How long will the love-in last?

I'm amazed with the foregiveness and loyalty Bidstart members have shown Mark so far, especially considered the hit Stanley Gibbons took when they tried to foist the SG Marketplace upon us. SG did keep Bidstart running while they struggled to get their new site going but Marks actions are much worse in that he has just cut off Bidstart and forced HipWhatever on us, take it or leave it.

I've been trolling through the site and forums here this morning, trying to make a decision whether I should jump on board but see that there are many instances of HipWhatever not offering the same basic functionality of Bidstart?

How long will the love-in last?


  • 39 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I'm no apologist for anyone, and have been as frustrated as the next user as to what's happened over the last 3 years or so, but I don't think it's unreasonable to give this iteration a little time to get up and running.

    As I understand it, there were some technical issues that meant BidStart was not going to be sustainable for very long, and it made the most sense to quickly pull the plug on it and bring everything together here.

    Since Mark developed the helpful features we liked on BS, I don't see much reason why they won't get implemented here reasonably soon.

    Again, I speak for no one but myself, and haven't been totally thrilled by the way some things were handled in the past, but I think this is the only potentially viable stamp-selling site out there besides eBay.
  • What Mark has said about the viability of the Bidstart site is the same as what SG told us yet SG did keep Bidstart open. Never abruptly pulled the plug like what Mark has done. On other threads he claims that he gave everyone fair warning, thats hogwash IMO.

    August 2nd Mark sends out email that Bidstart is still open for business.
    "The current plan for bidStart is to continue to operate it as an independent business and website, mostly as-is and as it does today. However, we will be looking to improve customer service and site reliability. Well also be restarting general marketing activity shortly."

    August 30th and 31st emails were sent out informing us of the migration of Bidstart to Hipstamp,
    "Our goal is to complete the migration within the next week or two, and we can use your help!"

    Then Sept 2nd we are told that Bidstart will be completely shut on Sept. 7th. Bidstart cannot even be accessed to retrieve sales and other account information. Does anyone really think this is adequate notification? 5 days over a long weekend, totally unprofessional.

    On top of that, looking at all the forum threads, HipStamp is riddled with functionality issues, just like the failed SG Marketplace.
  • Whats in the past is the past why dwell over something you cannot change or have no control over. I will give HipStamps a chance to become what all of the PRE- SG/VSC members of Bidstart/stampwants know it can and will be. As with any new project there will be challenges and growing pains. I look forward to being part of the community here and growing with HipStamps and the other eHipcommerce sites .
    Please remember that not only Mark but I'm sure there are several others in the back ground working very hard helping all the members new and old through this transition period a big THANKS to ALL.
  • Well stated Ross. I believe that the vast majority of us are looking forward to another great website to sell our wares.
  • Darn it i forgot again- this is why we need the ability to edit our posts and have an automatic store signature.
  • Amen Ross, As I read the forums, I'm reminded of a recent trip to Walmart. The person in front of me was railing on and on about the service, long lines, and other short comings of the store. I asked her then why she's there if it's so bad, she had no answer. If things are so bad here why is everyone taking the time to complain rather than give suggestions?
  • I am speaking for myself and only myself. When SG was playing games with us I started pulling all the neat little facts off BS that I could possibly want for the future for no one but myself. Several times SG said BS was going away and that is what prompted me to do that. I kept up on all the little sales and interesting stuff for 3 long years. BS was having several problems. I do believe we were given ample time to get things in order and get ready for the true end of BS. I for one worked very hard to straighten up listings so the two sites matched. Which meant relisting and listing like crazy. I guess I saw the handwriting on the wall.

    Yes, there are several little tweaks here and there that need to be completed. Stamp Wants/BidStart was not completed in a few months. It took years and the help of several members that kept asking for changes. Give this site a chance. If you are that impatient, come back in about 6 months and let us know what a great site it is.

