Most Europeans speak English, but if there was an attempt to initiate a European site courtesy would dictate that user be able to interact in their native tongue.
An advantage of the 'flag' idea would be finding items for sale that are within the borders of ones own country. As a former European this is not really of interest for me since I cannot envision the circumstances that would bring me back to living in Germany or Austria again, but I do think it would allow others who are not as conversant as native English speakers to be involved in the best website on the ether.
Just my zwei pfennigs!
Guys, if you do this, please do it in a way that does not exclude or 'lure away' the European community from the current version of Audiogon. I, for one, greatly appreciate getting incite from other parts of the world... on both gear and music that I otherwise would not have the chance to be exposed to. If the idea is to better include people who are not fluent in English (e.g. the mentioned translation function), that's great! Just please don't set out to separate the English vs. Non-English members. The audiophile community is small enough as it is...it doesn't need to be divided further.
I would like to put in a vote for English as main language as well. However I have to agree with Nrchy, there are a lot of audiophiles (in particular older ones, no offense please) that might not be able to converse very well in English.
Also some markets, e.g. Germany, Austria, have already several forums in their native language (TNT for Reviews in Italian, http://www.highendmarkt.de/ and www.ebay.de for used products in Germany, http://www.hifi-forum.de/ for an audioasylum like forum in Germany). However I have not found any that are as good and or as popular as Audiogon here.
To my knowledge there's no european wide forum yet which crosses borders. However something like that might have to be in English to bring all people together under one roof. For now an adjunct site should be good enough.
If you consider different languages, the minimum would be German, French, Italian, Spanish. Quite an undertaking you are planning here. Maybe just the possibility of translation is good enough.
As with respect to shipping and the used market, a division into countries would certainly be useful.
Meine zwei Pfennige...
Otherwise: Good Luck!!
Disclaimer: Originally from Germany I have been living in the US for more than seven years. I'm certainly no expert on the european market.
Finally, I have asked/suggested something like this some 3-4 years ago. I would say English would be much better. At least you can start with it and see the response. I believe if you do that you will not only attract European but the rest of the world that is interested in 220-230 volt equipment first and those who are interested to purchase European and other countries brands. I believe it will be a success, go for it.
However you do this, please keep it on one site. I even wish you'd integrate Videogon somehow.
I think the question of buying/selling gear is a separate one from that of the forums. It would be very useful to be able to search for gear based on country but that doesn't need to be a separate site, just maybe involve a few tweaks to the listings page (i.e. replace "zipcode" with "postcode", allow more address entry fields and other currencies etc.).
Forums are a different matter altogether. It would be hard to mix up languages so either have separate German and French forums or just insist on English as the "common" language.
Good idea, but mostly for finding products with 230V power supplies and convenient locations to buy from.
I think the forums should remain as is. We all gain from this diversity.
In fact I believe that the same Audiogon with some enhancements to separate components with different PSU and location would be welcome.
Yes! At last! Would`nt it be wonderful to check all EU listings by a single click of the mouse. Long overdue----get on with it. Separate site not a good idea. A multi-lingual site might be too complex,although it is a good idea----not essential however.Please give us a link to all EU/non US listings now!
As others have said, yes but keep all within the same site. I'm in europe and all my purchases were from outside europe. Keep the market open. I always found better deals outside europe even when I had to pay import duties.
As for the language I would prefer english, although it's not my first language. More languages brings more divisions and probably less worldwide discussions and deals. I think we all would stand to lose.
Language: English. It's worked until now, no problems -- no intolerance (if anything, native english spkrs complain about OTHER native english spkrs...)
"Euro Market": that's probably where the new members will first come from.
Ultimately, the idea would be to re-launch "A'gon" as "Euro-US audiogon".
Very interesting -- all for it!
English should be OK.
I have been looking for an european equivalent of Audiogon for the past year with no luck.
An european Audiogon would be interesting for selling/buying material within Europe as it is quite difficult/costly/(frightening?) to ship overseas.
I would like a European site, but as part of A'gon, since I enjoy interacting with those strange people on teh other side of the ocean :). English as main language would seem like a good idea. After all, there won't be much non-english speaking people around here now, would they?
I hardly ever check the ads, since most equipment comes from the US, and firstly it is expensive to ship across the ocean, and secondly, you need a converter to make it work, which (IMHO) will deteriorate the sound. Just my 'twee centen'though.....
