Yes, we'll definitely go with .com domain.
Yes, having "vintage" in the domain helps a bit, probably mostly users who are searching for vintage. There were claims that Google doesn't give much weight anymore to keyword-specific domains, not like before.
Another concern we have with "vintage"-specific domain is that it might turn away people who sell antiques and collectables, and we definitely want to be more inclusive - bigger market!
Good point about social. Yes, will have to check that too.
We are really at the research stage right now. Before we can give any timelines for when the site will go live, we need to have requirements for what needs to be built. Without that we can't even estimate how long it will take.Here is roughly what needs to happen.1.
Organize a small group of sellers (7-10 probably ok to start with), who sell variety of vintage & antique items - jewelry, clothing, collectables, furniture etc. 2.
Decide on the domain name.3.
Setup forum under new domain and move conversation there. It's a good idea to establish site early on, as it will start collecting inbound links and get up in rankings faster, once it goes live officially.4.
Write up a list of Must-Have and Nice-to-Have Requirements5.
Do Keyword Research and come up with Product Categories6.
Create mockups of main site sections. Decide on look & feel and site layout.7.
Develop all Must-Have features. At this point only a small group of people would have access to pages under development.8.
Create buzz before site goes live9.
Release Beta site to public10.
Promote new site (social, link building, newsletters, paid ads etc)
In terms of generating buzz, we really only need people at this point who are interested in being on the ground floor of this new site. Obviously, the more feedback we get from the experienced sellers, who know what works and what doesn't', the better site we will build.
So if you guys have any connections in the vintage world, please let others know about this rather unique opportunity.