There has been some discussion lately in various online selling venues about the merits of allowing "chat" or chat rooms, where people type to each other in real time. I have used chat rooms a bit and found they have both pros and cons.
The benefits include being able to really get to know other people on the selling venue and getting help from experienced sellers right away. People often get help with questions about selling, about a current product, or ideas for a new product. A large venue filled with hundreds of thousands of other buyers and sellers in intimidating, but a chat room can narrow that and make it feel very inviting. Frustrations can be vented in a safe environment and solutions to things that aren't appropriate to forums or boards can be found. People also make connections and sometimes sales to the other people, and that can't be bad, right?
The primary negative to chat rooms is that people can say whatever they want, and it's not always nice. Usually, a more experienced chatter will take charge and moderate a little when people get out of hand, and this is a fairly rare occurrence. I have found that this usually happens between just two people, who usually have had some kind of issue with each other previously and have somehow found themselves in the same room at the same time.
What do you think? Should all selling venues offer the opportunity of live chat for its members?