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YachtForums Yacht Sales - Community Based Yacht Brokerage

Discussion in 'The Mile-Out Club' started by YachtForums, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    I thought that I posted this yesterday, but don't seem to see it on the thread:
    I appreciate you treating us all like we own the sight, and offering us a partial ownership in this possible venture. That being said, it really is your site. We have helped it to grow, but there would be nothing to grow if it weren't for your efforts and foresight.
    I think that taking compensation off the table is a good idea, but I think that you should certainly try everything you can to prosper from your idea. I, for one, would not stop visiting nor contributing if I knew that you were making loads of money. I'd be proud of you, and would certainly be happy to let you pick up the check next time we have a meal!
  2. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    In advance, I apologise for going off subject, but now that this is our group having a roundtable, which by the way, SHOULD be something we do more often than once every decade...
    I would not be true to myself if I did not write this, in spite of the fact that I have a very sympathetic view to your situation Carl.
    Regarding K1W1's comment which can only be referring to Marmot, let me say I miss the bugger a lot!
    I feel as though we have lost some "ballast" some depth and BRUTAL honesty without him and his incredible knowledge.
    He did not suffer fools or fakes!

    Yes, we ALL get seedy and short tempered when we have to deal with the public each and every day.
    That is a major reason why I stopped taking calls 3 years ago from prospective clients wanting me to quote or design their next mansion, and, excuse the arrogance, I don't deal with the average Joe in the street ( the clients that burned me most were building $11 to $18 mill homes, carried by my firm) and I still do need the income, but I just had enough of the ignorance, arrogance, self importance and EGO of fools! It has cost me dearly, but my soul needed a break. Next year I may start again, perhaps.

    Maybe Marmot needed a break as well. In my first few months posting, after being a lurker for while, it was Marmot who sent me a very kind and encouraging P.M after I received a nasty post and arrogant PM from a Senior Member (Banned years ago by you). I am sure Marmot has been a LOT of help to many members in the same way.

    I find lately that there are members who are also getting to me. One in particular who constantly, constantly, posts drivel and antagonistic, attention seeking posts. He is a post "counter" no doubt.
    If Marmot were around, he would be cooked, flipped and tossed. So now I understand his frustrations even more.

    Carl, with respect, for every member that complained bitterly about him, I bet there are a few more who quietly enjoyed seeing him expose the impostors. He was an authority on this site, as is K1W1 and a select FEW others that we, the Senior Members respect, not necessarily would have over for dinner, but kept the YF "Chatter" more true...

    Okay, said what I needed to. Just had to share with my friends and fellows.
    Cheers,
    George
  3. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Back to subject:
    Could we change the compensation scheme to a "reward" scheme? As in something from YF for the effort of that member?
  4. Jorge Lang

    Jorge Lang Senior Member

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    Carl, there are many here with much more experience when it comes to boats changing hands than I have. I do agree that this is a good venture for the forum, however, it I think you need to proceed with caution. Maybe sit down one morning before you turn on the laptop and do a in depth SWAT analysis of the venture. This would let you see the pros and cons. Either way, you have my full support.
  5. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    George,

    Below is a letter that went out to several senior members explaining my actions. I would politely ask that we return to thread subject now.

    Carl

    ***​

    There is so much that goes on behind the screen that others are not aware of, such as the numerous conversations I've had with Rick about his actions or the number of messages I've written in his defense to others who are put off by the same. When I copied him on these letters and he realized the aggravation and time this was costing me, he became more tolerant and polite. Unfortunately, his memory is short and we're right back where we've been many times before.

    I have suspended Rick's membership for one month. FWIW, I have NEVER suspended anyone. That should speak volumes. Obviously, this wasn't a decision I made in haste. It is something I've contemplated for about 2 years. Frankly, I'll sleep better tonight knowing that in the morning I can do a search for recent posts and NOT see a post by Marmot, which usually causes me to cringe with concern. It can only go two ways; he's either helpful or he uses the platform we've built as a podium to project his intellect and/or demoralize people.

