EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 335 - May 19, 2013 - ISSN 1528-6703     1 of 6

From the Editor - May 19, 2013

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We're big fans of the Home and Garden Television network (HGTV), and we thought we'd apply one of their show concepts about home design to ecommerce websites. In today's issue, we're kicking off EcommerceBytes Web Design Challenge. We'll go through a process of selecting one lucky reader's ecommerce website, and then challenge three professional web designers to come up with a redesign!

We'll put the three designers through their paces and see which one comes out on top. Not only could your site be the beneficiary by getting a "makeover" mockup with advice, but all readers will gain a better understanding of the principles of good design.

The three web designers are: Kevin Richards, founder and CEO of Ventura Web Design; Peter McNally, Senior Usability Consultant at Bentley University; and Andy Carlson, Web Graphic Genius of Redhead Labs.

Please submit your ecommerce website for consideration on the submission page on Survey Monkey - you can read the details in Julia's article in today's issue.

Also, please let your friends and colleagues know about the challenge by sharing news of the contest on your social networking sites - this is a one of a kind opportunity. You can retweet it here.

Online sellers face a lot of issues on their own ecommerce websites as well as marketplaces. From honest requests for product returns to unreasonable demands that sound more like extortion than customer service, we've seen the gamut of buyer behavior reported by readers. One recent blog post struck a chord with sellers, and that's the problem of "bad buyers" on eBay.

eBay sent an email to sellers in May saying it had increased buyer account suspensions by 900% over the past 6 months and increased buyer restrictions by 450%. Let us know if you're seeing any changes in buyer behavior on this EcommerceBytes Blog post.

Competition from other sellers is another major area of concern for merchants, especially on where lowball sellers can lower prices for everyone. Amazon's new Virtual Account Manager program sent personalized emails to 3P sellers providing them lists of products in their category that only one seller was carrying. Some recipients of the email were not pleased, since they don't like they idea that Amazon is sharing information about their listings with competitors - you can read more about the issue in this EcommerceBytes Blog post.

I'd like to take a minute to thank readers who send in news tips and scoops for the daily EcommerceBytes Newsflash newsletter - we get our best information from online sellers who are in the trenches.

Now on to today's issue, where you can read about Brian Cohen's experience with Amazon Warehouse Deals, tips on surviving a sales and use tax audit, today's collectors corner column on Superman, and the ever popular letters to the editor.

And be sure to read Julia's first story on how to submit your website for the EcommerceBytes Web Design Challenge!

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

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