' and got the same result. Can this search be amended?



#14 trout

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 02:29 PM

Altered to three 3 characters. See how it goes with performance and superfluous results.


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#15 Bert

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 06:21 PM

As far as the Trade ads go I can understand if you want to charge to have your ad appear in the header which will promote it more but I think you could have it free in the Trade section aswell. i was pleased to see you reduced the price of Trade ads i hope this is permanent and I hope you would consider reducing it even further

 

With the classified ads I think 2 weeks is too long to wait before you can renew it I think a week would be long enough, alot of people in Shetland are using the Facebook classifieds pages and you can renew them after 3 days on there and all the ads including the Trade ones are all free

 

Other than that its pretty good



#16 trout

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 12:52 PM

It's an interesting point re: the 14 day adverts. This was always the situation prior but, I would hazard a guess is a/the main reason that people want to create multiple duplicate adverts.
 
Being an automated system for the ease of users was to enable users the freedom to manage their own adverts but, there are always people that deem their property to be more important than other users and abuse the system. There have been instances where people have sat and watched their advert roll off the front page and then put on another. This isn't particularly fair for other users but, that makes no odds to them! *sigh*
 
There is a search facility continually being developed to provide better results - and it has to be said that if peoples goods aren't being purchased a) stick on pictures so people can actually see what they're buying b ) add descriptive descriptions ... the key is in the word! A one liner with no meaning is nigh on useless c) if no-ones buying it it probably means you might as well burn it!
 
There is consideration on lowering the 14 days. Perhaps halving to 7 days would be more conducive to individuals selling requirements?
 
The key is in the renewal on Shetlink. An advert runs it course and can be edited throughout that period and when finished can be renewed from the personal classifieds manager. There is no need to create another.
 
I suspect the largest downside for the Facebook classifieds system for those attempting to manage it is the free-for-all nature of it.

#17 Aaron Foord

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 02:57 PM

if people who post adverts would put where they/their item is located, they may get more results. I have spent too long mailing people who do not bother to reply or when they do, the item is already sold simply because they cannot be bothered to state a location which is in itself pretty stupid.

 

Sellers obviously want to sell their items and if I was looking for something and saw it was on sale near me, I would be more inclined to persue that sale rather than just passing it by.

 

As far as 14 days goes, I think that is a perfect time or you will just get the same ads posted time and time again just to gain front page status.



#18 trout

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 03:32 PM

It's a good point and is easy enough to have a drop-down say with "South Mainland", "Central Mainland", "West Mainland", "North Mainland", "North Isles", for instance, if people are reluctant to put exact geographical placement.

Anyone else?

As far as 14 days goes, I think that is a perfect time or you will just get the same ads posted time and time again just to gain front page status.


The only way I can really think to stop the annoyance of duplicate adverts just to gain front-page status is to remove the front-page but, you would still get the possibility of that in each category. Plus it really would retard the overall system by removing "latest" adverts - or would it? It would become a different user interface I guess where you'd have to search for what you want; either by category exploration or the search function. Either that or charge for adverts - it becomes a free-for-all without moderation and those wishing to place multiple ads would do so at extra cost and we'd buy a all bells whistling server with the proceeds!
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#19 Da Ald Dug

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 12:11 PM

Every body kood pay say £ 10 a year and put as many adverts on as they need as i was told last year that i had used up my number and not alowed to put on any more adverts .



#20 trout

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 12:28 PM

Interesting.

re: ad limit. Can't even remember now what the old code did. Don't remember there being a limit. Not to say there wasn't. The new software doesn't limit advert amount. It does however, limit the renewal of a single advert to 3x





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