People from europe, the US is not the only market. Asia it's also 220v and a great source for great deals. From my experience buying from europe, in the end, is not always cheaper. I bought stuff (heavy) from the US, Asia and Australia (also 220v) that even with shipping and import duties were better deals than from europe. In some cases gear in europe tends to be more expensive, both new and used.
I think it's a good idea, but keep it all on one site.
Sean .. a brit in the US.
I see no reason for an additional website or even an "adjunct" to the existing site, nor do I think a multi-lingual site geared toward a specific geographic region is needed or feasible if the subject matter of the site is audio components.
I assume that, with the idea of a multi-lingual site, you would budget for translators? I would think that this would be difficult to implement (translations take time, cost money, and who is responsible if the translation is wrong?) and ultimately not necessary, as I am pretty comfortable in saying that the vast majority of your potential customers world-wide speak English well enough to use the existing site, and that there is not enough money in it to go after the few who do not.
Further, introducing a site that aims for a specific geographic region runs counter to one of the chief advantages of e-business, i.e., the ability to choose from goods and do business worldwide. This is particularly true with respect to audio, as audio components are desired just about everywhere where there is electricity and people. Let users choose from goods worldwide and decide whether they want to deal with international sales issues -- do not assume for us that we do not by putting us into different sites segregated by geographic region.
You could better achieve your goals (to the extent I understand them) via modifications to the existing site. As you suggest, I would think it would be relatively simple to "flag" the sales listings for all component sales and auctions in accordance with the sellers' user registration information, thereby making it easier for a buyer to factor geographic location into his/her decision to pursue a component (the current system is not bad, but it would be best if we did not have to waste time opening the listing to find out where a seller is located).
You could also include a new item that would require the seller to indicate the voltage of whatever he/she is selling.
As for broadening Audiogon's market in Europe or elsewhere outside the U.S., I would think you would be best served by simply advertising the current site in the various hi-fi journals worldwide (provided that local equipment manufacturers or dealers don't squeeze the magazines to refuse your ads -- not everyone likes you and the changes you've brought to the industry). If you want to advertise in Brazil's hi-fi rag, Audio & Vídio, or France's Haute Fidelité, e-mail me and I'll translate your inquiry and provide you with contact information.
On the topic of improving the existing site, I would like to repeat the oft-repeated request that you please require serial number information as a prerequisite for all advertisements of used goods (it would be easy to add a serial number box to listings).
Good idea Raquel: An additional field in the for sale ads for the nominal voltage would certainly help when expanding Audiogon to the worldwide market.
Maybe all that is required are some additional fields for origin, voltage, language and a better search engine that does better conditional searches than the current one.
Also if the intention is to include Europe, why not the whole world as others here have already suggested. The serial numbers might help to supress the illegal and harmful gray market items.
As a brit in the US, still struggling to learn 'real' English, I think it would be better to keep all activity under one roof, but offer translation facilities to non-English speaking people(like myself).
I don't know if this is technically possible, but one way to do it might be through the 'My Page' section. When someone creates an account, they can specify there native language as preference over English. Then, they can browse the forums just like anyone, viewing texts in English when not logged-in. However, if they login to their accounts, the same texts are translated into their native tongue. When they post, they can post in their language and it is translated and becomes part of the forum in English.
Although this sounds technically difficult (I'm sure it is), the technology does exist. There are sites like www.babel.altavista.com that provide instant translation facilities in many languages. If this technology could be incorporated into Audiogon it would make for a truly international website.
The downside of splitting up audiogon into different websites is that the audio community isn't that large, and it would be diluting the knowledge base and robbing us of valuable input from around the globe.
With all due respect to the previous contributor, computerized translation programs are at the same level of development as medicine was in the 18th Century -- they are terrible and do much more harm than good.
You can try them with Google listings -- the translations are comical to the extent they make any sense at all. Here is an interview with a close friend of mine, a French publisher, that I just pulled from Google and that was translated from French to English via a translation program:
"How was your publisher created?
