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APS article in Linn's Stamp News, Nov 13, 2001
Posted by thines (511) star on Nov-13-01 at 19:23:18 PST Auctions

May I suggest a possible topic for tomorrow night (at least for me here on the east coast at 10pm)? Check out either the current (Nov. 19) issue of Linn's or the Linn's web site ( read the story on what's up with the APS. Seems they just up and fired Peter Martin, their director of fund raising and the editor of the American Philatelist. He's been replaced as editor by some in-house administrative flack who's not a collector. And Youngblood has proposed that the production of the American Philatelist be farmed out to some independent magazine production company. Apparently the APS board is actually considering this monumentally stupid proposal! There was some criticism here a few weeks ago of Linn's because they didn't jump all over the Florida faker story. Maybe they should have been more aggressive about exposing this Florida fool but we on the board here have to realize that we make up only a small percentage of Linn's readers, most of whom wouldn't know Ebay from the Bay of Fundy. It is to Linn's considerable credit that they broke the story of the goings on at APS. And in the same issue they have a story on the pending criminal investigation in the bid-rigging case. They name all the accused again and add that another has been added to the list - Lewis Berg of Miami. I well remember the time before Laurence became editor - then Linn's really did publish only ads, self-serving press releases from auction houses and notices of new issues. It was almost as bad as that vile piece of vomitous (let's see if the ebay thought police get that one like Joe Foley did when I tried to use it in the Philatelic Communicator) rubbish Global Stamp News is now. But I digress. I think what's happening at the APS is that they're in full panic mode. The Match Factory idea struck (pun not intended!) me as a pretty good idea. But then the economy went south. I'm guessing that they couldn't raise near enough money, or find enough tenants to cover the cost of the bond. So they fired Martin - with a few days notice, which is despicable. Their sales circuits must be going right in the toilet - who'd wait 18 months to get paid when you can use ebay and the other services? Full of problems as they are, they're 1000% better than the sales cirtcuits. And the costs of the APS on-line sales must be astronomical - paying clerks to enter all the lots!! It would be interesting to see an independent audit of the APS books for this year. What are the thoughts of the Board on these issues? Terence Hines

Posted by g.1 (473) star about me on Nov-13-01 at 19:33:29 PST Auctions

Terence The Linns website doesn't have the Nov 19 issue posted yet. Too bad about Peter -- I didn't agree with all the changes he proposed for magazine, but I though he was heading in an interesting direction with it. I particularly liked what he had in mind for the Literature Review. Farming AP out to an independent company sounds like a terrible idea! (And I'm speaking as someone who owns a company that does things like produce magazines for people. Frankly, I'd love to get the contract, but would be very concerned about how it could possibly be structured so that APS could afford it and I could make a profit.) Interesting point you raise about the on-line sales, too. I use that service a lot -- it is a great bargain for me as a seller. I hadn't thought about how much it must cost to provide such good service.

Posted by abt1950 (114) star about me on Nov-13-01 at 19:56:36 PST Auctions

tadas: welcome down from the balcony. Your style of anti-condition collecting is defintely pragmatic. Most of us will never be able to afford the true gems anyway--how many of the regulars here have copies of the British Guiana penny magenta with a good cert (anyone with the last name of duPont is requested not to respond). Buying stuff in the best possible condition is important, but at some point reallity sets in (also the mortgage, the electric bill, and the orthodontist). Please don't retreat back to the balcony. It's too crowded there anyway.

Io: Do you think that's why I never got the paper my student said she emailed to me yesterday?

Good night to all and to all sweet dreams of an APS without politics (and with a good publication), stamps that don't bleed enough to require a transfusion, and lots of covers with the Eid stamp (BTW, my favorite holiday cover is one franked with the Hannukah stamp and heavliy canceled with a Christmas slogan) Anne

Posted by laum1 (1171) star about me on Nov-13-01 at 20:04:41 PST Auctions

G1 & Terrence I had a fiasco with the APS online site that first couple of months they were open. Anyway, I called the individuals in charge since I saw several major weaknesses with the site. Three calls with messages did not produce one return call. I gave up.

A month later, I was chatting with an APS board member about the problem. Out of that, I got to talk to a higher up. It was then that I felt the APS is in trouble. This was due to several factors:

  • They are supposely going to make 10% of sales. Now, all of us who sells on ebay knows you cannot make 10% of sales and expect to generate enough to cover the labor of entering/scanning all the material.

  • On lots that do not sell, there is NO revenue. Yet the labor has already been spent.
  • This is the kicker. I ask the person in-charge how they plan to rid the site of lots that do not sell. These items will just clutter up the site and make searches difficult. The APS had not address this issue at all. Can you imagine a case of a million items in inventory and having to purge it. Someone will have to manually go and pull these lots by seller and return them. I shudder to think what this will cost.

    Maybe I am being too negative but you cannot have not-for-proit individuals running a high-tech for profit venture.

  • Posted by iomoon (504) star about me on Nov-13-01 at 20:07:05 PST Auctions

    and please remember to break up posting with >p< >/a< every so often, makes it easier to read!!
    Not being a member of APS or a subscriber to Linns, I can't really comment on either with great knowledge.
    Though I do read Linns on-line site
    seems to be happy with APS site for selling, I have heard from nobody who is happy with APS sales circuits.
    Likewise I have heard from plenty who are disatisfied with APS sales site for buying
    My dealing with Laurence, have been more than amicable so far.

    Posted by iomoon (504) star about me on Nov-13-01 at 20:12:46 PST Auctions

    Shucks, can't let last stand, as I wrote earlier, its been a hard day.
    please remember to break up posting with <p> </p> every so often, makes it easier to read!!

    Posted by g.1 (473) star about me on Nov-13-01 at 20:24:00 PST Auctions

    Agreed -- the ZOS model would have worked better for APS. I use the service precisely because they do all the work: scanning, entering descriptions, and most of all invoicing, processing payments and shipping and handling. And the total cost to the seller is only 10% -- an amazing bargain. They also get higher prices than I'm able to get at eBay. It is incredibly easy to use as a seller. I shipped them 427 items a couple of weeks ago, and have another 200+ ready to go soon. I'll ship those off once I add another 200 or so, which doesn't take long. I would once have agreed with you about old listings, but in the past month many of the left-over items from the very first batch I sent them finally sold.

    Posted by laum1 (1171) star about me on Nov-13-01 at 20:34:27 PST Auctions

    G1 You know there is something wrong with pricing when they want 10% for online sales and more than twice that for circuit books. Now which sales venue requires more work of the APS staff? One does not even have to open a Lotus worksheet to figure that out.

    Posted by g.1 (473) star about me on Nov-13-01 at 20:37:25 PST Auctions

    I just hope they return all my stuff if they decide to fold it.

    Posted by laum1 (1171) star about me on Nov-13-01 at 20:40:08 PST Auctions

    G1 Tehy will definitely want to return your stuff. There is a charge for return of items :-)

    Posted by g.1 (473) star about me on Nov-13-01 at 20:42:41 PST Auctions

    The charge is $4.50. It will cost a lot more than that to return all the stuff I've sent them! (Currently about 700 items unsold. But they sold 32 this weekend -- they really can move material quickly.)

    Posted by laum1 (1171) star about me on Nov-13-01 at 20:47:17 PST Auctions

    G1 Ouch - I thought the charge was on a per item basis. Well, let us hope that the APS have with as much with other sellers' lots as they did with yours. Otherwise, shudder to think how much the potential lost can add up to. Of course, it is possible the work is being done by existing staff and not new hires.

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