Seller's Guide

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You don't have to be a breeder or have a registered company to have a virtual store and sell items on MorphMarket.

We follow Mark Zuckerberg's earlier maxim: "Move Fast and Break Things". While we're rapidly adding features, we might occasionally break something. If you get the snake eating its tail server error picture, we have been notified already by email. But if you see something that doesn't work right, which doesn't show the server error page, please send us .

The following guide contains videos covering most of the core content, with those same instructions and more in text.

Quick Start

This video will walk you through setting up your profile and posting your first ad.

Video: Creating Your First Ad

Bulk Import Overview

This video will give you a quick overview of how you can create and manage dozens or hundreds of ads very easily. Bulk Import is explained in detail below.

Video: Bulk Import Overview

Seller Menu Options

All of your seller/store management options are located under your username in the upper-righthand corner (found in the pop-out menu for mobile). You must be first logged in. Here you can go to your current Inventory, Seller Profile, or even this Seller's Guide.

Seller Profile

Your virtual store on MorphMarket has the following information associated with it, which can be changed in Edit Profile.

The seller profile is publicly visible. Please do not put anything here you would not like buyers on the web to see.
Name
Full name of your store.
Label
Short name to identify your store on product thumbnails and other places. This is ideally 1-2 words or an acronym.
Custom ID
Determines the name shown in the web address of your public MorphMarket seller page.
Owner
Your first and last name.
Location
Your city, or one you choose to indicate as your location. If you are on the European continent, you will shop up on our European site, otherwise, on the USA site.
Email
Email address for the system and buyers to contact you. Must be a verified email address in your account.
Phone
Phone number to be reached at by buyers. Enter digits only.
Home Page
If your business has a website.
Facebook Page
If your business has a Facebook Page.
Delivery
Options for buyers to receive your product. Local pickup means they come to you. Regional shipping means within your state and possibly your region (Europe). International export means you ship to other nations. They should find more details in your Policy.
Currency Type
The default currency used when you create or import ads. Does not affect existing ads.
About
General description about your business, such as your background, expertise, and uniqueness. Whatever you'd like to convey to potential buyers.
Policy
Any technical/logistical details buyers should know about your policies and processes.
Logo
Image for your company. Square images are better than elongated ones.

Your Seller Profile is accessible from the Stores/Breeders page and also from any ad you post. Your Seller Profile will also show a few thumbnails of some of your most expensive Reptiles with pictures.

Rules and Guidelines for Posting

In order to provide a uniform, high quality experience to buyers the following rules are enforced. Failure to follow these rules may result in removed ads, banning or other penalties, at our discretion.
  • You are expected to post reliable and accurate information in your ads.
  • Animals may only be listed once in the system one time.
  • One type of morph per ad. The system is designed to help you with this, but each ad should be a single type of animal of one sex and morph.
    • The price is the amount to buy one of those animals.
    • The genetics should be the exact genetics: A Het Albino should not be tagged with Albino.
    • There is a quantity field that allows you to indicate you have multiple available. The system does not currently support pairs or other group deals.
  • User assigned ad IDs are permanent, which means once assigned you will never use another ID for this animal/ad.
  • Only ready to sell animals are allowed to be posted. Do not list pre-hatched. In the future a "hidden" state may allow you to stage animals not yet ready to be shown.
  • Pictures are not required. We understand you may not have picture for all your animals. However, ads with videos and pictures may be ranked higher in searches.
  • Pictures must be your own images of the exact animals for sale. They may not be store logos.
    • Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis for high volume sellers who also have more than 25 ads. In this case you may use a representative picture you took of the exact kind of animal. Please note in your Store Policy that pictures seen are not of the exact animals.
    • Do not use anyone else's pictures without their explicit permission.
    • A minimum resolution image may be required for quality purposes.
  • Videos, similar to pictures, must be video you own of your animal. A single video may not be used in more than 1 ad.
  • Do not include shipping costs in price field. It's recommended that you list your shipping price in your store profile's policy which will be displayed on every animal page. If the shipping varies per animal, include this in the description.
  • You may not post someone else's animals unless you have written permission from MorphMarket.
  • You may only create a single account per person. A breeding company with multiple people involved will be controlled by one of those partner accounts. Contact us if you need an old account deleted.
  • Sick or sick looking animals may not be sold. Ads with unhealthy looking animals may be removed at our discretion.
  • Photos and ads must look professional. Unprofessional looking ads may be removed at our discretion.
  • MorphMarket is not liable for anything that happens as a result of listing your items on this marketplace. You do so at your own risk.

