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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Is spooky more about sales? (31 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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reese
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My impression... comparing Penny to Spooky, it seems to me that Spooks is much more about marketing & sales than an honest discussion about something useful... beyond sales.
Tony Iacoviello
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It wasn't always, but that seems to be the way it is now. Smile

There are some great threads here, but it seems that more than half of what is posted here concerns product announcements or are product/sales oriented. But this may not be the true situation.

It seems that the membership is drawn to the product threads and they get the most attention and stay near the top, this may be why it seems to be more product than anything else. This does not mean other topics are not posted, they are. But for the most part, they don't receive as much attention from the membership.

Let me put it this way, if the membership was not interested in the "product" topics, they would sink to the bottom and not be noticed, and the other types of threads would be more prominent and at the top do to large member involvement in them.

What we see is driven by member interest.

Tony
Tony Iacoviello
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Another thing to keep in mind, we don't have a designated "product area" (Penny has Mentally Speaking), so everything gets posted here in Spooky.

Tony
The Curator
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Sales, only sales. Yes.
A cultural thread is easy to recognize, you've only 2 or 3 comments.
KOTAH
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Spooky is all about sales.
If it weren't, we wouldn't be getting PMs from the head administrator,
dealing with availability of new releases from his good friends.

It is annoying to see the flashing sign saying I have a message, only to discover an unsolicited sales pitch.


But that is the nature of the beast.

Like it or leave it the only option other than not purchasing anything.


Kotah
Roth
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Quote:
On Aug 17, 2014, reese wrote:
My impression... comparing Penny to Spooky, it seems to me that Spooks is much more about marketing & sales than an honest discussion about something useful... beyond sales.

I see 5 product threads in Penny on the front page and 6 product threads front page here.

We have better toys Smile
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PROF BC
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While I do create products and discuss them here, I for one have always tried to keep posts focused upon usage and presentation as much as humanly possible. I have lost count of the number of routines and handlings I have posted on Spooky for props other than my own (whether currently 'for sale' or simply owned by another performer--be it a '7 keys' handling, an automaton needing a backstory, or any number of other bizarrist needs).

I note, too, that many of the 'sales' posts rapidly morph into handling and usage discussions, how to link the new product to other routines, and ultimately the thread evolves into a mini seminar in the art of shaping an act. That surely represents a very strong community spirit here on Spooky dedicated to the guiding spirit of 'magicians helping magicians'.

It also may simply be the nature of the beast that forums relating to bizarre, which is so very much about story surrounding artifact, will have a number of products on offer to take care of one half of that equation. We need artifacts--sometimes from the Bring and Buy sale or flea market, more often something specifically designed, loaded and ready to perform. This is a relatively young art form, and the props are, to some extent, struggling to catch up with the decades (even centuries) of development that other styles of magic props can boast.

Nevertheless, I for one have been more often than not informed and inspired by the writings on Spooky of Christian Chelman, Christopher Gould, Todd Landman, Jim Magus, Dr. Spektor, Michael J. Fraughton, MatCult, Roni, Doug Higley, Perkins, TH1, Steve Drury, and many, many (many!) others who had nothing to sell and yet much to say.

I'd have to say, then, (at least for me) Spooky is not 'mainly' about items for sale (though I am always intrigued and often thrilled to see what other creative minds are making). It is primarily about sharing ideas. Sometimes (not always) these ideas take the form of 'and you can own one, too.' For me, that is how our art form will grow and is growing.

Professor BC
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I am curious to how some of the Creators and Members that do post threads in 'Spooky' about products, that can be discussed here ... seem to VANISH like magic !
"If you watch Godzilla backwards, it's about a big ass lizard who helps rebuild a half burnt-down city, then moonwalks back into the ocean"
Christopher Gould
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...some of us have different outlets to discuss our work and serve our customers.

Here is my take on things.
I do agree that a forum becomes what it's users want - to a degree. It also becomes what the dealers want too.

I think people here want to hear about new items that both big and small creators are putting out. However, I think most people (quite rightly) resent having the forum flooded with ads and then bumped up with 'wow that looks great' comments.

I used to make posts here on topics that I thought were of interest to the community, but I have stopped doing so as it seems quite pointless to spend time constructing an article or topic for discussion only to see it flooded out and relegated into darkness within a day of two. I am not pointing any fingers here. My own view is that the Café and spooky has become what it has become and this is what we have. So this is a good place to come to hear what latest stuff is coming out, not so good a place for evolved discussion. To some extent this is the nature of forums.

