Archive for February, 2008

Free Puppy And…

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

I saw a funny sign in a local place that specialises in pizza and large, hot cookies.

"Unattended children will be given espresso and a free puppy."

Enough said.


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No So Practical Ecommerce

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

PracticalEcommerce.com. It has nearly NOTHING on it about eBay. One article I wrote. A reliable person who sometimes blogs. That’s it. I can’t believe that those readers have little to no interest in eBay.

That’s not enough. Sellers need more than that. I hope somebody starts a new online magazine that’s focused on helping eBay and online sellers. You knew I wanted that, but I’m just saying it out loud.


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There’s Room In The Rocket

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Just a note that our conference, RocketPlace, still has space available. Disney has rooms too in case you decide last minute to come. Plane fares looked non-deadly too. :)


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How To Not Partner With Us

Monday, February 25th, 2008

I heard about a company last fall. I contacted them. I heard nothing back. I saw them at a conference in early October 2007. I told them to contact me. I heard nothing back.

Last week (mid-Feb 2008), I get this email from them:

I hope all is well with you.  I wanted to follow
up to an inquiry you made to [company name] regarding a potential referral
partnership.  Please let me know if you are still interested in that
conversation.

Did I not ask enough times for a conversation about a potential partnership? And they’re JUST getting back to me nearly 6 months later? Wow, I sure feel like a priority to their biz dev team! :)

Usually, companies looking to break into the eBay seller space seek us out. They know that sellers ask us who they should use, so they want to partner with us. They want us to get to know their companies and systems so that if we like it, we’ll recommend it. That’s what we do!

I guess in this case, these people aren’t that serious about breaking into the eBay space or partnering with us. I can’t imagine being the "Channel Manager" at a company and emailing a potential partner something that bland, uninspired, and bleh. If they wanted to partner with us, I could imagine a zillion other emails they might have sent rather than making it sound like I haven’t followed up with them enough to be having a conversation about partnership.

And if it takes them nearly 6 months to get back to me, how are users of their system treated? I’m someone who could be bringing them business with no effort for them. You might want to get back in touch with me soonish. :) Or not!

I replied with some of what I’ve said here, and suggested that we continue to put the partnership on hold.


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Threats from an eBay Seller

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

With all the fuss lately, people are forgetting the fact that some eBay sellers are still not giving good experiences to eBay buyers. I do more buying than selling nowadays, so I see both sides. But here’s one for you.

I bought something recently. I was waiting to hear if it shipped. Nothing. I’m waiting. I eyeball my spam filter every day, many times a day in fact, but I get THOUSANDS of spams each day. It’s tough. I miss things. The best way to get through to me is to make sure that when my spam filter emails you back to ask you to verify yourself that you DO IT.

The eBay seller decided they needed my real name for their package. My confirmed address had my business name, and evidently, they wanted a human name. They were evidently emailing me this… but they emailed it to my PayPal address and NOT the address I used when I bought the item. I use a certain buying account because it’s linked to my personal email, and my personal email doesn’t go through my spam filter. They were emailing my business address associated with my spam filter and weren’t verifying themselves when the spam filter came back to say the mail wouldn’t be delivered.

More than that, they were emailing threats. If I don’t email them within 48 hours with my real name, they’ll cancel my order and refund me. No, I wanted this! Second email. They’re going to cancel me within 24 hrs if I don’t email them my real name. Well, I finally noticed these in my spam filter, and I wrote back to them.

I have no idea if that’ll be good enough. You can’t ship to As Was at my confirmed PayPal address? Maybe next they’ll delay my order because they don’t like the area code of my phone number. I read the policies in their listing, and I do NOT remember seeing that they won’t ship a package to a business name.

[ Shipping ]
• Signature required for receipt of delivery (except USPS deliveries).
• Please allow 2-3 Business days for your order to be processed.

• Available for shipping in the US ONLY (including Hawaii, Alaska & Puerto Rico).
• Cannot be shipped to PO Boxes, APO/FPO, Canada or any other non-US addresses.
• We do not process orders/offers/customer service inquiries during the weekend.

I rest my case. I made sure to give them a street address because I READ THIS.

When I ding them for communication and shipping time, I hope they don’t wonder why. I hope they don’t think they got a crappy buyer. If you are emailing the PayPal address and not the eBay account, realise that you could be doing something like this. Use eBay to contact me or email me at the address I used to buy from you. My PayPal address is another story. If you need the address to have a human name on it, put that in your listings. Unlike most eBay shoppers, I read your policies! You weren’t clear enough. You delayed my order because you needed something I had NO idea you needed.

So all the people complaining that eBay changes are going to hurt them, ask yourself what you can do better. Ask yourself why buyers don’t give you better ratings. What expectations are you setting up? What policies did you give them? Did you leave anything out? Did you write so much that I’m unlikely to read all of it? When you emailed your buyer, did you threaten to cancel their order within 48 hours? Communication is within your control. eBay is creating a high standard. How you match up to that standard is within your control.


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Beware of This Email Spoof

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

I got this in the email. Of course it’s fake. The "sign up" link was to a Russian web address, so it’s not eBay.com by far. But I think most people would click on this. Please don’t click on this!


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eBay Boycott & President’s Day Week

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Many schoolkids have this week off for President’s Day Week. Many parents take off to travel.

Those parents may not list eBay items this week as they are away, and can’t really mind the store.

So how much of any decrease in eBay listings is from the boycott, and how many because some sellers may be on family vacations this week?

We’ll never know. :) I guess the boycott people picked the wrong week OR picked it on purpose to try to claim vacationers as boycotters.


