Back in 2012, when Audiogon came under new management they made some changes to the site that angered many longtime customers. Message strings predicting their imminent and inevitable demise began to appear on a many audiophile chat rooms and websites. I wrote about it in February 2012. I concluded that article with "But the final question for me, that I still don't know the answer to, is whether the new Audiogon will be more or less efficient for the end users than the older version. I guess we will just have to wait and see."
Well, over a year and half has passed and guess what? Audiogon is still around and from the looks of their site, doing better than ever. They've been gradually cleaned up many of the site's most egregious problems - I no longer see any obvious scam ads or Russian mafia phishing excursions.
Last week I received an email announcement from Audiogon about some important and long overdue changes in Audiogon policy. The most important change is that buyers and sellers will be able to communicate directly with one another via email once a seller has accepted a buyer's offer. This instant communication will go a long ways toward eliminating some of the problems that have occurred with the old system when near-simultaneous multiple offers come in on an particular item. Also Audiogon has simplified and streamlined their inter-member communications system so that users can access communications from other users directly from the site itself.
According to the Audiogon email the purchasing process will be simpler - once a seller accepts a buyer's offer the system will reveal the buyer's contact information to the seller. This change is especially welcome to sellers who wish to have some contact with the buyer BEFORE shipping, to confirm their veracity and make sure that both buyer and seller are in agreement on the details of a transaction.
Audiogon's new system uses Paypal for payment. And while Paypal does favor buyers over sellers in terms of protections and security, it certainly does give buyers reassurance that they have some protection from "bad" sellers. According to Audiogon, "By streamlining this process, transaction fees will be deducted when a Buyer submits payment (when applicable) and thus ensure that the entire transaction can be completed, closed, and archived at the time of checkout. There will no longer be the need to go back and manually close orders." The payback for Audiogon is that they get their commissions as soon as the deal is consummated instead of waiting till it's finalized.At the end of their email Audiogon listed additional changes they have scheduled for the future. Among Audiogon's new ideas are "an A+ Protection Plan," a new mobile app, a revised and more accurate shipping calculator, and an improved photo uploading system. And if you have any ideas that would help Audiogon be a better place to buy and sell gear, contact Audiogon. It seems like they are more than willing to listen...