Markets, Categories, and Memberships
This article explains the lifecycle of our marketplaces and how they relate to memberships.
Our entire marketplace is divided up into a number of smaller marketplaces based on Regions (your location) and Categories (species of animals). Currently we have four different major regions: US/Canada, Europe, South Africa, and Mexico. Every region currently has around 40 Categories available to sell. That's a total of 160 markets!
Categories have three life stages: staged, developing, and mature. While staged, Breeders can access the categories and create ads but the public can't see them. Next, they get launched publicly and commerce begins. This is considered a "developing market." And finally, when the market reaches a certain age, size, and activity level we declare them to be mature.
As of this writing, we don't currently have any new Categories in the staging process. Our two newest categories, Invertebrates and Amphibians, are in the Developing Market stage. All other listed categories are considered "Mature" in the US/Canada regions.
Our memberships provide a way for sellers to support the mature marketplace which is supporting them. Memberships cost a monthly or annual fee, depending on the level of membership that you choose. Each provides additional features, including increased limits on the number and market value of ads being placed. These features translate into powerful marketing tools. Currently, the US and Canada are the only mature regions, where a membership is required to place more than a very small handful of modest ads. Sellers from Developing Markets are not bound by the same limitations on ad numbers and values, but purchasing a membership still comes with a great set of features and perks that can be used to increase your presence and the visibility of your ads to the public.
When you look at the membership pricing page in your region, you'll see blue text among the lists of features for that membership level. The blue text indicates the additional features available to you at that membership level, even in a developing market.
Our business model of paid memberships has nothing to do with Facebook bans or other theories you might read in social media. Memberships serve two primary purposes. One, to help support the increasing overhead costs of maintaining MorphMarket at the cutting edge of exotic animal markets. Two, to allow us to offer fantastic new tools and benefits to the sellers we appreciate so much.
MorphMarket continues to grow and evolve and is becoming stronger each day. We're continuing to add new features to make the experience not just better, but of greatly increasing value to both buyers and sellers.
Many sellers are having fantastic success in our marketplace and have been doing so for a long time. That doesn't mean that every single seller is. We provide the market but we can't make the sales happen. We've priced our lowest plan at a very modest $11/month when paid annually and we feel its features can easily pay back that amount for any seller willing to put in the effort. We do understand that a paid membership may look valuable and "worth it" to one person, but not to another. We fully support you making the choice which makes the best business sense for you. In any case, feel free to continue listing a few ads a month at no cost at all.
PS - if you're in a developing region, when your market reaches maturity, you'll be in the best position to decide which paid membership level is right for you because you'll have a solid history of sales data to judge with.