It's already feeling like Winter is in the air with yellow leaves and colder nights.

The Winter edition of the here and NOW newsletter brings updates with some of eBay's selling and feedback procedures. Did you know that you can edit your photos online? Adobe has an update to their online Photoshop tools and there's more info on the ever important keywords.

Hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season!
Coach Danny


• Sales Pitches Customers Can't Resist
• Photoshop Express Online Photo Tool
• eBay Fixes One of the Biggest Holes in DSR System
• eBay Announces Sunset of Third-Party Checkout
• Do You Trust Google's Keyword Tool?
• Post FREE Local Ads
• Keyword Match Types

You are surrounded by simple, obvious solutions that can dramatically increase your income, power, influence and success. The problem is, you just don't see them.
-Jay Abraham

Sales Pitches Customers Can't Resist

by Kelli B. Grant

Here is an article I found that describes several different sales pitches that marketers use to entice customers to buy more. This article tells customers how to avoid these tactics, but perhaps you could pick up a few ideas to use in your marketing strategies.

The road to the mall may be paved with good intentions, but retailers know just how to get inside that part of your brain that yells, "Buy me!" And this holiday season, they're rolling out more tricky marketing strategies to encourage recession-scarred shoppers to spend.
"Shoppers are dealing with a whole new arsenal of tricks," says Kit Yarrow, a professor of psychology and marketing and Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

Merchants have always used marketing tricks and rotating sales to encourage consumers to open their wallets, but this year, they're pushing every psychological button they can, retail experts say. Competition for shoppers, plus a tepid holiday shopping outlook, means retailers are doing whatever they can to attract deal-hunting consumers' attention -- all in an effort to entice them into spending more than they'd planned. That means adding worry-inducing purchase limits to indicate scarcity, promising free gifts to shoppers who spend just a little more, and offering rewards today to redeem later
just so people will come back to the store.

These strategies work in part because they tap into hard-wired behaviors that go back to our days in caves. Long before we were confronted with half-off Merino turtlenecks or buy-one-get-one-free smartphones, we learned to stockpile in the event of shortage and to compete for scarce resources, psychologists and neuroscientists say. The stakes are considerably lower when you shop, but studies have shown our brains react similarly nonetheless. The effectiveness -- and proliferation -- of these mind games are a big part of the reason you're apt to look back and wonder why you thought that buying three itchy sweaters for $50 or a $200 no-name television was such a good idea.

Get to know these seven hidden triggers, and next time you go shopping you can look at retailers' pitches with a more critical eye -- and maybe avoid blowing your budget:

"Shop Today and Save 50% Next Week."

Aimed at: Your best intentions.

Why you fall for it: The promise of bigger savings in the future appeals to people who think they can game the system, says Lars Perner, an assistant professor of clinical marketing at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business. You figure on buying just one or two things now, then returning to pick up a few more. But volume-driven retailers are using the now-and-later tactic this year to steer consumers back to stores when they know they'll have new stock or other promotions that help you buy more than you planned.

It's similar to the "buy a little bit more and get a free gift" promotion, Perner says. Borders (NYSE: BGP - News), for example, offers a $20 bonus to anyone who buys $100 in gift cards -- with the caveat that it can be used only during its post-holiday clearance Dec. 26-31. Similarly, through Nov. 15, Kohl's (NYSE: KSS - News) is offering customers $10 in store credit for every $50 spent, to be redeemed Nov. 16-24, just before Black Friday. "They're good at doing these combo deals," says Paul Swinand, an equity analyst covering department stores for Morningstar. Such promotions are effective at driving traffic and store loyalty, he says.

"Limit Five Per Person."

Aimed at: Your competitive spirit.

Why you fall for it: Limits trigger a feeling that the deal is so great that, if not for that limit-four-per-customer rule, shoppers would be filling their carts to the brim, leaving none for you, says L.J. Shrum, the president of the Society for Consumer Psychology and the marketing department chair at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Setting a limit increases the likelihood you'll buy at least one, and it's even more effective if you were already planning to buy one of the item.

Higher numbers in promotions have the same effect, according to a 2007 study in the Journal of Retailing. Changing the structure of a sale from "Buy two" to "Buy eight" resulted in a 55% increase in sales -- regardless of the price of each option, says study co-author Kenneth C. Manning, chair of the marketing department Colorado State
University. This year, limits are showing up on anything a store wants to get rid of. You'll even see limits on items that might seem absurd to purchase in multiples, Shrum says. In its early Black Friday sale, Best Buy (NYSE: BBY - News) limited sale items -- including $120 Blu-ray players and $280 laptops -- to one per person. The two-day sale was too short to have a big impact on quarterly sales, but likely piqued shoppers' interest, says Michael Pachter, an analyst for equity research firm Wedbush.

"Our Big Sale Ends Tomorrow/Today/in a Few Hours."

Aimed at: Your survival instincts.

Why you fall for it: Fear, pure and simple. This tactic appeals to a basic instinct to grab what's available or be left without, says Noah Goldstein, an assistant professor of human resources and organizational behavior at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. Think of the crowds stocking up on bottled water and canned goods before a major storm comes through.
In those frenzied hours, it's a matter of survival.

Retailer e-newsletters have made it easy to extend that tactic online, and many retailers send multiple emails to shoppers as the end of a sale nears. And they often respond. On the last day of Old Navy's 25% off sale, the company sent consumers an email saying, "Last chance; Hurry before the discounts drop!" That day, the number of people visiting OldNavy.com increased 8.32%, and those visitors spent 6.42% more time there, according to Compete.com. It's hard to know how much
one impacted the other, says Aaron Smolick, the senior director of marketing for Compete.com, "but something happened."

"Get 23% Off."

Aimed at: Your love of a bargain.

Why you fall for it: Real estate brokers have long known that uneven pricing (say, $524,755 versus $525,000) catches buyers' attention, because those odd numbers suggest a bargain that has already been marked down -- whether that's actually the case or not. This year, retailers have picked up on that tactic this year as a way to separate their sales from the sea of 20% off offers, Yarrow says. Amazon.com
(Nasdaq: AMZN - News) recently advertised discounts of "up to 61%" on its bulk groceries, for example, while Designer Living and Art.com hosted 21% and 22% off sales. Although price-comparing consumers are unlikely to buy if the deal isn't the best out there, just looking opens up the door to impulse buys on other sale items.

"We Have a Great Deal on the Accessories For That, Too."

Aimed at: Your long-term investor.

