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July 05, 2004

Great Questions!

KristieJorgensen.jpgI have been receiving many very good comments and suggestions. Many of them come via email to orders@longearsmall.com. Each one is special to me. Comments can also be attached to the bottom of News and Articles such as this column.

Here is a good suggestion I just received.

“Thank you very much for this website. When we were first looking to put our mules on the net, we tossed around the idea of our own website. I came across your website a couple of years ago. It is exactly what we were looking for. We believe we have some
outstanding colts, and this website gives the customer a chance to compare. Your special features listed below will even make this a greater website. Have you had any thoughts on a chat board? You could charge a small fee for membership login to cover software expenses. I know this takes a lot of time and dedication, and we truly appreciate it!”

A “chat board” is a great idea! That way LongearsMall users can ask questions and others can answer. One really nice ability of chat boards, or forums, is that users can follow a topic and see all the past discussion on it. There are already some great LongEars lists available as well. Let me know in the comment section of this article, or via email, what you would like to see.

Your comments and emails are really important to me because they help me know what works and what needs to be fixed. Perhaps you just have a question. Those are important too.

Another good email I received is this one.

“Sounds interesting & like a workable plan. What site are you referring to having for awhile- for the classifieds? Initially I thought you were providing a venue to list many long ear sources, similar to a web ring. However, as I read further, it sounds like you are putting a site together that is more "ebay like" for which you pay to be on it. Please clarify.”

Initially LongearsMall.com began as a place where individuals could put classified ads. Like one recent writer, I too enjoyed relaxing and looking at all the great photos and ads. There were things that needed to be fixed though. Many of you may have noticed that by including many full-size photos on the same web page that the “download” time did not follow normally accepted practice. The download time would be especially noticeable if your ad was near the bottom of the page.

The manual maintenance factor was also a problem. I had to manually update each of your classifieds and there was no way for you to “close” an ad when a sale was made. You needed a way to enter and maintain your own ads. I needed that too, so I could spend my time on more productive things – like tending to my own “longears”.

As a result I research and purchased software to automate the process. More detail is provided in the July 2 update in this column. There are many great “longears” businesses as well. They need each of us as customers, and as longears owners, we need them.

Advertising costs for any successful business are not cheap. I thought to myself, “Certainly there is a way to customize the software I am getting so businesses and organizations providing products and services to the longears market can advertise much more cheaply and effectively.” Customizing commercially available software, such as what has been purchased for use here, is a lot of work, but I think you will agree that the result will be well worth it.

I plan to continue offering “classified ads” for free. A classified ad typically advertises an individual item and works well for longears owner’s personal needs.

Businesses typically have additional needs. They want to establish a “presence” and “permanence”. I felt that something more than a classified ad was needed to convey this message. Just like your local mall, they needed both unique “name brand” recognition, and the ability to be associated with particular categories of services or products. That is why I added the “Stores” and “Store Listings” sections. That is also why the User Maintenance section of the “Classifieds, Stores and Store Listings” is initially disabled. It requires a significant amount of custom software modification. I hope you will agree that the results will be worth it.

Classifieds ads will be free. Starting October 1 there will be a small flat-rate charge for Stores. They may be listed under as many Store Listing categories as they desire. Businesses will still be able to place free entries in the Classified Ads section for individual items or needs. They will just look kind of out of place, and really cheap, if they try to exclusively create their “store presence” there to avoid paying the modest fee for the Store capability.

It is my intention to offer a number of additional optional choices for Stores such as a personalized subdomain at LongearsMall.com like sbr.longearsmall.com for Sagebrush Ranch. This can be especially useful for longears businesses that currently don’t have their own Internet domain name, or a place to host a web page.

You will notice that non-profit organizations are included in Stores. It is my belief that since these non-profit organizations exist solely to serve the longears community instead of to generate a profit that I should return them the favor by providing them a place to advertise their service. For them the basic Store package would be free. They would still pay for optional additions such as Internet subdomain name and a web page at LongearsMall.com. Let me know via your comments here or your emails to orders@longearsmall.com what you would like to see. This site exists to bring more attention to all the fun we are having with our longears!

Now I will show you a little of what I enjoy doing. Playing with my “longears”, of course! Here is a picture of my sister Karen and me getting ready to ride two of my donkeys at Bishop Mule Days.


Have a great day!

Kristie Jorgensen

Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at July 5, 2004 09:40 PM