    If you haven't met Rick, he's actually a very humble, likeable person, but I fear his anger may have been the brunt of some childhood pain. His maritime knowledge and this forum have turned the tables, making him the BMOC, sorta speak. I'm certain he could command that title without the slight of word and character assassination he seems to enjoy. What's amazing to me is he doesn't see his posts as arrogant or demeaning. But worse, he is unable to take a shot over the bow without unleashing a full arsenal of retaliation.

    Maybe I could have handled this another way, but I don't think it would be prudent to let one person single-handedly create a hostile, unwelcoming environment that deters participation, causing others to fear posting... myself included. Several people have told me they do not participate on YF due to Marmot. There is no way to know how many others feel the same way, but I think the time has come to find out.

    If Marmot chooses to return to YF following this suspension, that is fine but I will no longer let him rip people and threads apart, nor will he badger senior members that are only trying to be helpful. There are so many members that have MUCH to contribute, but stay on the sidelines out of fear of being chastised by him. It's fine to question something blatantly wrong, but Marmot dissects every ******* word and turns it around on people, destroying otherwise helpful threads, driving people away, turning the forum into a battleground and giving YF a black-eye.
  6. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Sorry for chiming in late, been busy in the past couple of days and this requirwa a little more brain power than a simple post

    In short. Great idea especially without the compensation scheme and closed threads. Referral feed may be an issue too, or at least provide ammunitions to detractor

    I am always amazed how supposedly professional brokers expect to sell and expensive boat with worst pictures and listing accuracy than the proverbial used car salesman. Even at the higher end of the market

    I can see how the virtual side will work but how about the physical side? Showings, paperwork etc.
  7. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    We have a plan in place for this. There will be a broker selected for each Geo-region and I already have some specific brokers - which are YF members - in mind for the opportunity. As for paperwork, we're bringing a roll of Charmin to each meeting.
  8. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    I think my Charmin remark came across like a smart @$$. The point was, we're bringing the paperwork with us, meaning the office will be wherever we meet the client. On that note, I should detail some of the differences in our approach...

    We will not maintain actual offices. Brick & mortar buildings with salesmen answering calls are so 1980's. It might be good for brokers who derive customers from their immediate zip codes, but YFYS will have independent brokers working from their laptops in the comfort of their homes or coffee shop, located in various regions of the world. One of the other reasons we will not have offices is for security issues. More on that later.

    We will not display at boat shows, at least not for now. It is my belief that the new boat show is on the Internet. Ask any broker. Over 95% of their leads come from the net. In years past, boat shows were the place that brokers generated their leads. Not so much today. These shows have become prohibitively expensive to display at and the attendance has become FAR more regional. FLIBS and MIBS should have the word International removed from their titles, however I think Monaco remains a true International Show.

    It has been my experience that when a buyer is truly interested in a boat, they will travel to see it & sea trial it. The bigger the boat, the more compelling that argument.

    Again, I'm grateful to all of you guys for your opinions and guidance.
  9. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    Carl
    As an active, individual member, I would think that a "For Sale" forum would be a very healthy addition. It certainly could become a "community" resource for info, though someone can get that now by making a simple inquiry on the general forums, or searching the threads. In fact, it might be interesting to "link" a sales listing to appropriate existing threads, and allow members to supplement? The challenge, I guess for you, is to get that healthy knowledge base of this forum to a projected customer base, and let the two develop some symbiotic flow - essentially developing Yachtworld.com data base resident at YF's?

    Compensation to members, IMO, would distort the "appearance" of unbiased opinions, and almost always attracts some mischief. If someone has the necessary credentials and wants to contribute to a sale or purchase, they could always do that off line, direct with YF. Keep the "for sale" forum as part of your personal business model, and let those of us who want to contribute info do it on a voluntary basis. If you don't get the level of participation you expect, you can always eliminate the forum or change the model.

    As to the possibility of faulty info, I suppose you would have to develop a filtering system for that, and talk to your corporate counsel about "insuring" the risk, appropriate disclaimers, and all other legal matters. I would suspect that "faulty" info is not a new challenge for you.

