This post contains important information regarding the future of this website. Please read carefully.
Many have noticed that I have found it hard to maintain this website for quite some time now. Due to various reasons, some of them beyond my control, updating the price guide regularly has become all but impossible. Things have become a bit less chaotic, but after 15 years this has become a chore. I also know that there will come the day when control of this site will need to be passed to another. With all that in mind, I have been considering various options for the future of OAImages. In the midst of this, a several months ago I was contacted by someone who made me an offer that was too good to resist. After many months of negotiations I am now free to announce that this site has been purchased by a combined partnership of Google and eBay. This will be effective July 1, 2012.
The images library of this site will be made available to Google and incorporated into their Google Goggles product. An app will be released soon for the iPad, iPhone and Android powered devices. Once fully integrated one will simply take a picture of a patch, and Google Goggles will identify it for you, returning a list of probable matches. If a match is not found, it will allow you to submit the image for possible inclusion on the site. Since Google has such a large stuff, they will be able to quickly review the submitted image and add it to the site within 24 hours Pricing for the app has yet to be determined, but I expect it will be reasonable.
Both Google and eBay have agreed that the main body of this website will continue to be free to use. They are strongly committed to the idea of sharing this type of information within the patch collecting community. I do expect they will seek other ways to monetize their investment including, but not limited to, banner advertisements and perhaps the sale of user data. Given eBay’s sterling record of data security and concern for their customers, and Google’s “Do No Evil” corporate mentality, I am sure any personal data will be secure and used only for beneficent purposes.
eBay’s involvement will primarily be on the price guide side. Their data will be fully integrated into this site allowing near instantaneous updates to the price guide without the laborious and difficult task of reviewing thousands of closed auctions. For this purpose, they will be able to scan the image of the item pictured (see above) and have it identified according to the site. There will also be an icon added next to any item on the site if it is found to be available for sale on eBay.
Pricing on the members side will change significantly to reflect these enhancements. Current memberships, and those that start before June 30th, will run their term without any change but a new pricing structure will be unveiled in June to be effective with the change in ownership. I along with a small group of helpers have been visiting trade-o-rees incognito in recent months doing market research as to what the optimal pricing structure should be and what additional features should be added.
As this transition occurs, I will be working with Asok Lahtsamor Shullbit at Google and Richard Hertzmore at eBay. I expect I will be making several trips to the “Google Plex” and eBay’s corporate headquarters. As I love to travel, I look forward to this opportunity to spend time in California.
Part of the purchase agreement includes significant donations to both councils for needed camp improvements. Both companies are eager to support Scouting and its goals. I plan to visit both the Pacific Skyline and Santa Clara Councils in order better to find out what their specific needs might be. I am sure the local Scouting community in North Carolina would like this significant donation to remain here, but I felt it more appropriate that it go to the councils where the new owners of this site are located. These next few months will be exciting for both me and users of this website.
Please check back later today for an additional announcement regarding the BSA’s sale of lumber and mining rights at The Summit in order to help fund needed improvements for the upcoming National and World Jamborees.
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