Someone is buying a lot of stuff online this week. In my BigCrumbs.com account, I can see that my referrals purchased 11 items for $1,095 in the past 7 days. That’s about the most I’ve seen in a week on my account. 10 items for $1,049 were purchased on eBay.com.
My cut of the affiliate kickback is $2.70.
I have a 3rd generation now. I will get credit for purchases for up to the 5th generation of referrals.
I just like to see the progression. Kinda like www.wheresgeorge.com where you can trace the journey of a $1 bill.
I use the Firefox add-on called Load Time Analyzer. It tells me what my browser is loading and from where. For example, when you view a site like http://cashcownobull.com/ed/, the site calls two eBay MakeTrack URLs which forces you to become a watcher of their listings.
Which eBay seller is this MakeTrackster? Just visit the site and you will be watching their listings. Or you can just view the output of the Load Time Analyzer below:
onStateChange – 594ms: start, 1266ms: redirecting, 1282ms: stop
Waiting for cgi1.ebay.com…
onStatusChange – 703ms: status Waiting for cgi1.ebay.com…
onStateChange – 610ms: start, 1563ms: redirecting, 1563ms: stop
Waiting for cgi1.ebay.com…
onStatusChange – 1328ms: status Waiting for cgi1.ebay.com…
onStateChange – 610ms: start, 985ms: redirecting, 985ms: stop
Connecting to cgi1.ebay.com…
onStatusChange – 703ms: status Connecting to cgi1.ebay.com…
Waiting for cgi1.ebay.com…
onStatusChange – 735ms: status Waiting for cgi1.ebay.com…
onStateChange – 625ms: start, 1203ms: redirecting, 1203ms: stop
Waiting for cgi1.ebay.com…
onStatusChange – 1016ms: status Waiting for cgi1.ebay.com…
Here’s that listing that I meant to write about. It’s the wife and girlfriend listing on the right. This is a different seller, tjm2k5, but it’s the same listing and trick.
This one gathers watchers from a mature audience listing using the MakeTrack trick. The mature listing has a picture that says “click me for another pic.” I’ll show the screen shot here because I’m sure eBay Trust & Safety will tear it down pretty soon.
See the watcher action here.
The great thing about eBay is that there are interesting tactics to be studied and written about everyday.
eBay’s Trust & Safety is working in overdrive this year, NARUing sellers right and left. Like this one I meant to write about for the 6 weeks. But it was “removed” from eBay before I got to it.
Well, I’m just busy this summer. I spend an inappropriate amount of time analyzing my two daughters’ videos and photos pitching a softball. Did you know it takes 10,000 pitches to develop a decent fastball? Now, we’re working on the changeup.
Proper softball pitching form is a beautiful thing to watch… and watch and watch. With Jennie Finch as a role model, lots of girls with big dreams have joined teams this year. Her she is with my daughter Jessica.
I digress. But this is how my days are going. I have a plan of what needs to be done each day but then I start on the softball. Productivity over.
So why do I put so many hours into writing this blog? It’s hard to get started on a post and equally hard to make a relevant point. My explanation is simple: I’m finding my voice.
Brian from VUVOX demo-ed their flash application for me last week at the eBay Dev Conf. You can upload your images from several photohosting sites like Flickr.com to tell a story. Now that they have been purchased by eBay, the likely use of VUVOX’s player is to tell a story about your item for sale, yourself and show other items for sale. They are working on the ability to retrieve information on items within the player.
I imagine the VUVOX player will be treated as a listing enhancement for a minimal insertion fee of ~$.35 to $.75 per listing. In comparison, Gallery Plus, which supersizes a listing’s gallery image when your mouse hovers over the gallery image in search results, is $.35 per listing.
Deal4it.com has a flash application where you can have actors talk about your items. You can see them in action in this eBay search which showed
945 listings with Deal4It in the description.
eBay Live! 2008 concluded on Saturday. A few exhibitors caught my eye:
- Kijiji.com (owned by eBay) which offers free classified ads. They connect buyers and sellers, then get out of the loop.
- Auctiva free seller tools. They are the 800 pound gorilla in the listing tool space just by the sheer number of subscribers.
- frooition.com store designs.
- eBay labs had some neat tools.
There were no consignment stores but plenty of shipping services. We counted 14 shipping related booths out of 85 total booths.
At 6 pm, the doors to the Gala opened and we ran into the room greeted by eBay employees with their hands out like a youth sports team saying “good game”. It was a nice gesture.
Chris Isaak came out at 8:00pm wearing a red rhinestone suit. He’s riveting! He’s one of those people that you just can’t take your eyes off of. Wikipedia says he is 52, but he looks 42, 45 tops.
Back to business -> There are a lot of changes in store for the eBay platform such as constant tweaking with listing requirements (shipping) and active content policy. This will weed out the solutions providers who don’t have the cash nor energy to keep up.
Developing applications for eBay this year has been a game of whack-a-mole. Digital delivery for all categories. Whack. No digital delivery. Whack again. New policy violations. Whack. Random API errors. Whack Whack.
