Anybody besides me think that US Audio Mart is moribund and for all intents and purposes dead in the water?
I know I'm biased, but I think we're doing ok under the circumstances. I am very much interested to hear your thoughts and suggestions and we'll hopefully use that to make the site better.
Right now USAM is growing in traffic 20% month over month since inception. CAM grows a very healthy 15-25% per year, and all of that growth leads to more exposure for all USAM classifieds. The 20% month over month growth is impossible to keep up, otherwise in 2 years we'll be double the size of Audiogon. Yes, we're not seeing as many postings as Agon, and yes we're not seeing as many sales and deals, but it takes years and years to build up volume to the point where USAM is a valuable alternative. I'd say CAM alone is a very viable alternative to Agon for Canadians and will eventually surpass Agon's usefulness. I believe in a few years USAM will be in the same position to be valuable, but will require much more support before we can reach parity. We're also going to be continuing to upgrade the site throughout 2013.
At the moment we are at the disadvantage that we don't have the history and feedback that users have collected over the years on other sites. Only time, and the support of the community can do anything about that. In the past 8 years CAM has grown 17x its original size. If USAM grows at that rate we will definitely be on equal footing with even the largest online audio market in the US. We never launched USAM thinking it would overtake all the other sites overnight, and we're in it for the long haul.
Also, from our perspective, the concept of viability is really 2 things:
* will people use it? (they currently do, and hopefully more and more people will join and use the service)
* will the people behind it be able to keep running it?
That second question is very important. CAM is currently self sufficient and sustainable. It can pay for its hosting, maintenance, upkeep, and upgrades over time. As of this very moment, USAM is already self sufficient in terms of hosting costs because it piggy backs off of CAM, and all the technical work to maintain it and improve it is also borne on CAM's own requirements. I do much of my work on CAM/USAM as a hobby, and some of the work is supplemented by our work on other projects. So as far as financial viability, it is on stable footing. This is a distinction I emphasize because lots of operations aren't financially viable at all, whether they have users or not. And let's face it, most of the other audio "market" sites over the years have disappeared because their founders have lost the steam to keep running something that makes no money and probably costs them too much time and money to keep going. 8 years of CAM experience already taught us much in terms of how to keep this ship running, and our superb team of mods deserve all the credit for the incredible effort keeping the site clean and safe. I am very proud that CAM is a very community driven site and I hope USAM goes that way too.
For now, the forums will remain quite quiet, and we will continue to plug along on the classifieds side. Please don't give up on the site yet, I know we won't and I hope you don't either.
For those who are watching classifieds or who want to keep helping to make USAM viable, there are still some features that you can take advantage of:
- Use the notification system to get emails whenever items are sold or wanted that you care about
- Start to add users to your "hotlist", this will show their classified postings on the USAM homepage. many of our users use this to follow reliable and trusted sellers and buyers. In the future I think its worth getting email notifications when people you follow post new items.