Due to various potential legal liability issues which have come up on other sites, we've had to make several changes on OrchidTalk: all forums in the "Trading Post" section of the site are now closed. Members can no longer post any kinds of ads anywhere on OrchidTalk which advertise anything for sale, wanted, or trade, and the OrchidTalk forums are no longer a venue for any kind of exhange of goods or services whatsoever.

It's unfortunate that times have come to this, since I know that many of you have had good experiences doing some informal trading and selling, but the actions of a few individuals have forced this privilege to come to an end.

In a nutshell, here's the issue. We opened OrchidTalk with the idea of creating a community accessible to anyone, anywhere, regardless of age or payment ability; all anyone needed to post here was a freely obtainable email address and an interest in orchids and their culture. Simple enough.

That implies, however, that no checks are being done to verify *anything* about a member. There's a small check at registration to see if people are over 13 (in compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act), but that's it.

Well, that's not enough if you're going to provide a venue for members to be able to buy, sell, and trade.

So we had to make a decision. Either change the OrchidTalk registration procedure and add volumes to the site's terms and conditions so that only people 18 or over, able to enter into legally binding contracts, and with the ability to pay for goods or services can register, or, do something else.

We chose to do something else. I want to keep OrchidTalk free and accessible to anyone and everyone with an interest.

I've spent the past couple of weeks working on another website that addresses the Trading Post issue, and though I'm "launching" it by posting about it here, it's not limited to members of this forum by any means. Actually, other than being owned by the River Valley Orchidworks corporation, it has nothing to do with RVO, or the OrchidTalk forums at all.

The site is called orchid-Bids, and you can access it at the following URL:


The intention with orchid-Bids was to create an online marketplace, much like ebay, which is dedicated to the orchid enthusiast. It's international in scope, so people outside of the US can absolultely participate, and commercial sellers anywhere are not only allowed to, but invited to post ads for orchid (and plant) related goods and services.

orchid-Bids is fee-based and the fees are incredibly reasonable, especially when compared to other online marketplaces. The site also addresses all of the issues that the OrchidTalk forums cannot: information (the ability to enter into legally binding contracts, age, and payment ability) is verified through the signup process. This helps ensure to everyone involved in the buying and selling there that orchid-Bids members have passed "reasonable checks" which verify their identities.

Once you have become a member, bidding on items is completely free; sellers pay minimal listing and end-of-auction fees, and everyone starts off with a $5.00 credit limit: more than enough to list and complete several auctions.

To help kick things off over there, we have listed numerous plants and other items for sale at ridiculously low prices, so I hope that all of you with an interest in buying and selling orchid and plant related items will check the place out.

I'm going to be doing a lot of advertising for the new site to drive traffic over, so if all goes well, orchid-Bids will become an important venue for the buying, selling, and exchange of plants and supplies. I apologize to the people who have posted ads in the Trading Post section here, but my hands are pretty much tied regarding this issue, and I hope you guys will understand.

I will leave the ads already in place at the Trading Post up for another 24 hours (until 2PM August 17, 2005) so that folks have the chance to complete any unfinished business there via PM, but after that, they're all coming down, and links to orchid-Bids will be placed there instead, along with a subforum that will alow folks to address any issues that may come up when using the site.

Be sure to read the orchid-Bids Help and the FAQs before you buy or sell, have fun, and tell all your friends!