Why you fall for it: Once the consumer has already made a decision to buy and to pay, it's easier to convince them to add related -- but maybe unnecessary -- items to their purchase, Shrum says. That's because in your mind, you already own the product, making you more vulnerable to pitches for things that promise to make the purchase more useful or less vulnerable. A 2009 Carnegie Mellon study found that consumers were more likely to buy warranties on purchases if they thought doing so would extend the life of their gadget or preserve its value. And shoppers who felt they were being offered an un-advertised deal were 42% more likely to buy. This is particularly common with products that would be expensive to replace, like smartphones or tablet computers. Compared to the $599 price of a replacement iPhone,
the $99, two-year protection plan from SquareTrade looks downright cheap. And in fact from 2008 to 2009, 5% more consumers purchased a warranty for their computer, according to the Service Contract Industry Council, a trade group.

"Save $250! (New Price: $500.)"

Aimed at: Your price-sensitive side.

Why you fall for it: Touting big savings or using a gigantic font in an ad puts the deal at the center and makes the actual price an afterthought. What's more, your brain often perceives the actual price as more reasonable because of that big price drop, says Perner.

Stores have used this tactic more during the recession to sell higher-priced items, hoping that you'll take a closer look at the washer that has the splashy discount, even if it is more expensive than other models, he says. This trick works, experts say. As one small bit of evidence, they point to the rise in retail sales of
electronics and appliances -- up 5.7% in September compared with last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

"Get a Free Gift With Your $50 Purchase."

Aimed at: Your inner child (who wants a present, too).

Why you fall for it: You were already planning to buy one sweater, but you're one additional belt purchase away from getting to get a free scarf. At the store, you don't think about the $20 price tag or about how rarely you actually wear a scarf. Instead, your mind sees the free gift as an additional reason to buy the primary product in the first place. (A 2009 study from researchers at New York University and
California State University found that promotions were more effective if they highlighted the product to be purchased, rather than the gift.)

It's the retail equivalent of finding money on the ground. And shoppers equate added value with a discount -- even if they're spending extra money to get a freebie they wouldn't have otherwise purchased and might not even use, says Yarrow. That mindset is why stores have brought back the gift-with-purchase this year, as an alternative to big discounts. What's more, this sort of psychological trick makes you feel less guilty about buying -- or getting for free -- a little something for yourself. "It helps you justify the purchase," she says.


by Josh Lowensohn

Adobe Systems pushed out updates to both its Photoshop Express online photo tool and
photo-editing app for Android devices that bring some noteworthy improvements.

The biggest change, besides an increase in overall speed on the Web version of Photoshop Express, is that the site no longer requires users to register in order to
use it. Unregistered users can now upload their photo, make edits, then download it
without any administrative barriers. Adobe has also separated each tool into its own
unit, similar to what it does with the library and develop modules of its Photoshop
Lightroom software.

As part of the re-organization, Adobe has given its slideshow tool a dramatic facelift, with the inclusion of customizable themes. By default, users get only one, called "midnight," which is a simple one-color background for your photos to sit atop.

Other tweaks to the site include a more thorough look at a photo's EXIF metadata, a
way to post your photos to Facebook and Twitter, the inclusion of user ratings and
comments that users can see within the photo organizer, and a simpler way to find the
company's tutorials.

Adobe continues to compete with a handful of other online photo editors, including Picnik, which was acquired by Google earlier this year, Fotoflexer, and Aviary. Behind the scenes, all of these sites make use of Adobe's Flash technology.


eBay Fixes Biggest Holes in DSR System

When eBay launched the DSR system, we were always concerned with the fact that sellers that offer free shipping generally received 4.8 on the shipping and handling cost DSR. It proved that the system sets up unrealistic expectations with consumers.

Last August, eBay somewhat quietly (no AB post, just a tweet+post from their blogger?) rolled out a significant improvement to the system.

If a seller offers free shipping, and the buyer chooses that option, then the seller automatically gets a 5 star on the shipping and handling cost DSR.

eBay Terminates Third-Party Checkout

ChannelAdvisor Provides Next Steps and Advice for Customers Using Third-Party Checkout

In response to eBay’s announcement that it will terminate third-party checkout next year, ChannelAdvisor, a solution provider that enables online retailers to improve efficiency and increase revenue, announced steps to guide its customers through the transition in advance of the official termination on June 30, 2011.

“A consistent, familiar checkout experience benefits eBay sellers and buyers alike, so over the coming months we will transition to a single eBay Checkout process on the site,” said Dinesh Lathi, vice president of Buyer and Seller Experience at eBay. “Service providers like ChannelAdvisor offer invaluable solutions beyond checkout to help retailers take full advantage of the eBay marketplace, and we will continue to collaborate closely with ChannelAdvisor to support these contributions to eBay sellers’ success.”

eBay is still refining its checkout and has not yet released the full-featured version.

Trust Google's Keyword Tool?

from SEroundtable.com

Google provides a very popular Keyword Suggestion Tool that many SEMs rely on.
But, a HighRankings Forum thread questions how trustworthy the tool is.

Many SEMs use the tool because it is convenient and Google provides the estimated search volumes. At the same time, many SEMs know how to take Google's estimates and apply them to their campaigns. Experience and campaign history helps SEMs learn this trade.

In fact, did you know that the keyword tool allows you to adjust the type of query based on match type? After you run the tool, you can then click on a drop down menu to select the match type, broad, phrase, exact or negative match.

Research Results

I believe you get "better" numbers when logged in to Adwords and use exact match.
As we know that these are not actual numbers but more of a index against the set of keywords being researched. I tend to go with Global versus Local as well.

One of the big issues, is that if you run the report for a word that is not on an
advertiser list yet, so there is no competition for that word, it gives you a totally wrong amount of queries you can get per day.

Like any keyword tool, the Google Keyword Tool needs to be taken with a grain of salt. There are always going to be irrelevant queries, and for that reason I would never simply add them without taking the time to scrub them and identify other expansions. However, the tool is generally valuable for identifying head terms and modifiers.

No keyword tool is perfect.

All of you are not believing on the tool provided by Google because it's free. If Google were charging you for their tools like: KeywordExternalTool, Google Trends, Google Insights, SKTool (Search Based Keyword Tool) etc... you would appreciate them.

Second, the tools provided by Google are not for Publishers but are for Advertisers.
So if you want to use these tools for your keyword research, you will have to learn
the whole process of Keyword and Market researching.

Tell me one thing. who knows you better than you? YOU youself, have you any doubt
on this fact? Who knows exactly which keywords have been searched mostly on GOOGLE?
It knows only Google exactly.

