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.