Four years ago, we rolled out the existing MorphMarket membership plans. Since then, our marketplace has grown dramatically. Traffic has increased by 15x which means more buyers for your animals.
We have reinvested a great deal of money to add many features to the service in the past four years. Just in the first few months of 2021, we have:
- Created a mobile app to make it easier for buyers to get to your ads
- Added store badges to highlight your achievements
- Released a new bulk ad import for more efficient ad management
- Redesigned the home page for a more professional look
- Developed a new on-site messenger (launching soon)
Additionally, we’ve stepped up our marketing presence with merchandise and expo appearances, published ethics statements, and supported charities. We have supported USARK in multiple initiatives and upgraded our membership to Platinum.
With these new efforts come the growing daily costs of operating the site. In addition to increasing technical costs, we have added representatives to our Customer Success Team who engage with users and help solve problems and resolve disputes.
During this time, we have never modified the membership plans or raised our prices, but periodic price increases are a reality of business. Last year we held off on any changes to our pricing structure because of how COVID was impacting everyone.
Today we are announcing three changes to our membership plans and their pricing. Please read the following in its entirety as well as the FAQs below, as we have been careful to anticipate as many of your questions as possible.
1. Maturing Categories
Since 2017, our subscription limits have only fully applied to the Ball Pythons category. Our paying Ball Python members have been supporting the site and subsidizing it for everyone else. During this time we have continued to grow and develop the other categories into the active markets they have become.
At this time we are “maturing” all other categories for the North American region except Amphibians and Invertebrates. All of these categories have been in our marketplace since 2018 or earlier. Ads for these categories will now be treated just like those in our first matured category, Ball Pythons. Plan limits, such as ad count or inventory size, will include all of these categories combined.
To make our membership plans friendlier to a wider variety of categories, we have increased the ad limits in the Basic and Standard plans. This will allow sellers of less expensive animals to remain in lower plans if they prefer.
It’s important to remember that this transition was planned and communicated long ago. Additionally, sellers upgrading will benefit from many features not available for free.
2. Basic and Standard Plans
We are applying modest price increases to the Basic and Standard plans of 8-10%, or $1-2/month on the annual plans. As mentioned above, the ad limits for both of these plans has been increased from 15 to 30 ads for Basic and from 40 to 100 ads for Standard. Due to the introduction of a limit on the Premium plan as explained below, Standard will now have a maximum inventory limit of $30,000.
3. Large Inventories
Until now our plans have been structured so that a Premium seller with $35,000 of inventory paid the same monthly fee as another seller with $350,000 of inventory, despite receiving only a fraction of the value. In terms of scale, our service has been essentially free to the largest sellers who gain the most value from the platform.
To reduce this disparity, we are adding a new Pro plan for the top 1% of sellers on our site who have inventories of $100k or greater. The Premium plan will continue to accommodate most sellers, allowing up to $100k in inventory, per month.
In terms of price, Premium sellers will see an increase of $10/month for the annual plan. Sellers upgrading to Pro can pay an additional $25/month for unlimited ads.
While the jump to Pro represents a large increase in terms of percentage, the value for sellers at both the Premium and Pro levels is still excellent. Moderate usage of the Premium plan results in an effective commission rate of around 0.5% with very conservative assumptions (to see this math worked out, check the FAQ below). This rate is 6x cheaper than Paypal fees and 16-30x cheaper than listing in marketplaces like Amazon or Ebay. For larger sellers the Pro plan provides an even better value.
As another point of comparison, running unlimited ads with the Pro membership for 365 days a year is still equal to or less expensive than what most vendors would pay in a single weekend for an out of town expo after considering vending fees, transportation, and lodging.
Thank you for your support, which allows us to continue providing and improving our service. We have many new initiatives queued up in order to bring in more buyers, improve your efficiency as a seller, reduce fraud, provide more opportunities to promote your brand, and improve the industry. New features will continue to be added to plans just as we have added many features over the past four years.
If you are a MorphMarket Standard or Premium member, look for a personalized email with more details. If you are set up for auto-renew, consider the new plans and decide if you need to make any adjustments. If you have questions not answered here, please contact our support team.
The new membership plans can be seen on our pricing page.
How does this affect European or South African sellers?
- At this time, these changes do not affect the European or South African markets. Eventually, those markets will mature as well, but at this time, we are focused on North America.
- These markets can still benefit from extra features offered in the membership packages and those prices will be going up a small amount.
