Being in the telecommunication industry selling hardware, service really isn’t my thing. But if your familiar with Buzzirk Mobile, a Multi-Level-Marketing scheme program, the intern CEO officially resigned at 8PM EST on August 5th, 2009. This comes just two and a half weeks after the original CEO quit. Talks of scams, patent issues and a solid vision have been hot and heavy since the first CEO resigned and tonight adds fuel to the fire.
People wondered if Buzzirk would live up to it’s hype! Buzzirk Mobile being the “hot” unlimited pre-paid for $79.99 including international calls, unlimited Internet and basically unlimited everything with every option. The idea for MLM on this didn’t have me from HELLOMOTO. For one, the price was not that great. We’re coming out of a recession and while the deal is hot, I couldn’t imagine the masses being attracted to a plan that was probably more expensive than their current plan. The nay-sayer’s think the idea of making people pay $20-$50 EXTRA out of their discretionary income for options that they most likely will not significantly use would never take off. I personally think this is accurate and wasn’t really too sure on their “PiggyBack” GSM technology with Zer01 . I’m not saying that it didn’t sound impressive; I’m just saying it wasn’t anything to jump up and down about.
I happened to attend one of the scam networking “business meetings” as moral support for someone when the call came through. Pretty embarrassing for the host to cancel the event before it even began , on speakerphone for all the interested individuals who are now glad that they didn’t get suckered into another flopped MLM. It didn’t sound officially dead, but when this supposedly “triple-diamond” regional sales guy from Buzzirk Mobile tells everyone in attendance to take their credit card information out of their account, you can pretty much call it a done deal.
I call SCAM. If it happens not to be a scam, MLM is just not ready for for a dedicated telecommunication gig. In my opinion, the technology just moves to fast and competition is too fierce. Metro PCS offers a $30 unlimited talk/text plan and just added unlimited international calling to a long list of foreign countries for only $5.99/month. Pageplus, Verizon’s new pre-paid dealer is offering similar plans with little restrictions on roaming and availability outside of your market’s area. An MLM needs a breath of fresh air and a calm before the storm when it finally picks up and gets viral and the cell phone market doesn’t allow for that much time before the next best thing comes out.
How Buzzurk was Buzzirk?
Everyone is trying to sell their items on line these days through a website or ebay. The big guys will always be there but a large percentage of sales are pushed by smaller companies that you compete with on one level or another. Ever wonder why your competitor has higher DSR stars or better feedback ratings than you? Occasionally, a good way to check your own operations or to get a feel for how other companies handle their post sales procedures can teach anyone a few shortcuts or cost savings ideas.
A few interesting points to check are:
- Checkout system – How easy? What processing method? Ease of selecting item specifics etc.
- Communication – What e-mails do you get when you checkout? Do they cross promotions with mailing lists and repeat customer tactics after after the purchase?
- Packing Materials – You may learn a few cost savings techniques in shipping supply reduction or alternatives, invoice information and paper marketing materials.
- Customer Service – Call up after you’ve received your item and even if all is well, test their customer service department with e-mails or phone calls. Test their returns and exchange procedures and length of time etc. Playing the unhappy customer has never been so fun!
Testing a few of these areas can help you find strengths and weaknesses in your own and others post sale transaction. Your routine might be comfortable, but with everything involved after the sale it can be easy to look past an improvement that can make a big difference when multiplied by all of your outgoing shipments.
Making money on craigslist is actually alot easier than you think. Obviously, the site is filled with spammers, advertisers and affiliate programs that are going to be flagged and removed before you know it. However, If you’re able to copy and paste relatively fast (easy) and can do some basic ebay research, you should be able to pull in a few hundred dollars a week in your spare time without violating craigslist terms of service.
This method is pretty guaranteed and constant and it really takes advantage of the weekend warrior who needs cash for a night out on town or to pay that past due bill and prevent their cell phone or other utility from being shut off.
This Craigslist Article Received so many hits over the last 4 years, that I decided to remove it from this blog and post on my official blog. Please follow this link for this popular article and many other related eBay and Craigslist money making tips on everythingauctionpro.com . Thank you and let’s make some money!
