Let's Make Robots!

Should we kick out vendors? Please vote!

Question: Are we seeing too many vendors on the pages, making challenges and pretending to be friends and stuff?

Write ***Y in comments below to vote Yes to the above question

Write ***N in comments below to vote No to the above question


We ARE planning to see lots of vendors products in a new components section that we are working on. But I am sure that will just be nice for all of us; Cool products nice to browse, and a nice place to showcase what you sell (unlike now where it is a not so nice list)

However, this vote is to get a feeling for your opinion, folks; Do we feel overtaken, are vendors closing in, poluting the feeling of "friends on LMR"? Because if so, we will kill them! (Or at least make systems where vendors can only have members post challenges for them, so we only have cool dudes to post stuff)

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***N

Man, this is an interesting vote! Both sides of the question have had some very good arguments.

For me, as a "hobbyist" - seeing posts about the parts is interesting (and sometimes even useful) but at the same time also bothersome. I come here mostly to look at how others are building their cool bots. I don't want to wade through a bunch of crap posts about various colors of jumper wires just to find one interesting tidbit about Chris the Carpenters next robot. So it would be easy for me to want to flip my vote.

BUT...

as I am hoping to eventually become a "vendor" as well (more on that when the time is right) - it is disturbing to think I could have a "vendor" tag attached to my signature and people would totally not even look at my posts thinking I am planning to spam them (certainly would NOT be what is on my mind!). Even as a vendor, I would hope that sometimes I could contribute something useful to the LMR community.

Also, as far as charging vendors to post here - sounds like a good idea at first. It could certainly help Rudolph get the resources he needs to make LMR even more user friendly and cool website. However, if I were to someday become a vendor/hobbyist, where does it leave me? I probably wouldn't ever have the resources Pololu or Solarbotics have, and any fee charged could potentially put me off. I like the idea of an even better LMR, but on the other hand, fees could potentially screen out some very *cool* people (for example like Oddbot/DAGU) that simply can't afford a huge fee.

I really have to agree with Revenant.Revival, the vendors are here to make enough $ to make even more cool stuff for us.

Anyway, I said my 2c.  Dunno if it contributed anything - but I feel better. :-)

 

Good answer, thank you.

All this is a ways out still anyway, so nothing is decided upon at this time. Vendor's size will definitely be taken into consideration, we don't want to exclude the "little guys". And I think it will be more like you'd have a second vendor account, instead of attaching a vendor tag to your existing user account (or some variation of that).

I think there could be a separate area for vendors... some vendors put nice things on this site.
Thomas is right - Solarbotics added a 1 cell AAA holder today...  Really?

Wherever people gather, someone will jump in hawking their wares.  Some of it will be relevant and interesting (Dagu is a great example), and some will be 1 cell AAA holders.  If you charge, you're going to exclude all the smaller vendors from sharing the cool things they have,  you'll ONLY get the Solarbotics & Pololu type vendors.  I think the current strategy of seperate areas is probably the best:  Manage the flow.  

I work on Gadget Gangster because I want to share my excitement about electronics with others - it's far from being profitable.  XMOS isn't profitable, and I'm sure OddBot doesn't roll in a Mr. Basic-style Bentley.  My goal isn't to spam anyone - just to get new people excited about the hobby and hopefully break even financially.  

Just my 2c - but so far I've been really impressed with how lmr handles vendors and I think most of them do add to the community.  As a hobbyist, I like having Dagu, xmos, fingertech and others on this site and I'd miss their contributions. 

As Nick say's, DAGU does not make much money from selling to LMR, most of our profit comes from selling to Distributors. I was with LMR before I started working for DAGU and we are here just to help my fellow members find the parts they need at a good price.

In Australia, good robot parts are hard to find and cost a fortune. I was always looking for new online shops who could give me a good price on parts or supply parts I could not get elsewhere.

Now I am trying to help my friends by offering good parts at the cheapest price.

DAGu is part of the family, comon!

THere are vendors, and then there is DAGU; For heavens sake; They produce the stuff we design on the page and sell it to us cheap. 

Nobody touches DAGU, we love them, end of story!

One idea that was mentioned was revamping the Component section - I think that would be cool. 

I've put 3 products there (all took months of development and were made with love) that were quickly burried by 18 colors of hookup wire.  I think a way to filter would be helpful.  Maybe collect more metadata when posting?  De-emphasising components on the homepage is a good idea - someone's new robot project shouldn't get the same amount of attention as a 1xAAA battery holder. 

For the forums, any commercial posts in the wrong categories should be deleted.  Click on 'Advertizing' & see what's available, but you shouldn't see it in other forums.  I think that's enough for the forums.

Some site sponsorship would be awesome, too.  I've kicked in for the 3 Parallax user expos, and I'm going to kick in for Robothon. 

My business is a little different than most other folks, mostly I make money selling kit versions of the projects that advanced hobbyists come up with (like the Simple Servo Tester).  I'd be curious to hear what vendors (other than dagu) say.
The Components section is pretty much next on my hit list. Once I get this stupid *blankity* search thingie to work correctly ;)
thats what you put if you dont want the venders. right?

I say ***N, but I'm with jklug80 and vince086: vendors must have a much, much lower profile.

I'm curious as to why you vote Y, Frits. Initally, I was tentative about the vendors moving in at all. What Mike says is true: I'm not sure that the LMR site is really getting the returns it might've got.

I do think that the vendor-provided challenges are a great idea. The problem is the incentives aren't really good enough.