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Messages - Dread Pirate Roberts

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Silk Road discussion / Re: Some small changes
« on: March 13, 2012, 01:13 am »
Thank you everyone for your input.  We made a couple of changes in there, so to clear up any confusion, here's what has happened so far.  Instead of displaying a seller's rank as 15 of 300, for example, it is displayed as top 5%.  We stopped displaying the total transactions of a vendor after 300.  Instead of showing all of a vendor's feedback along with it's age and the item it was left for, we started displaying the last 20 in chronological order with just the rating and feedback message.  With the first change we were showing a semi-random assortment of feedback.

Some good points have been brought up about the effectiveness of these changes in obscuring a vendor's and the site's volume.  After reviewing it, it is true that after switching from the semi-random display to the chronological display (which I agree was necessary) the whole purpose of the switch was defeated.  This is going to take more careful review and possibly some fundamental changes to make it work for everyone.  We'll work on a proposal and get feedback from the community before making any major changes.  For now, please contribute your ideas on this thread.  We've already had some great ones, such as the vendor's forum idea.

DPR: Can you please give us the exact rates that you are charging? That would help a lot in getting rid of most of the confusion..

That's in the "State of the Road" thread.  There is a link on the homepage of the main site.

This all might take 2 weeks or it might take a month.
Come back soon, we miss you already!

I will give you the same example I gave DPR: I think that buyers who are buying over $1000 of product should have a fee of 3%.  He pointed out to me that the current fee was 3.8% and that did I believe the less than one percent difference really mattered.  But it was not the answer to the question I was asking.  I was talking about a person buying $1000 of say $3.00 items, a quite common occurrence, and he was talking about a person buying one $1000 item.  Something that I don't think happens very often.  The person buying $1000 of $3.00 items is currently paying, I THINK, closer to 8% in fees, but I haven't been able to find a commission schedule to check this out and confirm it, one of the many things I plan to do while we reorganize.
Just to be clear, the same commission is charged if you buy 1,000 $1 items or one $1000 item.

As an innovator and for his amazing responsiveness to the needs of the community I have nothing but respect and admiration for DPR.  We vendors know that the improvements have come fast and furious ever since Day One and that sometimes they even were instituted within 24 hours of being first mentioned.  THAT'S great vendor support and that's worth paying for.  But I don't think that using Ebay as your comparative is proper because Ebay rapes it's customers on fees and when you add in the cost of using PayPal on top of it it's plain highway robbery.   Amazon, on the other hand, charges no fees, has the lowest prices in the universe, and gives free shipping on all orders over $25.  I think that if you're really here to serve the buyer community then you've got to look at the Amazon model and ask "how close can I get to that and still make a reasonable profit for myself".  Ok, that's MY opinion and that's what I'm going to leave you all with.
Amazon charges the most commission of anyone! a flat 15% for most item categories (some more some less).  But too much emphasis being put on fees I think.  You mentioned that you couldn't keep up with the growing demand.  If anything that means your prices are too low!

Vendors, you should price your items such that you don't sell out, always have a minimum stock available, and don't get burnt-out or overwhelmed.  This has several effects:

1) There is always product available at SOME price, which is better than NO product at any price.  If your inventory is shrinking, expand your operation, or increase your prices, but don't keep them low until one day you run out and your customers are left high and dry.
2) You make more money and can expand your operation (hire help, find new suppliers, stock up on more/different inventory).  You'll also be more motivated and less stressed.
3) You send a signal to other suppliers: "there is money to be made here" and we get more vendors entering the market, leading to sustainably lower prices, more variety and higher quality.

A free market is always a win for everyone involved (if fraud is present, we can't call that transaction free).  My point is that so long as you aren't doing anything shady, maximizing your profit is the best thing you can do for yourself, your customers, your suppliers, and your partners.

A final note:  hopefully Pharmville will hurry back, but no matter what they are leaving some big shoes to fill.  I hope to see some strapping new vendors take advantage of the hole in the market as soon as possible by providing an honest and professional service.  Unfortunately we can also expect fraudsters to pretend to fill this hole and scam desperate Silk Road customers looking for an alternative.  So, we'll be keeping a close watch on this and nipping any scam operations in the bud, but remember to be weary of new vendors offering deals that are too good to be true or asking for direct payment or early finalizing.  Help us and the rest of the community out by reporting anything suspicious.

Thanks  8)

Silk Road discussion / Re: Confusion over SR commission structure
« on: March 12, 2012, 04:23 am »
I looked everything over again and it appears to be in order.  If we look at the Grape Wreck (https://silkroadvb5piz3r.onion.to/silkroad/item/ed1b4baf74), one unit currently costs 3.07 btc or roughly $15.  If we increase the quantity to 20, the price becomes 60.04 btc or about 3 btc per item ($14.67).  This is congruent with the current commission schedule.

Regarding oso's purple kush, he is using pre-commission pricing and dollar pegging.  The pre-commission price is set to $290.  After commission, this is $311.9 or about 7.6% commission.  At the current rate of 4.89 btc per usd, the current in-cart price of 63.78 btc is correct.  I'm not sure why you were seeing 52.25 btc, but at the current rate it should be more like 59.30 btc.

Silk Road discussion / Re: Confusion over SR commission structure
« on: March 10, 2012, 07:29 am »
Good catch.  I think the issue was that the shopping cart page was not reflecting the true total amount.  Should be sorted out now.  If you have any discrepancies on your account, just message support with the details.