    Corporate counsel can also assist you in negotiating internet brokerage agreements, licenses and developing any necessary compliance guidelines.

    Always nice to see someone not content to "sit on their hands" because of past success. Good luck
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015
  10. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    Thanks to everyone for the feedback. I've asked for a meeting with Bob Allen, the attorney for the Ferretti Group and a friend, to discuss liability issues. Pending the outcome of that meeting, I'll outline some of our concerns about being an open-to-the-public, transparent brokerage operation. Those last few words are enough for any of us to conjure up concern!

    Short of a compensation plan, we've discussed other ways we can give back to the community. Maybe a yearly yacht charter for a few members, a Carnival cruise for a dozen members or simply a bunch of GroupOn gift certificates. We'll figure it out later.
  11. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    I find that more objectionable than a straight cut. You'll eliminate your ability to make the statement that members opinions have no connection to the sale, if that's important. In fact, if they are participating in the sale in any manner, IMO, a member should be excluded from offering opinions on that vessel. Sorry, just seems to cut against the standards/model you've worked so hard to established here at YF? Just saying....
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
  12. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    If you're going to compensate it should be disclosed fully to the public and probably even included in the title of the member. I'm sorry but in my opinion anything else with an undisclosed form of compensation or reward for assisting in the sales process at the very least gives the appearance of impropriety even if actually impropriety doesn't exist.

    You didn't like the word "kickback" earlier but let me assure you that a disgruntled customer would absolutely use that word. And the other word that comes to mind is for one to say that the persons posting weren't independent but were "pimping" for the site.

    I'll include one additional reminder. There are no secrets once more than three people are told anything. So whether it's rewards or direct compensation or just the discussion taking place in this thread, you should assume that it will all become known. If there is any part of it you're not comfortable becoming public, then you shouldn't do it.

    Your attorney will certainly advise you as far as legality of various setups. But in Florida and California, I'd be very hesitant for anyone not licensed as a salesperson to receive any commission on the sale of a used yacht.
  13. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    Hold on guys, this isn't about commission, compensation or payment. It's about community. I've been sending out t-shirts, polo shirts and other items for years, just to say thank you for being a member of YF. In my mind, this is no different, just on a different scale.

    I've never had the luxury of throwing a party at the boat show, or the exotic rendezvous locations that magazines fund. I just thought it would be nice to bring some YF folks together, logged-off and in-person. If the brokerage division does well, am I not allowed to find avenues to bring a bunch of friends together?

    I'm sorry if my idea struck the wrong cord. I'm just trying to wade through these waters. It's all new for me too.
  14. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    After a brief hiatus from this forum, and despite having misgivings long ago about the viability of a Yacht Brokerage arm to YF, I am increasingly convinced that Carl's vision is right on the mark. This can work, and the thoughtful details & questions of you previous posters in this thread serve to underline my confidence in the success of this new venture.
  15. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    WOW, welcome back Loren! Long time, no type!! For those of you who don't know him, he's one of the original well-worded, boat brained members of YF who became one of our writers and in doing so... re-wrote how we publish reviews. Loren worked for Dick Bertram for many years (14 if I recall?) and has probably forgotten more about sportfish boats than Marlin magazine ever published.
  16. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Glad to be back, Carl...Bertram Yacht (the factory) actually, across the street from Richard Bertram & Co.
    The only employee ever to migrate from the Engineering Dep't. into Sales, from the best of my knowledge.
  17. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    If the brokerage division does well, am I not allowed to find avenues to bring a bunch of friends together?


    Sure, but if your invitation is "performance" based you are changing the nature of the beast. Gratuitous T-shirts are a completely different animal, imo - and a great addition to my Saturday night wardrobe, BTW!
  18. Hawk

    Hawk Senior Member

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    Trying to find a legitimate opinion of any given boat is like trying to find that sock that you are sure you put in the washing machine but has mysteriously disappeared leaving you with another single sock to add to your collection.

    The problem with opinions is that everyone has one.

