Holly passed this one to me because I speak Geek.
Nice job Aimee. What follows are my comments.
1. I recommend segregating PC owners from visitors. The two groups are very different. Some owners may be more willing to meet other owners than with non-owners.
2. I'm assuming the back and forth between the owner and visitor would be similar to Craigslist where both parties' e-mail addresses are anonymous.
3. All communications between the owner and visitor should remain anonymous until both parties agree to direct communication.
4. I'm not sure how hard it would be to search for owners within a certain distance of a vistors location. I'm not sure how you'd pinpoint the owner's and visitor's locations.
5. I recommend that visitors be required to submit a survey before being allowed to schedule another visit.
6. I recommend that owners be required to submit a survey before receiving a referral fee.
7. Will there be a process or procedure for removing a visitor from the list? What about an owner?
8. Will this be a separate portal from the forum?
I'd be interested in looking at the database schema for this project.
I'd also be willing to communicate with the developer. However, as a programmer myself I know programmers can be a little sensitive about other programmers sticking their noses into someone else's business.
OK. Here are the developer's answers with my own replies mixed in (my replies are in yellow
1. We will have the option for owners to contact other owners. We can certainly identify any contact requests as being from an existing PC owner. Would a walk thru with an existing PC owner qualify as a referral? No it would not. It would, however, be fun. Those who are only interested in meeting up with other owners are free to continue to find one another through the forum and arrange meetings in that way.
Limiting contact requests to 'other owners only' would mean:
- marking some search results as "other PC owners only" which may be a turn off (appear exclusionary) for non-owner website visitors.
- only having the availability for "other PC owners only" appear when someone is logged in and is a verified owner (which requires them to already be a member of the website). I might be willing to revisit this in one of the next phases, but not phase 1.
2. We're currently reviewing how we're going to handle the anominimity of the owner. It may be similar to the method Craig's List uses, or through PM's with email notification similar to how some forums work.
3. It will be up to the owner when to disclose any, and how much, personal information. We will always encourage the owners to be cautious.
- The owner may chose not to disclose anything more than their first name(s).
- The owner may chose to only use the website's notification system (everything in writing).
- The owner may chose to always initiate any phone calls and use *67 before dialing.
- The owner may chose to have the walk thru take palce in a very public parking lot of a local shopping center rather than at a campground or their home.
I'm sure that the owners on the forum can come up with a list of precautions to take that I could never think of.
4. In 'Phase II' we're going to implement a zipcode based geo-location database. I don't anticipate the initial rollout having enough search results to require finer granularity. For now I think a date search is really all that will be needed. As no search will ever return more than 10-20 result, it would just be up to the visitor to see who is closest to them at any given time.
5. This would be up to Aimée, but I'm all for making people fill out forms ;-) Lord, have mercy. Is he ever all for making people fill out forms! Years ago he could ply with sweet talk such as, "but, Aimée, you make such beautiful and creative forms! It would fit so nicely!" Now I know he's just an information junkie. This does bring up the point, however, of a visitor wanting to make the rounds across several owners, and the question of how a referral fee is dispersed in that case. My preference is that they visit with one owner. If they need more information or to see more models my preference would be for them to visit the factory.
6. This would be how the referral would be verified. The extent of the required responses would be up to Aimée.I'm all for not requiring owners to fill out forms. We generally take the word of the person who comes in to purchase a unit. If they tell us during their purchase that they were referred by someone, then we take their word on it. Certainly it would help to make sure that the visitor doesn't forget the owner, but I don't think it should be required. You've opened your homes and given of your time and hospitality. I do not want to then add on "paperwork" to the end of the process (but they'd be welcomed to if they wanted to)
7. Yes. We are reviewing our options regarding reporting a bad experience with either party.
8. Yes. This will be completely separate. I don't foresee any direct link between the forum and this service (once again, to protect the owners).
The database hasn't been layed out yet, but I can provide a rough outline. He didn't answer last sentence, so I have to assume he's off marking a tree somewhere.