Season's Greetings-

Another year comes to a close. After some downward spirals, it appears things are begining to level off and the make slow upward hike.

With several developments on the merger scene, it may be time to rethink some marketing strategies after some renewed data reasearch, if you are involved
in some paid online marketing campaigns.

Check out the new online resource of the month from Google down below.

Hope you find this issue useful and wish you the best in the coming decade.

Have a Happy New Year!
Coach Danny


• October Same Store Sales
• Ex-EBay Execs to Help the Lazy Resell Used CDs, Books
• Microsoft Yahoo Partnership
• Are Your Ads Not Showing Up on Bing.com?
• Google Product Search Marketing

October Same Store Sales

The ChannelAdvisor Same Store Sales October results are in and there were a couple of interesting trends that could indicate how the Q4 holiday season is going to shake out.

Results for 2009 so far:
Amazon led the pack (as usual) with 61% y/y growth - up from Septembers 55%
Overall at ChannelAdvisor we saw things pick up overall very nicely from the high single digits to 17% y/y.
eBay had a slight tick down to 4.73% from Septembers 5.1% - that's small enough that I don't think it's cause for any concern.
Comscore hasn't put out their October numbers, but is suspect they will be flat to down slightly.

The ChannelAdvisor SSS data represents the combined results of over 3000 retailers.
ChannelAdvisor's mix may be materially different from that of eBay, Amazon or other channels.

Ex-EBay Execs Help Lazy Resell Used CDs, Books

By Eliot Van Buskirk


Ebay still rules as the online garage sale site, but auction upstart Glyde thinks it knows a better way to resell used books, CDs, DVDs and videogames. The company claims “anyone can sell in ten seconds” on Glyde, which makes it simple to list an item, suggests a price based on how used the media is and even supplies pre-addressed envelopes.

Glyde CEO and former head of eBay Motors Simon Rothman claims the average United States household owns over $3,000 in used media, 98 percent of which “depreciates to zero, [is] thrown away or ends up in landfill.” Glyde’s strategy implies that much of this is due to eBay requiring sellers to work too hard (one reason some hire specialists to sell their stuff there).

“We built a service that makes buying and selling a used DVD as simple as trading a share of Disney stock,” said Rothman in a statement. “It’s the NASDAQ for physical goods.”

As of the site’s Monday launch, these physical goods are limited to used media because it’s so easy to supply standard listings for those and to ascertain price. Glyde CTO and Excite co-founder Mark Wong-Van Haren managed development of the back-end of the service that “absorb[s] the complexity so users don’t have to.” In addition to helping sellers create listings quickly, Glyde lets them donate a percentage of their revenue to the charity of their choice. As for buyers, while they can’t bid on auctions on Glyde, they don’t have to pay until the product arrives — of particular concern with physical media, which can be scratched.

Glyde’s method for creating a listing is smoother and faster than eBay’s and its pre-addressed envelopes, for which the seller can pay postage on the website, make the process even easier. The site charges the seller 10 percent of the price of the item, and only allows sellers to set prices within a certain range, rather than choosing any price they want or allowing buyers to bid on items.

Glyde’s job won’t be easy because sellers generally want to be where the buyers are. And the buyers are on Amazon and eBay, neither of which impose pricing limitations and both of which also supply ready-to-use photos and descriptions for DVDs and other media. In addition, Amazon Marketplace lets sellers reach buyers who are also shopping for the new version of stuff, while eBay offers a “what’s it worth” function courtesy of TeraPeak.

Glyde is clearly betting that smaller and nimbler will win the day, but if its simpler, media-tailored system lures customers away from eBay and Amazon, they could probably streamline their used media sales and start offering envelopes.

Microsoft Yahoo Partnership

Regarding the Microsoft Yahoo Merge Deal, there are important details you need to be aware of when managing your Paid Search campaigns post-integration.

Retailers need to prepare for the Microsoft/Yahoo Partnership that will most likely take effect in Q2/Q3 2010.

Make sure you have an adCenter account!

Common practice for Small to Medium Businesses is to first launch Campaigns on Google and once performance is stable, move the campaigns over to Yahoo and Bing. So with that, there are definitely a large number of Paid Search advertisers out there that do not even have a MSN/Bing adCenter account. I would also suggest doing some coupon searches as Microsoft usually runs promotions for $50-$200 in free clicks for new accounts.
Click here to sign up.

Familiarize yourself with adCenter and adCenter Editor.

Managing Bing campaigns is more challenging and more manual than on Yahoo; take some time over the next few months familiarizing yourself with the adCenter Interface. MSN also handles a few things differently than Google: Keyword Insertion, Automatic Launch on all Match Types, No Daily Budgets, etc. so you will need to learn how to manage these idiosyncrasies. Also download MSN's adCenter Editor. While not as robust as Adwords Editor,
Microsoft's adCenter editor is a FREE and very useful tool that makes managing MSN campaigns much easier. Another way to improve your workflow would be to look at strong 3rd party platforms that enable seamless Campaign/Keyword implementation across both Engines.

Stay abreast of developments

When the integration is completed (mid 2010), make sure you understand exactly how the 2 platforms are going to appear in adCenter. Our data shows that MSN has a much better ROI than Yahoo, so you should make every effort to manage these two properties separately. If you can prevent it, you do not want to have MSN subsidize your Yahoo performance.

Are Your Ads Not Showing Up on Bing.com?

by Erin Gordon

With launching the “decision engine” Bing came a big Bang… popular TV commercials,
increasing media attention, and of course, many questions. One question I have
from clients is why can’t they seem to see their paid search advertisements show
up for terms they normally rank well for?

There could be several factors affecting what you are seeing on your computer.

A system improvement that was implemented to enhance Bing’s search algorithm included a feature that detects the likelihood of a particular user clicking on ads based on their preferences, history and other quality factors. This could affect advertisers not being able to verify that their own ads are showing on Bing easily, due to their usage patterns or history. Currently, you can pull an ad Center keyword performance report to verify that your ads are being served.

Also, in the near future Bing has a planned improvement that would allow advertisers
the functionality to validate if your ad is serving and where.

Google Offers New Keyword Research Tool

by Barry Schwartz

Google has a beta version of a new keyword tool available in the AdWords console. To get to it, login to adwords.google.com, go to a campaign, click on opportunities (if you have that tab), then on the left bar, click on keyword tool. A “beta” link should be available for you to click on in the top paragraph.

The keyword tool integrates some of the other tools that Google has been releasing. It links to the Google Insights for Search tool and it brings in data from industry segments. It also gives more advanced break down of filter options, from showing country specific data, mobile data, setting your own CPC prices, allows you to add keyword filters, you can filter by industry category, break out by word and filter by match type. This tool seems pretty neat off the bat, but you should really dig
deeper into it yourself.

Paid Search Strategy

Paid Search is a non-intrusive form of online marketing that connects Marketers
and Search Engine users at the precise moment that the user is seeking information. This core component of Paid Search will lead to some of the highest ROI available
through Online Channels. The most difficult part of Paid Search is effectively
balancing all of the data and tools available to achieve or exceed an advertisers' goals.

What you'll find in this section is a list of available levers at your disposal in addition to campaign management strategies that have been found to be successful with online sellers.

Tools for Keyword Discovery

With so many keyword discovery tools available to self-service Paid Search users, how do you know which ones to use? This article will review the Google options available to self-service Search users to clarify the purpose of available tools and detail the ideal scenarios for their use. The most important aspect of any keyword discovery tool is to be able to block out the noise and recognize the best opportunities.

