Archive for August, 2005

We Say No, Part 2

Tuesday, August 9th, 2005

We say no… as in we don’t take every potential client who calls us. Some people just aren’t right for us. Perhaps some shouldn’t be selling on eBay at all! We feel it’s good marketing that we have standards and that we are checking clients out as much as they’re checking us out.

These are the stories of some of the people we’ve turned down. Bad marketing for these people!

Last year, a guy contacted us about helping him sell his product on eBay. We weren’t sure his product would sell, and he didn’t want to pay for our services. That’s often the last we hear from someone. :)

A few months ago, he resurfaced, literally a year after we had last heard from him. He wanted to sell on eBay and was ready to hire us. He had been trying to sell his product through a website, but couldn’t tell us a consistent story about how that went. He was very proud that he had sold $1M of merchandise, but had to admit that he had invested $3M in advertising to sell that $1M. Between that and the nature of his product, we didn’t have much faith that it would work on eBay. And why set someone up for a(nother) loss?

He also had the vibe of someone who wanted to tell me how he’d sell on eBay. He had ideas and impressions and plans of how he’d do it, and he got these from watching late night infomercials about selling on eBay. I don’t tell the mechanic how to fix my car! :) Communicating with him was very difficult because he had convinced himself of a number of things with which we disagreed. He changed his story from minute to minute. We suggested over and over that this was just not a viable product. We had no faith that he’d make a profit selling through eBay or anywhere else for that matter.

I emailed him and told him that after discussing his product and situation with my team, we had decided to not take him as a client. He emailed me back that I should "calm down" and take the weekend to think about it. I replied that I didn’t need the weekend to think about it. We had confidently decided that we would not be working with him. Therefore, we will not be supplying a revised proposal or contract.

It got wild from here. He sent emails that sounded more like he was fighting against me romantically breaking up with him. He declared that he was a really nice guy who writes love songs, and I just have him all wrong. He told me that I was a nice Jewish girl from New York and he was a nice Jewish boy from _______ (town edited), so we should be able to get along. It was creepy. I had my spam filter block him and send him a reply that he was blocked and that I considered his email harrassment. He sent the same email from another address, so I put that in my spam filter and sent the same harrassment statement. He sent the same email from a third address, and again I blocked it and had the system tell him this was harrassment.

He then faxed me the same content from his email. At that point, I had my attorney contact him as this was beyond creepy and certainly harrassment. It was hard to believe that all of this was over our eBay consulting firm not wanting to work with him… it somehow seemed so personal to him. Luckily, once my attorney faxed him, it all went away.

We feel good about turning people down. It’s sometimes an awkward situation, but we believe it’s best for everybody. He shouldn’t be selling, and if we had helped him try to sell on eBay, we wouldn’t want to be blamed for the failure that would have come from a product with little to no demand and the way he might run things/treat people.


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We Say No, Part 1

Monday, August 8th, 2005

We say no… as in we don’t take every potential client who calls us. Some people just aren’t right for us. Perhaps some shouldn’t be selling on eBay at all! We feel it’s good marketing that we have standards and that we are checking clients out as much as they’re checking us out.

These are the stories of some of the people we’ve turned down. Bad marketing for these people!

We were contacted by a competitor of one of our clients. Listings and Store looked bad. Strategy looked like it needed improvement. I figured we can help this person… until I looked at the feedback page. eBay feedback is a system where buyers and sellers leave each other comments on how they feel the transaction went. "Good" sellers are considered to have 98% or higher of positive comments. Sometimes you can tell what a seller is doing wrong if they have the SAME negative comment over and over but from different people. You get the feeling that’s just the way it is rather than 1 or 2 wacky people who happened to have the same complaint.

This seller’s feedback rating (# of people who left positives minus # of people who left negatives) was over 3000, but the percentage of positive since day 1 on eBay for them was 97.9%. OK, not a disaster. But there were three problems that made us turn them down.

1) eBay shows you a little chart showing how many positive, neutral, and negative comments someone received over the last 12 months, last 6 months, and last month. This lets you see if someone’s getting better or worse. This seller was getting worse with nearly 4% negatives in the last month but just under 3% over the last 12 months.

2) This seller had nearly 200 "mutually withdrawn" feedback comments. What typically happens there is that a seller gets a negative. Even if the buyer did everything right, they LEAVE the buyer a negative. This is a "card" they can then play to get that person to go through eBay’s mutual feedback withdrawal process. That means that both parties agree that the comments they left for each other should be removed and not count against each other’s ratings. I know of an eBay seller with an overall feedback rating of nearly 100,000, and they have 275 mutual feedback withdrawals. That means the seller who contacted us has only 3.4% of this seller’s score/activity, but nearly 70% of the mutual withdrawals. This is a bad sign of the number of negative comments they’ve received as well as what might be a habit of leaving retaliatory negative comments just to force the mutual withdrawal issue. That’s unfair as you should only leave a negative if someone did something terrible!

3) What the negative comments said. A few comments were about not getting the item at all or getting it much later than they expected. Most of the negatives implied (or said straight out) that the item was not as good in quality as it was described to be. Over and over, I read about how people felt the quality of the item was poor even though it was described as top quality or perfect or hardly used. That tells me that this person may be dishonest about how they grade their used items. Also, in many cases but not always, buyers try to work things out with sellers before leaving a negative. That means that chances are, some of these sellers tried to return the item or get a refund, and they were probably told to jump in a lake. :)

So we don’t want that person as a client. It doesn’t pay to give that person a listing design, custom Store, and eBay strategies so that they can sell more (lies) to more people. We were not comfy with how this person appears to be selling, and we want an "our clients" page of successful sellers with happy buyers.


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A Leaky Tampon Can Kill You

Friday, August 5th, 2005

This Tampax ad says, "A leak can attract unwanted attention." It shows a scuba-diving woman taking a photo of a shark. Yes, those ARE red bubbles in the water. We’re supposed to think that she has a leaky tampon, and with the shark sensing blood, it could be her end. Damn tampon attracting killer sharks!

Click the ad for a larger version of the ad.

This was clipped from a teen magazine by my sister.


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Everyone Can See Your Stripes

Thursday, August 4th, 2005

This ad showed the message down the crotch of pink thong underwear. Evidently, when you wipe, you’re not doing a good enough job. Surely, everybody will see the marks you leave. That’s why the ad wants you to use their moistened wipes WITH toilet paper. I think the ad should just suggest that people learn to wipe better.

Click the ad for a larger version of the ad. Evidently teens don’t have enough to think about without worrying about thong marks.

This was clipped from a teen magazine by my sister.


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Have A Happy Period

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005

"Have a Happy Period" is the new slogan from Always. I’m not sure any woman thinks of her period as a happy time, and I doubt they’ll be convinced by cute ads. The URL in this ad is www.beinggirl.com/happy. I still don’t believe you.

Click the ad for a larger version of the image to the left. And have a happy period, won’t you?

This was clipped from a teen magazine by my sister.


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Drink Clorox

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005

From my sister:

Just went down to the deli – got a small coffee – and there is marketing on the coffee cup – that isn’t new…but….this marketing is for…
wait for it….
CLOROX.
I am sipping from a cup that says CLOROX.  Soooo counterintuitive.

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