Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Get Inspiration in Two Minutes

Need some inspiration?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Great eBay Success Story

Check out this great eBay success story in today's Washington Post

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

50 Awesome Websites

Got about 3 hours to kill (or more)? Don't click here unless you do...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Prettiest Towns in America

Prettiest towns in America

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The most remote place on Earth

is...Tristand da Cunha Island. Ever been there?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rolling Baby Bulldog

Does this happen to you? It happens all the time to me...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dogs on film

The end is the best part...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Open the Clam

Neat trick to open that deadly packaging...

Off with their ties!

What is more arbitrary than a tie? Nice work Bangladesh.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Has this ever happened to you? Totally understandable how something like this could happen...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Good fish!

These little guys are helping to keep pools clean!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Is it just me? Or does anybody else have a violent, negative reaction to these folks. For the love of God and all that is holy - STOP BREEDING! ENOUGH!

Reality TV is not worth overpopulating every piece of God's creation! Leave some oxygen for the rest of life on Earth, will you?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

See the Molecule

This is very cool - I spent years learning about chemistry. The thing was, it was all lines and drawings on paper. Other than mixing stuff in test tubes - you could never really see chemical structures...but now you can!

Friday, August 28, 2009

CA for sale on eBay

Waste not want not..California is auctioning off extra assets to help its budget shortfall.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Career Advice

Career advice from the Most Interesting Man in the World...

Kentucky Fried T-Rex

Think the Jurassic Park scenario couldn't happen in our lifetime? Think again.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Putpockets in London

Ever found money in a pocket you didn't know you had? Now you know why...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

I didn't know this, did you?

"The Dog Days of summer, or caniculae dies, was the term used by ancient Romans to refer to the hottest days of the year falling between early July and late August, presaged by the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius, just before the sun."

...sounds like the dogs in Rome are getting a break from the heat now though...check it out here

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fold Shirts Like a Samurai

The Japanese are efficient at many things, including folding shirts!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Like A Complete Unknown

Have you ever felt like a complete unknown? Like a rolling stone? Bob Dylan has.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How big is your water slide?

Thought you were cool going down a water slide this summer? Check out this dude:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Facebook Lite

Mashable is reporting that Facebook is developing a new, simpler platform to compete with Twitter called Facebook Lite.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This little girl knows how to fish

This little girl makes a big catch! Check it out...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Runaway Train Bride

Everything's big in the Middle Kingdom. Check out this story about a bride with one long train.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Snuggie for Dogs

Yep, you'd better believe it - dogs need Snuggies too

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Star Wars Dance Party

This is absolutely ridiculous, but I dig it.

Star Wars Dance Party - Watch more Funny Videos

Monday, August 3, 2009

Lizard Vs. Baby Chicken

I like lizards, I like chickens even more.

I'm glad these two were able to sort it all out.

Lizard Vs Baby Chicken - Watch more Funny Videos

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mom's Apple Pies

Increasingly when I walk into pretty much any establishment I have a habit of asking myself

1) Is this the sort of place that could use e-marketing (emails, Facebook, Twitter, etc)

2) I wonder if they are

Earlier today I dropped by Mom's Apple Pies in Leesburg, VA - they make awesome pies. As I stood there debating which pie I needed to have - I asked myself those two questions.

It occurred to me that a little pie shop could DEFINITELY use e-marketing really effectively. And then I saw the little sign "Follow Us on Twitter" - it wasn't a huge sign - but it was there.

I thought to myself, "I'll have to check them out"

Sure enough - they're on Twitter: @MomsPies - not bad! And it looks like they're actually Twittering. Good for them!

Now they need an email newsletter/sign-up on their website!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

JK Divorce Entrance

Have you heard about the JK Wedding Entrance? It was a home video from a wedding that went viral with over 12 MILLION views in about a week.

