Archive for June, 2008

Gestalt Psychology

Monday, June 30th, 2008

If you know me, then you know one of my many hobbies is Gestalt Psychology. :) Here are two of the "laws" that I want to talk about today, as they relate to eBay and eBay sellers.

  • Law of Continuity — The mind continues visual, auditory, and kinetic patterns.
  • Law of Common Fate — Elements with the same moving direction are perceived as a collective or unit.

I tend to lump these together as the Gestalt Theory of Good Continuation, as it was taught to me in the a university psych class. Another way of putting this might be, "The worse it gets, the worse it gets, and the better it gets, the better it gets." People see patterns, and where they don’t, their mind will look to connect things to make them comfy patterns that feel right.

What does that mean. Well, I think it helps explain some of what eBay sellers are feeling. People tell me I tend to write too much, so for today, I’ll leave it at that.


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Last Chance for eBay Live Show Discount!

Friday, June 27th, 2008

The show discount we offered is available through the end of Monday for those who want to jump on! The discount was for any new client signing on for at least two services by the end of June. Here are the two discounts:

$200 off anybody wishing to break up their contract into two payments (one upon contract signing, the rest when we’re done).

10% off anybody who is willing to pay for the entire contract price (minus the 10%) up front in one payment, upon contract signing.

Get in touch ASAP if you are interested in jumping on this discount! :)


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Neither Inaccurate or Accurate?

Friday, June 27th, 2008

I was just looking at what each set of stars in eBay DSRs stand for.

Evidently, three stars for "item as described" means "neither inaccurate or accurate."

Huh?

What does that leave? Existential? Post-modern?

I guess you pick that one if you find the seller’s description of the item to be mysteriously part fictional but based on a true story.


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Open Jobs at As Was

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Hey, readers. We have a bunch of open jobs. You can check them out at http://www.aswas.com/jobs.shtml. Here are some highlights.

Creative Director – this person is like an art director and project manager. You will manage the template design process, so you need to be awesome with design, ideas, and communication.

Customer Support – this person will perform some behind-the-scenes Photoshop and HTML work for our team. You’ll also answer support tickets and make the easier changes that clients need… like the person freaking out about his template because his sales tax changed. :)

Account Manager – this is like the Customer Support person, but is the seller’s main contact at our company, and the centre of the long-term relationship. So it’s HTML and CSS with Photoshop, but’s also really knowing eBay and being able to advise people.

Artist – we’re always looking for excellent artists who would like to work on our projects. We often have a hard time finding the right people since we need you to be really creative and work well in multiple styles. This is not the type of job where we tell you exactly what to put where, and you are just a robot. :)

Get to know these jobs by reading their full descriptions, and then apply today since we are ready to hire!


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Free Webinar on eBay Changes

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

With so many people wondering about eBay changes and what to do, we’re putting together a free webinar for 1 July at 11am west coast time. All are welcome. Questions will be taken and answered to the best of our ability!

https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/852167320 to reserve your space now

We’ll be covering recent eBay changes and announcements and what you need to do to be compliant. We’ll also look at what is coming, and how to stay ahead of the game as much as possible.

Also, with the hammer being dropped on PowerSellers with lower DSRs, we’ll be looking at how to raise DSRs.

Join us!


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eBay Rumours Are Just That

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

There have been a lot of rumours about eBay lately. The main one tends to be variations on "eBay will become Amazon" or "eBay will become more Amazon-like."

eBay has had this technology for years. Half.com is "Amazon-like" in that there is one description, and sellers line up to be on that page as someone who has it. No description, no policies, no branding, no marketing. You’re barely aware of who is sending it.

And eBay hasn’t gone in that direction. I don’t think they will. It makes no sense. It reminds me of what Seth Godin said about version 1 of the Microsoft Zune MP3 player. If it’s not an iPod killer, why spend time to develop, manufacture, market, and sell it? If people won’t throw their iPod away for a Zune, then why bother? I think the same thing about Amazon. Amazon does a good job being Amazon. It doesn’t make sense to be Baby Amazon Junior Coming Late Into The Game of Being Amazon.

eBay is good at what it does. Other sites who have tried to be Baby eBay or New eBay or Better eBay have either stayed small or failed. So for what eBay is to people, it does many things right.

When it’s wrong for buyers, it’s often the seller who is wrong, not eBay. The guy who sent me crappy Dance Dance Revolution pads wasn’t eBay… he was a seller. The guy who held my order because he didn’t like that my company name was part of my confirmed address… eBay didn’t do that to me. The seller did. eBay didn’t ship me three faulty solar Bluetooth GPS receivers… those were from three different sellers carrying sub-standard merchandise, evidently. So as an eBay shopper and buyer, I am WAY for eBay having and upholding standards! Many sellers have given me crappy experiences, all while thinking they were GREAT sellers.

