Archive for February, 2008

The eBay Boycott This Week

Monday, February 18th, 2008

I’ve been hearing about the boycott this week, and I wonder how many sellers have to be a part of it or how much revenue the boycotters want eBay to lose to consider it successful. 100 sellers? 500 sellers? 1000 sellers? 7000 sellers? Given that past boycotts haven’t made eBay change, at what mark do we call it a success?

If eBay has around 1 million people who are serious part-time or full-time eBay sellers, the estimated 7000 boycotters from this demographic is participation of 0.54%. I’m not sure any company is swayed by the actions of 0.54% of its biggest users. That’s a tiny radar blip.

And with some sellers saying their sales are down and they’re in a post-holiday selling/US economy slump, who is going to stop listing and selling on eBay this week? People need the sales, and I think there are other ways to get eBay’s attention.

I do hope that eBay is listening to what people are saying. I do want change and I like some of the ones they announced, but they need to do more. They need to restore the power balance in feedback as it’s heading too far towards buyer power, and sellers I know who use Amazon have complained about some of that problem there. I want higher standards for PowerSellers, but 4.5 on all DSRs may be too high.

I think that if you want eBay’s attention, somebody should be compiling a list of all the PowerSellers who have at least one DSR under 4.5. These are the people who will be disadvantaged in Best Match search results, lose their PowerSeller status, and therefore not get the 5% or 15% fee discounts. eBay should know who these people are and now many there are. They can then decide if making 4.5 the threshhold is too high or just right. If eBay is OK with most of the eCommerce Forum attendees, my clients, and PowerSellers I know losing the PS status and being disadvantaged in search, then their change is the right move.

But I wouldn’t understand that.


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Amen, Sista :)

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

http://whatdoisell.com/blog/ebay/should-you-participate-in-the-feb-18th-ebay-boycott/

Well said.

And one more thing. Based on what I read on the eBay discussion forums, other sellers bullying you and making you feel like you’re not a part of a ‘movement’ unless you strike this week is also NOT a good reason to strike. If you want to be part of that movement, you’re part of it for whatever that means to you. I read some very upsetting posts from single Moms who rely on eBay for income. Those people shouldn’t be striking.

Well nobody should in my opinion. I agree with Lisa that you are likely to lose more in sales than gain eBay’s ear.


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Sellers Leaving Negs For All Buyers?

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

I just heard that some eBay sellers are leaving negative feedback for every buyer to protest to eBay because eBay is going to remove the ability for a seller to leave a buyer negative feedback.

This is like beating your wife to protest the amount of domestic violence that goes on.

It’s just childish. Sellers leaving undeserved negs for buyers is the problem in the first place. If sellers hadn’t been leaving negative feedback for buyers who did nothing wrong other than not liking what went on in the transaction, eBay wouldn’t have to do something like this. Sellers abused the system, and now eBay is giving you a time out!

I have seen plenty of eBay listings that say that if the buyer leaves a negative feedback, the seller will automatically leave a negative. That means that if you don’t like my service, you are to keep quiet. It’s extortion. Sellers HATE when buyers do feedback extortion… like a buyer who wants to return something after the return period is up. The seller might say no, and the buyer leaves a negative out of anger that they couldn’t control the situation. But sellers are using negative feedback for extortion too.

If sellers hadn’t been doing that, eBay wouldn’t have to crack down on it. You took a system that was supposed to be about honest communication and true appraisals of each other, and you made it into a tool for leverage. The system no longer works when EITHER party uses it for leverage or revenge. Sellers already have something in place for buyers who use it for extortion. You can report it, and eBay will remove it since eBay has a rule against feedback extortion from a buyer.

But even with the power on the seller’s side, sellers kept using their power. It’s all made the feedback system meaningless, and now things are shifting to DSRs because feedback is becoming meaningless.

Sellers will now have to actually communicate well, describe items well, ship well, and be a good seller. If a buyer wields too much power, report him for feedback extortion. But eBay took your power away because too many people abused it.

I’m NOT for what eBay has done. I believe the feedback system needs to change because it has become meaningless. I don’t know what needs to be done, but I understand WHY eBay is doing this. I hope they’ll try some other things too since removing the seller’s ability to leave negatives for crappy buyers may not solve any problems either.


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Why I Might Give You Low DSRs

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

To me, the main problem is that sellers, especially big ones, don’t want to change. I think every year, eBay makes changes to make people change. If they wanted everybody to stay the same, that’s easy, and nothing evolves. But they want people to change.

