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.


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