Card payments processing has been changed over from Opayo (formally Sagepay) to PayPal Commerce Platform.
If you are a regular user, you will notice a different look but it is actually easier to use & a Paypal account is not needed for card payments.
Apart from the ease of use for customers, there are considerable savings & less administration needed, which all helps to keep the NFED online.
Any problems, please get in touch.
Update 01-09-23Facebook have now fixed the issue so the share buttons are working normally again.
Facebook seem to be having an issue with their share button. When something has been shared once, the button fails to load again, so I assume it is connected to the Facebook share counter.
This is all handled by Facebook servers, so it's just a case of waiting until they get around to fixing it, hopefully no too long.
It doesn't affect the NFED in any other way & ads/events can still be shared from the NFED Facebook page or using other sharing methods.
The NFED was started way back in 1999 in my spare time, but by 2009 the site had become so busy that I was struggling to manage everything & was seriously considering closing it down when I was given the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy.
Obviously giving up a real job to run my own small business was a huge risk, but after 22 years of working 12 hour shifts, it was a risk worth taking. I knew a small niche business was never going to make a fortune or even match my wages, but the quality of life, health benefits & the time it allowed me to spend with family & horses was definitely worth a go & I have never regretted this decision.
Now after 24 years of running the NFED I have further decisions to make as I have just qualified for my company pension.
I fully intend to keep the NFED running for as long as possible, but more as a hobby, so some changes will have to be made to improve flexibility & fit in with our future plans.
Don’t worry, you shouldn’t really notice anything different, most changes will occur in the back-end & administration, but I am looking into how the time spent running the site can be reduced.
Ads are normally approved very quickly & this will continue for most of the time, but we intend to spend more time out of the office so the delays will become more frequent.
We have already removed phone support as the majority of calls were a complete waste of time & not connected to the NFED in anyway. The FAQS do cover virtually all the queries we receive, please do read them before contacting us & if you have our personal numbers, please don’t call them for NFED business.
The NFED server costs run into four figures. To cover this, we have to charge for adverts, but I am looking at the payment options. We currently accept card payments via the payment gateway Opayo (Sagepay), PayPal & bank transfer.
Processing card payments is expensive, but only approximately 30% of payments are made by card so it may be worth removing this option. Card payments could still be made through PayPal & banking app payments are becoming more popular, so worth promoting. This would remove a lot of expenditure & administration, so well worth considering.
I will be looking into reducing the length of time that adverts are live. The current six months, does seem excessive with very few people looking at the ads over three months old.
The Services Directory may change to PayPal subscription only. The majority of listings are now on subscription, so this would remove the weekly task of sending out reminders to the few that are not.
To keep the Event Calendar viable, we do need more help from event organisers & venues. The events section is by far the most labour intensive part of the site, some of the submissions take a long time to sort out, even correcting simple mistakes & spelling takes time. I know there is a real need to have a single calendar where all events can be seen regardless of which entry system is used, but very few venues put anything back into the site. If it is going to continue, I will be looking into how this can be improved or it may simply not be worth it. This would be a great shame but I’ll see how it goes & if you are organising any events, please encourage the venue to take out a listing in the directory. Standard listings cost only £3.00 per month & a “Check Out the Venue” link would be added to all events at that venue.
Finally the newsletter. Again, compiling the newsletter each week is very time consuming, so this could be reduced. Options are to reduce the classifieds categories included, go fortnightly or even monthly.
These are all just ideas at the moment to keep the site online for a few more years as more of a hobby than a business.
If you have any thoughts, please let me know by email email@example.com, I just don't get time to check or reply to social media posts.
The popular website sharing company AddThis which we have used for many years closed down on the 31st May.
We weren’t aware of this until the share buttons disappeared, but like the millions of websites that used the service, we now have to remove all traces of the code from the NFED. This will take a while, but it has started.
Most browsers & devices now have built in sharing options, so it won’t really be missed & this probably led to the demise of the AddThis service.
The Facebook & Twitter buttons are unaffected.
UPDATE 14-06-23Facebook & Twitter share buttons now added to the classifieds to replace the AddThis service.
Since the end of April, we have been running the NFED without an office due to building alterations.
Please can we remind every to please kindly read the guidelines before accepting them & check FAQs before contacting us. We will get back to you as soon as we can, but there will be unavoidable delays, it is normally far quicker to see the FAQs.
Apologies for any delays & please bear with us, things should be back to normal early July.
Please use emojis sparingly and avoid replacing words or prices completely with emojis.
The NFED can be viewed on any device with a browser, from phones to TVs. Some devices may render the emoji differently or fail to show them at all.
Prices should be shown numerically or in text that can be read by anyone, never in a cryptic emoji code unless you are actually trading in carrots!
We completely understand that this trend is used on social media to attempt to get around rules on selling animals, but there is no need to do the same on the NFED and is confusing to many viewers that do not use social media.
As the results section has received no new submissions since last year, the results section has now been removed to clear server space. If there becomes a need in the future, we can replace it.
The Event Diary is working well & remains unchanged.
