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Friday, July 25, 2008

Steady Improvements

A recent change broke the new user registration form for a short period of time. Fortunately a user was kind enough to alert us to the problem and I was able to fix it quickly.

Here are the latest site improvements:
  • more consistent layout in My Account area
  • more helpful notes in the Ad Details page during the Ad Placement process
  • revisions to the Ad Placement process that improve and normalize formatting of title and price
  • filters that prevent ALL CAPS ad titles and descriptions (these are unfair to other courteous typers)
  • drop-down menus to keep Length and Year fields more consistent
  • simplified Brass Bell Printed Ad Preview coming soon...

All these changes are being made in preparation for improvements to the printed version of the Trading Dock. We hope the site continues to grow and feed into the print publication, which may soon be produced separately from the Brass Bell magazine.

Friday, July 18, 2008

More Ad Placement Fixes

I've been going deeper into the Ad Placement process, making improvements and fixes as I go. These improvements are harder to notice but still essential - such as, once you have passed step 3 (Upload Photos), you can return to step 3 and upload more photos that you may have forgotten. This action was broken such that photos you added after the fact would not show up in the ad, but it is now fixed.

Other improvements include general look and feel clean-up, better handling of existing line breaks in ad descriptions, etc.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ad Placement Process Updates

I have updated the ad placement process so that line breaks and hyperlinks are now preserved in the ad description. I have a feeling that this has been a sorely-missed feature - especially for ads with multiple items for sale, for links to external photo galleries, and things like that.

I have also been doing under-the-hood tuning that won't be immediately obvious, but should make the listing process a little smoother. For example, it has been the case that when you go back and forth between ad placement steps, old information will show up, forcing you to refresh the page to see your latest edits. This issue should be fixed now, so if you notice it cropping up again, please let us know.

Matt

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Confused about Featured Ads

In response to a recent question regarding how ads are selected to be shown in the Featured Ads box:

I can address your questions about Trading Dock.

This is the database query that displays featured listings for category 359:
select * from classifieds where featured_ad = 1 and live = 1 and category = 359 order by rand() limit 25.

There are 44 total ads in this category and 25 are randomly selected to be displayed, so you would expect any particular featured ad to show up 25/44 (57%) of the time. In my testing this is more or less what happened; your ad came up in 40 out of 71 queries (56%). You can rest assured that the sample is random.

I am going to modify the query so that the featured ads are ordered by date, with newest at the top. Hopefully that will lessen the confusion a little. We are aware that the featured / better placement / bolding system is not ideal and creates some misunderstanding, so bear with us and we will probably be revamping the system soon..

Thanks for looking out for problems on the site!
Matt

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Don't Forget to Promote Your Ad

After you place an ad on Trading Dock, you will be presented with the Internet address that can be used to access your ad. It'll be something like http://www.tradingdock.org/1234. Keep this link handy. Wise users will employ this link to promote their ad - sharing your link with others online is a great way to draw traffic. Post it online at forums and bulletin boards, blog it, and put it in e-mails.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Upload Limits Fixed

We've had reports of photo upload troubles lately. I originally set our file size limits very high - 8 mb per photo - knowing that this limit can cause headaches for people with newer digital cameras. Well, some recent server changes (switching to PHP 5) caused this limit to get reset back to 2 mb. I could repair that easily enough. But additionally, our upload handling script itself was bailing silently because of hitting the PHP memory limitation...anyway, suffice it to say these bugs are squashed and you can feel free to upload absurdly large digital photos.

Matt

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Newsprint Edition

For those that like to browse boats for sale in a familiar format - printed newspaper classifieds - I've made a Trading Dock Newsprint Edition available. This page is updated with the newest ads, listed in alphabetical order. For now it shows only the Pre WWII and Post WWII boat categories. As always please let me know your suggestions.

Matt