A Happy Labor Day to all my readers!!

Here for you is another issue that I hope you find
interesting and can use to help make your business
a success.

As summer draws to a close with school starting -
it's time to look ahead and get ready for the big
holiday season. Thanksgiving and Christmas are
right around the corner. Time to stock up and get

eBay is at it again with lots of new upcoming
changes to their selling policies. You can read
more about the changes below with a brief overview
of how this may affect you.

I get lots of questions about online advertising
and using Google's AdSense program. Included below
is a great article to help get you started with
some tips on how to begin.

The next issue of "here and NOW" comes out in

To Your Success,
Coach Danny


- Questions From Readers
- eBay: Shoppers, No Checks or Money Orders
- Cleaning Up Your Marketing
- Cuil Launches Biggest Search Engine
- Guide to eBay's Latest Changes
- Cracking the Google Adsense Code

"If you're walking down the right path
and you're willing to keep walking,
eventually you'll make progress."

-Barack Obama

Questions From Readers

Q: I am new to selling on eBay and I wanted
to know if I should accept personal checks as
payment for my auctions? What do you think?

Terry G.

A: A timely question in light of eBay's recent
policy change in not allowing payments via
paper check or money order - unless requested
by the customer.

The danger in accepting personal checks comes
from having the check bounce after you have
mailed out the item.

The best way to get around this problem is to
clearly state in your item description - on
sites other than eBay - that you will not ship
the item until the check clears, usually 7-10
days. This works well for most sellers.

eBay's new policy will however, no longer
allow the posting of this type of payment in
ads placed on their site. You can read more
about this in the next article.

Accepting checks can be risky. I have read
about sellers receiving fake checks and
getting calls from investigators about a
month later saying the check was from a
stolen account.

Another option is ask your buyer to send a
money order. Then you can usually be assured
it's good and send the item once received.
You may want to at least deposit the money
order to make sure it's authentic also.

eBay's new payment policy can hinder those
businesses that deal with many international
customers who can't use PayPal. PayPal is
not available and will not work from most
areas in the Middle-East, Africa and many
Eastern European countries.

Many of my shoppers on eBay have complained
that they do not like to use PayPal, so hopefully
you have a merchant account, other than PayPal.
But, you can't say in your eBay ad what company
that might be, such as Google Checkout.

I suggest simply stating in your eBay description
that online credit card purchases can be made via
my merchant account, by invoice sent to your email.


eBay to Tell Shoppers, No Checks or Money Orders
By Ina Steiner

Sellers are saying eBay's ban on checks and
money orders is, in effect, a move to a
PayPal-only policy - at least for the many
sellers who don't have their own credit card
merchant account. Buyers may be unaware of
the policy that goes into effect during the
holiday shopping season - and it's unclear
what those shoppers who can't or don't wish
to use PayPal and credit cards on eBay will
do in response to the policy.

Soliciting Paper Payments
eBay confirmed that sellers may still
accept checks and money orders after the policy
goes into effect - as long as the request comes
from the buyer and sellers do not solicit paper
payments in listings or via email.

Many sellers remain unaware of this fact, and
others may be reluctant to accept paper anyway
out of fear of eBay's Trust & Safety
enforcement team.

Seller confusion could lead to buyer confusion
if they receive conflicting information from
sellers about whether or not they may accept
paper payments.

Google Checkout
The ban on paper payments will take effect in
late October and eBay will continue to ban
competitive online payment services, except
for a service called ProPay.

eBay had for several years cited concerns
over Google's track record of providing safe
and reliable financial and/or banking related
services, as well as concerns about privacy
issues, as the reason for banning its Checkout
payment service.

But eBay added messaging to its website
last week saying it would ban Google Checkout,
Checkout by Amazon or Amazon Flexible Payment
Services because "Google's and Amazon's
products and services compete with eBay on a
number of levels, so we are not going to allow
them on eBay."

Antitrust Lawsuit
It's not clear what effect, if any, eBay's new
payment policy may have on the class-action
antitrust lawsuit filed against it in 2007.

In its motion to dismiss last year, eBay wrote,
"Plaintiffs acknowledge, as they must, that eBay
sellers are free to accept a wide variety of
payment forms. They can accept Visa, MasterCard,
Discover or American Express. They can accept
cash, checks or money orders. They can accept
online payments from at least four online payment
services other than PayPal: Bidpay, Propay.com,
Checkfree.com, and Hyperwallet.com."

eBay banned cash payments in 2006 and further
limited payment methods last year. Beginning in
late October, eBay will limit acceptable payment
methods to merchant credit card accounts, ProPay,
and PayPal.

Cleaning Up Your Marketing

by Charlie Cook

Has your once well-organized marketing plan come
to resemble the jumble of stuff in your closet
(not to mention the garage and the attic)? If you
are like most people, each time you come across a
new marketing idea you try to adopt it and add it
to your existing approach.

Strategies and tactics tend to accumulate and
linger even when they may not be working as well
as you'd like. Like the ill-fitting clothes that
accumulate in your closet or the broken tools
still in the garage, they are hard to get rid of,
whether because of habit, emotional attachment or
just plain not getting around to cleaning them out.

To improve your marketing, you'll need to clean out
some old ways of working. While I don't want to get
anywhere near your closet, and in fact I could use
some help with mine, I can show you how to clean
up your marketing plan so you're ready to take
advantage of the New Year to grow your business.

Cleaning Up Your Marketing Plan Every morning my
friend Michael Angier of SuccessNet.org sits down
at his desk and asks himself the following three
quëstions about his business.

1. What's working?
2. What's not working?
3. What can I improve?

You may not want to review your marketing plan
five times a week, but it is a good idea to do
it at least once a year. So take out your pencil
or fire up your computer and assess your
marketing plan:

Your Marketing Plan
1. Is your plan working?

2. Do you have a well defined marketing strategy
that helps you achieve the
three phases of marketing:
Getting Attention,
Positioning, and

3. Do you need to write or rewrite
your marketing plan?

4. Do you need additional information
or coaching to complete your marketing plan?

5. What are you going to do to
improve your marketing plan?

Getting Attention
6. Does your marketing message
prompt prospects to contact you?

7. Do your ads, letters, and
web site motivate prospects to contact you?

8. What are your conversion rates?

9. What steps can you take
to improve them?

10. What are you doing to establish your
credibility with prospects, to help them
know and trust you?

11. Is it working as well as you'd like?

12. What could you improve?

13. Is the value of your products and
services clear to your prospects or
do they quëstion you about merits and price?

14. Want to learn how to ensure that
your prospects understand the value of
your products and services?

15. How successful are you in selling,
that is, in getting commitments for
everything from appointments to orders?

16. What's your conversion rate of
prospects contacted to clients
and customers?

17. Do initial sales generate repeat
sales and referrals for years to come?

18. Want to learn how to generate
more sales from each client?

Evaluating Your Marketing Plan
Use three quëstions to summarize
your comments about your marketing plan and
your success in getting attention, positioning
and selling.

1. What's working?

2. What's not?

3. What do you want to improve?

The hardest part about cleaning out your
closet, attic, garage or your marketing is
getting started. It may be time to straighten
up or throw out some of your old marketing
strategies and tactics and replace them with
new more effective ones.

Start with a well organized marketing plan,
one that helps you get attention,
position your products and services and
sell and you'll find your business growing
in leaps and bounds in the coming year.

The author
Charlie Cook, helps service
professionals and small business owners
attract more clients and be more successful.
2004 © In Mind Communications,
LLC. All rights reserved.


Cuil Launches Biggest Search Engine on the Web

Technology Company Offers New Look at Search
Cuil, a technology company pioneering a new
approach to search, unveils its innovative search
offering, which combines the biggest Web index with
content-based relevance methods, results organized
by ideas, and complete user privacy.
Cuil (http://www.cuil.com/) has indexed 120 billion Web
pages, three times more than any other search

Cuil (pronounced COOL) provides organized and
relevant results based on Web page content analysis.

The search engine goes beyond today’s search
techniques of link analysis and traffic ranking to
analyze the context of each page and the concepts
behind each query. It then organizes similar search
results into groups and sorts them by category.
Cuil gives users a richer display of results and
offers organizing features, such as tabs to clarify
subjects, images to identify topics and search
refining suggestions to help guide users to the
results they seek.