    This is my very humble opinion and mine alone.
  • edited September 2016 1 LikesVote Down
    Hi Paul,

    Welcome to HipStamp! HipStamp has been in business since March 2016, and was previously entirely separate from bidStart - which was owned by Stanley Gibbons. When Stanley Gibbons made a strategy change, and decided to exit the online stamp marketplace business, both the Stanley Gibbons Marketplace and bidStart were set to close shortly. We were able to acquire bidStart at that time, and completed the acquisition at the beginning of August. The alternative would have been that we did not purchase bidStart, and it would have closed along with the Stanley Gibbons Marketplace.

    While we would have liked to keep bidStart separate for the time being, due to several serious technical issues this was neither technically viable or financially viable for us. We tried to be as transparent with the process as possible, and on August 18 we had sent out a newsletter to all bidStart members, as well as placed a copy in the bidStart forums, and shortly thereafter updated the bidStart homepage to reflect the same; where we explained in detail that having had a chance to review bidStart after acquiring it, there were a series of significant technical issues; and that based on additional feedback from our customers, we would soon be migrating bidStart into HipStamp.

    We've been operating successfully for quite some time before the bidStart acquisition, and our platform is very stable, and not riddled with issues. That being said, there's a lot more features you'll find here for stamps, particularly around searching and browsing by Catalog data. There's of course many improvements and enhancements we can always make - and continually do so. We do rely heavily on our forums to work with members and Sellers to expand on our functionality.
  • Paul,

    Seems to me if I remember correctly Bidstart crashed once already this year and at that time it didn't just crash for an hour two but it was down for 5 days straight. I for one wouldn't want to go through that again. How close was it to crashing again and how badly? And would you want to go through again?
  • I will loudly and proudly back Mark on this new venture with full faith that he knows what he's doing and will do it better than any other competitor out there on the InterWebs . Everyone just needs to give him time to get it all done. There are only 24 hours in a day and we'll give him at least 3 of those hours to get some sleep from time to time.
  • Hear! Hear!, Kurt!

    I heartily concur!!

  • Personally, I am glad it's narrowed to one choice and I am very hopeful that Hip will function better than BidStart did. There were so many utterly frustrating technical problems with BidStart, I'm surprised I've traded here as much as I have. If the new site works well, it will be of benefit to philately. Perhaps now Mark can attract good ZOS and APS sellers to further round out the stable of offerings.
  • Mark (and his team) built the original Stampwants and Hipstamp WILL surpass that; only it is not going to happen overnight.

    In my book, it will take as long as it takes. We only have to see how fast ideas or changes are being implemented now and with an open mind.

    For recently joined members, that is exactly how it used to be at Stampwants (and the pre SG Bidstart). That is why I have faith it will be delivered.

    Not sure about allowing them as much as three hours sleep, though !
  • I have been working diligently on trying to correct all the messed up listings that I have in my store. The import from BS to HS was definitely not a clean process!

    I had (and have still) hundreds of items at the beginning of my store that had:

    No Country at all
    USA (instead of United States)
    German Reich (instead of Germany)
    No catalog number (even though it was in the title)

    Over the course of the past few days I have reviewed and updated thousands of listings trying to get this mess fixed. I completely understand why buyers are not bothering to search a store if it is a complete mess.

    Over the course of my fixing my items, I can see how the site is developed and I do believe that HS is a much better platform. However...

    The latest fiasco is now this: After fixing hundreds of US listings, I went back to my home page, and find that there are now only 387 items in my store! What happened to the other 42,500 items?
  • Steven,

    I just checked your store home page and I am seeing 42,713 items in your store. The first stamp is a Germany 114 MNH. That's what I am seeing. Not sure why you are only seeing 387 items.

  • I just checked it myself -- no idea where they went for an hour!
  • Steven,

    I finally realized what the problem is. Your home landing page is showing correctly. The default search for hipstamp right now is newly listed items. If you were to go into my store you would see some postal history that was just listed this morning. Right now I don't believe Hipstamp is set up yet for the stores to show a different default within the store itself.

    The only listings that you have that were critical were the ones at the beginning or the end of the categories because those were the listings that the program didn't know where to place them for some reason within those specific listings.

  • edited September 2016 0 LikesVote Down
    I sort my store by country / catalog. I changed it on my screen a couple days ago, and it has finally stayed the way I want it to.

