Archive for October, 2007

How To Not Speak at Our Upcoming Conference, Part 2

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

This guy contacted me, wanting to speak at my conference.

Interesting look, and based on the music and it’s volume, this must be the video where he gets eaten by the shark in slow motion.

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it. We don’t touch anybody doing "internet marketing" (those long webpages that make you give your email address before you get anything), pushing eBay selling "systems," or anybody who claims to be a huge seller but doesn’t tell you his eBay ID. I’d like to see that on the home page of his site.

And we definitely don’t work with anybody who doesn’t respect eBay enough to NOT infringe their trademarks.

So no thanks. I am running a conference to get good information to PowerSellers. The target audience for my conference has been selling on eBay longer than this guy evidently, and I think this is not the right audience or vibe for him. Let’s see if he walks around eBay Live with his message.

PS: He wouldn’t take no for an answer (three times I emailed him no), and keeps emailing me about how great he is and how my conference won’t teach anybody anything. This is now super, ultra bad marketing as this guy now seems like a crazed stalker type who keeps emailing me asking insulting questions. I’m amazed that anybody has him speak anywhere with this sort of attitude and unprofessional behaviour.


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Wearing A Particle Mask on a Plane

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

I was flying last week,and saw something I can’t explain.

A female senior citizen sitting near me put on what looked like a homemade particle mask. It had Snoopy fabric or something. I doubt it had any real particle filtering. It was just fabric.

During the flight, she took it off for at least an hour. For the last bit of the flight, she put in a regular surgical mask, the disposable kind.

So what horrible germs did she filter out and save herself from that she could go without the mask for part of the flight? Who suggested this to her? Dr. Phil? If a real doctor suggested this, he/she should have been clearer about technique and follow-through.


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Don’t Put Feedback Comments in Your eBay Listing

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

http://blog.skipmcgrath.com/public/item/186376

Here we go again. He’s moderating comments, so on the assumption that mine wouldn’t be accepted, I’ll comment here.

We don’t suggest putting feedback comments into your auction listing. Why?

  • It’s more words on a page for a target audience that HATES to read. If I want to get people’s attention to have them read something, I’d rather they read about my item for sale or my policies. There is SO much information I want shoppers to know in a listing, and a handful of good feedbacks isn’t on the list.
  • Anybody can distill good comments and put them in a listing or on a website. Anybody can list good testimonials. Shoppers who care will be reading your feedback page for the FULL story. You’re not going to fool them into thinking you’re perfect. If you ARE perfect, then they don’t need to see positive comments because…
  • Your feedback speaks for itself. People see the number rating and the percentage positive. I wouldn’t buy from a seller with 96% positive even if he puts 5 positive feedbacks in his listing. I don’t believe that you build trust with people by distilling the good testimonials and assuming nobody will look into you any further. We know that people go to feedback pages, read comments, and view the items to which they related. So your whole story will be known by your shoppers ANYWAY.
  • When I go to a listing that has feedbacks in it from 2006, I’m not impressed. If you really want to do this, you have to keep it current. Otherwise, outdated positive comments are not likely to have much of an effect. "Oh, this seller made 5 people happy last year."
  • We don’t let clients do this. If clients are doing it, we take it out when we do their new listing template. And yet, people’s sales go up. It’s not like shoppers don’t know where to go to find out if people are happy with you!
  • eBay has a rule against manipulating feedback to make yourself look more trustworthy than you are. Repeating your feedbacks in your listing may or may not break this rule, but if eBay ever decides that it does, you’re not going to be glad that you put feedback comments in your listing.

That’s the story. Once again, I disagree with Skip, and I maintain my objection to him claiming eBay expertise. He’s just a marketing guy trying to get you to buy his stuff and sign up for things that make him affiliate money. Or so I say.


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Third Party Companies Breaking eBay Rules

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

I have a real bee in my bonnet about third party companies being non-compliant when it comes to what they forcibly put into sellers’ eBay listings, or suggest gets put into eBay listings. Here is a great example of why:

http://onlyebay.blogspot.com/2007/10/skypes-competitive-troubles-continue.html

Some third party company told people to put something in their eBay listings without realising (or caring?) that it was against eBay rules. Sellers’ items started coming down. That’s REALLY bad for sellers, and I’m sure damages the trust of that third party company.

