Watched item ending soon

June 27, 2009

Credit in SmartMoney.com article

Filed under: Cool Ecomm sites,eBay,eBay pulse — estreet @ 7:32 am
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I got a credited as a source on SmartMoney.com yesterday! Article

It’s an article about the surge in Michael Jackson memorabilia sales after his announced death. My part was on the pre-death sales of MJ items on eBay.

Still, during Jackson’s life, some recent signs suggested relatively little interest from the broader consumer market in his memorabilia. Before Jackson’s death, sellers listed an average 200 to 400 memorabilia items daily on eBay (EBAY: 17.35, +0.21, +1.22%), only 50 to 100 of which sold, according to market researcher eSeller Street. Of course, some items offered on eBay may not have been of sufficient quality to attract buyers.

I hope I get a link next time.

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May 18, 2009

Mei Ling’s BA in Affiliate Marketing – Part 2 – What is Affiliate Marketing?

Will Martin-Gill of the eBay Partner Network writes:

affiliate marketing — or paying online publishers to drive quality traffic to a company’s Web site based on the purchases and revenue they help generate — has quietly grown into a $6 billion+ industry. Jupiter Research expects affiliate marketing to grow another 13% year-over-year through 2012.

There is an overwhelming amount of niche markets and techniques used by Affiliate Marketers (AM). I’ve given myself a week (or two) to make sense of the mass of loudly broadcast information on AM. There are credible sources who provide AF information and tools, but it takes time to read through, process and filter out the deceptive claims of “make easy money in minutes”.

The “affiliate” part is simple: earn a commission for sending a buying customer to a destination site. Affiliates want to increase their earnings by increasing traffic to their own site and pre-selling products before sending users to the destination affiliate site. For example, posting a product review will get targeted traffic to your website and make people want to buy the product.

“Marketing” is where AM gets complicated. John Reese simply says that your assets are an email/member list and content. Marketing is the methods you choose to promote your content to your user list.

Here’s a simple checklist to understand any AF’s business model:

Retailmenot.com

  1. Target audience: shoppers ready to checkout
  2. Website Content: People powered coupon codes, revenue share when people post on the site
  3. Source of traffic: Natural Search Engine Optimization (SEO), pay people to post on blogs
  4. Monetization source: retailers, Google Ads

CNET reviews:

  1. Target audience: Tech shoppers
  2. Website Content: reviews of tech products
  3. Source of traffic: Natural Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound links
  4. Monetization source: retailers, Ads

popsugar.com

  1. Target audience: Star watchers
  2. Website content: dishing on the stars
  3. Source of traffic: Natural SEO, inbound links
  4. Monetization: retailers, ads

As you can see, there are many practices, techniques and strategies. The simplest strategy is to promote eBay or Amazon items on a blog. The most attention grabbing AFs use hype and popularity to draw large numbers of followers who they then monetize. Then there are the quiet AFs like Kaboodle.com and MSN.com.

Now to review the Affiliate Marketing tools that I reluctantly decided to sign up for, but pledge to use without resistance. There is too much information for 1 or 2 posts, so here’s an overview.

Overview:

  1. Opportunity.com ($40 per month):
    John Reese’s new site has a series of instructional videos that start at the beginner level. As I mentioned before, he starts with the most important assets for an affiliate marketer: 1. an email/member list and 2. content.

    This site is oriented to the non-technical, so it would be a good fit for eBay sellers. In fact, John says technical work takes time away from money making activities. Hmm…there is truth to that. I’m guilty of spending too much time creating features and not enough energy on marketing. But I think you need a technical solution and technical capability in order to scale your results.

    Impression: Good introduction. $40 a month is too much. But then I paid $75K for my MBA from Northwestern University. { Shrug }

  2. Shoemoney tools ($9.95 1st month, $100 per month after 1st month):
    Shoemoney provides tools for an active Affiliate Marketer to use. It’s more advanced than Opportunity.com.

    The first thing I saw under the SEO tools tab is the domain marketplace. It shows a list of unregistered domains for sale, the number of inbound links, and where the links come from (.gov, .mil, .edu). The prices are around $10-30 each but you can’t see the entire domain that you are purchasing. They show hidden domains like this: xxxshop-xxx.net. There’s no guarantee that the links actually drive traffic to the URLs for sale.

    My impression: I’m not sure if the tools are more useful than free tools yet. I have to dive in further. It would be better if they added written help text in addition to the video tutorials, but they have good support personnel.