You believe on WordTracker which is depending on DogPile and MetaCrawler that cover
only 2% market of the US and UK. What about for the other 98% market and rest of the
countries of the world?

You believe on the data of KeywordDiscovery, and on what it depends? Near about on
200 small search engines.

All keyword tools capture their data from Google, Yahoo and MSN and after normalizing that data, they serve you and you believe on them because they charge you while Google, Yahoo and MSN are not charging you a penny, you can't believe on their results.

Profitable Market and Profitable Keyword Research is a Step by Step long process.
You can't make decision in 10 minutes about which keyword is good and which is not.

Second thing is, which keyword is looking best, have you ever checked the Complexity
Factor of the keyword, Search Volume and Actual Competition count of the keyword?

If you don't know properly about all these 3 most important factors, you can never
capture right market and right keyword.

Don't blame on the Tools given by Google. All the tools are giving their best results offered by Google. The problem is not in the Data given by Google. The problem is we don't know how to use the data properly and efficiently and how to make right decisions on the basis of this data.

Be Positive.

No other site or company gives you results and tools like Google, Yahoo and MSN for free. These are the biggest Search Engines at the current time. Why would they give you wrong results which can hurt their reputation?

The problem is not in Data given by the tools, the problem is in our Researching Process. If an external tool is saying 3000 searches per month for any keyword it means 100 searches per day and each SERP has a minimum of 15 links: 10 for Organic and 5 for Sponsored.

Top 3 results captures 60% clicks. It means only the top 3 results are getting 60 clicks and the rest of the 10 to 12 links get 40 clicks. If you are getting 5th position for any keyword and you think that you will get 100 clicks per day, it's a problem of your mind because you are going to get clicks from rest of the 40 clicks and 10 other sites that are in your competition.

The summary is that if any keyword is getting 3000 clicks per month and you are
not in the top 3 on SERP, you are not going to get more than 2 to 5 clicks per day.

Yes, I trust Google's Keyword Tool. In fact, I think it's so great, it can be used to determine ideas for successful domain names. I wrote an entire blog about how this tool helps you accomplish this:

Google's Keyword Tool

New Way To Post FREE Local Ads

It's easy to place a new ad--or import a listing from eBay.com.

It's powerful--reach buyers in your area for FREE.

Got something to sell locally?
List on eBay Classifieds.

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Keyword Match Types

From ChannelAdvisor

Keyword Match Types are commands that advertisers can use to control the range of distribution that a Provider can deliver the ads to. Match type options vary by Provider.


• Broad Match will deliver an ad if the user query includes all of the words in the keyword. It can be in any order or combination

Command: Entered manually as keyword

• Phrase Match will deliver an ad if the user query includes the search terms in the specific order. For example, "tennis shoes" would show up for a user typing in 'red tennis shoes' but not 'shoes for tennis.'

Command: Entered manually as "keyword"

• Exact Match will deliver an ad if the user query includes the search terms in the specified order and without any additional terms

Command: Entered manually as [keyword]

• Negative Match will not deliver your ad if the specific keyword is in the user query

Command: Entered manually as -keyword


• Standard Match will display your ads for exact matches to your keywords. This includes singular and plural variations and common misspellings.

• Advanced Match will deliver your ads to relevant searches that include your keyword within the search query.

• Excluded Match will not deliver your ad if the specific keyword is in the query (see Negative Match). This match type does not work on Standard Match keywords.


Our Full Service Search Team utilizes the following Match Type Strategy for Managed Clients:

1. 1 Word Keywords on Exact Match. Since the query-matching probabilities are virtually endless for a keyword with one word, we recommend starting with Exact Match before opening the keyword up to all queries.
2. 2 Word Keywords on Phrase Match. 2 word keywords provide the Search Engines with a little more information on the type of query you are targeting, which will in turn improve the accuracy of the queries they are matched to. However we recommend putting these terms on Phrase Match since there is still a fairly large opportunity for poor mappings.
3. 3 or more Word Keywords on Broad Match. We recommend putting keywords with 3 or more words on Broad Match. Having three or more words will really trim down the possibility of poor matchings and tend to give the Search Engine mapping algorithms with enough information to connect the keyword to relevant queries.


Greetings Readers-

Hope your summer is sizzling! I've gathered lots of information and the latest updates with today's online marketplace.

We'll explore eBay's changes to looking at Feedback for buyers, what's going on with Bing and get an inside scoop on decoding eBay's marketplace priorities and lots more.

Happy Summer!
Coach Danny


• eBay Changes Feedback UI for Consumers
• Update on PriceGrabber & Yahoo Shopping Partnership
• Will Amazon Replace Bing Shopping?!
• The Future of Bing Cashback
• GMail Drive
• Decoding eBay's Marketplace Priorities
• Amazon vs. Google "Marketplace Wars"

"...you can do it yourself. That you have to believe in you because sometimes that's the only person that does believe in your success but you."
-Tim Blixseth

eBay Changes Feedback UI for Consumers

Now Has a 'Show me the Negs!' Feature...

On June 14th, eBay announced and then rolled out a tweak to feedback that allows users to filter the feedback and see just the positive/negative/neutrals instead of only being able to see the combined feedback as was the norm. We typically call this the eBay negative feedback filter and it has been a long time coming. I couldn't find any discussion about this, but this was raised as a feature by eBay in 2007/2008 if I recall and seller outrage made them rethink and punt on the feature at the time. It's always been an option in singapore and some buyers recommend going to the .sg site and loading a sellers feedback there.

In fact there are several online utilities that have been built to give buyers the same functionality such as:

Toolhaus - This one has been around forever and has a lot of usage (20k+/m) as it is the top result in google for 'filter ebay negative'.
feedbackselector - Allows you to also search the item text - e.g. show me all the negs for watch sales vs. 'all' sales.
abef - A better ebay filter - this one is a very popular greasemonkey script.

Here we are in 2010 and eBay slid the feature out yesterday with nary a whimper from sellers. Let's look at the feature from both a buyer and seller perspective and I'll offer a strategy for sellers at the end.

Buyer perspective/use case and a tour

From a buyer's perspective, I do like the feature as it a) saves me time from looking through page after page of feedback and b) let's me educate myself on the types of bad experiences I could face and c) see what the seller has to say about it (if anything).

Here's a tour and a use case wrapped in one.