So if you see me blogging more about it, that is why. I feel strongly that third party companies:

  • Have integrity.
  • Know eBay rules before telling sellers to put things in their listings.
  • Should not tell sellers to put things in their listings if it breaks rules like the third party credit rule and the third party endorsement rule.
  • Should care about a level playing field. We should all be going by the rules. Nobody is special, and those who are dishonest or trying to "fly under the radar" should change before it starts really reflecting badly on their business.
  • Should care that they are jeopardising their relationship with eBay.
  • Should care that they are jeopardising the community’s trust (and adoption) of them.

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Typepad’s Featured Blog of the Day!

Monday, October 15th, 2007

What an honour! Today, we are Typepad’s Featured Blog of the Day. Thanks, Typepad. Your marketing may say "Typepad Loves Me," but you’re forgetting how much we love Typepad. And Six Apart.

I started a LiveJournal in May 2003. I still post to it (mostly Friends Only), which I love as it allows me to keep in touch with a group of people who care about me. When you’re really down or really excited, it’s great to have that easy way to update people who want to know.

I started this blog in April 2005. It’s been a huge amount of fun to run. And with how weird our world is, it’s easy to point at the lows and a few highs of human behaviour and how companies market themselves and their products. If you read my post from last Thursday, then you might say that this blog is shooting for Theoretical Helpful or better. :)

I’m a big fan of blogs, and we’re trying to get our eBay seller clients to start using blogs. Not only can they voice any relevant opinion that they want, but they can frequently post great keywords and brand names relating to their items. This will then show up in Google, these sellers will have their blogs found in searches, and then can lead people to their items for sale. With widgets, you can drop into your blog your own eBay items, and you can also turn your blog into a mailing list to which people can subscribe. We’re now offering a blog setup and design service for our clients who want to benefit from blog features.

So three cheers for blogs and Typepad. Good marketing, and we’re long-time fans. Yes, we were fans before they made us a Featured Blog. :)


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Registration is open for The 2008 As Was Conference

Friday, October 12th, 2007

Our press release hits today.

As Was Announces Their First Annual “As Was Conference

As Was is known around the eBay community for shaking things up; going in directions people may not expect; and providing the design, advice, and strategies that help eBay sellers significantly grow their businesses. Starting in 2008, As Was will bring their fresh approach to a conference. Registration is now open for eBay sellers, trainers, consultants, vendors, and the press to attend The 2008 As Was Conference. It will be held at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort at Walt Disney World, Florida on Thursday 28 February, Friday 29 February, and Saturday 1 March 2008.

The As Was Conference is the newest conference where serious eBay sellers can learn about products and services that will propel their growth with sessions that will go beyond education. Speakers and exhibitors are being hand-picked by As Was so that attendees are only exposed to companies, products, and services that As Was highly recommends. Classes will include in-depth demonstrations on how to use the tools and concepts that will boost sellers’ profits. Conference attendees can expect everything you typically get with As Was: intense and personalized attention, information and training, and a passion for growing your business, all in a fun and casual environment.

The focus of the conference is to present classes, products, and services that improve the Seven Elements of an eBay Business:

  • Branding and Marketing
  • Research and Strategy
  • Sourcing, Manufacturing, and Storage
  • Listing and Business Management Software
  • Payments and Accounting
  • Staffing
  • Packing and Shipping

“Remember how it feels when you discover something that sets you apart and ahead of other people? Attending our conference is going to be two-and-a-half days of that feeling.” explains As Was President, Debbie Levitt. “We know that many sellers are hungry for the type of education they can receive at the annual eBay Live! conference. In our day-to-day consulting work, we are constantly asked what companies, products, and services will help eBay sellers grow right now. We decided to combine these two with the fun environment we knew we could create, especially at Disney, and The As Was Conference was born.”

Apart
from As Was staff, speakers at the event include representatives from eBay, Monster.com,
Six Apart, Constant Contact, ChannelAdvisor, Kyozou, buySAFE, Worldwide Brands,
JDT Technologies, Keepmore.net, HammerTap, Merchant Advantage, Z-Firm, and Refund
Retriever. Represented programs from eBay include Seller Development, Affiliate
Program, and eBay Stores.

