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Sat Jan 6 2018 16:26:53

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

By: David Steiner

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The start of a new year seems to be a good time to take a minute and update our readers about what Ina and I have been doing "behind the scenes" lately, and where we hope to take EcommerceBytes in the future.

Let me begin with a little history though.

I tend to lose track, but EcommerceBytes, in some form or another, has been around nearly 19 years. This was our first attempt at a web site, and if there were pitfalls or potholes along the way, we managed to hit most of them. As you would expect, the biggest challenge with electronic publishing is the technology.

In 1999, there weren't many content management systems available to small publishers without great expense, so with help from friends, we tried several open-source solutions (remember, there was no such thing as WordPress) and settled on one that, while stable and secure, was not widely used. As a result, when that software eventually faded into obscurity, there weren't many developers out there who had even heard of it, let alone develop for it - even so, it continued to get the job done.

Unfazed, like deer heading toward the Interstate, we added blogs, directories, tools and other resources over the years, all custom-written in different programming languages - essentially a Tower of Babel, bound to the main site by domain name only. This made the site challenging to administrate, and made keeping up with the constant changes in search engine optimization difficult.

The internet is like a trendy dance club that changes every time there is a shift in musical tastes. If we made every change recommended by SEO "experts" through the years, you'd be coming to a different club - I mean site - every 6 months. Sometimes it's just better to stick with what you do best. Good old Rock 'n Roll. Suffice it to say, we have a lot of empathy for online sellers who find they have a new set of rules to every time they log on. If the marketplace where you sell is your master, I guess search engines are ours.

Fast forward to 2017. We took most of last year to make some substantial changes to EcommerceBytes. We've made the site responsive to mobile, implemented secure pages on the main site and blogs, moved the site to a more powerful server, changed list hosts and other things that I don't even remember doing...

On the site, we've replaced our oldest content management system with WordPress, and have placed the last 4 years of content into that platform. Article archives going back to 1999 are still available on the site, however you will need to use the "Archive Search" box on the right column. We've removed some of the tools, such as fee calculators, from the main site - we didn't feel that we could keep them updated in a timely fashion.

In 2017, we published a paid-subscription newsletter, which was well-received and highly distributed. However, the fact that not every reader was able to pay for a subscription left us with a dilemma: there were readers who were not receiving all of the important content in a timely manner that paid subscribers were getting. So as of January 1st, all articles and information are again available for free on our site and in our email newsletters - EB NewsFlash and EB Update.

Meanwhile with all of these changes going on, Ina never missed a deadline with the newsletters in 2017. I say that because it's easy to lose track of the fact that, at our core, we're a two-person company. Last year was challenging, but a wake-up call to simplify and prioritize our business.

So about 2018...first and foremost, we're an independent news publication for online sellers. That is going to be our focus this year, and you'll be seeing an increased frequency of news being published with the help of our talented freelance contributors.

I feel that our community of readers is the most informed - and outspoken - group of sellers out there. We get our strength from you - as well as many breaking news tips. Hopefully, we've represented you well and communicated our appreciation of you enough.

We hope thoughtful and civil dialogue flourishes in our blogs. We recognize that there will be differences of opinion, it would be rather boring otherwise. But be respectful of one another. There are thousands of people who come to read what you have to say, and a large number tell us that they are intimidated by the occasional tone of the discussion. Help convert them from lurkers into participants. Invite people here. It's a richer conversation when there are more voices.

Finally, Ina and I want to thank our sponsors. They are a huge reason this site exists. Check them out and let them know where you heard about them. We only accept a small percentage of the services that inquire about advertising, because we feel they are established, trustworthy companies that offer our readers something useful. They're also the reason that we can continue to publish objective news and not advertorial content to our site.

If you made it this far, Happy New Year - or at the very least, a healthy, more profitable and less frustrating one.

As for us, as newspaper man Ben Bradlee once said, "nose down, ass up and moving steadily forward into the future." 

About the Author
David Steiner is President and cofounder of EcommerceBytes, the independent trade publication for online merchants.




Comments (25) | Permalink

Readers Comments

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

by: thriftyone This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 6 17:52:03 2018

Happy New Year to you both and Thank you for all that you do!

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sat Jan 6 17:57:30 2018

I am deeply thankful to be part of your community.

I have to admit I get most of my commerce news from this site, you have helped me the seller I am today.

Happy New Year David & Ina

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 6 18:25:56 2018

Best to both of you. I've visited daily, nearly from the beginning (different names and paths). You have long been my major ecommerce news, tips, hints, and leads, AND the forums have also been all that AND AN IMMENSE BIT OF ENTERTAINMENT.

Wishing you many more years of success!

TomH  

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

by: Russ This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 6 18:28:33 2018

Thanks for the very nice dissertation regarding the ECB site and its plan forward into 2018.

Though I no longer sell online, I do very much have that ''bug'' still within me.  That being said, I still enjoy coming to your very classy site to view news and the subsequent comments by the many members of your community.  Spirited, at times, in regards to opinion and tone, for the most part I find all participants respectfully dealing with one another.

I was introduced to Ina at eBay Live! In New Orleans and thought what a great idea it was to report on the workings of eBay...wow, the changes since then.  Having been a real believer in eBay at that time, sadly, the changes did not agree with me thus my departure from the once vibrant entity.

To you both, thanks for the shared information and reportage and I will continue being a loyal reader.

And to all contributing readers/commenters, thank you, as well -- each and every one of you keep it informative and entertaining.

Best for a healthy, happy and successful 2018!

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

by: sellerchick This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 6 18:49:11 2018

Great blog to start off the new year! You are truly the best source of breaking relevant online seller news. No one should get intimidated by bullies. Just don't read them, and they will cease to exist in your mind.