Let's say I'm considering buying something from eBay's new FashionVault flash sale experience - which goes under the seller ID stylepremium. I look at their feedback and notice three things of concern:

• They have a 99% positive rate which is promising
• They are not a top rated seller (which means they are a Above Standard Seller, but not eTRS)
• There's a gnarly 4.4 star on shipping and handling (for 12 months, 4.0 for last 30 days - ouch! Wait, doesn't that violate the seller performance standards of a 4.6 minimum? I digress. )
• 30 day negatives are 14 and there's 43 over the course of 6 months so they are accelerating

Fashion vault1

Before the negative feedback filter functionality, I would have to look for the 15 negatives in a sea of 800 feedbacks At 25 / page that would be 32 pages of feedback with an average of a negative every other page.

Now with this change, I can click on the '43' in the feedback ratings panel and it automagically shows me just the 43 negatives for the last 6 months for this seller: (click to expand)

Fashion vault2

A quick scan of this feedback reveals a lot about that 4.4 star:

• Most comments talk about two weeks shipping time as a problem
• There is some incidence of the wrong product being shipped.
• Generally the seller is issuing refunds for people that have a terrible experience.

Now as a buyer I can decide if I am willing to risk great prices in exchange for a possible long wait time, but know that if I get the wrong product, I can probably expect a hassle-free refund.

That's a lot more information than a 4.4/5.0 rating on a star.

Seller perspective

From a seller's perspective, you need to be aware that there is now a huge spotlight that buyers can shine on your negative feedback. Even if you are a 99% positive, you need to remember that buyers can and will choose to just look at your negatives. Also as you can see, buyers say some really scary stuff in feedback like fraud, scam, took my money, etc. So you need to be aware that a) they can say pretty much whatever they want and b) buyers can now see all of that on one filtered page without all those positives to help pull the punches.

eBay Strategy - Be sure to respond to all negative/neutral feedback!

This brings us to a strategy that was a minor thing we generally recommend, but has now gone from a 'if you have time to think about it' to a 'you need to make this a top priority part of your customer service processes'.

Some sellers don't realize that eBay allows you as a seller to publicly respond - right in the feedback page there - to feedback. I strongly, STRONGLY, recommend sellers start doing this now that this filtering is in place. Compare the stylepremium feedback where you only have the negative customer voice to this camera seller's (ETRS, 99.6%, 4.9, 4.7, 4.8, 4.9) feedback where they have responded to every negative:

Feedback feedback

You can see that a feedback reply takes a negative like: "Did not include the bag as advertised" and adds the seller's comment of: "Please call us and allow us to reconcile..." and more than softens the problem, it makes you wonder why eBay doesn't make buyers talk to sellers before leaving a negative (but I digress) - in any case it really helps with the perception and when you see it all on a page, you can tell this seller cares as they respond to every (well, all 3) negative.

In conclusion, this feature is going to shine a bright light on all of your negatives - you should take some time and gussy them up so they make it clear to buyers that you care and are going to attend to their problems as quickly as possible.

Will Amazon Replace Bing Shopping?!

From ChannelAdvisor

We take a deep dive...

The e-commerce world is a-buzz with the report from Jay Yarow at Forbes that he has heard that Bing and Amazon are in talks.

The report indicates that Amazon is pitching Bing on Amazon replacing Bing shopping (and cashback) instead of Bing doubling down and recreating the space post cashback's demise.

Let's look at this from both company's points of view to help handicap if a deal can be done, but first a brief background refresher.


Microsoft started getting serious in the CSE space in 2007 with the acquisition of Jellyfish, followed up by the acquisition of Ciao. In 2008, they combined them with the old MSN shopping to form Live Shopping w/ cashback and re-branded when they launched Bing as Bing Shopping. The general ideas was to compete with Google by having a better product search experience - a two-pronged approach: 1) eat away at various google verticals such as travel, ecommerce, health, etc. and 2) grab share whenever possible (Yahoo deal).

According to Comscore, Bing is 7th largest CSE by traffic. At ChannelAdvisor they are the 7th by 'GMV', but growing rapidly and on track to be top-five in a couple of months (the cashback cancellation could change all that though). So in short, Microsoft has made some major progress in a 2-3 year timeframe.

CSE Audience

As part of the Yahoo! deal, all data and mock-ups we have ever seen indicates that shopping is not part of the deal (in other words, Bing won't power Yahoo! shopping results or have any Bing shopping integration there.

Amazon perspective

Now let's look at this deal from Amazon's perspective:


• Access to Bing's 9m/m CSE shoppers and whatever additional users can be pulled in from the search side.
• Probably could get some access to some other Windows/Microsoft properties such as MSN, browser search box, etc.
• Maybe work to get digital river out as Microsoft's e-commerce partner


• Amazon would probably at-best have to pay a heavy rev-share and at worst some 'non performance oriented' up-front payments and or guarantees (probably a combo actually). If I'm Microsoft, I don't want to lose $X of revenue from Bing shipping to have it replace by something lower, so you structure the deal to have minimum performance. Amazon would have some risk of not achieving this. In the history of internet deals, these mins can go really well or as in the example of myspace/google they can be a real problem if not structured correctly.

Microsoft/Bing perspective


• As Yahoo! has proven (twice), outsourcing something like search/cse can be a very alluring business proposition from a financial/ P+L standpoint -

o You get to keep 100% of the revenue if you structure it right (wow!)
o But you outsource almost 100% of the expense - thus it turns what can be an investment area (losses) into one of pure profit. Based on the model of most CSEs, properly monetized Bing shopping would generate around $100m/yr, and cost $60-80m. An Amazon deal would strip out that cost and turn it into a $100m pure profit contributor (if structured correctly)
o In short, bean-counters love it.
• While everyone thinks about Amazon primarily as a retailer, we've spent a lot of time helping everyone understand that at over 30% 3P sales and with programs like Product Ads, Amazon is really becoming the best product search experience on the internet.


• As Yahoo! has proven (once so far), outsourcing something like search (organic search to google) can be a tremendously bad strategic choice. The P+L picture you envision falls apart because:

o Consumers are smart - if they go to Yahoo! and see google search results, they start to ask themselves - wow, why am I going to Google for this, if I go straight to the source, maybe that's better?
o They always lose control of the user experience.
o Your partner is always misaligned and actually driven to get you out of the picture to avoid the economic over-hang.
• 40% of searches are product-oriented and these are the most lucrative searches from a RPC perspective. It would be a big decision to essentially cede this piece of the business and make the bet that Bing+Amazon is better than Google+GPS.

Can a deal be done?