Tips for Maximizing Your Success

  • Take great looking pictures (tips video).
  • Set prices competitively. Use our advanced search to find the most similar animals in terms of sex, genes and maturity. You need not be the lowest price, but you might not want to be much over the alternatives either without clear justification in your ads.
  • Make sure you never miss an inquiry, by whitelisting MorphMarket in your Spam filters.
  • Be the first to respond to user's inquries, as they are sometimes inquiring about several similar animals at once.
  • Use IDs on your ads to maximize your ad's distribution through our MorphReport emails, Latest search, and in Facebook featured postings.
  • Provide details and description about your animals. If the animal is special make sure to explain this in the description.
  • Make sure each ad is tagged with its exact genes.
  • Feature higher-end animals with a video.
  • Share your ad on Facebook and elsewhere by Exporting your Inventory.
  • Fill out your store profile fully with detail about yourself and policies.
  • Keep your inventory up to date. Sellers with bigger inventories should use Import to Synchronize their latest Price List.
  • Connect your Facebook account so you can login with just 1 click.

Inventory with IDs

Video: Using Ad IDs

You can place ads on MorphMarket with or without ad IDs, but IDs are strongly recommended as you will gain the following benefits:

  1. Your new ads will be broadcast to a much larger audience through parts of our website, email, and social media which alert buyers to new listings.
  2. You can repeatedly import the same ads and they will be synchronized with existing ones, meaning images will not be lost and you will avoid creating duplicate listings.

What are Permanent and Unique IDs?

By ID we mean a serial number that is permanent and unique to your animal/ad. Permanent means once assigned you will never use another ID for this animal/ad. Unique means you can't use it for more than one ad, including across categories (if you sell more than one kind of animal).

IDs may consist of letters, numbers, and some characters ("-/._"). Spaces are not allowed and letters are not case-sensitive ("pas" and "PAS" are the same).

You can create IDs however you like, but we recommend finding a consistent readable style that describes the animals. For example, you might label a 2015 female bumblebee as "15F-PAS-SPI-1". If you had a second you could then name it "15F-PAS-SPI-2" and so on.

Why?

MorphMarket provides powerful tools for promoting your animals for sale, but to do so we must be able to tell the difference between existing ads being updated and brand new ads. Synchronizing an imported Price List to your existing Inventory is a difficult problem without the use of unique IDs. Seller-provided IDs, we believe, reduce the chance of an error by either MorphMarket or a seller in accidentally re-publishing the same ad.

Why must IDs be permanent?

Permanent means once assigned you will never use another ID for this animal/ad. Because MorphMarket uses IDs to recognize and publish new ads, if one was to change the ID on an ad then it would appear to be new and would be republished.

The first time a seller reassigns an ID we will assume an accident and a warning will be given. Further abuses will result in consequences, possibly including account termination.

Adding, Importing and Updating Inventory

To add items to your Inventory you can either use the Add form to add one item at a time or you can use the more powerful Import form to add many items at once. Once you have added or imported an item, you can modify it as described under Manage Inventory, or you can replace it with a new import.

Adding a Single Ad

Adding items is very straightforward. The main thing to know is you can only add one item at a time. Add, like Import, is found on the menu as well as on the Manage Inventory page.

Preparing a Price List for Bulk Import

The alternative to adding items one by one is to Bulk Import using a Price List. Importing allows you to add many ads of the same category at one time (e.g., a group of Boa Constrictors). You will first need a Price List similar to the kind typically posted to classifieds forums. It is recommended that you maintain a copy of your product Price List in a text editor like Microsoft Word or Notepad or a spreadsheet like Excel or Google Sheets, but even an email editor works fine.