A very angry vocal seller at eCom Forum was saying how DSRs will destroy her. I looked at her listing, and she’s doing a not-that-great job of communicating her policies. So honestly, I’m not surprised that there are some buyers who have wrong expectations about her shipping time and pricing, and her DSRs reflect that. I sent her a LONG email about what I’d change, and I didn’t hear back. Maybe she’s just making the changes and maybe she didn’t want to hear that this stuff is within her control.

Communication is in your control, and with DSRs really being a reflection of expectations, sellers could be doing a better job to communicate so that buyers have expectations that’ll match what sellers will deliver.

I just bought an item on eBay last week. After waiting days to hear from the seller, I found that he was emailing me at an email address different than the one I bought from… so it went into my spam filter and he didn’t verify himself. I finally noticed it in my spam filter as garbage. And what was he saying? Even though I gave him a PayPal confirmed address, he was going to cancel my order in 24 hours if I didn’t send him my personal name (my PayPal address has my business name on it).

NOWHERE in his policies did it say he needed a personal name to ship to, and I read every policy he had. I gave him my street address because his policies said NO PO Boxes. I was a good buyer and READ the stuff. Now, if I ding him on DSRs for communication and shipping time (he delayed shipping to me for many days), he will probably think I’m an unreasonable jerk when he SHOULD be asking himself (or ask ME – why not try follow up surveys with buyers) what I might not have liked about that experience. Where did what he did not match the expectations he set up for me in his listing and policies? I have an answer, and it’s not that I’m an arbitrary, bitchy buyer.

But sellers don’t always see that. From speaking to sellers, it sounds like anybody who ever gave them less than a 5 on DSRs is just a jerk. Statistically speaking, we can’t all be jerks. Some of us have good reasons for what we chose.


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Renting Things for Conferences

Friday, February 15th, 2008

I’m working on the final planning for our upcoming conference, and I have to say that I don’t understand who is the target audience for renting stuff from conference centres.

They was over $300 per day (after tax and service charge) per laptop computer. My event is 3 days. I have a client who sells refurb Dell laptops, some for under $400. Why would I rent a computer for $900 when I can buy it for $400?

They want nearly $800 per day for 4 wireless microphones, their belt packs, and the transmitter. My event is 3 days, so that’s $2400. I can buy a name brand wireless mic with belt pack and transmitter on eBay for under $200 per microphone set. Why would I rent four for $2400 when I can buy four for under $1000?

I just don’t get this stuff. If I were in the rental business, I would price things so that it’s attractive to rent… so that it makes more sense for me to rent it there than to bring it with me or ship it back and forth. At these prices, I’m better off BUYING these things, shipping them or flying with them, and hoping I find more ways to use them down the road.

It’s just bad marketing.


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Psycho Hershey’s Kisses

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

I visited a friend who had some Hershey’s Kisses out for snacking. I snacked!

The white tab coming out of the top had weird messages. I know for Valentine’s Day, Hershey’s does lovey dovey messages. I have no idea what Kisses set these messages came from. They included:

  • You love me (that’s forward!)
  • I miss recess (how old are we?)
  • I like you (non-committal)
  • Ouch (ouch!)

Are these Kisses for 2nd graders or something? Who is the target audience here?


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Anti-Perspirant Effectiveness

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

The Today Show, in their 47th hour one day last week, had a segment that included a tip on how to make your anti-perspirant more effective.

Put it on the night before.

Evidently, scientifically speaking, it will be more effective the next day because it’s had more time to settle into pores. OK, but that means that you’re sleeping through the night and starting your next day without washing your underarms. You might even get into a hot shower and get wet but not wash off the anti-perspirant, if you’re following this advice.

I’m starting to think that this advice could lead to other things… like not washing. Like going into a hot shower, raising your body temperature, possibly sweating, possibly not washing your underarms since you wouldn’t want to wash off last night’s antiperspirant. and then not putting an anti-perspirant because hey, that’s what The Today Show said.

Boooo.


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Write What You Know…

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

I went to college with a girl I won’t name since I’m not writing this to embarrass her. I didn’t really know her, but she was in my Creative Writing – Poetry class. Please do not continue reading if you can’t deal with a word used for certain private body parts. I’m going to use it a LOT. Please don’t be offended. It is the correct term for this part.

No matter what the assignment was, she wrote a poem that was clearly about a vagina. There were many poetic descriptions of the physical landscape of said part. Lots of poems. Finally, the class asked her to write about something else. She had no idea what we were talking about. Evidently, every poem was about vagina without her noticing.