It really boils down to two variables that only Microsoft knows:

• How strategic they view product search in the war with google (I think it's pretty darn strategic)
• How much $ they are willing to invest to keep fighting google. The Yahoo! deal is very very expensive (some speculate it's the reason cashback was ended) and if Microsoft has some financial pressure (yes hard to imagine for Microsoft, but they are investing/losing $700m/Q which is serious even by msft standards) then doing this deal could help fund a pretty big chunk of the Y! deal.

Update on PriceGrabber and Yahoo Shopping Partnership

By Mark Vandergrift, ChannelAdvisor

On March 11th, Yahoo's Product Submit program was officially ended and PriceGrabber's system began powering the Yahoo Shopping site. The added traffic from the Yahoo user base reversed a previous declining trend in traffic from the PriceGrabber network that ChannelAdvisor customers have seen since the beginning of 2010. The other major paid shopping engines (Shopzilla, Shopping.com, and NexTag) had been experiencing declines over that time frame as well but none as steep as that of PriceGrabber prior to the start Yahoo partnership.

However, accompanying the increase in traffic, ChannelAdvisor customers are also seeing degradation in conversion rate delivered by the PriceGrabber network. The trend is not drastic, but it comes at a time when the conversion rate for all other major engines is increasing. It's not uncommon to see conversion rates decline as traffic increases, but it is possible that the Yahoo Shopping's conversion rate, which historically has been much lower than average, is pulling down the conversion rate of the PriceGrabber network.

If you advertise on PriceGrabber, continue monitoring the conversion rate of each of your offers and be sure to take action on those that are incurring high levels of traffic but not generating sales.

The Future of Bing Cashback

Cashback was successful for many advertisers, delivering great ROI and giving customers outstanding rewards from our advertising revenue. Unfortunately, it did not deliver the scalable change in Search behavior that Bing had hoped.

We will be hearing more from Bing later this summer on the evolution of Cashback. In the meantime, they are focusing their teams on delivering a seamless experience in their Search Alliance with Yahoo!

For customers, this means that it’s business as usual and they can earn Cashback until July 30th at midnight PST. After that, Cashback will discontinue, and customers will be able to redeem any cashback they have earned, and Microsoft will provide 12 months of customer support to ensure a smooth transition.

Some key notes that apply specifically to exisiting Cashback Shopping business:

• Continue sending and updating feeds

• Merchant Center will be retired on September 29, 2010. Its migration to adCenter has been postponed, no further action is needed from advertisers

• The original CPC feed program is also being discontinued as of July 30, 2010.

• Bing is evolving Cashback Shopping into a new free feed program. They will have more details in the next few weeks.

More from Bing...


Bing Cashback


GMail Drive
Reviewed by CNET Staff

GMail Drive takes the short stack of gigabytes given to Gmail users and turns them into a virtual drive accessible from your computer's file tree.

In short, it creates a shell name--a space extension that creates a virtual file system around the account. This lets you treat those 5 gigs (at the time of writing) as a standard remote drive. You can drag and drop files into the drive, or use standard cutting and pasting. When you add a file, it sends an e-mail to your Gmail account with the file as an attachment. If you delete a file from the virtual drive, it deletes the associated e-mail, as well.

There's not much else users can do with GMail Drive. It's an effective tool, but lacks any additional features. It does allow for proxy authentication and secure HTTP, it preserves long filenames, and it can auto-login, a useful touch for those who want to regularly use their Google account for file transfers.

Download here:

Decoding & Analyzing eBay's Stated (leaked?) 2010 Marketplace Priorities...

by Scot Wingo, ChannelAdvisor

In the World of the eBay ecosystem, we have our own lingo that is deeply ingrained and we forget sometimes that people have no idea what we are talking about.

Over at the eBay Ink Blog, RBH posted a picture of eBay's priorities from a sign in an eBay building:

Ebay 2010 Priorities

It's titled "eBay Marketplace Goals 2010" and has these three called out goals and then 7 priorities. They are chock full of eBay lingo, so I thought it would be fun to a) decode them and then b) analyze them.

eBay Goals Translation

• Net Promoter Score (commonly called NPS) + 10 ppt - NPS is something I've been meaning to blog about for a while in detail as it has become core to eBay (as is clear from this goal) - it is a measurement of consumer sentiment and word of mouth. The goal here is to improve it 10ppt which translates to percentage points (not powerpoint slides, but that is kind of funny because eBay uses a LOT of PPTs).
• Bought Item Velocity + 6 ppt - This is interesting as eBay doesn't really have a metric publicly called 'bought item velocity'. Pure speculation, but they do have the 'sold item metric' as shown here in this graphic from their Q1 conference call. Perhaps this bought item velocity is a second order measure of sold items and they would like it to increase 6 percentage points y/y (from 31% to 37%).

Ebay Sold Items

• Market Share - Maintain - JD has stated numerous times that in 2010 as part of eBay's turn around they will grow 'with' e-commerce (vs. below -08/09 and above - 2011+), so I'm going to guess this is basically saying that eBay will grow with e-commerce. Sidebar - there's a growing disparity in e-commerce growth metrics. Comscore is coming in very bearish with single digit growth and the US dept of commerce is at 14.3% - comscore is the easier metric and if you use that, eBay is at their goal, if you look at the USDC, they are not there.

eBay Priorities Translation

The sign lists 7 priorities along with the three goals:

• "Retail-like" trust levels by reducing BBEs and protecting buyers- BBEs are Bad Buyer Experiences, kind of like the Amazon ODR (Order Defect Rate). Inside of here you have all kinds of things that can go wrong like (SNAD - Significantly Not As Described, INR - Item Not Received, etc.) all of which result in a claim or low NPS score, or the dreaded 1/2 stars of death.
• Enhance selection and value in CSA - CSA is the acronym for the Clothing Shoes and Accessories (now rebranded Fashion) category. More on this in the analysis section.
• Deliver value across the site - Great deals across the site.
• Scale B2C sellers and improve efficiency - B2C (business to consumer) sellers probably refers to the larger merchants that are coming into the system like buy.com, disney, etc. Scaling them means helping them grow much larger. Deal of the day is one lever for this, perhaps there are more to come.
• Defend C2C seller business - C2C are consumer to consumer sellers - a.k.a. 'small sellers' or 'casual sellers'.
• Improve the eBay buyer experience - Self explanatory
• Build our advertising business - ?! More on this in analysis.

eBay Goal and Priority Analysis

Let's start with the goals (NPS, Bought Item Velocity and market share) - these are all good and very much in line with what eBay has been telling Wall St. as well as sellers. It is a bit of a bummer to see that the "Market Share" goal is "Maintain". While realistic, that's a hard one to get the troops rallied and definitely not in the Meg Whitman realm of a BHAG that she seemed obsessed with. However, in context of losing market share for the last couple of years, it's definitely a step up.