In 1986, I was sent in co-operation in Bulgaria as a professor to the French college of Sliven. Among my students there was of them one, very shining, which was called Krasimir Kavaldjiev. It made me discover a small Bulgarian book of the Thirties, the heart in the carton of Svétoslav Minkov and Konstantin Konstantinov * (an extract on the site R essources.org ). It translated it and on my return in France I was persuaded that this book was going to impassion all the editors. I did not know large thing with the edition. In fact, no editor had shown himself interested. Then, in 1993, I created an association of edition only to publish this book. I published it. That went rather well, except that it was car-distribution and auto-diffusion. I went myself in the bookshops to deposit the specimens. It was, therefore, very artisanal. Then, I made various meetings and I became editor. In 1997, I transformed association into limited liability company and the edition became my principal occupation."
If you decide to offer translations (which I again argue is unnecessary because the vast majority of your customers have a level of English that is sufficient to use the current site), you will have to use human translators if you want it to be any good.
Hi Raquel, I don't disagree entirely, though I don't think your analogy with 18 Century medicine is applicable.
I've done a couple of web design projects, one for a Spanish speaking client and one for French. In both cases altavista's translation service got me about 90% of the way there, and saved a lot of time and money also, though it did need final input from a linguist to reach the required level of accuracy for the clients involved.
I think most people who are not fluent in English would be receptive to having a basic translation into their own tongue and would use it in preference to trying to struggle with the English version. I think they would need to have the source and mechanism of the translation explained to them thoroughly, and so would understand that it wouldn't be entirely acurate.
The problem would arise where vernaculars are used by us 'Americans', that would not translate into any foreign language very well. But in those cases, the same problem would be present if a non-English person was reading the vernacular in English.
It's not perfect, but I believe it is better than nothing. Also, it is projects like this that take the whole technology forward, so that in maybe a couple of years the translation tools can be refined to the point of excellence.....like 18 Century Medicine.
For the market I think is not a big advantage, since the cheaper stuff are located in Usa or even in Asia.
For the forums, suggestions or simply to create discussions in each country with original language, yes, I think could be interesting. A lot of people don't speak a good English (me too !) so Audiogon could be a great start for domestic discussions. Just i miei 2 centesimi ;-)
This is a difficult one.
You do see stuff on sale from Europe for sale on Audiogon anyway but it is limited.
It's my perception the high end market in the USA is much more vibrant and less expensive than here in Europe,the UK in my case.
It sepends how Audiogon sells itself but getting the European retailers/hi-fi press on board would be crucial I would think otherwise they and the press will be on Audiogon Europe's case very early doors.
The open market that is the internet is hated basically by the high end retailers although doubtless some find it a useful tool.
Having bought direct from the States on a few occassions I can assure you that local UK dealers for understanable reasons get very very annoyed at losing trade to importing.
In my book it could work but whether the European market is vibrant enough is a different matter and how well the high end market would take to Audiogon is another matter also(although Ebay clearly moves decent trade in high end stuff and no doubt effects some retailers and I believe the low to middle market is getting squeezed to death by the web)personally I could see it as being quite problematic because knowledge is power and I would expect Europeans looking at American prices and wanting to ship even more stuff in-you can't have a sister site and expect people not to look-this perception of Audiogon moving into Europe I would suspect put many high end European retailers on edge............
I don't know why everybody thinks US gear is all cheaper. At the prices in the UK I think Densen, Cyrus, ATC, Harbeth would all match up well with equivalently priced stuff here. I do think british gear is often voiced differently, but I disagree that it's overpriced.
Well Seandtaylor-I mostly have Ayre equipment in my system that equates dollars for pounds over here,AX-7& CX-7 are three thousand pounds for European versions-the difference between £3K and $3k is massive frankly,Levinson and Krell are the same and speakers such as Avalon are similar as are many cables too.
Of course it depends how you hear this equipment and what you like but these manufacturers are rated (rightly or wrongly)very highly and when you get above a certain cost the difference is massive.
Of course British/European gear is just as expensive to buy in the States as here which isn't my point overall.
Also take into account the fact the American market in high end is more vibrant therefore if I want to buy say a 2nd hand pair of Proac 2.5's-I'd get a pair second hand much cheaper in the States despite the starting cost being similar.....and this is similar with a lot of gear.
Maybe it's a case of kudos and we rate each others equipment more highly but to my ears something like the CX-7 is a steal in dollar terms because it pretty much smoked the European players I heard in a similar price range.