Now there are mandatory shipping, handling time, and return policy requirements. Then active widget approvals. The moles are breeding at an alarming rate.
A few years back, the high spending solutions providers really bugged me. Spending someone else’s money to buy customers is a completely different philosophy from spending your own money. Well, most of those guys are gone, and the frugal are still around. Frugal is what making money on eBay is all about.
BigCrumbs is a pay-you-back site for eBay purchases. But now Microsoft Search is offering cashback on purchases including items purchased on eBay. First, you need to sign up here.
Then search for items through at this URL or from http://www.MSN.com: http://search.live.com/cashback
Click on the CashBack logo to get credit for your purchases.
You will see the CashBack logo right on your eBay pages.
It’s only good for the purchases on 3 sessions. See condition 7 below.
Here are the complete Ts & Cs shown on eBay:
Terms and Conditions
Your participation in Live Search cashback (the “Program”) on http://www.eBay.com is subject to the Microsoft Service Agreement terms at http://tou.live.com (the “Program Terms”) and conditions plus the additional terms and conditions below. In the event of a conflict between these additional terms and the Program Terms, the terms below are controlling for your participation in the Program on http://www.eBay.com.
- Additional Purchase Requirements. Your ability to earn cashback rewards (“Cashback Rewards”) from Microsoft for purchases on http://www.eBay.com is subject to the following additional requirements:
- You must successfully complete an eligible purchase on http://www.eBay.com using “Buy-It-Now” within sixty (60) minutes of clicking on an eBay paid search advertisement marked with the Live Search cashback logo (a “Online Session”);
- Cashback Rewards will be applied only to the first eligible item you commit to buy during an Online Session. Cashback Rewards will not be applied to any additional items or purchases. A single listing with multiple items will be considered one item for the purposes of these terms and conditions.
- You must pay for the eligible item using your PayPal account within the shorter of thirty (30) days of completing the purchase on www.eBay.com and the time frame specified by the seller;
Only purchases that are completed on www.eBay.com during an Online Session in accordance with the Program Terms as modified by these additional terms are eligible for Cashback Rewards.
The following purchases that are completed on http://www.eBay.com are not eligible for Cashback Rewards (“Excluded eBay Purchases”):
- purchases that are completed on www.express.ebay.com or www.half.ebay.com;
- purchases of automobiles or other vehicles;
- purchases of real estate;
- purchases that are completed using a third party checkout system.
If you attempt to complete any of the above Excluded eBay Purchases on www.eBay.com during an Online Session, eBay will notify you on the purchase review page of the “Buy-It-Now” transaction process that the purchase is not eligible. Please review the purchase review page carefully before you “commit to Buy”. eBay may add or remove types of purchases to the list of Excluded eBay Purchases in its sole discretion from time to time. Please review these terms and conditions before you complete a purchase.
- eBay does not limit purchases eligible for Cashback Rewards by the purpose for which they are acquired (e.g., purchases acquired for resale). The Cashback Rewards that you are eligible to obtain from Microsoft will be disclosed to you on www.eBay.com and will be equal to a percentage of the final sale price of the first item purchased during an Online Session (excluding shipping and handling fees, insurance fees and other such fees), for up to a maximum of $250.00 per Online Session. Cashback Rewards will be available in your Program account to transfer to your PayPal account approximately sixty (60) days of the date on which you complete your purchase on eBay.com. You must have a PayPal account in order to receive Cashback Rewards for purchases on http://www.eBay.com. You may not redeem any Cashback Rewards until you have earned a total of $5.00 in Cashback Rewards;
- After you complete an eligible purchase, before redeeming your Cashback Rewards, you must go to http://cashbackaccount.search.live.com/cashback/welcome.aspx and set up a Program account by providing all of the required information (or, if you already have an account, confirm your membership status);
- You may receive Cashback Rewards for up to a maximum of three (3) Online Sessions per account on www.ebay.com. Once you have completed three (3) Online Sessions under any eBay.com account, you will no longer be eligible to receive Cashback Rewards for purchases made under such eBay.com account. If you have exceeded the limit of permitted Cashback Rewards, eBay will notify you on the purchase review page of the “Buy-It-Now” transaction process. Please review the purchase review page carefully before you “commit to buy”. Cashback Rewards can not be transferred or applied to multiple eBay.com accounts;
- The Program is open only to confirmed registered members of the eBay Site who (a) are legal residents of the United States, (b) are eighteen (18) years of age or older and (c) satisfy the requirements set forth herein and in the Program Terms;
- You will not be eligible for Cashback Rewards for purchases on http://www.eBay.com if your account on http://www.eBay.com or http://www.PayPal.com is not in good standing. In order for your accounts to be deemed in good standing, you must not have a hold on either of your accounts and your accounts must not be suspended or past due when you pay for the item(s) you purchase;
- eBay may permit you to combine Cashback Rewards with other eBay promotions, coupons, or gift certificates (each, an “eBay Promotion”) and may permit you to receive Cashback Rewards on purchases of gift cards or gift certificates. If eBay elects to do so, you will be provided with an opportunity to combine Cash Back Rewards with the eBay Promotion during the checkout flow on http://www.eBay.com. With the exception of eBay Promotions as described herein, Cashback Rewards cannot be combined with any other offer on purchases on http://www.eBay.com.
