One of the struggles of new breeders is that they initially have 0 credibility and trust from buyers, especially when a bunch of YT videos are promoting ideas like “don’t trust X if they don’t have a YT chan” or “don’t trust Y if they don’t have a FB or instagram profile” etc. Unfortunately not everybody is well versed into making videos or maintaining FB pages or instagram profiles. Some people are just hobby breeders and are very serious about what they do and how they do it and yet, they would struggle in their first sales because they are still unknown and untrusted.
The idea is basically, to add a feature for new sellers that would allow them to be “vouched for” or “verified and approved” by bigger breeders by requesting that which would trigger the verification process. This can be done in several ways including verification by video calls, showing and describing their setup etc. A sort of an interview that will result in the new seller “earning” (or not) that status from the “bigger breeder” who has more ratings and reviews and presence on MM. Details of the “how” can be discussed of course.
As a person that at some time in the distant future could very well be one of those breeders, and often finds animals sold by new breeders I’d be interested in, this sounds like an amazing idea.
Sounds like a great idea. My wife and I will be new sellers on MorphMarket with FLRT boas.
I wonder how @eaglereptiles and @john feel about this. Very interesting idea.
Could even have MorphMarket staff members do this verification process, or hire on people/have volunteers specifically for it.
I’m not a big breeder by any means, but have made a few sales on the site and have a good rep so I’d be willing to “vouch” for other newbies as well!
I even helped someone who was new to the site with a proper process of selling an animal — they had marked the snake as sold when I put a deposit on her, so I advised they switch her to “on hold” and then mark her as sold to me once the payment plan was completed and the animal shipped out to me — and they were grateful for the help!
So maybe “mentors” too, who can show newbies the ropes of using the site?
This is a good plan in theory, but I feel like some larger breeders that have built themselves from the ground up would make a stink about it. Part of the business is starting by yourself and making a name for yourself with no shortcuts, that kinda thing. That, and what if a breeder that is vouched for has bad practices later? Then wouldn’t the reputation of the bigger breeder be damaged since they recommended them?
In theory I love the idea. However in reality it could be a problem with biased sources, reputation, ethics, enough people to verify, etc.
I think instead, maybe there should be a section on the seller profile to showcase people’s setups and collection…? It’d be less of a “verification” thing and more to just show how the breeder runs things. Especially if YouTube videos can be embedded and/or images included
I like the you can’t just review people unless you actually make an inquiry… but, you could maybe have an endorsement type system like LinkedIn? People who simply know you or have had dealings with you outside of MM could give you endorsements for certain aspects of the hobby.
Personally I don’t like the suggestion because it brings in a lot of bias about buyers. In theory if people did not exhibit bias it could work. And if we’re really talking about it, that is what the inquiry process is about. It is the time that you’re supposed to ask questions and feel out what type of person you’re dealing with. Also you’re supposed to read reviews, if there isn’t any maybe they have a community profile that you can look over.
My explanation of why I thought this way.
In my comment above I’m really just talking from the point of view as a person who is going to be a high end boa breeder but I am just starting out. Truly I’m relying on my community wide impact to show my character and also that I am knowledgeable and able to answer questions on care. It’s just that I don’t have any social media (besides this), so my impact on the outside world would appear smaller even inexistent. My main hope is that people will give a new seller that’s producing high-quality animals a chance to gain a reputation. I’m not saying be ignorant, but try to communicate them. Usually new sellers are more willing to provide you with updated pictures of the animal also.
Yes I thought it was necessary that I explain myself.
I’m with @lumpy on this one. While you are starting off as a new seller there would be no point in offering a ‘verification’ method.
If you’re looking at breeding snakes as a job, and not just a hobby, it comes down to marketing yourself. You have to look at it as if you were creating a business doing something else (heck even a brick and mortar building).
Marketing is what is going to save you or break you. I recommend anyone who is serious about turning this into a business atleast have an Instagram page. It’s not hard to setup and you don’t have to be a pro at taking photos or making videos. But it gives people an idea and timeline of you, your animals, how you keep them, and project your currently working or will be working with. You also don’t need thousands of followers. You just need to have an active post (a post within a week) and you would be good to go.
If you don’t even try, then you won’t succeed to begin with.
Yes, this is something we’ve thought about and may one day become a service we offer. However, with approximately dozens of new breeders a day signing up, it’s quite a heavy load. And, how exactly that’ we’d determine that a person has integrity, just because we talk to them, is unclear. If we did offer “verified” it would likely entail some history which new sellers would not have.