Of course, it has now been followed with this:

Shatner does Palin on Twitter

I could seriously watch this all day - Shatner reads Sarah Palin's tweets. Shatner rules and I love the expressions on the faces of the bass player and the bongo drum guy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This Parrot is Awesome

So this is what happens when you put a parrot in the same room with an unhappy baby. Smart parrot.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Shatner does Palin

Regardless of what your politics are, this is pretty funny. William Shatner reads part of Sarah Palin's resignation speech:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Eternal Moonwalk

You might be a Michael Jackson fan, you might not - but this eternal moonwalk is a really cool example of something new on the web! Neat idea...check it out...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

You can't fake it.

At the time of this writing, Iran is going through some turbulent times. From the looks of things, government authorities in Iran are trying to control information about what is happening in their country - but its not working.

Why? Because they have about a bizillion of their citizens talking about what is really happening on Twitter and Facebook and Youtube and everywhere else.

If a totalitarian regime that is state sponsor of terrorism (that's what they are, according to the US government) can't sugar coat their image online, what makes you think you can?

You can't.

If you want to look awesome online the only way to do it is to be genuinely awesome. Sorry - Iran can't fake it and neither can you.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I Believe it's Magic

I spent a little time preparing to give a talk about Web 2.0 and it occurred to me (again) that the Internet is amazing and awesome. It's easy to take it for granted, which makes reminders about how great the web is all the more important.

It's been said that if one comes up with a technology that is advanced enough, it looks just the same as magic. I think the web is one of those technologies that is magic - and the magic is just going to get more powerful.

Monday, April 27, 2009

F.E.A.R. on eBay

If you're afraid to try something new on eBay, remember the acronym: F.E.A.R.

You may have heard this before...but F.E.A.R. stands for.... "False Evidence Appearing Real."

I didn't make that up - but it's a great acronym for anybody who is facing a little bit of paralysis when it comes to trying something new on eBay, or anyplace really.

So, if you're wanting to try something new with selling stuff on eBay - but are a little afraid it won't work - just realize that the assumptions you're making about why it might not work are very likely wrong.

You don't have to put all your eggs in one basket - don't be afraid, give that new idea a try.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's easy being green on eBay

Don't believe the hype!

You can be a good eBay seller AND be kind to the environment at the same time. Being green on eBay doesn't necessarily mean you have to reuse boxes you found in a dumpster and old crumpled up newspaper for packing materials. Frankly, most customers aren't going to like receiving their purchases like that.

Instead, consider using "new" materials that are recycled. In truth, the right materials are going to weigh less, and whichever shipper you use is going to spend less energy to ship your package.

It may be worth a few cents per order to be truly green. If you do go that extra mile, make sure you let your customers know how you are being environmentally friendly. Some folks will buy from you for that very reason.

Anytime you sell something used, or something that is an antique - that's green too.

Just some things to think about in terms of being friendly to the Earth...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Red chicken printer tea cup new on eBay

Over the years, many things have changed on eBay. However, the strategy behind listing titles is one thing that hasn't changed very much.

Its a little counter-intuitive - but often times a good listing title doesn't make any sense on its own. Of course, it's ok if it does make sense - but its not the most important factor.

The MOST important factor in your listing title are keywords. Let's say it all together now, "KEYWORDS"

You get 55 characters in your listing title - and each one of them is gold. Why? Because that is the real estate that is searchable.

So, the idea is, pack that 55 character space that of course relate to your product being sold (the words must be related, otherwise its keyword spamming, which eBay will nail you for) but are also likely to attract buyers attention. Use them all - all 55 characters if you can.

Red chicken printer tea cup new! If you had a new tea cup that had a red chicken on one side and a printer on the other - that would be at least part of good listing title! Got it?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tell a Story on eBay

When you list something on eBay, you can talk about the features and benefits of whatever you are selling - that's fine.

But if you REALLY want to knock the socks of your customers, tell a story.

People remember stories. Stories are entertaining. Stories can give huge meaning to the most mundane items.

I recently purchased a Moleskine notebook. I'd never heard of Moleskine - frankly, I wondered if the cover was made from mole skin - and it kind of freaked me out.