  3. Tim Buchalka (FREE so far)
    Tim promotes his videos and tools on Twitter. The thing I like about Tim is that he doesn’t use a lot of hard-sell hype. He is simply persistent and uses positive language.
  4. SEObook.com
    This is the most cerebral of the bunch. They mostly focus on techniques to drive traffic to your site using natural search engine optimization (SEO). I follow all of their SEO advice on my site.

Next post: Domain strategies.

May 9, 2009

Mei Ling’s Big Adventure into Affiliate Marketing – Part 1

Filed under: Cool Ecomm sites,Quality of Life — estreet @ 8:56 pm
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Now that I released the MOST AWESOME eBay search tool and promo banner maker for eBay sellers, WatchedItem.com, I’m finally to the point that I need to get serious about marketing.

1. My first step to getting visible was to use my name, Mei Ling. Pronounced it sounds like “May Ling”. It’s my middle name which is Chinese for Beautiful Princess Warrior (well, more like pretty and petite). I used Mei Ling for my entire life until I started my own business and went by my first name, Michelle. Why? I guess I wanted to be stay anonymous. But I’m a Mei Ling at heart.

2. Second, I contacted ShoeMoney to see if he wanted to work with me and Vitalii on a new project. Jeremy Schoemaker had posted he was looking at opportunities to invest in or projects to collaborate on. My expertise is in specifying features and getting development done whether doing it myself or working with developers. That’s my sweet spot, but I need the Marketing piece. Partnering with a superstar would be awesome. We’re totally ready to build a larger scale service. No reply yet.

3. Third, I signed up for ShoeMoney tools, John Reese’s Opportunity.com, Tim Buchalka and entered The $10,000 Business Boost. One of the prizes for the $10,000 Business Boost is Aaron Wall’s SEOBook SEO Training. I already follow every single piece of SEO advice from SEOBook, but I haven’t signed up for the service.

Next post… What I learned so far.

Mei Ling 🙂

April 28, 2009

What’s new on WatchedItem.com

Filed under: Cool Ecomm sites — estreet @ 10:21 am
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We’ve settled into a 2 week release schedule for WatchedItem.com. That’s a good because I tend to stuff more and more features in until the release gets too big.

This is what’s getting released this month:
1. Hover images on the search page. Can you believe eBay charges sellers for enlarged pictures?
2. Sort a seller’s items by watchers on the search page.
3. Product Gallery Banner shows items sorted by watchers.
4. Better logs and an alert system to tell me if something is wrong with the banners.
5. A FAQ page.
6. Better landing page from the watcher counter.
7. Better landing page for search engine traffic.

…and a ton of other little things.
——————–

Oh, yeah, I added a cool “tweet this” button because I’m a Twitterhead now. twitter.com/eBayWatchedItem

January 25, 2009

Twilight, Sookie Stackhouse and Anita Blake have serious fans… like me

Filed under: Cool Ecomm sites,eBay pulse — estreet @ 8:00 am
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I saw the movie Twilight on www.tv-dome.net yesterday. I resisted watching the movie for quite a while. That’s strange for me since I’m a huge fan of Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series and Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series. I’ve attended 3 of Laurell’s book signings and 1 of Charlaine’s.

Perhaps I was simply fighting getting sucked into another long series when I’m trying to focus on Watched Item work. I give up. I’ll just combine Twilight and Watcheditem.

Twilight most watched items on eBay

—————

Well, I wrote for about an hour on the popularity of the Twilight tshirts, books and charms. WordPress logged me out and lost my edits. I give up. Just imagine it was fascinating. 😉

October 22, 2008

Whoops from woot.com

Filed under: Cool Ecomm sites — estreet @ 7:52 am
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How can woot.com be so dang funny?

WOOT, INC. INTERNAL EMAIL
STAFF EYES ONLY

Attention Woot employees –

We are now entering the final phase of preparations for the Woot-Off planned for midnight tonight. This is when we depart from our usual deal-a-day model and sell one product after another, offering a new deal as soon as the previous one sells out. For some reason, Woot members like meilingw continue to have high expectations for this event. We must make every effort to ensure that they feel disappointed and betrayed.