The priorities are not what I would expect. First let's think about the order of these. (buyer satisfaction, CSA, value, big sellers, small sellers, buyer usability, ads). Personally, I worry that the buyer experience on eBay is so outdated that it will become increasingly hard for them to keep market share for the next 5 years if they don't make this a priority. I guess you could argue that CSA is where they are doing some pioneering, but the fact that buyer usability is goal number 6, right above ads, makes me nervous. Personally, I'd say they need to do this order (FIX SEARCH, buyer usability, buyer satisfaction, big sellers, small sellers, CSA) Yes I left ads off and added search in all caps ;-).

(rant on)

Ads? It is disconcerting to me that eBay has ads on here. I hope I'm misguided, but I'm assuming this is something like AdCommerce and ads on the site and not eBay classifieds (not part of marketplaces). eBay should focus on GMV and not ads. Period.

Personally, I find the AdCommerce ads program to be terrible from all angles:

• Sellers - There is no way to measure closed loop ROI of the system. It's 2010, I can't imagine why anyone would pay for clicks and not know if they turn into conversions in this day and age. We do not recommend sellers use the program for this reason alone.
• Buyers - Google is able to show so many ads on the sight because of one reason - relevance. Google is religious about making sure ads are as relevant as possible. When they do that, it results in a BETTER experience than just organic results because the ads enhance the experience. From a buyer's perspective, the only good thing about the AdCommerce ads are that they are at the bottom of the page and hopefully consumers don't see them very often. I've found they are a HUGE step backwards in the buyer experience because 99% of the time they are not relevant. Here's a great example. I just did an iPad search and I am presented with these three ads: (click to enlarge)

Ipad Spam

Scanning the pictures, you may think I'm off-base, they seem decent. But dig a tad deeper. The first ad, while it has a picture of an iPad, is actually for a Arwen evenstar pendent (all my LOTR peeps) will appreciate this, but not your average IPAD SHOPPER?! Really!?!

The second ad seems decent - someone has an iPad on sale with free shipping - ok, very relevant - I click through and find that, well, that's not really the 'case', it is a case and not an iPad - a clear decision by this advertiser to mislead the buyer. This ad would last about .00000000000000000000000000000001 seconds on Google, yet here it is happily spamming up the search results for one of the top products.

The third ad is at least clearly an ipad case (at least the image says IPAD CASE). The ad says: "Best Deal Here and "reat (sic) Deals starting at $.99.....". Again, this ad would not last a second on Google, yet here's an ad with a typo.

So let's recap: Three ads: one is nothing like what we are searching for, second is misleading at best and the third has a typo: Useless Consumer Spam: 3, AdCommerce: 0. Spam wins!

Finally, eBay seems to let anyone advertise in this program. Featured listings got a LOT less spammy when they restricted the program to eTRS, they should at least do the same here and in fact, I don't get why you wouldn't just put a bullet in the whole program - it really is just that bad.

(rant off)

CSA? In the Q1 conference call, JD said this of CSA:

"So we are starting from a strong position as the number one clothing site based on sales and traffic and we begin to expect traction from these initiatives in Q2 and beyond. In fact, we expect to generate more than $5 billion in GMV from clothing, shoes and accessories."

So it seems like eBay has decided this category is an area they a) are top and b) want to stay top. This is great and it's good to see them getting aggressive, especially in light of Amazon+Zappos that is a counter force in e-commerce CSA. My only concern is that they neglect the other 10 billion dollar categories on eBay. They kind of capture this with the 'deliver value across the site' priority, but would it be prudent for eBay to win the CSA battle and lose autos, CE/CMP, sporting goods, home+garden, jewelry, toys, collectibles?

Amazon vs. Google...

by Chris Dixon

There's lots of buzz in the media about the "Marketplace War" between eBay and Amazon, the "Search War" between Google, Bing, Yahoo! and the "Mobile War" between Google and Apple.

Today, serial entrepreneur Chris Dixon shines light on the real potential loser from Amazon's dominance - Google.

We've long thought at ChannelAdvisor that it is interesting that Google has taken their eye off of the core business. It's somewhat reminiscent of eBay's focus from 01-08 on all things 'not eBay': China, Skype, etc. which left the core marketplace business atrophied and open to competition from Amazon.

Google gets approximately 40% of its revenue from the 'retail' vertical, yet since Google Checkout (atrophied), hasn't done anything to really innovate in the vertical. In the meantime, Amazon has created the best product search engine which is gobbling up share hand over fist. Sooner or later consumers will stop using Google to start the search, and just use Amazon.

A couple of data points indicate this is already happening:

• Amazon's revenue is growing faster than Google on a y/y basis
• Amazon's traffic is growing faster than Google's
• For many customers that are on both Google (Adwords) and Amazon, Amazon's same-store-sales are growing much faster than Googles.

Perhaps with the appointment of Stephanie Tilenius as VP of e-commerce at Google, they realize this is a potential problem for them. Stephanie gave a talk at ChannelAdvisor's Catalyst recently and hinted at some big things to come. She also spoke in early June at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE for you home gamers) and the title of the talk was "Google enters the e-commerce arena".


Greetings Readers-

It has been awhile since I have been able to post another issue of the newsletter. On the drive home from visiting family for Christmas, I met up with an SUV that sent us all to the hospital. None the less, I'm lucky to be alive and want to remind you to always wear your seat belt when driving.

I have a jam packed issue this time around with some more great marketing tips using Rich Media, a new search tool that pays you to use and the latest updates on fourth quarter sales for the online giants ebay and Amazon...

Happy Spring!
Coach Danny


• Tips and Tricks to Improve Conversions with Rich Media
• Unpaid Item Assistant Available to All Sellers
• Gmail Gets Drag-and-Drop Attachments
• What eBay's Q4 Means for Sellers
• Highlights of Amazon's Q4 Blow Out
• If Your Password Is 123456, Just Make It HackMe

Tips and Tricks to Improve Conversions with Rich Media

from ChannelAdvisor

Planning on implementing or improving the imaging on your e-commerce site in 2010? Top online retailers know that successful Rich Media solutions yield an increase in conversions, increase in average order values, and a decrease in returns. Learn tips and best practices that will aid you in creating a successful solution.

* Best practices that will yield the highest results
* Photography and image standards for Rich Media are a prime consideration
* Learn about viewer types and appropriate uses on your site

Download the white paper to find out how.


from www.slickbudget.com

If you are like 90% of the people in this country, then you use Google as your main search engine. The other 10% use yahoo to find their information. But, what do they give us as users? Just quick results with Google and a nice homepage with news from Yahoo!