But check this out...this is the story of the Moleskine notebook - they put a little pamphlet in each one so you can find out about what makes this notebook special:

"Moleskine is the legendary notebook used by European artists and thinkers for the past two centuries. from Van Gogh to Picasso, from Ernest Hemingway to Bruce Chatwin. This trusty, pocket-size travel companion held sketches, notes, stories and ideas before they were turned into famous images or pages of beloved books...In 1986, the last manufacturer of Moleskine closed it shutters forever...in 1998, a small Milanese publisher brought Moleskine back again...the the adventure of Moleskine continues and its still-blank pages will tell the rest."

WOW! I can write in the same kind of notebook that Hemingway used? WOW! WOW! WOW!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

An eBayer for All Seasons

When you're trying to figure out what to sell on eBay, remember the seasons.

If Easter is coming up, sell bunnies.

If it's getting cold, sell coats. If it's getting warm, sell coats to customers in the other hemisphere.

If a Batman movie is coming out, sell Batman stuff.

This is over simplified of course - but sometimes holidays, the weather, human events, etc are as good a guide as any about what you should try to sell if you can find it.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Try something else on eBay

So, if you've been trying to sell stuff on eBay, and it's going ok - but you think you could do better, then do this...

Try something else.

If you've got an idea about what to do next, great. But if not - it doesn't matter. Just try something else.

If that one thing makes things better - GREAT! Keep it. Now try something else.

If it doesn't make things better, drop it - and try something else.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Get your refund when you issue a refund on eBay

When you issue a refund on eBay, definitely get your fees back from eBay. eBay actually makes this pretty easy to do...

If your customer pays you via PayPal, when you issue them a refund - the paid mark on the corresponding transaction page within eBay turns into a symbol like this:

...once that happens - assuming you're sure that your buyer will agree to a mutually agreed auction cancel request - all you need to do is go to the corresponding listing page and click the report unpaid item link.

This is the confusing part because, "report unpaid item" sound scary - but that's the link you want.

Then you simply file the unpaid item report as a mutual request. Once your buyer indicates that they want to cancel the listing - you get your fees back.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The pen is mightier than the sword on eBay

You know what is really rare these days, and only getting rarer?


That's right: actual genuine bona fide honest to God handwriting - it's rare. Once upon a time, back in olden days, people actually wrote letters, took notes in class by hand, hell they used to even keep their checkbook in order - with a pen. But no longer.

So, if you really want to get your customers' attention - why not write "Thanks!" in pen, on an actual piece of paper, someplace in the package you send them.

I guarantee you - it will shock the hell out of them - they'll remember you, and they'll think you're awesome because you took the time to care.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cash is king

Here is a multiple choice question for you...

When selling items on eBay, you should accept this form of payment from your buyers:

a) cash

b) money orders

c) checks

d) PayPal

e) all of the above

What is the answer? Look at the logo on my uniform... e) of course .... all of the above!


Because different people pay for things in different ways. You want more customers? Accept every form of payment you can.

Now a lot of folks will tell you (some even at eBay) that PayPal is only safe way to accept payment.

They're wrong.

Might a check bounce? Sure.

Can PayPal come up with some reason why you don't receive a payment from a buyer? Yep.

Which happens more often? Well...I'll just leave that one out there...but neither happen very often in my experience.

No fear. Accept all forms of payment.

Don't want to? That's fine. Your competition will.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Good Vibrations

Some people need total quiet to work, others need a little noise. I'm one of the later.

If it's completely quiet, I'm useless. A lot of times while I'm doing eBay stuff I'll listen to a podcast or an audiobook. But one of the easiest and quickest ways to get noise out of a computer that you may not know about is http://pandora.com

If you don't know about it - check it out. It's totally free - you just tell it a song you like and it goes from there in kind of a netflix-esque sort of way. Hope you dig it as much as I do.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Can I have the receipt please?

This is such a basic thing. Maybe so basic that a lot of eBayers just forget to do it.