Video: Preparing Your Price List

In your file, each line should contain one kind of item. Feel free to copy and modify this sample import spreadsheet as a suggested format. Two things about this sample: 1) There are two tabs, one for the style with and without section headers. 2) There are explanatory notes placed on the headers. MorphMarket is able to interpret a variety of formats, but the following convention will work well:

DOB Male.Female Genes Weight Price(s) ID
2015 0.1 Pastel 170g $75 #15F-PAS-1
2014 1.0 Spinnerblast 150g $300/400 #15M-SB-1

While many formats are understood, here are a few current limitations:

  • Use units/symbols to distinguish price ($100) versus weight (100g) versus IDs (#1234ABCD).

Here are tips on each ad field, most of which are optional. These can all be automatically recognized on import except where noted.

Birth Date
Month/Day/Year of the animal's birth (e.g., 2015, Jul 2051, Jul '15, 7-2015, 7/'15, 07-30-2015, 7/30/15).
Sex/Quantity
Use the notation M.F to represent M males and F females (e.g., 2.1). If "male" or "female" is stated, quantity of 1 is assumed.
Price
Price not including shipping (put that under your shipping details). Indicate with a dollar sign (e.g., $100), but value will default to currency type in your Seller Profile regardless of currency sign used. [REQUIRED]
Maturity
Broad classification of age of animal: hatchling, subadult or adult. If you supply only weight, it will be guessed for you.
Proven Breeder
Whether this animal has reproduced.
Weight
Current weight of the animal in grams (e.g., 1000g).
Prey
Two fields to record prey food and whether it is currently eating live or frozen/thawed
Traits
Single genes, traits or trade names (e.g., Spinnerblast, het albino).
Video URL
Link to a YouTube/Vimeo* video featuring this particular animal.
Image URL
Link to an image to be used. Needs to end with an image type, like .png or .jpg to not be confused with detail URL. Will be downloaded within the next hour or so. Using drag-and-drop to attach images after ads are created is recommended instead.
Detail URL
Web address of page your page that gives more information about the ad. (not currently displayed to users)
ID#
For providing a unique serial num/ID for this animal. Prefix with '#' sign for import to recognize. Letters, numbers, or "-/._", but no spaces are allowed (e.g., #1234ABCD). [HIGHLY RECOMMENDED] (read more)
Clutch
For recording information about the birth group (clutch/litter). Prefix with 'C' to import. Can be numbers and symbols "-._" but no spaces or letters are allowed (e.g., C9, C2015-9).
Availability
You can write ON HOLD (all caps) on any row. You can also write SOLD, HOLDBACK, or UNLISTED to have those rows be ignored all together. Note that this will not remove existing ads unless you are using a Replacement import operation.

Section headers are supported to a degree. Breeders often use this in their Price Lists to avoid repeating certain attributes like year on every line. You can specify: year, sex, maturity and provenness on a line by itself, and all lines that follow, until another header, will inherit those attributes if not specified on that line. Some examples include "2014's", "hatchlings", "2014 males", "2014 breeders", "2014 proven male", "proven adults". If you get an error you may need to remove other text on those lines that was not understood.

Importing Your Price List

Once you've created your Price List, copy and paste it into Import Inventory screen.

Video: Importing Your Price List

There are several import operations available. These behave somewhat differently if you're using IDs or not. Using IDs for importing is strongly recommended! .

  • Synchronize: If you are using IDs, Synchronize will align your input Price List to your Inventory, and update the Inventory using the Price List values. Most values will be overwritten by the input even if the input value is blank. Several fields including images and description will not be unset. Synchronize even searches sold and deleted ads, since IDs are permanent, and will bring them back to an active state. Without IDs, every item being imported is treated as a new ad (can lead to duplicates).
  • Synchronize/Replace: Like, Sync, but in addition if any existing ads are not found in the listing being imported, it will mark those as deleted. If you are not using IDs, all existing ads are deleted and these are added as new.
  • Delete All: Moves all current ads to deleted state.

If you do not wish to use IDs, you may uncheck the box "Require IDs", and perform a regular Import. This results in all inventory items being imported as new ads without pictures. This is one reason using IDs is highly recommended.

After importing, you will be prompted to correct any errors. Any lines which were not understood will be displayed in red. Make changes to these lines or remove them, and re-submit. Select the checkbox to ignore errors. It's recommended you modify your original copy and re-paste it in order to have it corrected for next time. Next, The system will next take you back to view your Inventory where you should double-check for any mistakes.