I have imported some items to the UK paid import duties etc. and saved a fortune,it's a fact my friend.
Of course there are problems and risks in doing this and I would urge anyone thinking about importing about to consider the risks involved.
If the differences didn't exist then the likes of Levinson and Krell wouldn't hard wire their equipment not to work in Europe nor would the likes of Ayre drop any dealers shipping American equipment to Europe....
When I was buying audio equipment in the UK, anything American was usually way too expensive. The exchange rate back then (in the mid 90's was about 1.45 usd to the gbp and with VAT at 17.5% it made buying anything from the US an expensive proposition. I bought a Audio Alchemy DDS Pro Transport and paid 1700 GBP with the Tax ($2600 USD, and the same unit sold in the states for about $1600. The first thing I bought when I moved to the states was a Krell 300i, and paid $1750 USD, where it would have cost me twice that in the UK.
There is simply no arguing - US gear is expensive in the UK.
Just to make another example... How much costs a Thiel CS 7.2 in Italy ??? Oh, no problem, only 26.650 euros, about 32.000 USD, a real bargain !
Getting back to the subject, I'd suggest to take forums and marketplace separately in this regard. Forum is better to be common, and as an international communication area to be in English.
For Marketplace, in turn, it might be a good idea to create local areas, meaning that Europeans would chose to post in the specific local area, or the common one, or even both - in English.
The real question is to understand why non-US audiophile communities wouldn't join Audiogon right now - is it all about language, or the markets and areas of interests are so different that US based forum is not relevant for most of them? I don't want to name it, but in some countries there are more dealers then audiophiles, and due to absolutely prohibitive pricing, high-end stuff stands in perception close to Mercedes 600, and not to any kind of Arts, many of those who can purchase the equipment do it because of prestige (just another ultra expensive stuff) and not because of music, and local forums are often not well mannered. Taking this into account it's not clear if creation of local Audiogons just everywhere will be successful.
Starting from German and French will probably eliminate the majority of a language barrier.
Russian will be a big plus as well...
Ehi, and Italian ??? There are a lot of audiophiles here !
Well said, Luca!, Here is one of them. Ciao to everyone from Vito
Good idea, but mostly for finding products with 230V power supplies and convenient locations to buy from.
I think the forums should remain as is. We all gain from this diversity.
In fact I believe that the same Audiogon with some enhancements to separate components with different PSU and location would be welcome.
I agree; I just returned from Germany (to America) and was looking for a headphone amp and a tube power amp. It would be great to be able to just look at 220/230volt equipment. Plus, shipping within the EU is much easier than getting stuff from North America.
Being from neither Europe nor the US then my selfish interests will not be served by separating the trading communities. It will lead to fewer sellers seeking an international sale.
Regardless of what you do, I would prefer it if Audiogon's classifieds were searchable on whether the seller will sell internationally. No doubt Europeans/Americans would like to search on whether the seller is local. Searching by US zipcode is not going to work.
Currently the site is frustrating to use because searching by item description is the only choice. It can be reasonably quick to find what you want, but usually only to find the seller will only sell in the USA. By comparison, eBay makes it easier, but they don't really have it right either (don't copy from them - learn from them).
So in my view, a single trading community with good filters on location, and enabling the seller to be specific about where the seller will sell to, would be great - otherwise the bigger the market the better place it is to go. I cannot see the point in separate discussion forums.
I personally don't have any problems about the apparent US-centric nature of Audiogon, I don't think it is necessary to have a distinct local flavour. But I suspect local promotion of Audiogon is in Audiogon's interests.
You might want to think about authentication issues a bit better - so that you can verify someone other than Americans only, but this does not require local separation - quite the reverse. I need more verification about someone from a foreign country than I do about someone local.
I live in both Europe and the US. I don't read French at a competent level to do busines in that or any language other than English. And no, I won't be surprised to know that some of you doubt my ability to do so in English. I find it very difficult to buy the kind of pieces in Europe through Audiogon. I have ended up buying them in the US and shipping or carrying them to France. The notable exception was an amp which I picked up in Europe at the manufacturer.