When you go to a store and buy something - what does the cashier almost always give you at the end (and if they don't, and you're like me, you ask them for it)? A receipt!

So when you mail stuff to your eBay customers...do you include some kind of receipt in the package? If you don't, you should.

Not only will it help the buyer remember that they received the package from you - but it makes it a heck of a lot easier for the buyer to leave feedback for you...not to mention find your store again if they want to make a repeat purchase.

I think a good eBay seller should put all kinds of free stuff and marketing propaganda in everything they send out - but a receipt is the bare minimum. eBay makes it easy to print one out for every order....so there's no excuse not to.

Did you find this interesting? If so, sign up for the Evenger Secret Library and find out lots more!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Be Nimble, Grasshopper

So this is very Sun Tzu - or if Yoda is more your cup of tea - its something he might say to any good eBayer too: "be nimble, grasshopper!"

What do I mean? I mean - if your competition includes giant massive sellers with all kinds of power, and you're small, and the whole situation seems daunting - think like this:

They are big and lumbering, you are small and nimble
They are mammoth and slow, you are gazelle-like and fast
They are impersonal, you provide a personal touch to your customers
The have a huge inventory, your inventory is small and very niche
They have the lowest price, you provide tons of value

...as with so many things, size matters - but bigger isn't always better on eBay.

Is this useful? If so, sign up for the Evenger Secret Library and find out lots more!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Moment for Momentum

Have you ever noticed that it is usually easier to get a lot of things done when you're really busy than it is when you have all sort of time on your hands?

I find this to be very true when listing new items on eBay.

If all my orders have been shipped and the PayPal payments are just rolling in, its harder to bear down and list even more - though that is exactly the time when a good eBayer DOES list a ton more.

On the other hand, if things have sort of stalled, there is a big pile of orders that need to be shipped, and a bunch of customer emails that need to be answered - being productive is much easier.

Watch out - don't fall prey to the easy going times. Be disciplined (it takes practice - work on building the habit) and list a ton of stuff regardless of whether things are feeling productive just then, or not.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

God's True Light

Do your eBay photos look like this?

If so, you’ve got a LIGHT problem! I don’t know about you – but I’m a person who likes light. One of the reasons I’m not a huge fan of winter is not because of the cold, but because of the light! It’s not just that there are fewer hours of light, but winter light has a narrower spectrum (that’s one of the big clues trees use to know when it’s time to shed their leaves).

I digress. The point is that in order to have great photos on eBay, one big thing you can do is to take photos with a full spectrum of light. What is one of the best sources of the full spectrum? You guessed it – that big yellow thing in the sky…..the sun.

If you’re eBaying in a cave – take some of that stuff outside, find a nice plain background, and try taking photos in sunlight – you’ll be surprised how well they turn out.

Is this useful? If so, sign up for the Evenger Secret Library and find out lots more!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ask and ye shall receive...feedback on eBay

Feedback got you down?

You do everything right - you ship like a superhero, you do everything perfect...and then your customer leaves you no feedback? Bummer right?

Well let me ask you this...did you ask your customer to leave feedback?

Now I don't want to encourage you to be one of those sellers who sends like 10,000 emails saying - "please leave me feedback! I beg you, please leave me feedback!"...because frankly, that's just annoying.

But how about, when you send your final "thank you" email (you send one, right?) you include just a simple line like this:

"We strive for 5 star feedback from all our customers! If you had a great experience, please let me know. Or, if things could have been better - please contact me ASAP so we can make it right! I want you to feel good about leaving 5 star feedback across the board!"

...something like that. If you'd like feedback from your customers, make sure you ask for it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Selling other people's stuff is easier

You know, most people (not everybody, but most people) have a lot of s$#t.

They've got stuff they don't even know they have. Boxes and boxes of it.

Have you been to an Estate Sale lately? Every time I go I swear to myself that by the time I'm ready to check out - I'm not going to have all those books and all those boxes of stuff.