Verifying Your Inventory

After you have imported, you will be returned to your Inventory page where you should double-check for any mistakes. Modify any of your items which need changes or corrections. In particular, if you did not provide image URLs you will want to read the next section on how to add images.

Video: Verifying Your Inventory

Viewing Inventory

Manage Inventory displays your current Inventory for sale. You are essentially viewing your own store in the list (rather than grid) view, and have some additional management privileges. Clicking any row will allow you to Modify that ad. In addition, you have two additional Manage columns on the right for viewing the ad and removing ads (marking as sold or deleted). If you are using a narrow-screen device, you can pan to the left-right for columns not fitting on the screen.

View Ad
See the ad as a user sees it.
Remove
Remove an item by marking it as sold or deleting it.
Renew
Renew an ad. Turns green once renewal is allowed.
Tip: You can drag & drop images onto the rows on the Inventory page!
If you make changes here, don't forget to make them in your Price List file as well, so that it will be up-to-date for future Imports. If necessary, however, you can Export your Inventory to produce an up to date Price List.

Photos

After importing a Price List, you will still want to add photos to your ads.

Video: Adding Photos

There are several ways to add photos to your ads.

  • Drag & Drop: You can drag and drop images from your desktop or a file system folder to the Inventory page (see limitations below). This is the fastest approach since you don't have to modify each ad individually. As you drag (before you drop) you should see the target row being highlighted. Note: dragging directly from other applications like a photo program will likely not work.
    • The photo icon on each row (if present) will tell you that ad's photo status.
      • This ad has a photo. Drag & drop will replace it.
      • Uploading is in progress, until it turns green.
      • You've successfully updated this photo.
      • There was a problem with the upload. Try from the modify page instead to get more information about the error.
    • You can also drag and drop onto the gray photo area on the Modify ad page.
  • File Chooser: On the Modify ad page you can click the gray photo area to browse and select images.
  • URL Link: From the Modify ad or Import pages you can provide a URL link to your photos already on the web.
Limitations:
  • Drag and drop support is not available for older browsers.
  • Currently each ad can have one photo at most, but this will be expanded later.
  • Images cannot be larger than 10.0 megabytes or larger than 20 megapixels in resolution (width x height).
  • Image URL Links provided in import will be automatically downloaded within about an hour.

Videos

Videos are one of the best ways to set yourself apart from the competition. You have the opportunity to feature each animal with its own video on the ad listing. Note that we require that the video include this specific animal, and a video may only be used with a single ad. In the future you will be able to feature your own business with a video on your store page.

You can host your videos on either YouTube or Vimeo. However, with Vimeo you must use the embedded URL format: http://player.vimeo.com/video/80629469.

Advertising

Advertising Your Inventory

You can export your Inventory as a Price List that you can email to buyers or post on forums. Export provides several formats including Text, CSV or TSV (for Excel/spreadsheets) and HTML. The HTML version is ideal because it includes links back to your ads where they can see pictures and more details. The export option is available from the menu or as a button on the Inventory page. Pictured is the HTML export pasted into an email.

Advertising on Facebook

Posting your ads on Facebook is as easy as pasting the link to your ad on MorphMarket. Make sure to press enter twice after the link, and wait for the image to show up when posting. The ad will look something like this, and link back to your ad.

You can also advertise your store on Facebook by pasting the link to your store page. If you have a store logo set it will show this as the image. NOTE: If you have changed your logo but it's still not showing up try fetching new scrape information for your URL.
Also, if you do not have a website, you can use your MorphMarket store as your Website on Facebook. On your Facebook Business Page, click About, then on Page Info, you will find Website near the bottom. Your store's address will look like: www.morphmarket.com/stores/your_store_id.

Advertising Your Store

Here's a button you can use to point right at your store (this one points at OTBP).

MorphMarket ball pythons for sale

Just embed this HTML in your page, and make sure to replace the YOUR_STORE_ID with your actual store id.

