Almost all feedback we get on OpenBazaar is positive. It’s rare to get any negative feedback, let alone have critics taunt us to respond. Anyway I figured I would dust off my personal blog to show how misguided the are. Here’s a link to the podcast. Starts at 25 minutes.
They are building a customized Magento which can only be viewed from a customized browser.
Right of bat they get OpenBazaar wrong, which is probably why most the criticisms in the podcast miss their mark. Magento is a essentially ecommerce software. You install it on a server so you can avoid the hassle of building your own ecommerce website. Once you have a Magento site up and running, it still falls on you to drive traffic to your site. If no one visits your site, you don’t sell anything. Anyone who has experience with this (myself included) knows that it can very easily cost more in advertising dollars to drive traffic to your site than you earn in gross margin. In fact this is one of the major barriers to entry when it comes to small sellers on the internet.
This is why many small sellers chose to use platforms, like eBay, Etsy, etc., which bring buyers and sellers together. When you create a store on Etsy, you don’t have to advertise because there is built in traffic for your products. Your store is visible to everyone who visits Etsy and your products show up in the search results.
The OpenBazaar model is much more like Etsy than it is Magento or Shopify. The idea is not to create web hosting software to dump on people and let them figure out how to drive traffic to their server, but instead to create a portal which brings buyers and sellers together. An OpenBazaar store will be visible by anyone using the software and all your listings will return in other user’s search results.
So a very similar model to Etsy, except for one thing. It’s permissionless and free. Anyone can list products on OpenBazaar which cannot be censored and they don’t have to pay a middleman to list their products nor pay them a cut of each transaction. For sellers who have been discriminated against on centralized platforms (see: Witches are furious at Etsy for banning the sale of spells) and sellers who’s margins are eaten up by the fees, OpenBazaar should be a compelling alternative.
OB1 is web hosting for OpenBazaar. Ah, it’s Shopify, it’s shitty Shopify.
Thanks for telling us what our business model is! The facts are we have spent very little time discussing the business model and may or may not offer hosting services in the future (which isn’t really needed as you can just run it in the background on your home computer). Our focus (and the focus of the VCs who fund us) is to build a great product and get as many people using the platform as possible and worry about monitization later. In my opinion there are probably more lucrative avenues than hosting that we will likely pursue.
Why not just set up a magento installation on a .onion site and let people use chrome to get to it rather than take on the risk of hosting your own stuff on your computer.
We’ve said over and over again that we are not building this to be a darknet marketplace. If we were, we would not have received funding to begin with. But while we’re talking about darknet marketplaces, the model described above is failed model. The feds have shown they have remarkable ability to locate hidden services, shut them down, and imprison the operators. And because they are centralized, when the do take the site down, all the vendors are shut down with it. If a site has 1000 vendors doing business, that’s 1000 vendors who are shut down with it.
In a decentralized marketplace there is no central authority to shutdown. If one vendor is located and shut down, the other 999 remain operative. This is a much more robust model than relying on the competency of one person to keep everyone else in business.
It’s true that the OpenBazaar model may open up a vendor to more risk than he would have on a centralized platform. Afterall he needs to host the OpenBazaar software somewhere, whereas with a centralized site he just periodically connects to it over Tor. But this is no more of a risk than what was suggested above: setting up a Megento installation on a .onion site. Which, of course, you could also do with OpenBazaar.
It’s difficult to tell how popular OpenBazaar will be with the darknet crowd, maybe something like BitMarkets, which sacrifices scalability and usability for privacy, would prove better suited for this purpose. But it’s quite frankly absurd to suggest to people ‘just set up a magento installation on a .onion site’ when that has proven to be a failed model.
They’re literally going to be competing with Google
Really? Does Etsy compete directly with Google? The fact that we need our search bar to return accurate results for products listed on OpenBazaar by no means implies we will be indexing the entire internet. Frankly every ecommerce site out there has the ability to search products on their site. Are they all competing with Google? This is just grasping for something to criticize at this point.
That’s it. Quite weak criticism if you ask me.