“The Web continues to grow at a fantastic rate and
other search engines are unable to keep up with it,”
said Tom Costello, CEO and co-founder of Cuil.
“Our significant breakthroughs in search technology
have enabled us to index much more of the Internet,
placing nearly the entire Web at the fingertips of
every user. In addition, Cuil presents searchers
with content-based results, not just popular ones,
providing different and more insightful answers that
illustrate the vastness and the variety of the Web.”

Cuil’s technology was developed by a team with
extensive history in search. The company is led by
husband-and-wife team Tom Costello and
Anna Patterson.

Mr. Costello researched and developed search engines
at Stanford University and IBM; Ms. Patterson is best
known for her work at Google, where she was the
architect of the company’s large search index and
led a Web page ranking team. They refused to accept
the limitations of current search technology and
dedicated themselves to building a more comprehensive
search engine. Together with Russell Power, Anna’s
former colleague from Google, they founded Cuil to
give users the opportunity to explore the Internet
more fully and discover its true potential.

“Since we met at Stanford, Tom and I have shared a
vision of the ideal search engine,” said Anna
Patterson, President and COO of Cuil. “Our team
approaches search differently. By leveraging our
expertise in search architecture and relevance
methods, we’ve built a more efficient yet richer
search engine from the ground up. The Internet
has grown and we think it’s time search did too.”

Cuil’s methods guarantee online privacy for
searchers. Since the search engine ranks pages based
on content instead of number of clicks, personal
data collection is unnecessary, so personal search
history is always private.

Summary of Cuil’s features:

* Biggest Internet search engine—Cuil has
indexed 120 billion Web pages, 3x more than
any other search engine

* Organized results—Cuil’s magazine-style
layout separates results by subject and allows
further search by concept or category

* Different results—Unlike other search
engines, Cuil ranks results by the content on
each page, not its popularity

* Complete privacy protection—Cuil does
not keep any personally identifiable
information on users or their search histories

Guide to eBay's Latest Changes

By Ina Steiner

eBay has once again announced a host of major
changes to its site this year, leaving sellers to
figure out how best to adapt their selling strategies
in light of the changes.

In addition to changing the BIN Fixed-Price format
fee and duration, eBay announced a new
electronics-payments only policy prohibiting sellers
from accepting checks and money orders. The policy
states that beginning late October 2008, all items
listed on eBay.com must be paid for using one of the
following approved payment options:

Direct credit or debit card payment via a
merchant credit card account;

PayPal; ProPay;
or Payment on pick-up.

Overview of Changes on eBay.com
eBay's Buy It Now (BIN) Fixed-Price format is
changing to a 30-day duration with a 35-cent
listing fee and Final Value Fees that vary
according to category.

Sellers are no longer able to accept paper
- only merchant credit card accounts,
ProPay, and PayPal will be acceptable,
effective late October - see exceptions here.

eBay is suspending selling activity on accounts
that fall to 4.3 in any of their Detailed Seller
Ratings (DSRs).

eBay is changing the mix of inventory on the
site and will score fixed-price and auction
listings separately in Best Match, but display
them together on the search results pages

eBay will also create a new factor for its
Best Match search algorithm for fixed-price
listings only, called "Recent Sales." This
will reward multiple-quantity listings that
have had recent sales over single- and
multiple-quantity listings with fewer or
no recent sales.

eBay is putting limits on Shipping & Handling
charges in the Media category, effective

eBay will give incentives to sellers to offer
free shipping in all categories. It will give
items with free shipping more exposure in search,
and will offer additional discounts on FVFs
(Final Value Fees). The discount will apply to
individual listings, so sellers can choose which
listings, if any, on which to offer free shipping.

Cracking the Google Adsense Code

By Kim Roach

Google Adsense has empowered web publishers of
all shapes and sizes to make money from their
web sites. Whether you own a hobby site that
gets 100 visitors per day or a popular finance
portal that is flooded with millions of visitors
per month, you can benefit from the Google
Adsense program.

Simply sign up for a free account, grab your
Adsense code and paste it up on your website.
Well, it sounds good anyway. In reality, that's
not the whole story. Maximizing your adsense
earnings requires a little more care.
Fortunately, you can quickly increase your
earnings by reading every word of this article.
I will cover the basic necessities and also
reveal advanced tips that you won't find on
every digital corner. So, if you're looking
to put more money in your pocket with a few
tweaks of code, I urge you to read on.

As you are reading, keep in mind that Google
is actually one of the best resources for
finding information on Adsense optimization.
Think it's hard to believe that Google would
give good advice? Well, it makes sense when
you think about it. The more you make as a
publisher, the more they will make. Google
has a big incentive to help you perform well.
Not to mention, they have tons of data to
research what works best.

So, for much of my research, I took quite a
few tips from Google. But don't worry, there
are also some advanced tips here that Google
will probably never reveal to you.

Most Effective Ad Formats
In general, wider ad formats tend to
outperform the taller ads. This is because
the wider ads are much easier on the eye.

According to Google, the following ad formats
result in the highest number of click-throughs:


Tim Carter of AskTheBuilder.com increased his
revenues by 20 percent after placing the large
rectangle (336x280) in the upper left corner,
positioned within his articles.

Text links are another ad format that often
work well. Using text link ads, you can create
Adsense ads that blend in seamlessly with
your navigation.

For an example of this, go to

Tim Carter saw an 18 percent increase in his
revenues after placing link units in the upper
left corner under his site search bar.

Number of Ads
Multiple ad units can sometimes help optimize
your performance. This is especially true for
pages with lots of text, forums, and
message boards.

However, it could possibly lower your revenues
as well. When you show more ads, the ads
that are placed lower on the page often have
lower bid prices than the ones on top.
Therefore, you must test the number of ads
on a page to see what works best for you.

When using multiple ad units, make sure that
the ad unit with the highest click-through
rate appears first within your HTML code.
This will ensure that your prime real estate
is occupied by the highest paying ads. You
can use CSS positioning to get your highest
paying ads placed in the location with the
highest CTR.

Ads that blend in with the colors of your
site generate the highest click-through rates.
In most cases, it is best to use the exact
same color scheme for your ads that you use
on your web site. To see some good examples
of this, check out:


By using ads without background color or
borders, your ads seamlessly integrate with
your content.

Keep in mind that blue text links seem to
perform best for Google Adsense. Blue is
the assumed color of links on the Internet.
Therefore, our pyschie expects links to be
in blue.

However, you may want to rotate your colors
every once in a while to spice things up.
This way, your visitors don't get used to
your ads, which can cause banner-blindness.

Ad Placement
Just like in real estate, location is the
key to success with Adsense. Fortunately,
Google provides us with a heat map,
showing the best spots for ads.

One of the best places for your Adsense ads
are at the top-left of the page. Because
people are used to seeing navigation on the
left side of the page, the eye naturally
gravitates to this section of your web site.

Many studies have been performed to see how
the eye travels across a web page. You can
see a demonstration at
Knowing how people view your web site will
help immensely when optimizing the placement
of your ads.

In addition, you should also place your Adsense
ads next to rich content and navigation elements.
These ads often do well because users are
focused on those areas of a page. You can see
examples of this at
Ezinearticles.com and Lockergnome.com.

As you can see, these sites have placed their
adsense ads next to search boxes and
navigation links.

Keep in mind that you shouldn't change the
layout of your site to fit the ads, but rather
use the ad formats that best fit with your
site layout.

Many publishers have started using images around
their ads. As a result, many of them have
doubled their revenues.

One of the most successful implementations of
this techniques is to use the 728x90 leaderboard
with 4 thumbnail-sized images above each ad.
You can see some good examples at:


Of course, you can't use images of blinking
arrows because this would be enticing visitors
to click. However, it is perfectly acceptable
to place related pictures beside your ads.

For example, if you have a page about laptops,
you could place a leaderboard with 4 laptop
images above each ad. In this way, you are
using images to complete the story.

In fact, Google is currently testing an ad
format that would blend images together with
related text ads. It seems that even Google
thinks that images are a good idea to bring
attention to ads. To see an example of the
Google ads in beta, go to

If you have a forum, I hope you are monetizing
it with Adsense. Many people include Adsense
within their web site, but when it comes to
their forum, they simply let the ball drop.
Forums can definitely be an extra source of
income when optimized properly.

To find out about the best placement for
Adsense within forums, I went to Google for
some advice. To my surprise, they also have
a heat map for forums .

One of the best ways to monetize your forum is
to place Adsense directly within the threads.
To see an example of this, go to
Google advises that you place a skyscraper
above the fold on the left side of your forum
and they also suggest placing a leaderboard
directly below the top navigation and below
the first post.