    The reason that German Reich comes first is that when I open up the listing, the country shown is "German Reich" not Germany. There are about 3-4000 in my German section that are this way. As long as a country is either blank or has an entry that is wrong, that will affect how the items are displayed. For example, I have also found Berlin under Germany, and the categories did not convert seamlessly either.

    I am working diligently to clean up my items, but first I have to fix my items that do not show up under a search (like my JQ1-JQ5 problem). The data that came over from Bidstart is such a mess that I really hope that we can get a CSV file soon.....
  • How does anyone expect to sell anything when there is no go to page X button at the bottom of the store pages. So someone has to go 2 pages at a time to get to the page they want.
    Making it imposible on a store that has over 100 pages. I personally have several 1,000 pages.
    Bid start allow for a much better search experience.
    I am now getting complaints from my customers. People think they have problems to correct listings. I count over 50,000 price errors. I may cancel my subscription and go back 13 years to Ebay.
  • Paul, I sympathize with you. I have been emailing Mark ever since he made the announcement that he was taking over again from SG, trying to convince him not to close BS until HS was at least as good. His pulling the plug was a shock (probably to many of us).

    As I am going through my listings, fixing each one at a time, I realize that the problems here do not lie with the website, but with the data that was incorrectly imported. I actually think that this site is much better than BS, however.... When you have USA with its 20+ subcategories, and HS only had one, that creates such a mismatch that if you rely only on the data brought over, you will have no luck.

    I only have about 900 pages to go through, you have about 10,000. My problem is that I have items in my store that I can search for via catalog number, and nothing appears! The search engine only looks into the Country and Catalog Number boxes, not the title. Therefore I have literally thousands of items that even I cannot find, other than by going page by page.

    I can only fix so much going one item at a time. My comments are not to show that I am complaining, but to show the problems with the transfer over from BS that is affecting us all. I would wager that there are many stores online that the owners do not even know that they have items that have problems.

    What we all need is the ability to get our listings on a CSV spreadsheet, where we can fix our problems en masse. Mark mentioned in another thread that he is working on this -- but we are dead in the water without it.
  • Paul, there is a go to page at the bottom. Just type in the number and hit enter.
  • Yes, as Jeri mentioned every page on HipStamp does have a "Goto Page X". It's in the exact same spot in which it was on bidStart - right next to the page buttons links. You can click on the box where it says "Go to Page" and enter the page number you want and then press enter to go to that page.

    All items which had a Country and Catalog Number within the title of the listing on bidStart would have been extracted automatically from the title of the listing (unless it was not included or in a very, very odd format). If you manually upload, Bulk List, or manually edit items this may however not be the case. Steve - the items you had with "usa" in the Country name were not from our import or automatic extraction of data from the title. However, to note, if you enter "USA" in for the Country it will show up in "United States" searches anyway.
  • Paul, I also sympathize with you because I too have been feeling the pain. It's nice to see others weigh in. Unfortunately, I'm clueless what might be causing your 50,000 price errors, something I haven't seen that yet in my store.

    For large US stocks like you have, one huge improvement will happen when Mark assigns the Stamp Type to your 412,702 listings. For me, it's a top issue to be addressed because everyone is affected. There is another forum in which I brought this up and Mark is planning to do this. In other words, you'll start to see Airmail, Special Delivery, Revenues etc. as stamp types which will help customers narrow the search. It's not the total answer but it should help. Personally, I miss the Custom Categories we had at BS, a feature I utilized so customers could quickly grasp what my store was about and see where my strengths were. My store looked better at BS than right now at HS. Still, I am optimistic that progress will be made and fairly quickly.

    I noticed other errors in your store such as your plate blocks. If "plate block" wasn't in the title at bidStart, it didn't get classified as such at HS. I have issues like that too. I also have 400+ stamps in Worldwide Other because I made simple spelling errors on the country names causing incorrect classification. I started fixing some of these errors but gave up due to the time and pain. I switched to scotch on the rocks and felt better.