I was a bit unsure about the differences between Fixed Price 30 and Good Til’ Canceled and how it would effect velocity with your listings so I decided to shoot a call to the powerseller hot-line. In a brief summary, the differences are both obvious but can drastically change velocity and rankings within ebay’s core search results.
Going through some seller searches, it’s very definite that listing research tools (hammertap and terapeak) have some serious tweaking to do with their software platforms before we can consider them serious tools after ebay’s policy changes this year. Research on seller competitors and reports have stats way off and not even close to a ball-park figure.
One main reason people use these research tools is their ability to look up recent trends within the past week or month on how a certain product has performed and tracking competitors sells to find new products and trends to take the guess work out of listings to reduce listing fees and guesstimate success ratios. Let’s take a look.
What I found: For starters, they’ve been unable to update 30 day listings formats in any of their stats. As many ebay sellers start to pump their auction out with Fixed Price 30, having these stats to make better decisions is a great way to take a lot of the guess work out. As you can see below, weeks after the new updates, FP 30 items are neither listed as a listing type or duration making many sellers who’s product fall under this category useless for research.
Falling along this same idea, trends change so fast on ebay in a 7-30 day period, that completed auctions can no longer be a standard for research data. Most sellers want to know what’s sold or is selling within the past few days or weeks, not over months and months of data.
If I wanted to do a search for “Unlocked Motorola V3 Phones” …using this tool I am only going to see finished auctions and BIN items that were successful/unsuccessful. But when I do a search (not under completed and on current items) I see dozens of fixed price 30 auctions up and selling WELL.
With the current programming, Terapeak and Hammertap will HAVE to implement some type of current listing data to flow into completed auction data. Until a 30 day listing ends, (which is way to long to grab real time data in E-Commerce for current trends), sellers will be unable to really get a feel of how their items might sell with post-sales data.
Ex: I see an auction for Motorola F3 Unlocked Cell Phone up that is a featured FP30 listing. Under purchases, it’s sold 350 phones in the past 10 days and still has 20 days left. Terapeak isn’t going to take those 350 phones into consideration till the auction ends in 20 more days. Two other sellers have similar auctions up accounting for over 700 purchases on FP30 with at least 15-20 days left before they end. Only 1900 of these phones sell per month leaving about 30% of sales data out of the equation and taking. Even more importantly, neglecting the MOST RECENT sales data. By the time these end, prices can easily change in the cell phone category leaving sellers with unreliable up-to-date research data.
Competitor research is also completely off. After researching our user names sales in the past 7 days, this is the screen shot that I get.
These number are completely off. Our inventory system gives us very accurate reports on weekly/daily sales and we actually averaged about $18,000/day this week and by tomorrow will have done about $80,000 in gross sales. Again, terapeak is taking ONLY completed auctions into consideration and is unreliable because the tool won’t current (not yet ended) FP30 auctions into their equation.
We also averaged 380 packages per 24 hour period this week, taking reliable reports from shipworks. Terapeak is saying we only sold 973 pieces.
Conclusion: I think they’ll eventually change this but have to really think hard on how to merge completed auction and current sales data and even more importantly, represent it in a way that benefits their customers. Also thinking about the options the users will have to graphically or numerically represent data around these new issues is sure to be a large task in their R&D departments.
For others, research might not be as off. It all depends on the category and nature of products being sold as many categories will not be selling in FP30 because it doesn’t make any sense. Other categories such as consumer electronics, DVD’s, CD’s etc are sure to feel this effect.
Tip: All sellers should do a basic search from the main page of ebay.com to check current FP30 auctions. Check their success, prices, keywords etc as these research tools will not have accurate data till after 30 days (if they make the update by then)
Skype was bought by ebay nearly 3 years ago but has since then failed to implement a real advantage within ebay’s core. Ebay saw Skype as a daily function for users to manage customer contacts, answering questions and pre and post sale concerns. However, sellers and buyers have failed to take advantage of this feature within their listings.
CEo John Donahue said to the Financial Times
“What we’re testing this year are the synergies,” Mr Donahoe told the Financial Times this week after Ebay reported its latest earnings. “If the synergies are strong, we’ll keep it in our portfolio. If not, we’ll reassess it.” That could lead to the disposal of the business, he indicated.