If you are looking for additional ad space, you
can place a horizontal link unit near the top of
the forum, just below the header.

The next Adsense tactic is one that isn't talked
about much. However, when used appropriately, it
can be extremely powerful.

If you own an newsletter list, then you could
easily leverage that list in order to earn more
Adsense revenue. Whenever you send out your
newsletter, simply link to an article on your
site within the email. By doing this, you can
draw people to your Adsense pages and easily
increase your Adsense revenue.

This is one of the best things about building
your own list. You are able to direct traffic
to any place at any time.

In the end, the key to increased revenues is
testing. Not all sites are the same. You have to
experiment to find out what works best for your
particular site. What works for one site may not
work for another. Only by testing can you find
out which styles encourage your visitors
to respond.

About the Author
Kim Roach is a staff writer and editor for the
SiteProNews & SEO-News newsletters.


Hope you are enjoying your summer. It's been a
wonderful July, aside from the occasional smoke
from the surrounding wildfires here in California.

I'm often asked about how to go about attracting
more customers. The answer to that depends on
your marketing strategy.

This month's newsletter has some great info all

From attracting customer traffic to your store
or site, to SEO tips, to writing tips and to ideas
on how the market economy is turning - get IT all -
here and NOW!

To Your Success,
Coach Danny


- New Product Source for July
- Get More Customers to Your eBay Store
- ISO Approves PDF As Int'l Standard
- Local Business Search Optimization Tips
- Promotional Article Writing, 6 Points
- Tough Times for eBay Entrepreneurs

"Persistence and determination are omnipotent.
The slogan 'press on' has solved and always
will solve the problems of the human race."

- Calvin Coolidge

New Product Source for July

Online, High Volume Consignment Auction

Recently, I became associated with a liquidation
company. Items are researched online, cleaned and
photographed for resale on ebay.

Much of the stock comes from this company
specializing in large bulk lots of everything from
sewing machines, computer servers, cell phone
accessories to dental chairs. Some is used and
some is still in retail packaging.

A lot of their stock comes from closeouts,
overstock, store returns and from businesses that
close down.

Then if your items don't sell, you can try sending
them back to BDI and auctioning them off to
another buyer.

AuctionBDI is an Internet based company specializing
in the resale and recycling of consigned
electronic equipment:

Telecommunications Equipment
Computer Components
Hard Drives/Storage Devices
Manufacturing Equipment
Medical/Lab Equipment



Get More Customers to Your eBay Store
by Tanner Larsson

Naturally, more visits to your eBay Store means a
better chance that your products will sell. eBay
markets Stores in several ways.

A link to Stores appears on the home page under
Specialty Sites in the upper left corner. And when
potential customers search for regular auctions, a
box labeled "More on eBay" appears at the bottom of
the left-hand navigation column. This box shows the
top four eBay Stores having the most items
currently listed that match the keyword searched.

eBay allows eBay Stores pages to be crawled by
search engines. While eBay can't guarantee
placement in search engines, they help to enhance
discoverability of a Store seller's pages by
creating META tags using the Store name, the Store
description and the names of all the Store's
custom categories. When you create your custom
categories, keep possible search terms
in mind.

But as a trade-off for the lower insertion fees,
eBay Store listings don't come up in regular eBay
searches. And since the "build it and they will
come" tenet doesn't work well on its own, we need
proactive measures in order to increase our sales.

Let's consider seven relatively easy and
cost-friendly ways to promote your eBay Store.

1) Know your eBay Store's URL.

Last time, we discussed how eBay creates the URL
for your store. You'll need this URL to build links
to your Store that your customers, in true Internet
style, can access with a clickety-click.

2) Take advantage of the tools they give you.

If eBay offers you a means of promoting your
store, take full advantage of it - especially
if it's an included service. For example, be sure
to add a link to your eBay Store on your
AboutMe page.

3) Keep regular auctions running.

There is a "Visit this seller's eBay Store!" link
in the seller'sregular auctions, which takes
buyers to the seller's eBay Store. One click and
they're in. This link shows up automatically on
every Store seller's regular auction listings.

The Cross-Promotion tool helps sellers cross-sell
and up-selladditional items from their eBay Store.
Cross-sell means if your auction is for a
necklace, you can advertise your Store listings
for matching earrings and bracelets. You can
include up to four items on an item listing page
and four on the Bid Confirm and Purchase
Confirm pages.

With the cross-promotion and Store links that
eBay adds to your auctions, it makes sense to list
plenty of auctions; this will be vital to your
eBay Store's success. Yes, you'll pay the regular
listing fees, but the exposure to your eBay Store
might make it worthwhile.

4) Link to your Store on your Business Web Site.

Develop valid content for your business Web site
that will be indexed by the search engines. Listing
the items in your eBay Store inventory is one way.
Build links so that a potential customer can click
right over to your Store. This is a powerful
way to entice new customers and possibly
generate more business.

5) Promote your Store throughout your
sales cycle.

Your primary communication with your eBay customers
is through email.

Don't pass up the opportunity to include the name
of your Store, a promo for any specials you're
offering, and a link to it in your email signature.
This can effectively bring your Store right
to your customers instead of them having to look
it up, and it can certainly help boost
repeat business.

6) Use message board signature lines to
your advantage.

If the site gods allow it - and do inquire about
that first - add your eBay Store URL to your
signature line for your message board posts.
Include the eBay Store or a modest custom graphic
to make each post a "click magnet."

7) Add your eBay Store URL to your print matter.

I see URLs listed in newspapers, magazines,
flyers, and on billboards so it's certainly a
valid way to promote a site.
The limitation is that visitors can't "click" - they must
actually type the URL order to visit it.

All of these techniques can be effective. The
bottom line: blast your own beacon. The
competition is fierce. If you're willing to
spend some extra time to promote your eBay
Store, you can elbow your way to the front of
the line where the odds favor more sales.


ISO Approves PDF as an International Standard
by Elizabeth Montalbano

The International Organization for Standardization
has approved Adobe Systems' widely used PDF
(Portable Document Format) as an international
standard, and is now in charge of any changes made
to the specification.

The format is open and accessible to anyone as ISO
32000-1, the standards body said Wednesday. The
standard is based Adobe's version 1.7 of PDF.

PDF, the file format for Adobe's Acrobat software,
has long been used as a standard way for people to
exchange and view business documents. However,
Adobe kept a proprietary hold on the format until it
finally succumbed to industry pressure and
submitted it for standardization in February 2007.

Adobe's move reflected an industrywide trend to
standardize broadly adopted file formats to increase
interoperability between different applications
people use to create business documents.


Local Business Search Optimization Tips

Search is constantly evolving, from general web
search such as the old giants Yahoo, AltaVista and
Excite through to the current day of Google.

Not only has search grown out, it has also grown up.
Vertical search engines are becoming more and more
popular i.e. Expedia - a travel search engine, great
for finding travel deals and accommodation and
Bizrate.com – a shopping search engine perfect for
comparing prices and chasing a bargain.

Another type of search is local search.
Local search is generally driven by a geographical
query and the service required e.g. Starbucks,
Los Angeles. Businesses that benefit most from this
form of search are local based business that have a
physical presence e.g. a shop, garage, restaurant
or surgery, that are looking for ways of driving
foot traffic through the door, as well as
capitalizing on internet traffic.

Local business listings have become even more
attractive since they are now being returned in
the general search results within Google and Yahoo!
Thus, a greater chance of driving search traffic to
your website!

The red box identifies the Google Maps/Local
business listings within natural search results.

Other than having your business submitted and
optimized in the local search of Google, Yahoo and
MSN, there are some other optimization elements
you can apply to your WebPages to help increase
your presence.

Include your contact details.
Your city name, state and zip/post code should be
in the footer of every page. Hyperlink the city name,
state and zip/post code to the contact us page on
your site.

Include local city information in your contact us
page (perhaps a brief bio on your local city/town).
Add geographical qualifiers, such as city and
state name, to the body of your content. Link the
qualifier text through to your contact us page.
Targeted to the correct business types, local
business search can be a very cost effective and
powerful advertising and promotional tool. Driving
more foot traffic through your door and click
traffic to your website.

Promotional Article Writing, Six Points You Must Know!

by Zachary Elwood

I’m sure most of you are aware of the marketing
power of a well-written promotional article about
your industry or business. A compelling and
educational article on your audience’s topic of
interest will drive traffic to your website and
increase customer confidence in your expertise.
Best of all, it requires no investment aside from
your time and effort.

