From the Editor
By Ina Steiner
One of the most popular features we've run on AuctionBytes during the past 11 years has been our "Sellers Choice Awards." The Sellers Choice Awards allow sellers to rate their favorite online marketplaces in five important areas - Profitability, Customer Service, Communication, Ease of Use, and whether or not you would recommend the venue to other sellers.
The results got a lot of coverage, since this was the first time that marketplaces had been rated in this fashion. The Sellers Choice Award still get hefty traffic from merchants who are looking for alternative sites on which to sell. In January, we'll be holding the 2nd annual Sellers Choice awards, and are making a couple of tweaks to the process. First, we'll be expanding the field from 15 to 16 choices. We'll also be running a "primary" poll through the end of December that will allow merchants to nominate their favorite venues to be included on the final ballot (the Sweet Sixteen) for voting.
If you want your favorite marketplace to show up on the final ballot, it's important that you nominate them to appear. We've expanded the selection, and have also included a write-in slot for any venue not appearing on the ballot. If you want to make sure you can vote for your favorite marketplace in January, please make your nominations here.
Once we've selected the marketplaces based on your feedback, we'll send out the official survey in early January, so you can rate the marketplaces - the results of the 2nd annual Sellers Choice Awards will then be published in late January.
With more sellers than ever going multi-channel, we expect a huge turnout, and are excited to see which marketplaces have improved since last year - and let your friends know!
As I predicted in last month's editorial, PayPal announced at its Developers Conference an Apps store to showcase third-party developer applications, a new micropayments plan, and several announcements around mobile. PayPal scored a coup by getting Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg to appear on stage to announce that Facebook would be one of the first companies to integrate with PayPal's new micropayment service for digital goods.
You can see a video snippet I took of the Facebook presentation on the AuctionBytes YouTube channel where Sheryl talks about social shopping. You can also see a video snippet of John Donahoe and Marc Andreessen being interviewed by the Wall Street Journal's Kara Swisher.
PayPal is much more excited about Facebook and mobile than about ecommerce on eBay, and as I wrote on the AuctionBytes Blog, it was clear from the its absence at the conference that eBay Marketplaces is still ambivalent about helping its sellers grow off of eBay, even its own ProStores platform.
I interviewed a number of third-party developers while I was in San Francisco covering the PayPal Developers Conference for AuctionBytes, some of whom talk about the new PayPal Apps gallery, including:
- Brian Lawe of MyStoreCredit on the challenges of developing for eBay sellers - link to podcast
- Jeff Haynie of Appcelerator, which eBay recently invested in - link to YouTube video
- Chris Turchin of SellAround.net, a site that lets casual sellers sell on MySpace, Facebook, blogs - link to YouTube video
- Kevin Reeth of Outright, which helps small eBay and online sellers solve their accounting problems - link to YouTube video
- Nate Gilmore of Shipwire, a fulfillment service - link to YouTube video
- and Tim Dubroy of Terapeak, which offers research tools for eBay sellers - link to YouTube video.
If you're an eBay seller, you won't want to miss the news that eBay is cracking down on sellers. Last week I interviewed longtime seller Truetiques who was recently barred from selling on eBay due to unsatisfactory customer feedback ratings. Is eBay doing a good job of ridding its marketplace of poorly performing sellers, or is there another side to the story? Listen to one eBay seller's point of view and decide for yourself - link to interview - and then comment on the AuctionBytes Blog, where there are over 100 comments.
eBay also launched a number of changes for the holidays, including a new gift portal (The Gifting Spot); a new home page design; and a new callout on Item pages in the Delivery section (underneath Shipping) that shows a picture of a package and says, Get it in time for the Holidays! in red, with the estimated delivery time - for example, "Estimated between Sat. Nov. 6 and Tue. Nov. 16." You can read about these changes on the AuctionBytes Blog.
In case you missed the news, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman did not win her bid for Governor of California. It was an interesting race to watch, with Meg spending north of $140 million of her own personal fortune campaigning, and it was a very close race until the end.
We've got a great lineup in this week's newsletter. I'm very excited to bring you a guest column by Scott Smigler of Exclusive Concepts on how Yahoo Stores can be a viable option for small sellers. Scott has been working in online marketing since high school while working in his parents' retail stores, and he's built a thriving business around helping online merchants grow their sales.
Greg Holden tackles Interspire's shopping cart and BigCommerce hosted ecommerce platform; Denise O'Berry, author of "Small Business Cash Flow: Strategies for Making Your Business a Financial Success," shares five things online merchants should know about cash flow; and Michele Alice discusses the collectability of Sony Walkmans. We also have a profile of EveryPlaceISell merchant Alice Rudolph of Alice in Stitches, and of course, Letters to the Editor.
Remember that the clocks fall back this weekend in most of the U.S., and thanks for reading!
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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