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A2 Swap - My review and suggestions


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  1. #1
    CR Member
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    Thumbs up A2 Swap - My review and suggestions

    I wanted to start off to say THANK YOU to the A2 Reef Club and CR for putting on a good swap! Both my daughter and I had a lot of fun! It was obvious that you put a good amount of time promoting the swap since you had a fantastic turnout. It was the best Michigan swap that I have been to. I’d give the swap an overall “B”. Mainly because I think that it needs to be more friendly to the swapper. This swap was more catered to the vendors.

    I’ll admit that I am quite spoiled by the All-Ohio swaps. They do a phenomenal job with theirs. Yours was the closest that I have been to in Michigan to compare. I do have some recommendations to make the swap more tradeable for the little guy. I had two corals that I wanted to either trade or sell, but could not find the opportunity to show them or find someone that may want them. I was pretty disappointed in it.

    Pre-Sales: Use Fragswapper only! The thread method is hard to follow and page through to see what is available and what is not. You can see instantly what is available and can sort out the items that are not. Fragswapper is so easy to make a request, sort by what is available, and you can also generate your trade lists by a couple of clicks then print it. I saw that you had the swap on Fragswapper, just eliminate the “What are you bringing?” threads.

    Facility Size: It was too small for the crowd you drew – This is a GOOD thing! Go bigger and better next year! We could hardly move or socialize without feeling in the way of others. It was also very hard to get to some of the vendor tables. I did not see every table because I could not get to them.

    Name Tags: Put them right at the entrance and have everyone wear them. It was so hard to find the people that we made pre-sales with because we did not know who they were. We had a few corals that were promised to someone, but never ended up finding them, so they came home with us.

    Vendor tables: They were so close together and there were no spaces for them to get in or out of their booths. Spread out a bit.

    Empty tables: Have some space for the little guy to take a break and set out a few of his unsold corals that he would like to trade – first come first serve on these. They shouldn’t have power or anything available. Just some tables and a few chairs. Honestly, I usually stay the entire duration of a swap but did not due to there being no place to break away for a short time.

    Raffle: You had a lot of nice stuff at the raffle, but there was also a lot of items that I had no interest in. Honestly, I did not purchase any tickets because I did not like the format. At the All Ohio swaps, they set up a larger raffle area and have a cup for every item. The swappers can enter for the items that they want. Normally, I buy about $20 - $40 in tickets to win the stuff that I want. I couldn’t see dropping the cash on it to end up with a brown zoa or some other dry good that I didn’t want or need. I decided to spend that money with the vendors instead.

    Overall, nice job and I look forward to next year!

    Jen

  2. #2
    jimsflies - Reefkeeper
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    Thanks for the suggestions. I agree the place was on the small side. Which of course is why we didn't have a lot of places for swappers to display their items or sit down for a hang out. We're still looking for the ideal place to hold these events.

    It seems most space readily available is about the size of that hall. Often after a place is located in the area we want it, once we mention water and electricity we get told "no way". Then if we get past all of that cost comes into play.

    I'll be honest a forum owner I have mixed feelings regarding fragswapper. I appreciate the tool it offers, but also am hesitant to send all the traffic over to another site. Frag swaps and the what are you bringing threads generate a lot of traffic for the forum. I'll put more thought into how to deal with this....perhaps developing our own fragswapper tool or some sort of mutually beneficial arrangement with the owner of fragswapper.

  3. #3
    CR Member
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    I love fragswapper. And - to me, it is not a forum replacement since it is completely different. It only enhances the swap.

  4. #4
    CR Member
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    Feb 2010
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    Toledo
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    I don't think fragswapper generates traffic for another site - they have to come to the hosting site for info, it just lists the items elsewhere. If the site is strong, the traffic will still be there...fragswapper only makes trading easier, nothing else. I too have been spoiled by the All-Ohio Swaps - and fragswapper is awesome if its used correctly. The problem I've seen with Michigan swaps is they don't use it, or use the host site and a fragswapper option. People don't want to figure out what they don't have to. Once you make the switch, people will wonder why they waited so long.

    I know finding a site was an issue - the swap had a huge turnout. Nametags would definately have helped, but wouldn't have solved the problem. Maybe give them out when you pay and people could move to the other table to fill them out? Also, a spot to rest would have been awesome (people had to try to eat chilidogs standing up and huddled together at tab;e corners to set their plate down) but I know with space it was a problem. Maybe limit vendors to a few, reserve a few tables for hobbiests with a tank set-up, a few for those without a tank for a seperate price, whatever. I know space was the issue, if it was this big tihis time it will likely be bigger down the road. I know one Michigan swap was held in a hotel conference room, but again, I know its tough.