But where do you start? The following quick tips
(presented in chronological order) should serve
you well in starting out upon this method of
online advertising. All of these points could be
several pages in themselves, but this should give
you a good overview of the process.

Think of an Article Topic
Write what you know about, first and foremost.
Brainstorm topics of which you have specific
knowledge. It doesn’t have to be something
obvious either. Write about a recent challenge
your company faced and how you overcame it. Write
about an interesting situation that you know is
a common problem in your industry but that is not
often addressed. Don’t be afraid to present
yourself or your company as imperfect, or as
facing challenges. You will come across as
genuine, conscientious and as a striver for
perfection in your field.

For instance, one of the articles I plan to
write in the next few weeks will be about our
video production company’s work on a forklift
training video. It was the first industrial
training video our company had done, and I plan
on laying out our specific challenges and what
we learned from the process. Of course I will
include the fact that the customer was very happy
with the finished product, but I will also express
the worries and difficulties we had along the way.
(Also make sure you get permission from your
clients if you plan to mention them specifically
in the article.)

Keyword Research
If you’ve done any work on doing search engine
optimization for your website, producing an
effective web article is quite similar. Because
you want your article to be relevant in searches,
you need to put a lot of focused keywords in your
content. First make a list of all the keywords
and phrases that you want your article to be
relevant for.

For instance, in preparing for this article, I
thought about who I wanted to read it. I did
internet searches to research what kind of
language was being used in the industry, and I
used a thesaurus to find similar terms. I came
up with a list of keyword phrases that included:
‘writing promotional articles’ ‘how to write
online articles’ ‘writing web articles’ ‘how to
write articles that advertise’ ‘tips for
promotional internet writing’, amongst many
others. Research will give you a good idea of
the kinds of search terms that are relevant,
and this will allow you to use these synonyms
and phrases in the body of your article.

Article Writing Strategies
Blatant self-promotion won’t often work in the
web article format. Your audience doesn’t want an
obvious advertisement; they want to be educated
and/or entertained, and that’s what you should be
striving to do.

Be concise. Use short paragraphs. If you find
yourself writing more than 1,000 words, think about
splitting your content into two articles. You’re
writing for an often impatient audience, used to
immediate gratification, so don’t get literary
or meander. Of course, this isn’t always the case;
if you’re writing for potential customers in your
industry and you know they like to read dense,
jargon-y content, you should cater to them.

Multiple Titles
Put specific effort into coming up with several good
titles for your article. They should be as
straightforward and as keyword-rich as you can make
them, as the title is the major thing that search
engines will be noticing, and because a good title
will make relevant potential customers want to click
on it. You will want to alternate these titles when
you post your article on different article
database sites.

For example, the first internet article I wrote I
titled ‘Tips for Effective Website Video’. Some
alternate titles I posted it under were ‘Producing
Effective Website Videos’, ‘Tips for Making Company
Website Video’, and ‘Pointers for Avoiding Bad Website
Video’. You get the idea; the more good titles you
give your article, the more likely it will come up for
these different combinations of keywords.

Posting Your Internet Article
Research good article-posting databases, particularly
ones that focus on your industry. No two sites are
formatted exactly the same. Some require you to break
your article into bullet-points with headings above
each paragraph. Some require you to know some basic
html code for putting in your website link or making
your title bold or in italics. Some will require you
to enter in a short synopsis of your article. Some
will require unformatted basic html code, so you
should save your article in a basic text format
as well.

I would advice you to post your article on as
many sites as you can; at least ten. Don’t
forget to alternate the titles you have chosen.
The more you post it, the more likely it is to
get read.

Article Resource Box
The resource box is the section, usually at the
bottom of the article, where you can put in a
short bio and a link to your company website
(the format varies from site to site.) Some of
the sites will require you to know a tiny bit
of html coding to put in your link manually.
You can find this easy enough by doing a search
for ‘basic html code’.

If your article has done its job pretty well, a
very small fraction of the people who read your
article will click on the link and check out
your website. A very small fraction of the
people that check out your website will think,
‘Hey, I’d like to do business with these guys’.
That’s if everything goes well. The first
article I wrote I posted on only six websites. I
did it mainly as an experiment, not expecting
anything much to happen. That article resulted
in two phone calls from companies asking about
our services, and one phone call from a
journalist wanting to interview me for a story
about online advertising she was writing.
Needless to say, I was very encouraged with the
potential of this medium.

About the Author
Zachary Elwood is a Producer/Writer for
Engaging Media, Inc. in Portland, Oregon

Tough Times for eBay Entrepreneurs

by Karen E. Klein

A bad economy and competition from big e-tailers
are challenging those who make a living via online
marketplaces such as eBay, Craigslist, and Etsy

Ann Wood was thrilled last January when her eBay
store, Willow-Wear, had its best month ever,
grossing around $33,000. In February, however,
Wood experienced a sharp drop-off in sales. Since
2004, Wood has run the home-based business, listing
and selling high-end jewelry, clothing, shoes, bags,
and antiques for more than 40 clients around the
country. She works four to six hours a day, and had
sales of about $250,000 in 2007, she says.

"I've still got steady sales and I'm making money
for my clients," Wood says, "but I've been seeing
more caution from buyers on the items priced for
$1,000 and over. People are being smart. They're
acting like my husband and I are trying to act,
which is to be more careful about purchases and
not buying everything we want."

Yet Wood's inventory is growing as her clients
scour their closets, hoping to make some extra
money selling unused items, and telling their
friends Wood can do the same for them. The other
bright spot for the former appellate attorney,
who became a home-based entrepreneur after her
three children were born, is international sales.
"A great portion of my stuff is shipped overseas.
With the dollar so weak, I've got great deals for
people in places like Germany and Italy. I even
sold something to Tahiti recently," Wood says.

"Pay to Play"
But overall, it's a tough time for entrepreneurs
who sell products through online retailers like
eBay, Craigslist, Etsy, and myriad other sites.
It's also tough to get solid financial data on
these individuals, many of them hobbyists
conducting virtual yard sales in their spare
time, rather than serious business owners. "What
we know is that probably half of all online retail
happens through companies that are smaller than
the top 100 e-commerce retailers," says Sucharita
Mulpuru, a principal analyst in the retail
division at Forrester Research (FORR).

It is suspected that probably about 60,000 small
and medium-size businesses have some sort of Web
presence, and another 650,000 sole proprietors
are selling through an online marketplace where
anybody can upload their product catalogs,"
Mulpuru says. "I can't imagine that they're doing
particularly well in this economy." Small online
operations must either sell unique items, such
as antiques and collectibles that appeal to
niche buyers, or do enough sales volume to keep
prices low.

"The challenge is that if they're sole
proprietorships, they will not be particularly
well-branded. In order to attract traffic, they
have to pay for some interactive marketing program,
which adds to their expenses and cuts into their
margins," Mulpuru says. "They have to pay in order
to play, but many of them don't have the resources
to do that."

That's not to say lots of people aren't trying.
A study of eBay market activity released in May
shows that in 2007 the top 10 markets in the
country—Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia,
Dallas, Orange County, Calif., Washington, Houston,
Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y., and Fort Lauderdale—generated
more than $7 billion, accounting for 55% of all U.S.
sales on eBay. In Los Angeles alone, 196,089
residents sold 24,051,645 items for a total of
$1.3 billion in sales, with cell phones, cell
phone accessories, and clothing the top categories

More Full-Timers
Jacques Stambouli is the CEO of ViaTrading.com,
an overstock liquidation firm that provides
merchandise for a number of online retailers.
"We deal mostly with entrepreneurs and people
trying to make a little extra money on the side
with home-based businesses. What I've noticed
recently is that a lot of people who were doing
this part-time are trying to ramp up their
activities and spend more time on selling. Others
are already selling full-time and they are trying
to grow," Stambouli says.

Some of his clients who disappeared two or three
years ago have gotten back into the swap meet or
online retailing business in the past few months,
he says: "If all of a sudden you have to spend
$1,000 on gas instead of $500, there's twice as
much of your income gone and you still need to eat.
There are also a lot of new faces showing up at the
flea markets, more people bargain hunting and
looking for cheaper ways to buy the same stuff."

The problem for small retailers trying to sell
merchandise more cheaply than volume discounters—
such as Target or Wal-Mart—is that they don't have
the economics of scale on their side, says David
Zahn, president of StartUpBuilder.com.