As to selling, I have found it hit and miss. I couldn't sell my near new 9+++ DarTZeel amp in Europe until Stereophile named it product of the year. Then it had the same interest that I received from the US. I found that there is a real suspicion in much of the European community about used items. One man told me that he would be losing the dealer relationship if he bought my used Audio Aero. There is no warranty on it and the dealer certainly won't provide one. To me, I'd much rather buy a piece from someone who has owned and used it rather than from a dealer who doesn't know what's wrong and how it was used.
If the language you use is other than English, I'm really going to struggle with it. I know, how much does Lakefrontroad pay us? Maybe another language would make more sense for you.
As an adjunct to Audiogon? Sure. Why not have country and continent codes and allow users to sort on them?
I have had a number of sales of US goods which were bought by Europeans and shipped there. So, Europeans don't seem to have a problem with buying here.
I see no reason why someone couldn't ask for a search by Geograhical Location. Someone living on one continent might want to first see what might be available a a point closer to home. So, why not include the option to list first those items for sale closest to your home.
Don't limit the search, just let a buyer begin with products within his own hemisphere.
Now that I live in Canada, I realize how limited the search features on Agon for countries outside the US are. Addtitional fields for sellers to include the state (province), city, zip, and country would be very helpful in locating items without asking the seller. Sometimes I would love to do a search based on province, jut to see what items are available close by.
A completely separate Agon is still not necessary; everyone should be able to access the whole market at a single view, but a more differentiated search featureaccording to location would be great.
Well, content is king and I concur with the above posters that it would be a pity to develop content in new domains (.de, .co.uk, .fr and so on), and it would take too long. English is the de facto lingua franca and talk in itself doesn't contribute to the bottom line, rather sales.
So making sales easier, more secure and the like for non-US (not necessarily just European residents) would be a good high priority. To summarize in a single word: usability.
Say I live in country X. Can I pull up all items for sale within X, or within my economic region at a keystroke or two? If a seller, is there usability built-in to the site that allows me to pitch a) internationally b) to my country/immediate region (here for instance, maybe the possiblity of posting secondary non-English text in X' national language would facilitate sales).
This is not very ambitious perhaps, but even such a modest evolutionary step would create significantly greater motivation to browse the listings.
Currently it seems Audiogon commercially is very US-centric. After I see "shipping to USA (and maybe Canada) only" several times I just give up. Additionally, issues entailed by international transactions -- shipping costs, voltage difference, customs fees/hassles -- are significant. Once the infrastructure is explicitly in place for a European (or Asian) market and intra-European market, absolute sales volume might grow quickly.
Things that are convenient are much more likely to happen.
Let Audiogon be Audiogon.
Enhance the "search"-function so one could sort/filter out or in what you wish. Make it so that one can sort and search for "220-230" items? Or "Europe" located items? And of course dito for US-items etc?
With enhanced search most problems should be sorted. But this would also ad a few more lines to fill in while posting an item.
I can't really comment on the language issue, because I am English and speak a few other languages. There is no problem with trans-atlantic transactions, particularly for items such as cables and so I see no need for a separate site. However, I agree that you could add extra search functions and I would like to be able to search by operating voltage. Regions differ in their electricity supplies (even within Europe) and this is an issue particularly when searching for power amps [although you can get step-down transformers e.g. 240V to 110V (I've used them for CD players, DACs and pre-amps) I don't personally like using them for power amps because of the high power consumption requirements].
Hello Jabali (is that correct?). I am a new member of Audiogon and I live in the UK. I must say I am very impressed with the amount of kit available in the US that is denied to us back in old blighty. There are a number of British companies that have ranges of hi fi that are not for sale in the UK but are in the US, wonder why?
Anyway, my point is, the US Audiogon site (not forgetting eBay as well) has given me a wider knowledge of the choice of kit, tweeks, twits, you name it, that is actually out there and I love it! Knowledge is power, as they say (whoever 'they' are), so yeah, the more the merrier. I say lets have non-English input by all means but I cannot speak any other language other than English and a smattering of Italian, so I would want non-English posts to be translated into English. For me that would be a more productive use of resources than setting up a 'European Audiogon' website. Its interesting that you also mention shipping within Europe. Thought I would give you my tuppence worth regarding that subject too.