Why do people collect so much stuff over their lives? Well...memories of course. Each item a person owns has a memory attached to it - so there is always the fear that if I get rid of this item, then I'll lose the memory I have attached to it. Of course, that's not true....and of course - who is to say that you won't forget the memory even if you hold onto the object?

The other thing is - the longer a person owns the item - the more they have "invested" into keeping it - and the harder it is to get rid of!

Think of all the piles of stuff that people don't use, that they could sell and get $$$ for - but they are reluctant to get rid of extra stuff?

Try this mental exercise:

Think about selling your extra stuff. Stuff that you never use, but is really border-line in terms of your willingness to give it up. Got that feeling?

Now - pretend a total stranger owned those exact same items, and asked you to sell them. How does it feel now?

My point is that it's a lot easier to sell stuff that you are not emotionally attached to. So, if you've got stuff that you know you should sell but are emotionally attached to - just understanding the dynamic that is happening can help you get to a place where you can pull the trigger on that auction (and then the cool thing is - once that auction is going - you won't think about it a bit...much less when you've shipped the item and you have $$$ in hand).

Or, if you know somebody who is wanting to sell some stuff but having a hard time breaking up with it - offer to swoop in and do it for them. It'll be much easier for you to do it than it will be for them to do it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Is it pretty?

As a cyber superhero, I'll be the first to admit - I'm usually not too worried about whether most things are "pretty"

The thing is though, some of my customers - actually most of my customers - well, let's be honest - ALL CUSTOMERS like things to be pretty when they open their order.

Let me give you two scenarios:

Scenario 1: You buy something on eBay and open your order. The box kind of smells funny (someplace between mothballs and cigarettes) and is filled with strips of yellowing newspaper. On some of the newspaper there is some kind of stain - is it blood? Looks like blood. Oh! There is the thing I ordered - it's fine I guess - but was that blood? And what's that smell?

Scenario 2: You buy something on eBay and open your order. The box has that nice new plastic smell and is filled with fresh bubble wrap or foam or stuff that looks cool. My order is wrapped in fresh tissue or papyrus - I don't know what it is but I'm so glad I bought this cool thing.

I'm kind of exaggerating, but you get the idea. Don't use newspaper to stuff your packages. I understand the environmental argument - but honestly...using the right packaging makes your item weigh less which means less energy is used to transport it - and if you purchase recycled materials - you're still being pretty green.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Repeat Repeat Repeat if you can!

So when you're looking for stuff to sell on eBay, if you have the choice to get 10 different things to sell or 10 things that are exactly the same to sell - all else being equal - definitely choose 10 things that are exactly the same...


First of all, instead of having to write 10 listings descriptions and taking 10 photos, you'll be able to use one listing description and one photo 10 times!

Second, you'll only have to figure out the best way to ship that item once. No need to get a bunch of different sized boxes and so forth.

Third, if its a really hot seller and you have multiples of the same item - you can always offer second chance offers to bidders who come in just behind your highest bidder.

So re re re repeat if you can!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

13 is the Magic Mailbox Number

13 oz - when it comes to USPS, that is the magic number when it comes to the mailbox.

Before 9/11, USPS would accept any parcel through a mailbox that would fit in a mailbox. In other words - you could have a very heavy envelope and, so long as it would fit in the mailbox - you were good to go.

However, in recent years - they have added a decal to the top of mailboxes explaining that only items weighing 13 oz or less can go in the mailbox.

Which means...if it's over 13 oz - you've got to go to a post office.

But bear in mind - you can still put international items, flat rate envelopes, even small boxes in a mailbox - just as long as they don't weigh more than 13 oz.

You'd be amazed at some of the things I've managed to fit in a mailbox - I sometimes wonder if I have a "Wanted!" poster out there in some post office someplace.

13! It's magic!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Don't Freak If You Get a Negative Feedback on eBay

"I got negged!"

to get negged: the circumstance where one receives negative feedback from a buyer on eBay

It happens. Sooner or later, the longer you stay on eBay - its going to happen to you. I went 7000 feedbacks before I got my first one. When it does happen to you, depending on your particular disposition, you will have one of the following reactions:

1) "Oh Well"

2) Damn - that sucks.

