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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 287 - May 22, 2011 - ISSN 1528-6703     1 of 7

From the Editor

By Ina Steiner

May 22, 2011

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What do you do when you're auctioning $1 million dollars in Japanese prints a year on eBay and suddenly the bottom drops out? That's the dilemma Bill Fagan's business Fuji Arts faced in 2008 after eBay imposed changes in the prints category. Facing the prospect of laying off members of his staff, Fagan made a bold decision to move off of eBay. In today's issue, AuctionBytes goes in-depth to find out what happened to Fuji Arts and to learn, is there life after eBay?

We also learn what advice a multi-channel marketplace seller has for other small sellers in Greg Holden's case study. Today's issue also features a helpful column for third-party sellers who use the Amazon Marketplace Shipping Label program to print postage online, with answers to common questions provided by Stamps.com.

And, speaking of Amazon, if you use its FBA fulfillment program, you may have heard through Monday's AuctionBytes Newsflash article that it is raising its long term storage fees.

Amazon places a priority on operational efficiencies, and it is spending a lot of money to build out its distribution network around the world. Beginning August 15, Amazon will hold an Inventory Cleanup day every six months, so if your inventory is sitting unsold in Amazon.com's warehouse for a year or more, you'll pay a new annual fee on top of the normal monthly storage fees.

The decision (and the way it was announced) was controversial, and Amazon provided additional information for FBA merchants, which you can read about in Wednesday's AuctionBytes Newsflash article.

The announcement came after I had a chance to talk to Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos at the Consumer Reports ShopSmart Summit in New York the week before, so I wasn't able to ask him about that particular issue, but I did ask Jeff if third-party merchants were important to Amazon.com's long-term strategy, how merchants could compete with manufacturers who were selling online directly, and whether he thought Amazon.com was a destination site for collectibles and antiques.

Jeff also answered questions from reporters and bloggers who were invited to the event, and you can read my write-up in today's issue. I've also posted some photos of the event on the AuctionBytes Facebook page, thanks to NewsPhoto.com.

Jeff was surprisingly open about Amazon.com's mission and philosophies. At one point he said, "our goal is to have every single product that you might want to buy, not necessarily directly, but including through third-party sellers, available for very fast delivery." It's clear and specific while also being almost ridiculously ambitious.

Finally, booksellers will want to pay attention to this breaking news: Monsoon is introducing a book-rental program in which its third-party booksellers can participate. Greg Holden wrote about Chegg and BookRenter in 2009, and now individual booksellers can test out this model for themselves with the help of Alibris. Look for details in tomorrow's AuctionBytes Newsflash newsletter.

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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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