    It is well known that builder A built a cheap and nasty product but they have sold hundreds of them. Builder A, has found a niche in the market that his product fills adequately. Anyone with any clue about quality of a vessel probably wouldn’t buy one of them, but the proof is in the pudding that there are hundreds if not thousands of people out there that find this product acceptable for their needs.
    Should a builder that builds a product that fills a niche be penalized because of the opinions of people that think they know better.

    The same rings true for builder B that builds a product that is extremely high quality, extremely reliable, very safe, but is also very expensive. The opinions expressed by a few that do not have an intimate knowledge of builder B’s product may express not only unwarranted but unfounded.

    Take the top five megayacht builders in the world that are renowned for their quality, price and reputation, and then review the opinions of the many and the consensus would be most likely very positive, even though the people who are expressing these opinions may not have ever been onboard one of these vessels and certainly have never surveyed one to see what is behind the surface to see what makes these builders one of the best.

    I think YachtForums having a brokerage section is a good or even a great idea but allowing even a select few to voice an opinion on a particular vessel may come across as either vindictive or worse libellous.

    Also, if the only opinions are positive what is the point?, it would be the same as any article written the many trade magazines that for all intents and purposes is just fluff. We all have our personal favourites and inversely our least favourite yachts. How do you determine what is fact?

    There is no doubt that there are many people who are members of the YachtForums community that are very well informed, extremely honest and have a broad knowledge and understanding of how boats are built and put together. Their opinions carry a lot of weight and influence, but these opinions should be shared cautiously and most likely privately.
  19. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    It seems the old-time, all-time heavy hitters are trading in their lurker status to chime in on YFYS. Gentlemen, say hello to Jim Hawkins (Hawk), the build engineer behind Crescent and Queenship Yachts and an old friend. Jim has built more than 100 yachts over the years, not just as the construction & engineering supervisor, but a jack-of-all-trades who rolls up his sleeves and gets down in the bilge with his crew.

    Welcome back old friend!
  20. AlfredZ

    AlfredZ Senior Member

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    Now I feel I'm really alive again! Great to be back :)

    First of all, going through the list of names in this thread, I am humbled to be in this loop. It is an honor to say the least.

    I will keep this short because from the few posts I could read, all grounds are covered. I agree with K1W1's and Kafue's every word.

    A great Idea, sans the compensation part. It is a great idea, and if you guys remember, many conversations were commenced under the boat for sale threads before it was banned two summers ago, and you could sense that some opinions from certain members were either the last nail in the coffin for the boat or it's best appraisal ever! So, YF has a true word and a measurable leverage which can be put to the good of the industry.

    The strength I see, is the listings will not have duplicates like found YW and such sites, each with its own set of images, price, etc. etc. The biggest thing I see, is carrying a discussion around the listings will be an indicator that the listing is for real and alive! Anyone that went on to contacting many on YW knows that most are listed while being sold already or not even up for sale!

    For the reward system, I suggest, as noted by George "Recognition" which means a lot more to everybody, and will not have the bad impacts of any "Compensation" even if it was a cheap drink, it is still a way to question motivations. My suggestion is not unique, I was a member in a music related forum years back, and they had special titles for certain members that no one reading their posts can question, YF has a few, such as YF Historian, two of them if I remember correctly. The forum I am talking about used to have special titles such as "Yacht Forums Citizen", "Yacht Electronics Geek", "Yacht Slick" (This maybe a status too! :p) I think you see the "drift" here. So much for keeping it short! Will go through this again for sure when I'm less high on legal drugs!

    A side note that I can't pass, reading my friend Kafue's post, I was shocked reading Marmot is suspended, even though I personally had an encounter with him long time back, and two private "Listen to him and you'll learn something" from two other members, and I still remember every word Carl wrote in his message, and I always avoided participating in few threads he was on. Yet, I think it is a loss to the community nonetheless. His knowledge will be missed, maybe I won't say it to his face but I admit it! :)

    Glad to be back in your company guys more than I'm glad to be alive again! and really liking the new look and hot links to Twitter and Facebook, I have a link to YF on Twitter but now I can share a taste of true sweet sea salt with my followers over there.

    Cheers all and God bless.

    Alf