I am not blaming any other dealers for this state of affairs, I see it more as a natural consequence of the forum structure. Speaking as a dealer, I know the importance of exposure on here and other forums. On the whole, dealers seems to respect each others work here, and when we see dealers fighting to knock each others posts from the top slots it is both regrettable and thankfully rare.

In it's present form, I am not sure that this forum is the best way to give after sales content either, and for the same reasons. I, as well as fellow users, have put a tremendous amount of content linked to AM's catalogue on the moon and regularly give after sales advice to users. I would not do this here as it would appear that I was just attempting to bounce my own threads. Also, what would justify the investment of time if the thread will be gone in a day or two?
From a personal point of view, I am only one guy and between developing new ideas, writing, drawing the graphics, making the objects, keeping up with orders, contacting customers, parcelling stuff up etc.etc (you get the idea), I have very little time left over and this time needs to be spent wisely and to best effect. So I was going to say that I apologize for not being here that often, but I have laid out my reasons. There is certainly no lack of after sales support for AM's work, if you know where to look.
For the Café to work in the way that would allow both product announcements *and* in-depth discussion would mean that the forum would need to be restructured, with an area for both product announcements and one for discussion. As well some way to ensure that discussions are kept live and at the top of the page (there are many ways for a forum to achieve this). Another idea would be to organise the forum so that each active dealer had their own sub thread where they could effectively promote their work on an even playing field, as well as offer post sales support and discussion. This would give a good platform for dealers and a useful resource for customers, as well as freeing up the main forum threads for discussion of our art. This in turn would motivate people to contribute to such discussions. None of these things will happen.
So with what we have here, I think it is important to users that they can come in and find out about what the dealers are up to, but also leaves the dealers with an obligation not to enrage their customers and particularly their potential customers by abusing this. In a one section forum with no control over how threads are bumped to the top, it is a matter of balance and equilibrium, and we all have a part to play if we want to ensure this, don't we?
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The Curator
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Well, as it has been said sooner, if you want a cultural and useful thread, please participate.
Doug Higley
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Good thread. Personally I attempted to remove the 'sales' aspect from my own website, as well as refraining from 'selling' on the Café. However I did notice a misconception being posted about on the Café and tried to address it as succinctly as I could as well as answering a request (I get often) about something I used to offer in other's posts. On my own site I had to put a couple of effects back on because of having to answer constant questions and people thinking I croaked or something. Basically I am way out of sales mode...but not dead yet. Smile

There is that issue though of discussing effects and concepts in spooky (and elsewhere) that can be construed as giving up the secrets to the 'muggles'...a fine edge.

Any other thoughts I have were touched on nicely by Gould and BC...excellent posts! Smile
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Dave Scribner
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Tony said it best in that what you see is driven by the members. We set up the forums and if members misuse them, the result is what you currently see.

Penny was set up for the general discussion of mentalism, not product reviews or sales.

Mentally speaking is solely for product reviews and not sales.

Spooky is for the general discussion of the bizzare and again not for sales.

All sales should be in the let's make a deal forums
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Darkness
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Yes, I think you all summed it up nicely. I do enjoy the discussion of the new effects but it does get a little too focused and detailed. There is so much else to talk about. As long as great new effects are being offered it would be expected the discussion to be directed in those areas. It not wrong it actually makes sense.
IAIN
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...i see it as more of people over-relying on the props that get released to provide the "wow" or the "eurgh" factor...rather than thinking for yourself...so much that is released and available to us, comes with a backstory - and thought that's fine, they are obviously themed...and for me, that spoils things...forces everyone's creativity down one particular road, and people have to create their own back alleys as a creative outlet...

should be the other way round...

spirit slates are yet to be 'branded', and look at all the stuff you can do with them, and how many different themes and angles you can explore with them...
Christopher Gould
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Quote:
On Aug 17, 2014, Dave Scribner wrote:
Tony said it best in that what you see is driven by the members. We set up the forums and if members misuse them, the result is what you currently see.

Penny was set up for the general discussion of mentalism, not product reviews or sales.

Mentally speaking is solely for product reviews and not sales.

Spooky is for the general discussion of the bizzare and again not for sales.

