Open letter


An open letter to the astronomy community.


Hello,

My name is Mike, I'm the owner and founder at TelescopeTrader.com. I'd like take a minute to thank you for your recent support and let you know what my plans are for TT.

Recently, after I shared the news that TT would be permanently shut down, many of you wrote asking me to keep the site up, because you believe it's a valuable service. I was deeply encouraged by your responses and here's what I've decided... If you're willing to support TT, I'll do my best to keep the site running for the astronomy community. However, there will be some important changes that I've outlined here.

As a small business owner, it's not easy competing with large corporations like Facebook, Craigslist, eBay, or the corporate-sponsored CloudyNights forum. So, earlier this year, I took a risk and upgraded to a new software in the hope that TT would be better able to serve the community and compete.

After the upgrade, it became clear that while many of you liked the new features, others found the Stripe escrow service and online payment system confusing and frustrating. With the mixed feedback, I was faced with a difficult decision to either move the site back to the original software I built it on, or to shut it down for good. Website businesses are difficult to run and require lots of trial and error. But, sometimes, if you make the right mistakes, it can lead to something better.

Consequently, I'm happy to announce that I've decided to GIVE IT ONE MORE GO and have resurrected the site on the original software. This is the site you are on now. However, to make the business work this time around, I am asking for the astronomy community's support. To keep the site running it needs to earn enough income to cover operating costs. And, the only way I can do this is via a small posting fee, feature ad upgrades, and sponsor advertising.

I created TelescopeTrader in 2017 to provide a simple way for anyone to buy, sell, or trade good used telescope and astrophotography equipment. My goal was to encourage more people to get involved with amateur astronomy by buying recycled telescopic equipment. I think astronomy opens people up to the natural world, science, and big ideas. It's important!

One important thing to note about TT is that it reaches a broad audience of people – many are just getting into astronomy. They're often searching for inexpensive telescopes, cameras, and so forth. So, it's a really great platform to get your used gear ads or service ads in front of a diverse group of astronomy enthusiasts. Also, keep in mind that we never sell your personal info or run any outside (Google) advertising.

To make the site work better for everyone, we are implementing a small posting fee of $1.50, along with an option to upgrade to a feature ad for $15 (paid via PayPal®). The posting fee will help with operating costs and discourage bad actors on the site. In addition, there is an option to upgrade to a bi-annual Sponsor Account for $15. Sponsor Accounts can post unlimited ads without a posting fee, include an extended profile and more.

Some of the features will take time for me to experiment with and test out, so please be patient. As always, your feedback is welcome! Don't hesitate to email me here if you have ideas or suggestions.

Again, thank you!


Clear Skies,
Mike B.
Owner & Founder
TelescopeTrader.com