Why has Audiogon suspended "Wanted" ads?

Audiogon's reasons for suspending "wanted" ads includes safety as a concern, yet only 10 disputes are listed in the "disputes" section and none implies that it began with a "wanted" ad in the text. These ads have always been most useful to me, but clearly do not generate revenue for Audiogon. Thoughts?
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I found the wanted ads helpful, I am picking up some amps tommorow which a local seller found me due to my wanted ad.....they work...well worked.
I agree that the wanted ads were very useful & helpful. I once found a buyer via the wanted ads, & other sellers have found me as well, saving me untold $. Literally I once saved >$1000 from a single ad contact. So of course I really appreciated this useful feature! Occasionally when scanning through, I've seen "items wanted" that are posted up for sale & in that case I've sent the buyer email alerting them that their wanted item is available, including a referral link. Other members have done the same for me as well, a really nice touch.
If $ is an issue (?) they'd still be worth having even at a nominal cost. But apparently there has recently been some kind of a serious problem?
I can't even imagine a 'safety' issue? If anyone has been taken advantage of because of their wanted ad, while that's indeed regrettable I don't see how this is any different than being taken via a for-sale ad. Liability-wise it's a non-issue for Audiogon, they seem clever enough to even have disclaimers for their disclaimers. The same precautions apply whether you're selling or buying.
Remember though, that you can still place a wanted ad & pay for it. Some buyers have done this previously; it's not that unusual, but having all the wanted's within a single searchable listing was a much better methodology.
They have worked for me also. That even includes new. I was looking for some cables a while back and a dealer offered me some new ones at a large discount.

It can also be like Priceline.com.. Set your own price. I got a CD player for a friend by listing his maximum price and desired condition. Within two weeks a seller appeared.

I agree that "Wanted Ads" are extremely helpful and useful. I have found equipment on Audiogon because of them. Sometimes, one can't find the piece for which he is looking. It simply isn't listed for sale. Someone within our audiophile community may have that component, or may know where to find it.

I hope that Audiogon reconsiders, and is able to resolve this issue. "Wanted Ads" are a good idea.
Why, because they don't make any money on it, very simple!

Something very negative might have happened we don't know about. They talk about better "safety" in their notice if they bring it back.
Why don't they charge a nominal fee, say $0.50 per ad. if revenue is the main issue?
Sort of strange. Implement a change with no attempt at an explaination. A little lacking in comparison to A-gon's usual professionalism.
Agreed with above, could it be because they don't get paid?
Does this mean they (AudioGon) has a method to track the posted versus sold to adds in the Wanted category? Doubtful, but scary.

BRING THEM BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It seems fair to me to charge for the service. How about the same cost as a regular ad, but let it run for 60 days? This would eliminate some of the riff raff stuff.

What say you, Audiogon?

Will charging for wanted ads create safety ? What safety issue's ?
I agree with Charlie,why not charge 2.00 for 60 days or a 1.00 for 30 day listings.This would definitly weed out the riff-raff.Well Audiogon are you open to those suggestions?
Audiogon...it seems as if the people have spoken...what's it gonna be. I have not used them yet but I think it is a good thing to have...go ahead and charge away.
Just have to chime in. My first transaction here, was responding to a wanted ad. I have sold several other things since. I say keep it;charge whatever you need to.
I have used the wanted ad's with phenomenal success and would like to see them back. I would not mind paying a small fee for them as they have saved me hundreds upon hundreds of dollars in the long run. As Bob had mentioned, i have also received and forwarded "tips". The ones that i received came from kindly parties that had nothing to gain in regards to items that i was looking for. This helped to re-affirm my faith in the "Audiogon Family" and prove that there are many helpful souls amongst the group that frequents this site.

I can see how Audiogon could consider this a "losing" situation for themselves though. They tie up more bandwidth on their server and site, add greater potential for "disputes" that they would have to get involved in, open the door for scam artists ( i'm not explaining how as it might only give unscrupulous individuals more insight and ideas ) and may even pull revenue away from A-gon. All this for free with them footing the time and expense to keep it all running smoothly. Since the seller might have potentially posted a "for sale" ad sometime in the future and ends up responding to an ad that was placed for free, Audiogon was in effect chasing its' own tail.

Sugar even mentions the fact that dealers were taking advantage of the wanted ads. Dealers that would normally have to pay for advertisement or ads. In effect, Audiogon was helping them to sell products with Audiogon making no return on their investment. I am not getting down on Sugar or the various dealers that have done so in the least, as i've run into the same situation and ended up walking away smelling like roses. It was a win / win situation for all involved. All, that is, except for Audiogon.

