Say What? A Guide to Pet Trading Etiquette
“Did you seriously just offer that?,” “Ummmm NO THANKS,” “You’ll NEVER get that for what you’re offering!” Uh oh. Nobody likes to hear these types of comments, especially when you thought you found the perfect pet! So what are you doing wrong?
This is a guide aimed toward those who understand the basics of pet trading and the Pound Chat Board, but may need a little help fine-tuning your trading interactions. You know that UFT means Up For Trade, you how the transfer system functions, and so on. But if you really want to be a happy and successful trader, you need to understand “Trading Etiquette”. These are simple guidelines to give you an idea of what many pet traders are looking for and like to see. They are not rules or requirements; however, you may find other people responding more favorably to you if you give them a try. Let’s get started!
Many people start off by offering on pets they like before creating their own boards. It helps them get a feel for what trading is like on the Pound Chat. But wandering out and blindly offering on pets is not going to get you into anyone’s good graces. Here are a few things you may want to avoid when offering on pets that are up for trade.
1. Unreasonable Offers
This is a very common mistake and is frustrating to a board creator. A good rule of thumb, if you feel your offer needs to be preceded with “I know it’s a long shot” or ended with “I thought it was worth a try” then you may want to reconsider. To put it bluntly, the owner will not feel sorry for you and give you their pet just because you really want it. Tell them their pet is great, if you want, or wish them luck, but if you offer unreasonably it generally comes across either rude or clueless. Not the best impression to make!
If you’re unfamiliar with what may constitute an unreasonable offer, keep in mind that both the rarity of the color and species of the pet can make a pet considered very valuable. Also things such as how well-named the pet is or if it has good stats are things to remember while offering. Try browsing the Pound Chat for a bit to see what kinds of offers get accepted or considered on certain types of pets.
It can also be considered an unreasonable offer when you offer something on a custom that the owner could make for themselves with what they're offering! So no offering baby pets on 600k customs, or pirate pets on FFQs; they could just as easily make the pet themselves.
2. Ignoring the First Post
Always read what the owner has specified in the first post, or you won’t get very far with them. Sometimes they are just looking for anything that catches their fancy, so offer away! But other times they are only looking for certain types of pets. Offering a robot pet to an owner that only wants chocolates will simply waste time.
Take note of the wording when you read the owner’s post. For example if they say they “prefer” well-named pets, then you may still have a chance if you offer a pet that is not considered well-named. But if they stipulate that they only want well-named, it is poor manners to disregard their wishes.
3.Getting Angry When Rejected
If you want to be taken seriously, always respect the owner’s decision. Even if your offer appears to be a great trade for both parties, your pet may not be quite what the owner is looking for. Maybe they don’t see design possibilities, maybe its name rubs them the wrong way, or maybe they just don’t like it! They can do whatever they want with their pet because it’s THEIRS.
4. Guilt Trip
This is also a very discourteous thing to do when rejected or attempting to sway the owner into accepting your offer. Whining that the pet you offered on is your dream pet, that you’re trying to get it for your little sister’s birthday, or that you had one and lost it to a scammer, is trying to pull the guilt trip on the owner. They will not appreciate it. Once again, it’s their pet and their call on what they want to trade it for. Don’t try to make them feel guilty for not accepting your offer (even if one of the above situations is true!); it is far better to simply show your class by wishing them luck and moving on.
5. Laundry Lists of Pets
Pet traders are often given a bad rep by non-pet traders as being heartless, greedy, etc. For many pet traders, including myself, this isn’t true. We don’t trade just for the fun of it, but to adopt pets we love as well as to find homes for our other pets where they will be better appreciated by someone they appeal to.
But nothing looks more insensitive than when someone posts an lengthy list of pets that are being traded off like TCG cards. I may take some heat for this, as I am aware the practice is common, but I can’t leave it off this list because I know it bothers a great number of more sensitive Neopians.
First this practice can often fall under the “unreasonable offers” category. In nearly every instance, these lists are full of very common, cheaply painted, poorly named, or easily obtainable pets and one or two rarer/more expensive ones. Often they are snatched from the pound and immediately put up for trade and have no sentimental value at all to their owners. Now all of these pets need loving homes, there is no question there. But most owners don’t want to read through a massive list of offers to see if there is one that is worth their pet. A far better option if you have more than one pet currently up for trade is to pick out which ones would be a fair trade for the pet you’re offering on and post only those. Less is more certainly applies since more offers does not equal better offers.
And maybe you don’t realize this, but you may actually be turning people off from wanting to trade with you. All the owners I’ve traded with still care about their pets and want to see them go to good homes. When you offer these large numbers of pets, you are essentially saying you care nothing for your pets and they are just items to be tossed around. Not all pet traders feel this way and most likely won’t want their pet to go to such a situation.
6. Making More Work for the Owner
Desperation isn’t flattering. Posts like this - “Any of my pets on this account or _____ or _____ or ____!” are not the best way to make a good trade. This kind of “offer” is very time-consuming for the owner. Having to search each account and look at the pets on it while also replying to other posts on the board and neomails (if it’s a busy board) is not something most owners are thrilled about. It also nearly always guarantees that you don’t know what they’re expecting for their pet and it is probably pointless for them to look anyway. Once again, pick out a couple of your pets that might be fair offers. If none of them are, you’re going to have to accept that you may not be able to own that particular pet for a while.
Offering Pets That Aren’t Yours – Now obviously you should never ever offer a pet that is someone else’s and you have no claim to. This is SCAMMING and it WILL get you frozen.