If we wanted to limit our site to a hundreds of sellers, we could definitely cherry pick those we’re very confident in. But by being a site that is open to all new sellers (and we run around 5,000 active sellers right now), we always run the risk of letting a bad apple in here and there. Despite it being a lot more difficult to moderate, that’s part of our mission, to provide a place where anyone legitimate can have a business.
The good news is, despite our cautionary messages on the site about buying from brand new breeders, plenty do. So there’s way more opportunities to make some sales and get some positive ratings than you’d imagine.
That’s the main thing we provide - a ratings system for you to build credibility. And it is very possible to do so.
As a buyer, the first thing I do is look at reviews. If there aren’t any, it does not turn me away! Looking at reviews is probably the easiest way to determine quality of a breeder, but other than that, I look at things like: are their snakes correctly identified? Do they take at least semi decent photos? Did they write anything extra in the description? Are their prices comparable to similar animals? What do their terms and conditions say and what is their store description? If all of those things seem good to me, I’ll inquire and if the communication is prompt, polite, and knowledgeable, I have absolutely no reservations about buying from a new seller.
I think verification of quality from MorphMarket itself could be a liability and I also wouldn’t automatically trust a new seller if they had been ‘verified’ by a more well known seller. I would still do my due diligence, so it wouldn’t really be a major help to me. Seeing pics of setups would be cool though!
Just to add some thought here.
I like any idea aimed at making legitimate sellers life easier.
What is stopping these bigger breeders from setting up a scam in a friend’s name and vouching for them? 99% of them are trust worthy but just because someone is a “big breeder” doesn’t mean they instantly fill the “nice human” criteria.
Also, as Ashley notes, say a known breeder verifies someone’s legitimacy and this new seller does mess up, do we take action against the known seller? Is this like a house guarantor?
Say you and Joe Blog both create stores at the same time but Joe is backed by Ozzy.
A buyer comes along looking for a Banana het Clown, which you both have for sale, this system makes it even harder for genuine new sellers that have no contacts in the community to sell that Banana.
Our plans are that eventually the MorphMarket Learning Centre will cover EVERYTHING in as clear of a way as possible, with the hopes that no-one will need a mentor and it will be self explanatory per step.
We’re getting there.
We already have that!
But thats a risk that someone may or may not take. I don’t just vouch for anyone myself but why not help the little guy out as well. A little bone doesn’t hurt. There’s risks to everything and we need to start somewhere. When names become so big that it hurts new sellers and can discourage a new buisness owner to press on then that has its negatives too. I don’t think anyone is asking for a short cut to skip working for their reputation, a little help in my opinion would be a great idea. Competition is also great for the market.
This response helps and I like seeing others view points. I myself don’t just judge on reviews alone, proper identification, representative photo of the actual animal being sold is really big with me. We also want to provide as much assistance to our customers during and after the sale.
I like this as well. Most of the people I deal with are not on MorphMarket .
I’m a ‘new’ seller really. This is my first big year breeding Cresties. previously I have only had a couple pairs of Cresties breeding. This years there’s been a lot! And next year even more will be paired.
But myself, I am not keen on the idea. I want to make myself known by myself, I don’t want people to verify me unless it’s people who’ve come to me before who can recommend me themselves. I’ve already had people come back to me for Cresties, pass on friends to me and ones on a list for certain morphs next year. I’m proud of myself for doing this by myself with a lot of breeders out there now too! I don’t have any social media either (may join insta eventually). So it’s all been word of mouth for me and I’m happy with what’s I’ve accomplished so far!
From the sound of the verification process the OP wants, it would essentially be a shortcut for those lucky enough to get it. Those that don’t get it would have an even harder time making a name for themselves. Why go through the even smaller guy if another new breeder was verified by a big breeder? There are way too many new breeders for it to really be possible to get all of them verified by big name breeders. The more I think about it the more it sounds like it would be more fair if it just stays the same. If you are a good breeder with good practices, a nice store setup, competitive prices, and great communication then the work you put in will speak for itself. If you want an extra boost, setting up a social media page or being more active on the MM forums isn’t that hard.
I respect your opinion but you really come off condescending. I don’t have a storefront/setup and most likely never will. I don’t take shortcuts in life or buisness as I give my all and have put in more work you could ever imagine. To throw anyone new in a category of them wanting shortcuts is just plain false. Again, competition is great for the market.