This news comes after Skype reported strong Q1 revenue up to $162 million dollars, a 61% increase from the previous year. This year it’s expected Skype will generate $500 million and be profitable. This may lead ebay to sell the VoIP company with the hopes of having a money making buyout. Rumor talks point to Google.com, who would more likely be able to find a better use for it’s services if Ebay users do not hop on the waggon in the next 8 months.
We do not comment on market rumor or speculation regarding acquisitions, Generally speaking we are constantly in discussions about potential partnerships in cases that will be mutually beneficial for users, advertisers, and publishers. – Spokesman for Google
The reasons for the service not being a match on ebay are numerous. Sellers contribute that software advances in auto-answering services and advanced platforms to handle customer service management leave little need for the service. Also many larger sellers that previously used the platform have choosen to host toll free phone lines with other VoIP companies. Every buyer or seller has a phone number when they need to get in touch, but not everyone has a Skype account loaded with cash.
Was looking around you tube killing some time and I found a funny ebay video. Aparently two women from Orlando bought two cell phones but were scammed by another woman and her husband for sending two pictures of cell phones. The scammers even admitted to going on a shipping spre with the extra cash. Personally, I think Judge Judy needs to be in charge of the fraud department for ebay and paypal.
- Recent sales of multi-quantity listings
- Reasonable and free shipping – Mainly for the media category.
- Significant Incentives for free shipping – increased visibility, free subtitle and double FAV fee discount. (Changes made October 1st)
- No Money Orders or Checks – Must use paypal or propay for easy checkout experience
- Sellers Must have 4.3 DSR stars to sell on ebay after October 1st
- Moving to successful based pricing – Low insertion fees for those selling “like” items over and over. Really important that they consolidate their listings with multi quantity listings. As people buy, listing will be rewarded with more exposure and savings on fees.
- Now that time ending soonest is not a factor in Best Match, 30 day FP makes sense to keep up for as long as possible.
- A good time to move Ebay Store inventory to FP30 listings
- No changes to auction style fees
- Ebay’s take on Best Practices to improve DSR ratings
- Communication DSR – Communicate post sale with tracking, thank them for the purchase and handle any post sales concerns.
- Leave positive Feedback after you have accepted payment! Not after they’ve left it. Builds communication early and gives a positive tone.
- By October 5th, revise shipping cost to market average or free shipping
- Specify return policy on all templates in ebays format, not just in your listing template.
Questions and Answers:
1) Why did you increase the FAV in media category compared to other categories?
Drastically reduce upfront fees. If you use the catalogue you only pay 5 cents.
2) How is ebay educating buyers on DSR and feedback comments and remarks?
New format for leaving feedback asking buyer if they have tried to resolve and leave accurate feedback.
3) What happens if the shipping calculator shows a higher price than the average cost in my cateogory?
If item is heavier, mult-quantity use flat rate shipping at or below the shipping cap.
4) Why have you required Paypal and electronic payment?
We are offering more options and it gives more visibility when you offer these options. In the future we will integrate 3rd party and other applications in the checkout process as an alternative method. Propay is also an option and is competitive.
5) Will the recent sales carry over when I relist my item?
6) Whats the future of stores if you want me to move my items to FP30?
Still important, you’re able to drive more traffic by offering them on the core results. Stores are still important for internal traffic transfer of similar items and getting customers once in your listing to go to your store. Most traffic to stores comes from clicking within the auctions.
7) Will auctions and BIN rotate in the core results?
Ebay is using “intermingle” as their term. They will be rotated but be specific for trends with DSR, past sales and maximum exposure for increase sales price and turn over percentage.
8) I heard that the Uk is going to get rid of stores. Does that mean it will be gone in the USA as well?
It will not be removed in the Uk and the USA and we think it’s very important in both markets.
9) Some sellers are listing ipods in flower category to avoid FAV fees. What are you doing to address this?
These listings will take advantage of relevancy policies. They will get a negative mark and receive less exposure.
10) When is ebay express closing?
Ebay express will close on September 18th.
11) When you integrate merchant Credit Card options in the checkout, will the credit card information be transferred to the sellers?
12) Will the credit card integration be available to Canadian’s in January.
