Monday we leaked the news that GunsAmerica will be implementing a new policy change in the coming days. You will get a special email about it, but since we didn’t get it out for this week (squashing the bugs still), I thought some explanation was in order.
Most of you reading already know that a couple weeks ago Facebook announced a new policy prohibiting the sales of firearms on their boards. I am a member of two boards in South Florida, and I watched the admins first change the names of the boards, then make them “hidden,” as if Facebook doesn’t know what they are. Unfortunately what escaped most of the commentary on the issue was that Facebook was just replicating a long time Paypal policy, because, drum roll please, Facebook launched a competing payment system to Paypal in December. Like always, it isn’t about politics. It is about money.
Fortunately, the Facebook guns for sales boards were also about money, your money as a private seller, trying to sell your privately owned firearms to another private citizen. When most people sell a gun, it is because they need the money, and the Facebook boards were a way to turn your gun over into cash without having to pay a GunsAmerica or Gunbroker aftersale fee.
There were some weaknesses to that system. The big one is that on Facebook you have to use your actual name, so posting a gun for sale was inviting a burglary, and that actually happened more than you would think.
So we had been considering making local sales free on GunsAmerica for some time. This was enough of a push to make it finally happen.
How it Works
All local sales are now going to be free on GunsAmerica, but not all ads are going to be exposed to a national audience. You can choose to display your ad to everyone, or to limit it to only local buyers. If you select “Local Only,” we will hide your ad from everyone who is further than approximately 50 miles away from you. This is done through a location finder based upon the person’s IP address, or by the zip code field for people who are logged in. IP lookup isn’t perfect due to mobile devices, but it should work pretty well from our testing. If you choose the local option, we will not display shipping information to the buyer, so even if someone changes their zip code manually, they still will only be able to pick up local. Obviously your name and address will not be exposed without you giving it out yourself, which allows you to use a local dealer to do the transfer if you so choose.
There will be a posting limit of 5 local ads per month. This is to discourage abuse from people who are actually breaking the law and doing business in guns without a license. Obama’s “executive order” didn’t change anything. The ATF has been monitoring online sales since the Patriot Act, and all of the internet sites, including GunsAmerica, periodically get official requests for records. (The Facebook boards have been a source of investigations as well.)
The local ads will be alive for 30 days, and you will be able to renew them twice. This is similar to “bumping” posts on the Facebook boards, and of course this is also the way Craigslist works. If you don’t sell it within 3 months, you are asking too much, or you need to expose the listing to a national audience if you want to find a “seat for your saddle.”
National ads will also show up in local, and there will be no aftersale fee if the item is sold to a local buyer. If a national buyer grabs it first, then there will be our standard aftersale fee of 2%/1% min $20/$10, depending on your account type.
Gun dealers, who of course would rather sell their guns local, will be able to use this to display shop inventory. National ads that display in local will not go away after 30 days. As long as you have the gun on your shelf as a viable national listing, it will be shown for sale locally to local buyers.
But as a buyer, the nice thing is that the newer listings will be shown first, by date. You will be able to search local for what you are looking for, but also enjoy checking the website for deals you can snag first.
What About the Lost Fees?
Don’t worry, there is no “catch.” GunsAmerica has always taken the position that 99% of guns should be sold locally. I gave a speech about this at the 2009 Shot Show, just to give you an idea of how long “free local” has been on the table. GunsAmerica has always been primarily a dealer services website. You may not realize this, but there are a large number of local dealer websites running right now on the GunsAmerica automation system. We have a system similar to Wix and many other website automation tools, but ours if of course made for gun dealers.
Our industry advertisers also should be thanked in pulling this new system off. And in part, we also need to thank you for clicking on those ads. There is no way we could afford to do this without the success of our advertising campaigns for industry partners. The firearm industry is a very small family, and we are all in this together.
Part of this new system, you’ll notice, is also a completely new shopping cart purchase system. Gone are the old “Offer to Buy” messages, that stretched all the way back to 1997, before Amazon, and when GunsAmerica was the only automated site online to buy and sell guns. These days people are used to “Buy It Now” and shopping carts, so it is time to move on from the way we used to have to treat internet sales before everyone bought stuff on the internet.
As I said, you’ll be getting a dedicated email on this before we launch the new system, and the dealers will be getting a special email as well.
And thanks as always for being part of GunsAmerica. -ph@ga