Archives December 2021

Last update on .

We are closing out 2021 with another round of updates to market data organization. This included some category improvements following the massive 12 Category Update from August and trait updates to 11 categories.

You can view the discussions that led to these changes in the genetics area of our community forums as well as make your own requests.

  • Western Hognose is now a subcategory of Hognose Snakes. Hognose also gained 10 new subcategories plus Tricolor Hognose, which was moved from Other Colubrids.
  • Sand Boas was added in August with no subcategories as we imagined most of the ads were Kenyans. Kenyans are now a subcategory of Sand boas, along with 10 other subcategories.
  • A few new subcategories were added for Skinks and Monitors. Tortoises got an "other" subcategory.
  • We did a huge trait update, touching 11 different categories. You can read about those here.
  • We did not update the subcategories of Rat Snakes yet, but plan to make some changes there to improve its organization in the next round.

In the future, the continuous stream of updates to morphpedia.com will drive the market data instead of these occasional updates. Did you know that Morphpedia now contains over 300 articles!?

Last update on .

What's Coming & MorphMarket NFS

In case you missed this in our newsletter, we have so many big projects in the works:

  • App with Notifications: After a few more improvements, we’ll be publishing the “beta app” which has been in use since last Spring to the Apple & Google Play stores. It will be able to send message notifications directly to you and your buyer’s device.
  • Redesign of core pages including ad, store, and index pages to bring a more modern and useful style.
  • A new help desk service which will provide better online help articles and FAQs to get answers for you faster and help us respond quicker as well.
  • Better support for regions of the world

But there is one more thing...

At MorphMarket, our goal is not just to provide the industry a platform to buy and sell, but software services which support the entire lifecycle of breeding. This includes not just your animals that are For Sale but also those Not For Sale (NFS), including breeders, holdbacks, and pets.

To begin, we are completely overhauling our inventory system with a professional design that you’ll love. This will make it far easier to add and manage your animals. In addition, we're adding a dashboard so you can more easily monitor your data.

Following, we will be adding many new features to help you track, plan, breed, and market your animals and brand. This includes:

  • Showcasing not-for-sale breeding animals and holdbacks to the public
  • Tracking offspring history, lineage and related stats for your whole collection
  • Planning breeding projects based on a data-driven analysis of the industry and your collection
  • Notifying subscribers of breeding events and upcoming offspring
  • Quickly converting litters and clutches to ads

Informally, we are referring to this collection of services that go beyond sales as “MorphMarket NFS”.

Which of these features are you most excited about?

Last update on .

Image Processing & Other Nerdy News

Sometimes you put in new landscaping, repaint the exterior, or add on another floor. Other times you need to work on the foundation or replace the A/C. The latter is what we've been making a lot of progress on this week.

In particular, today we moved our image image processing "higher in the cloud" using AWS Lambdas. Images were already stored in the cloud on S3, but now we are generating all the image variants, like different sizes and formats there as well.

Why this matters:

  • Less load on our servers means the whole website goes faster (about 20%)
  • Lambdas pave the way for processing higher resolution photos than our current limits
  • More space in our database for other information
  • Less code that our developers have to maintain so they can focus more on new features!

Besides this, we dramatically simplified and sped up our development environment this week which again makes it easier for our dev team to build new features. We also moved the MorphReport over to Postmark, which is a fabulous mail service that we love.

Meanwhile we ARE working on exiting new features that you will be able to see and will share more about that soon.

Just a few nerdy updates for those who are interested in what's behind the scenes. =)

Last update on .

After further discussion with the community, we have decided NOT to add a virus testing clause to the Default Store Policy (DSP). While our intentions are good, the complexities of such a process make it difficult to recommend a specific policy that is fair to all parties.

What are we doing instead?

We have added a comment to the DSP that any virus testing should be discussed prior to purchase so that a procedure can be agreed upon as well as recourse in the event of a positive result.

Why did we change our minds?

Our understanding of some of these viruses and how to test for them is still relatively new and developing. Virus testing is a good idea, but it also creates complexities within the transaction which make it difficult to recommend a good across-the-board policy. While our default can be overridden, it can give the appearance that sellers who endorse a different policy are untrustworthy, which is rarely the case.

Buyers sometimes don't realize that trust is a two-way street, and sellers can also be put at risk. For instance, if not properly quarantined, the animal could actually pick up a virus from the buyer's facility. Also, some buyers might try to abuse this policy to try to gain an advantage. Finally, both false positives and false negatives in these tests do occur. For these reasons and others, we encourage each breeder to determine their own policy and for buyers to ask about it if they are concerned. As we always say, at the end of the day you should buy from someone you trust, and this topic is no different. To that end, we provide a variety of tools to help buyers connect with sellers they can trust.