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat Jan 6 20:57:44 2018

Ina and David, thank you so much for this site and what you do for online sellers. I can't remember how I found you, but you are definitely the best source of news for what's happening with eBay, Amazon, and the other sites where your readers sell.
 

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

by: Studiolines This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 6 21:04:06 2018

Thank You David & Ina for providing this site and the back history of Ecommercebytes. You are my number one trusted news site on marketplaces. I hope that 2018 is a prosperous year for yourselves and all who visit here.  

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Sun Jan 7 00:03:43 2018

Bravo Ina and David.
Been here every nite since almost the beginning (I can't believe it has been that long now).
Keep up the good work and a happy and prosperous New Year!

Bill

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun Jan 7 02:37:26 2018

Thank you for all your hard work and attention to details.  I have learned a great deal from what your site has to offer and I'm sure there is much more to learn in the future.

I'm grateful that you to decided to go down this path and offer a tool to thousands of readers that is extremely valuable and sometimes even therapeutic.

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Sun Jan 7 08:47:24 2018

Nice to see you are keeping up with the Joneses. Our organization had the same issues with being in the technological boonies and making the leap to WordPress was like stepping on the starship Enterprise for the 1st time.

Whilst I have been inactive for a year or so, the urge to resume selling is still there. Your site is invaluable to the small seller and I always enjoy reading what it has to offer.

Good fortune in 2018.

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 7 10:46:50 2018

Thank you for all the work you 2 put in.

Have a great 2018!!

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

by: OnlyPollyPocket This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 7 13:12:57 2018

Many thanks for all you do for ecommerce...it is SO appreciated!

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

by: ebayisscrewed This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 7 15:41:01 2018

I contribute much of the success of my e-commerce business to the knowledge I have gained from this site. Thank you both for keeping up with this platform and all of the hard work involved. I owe you a good bottle of something . . .

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Jan 7 18:17:02 2018

First, many thanks to the Steiners for providing an informational space that's an antibiotic to ebafia's bacteria.

I started reading Auctionbytes circa 2004 or 2005 but didn't post until about 2008 when it became abundantly clear to me that ebafia was embarking on a road that would push many sellers over the cliff.

Did I take the heat for my heresies! For those of you interested in reading the then AB only blog saturated with cheerleaders, check out some of AB's early blog years. Just be sure to have your barf bag handy.

But Ina and David gave (me or anyone else) the space to analyze and deconstruct ebafia's lies, illegal activities, and anti seller policies. Little by little, one light bulb after another lit up and today I believe that most small and medium sellers view ebafia from a 180 degree different perspective than was most common in 2008.

The Steiners have been coerced and even threatened by ebafia management for reporting the truth. In fact, several years ago when ebafia (Jose Mallabo) whined that they didn't like the "tone" of the Steiners' ebafia stories (and Mallabo said a lot worse in his tirade, believe me), ebafia began denying the Steiners access to the ebafia upper management crime syndicate.

This heavy handedness, aversion to the truth, and antagonism to the truth tellers continues today. Nevertheless, in the tradition of ethical journalists, the Steiners persisted and hopefully have flourished.

Thank you very much, Ina and David. I wouldn't want to sell on ebafia or another (mis) "managed marketplace" without you.

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

by: donald This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 8 00:39:02 2018




I appreciate your good work so please keep it up!

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

by: rickyrocket This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 8 00:48:07 2018

Thanks to you both for sharing the terrific information throughout the year. I'm a lurker, yet DEFINITELY am a reader...every week! Best to you in 2018,
Rick

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Jan 8 01:19:01 2018

As a very long time reader, I also want to offer my thanks.

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

by: mia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 8 01:40:41 2018

"intimidated by the occasional tone of the discussion" is a bit of an understatement. Perhaps you merely chose tactful phrasing. The general "tone" across comments to blog posts is often a *itchfest, featuring the same-as-ever cast of vitriolic characters spouting the same ol' hyberbole and hatespeech. Constructive criticism would be fine. Discussion of alternative, less-draconic sellling venues would be fine. Sadly, that's not the status quo. Hopefully now, in the absence of need to "play to the crowd" in order to drive subscriptions to a paid newsletter, you will steer the site's article topics to include more good news topics (vs the apparent focus on delivering "the latest breaking, in a neverending series of gloom and doom, topics"). I'm an old dog. I was an active participant at OTWA; I was a seller at lunarbid, at 1000markets. I've sold on, and have retreated from, both etsy and ebay. The point: Although I too have been affected by (and sometimes burned by) bumps in the road, changes in policies, changes in SEO, site closures and unfulfilled promises (artfire, bonanza) I have ZERO interest in partitipating in blog discussions which are bent on whining about, commiserating about such things. I hope you will consider altogether NIXING blog comments and, instead, link each article to to a forum topic. The forum offers a richer participation context & would enable those of us who care to engage in meaningful discussion (vs whinging, hateful, solopsisms) to selectively "add to ignore list" any undesirable peers.

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

by: madgeshatbox This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Jan 8 02:17:00 2018

Thanks for all of the important coverage to give to the world of online sales.  Your's is the only newsletter where I read every issue.  Good luck in the new year.

A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers   A New Years Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

by: Ebay's Slow Death This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 8 02:50:01 2018

David and Ina, Thank You for all the work you put into this site!  You really are appreciated, even if most of us don't let you know often enough.  Where else can I get the latest, breaking news, on the online selling world?  

I always enjoy the Comments section to your articles. I find the whining cathartic, and corroborate it in my own mind. I constantly think, ''Hey, I'm not the only one thinking that!''  There are a lot of changes to be displeased about, especially the upcoming postage increase.

Please keep up the good work. I mostly lurk now, and don't have much to say. Selling online is so much more work now, that I don't have much time to contribute.

You are appreciated, and you do make it look so easy!

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