Learn about:

Using Keyword Term Generators
Using Google’s Keyword Tool and Search Based Keyword Tools
Additional keyword tools available from Google and when they should be used

Use WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool
Get Fast, Accurate Keyword Results. Start Your Keyword Research Today. The Free Keyword Tool is continuously updating a database of over a billion of the world's most popular keywords, aggregating over a trillion unique searches. This means that you get more keywords returned FASTER, for FREE! For more information on The Free Keyword Tool read our Keyword Tool.

Google Suggest Keyword Suggestion Scraper Tool
This tool grabs the top queries from Google Suggest, Google search result counts, and links through to our SEO Book keyword suggestion tool.

Google AdWords Keyword Tool
Use the Keyword Tool to get new keyword ideas. Select an option below to enter a
few descriptive words or phrases, or type in your website's URL.

What are some advanced tips for using the Keyword Tool?

The Keyword Tool is a great way to find new keywords for your ad campaigns.

Try using it to:

Find keywords based on your site content.
Instead of entering your own keywords, try using the Website Content option. It lets you enter the URL of your business website, or of any site related to your business. The AdWords system will then scan your page and then suggest relevant keywords. (This feature is available only in some languages.)

Create new, separate ad groups with similar keywords.
We recommend creating several ad groups in each campaign, each with a small, narrowly-focused set of similar keywords. Use the Keyword Tool to discover relevant keywords, then divide them into lists of 5 to 20 similar terms. See examples of ad groups promoting a single product or service and multiple products or services.

Identify negative keywords.
The Keyword Tool can show you off-topic keywords that users may be thinking about. Suppose you sell cut flowers and you give the Keyword Tool the keyword 'flowers.' It may suggest the related term 'gardens,' and you may want to add that term to your ad group as a negative keyword. That will keep your ad from showing on searches for 'flower gardens' or similar terms. This helps make sure only interested customers see your ads.

Find synonyms - or not.
The Use synonyms box in the Descriptive words or phrases option is always checked by default. (This means it might suggest 'bed and breakfast' as a synonym for the keyword 'hotel.') If you uncheck the box, the tool will suggest only keywords that contain at least one of the terms that you entered.

Specify a language and location.
If you're using the Keyword Tool while signed in to your account, you may see an option to tailor results to a particular location and language. If you happen to be targeting Spanish speakers who live in France, make sure you set the Keyword Tool to that language and location.

Start broad and then get specific.
Try broad terms like 'flowers' in the Keyword Tool first. Then try specific terms like 'red roses' or 'miniature cactus.'

Need more in-depth ideas?

Try the Search-based Keyword Tool. While it shares
some features with the Keyword Tool, the Search-based Keyword Tool displays a list of relevant user queries that have occurred on Google.com (and on other Google search properties), based on your URL. Additionally, the Search-based Keyword Tool provides more detailed data for each keyword, such as category information, suggested bid that may place the ad in the top three spots of a search results page, and Ad/Search share.

Customizing the Statistics Table

You'll notice the following three columns included in your Keyword Tool results:
Advertiser Competition, Local Search Volume: [Last Available Month], and Global
Monthly Search Volume. You can show additional columns or hide any of the visible
columns by following these instructions:

1. Click the Choose columns to display drop-down menu.
2. Select a column that you'd like to show or hide.
After the table updates, you can select another column to show or hide, and so on.
3. Select Show all to see all columns.
4. Select Show defaults to restore the three columns that were showing originally.

Google AdWords Traffic Estimator
Get quick traffic estimates for new keywords without adding them to an account
or using the AdWords sign-up wizard.

Google Product Search Marketing

by Mark Vandegrift

Q) A strategy talks about expanding into low risk CSE's and specifically talked about Bing. Given that Bing shopping is buying a product feed from shopping.com (and we send product to shopping.com) I am wondering how helpful this would be? I would love to get some insight into: (a) how the purchased feed results would rank on Bing vs. a feed sent direct to Bing (if the feeds were basically the same) and if they might cancel each other out (duplicate listing are sometimes eliminated or punished in the rankings) And (b) the economics of the CPC shopping.com feed being
sent to Bing vs. the CPA direct to Bing model (in your experience which is really more profitable)

A) Bing is displaying your shopping.com data because the old MSN Shopping platform, which is no longer visible at shopping.msn.com, is still active behind the scenes. That platform has used data from shopping.com and pricegrabber for a long time and it continues to be used for any merchant not sending data directly to MSN/Bing.
They aren’t allowing for duplication – Bing listings appear in lieu of anything coming through the old msn shopping platform (which as I said includes shopping.com and pricegrabber). In terms of rank, the answer can vary depending on whether or not there are other merchants selling the exact same item. If so, your listings sent directly to Bing would likely appear higher than your current shopping.com
listings because the default sort on product pages on Bing is price low to high, but (here is the important part), the price displayed is NET of the cashback to the consumer.

Look at this page and expand the little plus symbol. You’ll see the actual price is higher than what Bing is displaying, meaning the Bing advertiser is getting a boost by participating in the cashback program. In this case, it didn't have an impact on the rank of that item within the page, but if they increased their cashback offering from 8% to 15%, they
would rank first.

For items where there is no direct competition on the product and therefore no matched page, I would guess Bing still gives weight to merchants in the cashback program, but the final ranking is likely heavily determined by the user’s query and some sort of popularity historical traffic/CTR). This probably applies to how the product pages themselves are ranked in search results as well.

With regard to profitability, I would say the majority of the time, a CPA model is preferred. As mentioned in the webinar, it limits risk, but also because of the nature of the Bing model, it gives you a lever for testing the Bing market specifically. What I mean is, you can try increasing your cashback from 7% to 10% on Bing, effectively lowering the price just for Bing users, and seeing if that drives an increase in volume. Even at a lower margin, the higher volume may mean more total profit.

A few links.
Google Base help form:
This will help guide you through some commonly encountered
issues with Google Base/Product search.
Google Help Forums:
Community driven forums but Google folks do participate.
Google Error form:
Use this if you are getting an error and can't get it
cleared up through help form or the forums.
Google Webmaster Video on GPS best practices:
There are a few valuable nuggets of info in here.
List of Google Rating Sites:
The most complete list and some good conversation about GPS in general, courtesy of SEOmoz.

I can't say I agree with everything on this page but since the GPS algorithm is hard to pin down, different omerchants are likely to see different results.




Yet another Summer gone by... time to get ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner!

This issue of "here and NOW" has some ideas on what might help you with the leading edge in these most difficult times. Even the online business that I'm involved with has seen a decline, even very recently, but remains steady. The customers are there if you can fill that niche market.

The secret is to have the best marketing tools in place.

Read on!
Coach Danny


-Best Practices for Product Search
-Recent Plummet in Google Product Search Traffic
-Make Money Every Time You Share a Video
-eBay Forums: Sick of eBay's Feedback
-Google Making Affiliate Marketing More Productive

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
-Thomas Edison


This last week has seen an update to an old favorite free Windows application I've told you about in the past and heard some of my students use.

The photo organizer favorite is Google Picasa, which adds facial recognition in its update to version 3.5. The new feature uses technology that was first implemented in Picasa Web Albums, the product's online sibling for storing and sharing photos online. To make a long story short, Picasa for the desktop now scans your photos for recognizable faces. After you link a name to a facial structure, the app gathers those photos together in each person's album. So, after labeling your sister, you'll be able to search for a picture of her on vacation by looking in her personal folder, not just the vacation album.

Read up more on Picasa's new photo facial recognition features here.

How freaky - facial recognition on your desktop!

Best Practices for Product Search

from the GoogleWebmasterCentral.blogspot.com

If you run an e-commerce site and you'd like your products to be eligible to be shown in Google search results, then check out their "Product Search for Webmasters" video. In addition to the basics on Product Search, this video will cover:

• Attributes to include in your feed
• Improving products' rankings by including custom attributes in your feed
• When product listings expire after 30 days
• How often to submit your feed

Recent Plummet in Google Product Search Traffic

Retailers have reported that traffic from Google Product Search (a.k.a. Froogle/Google Base/Google Shopping) is down as much as 60-80% this past June.