Unlike traditional conferences, the
two-and-a-half day conference is designed to spur attendees’ excitement with
sessions packed with actionable information and demonstrations. Early bird
registration is $399 per person, and includes all of the presentations and
sessions, expo, round table discussions, and sit-down lunch and dinner
networking events in a festive atmosphere. Attendance will be capped at 400 so
that attendees can have quality time with speakers and vendors.

To learn more about the As Was Conference and to register to attend, visit www.aswasconference.com.

About As Was

As Was is a full-service consulting firm specializing in branding, design, sales and marketing strategies, operations management, and training for eBay and online sellers. As Was has been making the world’s marketplace your marketplace since it was founded in April 1995, and has been an eBay Certified Service Provider since August 2004. For more information, please visit www.aswas.com or call 520.204.1935.


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Theoretical Wanky + Other Types of Presentations

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

After attending a recent conference, I’ve decided that there are different types of sessions at conferences and conventions.

  • Theoretical Actionable – These are sessions that tell you how people feel about trends, the past, or the future. That’s theoretical. But then their session is "actionable" because it contains information on what you can go and do to be better/more profitable/whatever.
  • Theoretical Helpful – This would be like going to a medical convention and seeing a presentation about the newest equipment or a discussion of a new surgery that’s going to help people. They’re not performing the surgery on the stage (I hope), so it’s "theoretical" in that sense. Surgical theory. But it’s helpful in that you may not be able to perform it, but you got really goot ideas about what to do next so that you’re lead to the actionable.
  • Theoretical Wanky – This is a session where someone gives you those theories and ideas, but the presentation has nothing that helps you right now. This can also be used if you saw a panel where panelists disagreed, and you walked away still not knowing what to do.
  • Demonstrative Actionable – This would be a real live product, service, company, or technique demonstration. Maybe it’s a walk-through of how to use a certain type of beloved blog software. But it’s actionable because it gives you a foundation that you can use to do what you just saw, or at least start to do it.
  • Demonstrative Helpful – This is the live product demo but it doesn’t show enough for you to put into action what you just saw. Maybe it’s a video of that new surgery that’s going to help people. You’re going to need more training before you can do it, but that was a helpful demonstration.
  • Totally Wanky – This is the speaker who has lots of anecdotes, doesn’t know he’s lost his audience, speaks above their heads, speaks off-topic, spends most of the time on how great he is, or something else that ends up having NO value to the attendee.

Next time you see a session, presentation, or some corporate bigwig speaking somewhere, blog about which one it was:

  • Theoretical Actionable
  • Theoretical Helpful
  • Theoretical Wanky
  • Demonstrative Actionable
  • Demonstrative Helpful
  • Totally Wanky

Incidentally, the plan is for The As Was Conference [http://www.aswasconference.com] to only have Actionable and Helpful topics. We will proofread presentations and choose speakers to eliminate the Wanky.

Having just given one Theoretical Actionable and one Theoretical Wanky,
I feel strongly that we can go make these industry terms. Tell a
friend! :)


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Exponent Trading

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

http://blog.skipmcgrath.com/public/item/184729

I almost accept Skip’s almost apology for having recommended something to you that:

  • He never really checked out.
  • He now realises is crap.
  • Made him money all along while you signed up for something he never checked out that was crap.

More bad marketing. When an "eBay expert" does stuff like this, we should all notice.


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Dress Down Day

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

I was recently looking at another apartment complex in my town. The front office had a sign up that said that the leasing staff were dressing down that day for Breast Cancer Awareness. The leasing agent was in a nice top, jeans, and nice shoes.

Is there a lack of Breast Cancer awareness at this point? Does a casual Friday really help highlight cancer and healing? There was no jar out, so how should I donate? What’s the action item?


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Processed Cheese

Monday, October 8th, 2007

I recently heard a KFC commercial for "cheesy chicken fries." I wasn’t fully paying attention, but I did notice them saying that whatever these were were going to be FILLED with "processed cheese."

What sort of consumer gets excited about processed cheese? This is KFC, so I’m not going to bother asking why this isn’t real cheese. :(


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