- eBay provides Microsoft with limited information about your eligible purchase (such as the date, time, amount, and item description) when you apply for a Cashback Reward. Microsoft will use this information only to process and manage your Cashback Rewards, and not for any other purpose.
- Additional Redemption Requirements. In addition to the redemption requirements in Program Terms, You must redeem Cashback Rewards obtained as a result of a purchase on www.ebay.com exclusively via your PayPal account.
Live Search cashback is a program operated by Microsoft Corporation. Cashback Rewards are funded and paid by Microsoft. Your participation in the Program is subject to the Program Terms as supplemented by these additional terms. Neither eBay nor PayPal have any obligations to you regarding Cashback Rewards or your participation in the Program. You hereby agree to release eBay Inc. and PayPal, Inc. (and their officers, directors, agents, subsidiaries, joint ventures and employees) from claims, demands and damages (actual and consequential) of every kind and nature, known and unknown, arising out of or in any way connected with the Program. You will indemnify and hold eBay Inc. and PayPal, Inc. (and their officers, directors, agents, subsidiaries, joint ventures and employees), harmless from any claim or demand, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, made by any third party due to or arising out of your breach of the Program Terms or these additional terms.
I like the feel of the eBay Developers Conference this year. It’s about value and innovation. Gone are the flashy, big spending advertisers in matching branded shirts. Present are the great minds who build tools and businesses with their bare hands.
What would we do without Ina Steiner from Auction Bytes? We’d be completely in the dark on eBay happenings, that’s what.
Everyone’s a friend at the Dev Conf.
I’m going to eBay Live! on Saturday with my best friend Roxy to see Chris Isaak. I’ve never stayed until the last day before but I’ve heard great things about the food.
The big eBay announcement today was project Echo. It gives solutions providers valuable real estate within eBay’s Selling Manager. It should be in beta released in January. eBay wasn’t clear if they will charge the 3rd party solutions providers for this service.
After hearing about eBay and PayPal all day, it was refreshing to see Phil from Stylefeeder sitting next to me. I joined Stylefeeder 1 1/2 years ago because it was appealing to the eyes and the brain. Members add their favorite style items for others to view and comment on.
A cool new feature is the Style Twin which finds people with similar taste by processing their searches, ratings and etc. Here’s my top style twin out of 5 pages of twins.
Talk to you tomorrow.
The Dev Conf agenda is posted here.
There are no sessions on the new ePN affiliate program nor its poor performance. But I’m sure an affiliate revenue question will be raised in every session. I’ll ask the other big affiliates if they saw any issues or decline in sales after the migration to ePN.
eBay released some information on possible issues. Here’s a snippet:
So that you know more of what’s going on behind the scenes right now, we have our teams looking into the traffic drop around the May 12th timeframe (this has been an ongoing investigation for a while) as well as the more recent Editor Kit-specific issues that have been reported. I don’t have anything concrete to provide right now but we will keep you updated with additional posts when we have more information, hopefully later this week. And just to make sure that everyone is aware, the makegood policy has stayed the same on eBay Partner Network as it was on CJ. If and when we find any tracking issues that affect affiliate commissions, we will issue makegoods to the affiliates who were affected.
Also, the links policy changed on May 19. I’d like to discuss my watcher counter widget with an eBay policy person.
This article on Auction Bytes made me think. Auctions doomed discussion on Auction Bytes
eBay has saturated its market. Auction listings have been a flat 11-17 million since 2005.
The average sell through rate has been a constant ~40% since the end of 2003.
It’s natural for any product or service to hit saturation and eventually decline. Here’s a little article on the phenomenon.
The downturn in the economy and the fact that eBay auctions are no longer a novelty to buyers are large factors. Even though it’s market forces that are affecting eBay, some sellers are very angry. However, I think most sellers have adapted their products to maximize their success on eBay or have moved on to bigger and better things.
I’ll go to eBay Live and the Dev Conf to see what’s going on. I still like eBay and the nice sellers who keep on plugging along.
Anyone else going? Send me an email if you want to meet up! email@example.com
As announced on May 19, Mystery Auctions are being banned from eBay this month. I don’t really understand the appeal of Mystery Auctions, but I assume it is basically a gambling endeavor.
Some eBayers are really passionate about Mystery Auctions. I joined this group thinking that it had to do with Pulsers: http://groups.ebay.com/forum/Mystery-Pulse-List/Welcome/1500025753
Surprisingly, there were $126,934 in eBay sales of Mystery Auctions last month. 9,189 mystery items were sold.
Here are all of the sales statistics of Mystery Auctions last month from eSeller Street: http://esellerstreet.com/mystery.htm