Make Money Every Time You Share a Video

blinkx AdHoc
Make money every time you share a video on your blog,
website or social networking profile. It's easy to do!
blinkx's technology matches relevant, in-video text
ads to any video. Whenever someone clicks on an ad
in your video, you make half the cash!

blinkx AdHoc is the revolutionary new video advertising
platform from blinkx, the video search company. AdHoc
was launched last year and has been used primarily
for a closed beta program that has tested the
effectiveness of contextually targeting ads in video.

The blinkx AdHoc widget allows regular online users
to add advertising to videos they embed online. When
viewers watch the videos, they are shown the ads.
If the ads are clicked on, the user is diverted to
a URL of the advertiser's choice and the
advertiser's budget is depleted by a single
cost-per-click charge. Thanks to AdHoc's
targeting, widget users only get relevant,
useful ads, and advertisers only have to pay
when their ad actually delivers a user.

AdHoc looks at meta data and parses any speech
in the video to match the clip with an appropriate
ad. Suranga Chandratillake, co-founder and CTO
of Blinkx, says their network has improved ad
yields anywhere from 10-150% depending on the
content of the video. Short entertainment clips
don’t tend to see as much improvement, but longer
informational clips see higher gains by picking
out advertisements related to the concepts
being discussed.

Blinkx has done their best to not obstruct the
operation and ads of the original player. Ads
show up as drop down text links at the top of
video or as a static box displayed above
the player.

blinkx AdHoc rewards you for sharing videos.

Next time you embed a video from a video-sharing
site, simply run the embed code through blinkx
AdHoc first to start making money. When you add
the embedded video, it will have contextually
relevant ads placed near or on it.

If your viewers click on these ads, the advertiser
pays blinkx, and blinkx will share 50% of that
revenue with you.

Video sites that work with AdHoc tested include the
following are known to work: MySpace, GoogleVideo,
YouTube, Revver, Metacafe, Veoh, DailyMotion,
Break, FunnyOrDie, Vimeo, JibJab,
iFilm, and CollegeHumor.

To create an account, all you need is an email,
password, and PayPal email address. You must have a
PayPal account in order to get paid once you
start making money.


eBay Forums: Sick of eBay's Feedback

If you are POSITIVELY sick of ebay's
feedback ideas VOTE HERE!!!!

There has been lots of chatter lately in
the eBay Forums about their recent changes
to Sellers not being able to leave
negative feedback for buyers.

Here is what some Sellers have posted:

I do not like this new policy and will find other
places that is fair for both buyer and seller.
I have had 10 buyers that have not paid and 2
that disputed claim in paypal after they received
the item...and leave me neg feedback..this is
totally wrong!

I also hate this new feedback, it is totally
unfair that I can't leave negative feed back
for non payment.. I never had this problem
before. now it is common.

I think as long as the complaints are "contained"
on this eBay web site......NOTHING will be done.
We have the whole internet at our fingertips,
maybe we should focus more on going outward with
our voices instead of staying on ebay and
discussing. I have went to WWW.TWITTER.COM ...
take it outside the walls of eBay it we might be
heard better. TWITTER recently was on our major
news channel in reference to them lobbying for
problems occuring on internet, maybe the is
the next "better business bureau"


Google Making Affiliate Marketing More Productive

Google Affiliate Network
Making affiliate marketing more productive

Google Affiliate Network connects advertisers
and publishers who want to increase sales and
drive leads through affiliate marketing.

As an advertiser using Google Affiliate Network,
you'll discover pre-screened publishers who can
refer consumer traffic to you. As a publisher,
you can market your site to advertisers in the
network; if selected to participate in an
advertiser's program, you'll earn a percent
of sales or a referral bounty.

Google Affiliate Network offers:

• Industry-leading advertiser and publisher service
• Rigorous network quality standards
• Reliable conversion tracking
• Detailed reporting
• Automated payments to publishers
• Simple link and creative delivery tools
• Flexible commissions
• Access to top brands on the web




Hoping you had a safe and restful Independence Day.

In this issue of "here and NOW" you will find updates on the latest with eBay's new insertion fees and the best way to use that to your selling advantage.

There's also some more reviews of some eBay alternatives to expand your marketing campaigns and Amazon introduces a new addition to their selling tools.

Have a great summer!
Coach Danny


- eBay's Free Insertion Fees for Auctions
- AdWords Secrets Revealed
- Amazon Displays Optional Feedback Responses
- eBay Traffic Down
- eBay Alternatives: Alibris, Atomic Mall, Etsy, OnlineAuction, Wigix
- Fighting PayPal Rolling Reserves

"Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning."
-Bill Gates

eBay's 5 Free Insertion Fees for Online Auctions

Recently, eBay issued the following announcement about their new listing insertion fees:

Here is some exciting news about $0.00 Insertion Fees. Starting June 16, you’ll get 5 free Insertion Fees every 30 days for Auction-style listings.

Here’s how it works: Regardless of your start price, your first 5 Auction-style listings will have NO Insertion Fees when you list with eBay’s Sell Your Item form or Simple listing form.

The Final Value Fee for these 5 listings with $0.00 Insertion Fees will be 8.75% of the sales price or $20, whichever is lower. Any additional items sold during the same 30-day period will have the same Insertion Fees and Final Value Fees as they do today. Learn more.

Choose the option that works best for you, based on how you list:

• eBay’s Sell Your Item form or Simple listing form – If you’re currently using one of these forms, you can either take advantage of the 5 free Insertion Fees every 30 days, or opt out by listing your items via an eBay tool or third-party listing solution.
• eBay tool or third-party listing solution – If you’re currently using one of these tools, you can either take advantage of this new pricing structure by listing your first 5 Auction-style listings every 30 days through eBay’s Sell Your Item form or Simple listing form, or continue with your current practices at the current pricing.

We’re continuing our efforts to lower the upfront costs of selling on eBay. The 5 listings with $0.00 Insertion Fees are especially helpful if you don’t sell a high volume, but offer the kind of unique and hard-to-find inventory buyers expect to find on eBay.

eBay Forums Posts

Is it just me or has the 5 free insertion fees robbed you too? Let me give you a rundown of how you lose. With free insertion listings, you are charged a flat FVF of 8.75% or $20 whichever is lower. Normal auctions charge 8.75% of the first $25 then 3.5% of the remaining up to $1000 i think. So, heres an example of one of my "free listings" this month:

Normal auction:
Starting Bid: $0.99
End Price: $75.00
Insertion Fee: $0.15
Final Value: $3.94
Total: $4.09

Free insertion auction:
Starting Bid: $0.99
End Price: $75.00
Insertion Fee: free
Final Value: $6.56
Total: $6.56


Other postings had this to say:

Good, I thought I was the only one who saw this as a scam. Shame (on) you eBay.

I think Ebay was hoping you and the rest of us wouldn’t notice.

While its not a scam or a rip off per say it's misleading and
that is wrong.
Whether you had the time to read the whole explanation on
"free listings"--and dutifully compare the FVF's--the fact
that ebay has the possibility to make more out of it in the
end--provided your junk even sells... is typical corporate BS.

One posting had this suggestion:

It’s a bargain if you know how to work ebay. I put up 5 auctions
that were over $9.99 starting price but knew wouldn't go over
$25.00 selling price.

Therefore, I saved .55 cents on each listing. Only 2 of the 5
sold which is average for ebay. The other 3 didn't cost me
anything and were relisted in my store for .03 cents.
That's how you've got to figure it.

AdWords Secrets Revealed

Need more tips on how to make your AdWords campaign get more
attention and more successful?