    Anyway, Steven and I have been requesting the ability to update our stores using csv files because everyone probably has some embedded BS errors that could use correction. We could quickly use "find/replace" in Excel to fix many spelling errors or "edit/fill/down" for missing data and fix a whole host of other issues we see in our listings. I believe Mark committed to providing that capability as well in the other forum.

    So Paul, hang in there for a little while longer or try my method when you get frustrated.

  • Found the Go to page Box ( how did I miss it ). O.k. I figured out what happened with my listings. Hope this helps you Mark. I uploaded 80-90% of my listings while the court case was going on. The csv file did not pick up items that were too close to the relist date on bid start. So those items I never Physically transfered. During the migration I had a sale on BidStart, So on the items that were not Physically transfered. It took the Sale price 65% of the list price. So on this sit the price also is 60% off so way too cheap.
    I spent a day figuring out and updateing my spred sheet configuration. So now I am ready to start listing again. It is easier for me just to end the affected listings and relist I do need the 60% off sale to continue. However no one seems to be buying much right now. I think everyone is busy fixing their listings.
  • Thanks Mark
    You just fixed all my listings. Hope the same helps everyone else.
  • This is why everyone is here and the love-in will last.
  • edited September 2016 0 LikesVote Down
    Mark, I have updated so many listings with such problems, and I have not uploaded anything on HS directly. It all came from the BS import. If you look at the first five pages in my store (sorted by country/catalog) you will see that all of them have "German Reich" as country, not Germany.

    As far as my US listings, the last 10 pages (at least) are still a mess. They are resulting in no catalog number in the listing (although it is in the title). Over the weekend I have spent at least 20 hours trying to fix items, concentrating on back of the book.

    By the way, how long does it take for the items to resort after my fixing the errors? For example, I fixed JQ1-5 and QE1-4 on Friday, and there are still only 3 items total listed (better than zero when I started). I have a total of 12 listings here, just one example. Another example: Parcel post shows only four, I have over 100 items in this category that I have also fixed Friday-Saturday. When I query "parcel post" then 100 items come up.

    I also went through and fixed at least 1000 items in my German area, concentrating on states, colonies and territories, etc, and only a handful are finally coming up correctly.

    As far as the "USA" country listings, I fixed them (about 6 pages) and they are no longer in the front of my store. I am not even going to try fixing "general issues" manually!
  • Steve,

    This may sound like a silly question but shouldn't they have been listed as Germany German Reich and not German Reich? (Isn't German Reich a descriptive term for a subset of stamps issued by the country Germany?) This also may sound like a silly question if you listed those same items on Ebay with those titles and someone did a keyword search for Germany how would they ever see those listings? Most people will do the search by the country name Germany and not German Reich in the title. Try adding Germany to your title on a few of those to see if that fixes those German stamps. (If it does then that's your problem on those stamps.)

    When you listed your items onto Bidstart did you use a CSV file or some other form of listing program?
  • Don't want anyone to think I totally skate.
    I was useing HTML to support any second and 3rd images. So now I have about 5-6,000 listings to update in that manor. So the price thing put me over the top a bit (kind of a final straw thing). Also after over ten years my DeskTop (running windows Vista) finally crashed. So I had to repurchase several software items. Does anyone know were I can get Microsoft works for my new computer (windows 10). I like works as a simple CSV file. Open office is fine, but if you use the wrong deliminator it will change the file. So by accident I don't want to change anything. So for my just CSV I prefer Works. Did get my Vista computer back running. But for how long.
    As for uploading manually. I noticed on the earlier tranfer, before the legal problem, some of my listings were wrong. So while HipStamps was totally disconnected I spent a week uploading. I just forgot that at the renewal time for a listing on Bid Start there is about a 15 min. window the listings are unavailable even for download to CSV.
    Is this corrected on HipStamps or is it physically uploaded every month???? Or is it more of a continual flow???
  • edited September 2016 0 LikesVote Down
    At Hip eCommerce we now use WPS Office. It's light years beyond Open Office (and as far as I can tell just as good as MS Office), and there's a completely free version:

    On HipStamp store items do not expire or renew - so this isn't an issue here.
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