My wife introduced me to swagbucks just over two months ago and I am ticked I didn't know about it before. It is a search engine which uses Google and Ask engines combined and then pays you to use their site. My initial thought was that it couldn't pay you that much. But I was wrong. I watched my wife earn over 500 swagbucks in a matter of eight weeks just by inviting 6 friends and all of them using the swagbucks search engine. This 500 swagbucks was then turned into $55 worth of gift cards from Amazon which she quickly spent. : ) Before you say that it isn't that much, think about a search engine giving you over $330 a year just to use them for searching. You can still use Google and Yahoo or Ask for that matter, but when you want to earn money, use swagbucks.

Look at it this way, if someone says I will give you a free PS3 or Coach purse for using this search engine in addition to your normal routine, who would say no? There are no offers to fulfill and no hoops to jump through. It is like a slot machine, ever time you search, you have a chance of winning a range of dollar amounts. It will come in handy around Christmas time.

Check it out and trust me, there is nothing to lose and only free money to gain. Have fun swagbucking!

The easiest way is to download their toolbar which gives you a search box right on the top of your screen and then you don't have to go to their site to do the searches and make the money. It is the easiest money you can make. Remember the tips...in the morning and at night if you don't use it at all but still want the swagbucks. (see above article)

You can always get a swag buck by shopping or uploading videos. This is soooo easy to make a couple of bucks for Christmas. Join the fun!

As of November, I have made around $600 in real spendable cash from Swagbucks. This search engine is by far the best thing I have ever stumbled upon. I can't stress enough that the toolbar is key to attaining the swagbucks everyday. Just make sure to use it in the morning and at night due to the fact it is partly based on time between uses. You will accumulate swagbucks very quickly if you follow my advice.

You can sign up and get credit for other people signing up by using the banner on your blog or website with your own link embedded. I would have to say that this truly is the easiest way to make money doing what you do on a regular basis anyways. Thanks for looking and it is really easy to make some cash doing this. AND NO IT DOES NOT COST A PENNY!!!


Unpaid Item Assistant Available to All Sellers

Updates to the unpaid item process; Unpaid Item Assistant available to all sellers soon

In the next couple of weeks, we’ll be making the process for handling unpaid items easier for both buyers and sellers.

Improvements to the process when you open an unpaid item claim manually

* If a buyer doesn’t pay and you cancel the transaction, the buyer will no longer be able to pay for the item.
* If you open an unpaid item case, it will be closed automatically when the buyer pays using a safe electronic payment method such as PayPal or Moneybookers.

Automate claims with Unpaid Item Assistant, available soon to more sellers
In the next few weeks, the new Unpaid Item Assistant will gradually be available to more sellers and we expect to make it available to all sellers by the end of March.

Unpaid Item Assistant automatically opens a case if your buyer doesn’t pay after a period of time that you specify. If four days pass without payment after the case is opened, the case will be closed, your Final Value Fee will be automatically refunded, the buyer won’t be able to leave Feedback, and you will be able to relist your item.

To find out if it’s available to you, towards the end of March go to My eBay or Selling Manager > Account tab > Site Preferences > Selling Preferences, and look for the link to opt in.


Gmail Gets Drag-and-Drop Attachments
by Josh Lowensohn, cnet.com

Google put out a pair of small, but useful Gmail updates on Thursday that make it both easier to use and more integrated with the company's free Calendar service. Notably, both have skipped a trial through the service's "labs" section, and gone straight through to the final product.

The first is drag-and-drop attachments, a feature which lets you drag files from your desktop machine right into your e-mail message to have them begin uploading. It works the same as the system Google implemented in its Wave service for photos and other media types. It also has the same requirement of the user having to run Google Chrome or Firefox 3.6.

To use it within Gmail, users just drag any file from their hard drive (or from within an open application) into a new green box that appears within the compose menu. The service then uploads it in the background, which--just like uploading any other attachment--lets you do other things as the bits are being pushed.

More here...

What eBay's Q4 Means for Sellers

by Scot Wingo, ChannelAdvisor

There has been copious amount of ink around eBay's Q4 targeted towards investors, but sellers are scratching their heads wondering what it means. In this post, let's look at the seller-oriented highlights of the release. Also, historically eBay has used the period from mid Jan to early Feb to announce it's first set of changes for a year. Seller's are on pins and needles expecting something soon, and listening to the Q4 conference call, I think Donahoe and team dropped some hints on what we can expect. We'll highlight those hints and give a little speculation on what the announcements could hold.

Follow the GMV

Now that Skype is no longer in the eBay portfolio, the company is spending more time on the eBay and Paypal metrics (positive). That being said there is a fair amount of data in any eBay quarterly release and it can be hard to pick out the pieces that are relevant to sellers. I advise sellers of all sizes to 'follow the GMV'. One caveat is it's best to look at FX-neutral, non-autos GMV (unless you are a car seller) to understand what really is going on at the eBay marketplace. Here are the relevant GMV datapoints from the release:

* FX-neutral international GMV (ex-gmarket) was up 11% y/y
* Domestic GMV (ex autos) was up 4% y/y
* Overall GMV was up 8% (ex-autos, ex-gmarket, ex-fx)
* But be sure to note that international is growing a solid 7% faster than domestic, so something is definitely 'working' there.

These numbers definitely show (especially when viewed with the last 2yrs y/y data) that eBay indeed appears to be turning the corner as they are about half way through their turnaround strategy.

Fixed Price / Auction Mix

For Q4, fixed price came in at 53% (up from 52% in Q3) and auctions came in at 34%. Fixed price GMV grew at an impressive 35% with auctions at negative 3% (actually a strong improvement from Q3's negative 12%). So fixed price listing GMV stayed at a good > 35% pace and auctions were 'less worse' so they helped with growth by not hurting growth. It will be interesting to see if auctions have bottomed out or if this was a seasonal improvement.

Donahoe hints at changes to come...

I found this comment to be the most interesting:

"Bottom line, sellers who deliver the very best experience are succeeding on eBay and buyers are benefiting. These turnaround efforts are paying off. Market share gains are evident internationally where we are further along in our turnaround. In the U.K. for example, we posted 17% growth during the second half of 2009, significantly outperforming the market."

"So I think what we’ll do in 2010 is take some of the learnings that we generated outside the U.S. and apply them as appropriate and as tailored to the U.S. market. I think we feel we’ve proven out some of these things outside the U.S. and they will apply inside the U.S."