"It is harder [for small e-tailers] to turn a
profit, because the pressure is on the e-commerce
businesses to absorb shipping costs as many
established sites are doing," he says. "For
Amazon.com, as well as traditional retailers
that have e-commerce sites, such as Staples.com and
others, the costs are often absorbed for both
shipping to the customer and also from the customer,
if the item is to be returned.

What remains to be seen is if the gas crunch will
lead to more online purchasing," he says.

Free Listings
Small eBay sellers have been complaining
about the online marketplace's deal with
Buy.com, an online volume seller that can offer
free shipping and other perks that small store
owners feel will undercut their offerings. That
agreement, as well as recent price increases
(BusinessWeek, is driving eBay competitors as
well as eBay itself), to turn up the volume
on their appeals to get more small sellers
onto their sites.

Some, like newcomer Wigix, are offering
alternative business models. "We don't do
auction; we operate more like a stock market
with open bid orders for everyday stuff. We
don't charge anything for listings," says
James Chong, Wigix CEO.

The company, which launched in April, is
actively recruiting eBay sellers with its free
listings and low—or nonexistent—transaction fees.
"Every time there's a revolt at eBay, we're
getting a benefit from it," Chong says. "The
small sellers there are competing with a
gazillion other listings and they end up having
to pay a lot of extra fees to break out from the
clutter. Their margins are being eroded by
those costs."

For now, Wood is sticking with eBay and hoping
her sales will soon be up again. Her online
store, which grosses an average of $25,000 a
month, has been doing well so far in July, and
she is optimistic. "I'm on track to have another
big month, and we're seeing a lot of volume on
eBay now," she says. She is experimenting with
providing some free shipping as well as
increasing her sales listings, upgrading the
look of her online store, and letting buyers
know she can also sell items for them. "I'm
always trying to take a cue from the bigger,
higher-volume sellers. Watching smart sellers
is how I taught myself this business,"
Wood says.



It's Summertime!!

A happy Solstice to all my monthly readers
out there.

This month's newsletter promises to be jam packed
full of new ideas and upcoming noteworthy events.

Everything from new ways to find hard-to-find
collectable items, help on how add HTML to your
emails and news about new domains you may see
in the near upcoming future.

Hope you enjoy the information and drop me a
note about what you like and want more of.

To Your Success,
Coach Danny


- New Product Source for June
- eBay Wants .ebay Domain
- SnagIt 9 Nabs Attention
- Google Trends for Websites
- 5 Phases to Email Marketing
- How to Create and Send HTML Email

"In business, I’ve discovered that
my purpose is to do my best to my
utmost ability every day. That’s my
standard. I learned early in my life

that I had high standards."

-Donald Trump

New Product Source for June

Auctionblip Puts Real-Life Auctions on Collectors'
Radar Screens

By Jan Perry

There's nothing more exciting than winning an
auction that adds that perfect piece to your
collection. And there's nothing more frustrating
than discovering you missed the opportunity because
you didn't know the item you were looking for was
up for sale. Perhaps you learned about an auction
too late to place a bid or were simply unaware of
all the places that might be auctioning items in
your chosen field.

Such aggravations can now be a thing of the past
thanks to Auctionblip.com.

Online since last autumn, Auctionblip calls its
service "The collector's greatest tool." Its
international network is currently comprised of
approximately 70 auction houses including both
general sales and specific niche galleries. While
an excellent resource for individuals with a single
common collecting interest, the site can be a true
godsend for those whose collections are eclectic
or fall into a less-than-popular category.

Site creator David Epstein, a lifelong hardcore
collector himself, realized the impossibility of
successfully researching stacks of auction catalogs
on a continuing basis. According to Epstein, "With
so many auctions taking place each week, there is
no way for one person to search every catalogue for
a particular item. Auctionblip allows users to enter
specific items they are looking for and then sit
back while we take care of the rest."

Like most successful dotcoms, Epstein describes
his brainchild as, "A simple idea that came out of
need." The man who describes his boyhood bedroom as
"a museum," found himself spending hours looking for
auction houses around the world and scanning stacks
of catalogs to complete his own lengthy wish list
for items including Swiss Army knives, Matchbook
cars, baseball cards, Civil War items, coins and
one of his particular favorites - CrackerJack prizes.

"I knew I had something going," he said," when I
called the auction houses and people said, "What
a simple idea. Why hasn't anyone done this?""

For a monthly fee of $5.99, subscribers are allowed
to list keywords for up to 10 items of interest.
(Members are allowed to rephrase "wish list"
information or change items completely as often as
they like.) The Blip staff researches catalogs for
upcoming sales on a daily basis. When a listing is
found that fits a subscriber's criteria, notification
is sent (via email) with the name of the auction
house, the auction date, pictures and a detailed
description of the specific item as well as bidding
information and a link to the auction site.

Common wish-list items can bring collectors an
immediate response, while rarer or more obscure
items may require months on the list before a "hit"
is announced. In addition to general offerings, the
network covers specialty sales in antiques and the
fine arts as well as toys, wine, print materials,
jewelry, movie memorabilia and even vintage cars.
With partners around the world, and a list of
participants that is constantly growing,
Auctionblip provides subscribers with information
about auctions they might never have heard about on
their own.

As for the site's name, Epstein explains that for
most collectors, finding a specific item without
help is like shooting in the dark. But Auctionblip
puts thousands of items "on the radar" so its
members can easily find them.


eBay Wants .ebay Domain

by Ina Steiner & Danielle Nordine

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers, the main oversight agency for top level
domains (TLDs) and regulator of the Internet, will
begin offering endless variations on domain

The proposal would allow companies to purchase new
generic top-level domains ending in almost anything
they wished.

Rather than have a domain that ends .com or .co.uk,
an individual or company could have a domain that
ended .itpro or .ebay.

eBay is a current contender to use its name,
according to ITpro, angling to purchase the
domain .ebay. Cities such as New York and Berlin
have been campaigning for their own domains as well.

“We are in the process of opening up new real
estate, new land, and people will go out and claim
parts of that land and use it for various reasons
they have,” Dr Paul Twomey, chief executive of
ICANN, said. "It's a massive increase in the
geography of the real estate of the internet."

ICANN estimated last year that only 17 per cent
of the original four billion network addresses
remained available, and that addresses are expected
to run out within the next five years.

If the proposal is passed, as expected, new domains
would be open to companies by the beginning of
next year.

The application fee for a domain name under the
proposed system has not been determined, but
estimates say the price could range from €25,000
to €250,000, placing such domain extensions out of
the reach of most consumers, as well as most
potential cyber squatters.


SnagIt 9 Nabs Attention
by Jessica Dolcourt

Many users have always liked the top-rated
screen-capture program SnagIt. When you need
functionality beyond the standard Windows
PrintScreen (or Alt+PrintScreen), SnagIt has been a
reliable, flexible, and powerful solution for many

Though SnagIt has been a long-treasured workhorse,
the latest Version 9 update takes the feature set
well past screen capturing, with new image-management
features like handling multiple open documents, an
integrated and persistent search box, and image tagging.
This program is from TechSmith, the publisher that also
brought to market the top-rated Camtasia Studio.

SnagIt 9 makes sceen shots as glamorous as they'll
get, letting you capture any part of your screen,
from a partial image to the entire contents of a
scrolling window. You can grab images of Web sites
and software applications or pictures from scanners
and digital cameras. You even can capture video and
record screen action in AVI format.

Version 9 completely overhauls the interface to
bring the wide range of editing tools and effects
to the surface with a simplified, icon-oriented
menu structure that makes SnagIt even more flexible
and easy to use. Tools to draw, resize, recolor and
annotate the images are there, as is a menu to add
rollover hotspots for linking an image to a URL.

SnagIt 9 also adds automatic image-tagging, a
library for saving and indexing every capture and
an image tray for getting to the most recent opened
captures. Balloon tips, wizards, and an online
video tutorial make it simple for beginners, and its
sophisticated capabilities will satisfy
advanced users.

Associate Editor Jessica Dolcourt is a tough critic
to impress, but this latest version of SnagIt has
already found a soft spot on her PC. Check out her
reasons to love the new SnagIt 9 feature, which
includes a video walkthrough of the new release.

Reasons to love the new SnagIt 9
SnagIt 9 is a familiar, intuitive, and much more
varnished capture utility whose image editor has
finally come of age.