Some great ideas include making keywords bold, how to make
titles more provoking and instruct your visitors to
"Download Here" instead of "Click Here."


You can find out more at


Amazon.com Displays Optional Feedback Responses to Sellers
By Ina Steiner

Amazon.com announced it was making additional buyer
feedback information available to sellers in the Feedback
Manager tool in the Seller Account section. Amazon has
been asking buyers three optional questions as part of
the feedback collection process:

• Did your item arrive by (date)?
• Did your item arrive in the condition
as described by the seller?
• If you contacted this seller,
did you receive prompt and courteous service?

Sellers will now be able to see the answers to those
questions in three new columns in Feedback Manager
called Arrived on Time, Condition Described, and Courteous
Service. The buyer's answer to each question is indicated
in the corresponding column. A dash in the column indicates
the buyer did not answer that question.

Amazon.com said buyers would not be able to view
this information.

eBay Traffic Down in April and May

By Ina Steiner

eBay traffic declined in April and May 2009 both
consecutively and year-over-year, according to
data provided by Nielsen. eBay page views fell
6.8% in April 2009 compared to the previous month,
and dropped another 7.9% in May 2009. eBay page
views for May 2009 were down 32% from a year ago
and were down 40% from four years ago in May 2005.

eBay Alternatives: Alibris, Atomic Mall, Etsy, OnlineAuction.com, Wigix

By Ina Steiner

Here is a roundup of news coming from online marketplaces
and eBay alternatives.

Alibris is publishing a new column by founder Richard Weatherford that promotes books that could be considered
affordable collectibles as opposed to "antiquarian books
sitting in a glass case." Alibris said sellers with
those types of books ("Whether its an autographed Janet
Evanovich or a modern first edition, like Stephenie
Meyers New Moon"), should expect to see an increase
in sales of this type of material.

The world's largest book fair. Buy and sell blue-ribbon
books at bake-sale prices.

Atomic Mall added two new store functions.

Coupon Codes allows merchants to create and store up to
three unique promo codes with attached discounts (either
a percentage or a fixed dollar amount) to give privately
to select buyers or to advertise publicly. Country
Discount helps sellers who ship items internationally
and wish to offer shipping cost adjustments to buyers
in certain countries.

Atomic Mall is a storefront setup wherein members can
list items in their Mall store in a fixed-price format
with or without multiple items within each listing.
Atomic Mall offers free membership, 100% free listings
with commission fees, and a free Storefront with
various membership upgrades for a fee.

Etsy.com posted a message from its Product Team to summarize
recent developments and to announce its priorities for
the second half of the year. The marketplace said its
top focus continues to be helping shoppers find and
discover unique items and making it easier for them
to check out, more information is found in
the announcement.

If you aren't familiar with Etsy.com, it is a
marketplace devoted to all things handmade,
everything from crocheted toys to custom made
corsets, as well as vintage items and craft supplies.
Etsy is the largest selling venue online for handmade
products with $12.9 million dollars worth of goods
sold in December 2008 and growing.
Etsy has kept its fees steady and low with constant
improvements, the latest being the addition of
Google Analytics for users to track their visitor stats.

OnlineAuction.com said sales are at an all-time high
and still climbing. The auction site said year-to-year
sales increased over 185% during Q1-2009 and increased
over 350% during Q2-2009, and reported that second-quarter
sales in 2009 exceeded sales for the full-year 2008.

Wigix launched Craigster to publish items to Craigslist.
Wigix spokesperson Steve Young said, "We believe in
doing whatever we can so that our sellers are able to
maximize their sales. Craigster is just another way for
us to do that. We already have tools for sellers to
publicize their items on Twitter and Facebook and now
with Craigster, they have a localized option."

Fighting PayPal Rolling Reserves

by Henrietta

PayPal Background Overview

In Europe PayPal (Europe) Sarl et Cie SCA,
is legally registered as a bank and is
regulated centrally by the Luxembourg
bank authority.

In the USA PayPal is not a bank and is not
directly regulated by the U.S. federal
government although it is subject to
reporting provisions of the Bank Secrecy
Act. Because PayPal serves as a payment
intermediary, it is treated as a money
transmitter or a money service business.
PayPal is subject to state regulation,
but state laws vary, as do their definitions
of banks, money services businesses and
money transmitters. PayPal is not subject
to the provisions of the Electronic Funds
Transfer Act and Regulation E (EFTA/E).
Consumers using PayPal with a credit card
(not debit card) are covered by the
provisions of the Truth In Lending Act
and Regulation Z, (TILA/Z) through the
card issuing bank.

Keyword = State Regulation

The Banking Departments of states which
regulate money service businesses website
is maintained by the Association of Regulators
from states which do regulate and has
many valuable links.

Most states have links to the laws and
statutes which regulate money services
businesses, many have links to the
Attorney General.

Keywords to help in your search:

• MSBs or Money Service Businesses
• Consumer Protection
• Money Transmitter
• Department of Financial Institutions
• Banking Department

Most Regulatory Statutes for MSBs contain
wording that states the maximum time period
within which money transmitters must perform
the function they are licensed to do,
ie. give you the money

I have not seen a single statute with a period
of 180 days or 60 days. Most seem to be 10
business days, unless you are suspected of
committing a crime. This is America, you are
innocent until proven guilty. PayPal will not
be able to say that every seller who has had a
reserve imposed is suspected of criminal activity,
especially since no action has been taken to
report that suspicion to the appropriate
authorities or police.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not
resolve individual consumer complaints. The
FTC collects complaints about companies and
business practices. The FTC enters all complaints
it receives into Consumer Sentinel, a secure
online database that is used by thousands of
civil and criminal law enforcement authorities
worldwide. These collected complaints can help
detect patterns of wrong-doing, and lead to i
nvestigations and prosecutions.

Tough Talk

You can sit there in your office and tell
yourself “I am not selling in a high risk
category. I will not be affected by reserves”

You should know that the phrase “high risk
category” is BaySpeak, meaningless. “High
risk category” sellers who have had reserve
accounts imposed include:

• Collectibles
• Toys and Hobbies
• Pottery & Glass
• Antiques
• Baby - Nursery Bedding

as well as the categories that we would
expect to see like Cell Phones & PDAs.

Yes ALL Merchant Credit Processors have the
ability to require a reserve account in
their legal agreements. However, it is not
something which is implemented across the
board for all accounts regardless of risk.
If you have zero or bad credit and a bad
track record or history of chargebacks
(if they will even accept you) then you
should expect a reserve.

PayPal are not following accepted industry
procedures or risk standards. I have been
told that when PayPal have all the planned
reserve accounts in place on eBay they
will be requiring them on websites. Seems
like fair warning to me. Our Australian
friends proved that when everyday people
get off their rear ends and make noise
consumer protection happens. PayPal
backed down.

If you don’t like it make a written complaint.
If you can’t be bothered to take action you
must bear the consequences of your inaction.


A happy Spring to all my readers.

It's been a very busy time for me taking courses to further my expertise in the digital realm. The online liquidation wholesaler I'm involved with stays steady through these slow times for much of the financial sectors.

Read the current issue to catch up on important news for online sellers, including news of some recent announcements from eBay, learn how sellers use social marketing sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and blogs to drive traffic and boost their online sales.

Take care,
Coach Danny


- Career & Job Search With Social Networking
- Harnessing Social Networking to Sell Online
- eBay's Spring 2009 Changes
- eBay Alternatives
- New Law Taxing for PayPal & eBay Sellers

"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot."
-Michael Althsuler

Career & Job Search With Social Networking

Social Networking
For many people in the over 35 age group
looking for a career can be a job in itself.

Using online social networking sites like
Facebook or LinkedIn can help you in your search.

