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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 323 - November 18, 2012 - ISSN 1528-6703     1 of 6

From the Editor - November 18, 2012

By Ina Steiner

November 18, 2012

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When eBay, PayPal and other companies place holds on seller accounts, it puts enormous cash flow pressure on the business. Companies say they place the holds in order to give them time to ensure the seller fulfills orders. But the very action of placing holds actually makes it more difficult for sellers to fulfill their orders - without access to the money from paying customers, it's difficult to pay the postage bill to mail the items, and it becomes more difficult to pay suppliers to get more inventory to sell.

This weekend, in fact, the Seattle Times published a piece about Amazon's payment holds - a must-read for all Amazon sellers.

If you're impacted by payment holds, you now have a resource to see if your state has money transmitter laws that restrict payment holds. EcommerceBytes published a chart this month called the "Merchants' Guide to State Money Transmitter Requirements for PayPal, Google, Amazon and Other Online Payment Services."

As Kenneth Corbin explains in his introduction to the guide, authorities who are designed as agents of consumer protection want to hear from customers who feel their payment provider is unfairly holding their funds, even if they don't have a rule stipulating a maximum hold time.

And speaking of cash flow issues, there's now a recognition that small online sellers could use easier access to financing. Joining Kabbage, Amazon and others getting into the merchant lending game is PayPal (see, "Would You Turn to eBay's PayPal Unit for a Loan?" on the EcommerceBytes Blog).

In light of all the attention these services are getting, we thought it would be interesting to learn more about online sellers' views about credit and financing - please take a minute or two to take our survey - we'll share the results in a future issue.

Two interviews worth pointing out this month - Danny Hone of Honeville sells Tshirts on eBay and his own site, Honeville.com, and he shared his story with EcommerceBytes in this EcommerceBytes Newsflash interview about the challenges of selling online.

And Wall Street analyst-turned-entrepreneur Sandeep Aggarwal shared his story of returning to India and launching an online marketplace designed to rival eBay in this EcommerceBytes Newsflash interview.

In today's issue, Julia has an interview of an early beta-tester of Amazon Sponsored Ads. Google might get all the attention when it comes to paid search, but Amazon has its own services uniquely suited to merchants looking for shopper eyeballs.

Greg Holden talks to Liberty Jane Clothing Company's Jason Miles about using social networking site Pinterest - which all the rage these days - to drive traffic to product listings. Mark O'Neill takes a look at Quora to find answers. And be sure to check out this week's Collectors Corner column and Letters to the Editor.

It's hard to believe Thanksgiving is just days away here in the U.S., which means Black Friday is nearly here, to be followed by Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

For the past two years, Cyber Monday ranked as the number-one ecommerce shopping day ($1.25 billion in 2011, and $1.03 billion in 2010). Here's hoping you get a nice slice of the pie.

Enjoy Thanksgiving, 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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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