<a href="http://www.morphmarket.com/stores/YOUR_STORE_ID"><img src="https://morphmarket-media.s3.amazonaws.com/static/img/MMButton.png" alt="MorphMarket reptiles for sale" title="MorphMarket link" style="height:40px; display:block;"></a>
On some forums like ball-pythons.net and BLBC/reptileradio.net, in Settings you can customize your Signature to use the MorphMarket button, again linked to your store.
[URL="http://www.morphmarket.com/stores/YOUR_STORE_ID"][IMG]https://morphmarket-media.s3.amazonaws.com/static/img/MMButton.png[/IMG][/URL]

Communicating with Customers

Inquiries

By publishing your Inventory on the MorphMarket, you are making your product available for buyers to find in their searches, by browsing morphs, and through your store page. Users will find their way to your ads to learn more about your products. Ad pages have an Inquire button which easily allows them to contact you with questions through email. Simply reply to the message that you receive from MorphMarket and it will go back to them.

Users may also contact you by the contact information at the top of your store page such as phone number, Facebook or webpage. Your email is concealed to protect it from spammers.

Tip: Add MorphMarket's inquiry email address to your mail program's address book to reduce the change of it discarding our messages as spam.
Tip: Send yourself a test inquiry via one of your ads on the site. You should receive it within a couple of minutes at most. If you never receive an inquiry, follow the directions in our Mail Help.

Mail Messages System

MorphMarket has implemented 2-way email relay to improve deliverability and protect against abuse. When you receive an email inquiry, click 'reply' and it will be sent back to us with an address like:

This is the address you want to reply to. Use your email program as you normally would.

Always press 'Reply' and send an email at least once for each ad that a user has inquired on, so that MorphMarket knows you received the inquiries. Even if the buyer says, "Call me at 999-9999", just reply in email with "I'll call soon." Or if you already talked to them on Facebook, say something like "We spoke about this on FB." MorphMarket has no other way to tell that you have responded unless you take 10 seconds to send a message through us. If you do not reply, it will possibly in the short term impact your Responsiveness Rating (more below). After sending an initial response through MorphMarket, feel free to continue the conversation by whatever means you like phone/facebook/direct email/etc.

Email is inherently unreliable. It can be overlooked or blocked by any number of systems between the buyer and seller's inboxes. This is why we have followed other major marketplace/classifieds websites in implementing this system. It provides many benefits:

  • Inquiries which receive no response can generate alerts and reminders.
  • Inquiries that are "lost" can be better traced and diagnosed. We no longer need to rely on a buyer's word as to whether a seller responded.
  • Ability for users to login and view messages which they might have otherwise missed.
  • Messages are less likely to get blocked and/or lost by spam filters.
  • A seller's prompt response times can be displayed as a selling point.
  • Records in the event of a dispute.
  • Ability to better protect our members against fraud, abuse, spam, and other violations of MorphMarket's policies.
Here are some additional recommendations:
  • Reply to the user at the top of the email. In other words, don't "inline" your responses into the text that they wrote.
  • You may attach up to 20 MB of photos to your emails, but we recommend attaching less than 15 MB at a time. If you need to share more images, we suggest adding more photos to your ad (coming soon), sharing via www.imgur.com, linking to cloud storage (such as Google Drive), or emailing them directly.

In the near future, we plan to collect more information from buyers to reduce unnecessary back-and-forth, such as to obtaining their zipcode in advance for shipping estimates.

Find answers to more questions about our Mail System on the General Help page.

Responsiveness Rating

The responsiveness rating is simply a message shown to inquirers that describes how quickly you have been responding recently (similar to what Facebook does). This is a great opportunity to shine by trying to maintain an average response time of a day or less, but our main goal is to warn buyers about sellers who are not responding at all.

This responsiveness message is determined by what percentage of inquiries we receive a response from you about (recently), as well as how quickly you sent those responses. There is some grace here: not referring to an occasional inquiry will not hurt your score. It it is only calculated based on the past few inquiries, so slower responses or non-responses will only affect the rating temporarily.

We understand that sometimes it's easy to miss an inquiry email, and so after 48 hours of not hearing back, we will send you a reminder about inquiries not responded to. You can simply reply to that email to write them.

Closing the Sale

MorphMarket does not yet provide a "shopping cart", but instead directs the buyer to you. You may close successful inquiries directly in whatever method you are accustomed to using, such as PayPal or credit card over the phone. In the future we'll likely provide "Buy It Now" functionality. It takes just 1 click (if using Facebook Login) to login and reset that warning. Logging in lets us know that you are keeping your ads current and haven't abandoned your account.

