Structured Product Data

A few weeks ago, we changed the way you begin a listing. Instead of typing in the brand and model directly, these fields are now populated drop-downs that return results as you type.

There has been mixed feedback on the switch. For some, it saved them a few keystrokes. While others, whose product was not yet in our database, it added a few keystrokes, as they needed to click the links below the fields to create the brand or model first.

Listing Page - Add Model

Further adding to the confusion was the fact that we didn’t do an adequate job educating our users on the new process. We want to correct that now.

We’ve heard a lot of “It wasn’t broken. Why change it?”

The answer is: Structured Data!

We know. That sounds boring—and since no one will probably make it this far in the blog post after reading the words “Structured Data” I can be honest and admit I fell asleep twice while writing and proofreading—but it actually provides for an exciting future.

Simply put, Structured Data are things like brand names, UPCs, Manufacture Product Numbers. Titillated yet? No? Well, check this out: Structured Data allows Audiogon to connect more buyers to your product. Do we have your attention now?

We want to outline what this change means both for Audiogon and for our users. We’ve separated it into two parts: The Boring Stuff and The Exciting Stuff. Strap on that seat belt, baby. You’re in for a wild ride.


The Boring Stuff

Validation

Validating the brand and model allows us to avoid misspellings and mis-formattings. We now know that all listings of a particular item are for that exact item, avoiding confusions with special editions (SE) or other model variants.

Consistency

Validating provides for consistency. We can now ensure that every Marantz CD-63 mkII is actually a Marantz CD-63 mkII, and not a CD63MKII or a CD-63MK2. We know our users would never commit such a folly, but every now and then there’s fallibility. Structured Data cuts down on those rare events.

We can begin to apply product IDs in our database to treat every product as its own unique entity, and group all of the same ones together for other purposes.

Increased Visibility

Have you heard about this thing called “The Internet”? It’s insane. Could be huge. Well, for us to get your item in front of more people, we have to bow to the whims of companies with strange names like Google and Bing.

To do that we need accurate product information, and the best way to get that is standardizing products so that we can attach data to them. We’ll be able to reach a much larger audience through organic and paid channels, connecting shoppers to your item quicker and increasing the opportunity for a sale.

McIntosh MCD500 - Organic

Structured Data allows your listings to be included in places like Google’s Knowledge Graph.


The Exciting Stuff

Builds Foundation

With structured data in place, we can begin to seamlessly reference and integrate brands and products across all of Audiogon’s properties: Virtual Systems, Bluebook and Forums.

The beginnings of this are present on our brand pages. We have big redesign plans that expand these pages beyond just existing listings as soon as the database supports it. Below is a rough sketch.

Brand Page Sketch - McIntosh - No Markups

The Future

This pivot to unified data sets us up to roll out improved functions and features, both big and small, in the future that will directly benefit you. Below are some examples of things we have on our roadmap.

Improved Watchlist
Our watchlist can now be more accurate.

More Precise Bluebook
Bluebook will be able to parse listings better and calculate an even more precise market value.

Category/Subcategory Matching
We store category and subcategory information in Bluebook. Eventually, you’ll select your brand and model to start a listing and then the category and subcategory will pre-populate on the Item Details page, saving you precious seconds (but also keeping things consistent across the site).

Product Data Vault
We already use Bluebook as a repository for basic product information, but we can begin fetching data from different services and attaching more robust data like features and specs to products. Those could be used for research and comparison purposes.

A practical application for this would be that product specs get automatically included in your listing, freeing you from having to supply that information by scouring the internet or transcribing the manual.

Oh, yeah, we can begin housing product manuals, as well.

Expanded Brand and Product Pages
Like the above mock-up, we will be able to link and pull information from all across the site and compile it. So, not just brand pages, but product pages for popular items. Compare pages for items shoppers regularly evaluate against each other. And more.

Universal Shopping Experience
Imagine a shopper is looking at Virtual Systems, and they fall in love with a turntable in someone’s set-up. The components are now clickable. As they scroll through, they click on the turntable link, which takes them to a page displaying all current listings of that product. You happen to have that item listed, and they buy it. You are now thousands of dollars richer. Wow! Thank you, Audiogon!

