NOTE: I've previously covered the idea, albeit briefly, for an Alliance Marketplace here.
I was idling in game last night on a secondary industry toon who happens to live in a null sec alliance. Alliance chat is sometimes interesting, mostly just people saying "hi" or asking, for me, uninteresting questions, occasionally they'll be something funny. Blink Off is the default for this channel, but last night I witnessed a conversation that once more got me thinking about an Alliance Marketplace.
However, like the real universe, there must be black/grey/special markets operating outside of the established marketplace. Yet at this time we cannot see them and there are markets like this that operate via mailing lists and contracts what I think we really need is an Alliance Only market that any alliance can operate and buy/sell to only their members.
As it stands we have the market, it is public and as a result open to all. You can, subject to skills trained, buy/sell anywhere up to the distance of your current region. Anything you see on the market can be bought and you can sell anything that the market supports. You cannot prevent anyone buying or selling and taxes taken go into a sink.
Access to the marketplace is based on the region you are in and you can use a selector to limit what you see by region, system or station. You cannot see outside of the region you are in and there are additional filters that allow you to hide orders in the different classified space (high sec/low sec/null sec).
This makes sense in High Sec space, after all there must be an agency that maintains the beacons that transfer the data and makes sure they are all up to date. But head into Low Sec or Null Sec space and the further you go the more unbelievable it is. Of course localised markets make sense but the way they are now, just uniform and public isn't right and doesn't encourage null sec growth to what it could be.
I see an Alliance Market operating exactly the same in terms of functionality and UI as the current market. Items in the normal market would appear in an alliance market, the buying/selling actions are the same the only things that would differ would be the following:
The Alliance Market would be visible and usable only by members of an Alliance. Like the current market it has limitations on visibility/buying/selling of items based on skills the only difference would be that people outside of the alliance would not know it exists. Item's listed only for alliance sale would never appear to an outsider.
The functionality within the UI for this would be 99% of current market, the only new functionality would be the filtering of results based on whether they are alliance only or not and any UI highlighting (exactly like the 'highlight own orders' that exists)
This is the only really new functionality and would allow the alliance to tax transactions much like the current market does only this would be 'in-addition' to any taxes normally paid. It should be up to the alliance how much is paid but a good starting amount would be 0.5% with an maximum limit of 5% per transaction.
The introduction of an Alliance Marketplace could have a significant impact on null sec alliances and their ability to maintain income but more importantly establish themselves not just in low sec but also null sec. New private trade hubs could be create and maintained without the concern of providing materiel to enemies who can buy and sell anywhere within their skill range.
I believe the Alliance Marketplace could be a significant step towards revitalising an area of EVE that is both clunky and oversaturated with players.