All workers should be physically and mentally straining to make this Woot-Off a success, like every muscle in a wolf’s body strains to capture and devour its prey. We expect total compliance with the following objectives:

Make sure the stables are thoroughly cleaned and the horses properly groomed and shod. As you know, Commander Rutledge prefers to lead us on horseback during Woot-Offs. Charge!
Customer Service department: all vacation requests for this week and next are approved. If you have not filed a vacation request, take one anyway.
The little green pills in the kitchen are there to keep you alert and working. Take as many as you need. Officially, Woot does not believe in the concept of “overdose”.
Take at least one of our servers offline, just for laughs.
Go to the landfill and dig up some more Sansa media players. If you see any Digipro Graphics Tablets (and you will), grab those, too.
Place crap bags in company latrines so those orders can be “filled”. To this end, the company will provide free lunch today from El Feo, the filthiest burrito joint in Dallas. Do your worst, guys.
Neutralize all negative thinking among our members. We simply cannot tolerate any more posts like “do not want” or “Woot-Off killer”. If electronic means like word filters and IP bans do not work, we must reactivate the rapid-response teams to physically eliminate all threats to our reputation.
Last time, spot checks revealed that approximately 25% of products shipped are broken, incomplete, or excessively dirty. This is unacceptable. For this Woot-Off, defective shipments must make up at least 40%.
Remind SmartPost that there’s no need to hurry on these orders. Prompt delivery makes our customers spoiled and argumentative. Let them learn humility and gratitude while they wait.

Above all, we must strive to make this Woot-Off even more tedious, disappointing, and lucrative than the last one. The employee who achieves the most toward this end will be rewarded with one brown Zune. Second place: two brown Zunes.

Forward into battle! Remember: to give one’s life for Woot is glorious!

Larry Stalin
eCommerce eKommissar
Woot, Inc.

THIS EMAIL WILL SELF-DESTRUCT IN 90 SECONDS

October 3, 2008

Statcounter.com’s SEO Guidance

Filed under: Cool Ecomm sites — estreet @ 10:30 am
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The guy running Statcounter.com runs a great service. He wasn’t successful overnight so I respect him ever more.

Here’s his take on SEO: http://blog.statcounter.com/

It will take me at least an hour to study this post because there is a lot of supporting info.

October 2, 2008

Seo Book Blog is good reading

Filed under: Cool Ecomm sites — estreet @ 10:44 am
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http://www.seobook.com/blog publishes an overwhelming amount of information each day. However, it’s organized in sections so that you can grab a thought or snippet to digest.

One thing I picked up is the use of the rel="nofollow" link attribute. I had thousands of clicks on ePN from MSN’s bot crawling my site the other day.

The linked to page will not get indexed but I still have to verify that the link text itself is indexed. I see contradicting opinions on this.

I guess this is why there are so many blogs on SEO. The tools and techniques constantly change.

August 28, 2008

WatchedItem.com is alive!

Filed under: Cool Ecomm sites,eBay — estreet @ 4:43 pm
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WatchedItem.com

August 14, 2008

My BigCrumbs referrer

Filed under: Cool Ecomm sites — estreet @ 3:12 pm
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I clicked on a link on the BigCrumbs.com home page and found one of my referrers. I think I first clicked through to BigCrumbs from Auction Bytes.

This person has 17,800 people in their network and earned about $2,700. That’s around $130 per month. Very interesting. I love hard numbers.

August 12, 2008

You Looking at Me…Looking at You…Looking at Me

Filed under: Cool Ecomm sites — estreet @ 4:40 pm
Tags: ,

Someone posted one of my husband’s photos on Digg. It got 990 diggs so far and was on the front page for a few hours. The comments are wickedly hilarious!!!

http://digg.com/pets_animals/You_Looking_at_Me_Looking_at_You_Looking_at_Me

July 22, 2008

My blog’s domain is now WatchedItemEndingSoon.com

Filed under: Cool Ecomm sites — estreet @ 10:30 am
Tags:

I just changed the domain for this blog to WatchedItemEndingSoon.com (from WatchedItem.com). We’re getting ready to use WatchedItem.com for a new dynamic banner maker site.

WatchedItem has been a long time in the making. Have you heard the rule for developing a product? “Quality, low cost or fast. Pick two.” I picked quality and low cost. Conserving cash is key. When your cash burn rate is low, you can make mistakes and continue to make corrections indefinitely.

WatchedItem is a free service that creates eBay seller banners and automatically updates the banners with the latest listing information. It’s shows the seller’s profile and info on their listings something like this:

The beta release will include a watcher counter that you can embed in your listings. This will make it a lot easier to show how popular your listings are. Your listing’s watcher count will be updated every 5-15 minutes.

I chose a dynamic image over flash because flash takes so long to load. This pushes the workload to my server rather than bogging down the user’s page loading time. Amazon S3/EC2 and GoogleApps are driving down the cost of servers resources. Yippee!

Now I hope I didn’t jinx the project by blogging about it. We’re about 75% done and my developer, Vitalii, is getting married in August.

Anyone want to volunteer for the Beta trial?

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