3) Oh my good Lord the world is coming to the end. I'm sick to my stomach. I'm going to quit eBay.

You may get a negative feedback because you deserve it, you may get one because you don't deserve it. But when you get one - here is what you should do.

1) Don't panic and put it in perspective - if you have one negative feedback out of many, many transactions - it's not the end of the world. Actually, one (or even several) negative feedbacks out of many positives aren't going to matter in the long run.

2) If you messed up and the buyer justifiably gave you negative feedback, reach out to them - apologize. Do whatever you can to make it better. Then, once you've made it better - ask the buyer if they would consider withdrawing the negative feedback through the system eBay has set up to withdraw feedback.

3) If you think the buyer is crazy and you didn't deserve the negative feedback - reach out to them - apologize. Do whatever you can to make it better. Then, once you've made it better - ask the buyer if they would consider withdrawing the negative feedback through the system eBay has set up to withdraw feedback (yes, this is exactly the same advice as described under #2).

4) If you get the feeling the buyer is just playing around or gaming the system or breaking an eBay rule with their negative feedback, reach out to eBay and see if they will remove it. Chances are, if the feedback is truly inappropriate, they will.

In the end, if you do get stuck with a negative feedback - wear it like a badge of honor. Not that you should be glad you got negative feedback. Rather, use the few negatives you do get as a way to contrast all the many many many positive feedbacks you receive and use it as a reminder to do better if you messed up.

A negative feedback will live in your feedback tally for a full year. If you do have a negative feedback - watch it crawl across: feedback left in the last month, feedback left in the last 6 months, feedback left in the last year.... See if you can work that negative off without getting another for a full year.

Don't freak out about negative feedback, it happens to everybody - but don't take it lightly either. Rather - use it as a reminder make you a stronger eBay seller.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Keep Yourself Charged When You List

One thing that a lot of folks fall prey to when it comes time to list new items on eBay is, they lose steam.

That is, they're all ready to start listing a big pile of stuff - but they just can't get motivated to do it.

Do NOT let this happen to you. Listing lots of stuff every day is one of the best ways to assure successful selling on eBay. Here are a 3 things that get me moving when I'm not in the mood to list:

1) Change your state of mind by doing 10 push-ups or sit ups or whatever is going to get you out of your funk

2) Go consume massive quantities of sugar/caffeine - this isn't the healthiest option...but it works in a pinch. The only down side to this one of course is that once you come down from the sugar/caffeine high - you're worse off than you were. But if you can list fast - a couple of diet cokes ought to let you get a good 20 or 30 items up before you fade.

3) Listen to something awesome. This is probably the best option. Once you get used to it, listing doesn't take a lot of concentration - so listen to something that feeds your brain. Two really good things to listen to is music at http://www.pandora.com and the talks at http://www.ted.org

...or, do whatever works best for you. The important thing is that when you're supposed to list and you're not in the mood to list - GET in the mood to list.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Should you print postage at home?

Should you print postage at home for your eBay packages?

Let me be very clear: YES...for God's sake, YES!

The options for printing postage at home deserve more attention that I want to put in a single blog post. With this post, I just want to address the question of printing postage at home.

Why is it better to print postage at home?

1) Using USPS, for any package that is 13 oz or less, you don't even have to go to the post office, you can just drop stuff off in a mail box.

2) Even for things that ARE over 13 oz, a lot of post offices are starting to have bins where you can just drop parcels off (those that have web postage on them, that is)

3) Even if you do have to stand in line at the post office, if your packages already have postage, you just verify they don't have anything hazardous in them, then slide them across the counter.

4) By printing postage at home, you can link postage costs to each parcel - this make accounting much easier - and you can see where you are gaining money/losing money due to postage.

5) Your parcels look a lot more professional with pre-printed postage.

6) You can put your own logo on postage printed at home

7) You don't have to hand address parcels - addresses are spit out along with postage when you print postage from home. If you have a label printer, it's even easier - just slap the label on.