Those complaining about the wanted ads being taken away and possibly having to pay for them, remember this: Audiogon IS a business, offers 24 hour availability, has to pay employees, is responsible for equipment upgrades and maintenance, etc... In other words, if they don't make enough money to make it worth their while to continue operation, you won't have ANY site like this to visit. The same goes for Audio Asylum.

If you like these sites and make use of them on a regular basis, do your part to support them. This will only help all of us in the long run and guarantee that they'll be around in the future. Both of these sites offer great amounts of information and service. This is especially true given the amount of information / services that one gains considering their very limited investment. Sean
I am very bummed about this, I have come across most of my deals by running wanted ads. I just sold a CD player last week by responding to one.
The Wanteds have been problematic for some time now, with a few dramatic events that convinced us to rethink their existence. Some of the more important concerns are as follows:

1. No record of item descriptions. For example, a ForSale ad states the physical condition, location of the item, any warranty, and a general description of the product in question. This creates a starting point for negotiations, and a record of the seller's statements.

2. Lack of defined agreements. Classifieds and Auctions lend themselves to a well defined agreement between buyer and seller. The Wanteds remove all negotiations and agreements into private email only, thereby leaving no record for Audiogon to rely upon in case of disputes.

3. High number of Disputes. Proportionately, Wanteds lead to a lot more Disputes. The disputes posted in the forums are but a small percentage of the total. We post only those disputes that require member input or serve as a good example of potential problems to avoid. In general, Wanteds are considerably more prone to disputes, and are harder to resolve due to the lack of records.

4. Potential for fraud. As Sean mentions, we will not describe any ideas that aren't rather obvious, but among the various fraudulent schemes, a simple one is for a seller to email numerous wanteds, accept payment from all of them, but not ship anything. Unlike a seller posting numerous ForSale ads, neither our members nor our staff would see any warning signs of this mechanism until it is too late. The nature of buyers with Wanteds is to immediately accept a sale and pursue it with haste. Thus, by the time we receive the first complaints, there may already be numerous "victims".

5. Industry concerns. We have been receiving more and more complaints from distributors and manufacturers, regarding dealers who undercut pricing or territorial rights, by answering wanted ads. Audiogon does not encourage NOR discourage competitive pricing, but we insist that all dealers abide by their contracts to their suppliers. As importantly, the manufacturer's warranty and customer support is dependent on the dealer having followed their guidelines. More and more manufacturers are flatly refusing warranty support unless the sale was fully "legit" in their mind. The wanteds allow some people to breach such contracts, rather than advertise a competitive price and availability that is in line with their agreements. (clearly, this issue applies only to those wanteds where a current product is requested).

These are the major concerns regarding Wanteds, besides many other minor concerns. As for them being "free", that is in reality not much of a concern for us. Audiogon's best strategy in terms of economics is to bring buyers and sellers together. The more often that happens, the more money we will make eventually. The Wanteds have been perceived as a "loss leader" in terms of listing fees, but their benefits are starting to be outweighed by their problems. Charging for wanted ads in their current implementation would not address any of the above concerns.

Given the input in this forum and private emails (thanks to everyone who expressed their concerns), we have decided to implement some form of Wanteds in the future. However, we will need to modify them to address some of the major concerns (no. 3 and 4 above in particular), before reinstating them. We hope to get them back online within a few weeks, with some new features.
Thanks to Audiogon for a reasoned and thoughtful response to my original post.And for being resopnsive to member feedback. No doubt that a safer, more refined system will benefit us all. I look forward to a better "wanted" section.
well, NOW that Kelly has so much TIME on his hands.... he should be able to "knock this out" in record time!
See Cornfedboy, signing off....to know what I am talking about.

do us proud, son! :-)

I believe Audiogon should get on the "Stick" and re-instate the Wanted ad section ASAP, and charge the basic $2.00 fee.
Hell, ebay gets an arm & leg for thier services. We will pay, go!!!!!
I still cannot understand why someone would cheat someone else or why someone would provide an unfair deal. Either I was raised to treat everyone fairly with full disclosure or this feels intuitively like the right thing to do. In all my life experiences I still cannot understand why anyone wants to hurt anyone else. There have obviously been some unfair deals that have occurred through the wanted ads and because of these the entire system was brought down. Audiogon was just trying to save itself. It's all of us participants that have messed it up for everyone else. If there is one thing i want to understand before I die it's why a person would treat anyone else with disrespect, why they would cheat them with an unfair deal. I've had several deals occure through Audiogon and all have been a pleasure. Why can't all deals occur with the same respect and honesty? Some may say I'm idealistic but this is how I live my life and it's worked far better than anything else so far. At least I can feeel good about the way I live my life.
I discussed this situation with Arnie tonight via email. Regardless of some of our prior thoughts, money is not the issue here. While he did acknowledge that the wanted ads obviously did not make them money, it wasn't hurting them either. It did increase traffic flow to the site and was a convenience feature for members. As such, it was deemed an "acceptable loss".

