Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Online Sellers -- Affordable Google Advertising is Here.

Konica Minolta Dimage Z3 4MP Digital Camera with Anti Shake 12x Optical Zoom

This post is a duplicate of my post on My Blog Utopia.

I know, I'm not supposed to point out the advertisements on my blog as part of Google's TOS, but now that Google has launched the PPA network through adSense, I'll take a chance by pointing them out this one time.

For bloggers (publishers) the ad units are called Google Referrals and on The Seller Evangelist you will find them on the right sidebar, just under my subscription link. Feel free to click on them and and look around the advertisers site because they are no longer paying Google (and me) for the click, instead they are paying for a completed transaction (of course if you you do like what you see make sure to purchase something). In effect, they are removing any chance of click fraud.

This helps the advertiser control their ad spend, by tying a dollar amount to an action, (subscriptions, purchases, etc.) and it helps the publisher by paying a higher dollar amount for the referral. In essence, Google has created an affiliate network.

I wouldn't suggest that publishers get rid of their PPC (pay per click) adSense ads completely but this allows them to diversify their advertising inventory and should be a win-win for everyone involved.

This also represents an excellent opportunity for online sellers to manage their Google advertising dollars, by tying the advertising amount to a completed result. For example, let's say an eBay seller is currently paying eBay $2.50 for a completed sale, that amount can vary depending on conversion rates for that item. With Google PPA, a seller can sell that same item on their website and say they will pay $1.75 for a sale of that same item, give the customer a 25 cent discount on the sale and still make 50 cents more for the sale than on eBay. For media sellers, this is a savior because they can now afford to advertise with Google and draw traffic to their own website. Had this program been available in 2005 when Glacier Bay was trying to convert to web sales, I would have chosen to stay in business.

I'm really looking forward to this as a publisher and if I was still a seller I would be all over this.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

My New Role As Community Manager on Squidoo

As many of you know, I've been a Squidoo user (lensmaster) since March of this year and have enjoyed it immensely. I've created a personal lens on my life, a lens on being a single dad, published my Dad's first novel (we call it a Squidovel) and created a gallery of wonderful photography, travel destinations and video clips that I've Stumbled Upon. I was recently honored with the title of "Squid Angel", along with several others, a role that charges us with promoting the best content (lenses) on Squidoo and I've also become a Jurist in a monthly "Top Lens" contest. You would think that would be enough to keep me busy but I still had too much time on my hands.

As of last week, I have a new title (drum roll please). I am officially the Community Manager for the eBay Seller Community on Squidoo a wonderful group of sellers who use Squidoo to promote their eBay Stores, Websites, and online content. This community reminds me a great deal of what eBay was like in the early days. The community is very strong and active, with over 200 eBay sellers already taking part. Meg! This is the real "Social Commerce"

Now, here is the best part, this is not a staff position, I am a volunteer. I am committing my time and energy to make this a success because eBay Sellers need every bit of help they can get. As you know, I have not always spoken kindly of eBay's decisions over the years and I've done what I can to encourage sellers to open their own websites and diversify their businesses. I've said over and over again, "stop calling yourselves eBay Sellers" and begin to think of yourselves as online merchants. I'm still going to continue to do that but at Squidoo, we've created a community for online sellers to promote their businesses, it just happens that we are gearing the community around eBay sellers. It doesn't hurt that I have many years of experience with eBay.

Seth Godin has recently written a post entitled Jobs of the future, #1: Online Community Organizer and what he says really hits the spot.

"If you want to hire a union organizer, you probably know what to look for. Someone with resilience, passion, persistence and excellent interpersonal skills.

What if you want to hire someone to build an online community? Somebody to create and maintain a virtual world in which all the players in an industry feel like they need to be part of it? Like being the head of a big trade association, but without the bureaucracy and tedium..."

eBay sellers, understand the role that community plays in their success and they get excited about finding ways to reach new customers (especially when they are free). What Squidoo allows them to do, is build their own brand and develop their own expertise, sharing that experience with a whole new group of customers on Squidoo. Sellers are the experts on their particular product and they can drive targeted traffic to their listings, blogs, lenses and WebSites. In fact many of them are already doing that. Several sellers get over 10% of their eBay Store traffic from Squidoo. I get a growing portion of new visitors to my blogs from Squidoo and I know of one seller who is doing very well driving traffic to her own website; see it can be done. I'm very excited to be a part of this.

The power to succeed, is in the will of the individual, not in the marketplace. Being an eBay seller provides an instant connection with over 200 other sellers and my job will be to harness that power and channel it into a community that I hope to grow exponentially.

If you are an eBay seller and are interested in more information on Squidoo, please visit the eBay Seller headquarters or my new eBay Squidoo Blog for more information.

Squidoo, is the Web 2.0 tool I've been looking for. It is much more community oriented than MySpace or Facebook, it empowers the individual to speak about subjects they are the experts in. It rewards users (lensmasters) as it grows, by sharing the revenue with them and it provides eBay sellers a vehicle to promote their products, on or off eBay.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Another Big eBay Seller Opens Up Shop at Yahoo Stores!

The migration continues, as another large seller has opened up their website using Yahoo's Merchant Solutions; commonly know as Yahoo Stores.

eBay Seller Inflatable Madness is a "Top 30" eBay seller with over 200,000 Positive Feedback. I spoke with Kevin Harmon, Owner of Inflatable Madness and he said "We've been looking at our options for a website for awhile now and Yahoo proved to be the best fit. It is just another element in our multi-channel selling strategy" Kevin will also be blogging about the movies and anything else he can thin of so check out the Inflatable Madness blog as well.

The website will concentrate on Selling DVD's for now and provides a great selection at some unbeatable prices. Check it out at: http://www.inflatablemadnessdvd.com

Inflatable Madness joins two other large eBay Sellers at Yahoo Stores: eForcity and Rock Bottom Golf among others.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Maybe eBay Is Listening!

I just checked eBay's announcement board and found an interesting post: Making eBay Better Than Ever - Get a Sneak Peek

It looks like eBay has determined that giving buyers and sellers a heads up on changes coming to the platform makes sense. I could have told them that years ago. Here are some of their new initiatives. I think all sellers need to check these out to see how their business may be affected and give eBay feedback while there is still time to make changes.

  • There is The Playground where you can see how the site looks with Finding 2.0

  • There is the new Sneakpeak site where you can see what changes are coming down the pike to other areas of eBay.

  • And there is the new Disruptive Innovation site where you can see how eBay is changing the landscape.
Information is a good thing, now sellers can get a heads up on the changes eBay is contemplating. Is the new FeeForcast site the next site to be announced. (I doubt it)

As much as I complain about the lack of information this is a small glimmer of hope that eBay is changing for the better.