All sales should be in the let's make a deal forums


With all due respect, I would like to defend the dealers here to some extent. Bizarre magic is something of a unique phenomena. We have always held ourselves apart from mainstream magic, whilst paradoxically being closer to its roots. The problem with putting up information (and it should be information, rather than sales pitch) onto other sections of the forum is that there is a real danger that it would not be understood in a more generalised context. I would feel that I was sending a precious and rather delicate child off to a mainstream school where I would fear for its safety. The converse is also true. People in bizarre magic tend to have rather peculiar and somewhat focused tastes. We tand not to care too much for the latest and greatest in magic. I for one do not understand why anyone would bother to perform most of the stuff out there. (this reflects my personal tastes and is not an indictment of the potential value of making an Iphone appear in a coke bottle). So I would not go to this section of the forum, although perhaps I should. This problem arises from knowing that this is also true of my potential customers. Although I see your point, and I really do. There *is* a logic and a value to dealers letting people know about what they are doing here. It is an intimate family here, and we do not get out much. There is also value to be had in reading genuine and unsolicited testimonials from real customers. I want to know what the creative minds in our neck of the woods are up to, and I want to know what the genuine thoughts are of fellow travellers. I think we all feel that there is a place for this, and that this does not constitute abuse of the service. If this board turned into merely hype and stupid bumping of threads that preclude any other form of discourse, then it is a cause for concern. Frankly, sometimes this is evident. However, I sense a maturity here that is rare elsewhere. Dealers are responsible on the whole, and there seems to me to be an unwritten code of conduct. If you, as users do not contribute to hyping and bumping threads to the exclusion of all else, then I think there will be little cause for concern and we can all enjoy intelligent debate alongside having a convenient resource for keeping up to speed about what is happening in terms of new thinking and new products.
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Darkness
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Agreed.

When we discuss new products, we also feed ideas back into the machine, directly or indirectly, which helps to spawn inspiration and direction. This is much needed for our growth and future.
Any discussion may be beneficial, even if it is only the talk of the day.

We need to beware of these offerings to determine if its a good fit as we experiment and develop our own paths. Why not talk about them? We are also free to open threads on other topics and we do.

Maybe it becomes unbalanced at times when there is so much worth talking about with respect to these amazing effect, which are just getting better and need to be front and center. We don't have a ton of iphone in coke bottle tricks. These are special and deserve the attention they are getting. All good, just be thankful we have great toys of importance.

Start to worry when they start turning into discussions about pencil through finger tricks, or whatever. Feel free to discuss prop-less routines as well. We are what we contribute.
Lo Pan
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I don't think that there is a problem with this forum - I have visited other areas of the Café and I won't go back. - There is a strong sense of community in Spooky that I believe is balanced and unique.
Darkness
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True..
Brynmore14
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I don't bother with most other areas of the Café, for most of the reasons outlined by Chris above. Perhaps with need an area like the mentalists have just for sales and promotion. General discussion would then be in Spooky and any serious talk regarding methodology would go in the crypt.
DocBenWiz
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Quote:
On Aug 17, 2014, Darkness wrote:
Yes, I think you all summed it up nicely. I do enjoy the discussion of the new effects but it does get a little too focused and detailed. There is so much else to talk about. As long as great new effects are being offered it would be expected the discussion to be directed in those areas. It not wrong it actually makes sense.

Agreed,...and regarding discussion of new effects, I really would like to see more extensive and consistent contributions to the individual specialized "Forums".
I have found that over the past couple of years, I have purchased some new effects/props, been excited with the initial info and suggestions in the manuals provided, but then look to the forums for creative, helpful, enhancing contributions and they are either (1) few and far between (2) outdated by a year or more since anyone has contributed or (3) a few kind souls make some enthusiastic and very useful suggestions and then nothing more is seen in that particuler forum!
In some cases certain dealers have included in their sales descriptions the point that additional material (instructions, enhancememts, script ideas, ways of adapting props, etc, etc) will be discussed and included inthe special "forums". I have bought some items, gone into the forum for that item, and found that no one has made any posts there for well over a year!
I say this, not so much as a complaint, but as a wish and an encouragement that some folks would consider going back again into one of the forums of their favorite prop/effect/collectible item (assumimg they still remember the secret pass code, ha, ha) and make a current contribution. New ideas, enhancements, suggestions for presentation, additions, results of performance, etc and revive some interest there.
"Pay no attention to that strange man behind the curtain" (it's only "Doc Benjamin from the Amazing Wizardelia Wagon")
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