If you look at the UK's seller fees (here), back in 09 they actually took the lower insertion fee move that eBay US did when they lowered FP30 to $.35 to an additional extreme. First, they eliminated the store format, and second they allowed business sellers to 'pay down' the FP30 insertion with a monthly store subscription. For example, if you pay £349.99 (approx $500) you now get essentially one penny insertion fees for FP30.

What this model has done in the UK is allow business sellers to focus on selling and not managing selection, so I view this as a win-win that we would definitely LOVE to see in the US and an important step towards 'really' competing with the Amazon business model.

Given the strength of international results and the foreshadowing by Donahoe, I think the takeaway for seller are:

* Look for a continued movement from auction to fixed price
* eBay seems to believe the feedback changes (DSRs, eTRS, etc.) are working, so I don't expect any big changes there.
* eBay continues to be very focused on NPS so it's important for sellers to learn more about that system (look for future blog post on that).
* eBay needs to replicate the international success in the usa, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a more UK-like pricing model come to the US.
* Note that in the UK, our data indicates a 80% fp / 20% auction mix, so if you thought auctions had a headwind before, I think if that change comes to the US you'll see auctions cut in essentially half again.

Highlights of Amazon's Q4 Blow Out

ChannelAdvisor CEO, Scot Wingo

Amazon reported Q4 results today and the e-commerce giant really made quite a showing. By all means it was a blow-out quarter. Amazon topped their guidance, Wall Street Consensus (WSC) and even surprised most on Wall St. with their Q1 guidance.

Here are the highlights from the quarter along with some color commentary.

* Revenue - $9.52b vs. WSC of $9b (a near $500m beat!)- Represents 42% y/y growth vs. WSC of 34.7% (a 7% beat!)
* Op income - $597 vs. WSC of $542 - a $55m beat (10%)
* EPS - $.85 vs. WSC of $.72 (a $.13 beat!)
* Media grew: 23%. US media grew: 20% , Intl media grew: 26%
* EGM grew: 54% (Wow!) EGM is now a $4.61 business. US EGM grew: 54% (a material acceleration, benefits from Zappos addition) and Intl EGM grew: 56%

From a mix perspective the Media/EGM mix is now 49%/48% - the highest EGM in the history of Amazon the US/Intl mix is now 52% / 48% - also the highest Intl in the history of Amazon

One little Kindle tidbit - Amazon finally put a metric out there and said that there are now 'millions' of Kindle users. That's a vague number, but analysts were pretty amazed that we could be looking at over 2m units out there.

If Your Password Is 123456, Just Make It HackMe

If Your Password Is 123456, Just Make It HackMe
by Ashlee Vance
provided by New York Times

Back at the dawn of the Web, the most popular account password was "12345."
Today, it's one digit longer but hardly safer: "123456."

Despite all the reports of Internet security breaches over the years, including the recent attacks on Google's e-mail service, many people have reacted to the break-ins with a shrug.

According to a new analysis, one out of five Web users still decides to leave the digital equivalent of a key under the doormat: they choose a simple, easily guessed password like "abc123," "iloveyou" or even "password" to protect their data.

"I guess it's just a genetic flaw in humans," said Amichai Shulman, the chief technology officer at Imperva, which makes software for blocking hackers. "We've been following the same patterns since the 1990s."

Mr. Shulman and his company examined a list of 32 million passwords that an unknown hacker stole last month from RockYou, a company that makes software for users of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. The list was briefly posted on the Web, and hackers and security researchers downloaded it. (RockYou, which had already been widely criticized for lax privacy practices, has advised its customers to change their passwords, as the hacker gained information about their e-mail accounts as well.)

The trove provided an unusually detailed window into computer users' password habits. Typically, only government agencies like the F.B.I. or the National Security Agency have had access to such a large password list.

"This was the mother lode," said Matt Weir, a doctoral candidate in the e-crimes and investigation technology lab at Florida State University, where researchers are also examining the data.

Imperva found that nearly 1 percent of the 32 million people it studied had used "123456" as a password. The second-most-popular password was "12345." Others in the top 20 included "qwerty," "abc123" and "princess."

More disturbing, said Mr. Shulman, was that about 20 percent of people on the RockYou list picked from the same, relatively small pool of 5,000 passwords.

That suggests that hackers could easily break into many accounts just by trying the most common passwords. Because of the prevalence of fast computers and speedy networks, hackers can fire off thousands of password guesses per minute.

"We tend to think of password guessing as a very time-consuming attack in which I take each account and try a large number of name-and-password combinations," Mr. Shulman said. "The reality is that you can be very effective by choosing a small number of common passwords."

Some Web sites try to thwart the attackers by freezing an account for a certain period of time if too many incorrect passwords are typed. But experts say that the hackers simply learn to trick the system, by making guesses at an acceptable rate, for instance.

To improve security, some Web sites are forcing users to mix letters, numbers and even symbols in their passwords. Others, like Twitter, prevent people from picking common passwords.

Still, researchers say, social networking and entertainment Web sites often try to make life simpler for their users and are reluctant to put too many controls in place.

Even commercial sites like eBay must weigh the consequences of freezing accounts, since a hacker could, say, try to win an auction by freezing the accounts of other bidders.

Overusing simple passwords is not a new phenomenon. A similar survey examined computer passwords used in the mid-1990s and found that the most popular ones at that time were "12345," "abc123" and "password."

Why do so many people continue to choose easy-to-guess passwords, despite so many warnings about the risks?

Security experts suggest that we are simply overwhelmed by the sheer number of things we have to remember in this digital age.

"Nowadays, we have to keep probably 10 times as many passwords in our head as we did 10 years ago," said Jeff Moss, who founded a popular hacking conference and is now on the Homeland Security Advisory Council. "Voice mail passwords, A.T.M. PINs and Internet passwords — it's so hard to keep track of."

In the idealized world championed by security specialists, people would have different passwords for every Web site they visit and store them in their head or, if absolutely necessary, on a piece of paper.

But bowing to the reality of our overcrowded brains, the experts suggest that everyone choose at least two different passwords — a complex one for Web sites were security is vital, such as banks and e-mail, and a simpler one for places where the stakes are lower, such as social networking and entertainment sites.

Mr. Moss relies on passwords at least 12 characters long, figuring that those make him a more difficult target than the millions of people who choose five- and six-character passwords.

"It's like the joke where the hikers run into a bear in the forest, and the hiker that survives is the one who outruns his buddy," Mr. Moss said. "You just want to run that bit faster."