  5. #5
    jolson10450 - Reefkeeper
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    i agree with some and disagree with others, it did need more space i will give that but i disagree on the raffle, i like the raffle as it is, one for drygoods, one for live items. it gets more money for our groups. you are going to have 5 total tickets in the test kit one but in the tank one or gift card one you may have over 200-300 tickets, it lessens the changes for people to win bigger items, since it was all in one batch everyone has an = change at winning everything and if you are lucky and your ticket gets pulled first you get the better items and thats how it goes, to this day every raffle i have been in ive won more $ worth in items then i spent on the raffle so i am no money behind there and it goes to help support this hobby and our reef clubs so you shouldn't feel bad about it even if you didn't win as much because you are still helping people out and contributing to the hobby.

    it was great but yeah places for people to sit down or something would of been great.

    my idea was try to get ahold of a local highschool and see if we can use their cafeteria, they always have water messes and i am sure they meet the power requirements for it, a lot already have tables in them for people to sit at so that shouldnt be an issue, they are big open areas as well so i think it would be great! they could give some of the kids community service for helping vendors with things such as helping tape down wires, cleaning up water spills, helping collect the money, writeing up name tags etc...

    but that is just off the top of my head, i know i am probably making it easier than it sounds but honestly it sounds like a good idea hah!

  6. #6
    CR Member
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    Livonia Mi
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    Quote Originally Posted by jolson10450 View Post

    my idea was try to get ahold of a local highschool and see if we can use their cafeteria, they always have water messes and i am sure they meet the power requirements for it, a lot already have tables in them for people to sit at so that shouldnt be an issue, they are big open areas as well so i think it would be great! they could give some of the kids community service for helping vendors with things such as helping tape down wires, cleaning up water spills, helping collect the money, writeing up name tags etc...
    Man that is a good Idea.

  7. #7
    CR Member
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    Good idea for the cafeterias!

    As for the raffle, I agree with jenghes. I normally spend $20 on raffle tickets, but didn't want to spend $20 and end up with 3 polyps of brown zoas Now if I had a chance to win a huge coral it would be worth the shot. You'ld expect lots of tickets in the big one - its that much more exciting that way. I don't want to "waste" tickets on smaller ones - some do. Or what if someone won and ended up with an sps and wasn't skilled enough to do sps? It is a lot more work though - again I think its a carry-over from the All-Ohio swaps This was by far the best Michigan swap I have been to so the only thing to compare it to is the All-Ohios. Great job putting this together.

  8. #8
    Sir Patrick - Reefkeeper A2 Club Coordinator
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    Great ideas and comments so far!

    Fragswapper- I like Jims idea of integrating possibly. I also like the idea of both fragswapper and a site specific what are you bringing thread. Its up to the swapper to decide if they want to place their items where, and if they want to take the time to juggle the baught/sold/traded goods between sites, which all swappers seemed to do well at.

    Swapping- Swapping has always been something that doesnt happen alot in the sense of the word- but does happen. I have always seen the "swapping" at frag swaps as- you sell some of your stuff to generate money to buy from others, unless you find someone that wants to trade with you. Both, in a sense, are swapping.

    Room/space- Yeah- room was an unexpected issue this year. We doubled table sales this year, and that is before the count of the tables we had to turn away. We also had a bigger turn out of people come through this year. We got a room that held 50% more people this year than last year- and still got packed! Very good, but a little unexpected. We thought we had plenty of room.....ooops! Better luck next year!

    We packed in the vendors/table holders to fit them all in. many have been showing up since the first swap, and wanted to incorporate the local hobbiests to share their goods. We had ALOT of interest in tables from both, and didnt want to turn any away unless we had too. We ended up having to do so anyway. We had to stick Dirk out in the parking lot. Next year will be better- guaranteed.


    Empty tables- Normally we have these....but this swap grew too big too fast, unexpectedly. We had no room to put any. Normally we have some small tables with seats available to sit, relax, eat, ect. but packed as it was- no room this year. The only other issue with swap tables being used for these reasons, is some people end up "setting up shop" at these tables, which isnt fair to those that paid money to do the exact same thing. No one wants to police these tables either, in fears of coming off rude, or impolite. We like to have small tables, in community areas available for sit down breaks, socializing, and eating, but this year we werent able to accomidate unfortunatly.

    I am very happy to hear everyones opinions!! We are looking forward to doing it bigger and even better next year!! Glad everyone had a great time!

  9. #9
    jolson10450 - Reefkeeper
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    ps, you can blame me for the table layout! we added i think 5 more tables then the original because i did it in CAD, i left spaces for the vendors but we had a few issues at the end with someone was supposed to have a few tables so had to cram them in in spots. next one will be better!

    but yeah i think a cafeteria is a great idea, since its A2 area i think we could find a local high school to let us do it, we can take some of the proceeds and even try and get them a little nano tank donated and up and running in the school for letting us use the facility (if it was free i say we do that, if there is a charge then maybe not so much)

  10. #10
    jimsflies - Reefkeeper
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    Quote Originally Posted by weimers75 View Post
    Nametags would definately have helped, but wouldn't have solved the problem. Maybe give them out when you pay and people could move to the other table to fill them out?
    We had a table over by the kitchen with the name tags. They were supposed to be at the first table on the right when you came in the door, but the guy that had the table there switched them on us. Since he was already setup when I noticed, I decided to go with it. Probably should have handed them out at the door with instructions of where to fill them out.

    Also glad to have the feed back. Hopefully we can make some adjustments and do it again soon.
    Last edited by jimsflies; 11-08-2010 at 12:31 PM.

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