Better Search Engine/Advertising Performance
We touched on this previously, but this shift results in improved rankings on search engines and better performance on comparison shopping engines (Hifi Shark) and paid channels (Google Shopping).

Last month, we drove over 34,000 clicks to items on our site through Google Shopping. There is demand for the products you list on Audiogon, and we want to make sure that shoppers can easily find what they are looking for.

Improved Photo Viewer

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We’ve been hard at work making improvements to deliver a better user experience. Some of those changes are felt, not seen—like tweaks on the backend to increase site speed. Others, like our new photo viewer, are very noticeable.

We’ve completely redesigned how you interact with photos on listings and Virtual Systems, regardless if you are on desktop or mobile. We’re extremely excited about this.

In addition to the new layout just looking nicer, we’ve added the following features:

Gestures

We’ve mirrored the gestures you already inherently know from using touchscreen devices. Swipe between images. Spread/Pinch to zoom in and out. Drag to pan. Double tap to zoom.
Gestures are also supported on desktop, as well.
PhotoViewer_mobile_swipe

Increased Image Quality

We’ve reduced compression and upped image outputs to render higher-quality photos.
We’ll be increasing our file size upload limit in the near future, which will allow for even more stunning photos of your gear.

Improved Details

The combination of enhanced zoom and increased image quality means you can now focus in on the smallest detail, knob or badging. Verify a serial number. Review the extent of a blemish. Take inventory of all the terminals.

 

PhotoViewer_mobile_zoom

 

Head on over to listings, and swipe to your fingers’ content.

Auctions Revamp

We’ve taken some time to show Auctions some much-needed love so, without further ado, let’s jump right into some new features that we’re super-excited about.

 

Buy It Now

That’s right, you can now enable Buy It Now for your Auctions. For sellers, this will be an incredible advantage for you to get your listing sold as fast as possible. If somebody really wants what you’re selling, you won’t have to wait for the Auction to end at it’s scheduled time. For buyers, if getting into bidding wars with other users is not your cup of tea, this is the perfect opportunity for you to get the gear you want without any headaches.

However, buyers must act fast to take advantage of Buy It Now. As soon as an Auction receives it’s first bid, the bidding war is on and the option for Buy It Now is no longer valid.

 

Countdown Timer

The final stages of an Auction for buyers can be frustrating, especially when you’re in a heated bidding war with one or several other buyers. As part of our efforts to alleviate this problem and make bidding more fun, we’ve add a countdown timer so that you don’t have to continually refresh the page to see how much time is left. The countdown timer will begin within the last 12 hours of the Auction.

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Bidding History

Another feature that we’ve added is a bidding history. This will allow for a buyer to simply click on the number of bids for the Auction and get a detailed view of all the bidding activity for an Auction. You can now stay in the know of how many people you’re doing battle against in your bidding war. And don’t worry – usernames other than your own will be anonymized. By default, proxy bids will not be shown. Feel free to click ‘Show Proxy Bids’ to reveal them and see the full bidding activity.

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Auto-Refresh

Last, but certainly not least, when the Auction is in it’s last hour, we’ll automatically update the bid count and current price for you. Give your refresh button a break! We’ll keep you up-to-date right up until the point that the Auction ends so that you don’t have to refresh the page constantly to keep up with the bidding activity. As an added bonus, if you’re currently the bidding leader, if at any point in that last hour you are outbid, we’ll refresh the page for you so that you can see you’ve been outbid – making sure you waste no time in getting back to the top.

 

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We hope buyers and sellers alike will love these new features for Auctions.

Happy Bidding!

Big News for Listing Upgrades

For the last several months, we’ve been working really hard on some big changes in the ways you’re able to add value to your listing through Listing Upgrades. We’re super excited about them and we’ve got a lot to share, so let’s dive right in.