Changing Item Availability

Besides being available, items can be marked as Sold or put On Hold.
  • Sold: There are three ways to mark ads as in your account:
    • From the Inventory view, just click "x" to mark any as sold or deleted.
    • If you use Import with IDs, you can synchronize your up to date list and missing ads will be marked as sold.
    • To remove all ads at once, choose "Import" then choosing "Delete All".
  • On Hold: You can mark an item as On Hold while a sale is pending.
    • From the modify ad page, click the checkbox for "on hold" next to availability, at the very bottom.
    • Alternatively, if importing, you can write ON HOLD (all caps) on a row in your Price List.

It's frustrating to buyers who inquire on animals only to learn a day or two later that they're actually not available. MorphMarket saves you valuable time by eliminating the need to bump and repost your ads to keep them active. All we ask in return is that you to remove them once items are sold.

Even if no activity has transpired, we ask for you to take a moment to login and review your ads once a month.

After 40 days since your last login, inquiries to your ads will include a warning that your items may not be available.

Analytics

Ad performance is shown on the Inventory View and at the bottom of the Edit Ad page.

Impressions
number of times this ad has shown up on a query results page shown to a user (ie., as a thumbnail).
Clicks
number of times a user has clicked on this ad and viewed its details.
Inquiries
number of times a buyer has emailed you a message about this ad with MorphMarket's Inquire button.

When comparing ad click counts received on MorphMarket versus other sites, one should be careful to make a proper comparison.

  • On sites without the powerful search capabilities of MorphMarket, buyers scroll through many pages of ads for which they have no interest because they cannot form specific searches as they can on MorphMarket.
  • On sites where less information is shown in the search results, buyers are forced to click on more ads to find out more details even when those ads are not relevant to the their purchase intent.

Ultimately only sales leads and sales are a fair gauge of your performance; however, these metrics may be useful in detecting the relative interest of buyers in each of your ads.

Technical Notes:

  • Analytics are only updated once a day, so clicks from today are not seen until tomorrow.
  • Viewing your ads from the Inventory View does not count toward impressions. Editing an ad does not count towards clicks. But otherwise, a seller's interactions with her own ads not excluded.
  • Ad counts began mid-April 2016.

Account Configuration

Login with Facebook

You can login to MorphMarket with one click using your Facebook account. To connect your pre-existing MorphMarket account with Facebook:

  • Login the old way by typing in your login/password.
  • Under User Settings, choose "Manage Social Accounts".
  • Click "Login with Facebook".

Change Your Contact Email

  • Add your new address and verify it.
    • Login to MorphMarket
    • Menu -> "User Settings" -> "Manage Email Addresses"
    • Type in your email and click "Add E-mail"
    • A verification email will be sent to this address. Click the link in it.
  • Switch to your new email.
    • Menu -> "Manage Email Address"
    • Select your new verified address and click "make primary"
    • Menu -> "Edit Profile"
    • Click "Contact Email" and pick your new address then "Save".

Change Your Username / Store's ID / Web Address

When you signed up you may not have realized that your Seller Profile would receive the same ID as your username. The Store ID is visible to users in web addresses like your Store homepage. For example, www.morphmarket.com/stores/littlejohnny5. You can now customize this by modifying the Custom ID field on your Seller Profile. Note that it will take a little while for this to update in all the links.

Obtaining Pre-Launch Access

We'd love you to help us build a new species category on MorphMarket! To gain access to a pre-launched category, sign up and make sure to indicate it as a Selling Categories of Interest in your User Settings. If this category is ready (see list below), you'll receive immediate access. If it's not, we'll notify you once it's ready. By listing your animals early, you'll help us launch that much faster. You'll be supporting the community while reaching brand new customers.

Areas currently staged and in pre-launch status, in no particular order:

  • Other Colubrids
  • Bearded Dragons
  • Other Pythons
  • Rainbow Boas
  • Other Boas
  • Kingsnakes
  • Milk Snakes

Planned Features and Known Issues

I will keep a list of known issues and some planned features here, but feel free to comment on these to me as well.

  • Multiple images per item.
  • More for non-US markets: currencies, better geographical search

Problems

Please report any issues, some of which may include:

  • Unrecognized gene or morph names. Please read our policy first.
  • Unknown Price List formats which you think should be supported. This will require you to revise your input until it can be accepted.
  • Broken links or other bizarre behavior.