Does it make sense for eBay to bring in more catalogue descriptions of catalogue items? Yes. Does that mean they’re becoming Amazon? No. eBay may change checkouts and payments. Does that make them more Amazon-like? Not necessarily. They may just be doing things that will work better for their shoppers.

When you go and get a haircut just like the one Jennifer Lopez has, chances are that you are not more JLo-like. Hopefully you got a good haircut that works for you. :)

I’m watching a lot of blogs try to predict the future. Some even say that they have information straight from an anonymous eBay top level person. One of these claims that all of these changes are coming in August. Really? So ChannelAdvisor, Vendio, and everybody else will have to fall in with changes that are coming in 5 weeks yet none of us have been told about them? We’ll all have to redevelop our systems overnight? That’s unlikely at this point.

It’s unlikely that eBay would make giant changes that would require that third party tools make those changes too and to NOT give Certified Providers (which includes us) any heads up about these things. And the changes these blog posts and manifestos are claiming run against what eBay just announced and what I know is coming.

Rumours are rumours, people. Ask yourself if they make logical sense, and nearly 100% of the time, I find that they don’t.


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Item Specifics Can Kill You in Best Match

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

One of our clients just found out that the software he uses doesn’t fully support all the item specifics that eBay makes available now. He emailed us saying his DSRs are all above 4.7, yet he’s not showing up well in Best Match. He had no idea why, and suspected the item specifics.

He contacted his software help people, and they confirmed that they are not yet propertly supporting item specifics. Well, I’m not surprised. I remember when it took the same software system 8 months to get things like Second Chance Offers and Second eBay Category into their system. UGH!

So I suggested that he try listing a few things with Inkfrog, which our clients love. I said even without our template, just get a few things up with total item specifics, and see what happens. He said his items were now much higher in Best Match search results.

Well, there you go. That’s just another reason on the pile of reasons why I can’t recommend the first piece of software. And also why I give talks at the Developers Conference… evidently I need to remind developers to keep things updated!!!


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eBay Seller Problems

Friday, June 20th, 2008

There is a slide that I show when giving my marketing presentation at the Developers Conference. The whole point of that presentation is to remind Developers that the most useful tools they can build are the ones that solve seller problems. I then put up a slide of the most common seller issues that can be solved by software tools.

Without pasting the slide, it lists things like listing efficiency, shipping issues, communications issues, getting repeat buyers, having more work than staff, and the like. The point of the slide was to point out things that software developers can help.

Some angry villagers with torches have complained in another blog that I need to update that list because I am just not covering all of eBay sellers’ problems. Well, I know that sellers have new complaints and issues… I’m more aware of these than most people given the number of sellers I personally deal with! But the point of my presentation was seller problems that can be solved by software and tools… not every complaint sellers have even if they can’t be solved by software and tools.

eBay Developers are always looking for good ideas. If you can list seller problems that can be helped or fixed by software or tools, please respond to this post. If you are just going to complain about eBay and your sales, your response may not remain. Thanks.


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Thanks, Seth Godin!

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Yesterday, I was teaching all day at eBay Live. Evidently, Seth Godin stopped by my booth to say HI, but I wasn’t there.

So I emailed him this morning asking if he were stlil around, and it turns out he was already home. He asked if I had heard that he mentioned me in his presentation to the eBay audience. No, I hadn’t heard that!

He told me he put up a picture of me (hope it was a good one) and some pictures of other people as "eBay big idea people."

Well thank you, Seth. It’s an honour when one of the biggest big idea people alive today calls you a big idea person. :)


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Not Reading or Illiterate?

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

The official eBay blogger took a picture yesterday of one of my slides that I gave at the Developer Conference. He blogged about it. Someone has already responded in sheer horror that I would say these things, and she put words in my mouth, saying that I think eBay sellers are illiterate.

eBay sellers are not illiterate, and I never said that. Could people please stop putting words in my mouth?

Besides, it doesn’t reflect well on you to read something and take away from it something that’s not there, all while complaining that I am saying that people don’t like to read and don’t often understand things. I think you just proved my point!

The point of my slide and most of that presentation was to wake developers up and make sure that they are designing and creating things that are easy to use. I believe that the typical eBay seller fits what I wrote… they don’t want to read something that sounds like a college or grad school text book. They think they can figure things out themselves, and they will if developers make their tools easy enough! They won’t read help files and may not read instructions in general.

That’s not an indictment. We’re a fast-paced world now. Once upon a time, we wrote letters. We took the time to read letters we got. Now, we read 2 sentences, and we don’t care about the rest. We sign contracts without reading them. We try to figure out software and things without reading help files or manuals. It’s just who we are as a society. Some people will read, and some will read less than the average. But on average, we’re not making time to do these things or to care.

So developers need to design and develop for the fast-moving person who wants it to be so easy, it’s impossible to not figure it out.


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