Many hiring managers acually do their own searching
of these sites for potential candidates. Your profile
is available for them and is also searchable on search
engine sites like Google.

Create Conversation
You can network with other professionals in a certain
field, start a chat or join various Groups.

You can include on your Profile:
• Highlights of a resume
• Blogs read
• News interests
• Group involvement

This info and more about it is available
at recareered.blogspot.com


netSpray: Harnessing Social Networking to Sell Online
By Julia Wilkinson

If sellers found eBay's limitations on
self-promotion a hindrance, they may
embrace a new ecommerce site that actually
encourages it. netSpray enables users to
sell their own and others' items as a
transportable ad widget on blogs, social
networking sites, classifieds, and other
places in cyberspace they call home.
netSpray.com also has a marketplace where
users can browse and buy the items for
sale, and choose products to sell
as affiliates.

In fact, netSpray was born from frustration
with other ecommerce sites. One of the
founders tried to sell items on multiple
sites, only to find that he had to manage
each individually, and had no way to
centrally manage or know the status of
the listings, according to President and
CEO Ray Wolf.

"He was very concerned about overselling
and not being able to deliver, given the
importance of feedback ratings and the like.
He knew to increase the likelihood of
success he had to go out to multiple
venues to engage their unique followers
- some folks utilize Craigslist, others
eBay, others local forums," said Wolf.
He said online sellers, whether individuals,
small businesses or large enterprises, are
looking for a better way to engage their
potential customers where they aggregate
and spend time on the Web.

Wolf describes the netSpray model as going
to where the customers are versus practicing
a "find me" strategy, and says there is a
"three to five times improvement in sales
conversions vs. the "find me" strategy at
a fraction of the cost."

"I have the same feeling about netSpray
that I had about eBay when they first started,"
said online seller Mark Atomanczyk, who lists
a variety of items such as walking sticks,
clothing and games on his site. "They could be
really big." Atomanczyk has listed about 100
items on the netSpray.com site, and uses it
on his own website instead of a shopping cart.

He says he especially likes netSpray's
affiliate program. "I have sold other people's
items, and made commissions. I also use netSpray
to list on Craigslist and Google Base, as well
as putting the widget into all of my emails."

netSpray also gives small sellers an easy solution
to having other people sell their items on an
commission basis, although at this time it isn't
a substitute for those looking for a full-featured
affiliate program with a large, established base
of affiliates.

Selling on netSpray

To sell an item via netSpray, users can simply
create a listing via the site's "Sell" tab.

They can also browse the marketplace by
clicking the "Buy" tab from the homepage to
locate items they may want to sell as an

They click "Sell This" from the item's
listing and choose a method to post
the item to their own website, blog, or a
variety of social networking sites,
including Facebook and Twitter.

netSpray's basic "Seller Plus" service,
offering unlimited ad listings, is free to
use; users pay $19.95 for the more advanced
"Seller Advantage" features, which includes
the ability to change your item's price and
quantity, and to view ad clicks.

Sarah, a vintage clothing dealer on eBay for
seven years, says, "I have recently made a
handful of listings on netSpray to try it out,
and just had my first two completed sales
last week. Everything went smoothly and I do
like the ease of the site." For those sales,
Sarah used a widget in a Craigslist ad for
the item she wanted to sell, and the buyer
used the widget to purchase it instantly online.

"I haven't tried to sell any products as an
affiliate, but have been exploring the
possibility of starting a blog around
vintage/antiques and using netSpray widgets
for my own items and others in that," she said.

Enough other people are trying out netSpray
that the service is growing "at the rate we
expect," and the number of users is now in
the thousands, says Wolf. "Our metrics are
showing that the number of widgets is growing,
and more importantly, the views and click-thrus
are growing at an even faster rate," he said.

Wolf says the company is intentionally managing
expectations, and wants to build out the site
based upon how online merchants can benefit most.
"Folks need a way of leveling the playing field
these days,...that is, access to tools that
traditionally were only available to large
organizations for many dollars."

More Features on the Way
Looking forward, an ad importer is on the
horizon for netSpray sellers, which users
requested. "One of the things that is core
to our business is listening to our users,"
said Wolf. There will also be a netSpray
University. "This is the educational arm of
our business - training people how to use our
applications and services, passing along best
practices. One of the most exciting features
will be our faculty: like universities, we
have a program to attract the latest thought
leaders and host their education components
on our site for our users to benefit from,"
he said.

Meantime, it's likely that netSpray's use
will grow organically with social networking.
While nothing is set in stone in the Internet
world, netSpray's model allows users to, in
essence, take a virtual briefcase of their
products with them wherever they are
hanging out.

"What we know is that social media is growing
and so is the number of sites," says Wolf.
"People are spending more time at these sites
searching for products and services than any
other place on the Web. NetSpray's
patent-pending application has the ability
to go wherever the new sites pop-up…wherever
clients aggregate. We can stay ahead of the
curve for all online sellers. Few social ad
marketers can say that."

A Guide to eBay's Spring 2009 Changes

By Ina Steiner

eBay made some major announcements on Tuesday,
April 14. The marketplace will expand the
rollout its new Item page, launch a new
dispute resolution process, introduce new
features for sellers including a Smart FAQ
and Multi-variation Fixed Price listings,
and more. We've listed some items that might
have slipped your notice and created a list
of helpful links to learn more about
these changes.

Important things to know about
eBay's forthcoming changes:

Sellers will have the option to
cross-merchandise on other each others'
relevant item pages. ("You can choose
not to have cross-merchandising on your
item pages, but your relevant items won't
appear on other sellers' items pages.")

eBay will introduce Multi-variation Fixed
Price listings in certain Clothing, Shoes,
& Accessories and Home & Garden categories,
which allows sellers to include multiple
variations of one product (such as color
and size) in one multi-quantity Fixed Price
listing. Note that each variation has its
own Best Match score.

eBay is introducing a new dispute resolution
process for when buyers claim their item was
not received or the item they received was
not as described in the listing

Sellers are advised to upload package-tracking
information for UPS and USPS shipments.
Starting June 15, this information will be
highlighted for buyers in My eBay. (And eBay
will factor this information in the new dispute
resolution process.)

Sellers may pay for shipping and print labels
on eBay. ("We're gradually moving online shipping
services from PayPal to eBay to make it faster
and easier to pay for shipping and print labels.")

eBay is moving Estimated delivery and handling
time to the top of the new Item listing page and
is removing High Bidder, Seller Location and
Member Since from the Item listing page.

eBay is using iFrames in the new Item page.
("Separating user-generated content, such as
item descriptions, from eBay content enables
eBay to provide an extra layer of security.
The separation will prevent users from
submitting HTML that may interfere with
how eBay works.")

Sellers can turn on "Smart FAQs" by going
to My eBay > My Account > Seller Preferences > FAQ.
("This is a new free feature that draws on live
information from your listings to answer the top
20 buyer questions before buyers reach you through
the "Ask a question" or "Contact seller" links.")

eBay Alternatives: eBid, OnlineAuction & Overstock Auctions

By Edward Tomchin

There is a tremendous hunger for information
about online auction sites beyond the industry
giant eBay. Sellers want to know which is the
best venue in terms of being easy to use,
inexpensive, and most importantly, drive
shoppers to listings. But there is no one
clear winner that is best for all sellers or
categories of merchandise. What follows
is an evaluation of three auction sites written
from the perspective of an online seller.

eBid currently has around 2.0 million active
auctions across 9,080 categories in 18 different
nations including the U.S. and accepts PayPal,
pppay.com and Google Checkout for payment.

eBid's pages tend to be a bit cluttered and it
can be confusing and time-consuming finding a
feature, link or information until you're more
familiar with the site.

eBid offers a number of different accounts.
Just for signing up you get a Lifetime Buyer
Account where you can place bids, purchase
Buy Now items and list items you want. The
cheapest seller account is a free Single
Auction Seller Account that allows you to
buy and list one auction at a time with no
listing fees and allows you access to
PPPay.com for checkout for your buyers.
This account requires a credit card
authorization verification.

