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Token System - Marketplace

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I have an idea I thought of last night to encourage reviews, and participation. It has to do with a "token" or "credit" system where we create a whole marketplace just for YC'ers. Users can "cash out" on tokens, and also use tokens for services, lessons, trading, asking for in depth reviews, etc. This could also be a way for YC to acquire "capital" up front. The better YC does financially, the higher the worth of these "tokens" and vice versa. I suppose this idea is sort of like a mini stock market geared just for us.

This could be a way to replace our auction system, and I can create systems that would allow trading of services directly within a user profile. Trading of "tokens" would be simple, and whoever wants to cash out, they simply contact me directly where I will buy the tokens back at the given price. I just have to see if people would make use of the trading system.

What do you guys think of a system like this?

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Personally, I don't want a financial string held onto my activities on YC. I wouldn't collect on tokens nor would I go out of my way to get more. I'm not into that sort of thing, and, everywhere I've seen it done, it feels really gimicky.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, YC should be non-profit.

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Users first buy into them first. Then they use tokens like currency. Anyone can earn tokens by doing a variety of things, such as reviewing, people giving tokens when they like a piece they hear, asking for services (such as teaching services, help with writing a piece of music, etc), someone asking a reviewer for an in depth review for token exchanges, and basically we can get as creative as we want.

It would be a good way to pay people for their contributions I think.

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Well Justin, keep in mind you could make money with the system theoretically. What's so gimicky about it? It would be like real money. I figured that this system might be easier to manage rather than having direct payouts for services, this way it limits transactions, if there is a problem with a user not delivering, this is a "credit" system so I can listen to both sides without having anyone lose any money, and its a quick and easy way to do something for someone without having a necessary "monetary" transaction all the time.

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Meh ok I see how it could work. BUT, I still wouldn't want a financial hold on my activity. It there was an opt-out, I would, at least at first. If there wasn't one, I simply wouldn't contribute.

Besides, having a financial incentive to make reviews et al would cause problems with authenticity of opinion. If I make a small amount of change every time I review, then I'll give more reviews with lesser authentic opinion and help. Not to mention how it could be abused, so safeguards would have to be put in place.

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I'm not averse to the idea of "tokens" - they'd be like cigarettes on a prison block ;)

A currency, yes...but money, no. I don't think affixing a "value" to them is a good idea. ..

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Well I want people to realize they can cash these in for real money. Let's say I sell 10 tokens at one dollar each, but if you were to sell them right away, I may only give you $5 back. However depending on how many tokens are in the system (the marketplace), I could bump up the price value (like stock). With this theoretical system, I would always be clear as to the cash-in value of a token at any given time.

And if anything, I think it would be fun! And a good way for YC (and yourself!) to start earning some cash :)

If I make a small amount of change every time I review, then I'll give more reviews with lesser authentic opinion and help. Not to mention how it could be abused, so safeguards would have to be put in place.

Well, this doesn't mean that if you give a review someone will give you money. They may, but you can't force someone to. However, someone may notice you, and ask for your feedback. In this case, you may want to give a detailed review since you received payment first. There won't be abuse because there will be a limited amount of tokens, depending on how many people "bought in". It's not like I would be giving everyone 50 tokens for free. Everyone would start out with 0.

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I am trying to wrap my head around the idea. So we would buy a starter token, for example, and then as we use the site (review, etc.) we would receive more tokens? Is that right?

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Everyone who needs a service performed buys in, that's rule #1, otherwise there would be no way this could work. You don't have to buy tokens if you are going to be performing jobs. Also, you wouldn't just "receive" tokens. Someone has to pay you accordingly by whatever job you take (Imagine someone paid me for tokens at a higher price so that YC could make a profit, thus the token has value. The token owner would then use that valued token to pay you for services).

So you can offer jobs, or look for jobs. I'm thinking that I can have an automated forum somewhere on this site (or perhaps a marketplace categorization page), that will advertise everyone looking for jobs to be performed. Similarly, I could create a page that automatically categorizes advertisers looking to make money by offering their services. Essentially instead of the auction, we would create a clever system instead, using tokens, as a way for our members to trade and make money through our token system.

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I'm pretty sure I understand your idea and I'm not too fond of it. I have seen this kind of thing before, but I don't think the idea has a lot of synergy with the purpose of YC. You're trying to find too many little extra features to buff up YC and I think if the site is run properly then it won't need any of that. I agree with the comment about the token exchange being gimmicky. Plus... people will invariably get pissed when they're denied a token or think they're not getting enough bang for their buck. There will be people who won't use them and people who might leave because of them, which isn't a great combination of possible outcomes to have to combat. Also... are we sure the auction idea will even work before you decide to revamp it? I haven't exactly seen it in action. I know I haven't been around much, maybe I've missed something?

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I'm not sure if I want to take YC into the non profit route. I'd like full control over my assets. As far as the token system, maybe I should move this into the public to see other opinions as well. We could do direct payments instead of tokens as a possibility. The auction never started, and I feel that instead of developing it further, we should go a different direction to integrate services directly within the site rather than host it on a completely different subdomain. I feel we will increase chances of interactions/transactions.

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Guest John Pax

I see that there is some merit to the token system. On the one hand, it's easier to work with than money and also pushes people to stay on the YC website after their first service as they cannot use these tokens elsewhere (unless they "cash-out" ofc). Then on the other hand, direct cash transfers are a lot simpler from a user point of view as there are no strings attached (as mentioned earlier) and there's none of this long 'get cash, contact admin, get token, trade token' process.