8) If you use delivery confirmation, the confirmation number can be automatically synced with your orders. In other words, you customers can look at their order record and see where their package is en route.

9) If you ever need to pay for a customer returning something to you, you can print a prepaid return postage label and send it to them.

10) If you are unsure what the most economical way to mail something is, you can test the different options right at your computer - saves money!

If you're wondering about whether you should be printed postage at home, stop wondering. You should.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sometimes your products = your customer

I have absolutely no scientific basis for this, I haven't measured it, I haven't tested it.

But I have noticed that customers who buy certain products of mine tend to have certain traits (I guess there is nothing Earth shattering about that observation). What I have noticed however, is that beyond just the normal demographic stuff - customers who buy certain products of mine tend to always be really trustworthy, responsible, customers.

For example, I sell replica copies of the U.S. Constitution. I've never once had somebody buy one of these replicas and then had the deal turn south. My Constitution buyers always pay right away - very responsible customers. It's a generalization - but it causes me to make the connection that anybody who would buy a copy of the Constitution is apt to be a damn upright citizen.

I don't sell books on "How to be a big dork." But if I did, I bet customers who bought that book would tend to be big dorks.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How to become an eBay expert - the answer is HERE!

One definition of the word "expert" that I've heard (maybe you've heard this one too) is this: you become an expert in something after you've spent 10,000 hours doing it.

So let me ask you this: have you spent 10,000 hours on eBay? Perhaps the more important question is: who HAS spent 10,000 hours on eBay?

I've been on eBay for 10 years. So lets say, on average, I've spent 1 hour a day on eBay - that includes vacations, time at work, time outside, time at the gym - all the other stuff I do.

So figure at most, I've spent 10 years x 365 days x 1 hour on eBay - 3,650 hours on eBay. That means I'm only like a 1/3 expert on eBay!

My point is - there are very few real eBay experts out there - so if you are feeling frustrated about making eBay work, don't. There are very few people out there who know it all, so you shouldn't beat yourself when something on eBay doesn't work.

The important thing is - don't get discouraged - keep trying new things. Maybe before the time you're old and gray you'll have it all figured out.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sizing up eBay pictures the right way

So it just breaks my heart every time I see an eBay listing with a picture that looks like this:

How much of the space on that image is being wasted? It's like a sea of blue!

Well, don't despair - there is an easy fix. If you're working in Windows - all you have to do is open up your Paint program (it's under accessories). Once you're there, just

1) Select the area of the image that's important
2) Left click, select cut (you'll see an empty white spot now)
3) Go down to the lower left and shrink the image field so just a bit of the box shows in the upper right corner
4) Left click inside the reduced work area, click paste
5) Then just save it.

It takes about 20 seconds. Now you have something that looks like this:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

On eBay, make money when you BUY

One of the biggest questions eBay sellers often ask is, "where can I get stuff to sell?!?"

That is a whole topic on its own - but one thing that I've learned when looking for stuff to sell is: make money when you buy.

It sounds a little counter-intuitive, but its true. What I mean is, don't bank on making a profit by buying something at a reasonable price, and then hope to sell it for a good price. Rather, look for things that you can buy at a ridiculously low price - then plan to sell them for a reasonable price.

Why? First, your chances of flipping the item quickly are much greater if you can offer it at a reasonable price - which means you can then take the money you had invested and go out and get something else for your inventory. Second, you may still be able to sell that item for a good price, then you make that much more profit.

So, look to make the profit when you buy - it will make getting the money when you sell so much easier.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Back to the Future - eBay and Daylight Savings

So as most of us here in the U.S. hopefully remember - all clocks spring forward 1 hour this evening.

For those eBayers who are hyper sensitive about timing the end of their auctions, its important to realize that any listing that falls across the daylight savings time change gets shifted by an hour. So if an auction is supposed to end at 8 am tomorrow, it will actually end at 9 am.