But what about offering pets that you will shortly own through a trade? This is a debatable topic, but I strongly recommend against it. Not only does it look like a possible scam (you are not able to neomail the person from the account the pet is on), but it’s also highly insensitive. Even if you have the current owner’s permission to offer their pet, think about what a greedy and impatient light this can cast you in. Many people don’t like to see their pets re-traded, and certainly will not look kindly on someone who can’t even wait until they own a pet before trying to trade it off. Three-way trades can often fall under this category (and are highly risky as well!)
Looking For Offers:
Well, now we’ve covered a few ways to avoid upsetting your fellow Neopians when offering on their pets, let’s take a look at some common blunders made when looking for offers!
1. Withholding Names
Only listing “name format” is impractical and may actually be losing you offers! The only reasoning for this that has made sense to me is if you are wanting to pound transfer the pet to avoid a pound sniper grabbing it. But pound transferring is very dangerous if you value your pet because while it is in the pound it is no longer yours!
Another argument is that since their nice pet is on a side, they don’t want to be swarmed with offers sent to their side account. This is a very flimsy excuse, as I have had traded several very sought-after pets from side accounts and didn’t receive a single offer on those sides. And even if you do, is it so hard to delete them? I’ve also heard people say that if they post the names, they get overwhelmed with begging neomails. That is annoying, but everyone with nice pets gets them here or there and, once again, it really isn’t terribly hard to just hit the delete button, is it?
It seems that many owners (certainly not all, but many) who withhold their pet’s names get a bit of a power kick out of it. They like the feeling of control that comes with the power of deciding who they will reveal their pet’s name to. That’s all well and good for them, but to everyone interested in their pet, it is an annoyance. Most traders who are serious about finding a pet they care for don’t like making offers unless they know whether or not they like the pet AND it’s name. And for many people, names are a HUGE deal. Xxxxx could be an awesome, pronounceable name or it could be Tfgbr. When I see a board with a pet I may be interested in, but the board creator is demanding offers before they’ll reveal the name or wants you to neomail them for it, I usually pass right on by. Unless it’s a type of pet I’m extremely interested in, it’s just not worth the bother when there are always dozens of other interesting new boards popping up to check out instead.
2. Pounding If No Offers
This is another silly trend that should never have caught on. If you don’t want your pet, pound it. If you want offers, keep being patient because finding the perfect trade often takes quite some time.
Trying to guilt or rush people into offering often backfires, as you’ll be swamped with queries of “time?” instead of the offers you hoped for.
3. False Topics
I of course am talking about topics such as, “POUNDING DRAIK,” followed by “Just kidding! But these pets are UFT,” and many such variations. If you have a unique, attention-getting title that actually relates to your board, then by all means use it to draw interest. But actual false topics will more often than not backfire, because the crowd you bring will be interested in what your topic was about and mostly likely not interested in the pet(s) you actually have up for trade. And even if they would have been interested, they are more likely to feel tricked and annoyed if they thought the board was about something else. If it seems like no one is coming to your boards, just be patient. The best strategy for getting someone to come that is interested in your pet is to advertising that pet, and not something else.
A Few More Dos and Don’ts:
The following aren’t necessarily important enough or don’t fit under the above two categories, but are still a few helpful tidbits of information that may make your trading experience all the smoother.
Don’t #1 – Advertise your pets UFT on someone else’s board.
This should be obvious why it’s rude. It’s just as easy to go make your own board and you won’t be turning anyone off.
Don’t #2 – Back out of trades once you’ve agreed.
If Neopoints have been spent on a custom trade, you MUST go through with it; otherwise it it scamming. However, even if no neopoints are spent, it is still rude to agree on a trade, only to back out. This wastes the other person’s time that they could have been looking for other trades, and could even waste their once-a-month transfer. You can be sure they will warn their friends not to trade with you!
Don’t #3 – Offer on pets that have not been advertised as being up for trade.
Many people find this very offensive. Even if they have no banners or noticing stating that the pet is not UFT, it comes across rude. You’re better off looking for your dream pets on the pound boards or adoption sites.
Do #1 – Post the name, species, color, extras (Battledome stats, UC, etc) when offering.
This isn’t a rule by any means, but it will make things easier for the owner, especially on a busy board. They will appreciate the time saved by not having to search for the pet to see what it is or ask you for the name. It’s just a courtesy.
Do #2 – Always be polite and respectful.
When you treat others will respect, they will remember. Lurkers will too! You never know who might remember what you were offering/seeking and give you a heads-up if they know something.
Do #3 – Tell someone that you’ll consider their offer if you’re not certain.
Accepting offers, then looking for more is unfair to the person whose offer you accepted. And accepted means, just that, you’ve accepted it. It’s like joining a guild, then looking for another as soon as you join. It doesn’t make any sense, if you’re not sure if you want to join the guild yet, don’t. Same principles apply.
Do #4 – Let your considerations know when you’ve accepted another offer.
On that same note, it’s frustrating for people to always be considered, then never hear back. They don’t know if they should keep looking for offers, go ahead and trade, etc. Try to give them a time frame of when you’ll get back to them and do it! They’ll respect you a lot more, even if you end up rejecting their offer.
Do #5 – Always use the safe transfer option, or preferably, the exchange option to prevent scamming and losing your pet.
Remember if you try to pound transfer, it is no longer your pet while it’s in the pound and you have no claim to it. If anyone tries to get you to transfer via the pound, be very wary! Also remember, that if someone does scam you out of your pet, you might get the scammer frozen, but you won’t get your pet back. That’s why it’s wise to always use caution.
These were just a few of the things that I have observed during my wanderings on the Pound Chat that I felt would be beneficial to pass on. Once again, you are not obligated to do them, but you may find people much more receptive to you if you give them a try! Happy trading!