I received an “Important Announcement” from the CryptoThrift team regarding their recent problem with people “making sales outside of CryptoThrift.” That has always struck me as a strange rule for peer-to-peer e-commerce sites. You can send each other messages, but you can’t use that message system to resolve your transactions among yourselves. I get it. It’s about fees, and it’s in the Terms and Conditions of every site I’ve ever used, but I’m always wondered how such a thing would be enforced. I guess now I know. Here’s there message:
Over the past few months we have observed a sharp increase in the number of users making sales outside of CryptoThrift, presumably in order to avoid being charged fees. This not only violates our Terms and Conditions and removes the protection of escrow, it is also a disrespectful abuse of the service we are providing. We work hard to build a site where the crypto community can advertise, buy, and sell goods. We do our best to provide excellent customer support, and put as much profit as we possibly can back into advertising and marketing to bring sellers and buyers together. In the year since we launched CryptoThrift the team has never taken a penny for themselves.
The number of transactions being made outside of the site is now so high that we have been forced to take action. We cannot continue to provide the site for free for these people. For the past month all account activity has been monitored and we have compiled a list of users that we suspect have made transactions via Skype or our personal message system to exchange payment addresses and products. At this stage we have decided against taking action with these users individually, and instead will issue a warning to all users. If you are buying and selling outside of CryptoThrift to avoid paying fees, you will receive one warning. If you continue to trade outside of the site, your account will be banned and you will forfeit any money that you might have in escrow with us at that time.
Please understand that we are a small start-up company and without the support of our users and the wider crypto community we will not survive. We have already received some feedback that the number of confirmations required is one factor driving people to transact directly. As such, we have now reduced the number of network confirmations required to one for BTC and two for LTC, in order to complete your purchase. Please let us know if you have any other suggestions to make using CryptoThrift a better experience and we will do our best to accommodate you.
Thank you for your understanding,
The CryptoThrift Team
Forgive me for saying so, but that all just sounds kind of bitchy. It doesn’t sound like a quality customer service department desperate to maintain the users and wider crypto-community they claim to require. Quite frankly, it sounds like a threatening letter from a government bureaucrat. Although, the likelihood of a government bureaucrat finding productive work in the private sector is so rare as to be hard to believe. Maybe whoever wrote this letter was a public school teacher at some point, eager to start putting naughty kids’ names on the board. “You get three checks and then you’re getting a referral.” Anyway, it’s just all such a disciplinarian approach to what amounts to essentially people talking to each other that I felt I ha to respond.
Funny you should send this now. I just now asked a customer to resolve a sale on my website instead of here, not because I was trying to avoid fees or be disrespectful, but because I find navigating this service so cumbersome and confusing. For example, right now from my seller menu it says that I have two items sold, yet when I navigate there those are old transactions which have already been fulfilled. If I weren’t paying close attention I’d probably ship them again, at a personal loss. If my experience is like that of others that may be why you’ve seen a sharp increase. You can terminate my account for violations of Terms and Conditions if you like. It would save me the hassle of figuring out how to terminate it myself. However, I do appreciate your service, and would rather pay your fees if the system made it easy. Perhaps I was spoiled by BitMit.com, which is gone now, but it seems you’re the only game in town.
I might also suggest that the fact that your team has not taken a penny for themselves in a year is not sign of your company’s success. Do you think eBay employees work for free? An incentive structure is precisely the mechanism which keeps a well run company improving and expanding. I would personally rather pay higher fees if it meant that the CryptoThrift team was paid enough to proactively improve the user interface.
User monitoring and list making is an even more disturbing trend. I’m looking for a user driven free market, not another command and control authoritarian cyber-state. So terminate my account if you wish, but threatening people with termination is certainly not the road to the user support you claim you need to succeed.