From what i was told, there have been far too many complaints made about transactions that were based on "wanted" ads. These complaints came from buyers, sellers, dealers, consumers, etc... Every aspect of participant or user that Audiogon caters to had something to say about a deal gone bad. As to why these problems weren't listed in the "dispute" forum with other transactions gone awry, there's a reason for that listed down below.

In order to try and minimize hassles and problems that revolve around products bought and sold through the aid of Audiogon and the wanted section, they are going to try and work out a system that will be a little more thorough. The goal is to come up with something that will offer both more protection and better communications between the buyer and seller. As such, it seems a noble under-taking and shows the concerns of Audiogon as it tries to take better care of its' members.

Since the system may require more work and attention from Audiogon administrators, a small fee may be required. Whether there will be a fee and how much will be dealt with at a later date. After all, what to charge ( IF anything ) could only be assessed once they can figure out how to most effectively deal with the situation at hand. Once that is done, they will have to factor what is involved in instituting such changes.

Either way, i am sure that the fees will be well worth what we pay for them. Keep in mind that i too have to pay for whatever services i make use of here, just like you or anyone else. Being a bigmouth on the forums hasn't bought me any slack, nor should it. To those i hear quacking in the back of the peanut gallery stating that they should charge me more, buzz off : )

Most of the problems appear to stem from over-anxious buyers not doing their homework and trying to jump on a "good deal" that someone presented them with. As such, there appears to be a BIG lack of communications taking place between buyers and sellers with assumptions being made by both parties. Buyers were too quick to purchase something without asking questions or seeing details posted like you would have on a for sale listing. At the same time, sellers weren't offering as much information about said product since they weren't asked such questions or required to post any information about the product to begin with. As such, a LOT of it may be a simple misunderstanding that could have been easily resolved IF both parties took the time to actually talk to each other instead of concentrating on making a quick deal.

As many of us have noted here, we've had great luck with wanted ads. As such, i can see that we, or at least i have, taken quite a bit for granted and been quite lucky over-all. With that in mind, Audiogon wants to remove the "luck" out of the transaction and work towards making both parties more aware of what is expected from all of those involved.

Since all of these problems arise out of a situation that Audiogon has no record or documentation of other than the initial "wanted" ad, they can't verify listed condition, what was included in the price, details of the product, what was considered acceptable payment, etc... As such, they have had NO way to work towards resolving these situations as it was strictly one party's word against another. Since many transactions take place over very brief phone calls, some folks could not even submit copies of email correspondance to support their side of the story. As such, Audiogon was getting stuck in the middle with NOTHING to work with. As you might guess, this is not a pleasant situation to deal with and that is why they took the steps that they did.

With that in mind, they are currently putting their heads together in the "think tank" to see what can be done about this. I'm sure that they would welcome any worthwhile and well thought out suggestions, as they too would like to bring this feature back to the website. I know that i'd like it back asap, as i just listed two ads not even two days ago. I must admit though, this has been a learning experience for me and i'll benefit from it in the long run. Sean
Can the responses be somehow routed thru Agon, and the offeror required to post a For Sale ad, with first dibs being granted to the poster of the Wanted ad? Obviously some logistic concerns to be worked out, but this gets it on a more or less equal footing with other for sale ads in terms of Agon knowledge and dispute resolution effectiveness.

How about separating the wanted ads onto their own bulletin board, WITHOUT usernames/ID's posted. Then allow responses to wanted ads to be posted on the same bulletin board using the traditional rules, so that buyer responds to seller in the usual format.
They're back! Thanks to Hindemith for a brilliant solution!

We have reformatted the Wanteds section pretty much as described by Hindemith. They are essentially functional, though some tweeking is always needed. Please take a look at:

The New Wanteds

Here is a Sample ad

Go ahead and post some wanteds or respond to some of the test ads still in there. We will remove the goofy ones within a few days.
Hey, the feedback numbers on the new system are bogus. Both myself and Audiogon_Arnie are listed as having no feedback points!
Oops. Thanks Gpalmer. Feedback links are fixed now.
nice job on this one Arnie & HIndmith. The wanted's now appear to be more popular than ever!