Probably not, but looking for options.
13) International orders have concerns for DSR stars with shipping and transit times. What steps are you making to set realistic expectations for buyers with Shipping and Handling DSR stars?
We will reinforce longer transit times and buyers should as well. Let the buyers know realistic transit time, leave feedback when checkout is complete and not only let them know how long it will take to ship, but highlight how long it took you to get it out the door and offer to stay in constant contact after the sale.
14) Will setting “Standard Flat Rate Shipping” count as offering a shipping option?
15) Are pre-orders still valid?
Yes up to 30 days. Nothing has changed.
There seemed to be alot more questions on media, feedback DSR abuse by buyers and other questions that revolved around the above. What I took away is sellers need to communicate, specify shipping options and realistic expectations and optimizing listings for the new format. Most of these questions came from the message boards and even after this announcement video the vibe is that even with ebay’s explanations, members are still frustrated with the changes.
You can listing/view this entire macromedia flash session here.
There comes a time for all to seriously consider what it would be like if they didn’t sell on Ebay. For some, it would mean the end of business. For others, it might be the best decision you ever made. Ebay’s consistent and “for the better” changes in 2008 have left sellers using lots more resources to try and achieve the same margins as they were used to.
The plain of the fact is that all these rules are geared at long term changes within their marketplace.
- Feedback – I just checked our feedback and the results are black and white. Out of a toolhaus feedback search, 48/56 negative feedbacks have come from users with under 50 feedbacks. Of the 48 who left feedback, half were new users within the last year or so with under 10 feedbacks. That’s 85% of negative feedback is from this trend. The others who left negative feedback were varied (ill call it ebay experience).
This type of ratio shows a real problem where these new buyers have unrealistic expectations in the buying process. Many leave negative feedbacks because the item was lost in the mail (and they declined shipping insurance), failed to read the full item description for something that was spelled out in the clear and have fail to abide by your return policy that they accepted. It just seems those veterans who have have bought or sold in any quantity from the first days realize they can take advantage of a good customer service department without throwing in the towel and neggin someone. — Especially for those company’s who truly pride them selves in customer service and would of made the customer happy.
- For volume sellers or those who make a living on ebay, the changes have hurt their business in one way or another. Weather it’s fees, feedback, search standard etc …the changes have effected a large portion of sellers to some extent. To alot of sellers, spending lots of resources on man-power or new internal processes to implement the new changes can be very time consuming and costly. The big thing is we haven’t seen any REAL changes yet – only suggestions with the promise that a better market place awaits us. This has left many companies frustrated with the lack of an inconsistent marketplace.
Scot wingo, CEO of Channeladvisor had a very good perspective on this fatigue at his blog.
Part of what’s going on with the seller base is, for lack of a better word, eBay fatigue. Sellers feel their businesses have changes so much (DSRs, BestMatch, etc..) for so little/no/decline in sales that eBay is increasingly becoming a lower priority for them and thus they will tend to be reactive vs. proactive as they would have been as recently as 6 months ago. To be honest, most of our larger sellers are spending their time getting their websites and other channels ready for the holidays and eBay just isn’t a priority. Of course this doesn’t bode well for eBay, but it’s the reality of what is going on in the grassroots of e-commerce.
These comments hit home for many sellers who feel they should be able to market their product and the customer will decide on price, reputation, transit-time and customer service. Ebay now feels like a mathematical equation that requires a MBA in Amazonification to sell sell sell when they feel their business is reputable and legit.
Without a doubt, E-bay’s changes have and will change the way we do business on the giant. For now, it seems like a struggle to keep up and myself and other sellers are reluctantly putting our faith in ebay to see things on the upswing in the near future. Hang on for the ride if you so dare!
Shipping to Canada can be a great option for sellers who want to expand their customer base and make some extra money. Shipping to Canada is actually very easy and in most cases, not much more expensive than sending a regular parcel via USPS. Theres a few more steps involved that take some attention but nothing to cause worry.
Fraud: The first thing that comes to mind is if it’s s
This Article was moved to my new blog which has other ebay shipping and business topics similar to this one. This article was selected for the move based on overall hits received over the last 4 years. Please follow this link to continue reading this story. Thanks and lets make some money!