Like many small businesses, we are struggling with increased overheads, cost of software licensing, daily back-ups, server cost, etc, so have made the following necessary changes to avoid increasing prices, introducing dreaded third-party advertising or closing the site down altogether.
The standard advert cost of £8.99 will remain unchanged, but the following changes have been applied to free adverts to protect the NFED's future.
We have removed the free offer for all animals & poultry (offered or wanted) & off topic items regardless of value. The maximum free ad value is unchanged at £174.99 but multiple items with a total value of £175 or more will no longer qualify for free ads.
This is an equestrian site, we can no longer cover the cost of these unrelated adverts & it would be grossly unfair to pass the cost of unrelated ads on to our equestrian advertiser base.
There are numerous ways to advertise non-equestrian items, but only one NFED, hopefully those that appreciate the NFED will fully respect & understand this decision.
Livestock, Pets & PoultryAll livestock (offered or wanted) including small animals, pets, poultry or waterfowl (inc' hatching eggs) are now excluded from the free ads offer, regardless of type, breed or value. The free ads were never intended for professional small animal/poultry breeders, but the number of breeders now using the site & the number of ads being posted has made this completely unsustainable & over shadowing the paid equestrian ads.
Charging for the ads will greatly reduce the number of ads, but still provide the service for those prepared to pay, whilst providing verified seller details to comply with the 2018 Animal Welfare Act.
Multiple ItemsMultiple items in a single advert have always caused confusion, so to simplify everything, the total value will now be taken into account.
Multiple items in one advert up to £174.99 will still be free, £175 or over will require payment.
This should still allow people to advertise their unwanted low value tack, horse & rider wear, tools or equipment completely free of charge, which is exactly what the free ads are intended to do. If the total value exceeds £174.99 in a single advert, simply split items into further adverts. The maximum of 15 free ads in 30 days should be sufficient for all normal use.
Off Topic ItemsWe are getting quite a few house clearance, fashion & random items, toys, etc, driving down the equestrian ads. The NFED is intended as an equestrian & countryside website, therefore off topic adverts will no longer be included in the free ads offer. The free ads will remain for equestrian, agricultural, small holding & countryside items only, up to a maximum of £174.99
Removing off topic ads from the free ads offer will save resources, whilst uncluttering the classifieds & helping us to focus on the intended equestrian ads. The miscellaneous category will remain in place for the adverts that do not fit the other categories.
Regular Unpaid AdsIf an advertiser regularly submits adverts that require payment & does not pay, the adverts will be removed without waiting the two days. The cost of backing-up the server depends on the amount of data, so unpaid ads cost us money. If payment is received, the advert will be replaced.
We take the safety of NFED users very seriously. Visitor IP addresses are validated using ProxyCheck & enquiries sent through our system are monitored for suspicious activity.
VPNs, Proxy servers which are used to hide visitor's actual IP addresses & favoured by scammers & fraudsters are blocked.
iCloud Private Relay is a VPN service which can be activated on your iPhone, iPad or Mac, once activated you will be blocked from some sites including the NFED.
Turn Off Private Relay
On your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, you can turn off iCloud Private Relay in Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Private Relay. On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Apple ID. Select iCloud > Private Relay.
See: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT212614 for further details.
Expenses, Prices & Banner Adverts
Yesterday we were informed that our running cost will be increasing yet again. We are a very small business, obviously this will have a a big effect, but we will not be making any changes to the prices that we charge. We will however have to tighten up on some of the services that we offer for free but cost us money, time & resources to provide.
Classifieds If you are posting free adverts in the classifieds, please ensure that the guidelines have been followed to qualify as a free advert, if not the standard payment will apply.
Events.All open events will remain completely free, but if posting a commercial event; clinics, demos, training courses, course, or arena hire (clear round & book a slot are classed as course/arena hire), table top or tack sales, car boot sales, auctions, promotional event, etc .... There is a £5 admin charge unless held at a venue or organised by business or individual that has a Standard Directory Listing, organised by a BRC recognised club or organisation such as the BHS, NPS or similar, or held primarily in aid of a registered charity.
If the event contains both open & commercial events, the commercial event will take precedence, the commercial event rules & possible charges will apply.
None of the above has changed, but we cannot carry on as we are & must be stricter on the policing of entries for the NFED to continue. We will also be asking for organisers to use the submission form rather than Emailing event details. Emails are often missing required information & we do not have the time to chase it up or search for it.
A new FAQ has been added Why Hasn’t My Event Appeared in the Diary?
Banner AdvertsWe do have a few banner advert vacancies which we have not advertised. Banners rotate throughout the site & link directly to your own website or directory listing. The listing (normally £40.00 per annum) is included in the cost.
Banner prices are:
Subscribe & Save: £7.50 Monthly Subscription with PayPal. Save 10% & no more renewals to worry about.
Single Payment via the shopping cart: Card, PayPal or Bank Transfer accepted.£100 per year (£100 per year) or £60.00 for 6 months (£120 per year).
If you are interested in a banner for your business, please get in touch.
Hopefully the above will all help us to keep the unique NFED online. In the meantime, we will continue to work on the art side of the CK Art-NFED partnership & will be launching a line of wearable art soon including many equestrian themed items.