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eBay Boycott & President’s Day Week

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Many schoolkids have this week off for President’s Day Week. Many parents take off to travel.

Those parents may not list eBay items this week as they are away, and can’t really mind the store.

So how much of any decrease in eBay listings is from the boycott, and how many because some sellers may be on family vacations this week?

We’ll never know. :) I guess the boycott people picked the wrong week OR picked it on purpose to try to claim vacationers as boycotters.


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Don’t Believe Everything You Read

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

The media would rather latch on to a
negative-sounding eBay story than a positive one.

I can tell you that
certain publications used to call me ALL the time to interview me. I
typically gave a positive look at most eBay moves and changes, and they
seemed very interested in my takes on things. And every time their
articles came out, there was no quote from me. Instead, there were
quotes from certain other people in my industry who you can rely on to
give negative quotes. Yes, this person seems convinced that every eBay
move is a 100% wrong one, and all of his software users are against it.

That’s what the media printed. Not what I said about how the change
will help some people. Not BOTH opinions about the eBay move or change.
Just the negative one.

And Mr. Negative Quote is the same guy who told me a couple of years ago that NONE of his users are interested in branding and marketing themselves. Really? Including the ones who are my clients because they wanted our help with branding and marketing?

This is the same guy who has been against every eBay change, even ones that have worked out well for his target user base.

And then I read that people don’t want to sell or buy after reading these articles and blog posts. Well that’s just sad. I think it’s a shame that we do such little critical thinking of our own that we read a typically-slanted article in the media, and make life decisions based on what really boil down to opinions.

It’s all opinions. Look, even science reports change. Remember when cigarettes were healthy? :) Don’t believe everything you read. Remember that the media is going to print what people want to read, and for the most part, that’s pop stars imploding and eBay pissing people off. When’s the last time a media outlet asked me to find them happy eBay sellers to interview? I have them ready and waiting!

And let’s not forget junk science. I’ve seen a figure floating around that the new fees will mean a 66% increase in fees for sellers. I can’t make that math work. So far, the clients I spoke to and the math I did show people’s fees going down. One friend of mine will see her fees go up an average of 50 cents per sold item. That’s not enough for her to care. So exactly WHO is seeing their fees go up 66%, and out of all the possible math examples, why are people latching on to this one?

Don’t stop or refuse to buy or sell on eBay because of a media article or blog post, even in what you consider to be a reputable newspaper or magazine. You have NO idea what’s going on behind the scenes. Not all of it, but plenty of it is a manipulation. It’s not balanced. It doesn’t look at multiple sides of an issue.

How many articles have you seen about sellers who are HAPPY about the changes eBay just announced? Some of those happy people are my clients, and I have them ready to be interviewed. Would you read that? Would you believe it, or after everything else that’s been written, do you believe that all sellers hate the announced changes?

Somehow, people watch commercials for drugs for literally made-up diseases, think they have these diseases, and start taking drugs for them. So eBay in the media is not the only place we’re being manipulated… not by a long shot, and I won’t even get into politics! I say just start thinking for yourself more. Research and look at multiple sides of an issue. There can’t be only one side.


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Lazy eBay Sellers

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

OK I don’t think all eBay sellers are lazy, but I got your attention so I can say this.

I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from my blog posts and mailing list mailings, and the word seems to be that buyers have a lot of negative experiences buying on eBay, and these are not eBay’s fault. This is about how sellers operate.

Between my own buying experiences and what people are reporting to me, sellers are lazy. Their policies in their listings might be overly wordly, hard to understand, grumpy, incomplete, or outdated. LOTS of sellers I talk to tell me their policies have changed, but they don’t have time to go back into every item and change their policies, one by one. Of course, if they used a template and the policies were there, that would solve that.

The equivalent of this is if you went into a retail store and they had policies hanging up. You read them. You then tried to go by their policies and found that they changed them but didn’t bother making up a new sign yet. Well that’s a bad experience, and you may not shop there again out of lack of trust.

We know that eBay is making changes because of buyer trust issues.

How about the definition of "new"? There has always been a debate as to whether "new" and "brand new" are the same thing. How about something that’s "factory fresh" or "open box"? If someone opened the box and returned it, is is still new?

It seems that some sellers are not being honest ENOUGH about the conditions of items. I had this in another flavour with a seller from whom I wanted to buy. His listing said his items were refurbished and tended to have some cosmetic damage, but were working fine. His listing said that the photo he was showing of the item may NOT be the item I’m buying. I emailed him and asked him to show me a photo of the exact items he could sell me so I could see how much damage they had. He replied that he doesn’t have time to take pictures of every item he has, and I’d just have to assume that the damage is minimal.

No thanks! Let’s not assume! I had to weigh the savings on that item against the potential for disappointment because I would be assuming "minimal cosmetic damage."

Hey eBay sellers. Hands up… how many of you want your shoppers coming up with their own ideas and expectations about the condition of your item? Few of you I’m sure since you know the shopper will imagine it to be better than it might be. Then they get disappointed, and feedback and DSRs go down. Meanwhile, you’re thinking that the shopper is a jerk since you said it has some cosmetic damage, and didn’t the shopper know that. Yes, we knew that, but HOW MUCH, we did not know. So you left us to imagine, and we imagined. Then we saw it, and found that you and I don’t have the same definition of "minimal."

Imagine going to a retail store and buying something, but the clerk tells you that the one you get may or may not look like the one you picked out. Would you still complete that transaction? Would you shop there again?

Why leave these up to chance? Why leave the shopper to guess and imagine? You could be doing a much better job. No matter what changes eBay makes, you could probably be doing a much better job communicating item conditions and policies.


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