The UK is one of the most expensive places around to buy consumer goods and luxury items. The US prices for identical items are always cheaper. In the UK, governments from Mrs Thatcher (remember her?) onwards have slapped a tax on all 'non-essential' goods; this tax is called VAT(Value Added Tax) and currently stands at 17.5% of the total price paid for the goods. Now I myself am very keen to buy kit and cables from the US, and indeed have done so as I feel that the people I have dealt with are true gentlemen and are extremely helpful. However, when importing the goods bought from the US into the UK, muggins (me) has to pay import duty, which is based on the total cost of the item, its insurance value and the cost of its delivery. Once that lot has been calculated and a figure arrived at, 17.5 VAT is then added to it to give a final total. This applies to all imported goods into the UK from other countries including other EU member states. The only items exempt from VAT are food and childrens clothes, though duty still has to be paid on them.
So would it be an advantage to ship within the EU? I believe that would depend on if the individual considers it worthwhile to do so and that is determined by the different countries concerned, own import regulations and duty-costs. In a nutshell, personally,it would-be no dearer or cheaper for me to buy from either the US or the EU. Thanks for your time in reading my rather long-winded response. Good luck and best regards,
I agree - UK tax is high and we all know that retail prices are cheaper in the US. Within the EU there is no import tax and fortunately Sterling is still reasonably strong against the Euro. I have bought from the US and the EU - you just have to work out the total cost of importing and then decide if it is worth it.
I second this motion... although I am located at the tip of Africa I am an European at heart with Dutch blood pumping in my veins...
Is this going to be a reality?
I would love to see a European Audigon. If only for the 2nd hand market. Now there are some people from Europe who offer their gear on Audigon but i woul really like it if the European 2nd hand market was more centralized with a site like this.
For a forum to work as it should, I think youd have to stick to one language. Granted, that does exclude a number of people from expressing some probably very interesting ideas on one or the other topic, but splitting up the forum in a number of separate language rooms that will likely never communicate with each other anymore would be even worse. In fact, one of the main reasons for me to visit the forum and participate in a number of threads is to learn about gear that Id never even heard about in Europe and vice versa perhaps be able to give one or the other recommendation on European gear not so well known in the US or, indeed, any other part of the audiophile world. Cross-fertilization, if you want. Also, I believe we need to keep the base of contributors as broad as possible to lend relevance to the discussions on the plethora of technical issues, questions on matching gear, tweaks and workarounds, recording quality, etc. that people show an interest in. (And talking about relevance: the only forum I will participate in is Audiogon and believe you me, by changing the formula you dont want to run the risk of replicating most smaller fora that regularly deteriorate into a childish tit-for-tat, often grossly insulting and never very much to the point.)
Having said that, I am all in favor of broadening the sales section. It would be extremely useful to be able to search for gear per its location and as much per destination the seller is willing to ship to. I know the latter is in the ads, what I am proposing is to make it a search criterion.
Would it be conceivable not only to add links but to come to some sort of cooperation with major serious (which excludes Ebay) sites in Europe or anywhere else, whereby everyone would implement a comparable format, so the search machine could access and show entries on any of the contributing sites? (Im thinking of www.audiomarkt.de and www.hifi.nl for instance)
Then, could there perhaps also be a section with general information on shipping cost and import duties (without responsibility or guarantee of course)?
My own opinion is that until Audiogon gets its web site issue in order--extremely slow servers at times--taking on yet another endeavor isn't recommended.
One idea I'd like to add. Perhaps it's useful to add people's country next to their moniker in discussion threads. Very often people ask for system recommendations within the constraints of a budget. Local availability, the adventurous US$ exchange rate and oil price driven shipment cost may make it seem worthwhile for one reader to check out such recommendation whereas the picture will present itself somewhat differently to someone living on the other side of the globe.
Second the motion particularly in creating a section to purchase 230v used gears. As for audiogon forum, it doesnt matter which part of the world you are from.
I think there's no need for a separate webpage, it's enough to create a symbol about voltage and international shipping.
One thing audiogon could do is deal with shipping companies to have a special rate for members, after all, we're a lot of members generating big business for shipping companies, and shipping price is the number one problem to everybody around here...And if ebay could do it, with mostly cheap items so can we, with much more expensive items.
Personally, like most things these days, I'd prefer on getting the domestic ship righted.
If you leverage the level of 'gon development crew, you'll realize that running this site on the different languages will almost be impossible due to the extream lack of skills to even brush the current bugs.
Development of multi-lingual sites are complicated and involve much more than just using auto-translators.