I can't imagine a situation where a 1 hour change would make such a difference that one would actually worry a lot about it. But if you do worry about it, remember the tweak the timing of your auctions whenever daylight savings is involved.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Worried about not having the right box?

A lot of times I hear about eBayers who are reluctant to list an item because they're not sure how they will send it. Mostly, they seem to be worried about having the right sized box or envelope.

Like so many things - try coming at it backwards. Instead of trying to find a box for the things you list, why not list the things for which you have a box. In other words - if having the right box or envelope is your biggest worry - take the box you have and find out what in your sell pile will fit in that box.

Whatever fits best, that's what you list next.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Anti Clutter Kick + eBay = Powerful Combination

Not too long ago my moma let me borrow It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh (he's the clean sweep guy). I thought it was a pretty good book - Walsh gives some good advice about how to think about stuff. One of the best things in the book is on the very first page where he quotes Fight Club saying, "The things you own wind up owning you"

Walsh mentions eBay in the book as a good way to get rid of extra stuff....but he doesn't dwell on it too long. It occurs to me that an entire book could be written about this subject alone. If getting rid of stuff is all about the mental/emotional balance of: it'll hurt to get rid of this stuff but it'll feel good to have the space...then the extra $$$ that one can earn from eBaying extra stuff can really tip the balance in favor of less stuff.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Being Independent Is Overrated

Sometimes I see a trend among eBay sellers...

Let's say our eBay seller is named Bob. Bob has a job, but he hates his job. So he quits, and decides to sell on eBay because he can be his own boss and have tons of freedom. All is fine and well in the world...

...except, Bob still has a chip on his shoulder. Bob still has the chip on his shoulder that makes him suspicious and a little paranoid about anybody trying to be his boss, or take away his freedom.

So when eBay makes a change with its policies, which they absolutely have the right to do...Bob freaks out a little bit. Bob thinks, "well I don't need eBay - I'm INDEPENDENT!"

Here's the thing - people in the eBay world need to depend on each other even MORE than the real brick and motor world. In a "regular" job you have colleagues all around, there is interdependence. The average eBay seller like Bob may be a one person operation.

Being independent is fine in the face of true tyranny, but it's a last resort. Take our Founding Fathers, for example. All those guys tried and tried and tried to reconcile with King George - the Declaration of Independence was the last resort.

And then, once we did have Independence...the Founders found that things were a little TOO Independent - it took a couple of Constitutional Conventions before they got the balance right.

Selling on eBay is great and gives the Bobs of the world freedom and so many opportunities, but Bob should remember that following a path to complete independence leads to a desert isle.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Motor Oil and Tulip Seeds

I recently saw a question on a discussion board where the person asked: "I have one eBay store where I sell three completely different kinds of products. Does it make sense to switch to three different stores so my customers won't think it's weird that I sell unrelated items under one store site?"

I think this is a very good question. If this applies to you, let me ask you a question:

What do you think would be a better use of your time - the work it would take to keep three different stores separate (3 accounts, 3 sets of inventory, 3 everything) or instead, spend that extra time on one store, marketing one store, listing inventory into one store....

Just throwing this out there - Wal-Mart does pretty well selling everything under one roof.

I understand the counter argument about really defining a niche - but I wonder if it might not be possible to focus on a niche, or two, or three, from within one store.

Even if you have one store that sells motor oil and tulip seeds - it's a little weird - but if you spend the time on great marketing, great free content, great everything about motor oil and tulip seeds - I think buyers will be ok with it.

In other words - I think you're better off having one store that does multiple niches really well than you are having three stores that are weak. Of course, the simplest thing of all is to have one store that dominates one niche. But nothing wrong with having one store that dominates a couple, at least in my opinion.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

If a Blog Falls in a Forest...

If a blog falls in a forest, but nobody is around to hear it, does it make a noise?

I've blogged plenty before - but this is a new blog! I'm starting from scratch. It's sort of hard to know where to start a blog from scratch - which leads me to one conclusion - I must just start it.

I start this new blog, the Evenger Blog - as the world's first cyber superhero - The Evenger!