Standard Auctions have no listing fee, a
3% final value fee and severe feature
restrictions. Platinum Auctions have a
5-cent listing fee and 3% Final Value
fee but includes all the features eBid
offers including BuyNow Price, Fixed
Price, Run Until Sold, Video, Auto Extend,
Custom Start Date, Custom End Date,
Gallery Picture in Search Results,
Cross Promotions and Integrated Checkouts.
Many of these features can also be purchased
for a small fee in other types of auctions.

For auction descriptions, eBid offers a
simple and an advanced WYSIWYG editor.
HTML is allowed as well as hosting your
own photos.

Feedback can be left, replied to and
edited by both parties.

OnlineAuction.com (OLA)
OLA offers items for sale across a
plethora of categories.

OLA is not the easiest site to get around.
For instance, I could find nothing on
searching closed auctions until I queried
customer support twice. The first time I
got no response, and the second time
I got an immediate response and replies.

The closed item link was neatly tucked
in the left hand column as "What's Sold."

Unfortunately the sold listings do not
include the unsold auctions, so there is
no way to determine a sell-through rate
for them. Instead, I tried to determine
how much bidding activity there was on
active listings, keeping in mind it was
not an apples-to-apples comparison to STR.

Verified Sellers are charged $8 a month
and are entitled to bid without limitations,
communicate between Buyers & Sellers via a
private O-Mail account, use Chat Rooms,
and view/post feedback. Verified Sellers
are also allowed to list and sell unlimited
amount of items with no listing or final
value fees. Verified Sellers are security
checked through a monthly credit card
validation process.

OLA also offers a Charter Membership for
$96/year or a Founding Membership for $196
for the First Year and $96 per
year thereafter.

Off-site hosting of photos is possible but
you cannot use your own HTML code. You must
use OLA's rather bland auction format.

Overstock Auctions
The upside of Overstock Auctions is its
simplicity and ease-of-use for both buyers
and sellers.

Overstock Auctions offers more than 100
major categories and features such as
Subtitles, Make It Mine (similar to a
Buy It Now), and 10-day auctions are free.

Insertion fees range from 10 cents (for
opening prices of 99 cents or less) to
$3.15 (for opening prices of $500 and
above). Closing Fees are broken down
according to the selling price of a
successful auction. Items selling for
up to $25.00 have a 3% closing fee.
Items selling from $25.01 to $1,000 charge
3% of the initial $25.00 ($0.75), plus
2% of the remaining closing price balance
up to $1,000.00.

HTML descriptions are allowed in the auction
descriptions but there is a maximum limit
of 100,000 characters which I think works
to save buyers from page after page of some
overly cautious seller's endless disclaimers.
Only basic HTML is allowed.

Uploading photos is easy and Overstock
supports jpg, gif, png and bmp formats
up to a maximum of 10 Mb in size for
each photo which seems like a waste
of bandwidth.

Overstock.com Auctions' payment options
include Google Checkout, PayPal, credit
cards, personal checks, C.O.D. money
order or cashier's checks. Overstock
also allows buyers to pay via credit
card through O-Auctions Checkout,
designed to make closing and collecting
on an auction very simple and convenient
for both sellers and buyers.

The downside of Overstock Auctions is
that you are competing with Overstock.com,
which lists its own merchandise.

Overstock also offers one-day auctions
for sellers with hot items - the popular
kind not the stolen kind - and there are
a small number of forums for members to
discuss issues and receive updates
from Overstock.

New Law Taxing for PayPal & eBay Sellers

By Ina Steiner

Online merchants face many challenges
running their business, and taxes and
cash flow are top concerns. A new law
will require payment card processors
and third-party settlement organizations
to report eBay sellers' and online
merchants' transactions to the IRS
beginning in 2011.

Sellers have had many questions about
the new law and have also wondered
about certain PayPal practices around
credit checks and holding payments.
We checked in with PayPal and with
an attorney in the payments field
to learn more about these issues.

Reporting Payment Transactions to the IRS
The United States Congress passed the Housing
and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 last summer.
Included was a provision that requires payment
processors and third-party settlement
organizations to report gross transactions
of payees to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).

At the time, PayPal said the new law would
require it to report to the IRS the total
payment volume received by PayPal customers
in the U.S. who receive more than $20,000
in payment volume in a single year and receive
more than 200 payments in a single year.
The new reporting requirement takes effect
in 2011.

Michael Oldenburg said there was
nothing new to report on the new legislation.

Zahara Alarakhia, an attorney who works
with financial services firms said,
"who's going to enforce it, what kind of
compliance issues are payment processors
going to face - no one really knows."

Zahara confirmed that the law applies to
merchants who make over $20,000 in gross
transactions and more than 200 transactions.
So, for example, an online seller who makes
two transactions for a total of $30,000 in
the tax year would not be reported, since
the number of transactions did not exceed
200. She said the law is not retroactive
and takes effect for tax-year 2011.

Zahara said it's going to take a lot of
upgrading on the technology end for
settlement agencies to comply with the
reporting requirements, and it also raises
privacy and regulatory issues. The IRS
does not really understand the merchant
acquiring business, she said, and what
Congress has required under the law
raises substantial issues in the
marketplace, such as security issues
regarding keeping track of social
security and tax identification numbers
that might conflict with other laws.
"The process would have to tie all of
the transactions of the merchant to the
tax identification number and store
those on their systems, which would
increase potential hacking issues
and privacy issues."

PayPal Credit Checks and
eBay's 21-Day Hold Policy

PayPal may hold a seller's funds as
part of eBay's 21-day hold policy -
usually affecting fewer than 5% of
transactions, according to PayPal
Director Monroe Labouisse. In an
interview with eBay blogger Richard
Brewer-Hay last week, Monroe said,
"In a very small percentage of cases,
eBay asks PayPal to hold a payment in a
seller's PayPal account for up to
21 days.

eBay asks PayPal to do this for a
buyer's protection when eBay believes
the transaction is significantly
more likely than the average transaction
to be fraudulent or to wind up in a
dispute between the buyer and the seller.
For example, a relatively new eBay seller
who is selling an expensive electronics
item may be flagged for an eBay item hold."

Monroe said eBay item holds are part of
eBay's overall efforts to bring more
buyers back to eBay, which ultimately
will drive more sales for sellers.

PayPal also conducts credit checks on
sellers in certain cases to manage any
possible risk of loss from a seller's
transactions. The review might result in
PayPal imposing a rolling reserve. "If the
seller's credit score is not as high as
we'd like (and the score we look for depends
on the industry the seller operates in),
or if we determine there are other factors
that may increase the risk of claims or
chargebacks, we will ask for the seller to
deposit a reserve in their account," Monroe
said in the blog interview.
"The reserve will be a certain % of the
seller's past volume over a certain period
of time." These rolling reserves differ
from the 21-day holds.

PayPal spokesperson Michael Oldenburg said,
"In most instances, credit inquires are for
authentication purposes only and will not
impact customers' credit scores. In those
instances where there is an increased level
of risk (for example, high processing
volumes similar to a traditional merchant
or business account), then we may do more
in-depth credit inquiries that could
potentially impact the customer's
credit score."

Oldenburg also said that PayPal does not
restrict accounts as a result of credit
checks. "As you may know, accounts are
generally restricted when we suspect
fraudulent activity. We do this to protect
both buyers and sellers against fraud."