What does MorphMarket do to protect against sick animals?

As mentioned above, we are encouraging concerned buyers to raise this topic with the seller prior to purchase. This matters because any written agreements supersede the store policy which supersedes the default policy in the event of a dispute which MorphMarket will moderate. This has always been true.

If a buyer were to report positive tests, even if we could not moderate that particular transaction, we would still investigate. If we can establish with confidence that a seller is selling unhealthy animals, we will remove them from the marketplace. Thankfully in the few instances where this has occurred, the breeders had already conscientiously removed themselves until they could restore health to their collection. This has always been true.

Buyers also have the opportunity to leave negative feedback on a seller in the event of a failed test. Some buyers might wish to wait to leave a rating until such tests come back. The ratings system on our site is alone enough to provide checks and balances for this problem and others. This has always been true.

In addition, we will provide more resources to help continue to educate the community about what we know about this topic.

More Information

We believe it's in every keeper's best interest to quarantine new animals coming into their home or facility. Additionally, since viruses can hide in what appear to be healthy-looking animals even beyond typical quarantine periods, keepers may want to consider virus testing their animals.

Tests are available in kit form that can be performed at home and sent into a lab for analysis. These can detect some viruses including Nidovirus and Inclusion Body Disease. A few popular testing options are Fishhead Diagnostics and Research Associates Laboratory. Allegedly some facilities produce more accurate results than others; however, we do not yet have an official recommendation.

Here is an overview of viral diseases in reptiles. For information specifically about Nidovirus, check out this interview with Fishhead Labs by Chris Eaton of Snakes and the Fatman.

Last update on .

Basic Buyer Info Required

From now on we are requiring buyers to complete a few basic fields in their User Profile before sending new inquiries. The basic fields include:

  • First and Last Name
  • General Location (Country & Postal Code)
  • Phone Number

This change will speed up the inquiry process for everyone. Providing this basic information up front saves both the buyer and seller from having to request or provide it in a series of messages.

Phone numbers are now part of the required fields for a few reasons. First, sellers shipping live animals must provide the buyer's phone number to shipper. Second, phone numbers are valuable for in-person pickups. The Messenger will become progressively more real-time in future versions of our app, but it's always good to have backup communication methods.

We recommend that buyers enter accurate information. While there's nothing stopping you from entering "Daffy Duck" as your name, it will be off-putting to sellers, and you can expect to be declined and blocked frequently. If the name in your profile doesn't match the name in your payment information, that will be a red flag to the seller and will likely cause delays.

We also recommend filling out the optional fields. This information will help you build trust with the sellers and they will take you more seriously from the beginning.

In the future, as we add more support for transactions, we may have certain information such as phone number or full address become to the seller once a transaction has begun. Until then, you could enter a fake number -- such as all 1's -- if you are not willing for sellers to see our number. But again, it's the seller's option (just as it always has been) to decline an inquiry.

Last update on .

Messages sent today from email from 7:11am to 6:29pm (Central Time) were not received by MorphMarket or the recipients.

Messages sent from the Messenger and new inquiries had no issues. The emails with problems would all be replies to previous messages.

You can verify if your message were sent now or any time by checking the Messenger and seeing if they are there.

How to Re-Send

If you sent messages during this time, you can resend using one of the following options:

  1. In email you can re-send the message by finding the message you sent, hitting "reply" and then copy/pasting what you sent before to the top of the message. Make sure the recipient which is being emailed is something like [email protected] so it is routed the same way the original would have been.

  2. Alternatively, you can go to the Messenger (link above) and copy/paste your message in a reply there.

Cause of the Problem

This morning, we enabled a feature on Cloudflare which blocks "bad bots" from scraping our site. This kind of feature helps keep our service running more smoothly for our actual users. This protection, however, interrupted our email service Postmark without us realizing it. We have changed back this option until we can properly pass Postmark traffic through Cloudflare.

Conclusion

We apologize for this email outage. Solid communication is of utmost importance to us, which is why we continue to improve the messenger and other communication capabilities (see also the upcoming app with native notifications). Unfortunately hiccups from time to time are unavoidable but we are committed to transparency.

If you have any questions about the above, please contact [email protected]

Last update on .

Meet the Team!

For many years, MorphMarket was a side-project run by one guy.

Today, this site is run by a team of individuals who are dedicated to advancing the herpetoculture community. The new services we are building are only possible thanks to your support.

But who are these folks? Please take a moment to meet the team!

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