Bikesoup is reverting back to listing fees. Each advert will now cost £20 and any bikes already on the site get to stay. 30 days after you list a bike, it will be made inactive. You can reactivate it as many times as you need.
There's now no way to exchange money on Bikesoup. Our messaging system no longer tries to censor your messages — some of you got very creative in bypassing it, serious respect — and you're free to make the deal as you want. We're now just a simple classifieds site.
For pretty much everyone using our site, this means you'll save money (even if you use PayPal). If you sell a £2000 bike on our site now, it will only cost £20. That sale would have cost you £160 before!
This is all part of making the site we always wanted to build, and one that we'd want to use ourselves.
The longer version
If you've been using Bikesoup for a while, you'll know that we've tried pretty much every pricing structure under the sun. From 100% free ad-supported listings, to tiered fees based on the cost of your bike all the way to our most recent commission-based system which took 8% of the bikes value in exchange for managing the sale.
All structures have their benefits, all have their flaws. We've decided that an upfront listing fee is the most straightforward and honest method. It makes sense for us, and it makes sense for you: the cyclist trying to sell your bike.
Why did we make the change?
Our commission-based system was the thing that we always wanted to build when we started out. It would allow us to provide you all a better experience, and hopefully a frictionless sale.
By handling the transaction we could provide extra security and peace of mind for those having to ship an expensive bike half way across the country. We could guarantee that a buyer sending their money to an unknown seller wouldn't get ripped off with a complete lemon of a bike. We could remove many of the bad-actors that plagued the site. We could simplify the shipping of a bike — always a pain due to a bike sitting just outside normal sizes & weights for couriers in the UK. We could start using the sales data to advise you what your bike was worth when you were listing it. The list of benefits goes on...
The commission-based system was supposed to enable us to offer so much more than a simple classifieds site. Unfortunately it also hid some subtle, but really hard-hitting flaws.
The biggest, and most unexpected one, was that it pitted us against you. We chose 8% as a fee because it provided enough margin for us to cover the additional support and money handling fees we would incur, but still be substantially cheaper for you versus the cost of selling on eBay and transacting with PayPal. We thought people would jump at the chance to lose less of their sale to third parties (even if we were one of them).
In fact, most people tried to bypass our payment system wherever possible. We were indeed cheaper than eBay and PayPal, but we were far more expensive than meeting up in person and handing over cash or initiating a bank transfer — something we still don't recommend doing despite making more allowances for it!
It turns out that almost all of you wanted to test ride the bike — a fair request — and then decide whether you wanted to make a deal. Our approach didn't allow for this, and it meant that we became the bad guys that stood between you and your sale.
Those that did use our transaction system to handle the trade found it to be a great experience. Some people found it so good that they started using Bikesoup for the sale of things other than bikes... We never were able to prove it, but suddenly our site was flooded by the bad-actors that we had wanted to deter. Turns out all the additional security and ID verification we put in place just wasn't enough to keep fraudsters at bay.
Whilst it's now much harder to keep the marketplace a safe and secure place to trade, listing fees offered everything that you (and we) wanted from the site. By providing only the introduction and leaving the trade to you, we can keep everyone much happier.
How will the new system work?
Every bike listed — regardless of how much you list it for — will cost £20. Any bikes already on the site get to stay. This keeps pricing simple and predictable.
Adverts will be active for 30 days at a time, and need reactivation when they expire. There will be no limit to the number of times you can reactivate an advert. This will keep the bikes on the site fresh and should remove all the old and forgotten adverts.
Messages are now completely open. Alternative means of communication like phone numbers and email addresses will no longer be censored. We'll still monitor messages for obvious attempts at fraud, but the responsibility to trade safely now rests with you.
We hope that this change makes Bikesoup the place that you'll advertise your bike, and the place you'll most likely find a buyer!
If you've got any feedback or advice following this change, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.