We have several mechanisms that limit the display of items.  My guess is that you have selected an obscure country as your home country on your settings page where there is only one item shipped from and you have "domestic only" checked on your category page.  Try unchecking "domestic only" at https://silkroadvb5piz3r.onion.to/silkroad/category/70.  If that doesn't work, try changing your home country to "undeclared" on your settings page.

Silk Road discussion / Re: Some small changes
« on: March 08, 2012, 01:49 am »
By the way, the DEA considers a DTO (Drug Trafficing Organization) "large" if it has around 1000 members worldwide... so we both know there is well over a 100x that here...  and even if you excluded all the non-active accounts and went with the real figures of somewhere around 25,000 regular active members we make up one of the largest and most resilient DTO's in the world.

Customers are not counted in the size of a DTO, and volume is also considered.  So, we have less than 300 people selling mostly personal use quantities of controlled substances, and a few people running the website.  Though my actions are taken as though the DEA, FBI and NSA are each spending $1M a day to put my head on a platter, I honestly don't believe there is a well funded effort to take us down at the moment.

Also, we have a tremendous opportunity to hide the true volume of the site and stay off the radar for as long as possible.  What if the site grows to have 3k vendors and 100x the current customer base?  Wouldn't that be cool to appear just as fringe and underground as we are now?

Anyway, Paper Chasing, you made alot of assumptions in the rest of your post, and you know you can always pm me if you have something private to discuss.  What we are doing is a big deal and is serious, but let's not forget to have fun too, ok?

So, right now you can see the most recent 20 feedback for items and users.  Hopefully we can move away from this model of linking feedback with transactions and thereby obscure even more the size of the site.

Silk Road discussion / User search
« on: March 07, 2012, 08:54 am »
You can now find users from the search field on the main site  8)
stealthed vendors will not appear.

A special thanks goes out to warweed for providing this functionality up to this point!

Silk Road discussion / Re: Some small changes
« on: March 07, 2012, 08:45 am »
Randomizing the feedback is a terrible idea.  Heres why:  The most recent feedback reflects the current state of a vendors affairs in terms of batch quality and other current factors such as packaging and timeliness in delivery.  Showing me some random feedback from a listing is completely worthless in terms of knowing what a vendor is sending out right then and what their current state of conducting business is.   Stuff changes as each new batch is acquired and the feedback should reflect the current situation, not something that happened 3 months ago.  At least if your gonna randomize it put the time stamp so people know if its relevant information or completely worthless information about a batch that is long gone.
This is a good point.  How can we display feedback without revealing every transaction that happens for each vendor?  And more generally, where do these measures fall short still.  If you were trying to find out how big a vendor is, or how big the site is, how would you do it?

Hiding transaction numbers is practically ineffective as well for hiding the scope of an operation because your telling people straight out that so and so is in the top whatever percent...  it does hide the scope of Silk Roads operation to some degree, however estimated growth based on previous known values is easy to determine at this point...    Ive been doing it since before I became a vendor.. its basic market research you know...
Not sure I agree here.  If you only know the percent, then you don't know the total number of vendors.  I know we just made the switch, so you can make a good guess now, but if the vendor base grows or shrinks by a factor of 2 or 3 in the next 6 months, you won't be able to tell.

Also, my account page only goes back for a few pages... what is that about?  Hard to do accounting if your ledger is missing...  and by the way, hiding the ledger from your business partners is not cool...   
It has always been this way.

Silk Road discussion / Some small changes
« on: March 07, 2012, 04:53 am »
Hash: SHA1

Hey gang,

You may have noticed some small changes to the user and item pages as well as some of the identifiers in the URLs on the site.  All of these changes are part of an effort to hide the size of any given vendor's business as well as the size of Silk Road as a whole from the prying eyes of law enforcement agencies.

Instead of displaying a vendor's rank out of the total number of vendors, we'll now show their standing as a percent.  Top 10% means they are ranked higher than 90% of vendors on Silk Road.  Top 85% means they are ranked higher than the bottom 15% of vendors.  Also, instead of showing all feedback in chronological order on the user and item pages for all to see and count, we display a representative assortment of 10 recent reviews.

Also, instead of referencing users, items, transactions, feedback, messages, etc. with ids that count up by one for each new entry, making it trivial to see how many new users, new transactions, etc. there are on the site, we are identifying each by a random unique string.

Version: GnuPG v2.0.14 (GNU/Linux)


Silk Road discussion / Re: Best customer on SR?
« on: March 05, 2012, 01:39 pm »
ok, maybe off by a smidge.  It was a bug from a recent and ongoing database update.  should be fixed now.

Silk Road discussion / Re: SCAM: Dread Pirate Roberts Impersonator
« on: March 01, 2012, 02:06 am »
unfortunately I didn't see this until after the messages were sent, but I have deleted them now.

This topic has been moved to Product offers (https://dkn255hz262ypmii.onion.to/index.php?board=5.0).


Silk Road discussion / Re: Acknowledging heroes
« on: February 28, 2012, 09:27 am »
[quote link=topic=13347.msg128073#msg128073 date=1330321312]
It's a fine idea but can people stop throwing the word "hero" around.

These people risk life in prison to make this whole thing possible.  Risking your life to help others (whether their motivations are selfish or not) is heroic in my book.

Silk Road discussion / Re: Acknowledging heroes
« on: February 28, 2012, 09:17 am »
Opening post updated

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