How does this affect Canadian sellers?
- All of these changes include Canadian sellers, as they are currently part of the North American region.
- When Canada is broken off into its own region, which is planned in the next few months, it will continue to be a fully matured region.
- We will be consulting Canadian sellers as to their particular needs in order to avoid any negative impact in this transition.
I sell a lot of scorpions and tarantulas. Will I be affected by these price changes?
- Only if you sell species from mature or maturing categories.
- Invertebrates and Amphibians are exempt from this round of price changes and do not count toward any inventory limits.
When do these changes take effect?
- New memberships and price changes - June 1. However, existing members will continue to receive the benefits of the plans they purchased until those plans renew.
- Categories matured - July 1.
What happens to ads I already have placed when these new limits go into effect?
- Whether you have been operating with a free account, or one of our current paid membership plans, as of July 1st, all matured categories that you have ads for will apply to your plan’s current limit.
- If you’ve only been advertising Ball Pythons within the limits of your plan already, you will not notice the change.
- If you have been selling animals outside of the Ball Python category, all that inventory will count toward your limit and any ads above that limit will be automatically expired.
- Once you’ve upgraded to the appropriate membership, you can edit those ads and make them available again. Prevent any interruption to your ads by anticipating your monthly needs and making sure you have signed up for the appropriate plan before July 1st, or reduce your inventory.
I’ve already paid for a year of a plan. Do I have to pay again for the remaining months?
- No, your existing membership plan will remain in effect until its expiration date as shown on your membership page. Upon renewal, your options will include the new set of plans.
When my auto-renew kicks in, will I be charged the higher amount, or the one I signed up for?
- Upon renewal, the new plans and prices will be effective. However, no one will be upgraded into a higher plan such as Pro automatically.
Can we pay for subscriptions with a method besides Paypal?
- To use another payment method for an annual membership please contact our support team.
- Given the recent issues with Paypal in the reptile community, we are working on a self-pay method on our website similar to what we currently support for Paypal.
Are the new Premium and Pro plans expensive relative to their value?
- It’s helpful to compare rates in terms of commissions. Other marketplaces like Amazon, Ebay and Etsy charge 5-15% commissions. Payment processors typically charge 3%.
- If a Premium seller pays $45/month and lists $75,000 of inventory on average throughout the year, they are paying a rate of 0.06% on advertised inventory. How much would it be in terms of sales commissions?
- Let’s say a seller has three ads, each priced at $1,000. The median time to sell on MorphMarket is five weeks, but let’s say these ads sell slower and take three months. At 0.06%, this is effectively a 0.18% commission. More than half the ads on MorphMarket actually sell through our site, but let’s say that only one of these three items sells on MorphMarket and the other two sell elsewhere. The commission rate would still be 0.54%, which is well under 1%, even with these conservative assumptions.
- At 0.5% commission, our service is 6x cheaper than Paypal and 16-30x cheaper than Amazon or Ebay.
This example was for the Premium plan, and the value provided by the Pro plan is even better.
How can I restructure my inventory to adjust for the price changes?
- One option is to adjust your prices. For example, if you expect an increase equivalent to a 0.5% commission, you could raise your prices by 0.5%.
- If you include free shipping, you could break out a typical shipping amount as this is not currently included in inventory amounts. Note that unusually high shipping amounts have always been against our rules (see 3.4).
- You can list multiple animals of the same type and morph in a single ad according to our rules about Multiple Quantity Ads under 3.11. All animals must be pictured, unless you indicate that a representative photo is used as discussed in 4.1.4. However, buyers do not generally like these types of ads and it may impact your sales, and you will have to manage more requests for photos.
- You can list animals sequentially. Instead of listing all animals at once, you can list the amount up to a limit, and list more after those are sold. There is no limit to how many different ads can be listed in a month.
What’s the difference between annual and monthly memberships?
- Annual memberships are paid once a year and monthly memberships are paid each month.
- Annual is highly recommended because we offer steep discounts on the rates, and it will help maintain your brand’s presence in the marketplace year round.
How is inventory value calculated?
- Inventory is the sum of the list prices for all your active ads in mature markets.
- In our inventory calculations we will now cap ads at a maximum value of $10,000. This means that no listing will add more than $10,000 toward your inventory amount.
How much does the “Inquire for Price” contribute to the inventory value?
- “Inquire for Price” ads are assessed at $10,000, each.
If you have questions not answered here, please contact our support team.