A well-stocked catalog
No longer must you recapture images you didn't
perfectly edit the first time around. With the
new Open Captures tray, a ribbon along the screen
bottom, SnagIt matures from a screen grabber that
callously dumps any capture you didn't save into
a helpful tool keeping track of all your images,
including those unsaved files. You'll be able to
jump from one open image to another to interact
with images at any time for editing, saving in a
new file-type and exporting.

Like e-mails, images contain information,
relevance and nuance. SnagIt 9 introduces tagging
in the library pane and the menu navigation that
uses a combination of flagging, autotagging and
keyword entry to assign searchable tags to an
image. Flag categories include important,
follow-up, personal, finance, and funny. Captures
are also tagged by URL if they're taken from a Web
site, by the name of the application you may have
grabbed it from and by a manually entered keyword.

SnagIt's user scenario is to store every capture
you've taken in the application's lifespan. After
a couple hundred captures, browsing through tags
gets old and inefficient. A search engine
integrated into the library pane pulls up relevant
tags and dates. Clicking the folder icon at the
bottom right of the screen helps organize the
findings with more granularity--you'll be able to
sort by name, size, dimension, flags, and keyword
and display image clips instead of the usual
text-chunky file names.

video walkthrough

License: Free to try; $49.95 to buy


Google Trends for Websites
by Chris Stirling

I trust many of you will be familiar with
Google Trends? To give you a quick refresh,
Google trends is designed to give you a greater
understanding of current search trends within
Google and syndicated search engines.

Well, I recently came across a new addition to the
Google Trends tool, Google Trends for Websites!

Google Trends for websites enables the user to
enter in a popular URL and get a quick snapshot of
it's unique visitors, geographical traffic sources,
other sites visited and terms searched for. These
being the types of search terms that are possibly
driving traffic to the site in question.



5 Phases to Email Marketing

by Chris Stirling

When using email marketing to sell a product or
service you can’t just start selling to your
readers in the first email. The reason is the odds
of the reader knowing who you are or what you are
all about are pretty low, even if they subscribed
to your newsletter from a form on your website.
People do not purchase from those they do not know.
So the key to a successful email marketing campaign
is “warming up” your readers to the sell.

The "warming up" process can be broken down into
five distinct phases. It's a good idea to keep
these in mind as you work to warm up your lists.

Phase 1 -- "Cold Readers"
These are folks who have just filled out the form
on your website, or whose details you have received
via co-registration.

You know nothing about them, and they know nothing
about you, so at this phase, your primary job is to
introduce yourself, and begin to establish yourself
as a source of credible and useful
*free* information.

I emphasized the word *free* in that, because "cold"
leads are very unlikely to buy anything from you, no
matter what you do.

PHASE 2 -- "Curious Readers"
At this phase, people may have opened one or two of
your emails and have at least decided to stay on
your list long enough to find out what you're about
and what they can gain by reading your emails.

Another way of thinking of this group is that they
are the ones who are actually opening and reading
your emails, whether they open the first or the
tenth that you send them.

Your job with this group remains essentially the
same as was true at Phase 1 ... you are still in
the process of "warming them up" to the idea that
you are credible and trustworthy.

Again, not a time to be trying to sell them things,
because few of them will buy, anyway.

PHASE 3 -- "Interested Readers"
These are the folks who have opened and read
several of your emails, and now continue to read
them. Perhaps they have "moved" themselves from your
"cold" list by opting-in to one or your newsletters
or free mini-courses.

By doing so, they have "told" you that they are
interested in what you have to say, willing to read
more of your emails, and may, in due time, buy
something on the basis of your suggestion.

One way to know who your "interested" prospects are
is to offer a free ebook or mini-course and make
them "register" for it by opting in to a second

Another is to run a survey form on your site,
invite them to participate, and capture their
contact information when they do so.

The point is they have taken some *action* based
upon your previous emails, and have told you by
that action that they are interested in what you
have tosay and willing to read what you write
to them.

PHASE 4 -- "Excited Readers"
These are folks who are almost ready to buy. They
may have written you asking for more information,
or visited your sales page several times. Maybe they
are thinking about joining your business opportunity,
but for some reason not quite ready to sign up and
pay their money. They need some sort of "push" or
"nudge" to get them to take action.

Maybe they need a "special offer" of some kind, or
simply a personal follow-up email or phone call from
you. Whatever it is, these are your *HOT* prospects.

PHASE 5 -- "Customer"
The final phase is, of course, obvious. These are
the folks who have bought your product, joined your
opportunity, or bought something that you promote
as an affiliate.

In the long run, these are the folks who will make
you the most money, because it will become easier
and easier for them to act on your recommendations,
as long as you don't betray their trust by endorsing
poor quality products or programs.

You need to think of these folks as *friends*,
because that is what they really are. They have now
given you permission to send them follow-up offers
and program endorsements.

Even though they may represent only a tiny percentage
of the entire population of your list, these people
are your long term gold mine group.

Treat them with respect, they have warmed up to you
and what You have to offer. Maintain a high level of
integrity and they will continue to follow you for
years to come

Copyright © 2008 Top-Work-From-Home-Directory.com

About the Author
Chris Stirling is the owner of
His website is geared for people who are interested in finding
an online work at home opportunity.

How To Create and Send HTML Email

by Herman Drost

Until recently text-based email was the most
popular way to communicate, however with the advent
of html email you can now create and send beautiful
graphics, create clickable links and use
interactive forms.

HTML email can have the same appearance as a web
page. You can include your favorite photos, create
colorful newsletters or charts for your friends or
business associates.

It's now often used as a valuable tool in email
marketing campaigns.

HTML email has now surpassed text-based email
in popularity.

Read this survey on email format preferences and
and programs.

Let's first point out the pros and cons of sending
html email before we get into how to create it.

Pros of Using HTML Email

Visually appealing
Able to include graphics, icons, clickable links,
different fonts, interactive forms.
Increased interactivity with your customers.
Mostly used by advertisers, however more consumers
are using html email as they switch to
faster connections.
Ads can be more effective in HTML
Most of the popular email clients now support
html email
(ie Outlook Express, Outlook, Eudora, Netscape
Communicator, Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo, Web TV).

Cons of Using HTML Email

Slow loading due to downloading of graphics
Takes up more space in your email client
Not all computers support html email
Users may not have the required bandwidth or may
have download quotas set by their ISPs.
Hackers can send viruses, trojan horses embedded in
html email.
Users may turn off the option to receive html email,
or use filters to quarantine it.

How to create a simple html email

1. Open your favorite html editor ie FrontPage,
Dreamweaver (you can also use MS Word 97 or 2000,
but it tends to bloat the code a little) to create
your email.

2. Always use absolute URLS for your graphics
(ie http://www.addme.com/images/addme.gif).

3. Graphics (ie images, icons, fancy fonts) must be
stored on a web server to correctly appear in email
software - you could save it as an attachment,
however most folks will not open the attachment
especially (and delete it) if it's from someone they
don't know.

If you don't want to use graphics, you can use
colored tables for different sections
(ie header, masthead, contact information
and footers).

4. Name and save the page you have created
(ie html-email.htm).

5. Open your Email Software - in outlook express
(since it's the most popular) go to
create mail -
insert -
text from file -
scroll to your saved html page.
You are now ready to send your html email.

6. Email a test to yourself before your send it to
your subscriber list. You may want to send it to
your friends who have different email programs so
you can be sure most of your subscribers can read it
on their computers.

7. Once you have created an attractive html page or
newsletter, save it as a template. Now you can just
open the template whenever you want to send html
mail and most of the work will be done for you.

HTML email is still rather new, but it is a great
marketing tool if used properly. The key is to
test, test, test to see if your subscribers prefer
it over text based email. If you are unsure your
subscribers can read html email, then offer both
text-based email and html email, to cater to
both audiences.

About the Author
Herman Drost is the author of the NEW ebook
"101 Highly Effective Strategies to Promote Your
Web Site"


Greetings to my monthly readers.

Yet another month has quickly passed by I've put together yet some more information to help guide you along for this month's newsletter.

This month we'll touch on affiliate or partner programs that you can add to your site to help enhance your inventory. You never have to handle or ship any product. You get a percentage of the sale directly from the supplier.

Read more below.

To Your Success,
Coach Danny


- New Product Source for May
- Sure Fire Ways To Lose Bidders
- Using Audio Descriptions
- Affiliate Programs & Marketing Resources
- 'Haggle' Marketplaces Hope to Unseat eBay
- Flippid: Can a Reverse Auction Model Go?