 

Price Reduction for Bold

We understand that it can be a bit of a leap to pay $5.00 to Bold your listing if you’re opting for a $4.00 Basic listing. We’re going to fix that by cutting the price of Bold in half. That’s right, you can now Bold your listing for only $2.50!

 

Thumbnails

It’s true, a picture is worth a thousand words. You can now purchase a Thumbnail to show up next to your listing in the Marketplace for only $5.00!

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Higher Value-Add for Featured

As a way to really jumpstart our users listings, we’ve traditionally given them Bold for FREE when they upgrade to Featured – a cost savings of $5.00. You may be thinking that since the cost of Bold has decreased, the value-add for Featured has also decreased but we’ve got some great news for you.

To make sure our users are still getting the best value possible for their listings, not only do you still get Bold for FREE when you upgrade to Featured but we’re also going to give you a Thumbnail! The price of Featured will remain unchanged at $20.00 but with the FREE addition of Bold and a Thumbnail, your cost savings is now $7.50!

 

Audiogon Boosts

This is the big one. You’ve been asking for more ways to gain exposure for your listings and we were listening. We’d like to introduce you to Audiogon Boosts.

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What are Boosts?

Boosts provide you with the ability to buy impressions (more on that later) for your listing. Simply select “YES! Boost my listing.” when you’re creating a listing and we’ll take care of the rest. We’ve implemented intelligent selection algorithms to make sure that users are seeing the right listing at the right time. If a user is searching specifically for “turntables”, we’ll give priority to Boosted listings that are turntable listings. By factoring in relevance, we ensure that you’re getting the greatest bang for your buck!

What counts as an impression?

Each time a user loads a page in our Marketplace, we will show them several Boosted listings. Every time one of your Boosted listings is displayed on the page, that’ll count as one impression.

When do my Boosts expire?

That’s the best part – THEY DON’T! When you purchase Boost impressions, you own them forever and you can use them on as many listings as you’d like. Consider this example:

  1. You purchase 10,000 Boost impressions.
  2. You opt to Boost two of your listings.
  3. Each of those listings receive 2,500 impressions before they sell.
  4. You now have 5,000 Boost impressions left to use on other listings.
  5. SIMPLE AS THAT!

So don’t be afraid to load up on Boosts!

New Feature! – Block “Low Ball” Offers

Sellers can now block “Low Ball” offers!

By enabling this feature, all offers received below 55% of the asking price will automatically be rejected.

How do you set it up?  It’s EASY.

Step 1:  Go to ‘Edit Account’.

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Step 2: Scroll to the bottom, click the check box and then click ‘Update Account’.

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If you have any questions regarding this feature or need additional assistance please contact us here .

A Better Browsing Experience

As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, we’ve made some changes to the homepage and the navigation menu bar at the top of every page. We want to continue providing our users with the best possible experience for browsing, buying, and selling high-end audio equipment and music – and these changes are a big push in that direction.

Here’s a summary of what’s coming your way:

1. Improved Homepage Content

The homepage should be an enjoyable place to visit – somewhere you can expect new and exciting content. We’re aiming to make it just that.

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2. Improved Navbar Design

In order to make the navigation menu bar more useful and suited for growth, we rebuilt the dropdown menus from the ground up. Each navbar dropdown now has plenty of content, in an easy-to-use (and easy-to-read) presentation.

Discover is where you’ll find curated listing categories and other content that we think you’ll love.

Explore is where you’ll come to see all the different facets of Audiogon – Forums, Virtual Systems, Bluebook, etc.

Learn is where you’ll, well…LEARN. We’ve built several pages for the purposes of educating our users on what all we have to offer and how to best leverage our resources. By keeping you in the know, we can ensure you have the best buying and selling experience possible.

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3. Consolidated User Links

Instead of finding links in different places that are your links, you can now find any user-related links under your user dropdown.

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4. New Today

We know that you love New Today, so we want to give it the attention it deserves. You can now find New Today prominently displayed on the homepage. But don’t worry, it’s still available in the navbar as well, so that you can access it easily from anywhere on the site.

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