The times, they are a-changin

"The times, they are a-changin.’" —Bob Dylan

Change can be scary and difficult, but it doesn’t need to be. With a little foresight and planning, change can be an exciting thing! Just in the last year alone, I’ve become a first-time homeowner, I trained for my first 10K, I’ve gotten married, and I’ve adopted a cockatoo from a bird rescue. Indeed, the only constant lately is that the dynamics in my life are changing and evolving. Yes, I’ve had to make certain adjustments to keep up with all the ‘new’, and it’s rolling with the punches that keeps things interesting!

Likewise, in the alpaca industry, we are currently going through a transitional period. Knowing last year that merger was a distinct possibility, we began laying out a plan for a new AOA website that would incorporate the services and functionality of both the ARI and AOBA websites. On paper this sounds easy; just take all of the good stuff and smoosh it together! But what we have found in practice is that it is very difficult. The websites for the two organizations have different layouts, they provide distinctly different services, and they access and display different types of information, among other things. We knew that we had an opportunity to provide an amazing user experience for our combined membership and so we began the process of creating a new website that would be easy to navigate and would provide better functionality than its predecessors.

Over the last several months, we have been involved in designing and testing the new AOA website. We have spent many productive hours in meetings with our software developers to ensure the product we deliver will be one that benefits the membership and the staff alike. Knowing that change was on the horizon gave us the time to plan for it, which in turn gave us the opportunity to produce a beautiful new online home for our members.

I’m pleased to say that we are close to launching the new site, which will go live in December. For the first time ever, you will be able to use one username and password to access all of your alpacas, registry, farm, show and member marketing information. You will be able to pay only ONE membership fee, with the option to add-on other services, like voting rights or show membership. We are replacing the North American Alpaca Catalog and the ariLIST sites and enabling you to list your AOA registered alpacas for sale or for stud directly in the main site with just a couple of clicks. These listings will also be directly linked to their EPD data, pedigree, offspring, show wins, and much more. The really awesome part about this is that it is being offered at no additional charge to all registry and association members, AND we will be putting the full weight of the publicly facing AOA website behind it by pushing people from outside the industry to the search pages for these alpacas.

Most exciting may be the fact that you will be able to access all of your important records in one place. Without having to bounce from site to site to site, you will have access to your herd list, your alpacas’ show results, the Alpaca Magazine archives, DNA and BVDV testing, show calendars, alpaca pedigrees, leads, the EPD program, registrations and transfers, marketing resources, educational articles, breeder stories and more.

Yes, things are changing and we are so excited because it means that things are getting better! This rollout will be the culmination of months of planning and work. It will be a learning experience for you and for the AOA staff, but we will be glad to walk through it together. For now, we will continue working to ensure a smooth transition. Keep an eye out for more information, coming soon!

Dan Huntley, Customer Service Manager