"When I think of work, it's mostly about having control over
your destiny, as opposed to being at the mercy of
what's out there."
-Gary Sinise

New Product Source for May

This is another product source idea for your bulk and surplus sources.

Free US Government Auction Guide, Locker Bidding

Here is an explanation of how US Government auctions work, and links to Government Auctions along with registration information.

Don't pay for this information. Its free!

We posted this site when hearing a lot of great feedback about their directory.
If you like the excitement of blind bidding or open bidding on storage lockers please go here: www.storageauctions.com!


10 Sure Fire Ways To Lose Bidders
by Steven Woodward

The way some auction sellers approach their auctions, it's clear there are as many ways to lose bidders as there are to skin a cat. If you spend enough time in the auctions you'll see a lot of basic mistakes, but the question remains: why do so many people consistently make the same mistakes over and over again. Is it that they are just placing auctions for the fun of it - without expecting to sell the item- probably not!

Here's our top ten sure fire ways to lose bidders (in no particular order):

Weak Headlines
Bad Photographs
Short, Sloppy or Excessive Descriptions
Unreasonable Terms
No Shipping Amounts
Lack of Response to Emails
Unrealistic Reserve Price
Low Feedback Rating
No Condition Information
Bad Start/Closing Time

Let's look at each one in a little more detail and see if you're making the same mistakes.

Weak Headlines
A recent auction was for a "Blue Antique Chair". This seller obviously didn't want many bidders to look at the auction. By adding some specificity to the headline a much stronger draw is accomplished. How about "RARE Victorian Wingback Chair"? Now if a bidder uses the search capability on eBay and they look for any of three key words: chair, wingback, Victorian, the auction will show up. Always use your popular word search tools to draw bidders.

Bad Photographs
With the popularity of digital cameras increasing, capturing your auction item has never been easier. Some tips are to be sure the item is lit well enough to show key details and/or any imperfections. Also, keep the size of your photos to a reasonable level so your auction doesn't take too long to load.

Short, Sloppy or Excessive Descriptions
Not enough information - tons of typographical errors- or a rambling discourse on why your wife is making you sell your item is a good way to lose bidders. Be succinct but provide enough information to describe the item sufficiently and create buyer interest.

Unreasonable Terms
Have you ever seen an auction where the seller states something like "We're not responsible for items once shipped" or "Item sold as is" - without a clear description of the item's condition? Remember if you want to increase the number of bids you receive or get your bidders to buy from you again, you need to focus on basic customer service.

No Shipping Amounts
Not clearly stating your shipping amounts up front prevents bidders from comparative shopping. State all buyer expenses clearly.

Lack of Response to Emails
Responding to emails takes time. Not doing so loses bidders. Return all emails as quickly as possible.

Unrealistic Reserve Price
Are you overpricing your items and then wondering why they're not selling? Do your research and determine competitive prices before placing your auctions.

Low Feedback Rating
If you don't care your potential bidders will disappear. Work on your Feedback Rating by meeting your commitments and providing great customer service.

No Condition Information
By providing a clear description of the item and its condition, with supporting photos, you maximize the potential of your actions.

Bad Start/Closing Time
Start an auction so it closes on a time or day that is inconsistent with your bidder's profile (e.g. commercial buyers who bid at work or parents who aren't available during work hours) will result in fewer bids.

Making sure you don't make these few mistakes will improve the number of bids your auctions receive.

© Copyright 2005 Steven Woodward - All Rights Reserved
About the Author:Steven Woodward is the owner, editor and publisher of the Auction Sellers Network (ASN); a web site for individuals and companies who are serious about utilizing the online auction marketplace for their business.


Using Audio Descriptions
I recently came across a study where they posted 10 of the same products in different categories on ebay. Half of the auctions were regular postings with directions to the home site; the other half had audio descriptions. The audio sites sold the same product for a 30% higher return than the auctions without the audio.

I find them pretty easy to use and some have free trials.
Try www.sellersvoice.com
Or www.audiogenerator.com

And here's another tip! Check your link popularity.
They'll also send you a nice report by email.


Affiliate Programs and Marketing Resources
from addme.com

Affiliate programs enable affiliates (typically a website owner) to harness their current traffic volumes and direct traffic to specific products and services provided by a third party, encouraging the visitor/traffic to purchase or simply enquire – in return the publisher of the affiliate program rewards the affiliate with a commission.

The affiliate commission will vary depending on the program and what the publisher decides on a reasonable reward for the referral.
Putting it simply, if you refer a sale to me, I reward you, generally, with money.

Many publishers run their own affiliate program, a good example of this would be the Trellian Partner Program. The Trellian partner program helps sites such as Addme generate revenue by promoting the search engine optimization tools and keyword discovery tools.
There are also some great resources on the net to search through lists of affiliate programs, the first one which springs to mind (and we sometimes use) is Commission Junction.

Affiliate Linking Methods
There are many instances of WebPages and entire websites dedicated to specific products. This is a great way of channeling traffic to ONE product.

Though the affiliate site looks great, dedicated to the one product, the affiliate is linking to the main page of the publisher’s site. The publisher may be selling a number of products – thus the visitor may get distracted and move off to another website, the affiliate loosing the sale.
Many affiliate programs allow the affiliate to “deep link” into the publisher’s site, this delivering the traffic to a specific product page i.e. direct to the order form. Thus, driving the traffic directly through to the specific product page, decreasing the risk of them getting lost and moving onto another website.

Forms of Affiliate Linking
There are many methods used to link to affiliate websites, how an affiliate links to a site often dictates what medium they are using.

Text linking – a simple text link within a document or webpage. This is the most subtle of all affiliate linking strategies.

Search Box - Generally added to the affiliate’s website as an extra search option / box. When a visitor uses the search box this then populates a page which then links through to the publisher’s website.

Banner Links – these are great to use in emails and sites that supports advertising (these days which site doesn’t do this).

White Label/Co-Branding – The Affiliate will be given the ability to customize the appearance of the affiliate program i.e. the affiliate will link to a order form for the product page, this form will maintain the look and feel of the affiliate website – though hosted on the publishers network. The publisher will still manage the purchase process (payment gateways and merchant facilities). The affiliate makes the commission.

3 New 'Haggle' Marketplaces Hope to Unseat eBay

By Ina Steiner

Three new entrants in the ecommerce space have rejected eBay's auction model in favor of systems that encourage haggling between buyers and sellers. And while the three sites take very different approaches, they all offer low fees and social networking components that are built in from the beginning.

Fididel actually introduces a middle-person into its ecommerce model - real-life human negotiators typing live at their keyboards. Flippid is more like a traditional bulletin board, letting buyers and sellers create and browse "BuyOff" and "SellOff" postings. Wigix takes an approach it likens to NASDAQ stock trading.

Flippid lets sellers offer a variety of payment methods, including PayPal. However, Wigix and Fididel both use PayPal exclusively. I wonder if that gives eBay proprietary competitive information and an immediate knowledge of when and if these sites gain traction.

Wigix is going after eBay sellers, but Amazon.com may also be worried about this upstart marketplace. While perfectly suited for consumer goods, at this point Wigix seems less suited for antiques and unique collectibles. Whether it's intentional or not, certain features of the site strike me as drawing in the type of shopper who might scorn malls and boutiques, but feel comfortable on Wigix and view it as a form of entertainment - even without buying or selling a thing.

Wigix encourages you put all the "stuff" you own as a consumer into your portfolio. Like stock, you can calculate the value of your portfolio. You can choose to make your portfolio of products public or private. If you want to buy more stuff, you find the item on Wigix and look through the list of sellers, their descriptions (which are not detailed and contain no photos), and make a purchase. Or, like the stock market, you can make an open buy order. "I"ll buy this model of Nintendo Wii for $50," and you can put an expiration date or leave the offer good til cancelled.
In addition, you can choose to get notified when someone is interested in buying the items you own in your portfolio but haven't listed for sale.

Wigix uses a catalog approach, creating only one entry per product (or "SKU"), then hanging seller information off of each product. While it may seem strange for sellers used to eBay's approach, the structured data of the catalog approach gives shoppers a lot of flexibility in how they search for and sort listings.

Each product SKU has its own permanent URL, an interesting concept that may prove useful to both buyers and sellers in the long term. Wigix actually encourages sellers to embed Wigix URLs in their listings on other marketplaces. But of course, the URL is not your individual item - it links to the product listing that shows all of the sellers of that item.