A large negative I see is that the market place you're proposing appears to rely heavily on user to user trades. Users are more likely to buy than offer and I worry that there will be nothing "for sale" - are you planning on offering anything constant on behalf of YC? Something that will always be in stock? Something that will make the auction service look active and worth participating in?

I'm all for the exchange of services between YC members, however I'm not overly keen on somehow getting a profit from it as it means somewhere along the line, someone has lost or gotten less than they deserve and that makes for an unfriendly experience. If you're really set on having the site sustain it self/make a profit, there must be other ways of going about it? Something that doesn't effect the user experience in such a large way?

All that said, I would prefer YC to stay a non-profit, educational website/community.. that is the reason why we came and stayed.

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If people are awarded for their reviewing or their favouring, I fear that would dramatic decrease the value of that review. When I review that is a service I provide. I do not want to earn something by that, except for the good-will of others to review as well. Good will should be the only currency, imho

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I'm not sure if I want to take YC into the non profit route. I'd like full control over my assets.

Well of course you wouldn't since you're the one paying for everything out of pocket. How about, instead of using private funds, get YC to be finded by legit educational grants instead? YC is not a business, it was never founded on such a notion. YC is a community of people coming together to discuss a common intrest they love, music, and where older composers can educate the younger ones. This site is primarily about community and education. Both of those atributes (along with advocacy) are prime examples of non-profit organizations.

What's awesome about non-profit then, is you can actually, get this, PAY your staff! If we have a small but efficiant group of staff members who run YC, then they can be promoting YC and the YC brand throughout the internet, to friends, music groups, etc. Make it their part-time *job* to promote YC. Imagine the effect that would have on viewership! This place would EXPLODE in numbers. Uploads would be incredibly high. Get people to donate to YC! Get grants! Make fundraisers where composers benefit. Use connecections to proffer performances! Imagine that! Performances advocated by a non-profit group. (The New York Philharmonic education dept and ASCAP already do that!)

YC has always placed education and community first. Once money and profit get in the way (which they always do *cough* University of Phoenix *cough*), YC will fall apart because its more core principle would be taken away. And then it would just be a lot of investment money for nothing.

If it were up to me, this site would be "YoungComposers.org" not ".com". We need to be an advocacy group for young composers out there who love to write but aren't sure how. Maybe that would involve providing paid services (like the Auction), but the YC organization should not take a penny out of it save for optorational costs.

Remember, ASCAP started with one lone composer in the 1920s (Victor Herbert) who saw a need for composers. Today, we can follow that lead in a modern marketplace.

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Users are more likely to buy than offer and I worry that there will be nothing "for sale" - are you planning on offering anything constant on behalf of YC? Something that will always be in stock? Something that will make the auction service look active and worth participating in?

No exchanges take place unless there are agreements, these agreements would be handled by the system. If an agreement is broken, this means the dispute comes to me, or our mediators. I think you are getting confused though. Services are perceived values by the person who needs or wants a service. Thus an exchange of money can be made in return for a service. Sure, we do free things here as well, but more often then not, a paid service will be of higher quality than a free service.

I'm all for the exchange of services between YC members, however I'm not overly keen on somehow getting a profit from it as it means somewhere along the line, someone has lost or gotten less than they deserve and that makes for an unfriendly experience.

This is what the marketplace is all about. If someone deems a service worth $10, then whether or not the person on the other end receives profit should make no difference. I deemed YC to be worth plenty more, which is why I privately fund it. Maybe you guys don't agree with the perceived value, but all that matters is how I perceive the value.

If you're really set on having the site sustain it self/make a profit, there must be other ways of going about it? Something that doesn't effect the user experience in such a large way?

I don't see how this would affect the user experience, can you tell me how? No one has to buy into anything, again, this is what a free marketplace is all about. I think a payment system will open up the possibilities of higher valued exchanges.

I'm bringing this debate into the public to see what others have to say about this. Thanks for all your feedback.

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a good idea ..as long as there is no "real" dollars involved ..I mean you don't buy YC credit .. you don't change it for $$

it's only earned from contributions to the forum or lessons or whatever online ..

a system of exchange of those "tokens" between members will be useful .. for favors or help or thing ..

but i say again it will be ruined if there is possibility to use them elsewhere ..

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Remember, this is a revenue building theoretical situation, and a chance for our users to make money using the marketplace. I'm trying to get an idea if people would use this system if it were to be built.

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Remember, this is a revenue building theoretical situation, and a chance for our users to make money using the marketplace. I'm trying to get an idea if people would use this system if it were to be built.

Well it could be an idea.. but a lot of control would be needed .. 'cauase people would be putting stupid stuff just to make money .. and it would be quantity over quality .. among 10000 other problems i can see when handling money online ..

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As for the non profit organization idea, this is just not the direction I want to take Young Composers. It is important for me to keep Young Composers funded privately in favor of having 100% control over its assets and direction.

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As for the non profit organization idea, this is just not the direction I want to take Young Composers. It is important for me to keep Young Composers funded privately in favor of having 100% control over its assets and direction.

To it's "ownership syndrome" yes? Or is it that you want to pocket the profit yourself? Because if the latter is false, then we're already a non-profit, just not officially, and you would have to pay taxes on said income.

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Young Composers has made money through its store. I do have a registered business and a trademark. I wouldn't have paid all this money for a Young Composers trademark just to become registered as a non profit organization. And I do pay taxes on my income. However because I put the money I make from my store (and my personal income) into the business, I am entitled to some serious tax deductions.

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