We asked attorney Zahara Alarakhia about
PayPal's practice of running credit checks
and its 21-day hold policy. "As long as
it's in PayPal's terms and conditions, can
they do it? Yes." It's not uncommon for a
payment processor to require a background
check on the merchant business and its
principals, she said. Banks typically put
holds on checks in certain circumstances -
though not as long as 21 days, Zahara said.

"Right now, PayPal has been fortunate
enough to escape all kinds of regulation.
They're not under the purview of a bank,
so they can escape banking regulations"
and KYC (Know Your Customer) standards.
She believes PayPal is trying to enforce
these laws to curb possible regulation
that might be coming down the line that
fight money-laundering and
anti-terrorism activities.

"This new legislation (Housing and Economic
Recovery Act of 2008) is the first time
that PayPal will actually be hit with
legislation - any sort of legislation."
She said that while nothing is on the radar
screen, she thinks eventually there will be
some regulation regarding third-party
settlement organizations.

The law does not differentiate between
online and offline merchants, according
to Zahara.


Subscribe by providing your email address to danny@dannycroft.com
and have the next issue of here and NOW sent to your Inbox
directly as a plain-text message as soon as it is published.


A New Beginning...

I hope you enjoyed the holidays as much
as I was able to. I'm really looking forward
to kicking things off in 2009.

In this first issue of the year I’d like to
provide you with a few important
selling-related updates and reminders
you should be aware of as you prepare
your listings for the new year.

eBay has instituted some new policies
that older sellers will need to be aware
of and make changes accordingly.
This includes what types of payments
you can say you may or may not accept!

If the economy has you down with the
rest of the world, I've included some
great information with some new ideas to get
you going on making a few extra bucks in
these hard times.

Thank you for your support.

Here’s to a successful 2009!
Coach Danny


- Record Keystrokes With Autohotkey
- Ways to Make Extra Money
- Free Local Classified Ads on Kijiji
- eBay Policy & Listing Updates
- Paperless Payments on eBay
- Seller Central Discussion Board

"We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves
off, and begin again the work of
remaking America."
-Barack Obama


This month's free tool is one that
allows you to record keystrokes and
mouse clicks and assign that to a hot key,
i.e. pressing a special key that leads to
the pressing of all the keys and all the
mouse clicks you were recording.

Function keys shouldn't be a problem
being used as hot keys, but there are
some function keys that can't be
"overwritten" on Windows, like the
F5-key and the combination of
ALT+F4 (that is closing the
current program).

Ways to Make Extra Money

by Kimberly Palmer
Yahoo! Buzz

With lay-offs and dropped benefits causing more workers to get nervous about the security of their next paycheck, some people are hustling up extra cash on the side. Through websites, handcrafted products, and other creative endeavors, anyone with a few spare hours a week can give their bank account a boost.

Here are seven ways to Generate Additional Dough:

Launch a brand.
When Kimberly Seals-Allers, former senior editor at Essence magazine, was expecting her first child, she discovered that black women face higher risks during childbirth and pregnancy. "I realized we were a special group, and I wanted to write a book about everything in black women's lives. Not just pregnancy, but money, men, and myths in our community? [I wanted] to create a new way forward."
Her first book, The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy, turned into a series (the next book, The Mocha Manual to Turning Your Passion Into Profit) as well as an online magazine, maternity line, and consultancy. Seals-Allers also licensed use of the Mocha Manual name to create an instructional DVD that's sold at a discount chain and supermarkets.
Seals-Allers, who started working on the Mocha Manual concept before leaving her full-time magazine job, says one of the hardest parts was giving up that regular paycheck. "I had a great job, but I wanted something more for my life," she says. One of the biggest misconceptions about going solo, she says, is that it provides more leisure time. "You will work harder than ever before, but it's more rewarding because it's for yourself," she says.

Start a blog.
Barbara Saylor, 37, started her blog, Capitol B, after working in communications to give herself another outlet for writing. "I always wanted to share things with my friends and the DC community," she says. She uses Wordpress.com, the free blogging site, so her costs are minimal, and she partners with local businesses and charities to give them publicity. While she's still in the beginning stages, she plans to eventually make money through those partnerships. While she doesn't want to run banner or pop-up ads on her site, companies may pay for the publicity of being listed as partners, for example.
The key, Saylor says, is to find a niche. "How are you going to do something that's different from the millions of blogs out there?"

Create a website.
Building up content and an audience are the two keys to making money from a website, says Paul McFedries, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creating a Website. Then, there are three ways to make money off of it: First, by running advertisements through a program such as Google AdSense, which matches up ads with the content on your site. A website about dogs, for example, might feature ads for shelters and dog food. Second, through affiliate programs such as Amazon.com, which share book sale profits with websites that refer customers. Third, by selling products related to the website, such as a T-shirt designs or arts and crafts. By using third-party sites including Amazon Marketplace or Etsy.com, you don't even have to run the e-commerce side of things yourself.

Write for another website.
Maria O'Brien, 27, earns about $1,500 a month by writing articles for eHow.com, a site that posts contributions and then shares revenues from online ads with the writers. O'Brien, who writes about personal finance, nutrition, and careers, says, "If you can string together coherent sentences, you can write for eHow." Building up enough traffic to earn as much as O'Brien can take time; some newcomers earn just a few dollars a month when they start out.

Candace Crockett, a 24-year-old stay at home mom in Seattle, started writing about parenting, health, beauty, and other topics for eHow.com after her daughter was born. She made $4 the first month and is learning how to earn more by writing articles that are more easily found through search engines. This month, she's made over $200, which covers her student loan and credit card payments. She estimates she spends about an hour a day working on the articles.
For O'Brien, who has been supporting her family more as her husband's construction business has suffered with the economy, it's been what she calls "a blessing for our family."

Design t-shirts.
Companies such as CafePress.com allow people to design and sell their T-shirts for a cut of the profits. According to the company's website, some users earn over $100,000 a year. But it's not always easy: Jen Goode, who earns enough through CafePress to pay her mortgage each month, found success after a year and a half of long, sometimes 16-hour days. Her time is spent creating designs and then uploading them. She has uploaded about 2,500 designs, many of which are cartoon oriented, including the popular penguin-series. For her, she says, the secret has been to make many different images that are steady sellers, as opposed to creating one or two megahits. Now, she says she doesn't need to put as much time into her shop because she has such a large inventory of designs.

Make films.
Glenn Pieper, 45, teamed up with DemandStudios.com (owned by Demand Media, along with eHow.com), to produce Spanish language videos. He earns $3,000 to $4,000 a month working around 40 hours a week. He says he didn't have a film background, but learned by practicing. "It's always a different subject, and I enjoy the freedom and creativity," he says. Plus, Piper adds, "There are no deadlines, no stress, and the pressure just comes from myself. You can't get laid off."

Sell other people's products.
Make-up companies such as Avon and Mary Kay are always looking for new sales representatives, as are other companies such as kitchen products seller Pampered Chef. "If you don't have to make a big investment to get into it, it's probably not a bad idea," says Marcia Brixey, author of The Money Therapist. But she warns people to stay away from businesses that require sellers to make significant up-front purchases that they might not be able to unload.


Found this link to a new site on eBay Pulse,
a daily snapshot of current trends, hot picks,
and cool stuff on eBay.

It's Kijiji, a free local classified ad website.
You can use Kijiji to buy and sell new
and used goods, look for cars and pets,
find local real estate, and more. Just click
on your local area to begin searching
and posting.

eBay Feedback Removal Policy, Payment Methods & Listing Updates

Update to Feedback Removal Policy
– Customs Fees

Many cross-border sellers have asked
for help when they receive a negative/
neutral Feedback rating because they
wouldn’t mark an item as “gift” in
order to sidestep customs fees. eBay
will now remove Feedback if a) the
listing meets the Customs
Requirements below and b) the seller
receives a negative or neutral Feedback
comment which references customs
delays or customs fees.