Wigix gave me a demo of the tool it is preparing for eBay sellers that allows them to import inventory and that is scheduled to be ready in July. It looks like it may take a lot of upfront work for sellers to translate eBay listings into Wigix listings - but I'll reserve judgement until the tool rolls out.

Revenue-Generating Opportunities Beyond Selling
Wigix has ways you can earn revenue without actually selling any products. Because Wigix relies so heavily on product attributes for its catalog (think "Item Specifics," such as color, size, make and model), it needs experts to help it build the catalog and add appropriate attributes for each product.

In a concept called "homesteading," you can add items to the catalog, and if approved by the Category Expert, you will earn 5% of the Wigix revenue for each sale of that item.
"Category Experts" earn 1% of their total category's revenue (advertising and transaction fees) in return for keeping the category accurate. You must apply to be considered for the position of Category Expert, and experts must be "reelected" each year.

Wigix also has rewards for referring friends and has "Golden Items" to encourage users to browse the site. You can read all the details on the "Make Money" section of the website.

Fididel uses real-time negotiation. But rather than straight automation, the site uses real people to negotiate on behalf of its sellers. Shoppers can search the site for products they're interested in and immediately begin negotiating on price. Buyers can engage the seller or a "Fidideler" on any product. Fididelers are trained to negotiate on behalf of sellers and receive a commission based on final selling price. Either party can walk away from the negotiations at any time.

There are no listing fees for sellers. The seller sets the commission amount, either a flat-rate commission, or structured as an incentive plan for the Fidideler. The company said sellers would likely want to offer more commission as an incentive to the Fidideler to drive the product price as high as possible. Founder Hal Wendel compared the process to sellers hiring a sales force. "Using Fididelers is the only way a seller can scale on real-time negotiations," he said.
It's a little frustrating that there isn't more information on Fididel about how the site works and how to become a Fidideler, but like Wigix, the site is in beta and is a work in progress.

Flippid lets users create BuyOffs and SellOffs in a model similar to Wigix. Flippid also uses wish lists and want lists that can be incorporated into social networking sites and will soon be completely free.
We have published a separate review of Flippid in this issue in the next post.
Appealing to Buyers As experienced sellers know, a marketplace must draw in buyers in order for it to be a viable venue on which to sell. Each of these three new marketplaces hopes to lure buyers with features that engage and entertain, including through the use of social networking features.

Wigix is a sticky site - you can spend a lot of time doing research and building your "portfolio." Fididel, on the other hand, hopes the excitement of real-time negotiation will draw buyers to its site.

It's too soon to say whether these three sites will succeed in drawing enough traffic and interest from buyers to become viable marketplaces. But sellers are sure to appreciate the hope these sites hold out to them to re-ignite buyer interest and generate sales!

Flippid: Can a Reverse Auction Model Go Full Steam Ahead?

By Julia Wilkinson

Flippid is an appropriate name for something that turns the auction model on its head, and that's what Flippid.com does. Instead of rooting around a shopping site looking for just the right thing, you can create something called a "BuyOff," where you post something you want, and then are contacted if and when it's available.

After years of using eBay, eBay certified developer Daniel Logue came up with the idea for the site. According to Flippid.com marketing coordinator Peter Howell, Logue's thinking was that it would be a great to have a marketplace where you could post whatever you wanted and have deals find you as opposed to having to hunt and search endlessly for a bargain. "Flippid matches people who want stuff, with people who have stuff. Name your price, and let people sell it to you," Howell said.

With the "BuyOff," Flippid automatically notifies buyers through its messaging system (and via RSS and email) of any relevant listings posted by sellers. Buyers are notified if the item can be purchased immediately, or if it is being offered in a new "SellOff" auction listing. "There's no more online rummaging; it's all about connecting buyers and sellers together seamlessly and effectively," said Howell.

Sellers can get in on it too. "We also empower sellers to have "SellOff" auction-style listings that allow you to watch buyers bid in real time and even offer multiple units of a particular item in one simple listing," said Howell.

Right now, the biggest impediment to seeing how well this new buying and selling model really works is the relatively small number of users on the site; it truly seems like a new community where the activity that gives a sense of vibrancy hasn't kicked in yet. A scrolling list on the Flippid home page of buyer usernames, their feedback ratings, and what they want helps this some: "klcjrc( (0 rated transactions (0/0)) 0) wants:A2.2 XOM Active Dual Acoustic Guitar Pickup," for example.

Browsing some of the main categories such as Home Electronics, Computers & Office, and Toys & Games, there is a smattering of items in each; 20, 30, and 15 respectively. The stuff in Computers & Office, for example, includes such standard computer fare as a Dell wireless Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR Card kit, an HP business Desktop Microtower, and a few sets of Logitech speakers. What I think sellers will like about browsing the Flippid categories is they can see a list to the right of the Flippid users who want things, what the items are, and the price at which they'd like to buy it.

Eager to try this new reverse auction model, I posted a BuyOff for one of my favorite perfumes, Clinique's "Happy." To start a BuyOff, you simply click "buy something" from the main menu, then fill in the "Name of the item," and relevant tags, a max price and shipping price, and whether you want it to be a "BuyOff" or just save it to a "want list." There's also a field for any notes; the example they use is "I'd prefer it to be new, but great condition is OK."
After you submit this info, you can choose from a selection of stock images of the item, if any are available. For my perfume it found five images, and I selected one that matched the size I wanted. After grabbing the image, I could see the "SellOff" listing I'd created, which a seller could then select to sell to me.

Next, I posted a black apple iPhone and added it to my want list as there didn't seem to be any available.
Going back to the site a few days later, I can check the status of my BuyOffs and SellOff by clicking the "my profile" link at the top of the page. There had been no seller bids for the perfume or iPod, so I decided to use some of Flippid's sharing features, publishing my want list to my blog. (You can also post it to your MySpace page, website, or anywhere you can post html code). Flippid gives you code to cut and paste, under the link "Cool stuff to do with your want list."

The code created a cool-looking box on my blog, with a couple of slowly bouncing animated images of my wanted items. I felt a bit greedy posting these; is this what bridal registries will come to in the future? But it does make for a fun way to display your wish list to friends, your blog readers, or whomever.

Flippid also recently debuted a facebook app called "My Want List." After adding the widget, you can see "Stuff recently added to people's want lists," which included a Fisher-Price Rainforest Musical Mobile, an Apple iPod touch 8GB MP3 Player, a Masterbuilt Veranda Steel Propane Grill, and a "HELLO KITTY SANYO sackt2p - 4-Cup Hello Kitty Coffee Maker w/Auto-Stop." If you want to indulge in even more shopping voyeurism, you can view the BuyOffs on the Flippid site.

Buyers can also set up something called an "AutoBid," the maximum amount they are willing to pay for a "SellOff." Howell says this allows users to bid "confidently and simply, without having to worry about "sniping" that is rampant on other auction sites."

Currently, Flippid only charges when you sell something, and that is based on a tiered structure ranging from $0.10 for items less than $5.00, up to a maximum of $2.00 for items $100 and up. There is also a single $0.35 processing fee per billing cycle. But in the future, according to Howell, the site plans go "completely free": "There will be no fees to buy and sell on Flippid. Period," said Howell.

"Originally, the purpose of charging was to ensure that the scam artists were kept at bay seeing as they would have to input credit card information and leave some form of traceable credibility," said Howell. But this is no longer a concern with the enhanced security of the second design of the site, he said.
In this new free world, Flippid's revenue will be generated through on-site advertising. Howell said they will eventually add optional premium features for sellers' storefronts at a minimal cost, "but even then, the stores themselves are always going to be fully customizable and free of charge."

Flippid will be rolling out a "full marketing campaign on the web, national TV, and radio to get the word out," said Howell. "There's no secret that online sellers are looking for a new and innovative marketplace and we couldn't be more excited about Flippid."

He said they are also "individually contacting thousands of online and eBay sellers to do everything we can to make their transition to Flippid as smooth and seamless as possible. From offering free custom storefronts and automatically uploading their inventory using our convenient (tools), sellers will not be able to find a more user friendly online marketplace next month." These marketing pushes, on top of the fees elimination, are likely to boost Flippid's current small amount of buying and selling activity.

Flippid has an intriguing business model, a nice clean design, and much Web 2.0 integration. Now it just remains to be seen if it can cut through the clutter of all the startup ecommerce sites out there and really capture a chunk of the online buying and selling market.