OrchidExchange.org is a new website for orchid growers in Southern California to sell their orchids. The creator of the website promoted it on OrchidBoard and I decided to share some feedback...
Really great website! Thanks for creating it! Here's some feedback...
Last weekend at the Santa Barbara Orchid Show I was happy to see that Peter had Lambara Five Aces (LFA) for sale.
LFA = Bardendrum Nanboh Pixy x Broughtonia sanguinea (and here)
It's a really exciting cross. A few months ago I bought some seedlings of this cross on eBay. The plants that Peter had for sale at the show were full grown and in full bloom. I was super tempted to buy one for myself but decided to buy one for my friend who drove us.
I was surprised that the LFAs weren't selling like hot cakes and I mentioned this to Peter. He said that people are idiots. Hah. No. That's not what he said. He said that most people don't know whether a cross is good or not. Or something along those lines.
It makes sense that most people aren't knowledgeable about crosses. And even people who are knowledgeable about crosses can't be knowledgeable about all crosses! There are just way too many crosses!
Ideally it would be really easy and quick for those who are knowledgeable about crosses to share their expertise with everybody else.
It's already kinda possible to do this. For example, just now I posted a link to Peter's LFA for sale on your website on the Epiphyte Society of Southern California's (ESSC) facebook page. I essentially vouched for the cross. Well... I vouched for the cross's potential.
Your website allows people to review and rate the orchids for sale... which is great. But I'd like the opportunity to offer more substantial feedback on an orchid. And by "substantial" I mean monetary.
Rather than simply giving LFA 5 stars... I'd like to be able to give it 5 cents!
Above the review/rating section there would be a valuation section. In this section you'd display my username along with my valuation...
I would essentially be giving Peter 5 cents for helping to make this really great cross available. Plus, I would be publicly vouching for LFA.
Let's say that Don also valuated this listing...
The total valuation for this listing would be 25 cents.
Users would have the option to sort listings by their valuations. And you'd probably want to put the top 5 or 10 most valuable listings on your homepage. Users would essentially have the opportunity to use their pennies to help decide which listings were most worthy of being displayed on the homepage.
Also, it would be really awesome if I could click on Don's username and see all his valuations. I could sort them by date to see his most recent valuations and I could also sort them by value to see which listings he most values.
Right now I have the option to pick Don's brain. I can e-mail him and say, "Hey Don! Peter's selling 201 orchids on OrchidExchange. Which ones do you most highly recommend?" It's really wonderful to have easy access to Don's extensive outdoor growing orchid expertise. But it would be even better if everybody could know which of Peter's orchids that Don values the most.
With this system in mind... you would still want people to have the option to see and valuate sold listings. If Peter lists a Laelia speciosa cross and somebody buys it before I do... I'd still want to valuate the listing. I'd still want to give Peter some money for listing such a great cross. The more money this listing receives... the greater the incentive that Peter and other vendors would have to offer more Laelia speciosa crosses for sale.
It wouldn't be technically difficult to facilitate valuations. Members would use paypal to buy digital dollars. I'd give you $5 dollars and you would put $5 digital dollars into my "digital wallet". The digital wallet would simply be a column in the users table.
You would also need a many-to-many table. I'm guessing that you already have one for ratings? You would just need to create another one for valuations.
In the listings table you might want a column to keep track of the total valuations. That might make it faster to sort listings by their valuations.
While I'd certainly be happy to spend some money to promote/sponsor/support/encourage some really nice listings... I'm not sure how many other people would appreciate the opportunity to do so. One possible incentive would be to allow valuators to include a link to their personal website...
Epiphyte (website): $0.05
For my website I might choose the facebook page for the OSSC... or the ESSC... or my flickr page... or my blog.
So my valuation would have three functions...
1. Reward Peter
2. Promote LFA
3. Advertise my website
If you did display the top 5 or 10 most valuable listings on your homepage then this could potentially drive some decent traffic to the websites of the top valuators of those listings.
In this case the motivation to valuate the listings wouldn't be purely altruistic.
Anyways, it's just an idea! But I'm pretty sure that crowd sponsored results are the future.
Web 2.0 made it stupid easy to share information. Voila! Here I am! Here we are! As a result... the internet has lots of information. Web 3.0 will make it stupid easy to share our valuations of the shared information. As a result...it will be stupid easy to find the most valuable information.