The following text, or very similar
wording, must be included in the
listing and be:

* In the format below
* In a font size no smaller
than the majority of the
other text in the description
* Prominently displayed (in the
upper half of the description,
free-standing, etc.)

“International Buyers –
Please Note:
* Import duties, taxes and charges
are not included in the item price
or shipping charges. These charges
are the buyer’s responsibility.
* Please check with your country’s
customs office to determine what
these additional costs will be
prior to bidding/buying.”

In addition, sellers may wish to
include additional helpful statements
for their buyers, such as:

* “These charges are normally
collected by the delivering
freight (shipping) company or
when you pick the item up –
do not confuse them for
additional shipping charges.”
* “We do not mark merchandise values
below value or mark items as
‘gifts’ - US and International
government regulations prohibit
such behavior.”

To learn more, please read
eBay’s Feedback Removal Policy.

New Approved Payment Methods
-- Moneybookers and Paymate

In February, eBay will be adding two
new electronic payment methods to
the permitted payments list in the
Accepted Payments Policy:
Moneybookers and Paymate.

These are established payment
methods that increase the safe
choices available to our buyers
and sellers, which currently
include PayPal, credit and debit
card payment to a seller’s merchant
account, Propay or Pay on Pick-up.

To learn more about these new
payment methods, visit
and www.paymate.com/eBay.

Please note, Propay also plans to
open up its payment service to all
levels of Powersellers starting
January 22.
For more information about Propay,
go to www.Propay.com/eBay

Better integration for Internet
Merchant Accounts

For sellers who currently accept
payments to an Internet merchant
account, we‘re improving the
checkout experience to make
payments more convenient and
secure for you and your buyers.
Buyers will be able to pay sellers
directly to their Internet merchant
account by entering their credit
card information in eBay’s secure
checkout instead of sending information
via phone or email. You will need
to sign up for a Payflow Gateway
account in March to connect your
Internet merchant account to eBay.
This service will be available to
sellers with an Internet merchant
account at no additional cost.
For more details on these changes
and how to take advantage of this
new service, please read our
Frequently Asked Questions.

Seller Checklist
– Listing update reminders

Review Seller Checklist at
www.ebay.com/checklists for
details on these important updates
you’ll want to make to your listings:

1) Book, Music, DVDs & Movies and
Video Game listings with shipping
charges over the maximums in the
item descriptions should now
be removed.

2) References to checks and/or money
orders, or any other payment method
not permitted on eBay.com, should
be removed from item descriptions.

3) If you are shipping globally, add
customs “disclaimer” text to your
description to protect your Feedback.

4) A return policy and handling time
must be specified in your listings
by mid-March.

Selling with Paperless Payments on eBay

As of October 20, 2008, sellers will need
to offer credit card payments through
an internet merchant account, PayPal,
or ProPay, all of which will be
integrated into checkout in
early 2009.

As of October 20th, 2008 checks and
money orders are no longer allowed
on eBay. Learn the details of the actual
policy. Electronic payment methods
such as a credit card, PayPal, or
pre-paid cards are deemed acceptable.

Accepted Payments Policy

To make sure buyers on eBay are
offered safe, convenient online payment
options is one reason why sellers’ listings
can offer buyers only the payment
methods allowed on eBay.

Payment methods allowed on eBay:

Sellers must offer to accept one or
more of the following payment choices:

* PayPal
* Credit or debit card processed
through an Internet
merchant account
* ProPay

Payment methods not allowed on eBay:

Sellers can't ask buyers to:
* Mail them cash
* Send cash or money orders
through instant cash transfer
services (non-bank, point-to-point
cash transfers) like
Western Union or MoneyGram
* Mail checks or money orders (except
for items in categories specifically
permitted above)
* Pay through bank-to-bank transfers
(except for items in categories
specifically permitted above)
* Pay by "topping off" of a seller's
prepaid credit or debit card
* Payment using online payment methods
not specifically permitted
in this policy
* Payment using payment methods
not listed in this policy

Being clear about what payment
methods are accepted:

Sellers must clearly state the payment
methods they accept, and can’t make
generalized statements or ask buyers
to contact them for additional payment
methods. Sellers can’t offer a payment
method to some buyers and not to
others, discourage buyers from using
a certain payment method, or ask
buyers to pay using a method not
mentioned in the Payment Details
section of the original listing.
This applies not only to listings,
but to all transaction-related
correspondence between a
seller and buyer.

Violations of this policy could
result in a range of
actions including:

* Listing cancellation
* Forfeit of eBay fees
on cancelled listings
* Limits on account privileges
* Loss of PowerSeller status
* Account suspension

More details about this policy can be found here.

eBay Seller Central Discussion Board

Learn all the latest selling tips, tools and
resources to maximize sales and build a
thriving eBay business.

Find others who share common
interests - join an eBay Group

Get fast answers to questions in
the Answer Center.

Here, you can find eBay Sellers
share their experiences, feedback and
their most effective, time tested
strategies for success!

Ever have trouble with an eBay buyer?
A recent posting from the eBay Seller
Central Discussion Board reads:

AK buyer with an attitute -

Ebay tells us sellers to resolve
problems with buyers. How the h...
do you resolve something like this:

I am looking forward to a negative feedback
from a woman out ofAlaska. She paid for
an item, I shipped it same day (Nov.3rd)
4 days later she asked where it was.
I said, look, you paid for parcel post, you
have togive it a few days.Since I did not
hear back from her, I checked the
tracking number a few days later, parcel
is still in WA.So I figured I would be nice,
and send her the following:

Dear xxx
Good morning, I just checked with the Post
office because I noticed that your moose
head still has not arrived. They were very
apologetic, but told me they could do
nothing, since it showed to be IN WA
somewhere. They suggested to call your
Post office, give them the tracking number
and have them check for it? Or maybe it's
sitting there at their Post office, and someone
forgot to deliver it. Believe me, I had THAT
happen before.Here are the info's again:
Tracking number:420 99518 9102...
shipping date Nov.3
Hope it will show up today!

So yesterday I received her answer:

I bought this item from you and paid
for it right away. It is not my
responsibility to track it down. I will
contact e-bay that I paid for this
item and never received it and will
leave that feedback.

I went into the USPS site and checked:
parcelpost to Alaska from the 48 states
takes between 3-6 weeks! The problem
is not the negative, but she will be sure
to give me one star on the star rating
all across. And I already know by all
your posts that there is not a darn
thing I can do about it.

Hexelmaedchen Replies:

Call your P.O. again and ask for a
supervisor. Tell him or her that
you have a package that hasn't been
scanned since the 9th and you want
to see if there are any other more
recent scans in their system (ones
that weren't uploaded).
My sister had this happen when a
buyer claimed non-receipt. Last scan
showed in the buyers city, she called
the P.O. and it HAD been delivered
days prior, but the info was never
uploaded. Funny enough once she
responded to the buyer with what the
P.O. had told her and that the information
on the USPS website had been updated
the buyer never emailed again.
(Not that this is what your buyer
has done)

I personally would email back with
"I'm sorry about the previous note,
I did not mean to imply you're responsible
for tracking the package down.
I went ahead and looked into it and have
been informed that it can take 3-6 weeks
for Parcel Post to AK (it's considered
"space available" mail, so if there's no
space on the truck it may sit in one
location for a little while longer). So
my worries regarding your package
were premature and hopefully
unfounded. I am also waiting to hear
back on if there are any internal
scans that aren't reflected yet on
the USPS website. This will let me
know if your package is in fact still in
WA or if it's again on it's way to you.
As soon as I get more information
I will let you know.
Thank you for your patience"

Instead of looking forward to a
negative with bad stars at least
try to salvage the situation.

Read more at the
eBay Seller Central Discussion Board