EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2520 - April 13, 2011     3 of 4

New Service Checks for Product Recalls for Online Sellers

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Have you ever searched for product recall information to make sure the items you're selling online are safe? If so, you know it can be time-consuming; and if not, you may be putting yourself at risk thanks to new consumer product safety laws.

WeMakeItSafer has launched a new tool for online sellers aimed at easing the burden of checking items for recalls. Sellers who search for a product recall using SimplyCheck can display a seal in their product listings showing they have checked the WeMakeItSafer database and have found no product recalls.

Jennifer Toney said she and cofounder Priyanka Reddy started because they wanted to help reduce the number preventable injuries and deaths. Toney was a litigation consultant who analyzed commercial damages, and said she saw the devastation that ineffective product recalls had on companies and consumers. "The fact that, on average, only 20% of recalled products are ever returned or fixed was startling to me."

Anyone can use WeMakeItSafer to search for recalls, and consumers can use free product-tracking tools for items they own. Sellers can use SimplyCheck, which offers several pricing plans, to display a seal showing the product has been checked for recalls. SimplyCheck monitors items for recalls for a certain period of time after the initial search.

A $9.99/month plan for casual sellers lets them issue up to 50 recall verification seals and certificates per month; under that plan, items are monitored for 3 months after the initial check.

Toney said the WeMakeItSafer Seals accomplish two main goals for sellers: they signal to buyers (and government investigators) that they are a responsible seller who has checked for recalls, and the seals enable sellers to offer free recall monitoring and alert services to their customers. Toney said preliminary tests showed that listings that included the WeMakeItSafer Seal had ending sales prices that were 4.6% higher, on average, than similar products sold over the same time period without the WeMakeItSafer Seal.

The seal can be displayed in product listings, including third-party marketplaces, but Toney said sellers need to be aware of any restrictions marketplaces have on displaying such seals. "If a platform does not allow the link to the certificate, the seller can still paste an image of the seal along with the WeMakeItSafer Item Number in their listing. A buyer can enter that Item Number at to see the Certificate and a button to drop the information into his or her own account for recall monitoring, just as they would had they been able to click on the Seal."

Toney said WeMakeItSafer has not entered into any agreements with eBay. However, she has a connection to the online marketplace - her husband, Laurence Toney, was at one time the General Manager of Collectibles at eBay.

Toney and Reddy raised an undisclosed amount of angel funding last year, and Toney said they are undecided about whether to go the venture capital route.

WeMakeItSafer also plans to introduce a service for larger sellers - Inventory Checker will enable sellers to upload entire spreadsheets or manifests to be checked at once. And the company plans to add a Responsible Sellers shopping directory to the site.

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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