Site Report: Growth & New Features
By Alex Zorach, July 9th, 2009
Merit Exchange continues to grow slowly but steadily. In the past two months, the number of members has grown by more than 50%, and most importantly, the number of classified ads listed and the number of merits traded have both more than doubled.
In response to feedback from members, we have patched a number of minor bugs and added some new features, including two major ones, a "getting started" tutorial and an event/invitation system. We also continue to work on new features that will be rolled out as soon as they are ready for use, such as accounts and profiles for businesses and organizations.
"Getting started" tutorial:
New members will find a getting started tutorial that encourages and helps them to start using the site most effectively. The tutorial is broken into two stages. The first helps each member set up a profile, adding contact info, listing skills, and reviewing privacy settings. The second stage is more involved and encourages members to connect with and interact with other people on the site through using the skill testimony system, classified ads, and social networking features.
Completing a profile and connecting with other members has now been made a prerequisite to using the currency of merits. Upon completing the first stage, members are issued
m100, enough to experiment with in small transactions. Upon completing the second stage, members will be included in the weekly issuing of new merits.
Merit Exchange now allows members to create events, much like a number of other websites. This feature is long overdue, and is essential to the purpose of Merit Exchange, in getting people together in face-to-face interactions. The event system includes privacy controls, allowing members to create private events open by invitation only, events open to all members, and events open to the general public and displayed on the public face of the website.
- Contact information, together with privacy controls, have been added to profiles.
- Classified ads can now be shared with non-members through a special URL that can be shared in emails, webpages, or other means. We also added a specialized feature to post ads in one's Facebook feed. Merit Exchange tracks views of each ad for the member posting them, and breaks this up into internal (member) and external views (those from following a shared link).
- A number of minor bugs, and one major one preventing some newly invited members from creating an account, were fixed.
We are developing the capability to allow members to create accounts and profiles for businesses, organizations, and informal groups. We hope to give businesses and organizations opportunities for increased visibility, as well as allowing them to enjoy the economic benefits of using a community currency.
Another important task on our agenda is an effort to build support for other community currencies, especially local currencies, in order to encourage a plurality of currencies and economic systems. Stay tuned for more updates!