She wrote a play the school performed. I didn’t see it, but my friend still says lines from it as a joke. Something about if a dog had bitten you, it would have given you its name.

I lost track of her (as we weren’t friends) but I saw her name pop up when she was a writer for… wait for it… Sex and the City. Yep! Vagina again.

After that gig ended, I remember seeing her on some website offering her writing services to people who wanted a professional writer to write their bios for dating websites.

?!!?!?

Vagina again, nonetheless. I lost track of her again, but she just popped up last week when I found an interview with her about something she just wrote. I won’t say what it is so you can’t find her. But in the interview, she referred to being a novelist. Really? I looked her up on Amazon.com.

Well hold on to your vagina, but she’s written a book about vagina. Yes, in 2006, she wrote a book about a teenage girl DYING to lose her virginity, and what she goes through I guess to accomplish that. Evidently this book is for "grade 9 and up." Amazon ratings from Sex and the City fans were high. Ratings from real people who might have teen children were quite low. They were fairly appauled by the subject matter and how it was approached. I didn’t read it, but from what was written there, it sounds like it may not be the right message to today’s teen girls.

So I told a few friends about this person and her whole story as witnessed by me in blips, and they decided to list the Top Ten Self Help Books if written by this person. 10 is the best, so imagine you’re counting down…

  1. I’m Vagina, You’re Vagina
  2. Men Are From Mars, Women Have Vaginas
  3. Chicken Soup for the Vagina
  4. The Seven Vaginas of Highly Effective People (I think this would be funnier as The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Vaginas)
  5. The Four Hour Vagina (Four Hour Workweek, people, don’t go there)
  6. Rich Vagina, Poor Vagina
  7. Freakovagina-ics
  8. DaVagina Code
  9. The Secret (Vagina)
  10. Who Moved My Vagina?

And there you have it! Sorry to use such language, but all I can say to that author, once again, we ask you to find another topic! Surely, you must know something else you can write about! They say "write what you know," but that poetry class was in like 1990! Let’s move on!


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Female Impersonators Holding A Benefit…

Monday, February 11th, 2008

I’m still trying to make sense of this. Evidently, local female impersonators are holding a benefit to support young horseback riders who need money to go to a national competition. ?!?!!

I can’t tell if this is good or bad marketing since I don’t know what the target audience is for young horse riders needing fund raising.


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Life and Business Coaching

Friday, February 8th, 2008

I remember a few years ago, so many people seemed to be Life Consultants or Business Consultants or Life Coaches, insert similar title here. At first I thought it was great. People will be helping people get organised, make better decisions, etc… People are taking their natural talents for helping people and making it into a business. I thought this sounded good.

Now, I am a bit confused. Evidently, you can now train to be a Life Coach. So maybe you don’t have a natural talent for it, but you can pay so-and-so $XXXX (usually 4 figures) to learn how to be a Life Coach or some kind of Success Coach. Some programmes have famous names attached to them, some are offered by people possibly none of us know.

This page will tell you how to build your client base and "passive income" using the internet.

Some people have created their own Certified Life Coach certificate, which I guess you can show to people to prove you are great at this.

And now, you can train to do Personal Coaching, Business Coaching, Leadership Coaching, Spiritual Coaching, Mentor Coaching, Executive Coaching, Career Coaching, Relationship Coaching, Corporate Coaching, or Success Coaching. So someone who went into Coaching for the $opportunity$ is going to coach executives? People on their personal life matters and relationships? Isn’t this what therapists and psychologists are for?

This all makes me a little sad. I had always thought that a Life Coach was someone who was naturally good at helping people, and turned it into a business. Now, it looks like it’s something that is advertised out there as an "income opportunity" and an "elite club" that you need to pay thousands to join. This means that people are certifying people who may or may not be good at this.

I mean, how do they train you for this? Do you get scripts of what to say to people? Do you learn the ethics of dealing with people’s private issues and concerns? Can you do Executive Coaching if you’ve never been an Executive? Are there any barriers in any of these programmes, or can anybody just do this?

I guess this explains why I go to small business meetups and other meetups in town, and when we all say what we do, it seems like 1/3 of the people there are some sort of "Coach." Well, Coaches, the economy is down. Spending and in some cases stupid spending is up. Businesses are struggling. People make poor relationship choices. There are more Coaches than ever before. So get out there and help people so we can turn this all around!


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