EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 364 - August 10, 2014 - ISSN 1528-6703     1 of 5

From the Editor - August 10, 2014

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BigCommerce and Amazon Webstore came out on top for this year's Sellers Choice Awards where EcommerceBytes readers reviewed the storefronts and shopping carts they use. The full results are published in today's issue.

Interestingly, all of the top-five services experienced a decline in ratings for SEO features. With Google Shopping moving from free to fee, that means free traffic from Google must come solely from organic search. At the same time, organic search is competing with paid ads from better-funded merchants whose ads display prominently in search results.

One strategy merchants are using to compensate for this challenge is to use content to get their site to show up higher in search results. In the next issue, Contributing Editor Greg Holden takes a closer look at how merchants are using content to drive traffic to listings.

If you were on vacation last week, you might have missed an important story about an eBay security breach. eBay finally plugged a whole in its system after we pointed out a security and privacy breach in its live-chat system. Turns out there was a gaping hole that let anyone communicate with eBay customer service reps about someone else's account and actually get the agents to make changes to other users' accounts.

As usual, it was sellers who were on top of the issue. Sellers discovered the breach, reported it to eBay, and told us about it. That eBay no longer seems to listen to its users is disturbing. Its customers (both buyers and sellers) are its greatest resource, but it sometimes feels like eBay sees sellers as more of a necessary evil.

You can read what eBay had to say about the breach in last week's EcommerceBytes Newsflash, which links to an accompanying blog post where you can leave a comment.

eBay also had an "outage" at the end of July. It took several articles (Slashgear, EcommerceBytes and Inquirer) before eBay acknowledged technical issues on its Systems Announcement board, though it downplayed the incident - see the EcommerceBytes Blog if you missed it.

How the company responded to the breach and technical issues demonstrates eBay is out of touch with its community of users and reveals a deep communication problem. Sadly, with a new defect policy going into effect a week from Wednesday, the need for good communication has never been greater.

In matters closer to home, Julia Wilkinson is stepping down as Editor of the AuctionBytes Blog as she opens the door to doing consulting work for vendors in the industry. As a contributing writer for the past 12 years and as editor of the AB Blog for the past 2 and a half years, she has informed and entertained us through her engaging and insightful posts. Her interview last week with Terry Kovel on collecting trends is typical of her ability to tell a story while providing useful information to readers.

The AuctionBytes Blog will remain, as will the EcommerceBytes Blog, and Julia left us with two more articles for the EcommerceBytes Update newsletter, so we won't feel her absence completely for another month. You can wish her well on her farewell post on the AuctionBytes Blog.

Julia tackled two major online-postage services that both offer online sellers the tools to make the process of printing shipping labels and communicating with buyers (and marketplaces) easier and more efficient. Today you can find her article on Endicia, and in the next issue, we'll publish Julia's article on

Also in today's issue, Collectors Corner editor Michele Alice explains the appeal of collecting "poisons" - the old bottles that contained poison, that is. And we wrap up with letters from readers.

Some of you are sending kids back to school next week, but to me it feels we're still in the middle of summer, and I look forward to many more weekends of yard-saling and estate sales.

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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