A matter of constant speculation, just how big is eBid? One of the best ways of judging the size and scale of any business is to check their annual accounts. This brief report shows the essentials and gives an idea of the bijou nature of eBid, and illustrates nicely why they do not have a multi-million pound advertising budget!
It’s useful to know if a site is being regularly updated and maintained, so I’ve done a quick round-up of all announced alterations (excluding the Ninja Lister which has it’s own list) and here’s the list for 2010:
BUGFIX - International shipping details missing from sale notification email
BUGFIX - Top buttons mis-directing on nl.ebid.net
BUGFIX - left and right cursor keys not working on pages with scrolling galleries
BUGFIX - some english spelling creeping into non-english sites
BUGFIX - edited shipping info was still showing cached results
BUGFIX - back link on editing error was changing radio button choices
BUGFIX - eBid Store description hitting character limit incorrectly
BUGFIX - search boxes on frontpage slides showing incorrect result pages
BUGFIX - password reminder page wrong layout
BUGFIX - some page titles irrelevant to content
BUGFIX - wrong text on eBid Store navigation boxes
BUGFIX - “General” folder name translated to all languages
BUGFIX - Blackball bid removal now resets BuyNow option also if applicable
BUGFIX - Missing shipping costs on some USPS invoices
BUGFIX - Missing BuyNow cost on repost form
BUGFIX - Bulk Edit - Min. Feedback to BuyNow not being changed
UPDATE - Lost passwords now reset not sent in plain text for better security
UPDATE - Auctions I’m Running and Auctions I Ran pages quantities not informative enough
UPDATE - Offer details added to My Subscription pages
UPDATE - Multiple bounces now required for new email request
NEW - dk.ebid.net updated to Danish
NEW - Ninja Lister v0.9 beta downloadable
BUGFIX - Green tick showing after editing quantities
UPDATE - Ninja Lister v0.91 beta downloadable
BUGFIX - Incorrect Seller+ costs showing on ZA site
BUGFIX - USPS Priorty Mail error when uploading using NL
UPDATE - Zip file photos uploaded in order of filename
UPDATE - Ninja Lister v0.93 beta downloadable
UPDATE - Ninja Lister v0.94 beta downloadable
UPDATE - Ninja Lister v0.95 beta downloadable
UPDATE - Ninja Lister v0.95.5 beta downloadable. Install whilst NL is not running.
UPDATE - Ninja Lister v0.95.7 beta downloadable.
BUGFIX - Problem with updating email address in My Personal Details
BUGFIX - LOgout message now shows on My Gallery Popup when listing and log out occurs
UPDATE - Start Bid and BuyNow prices added to Watch List emails
UPDATE - Added Fedex Shipping facilities to eBid Spreadsheet > US Shipping
BUGFIX - Auctions being edited to “Featured” being changed back too early
UDPATE - My Default sets sorted alphabetically in dropdowns
UPDATE - Added cnofirmation popups to individual Delete/Close links on Auctions Im Running page
UPDATE - Added “Condition” option to My Bulk Edit
UPDATE - Added SKU info on Auctions I Ran pages
UDPATE - Added confirmation popup on contact us form to stop bad email addresses coming to us and hence no way to reply to ticket
UPDATE - Australian Shipping Methods updated
UPDATE - Canadian Shipping Methods updated
UPDATE - eBid Store urls changes to http://store-title.ebid.net
UPDATE - Individual auction page URLs chagned to include keywords
UPDATE - Users with bad email addresses still receiving emails from meetup
UPDATE - Individual auction page META KEYWORDS changed to be more relevant
NEW - Added recent anwers to Q&A Duty section
UPDATE - SEO URL improvements for category browse pages
BUGFIX - My Bulk Edit wrong count showing in buckets
BUGFIX - My Fees text not visible on Invoice entry rows
BUGFIX - Tidied up some category names for SEO purposes
BUGFIX - Q&A Recent Answers not showing correctly
BUGFIX - Logout link not working correctly from some pages in IE8
UPDATE - Added explanation to Ninja Lister emails if user is not Seller+ Lifetime
UPDATE - Stopped Google uploads being marked as Adult if eBid Store has adult items in it
NEW - Added next page URL simplification for category pages
BUGFIX - Recent Answers list was still not 100%
BUGFIX - Export Listings function not working correctly in some cases
BUGFIX - US Calculated Shipping options not showing with cheapest first
BUGFIX - HTML tags appearing in RSS feeds
UPDATE - Message when banned from forums due to bouncing emails a little harsh
NEW - Added Print Invoice option to AAL
NEW - Launched our new search technology, shouldn’t be noticable to the human eye but loads changed behind the scenes
BUGFIX - Printable invoice showing incorrect shipping messages
BUGFIX - Cateory counts in eBid Stores showing as zero
BUGFIX - Genre and Format dropdowns not working for Pre-Filled Info > Books in some cases
BUGFIX - Few more discrepancies with our new search system, counts and missing items
UPDATE - Added auction count to user auctions results page
BUGFIX - Photos not being reposted correctly
BUGFIX - eBid Stores page showing “login now” message even when logged in
UPDATE - Added confrm message to Auctions I’m Running delete and close checkboxes
UPDATE - Increased maximum description length from 40k
BUGFIX - NL intl shipping not allowing more than one option
BUGFIX - IT intl shipping not allowing more than one option
BUGFIX - My Bulk Edit not adding all possible auction to bucket
BUGFIX - US Shipping calculator throwing up server errors on rare occasions
UPDATE - Added “All Folder” options to My Gallery for searching and sorting
BUGFIX - Some usernames missing Store tag
UPDATE - Multiple items auctions are no longer closed if auto-reposts remain and any purchases were made via BuyNow. Auto-reposts will be continued.
UPDATE - Slimmed down Printable Invoice to allow more rows per page
UPDATE - Made usernames clickable on Q&A responses
UPDATE - Added worldwide total count of individual auctions to www.ebid.net frontpage
UPDATE - Added links to auctions listed in successful bulk upload logs
UPDATE - Removed “Notes to Buyer” text on invoices if none present
UPDATE - Removed some english text still appearing on non-english sites
UPDATE - Allowed answers to be added directly to Q&A text area on auction page if only a single answer is due
BUGFIX - Shipping costs not changing on screen on invoices when dropdown box is changed
UPDATE - Added links to share auctions on FB, Twitter and Digg
UPDATE - Added option to update a Standard auction to Platinum to AAL Status message where relevant
UPDATE - Increased eBid Store count update frequency to 4hrs from 12hrs
BUGFIX - New Twitter buttons were causing security warnings on https pages
BUGFIX - eBid Spreadsheet upload showed temporary error after upload and before auction check sequence for large files
BUGFIX - Feedback Duty counts out of sync on rare occassions
BUGFIX - Some Platinum auctions were being limited to 1 photo
UPDATE - Removed loophole of downgradeable auctions after bids have been made
UPDATE - Added larger Pay Me buttons to invoices and moved nearer the top
UPDATE - Hid Pay Me buttons on invoices until they are available to be clicked to avoid confusion
UPDATE - Added check when adding feedback text that a radio button has not been left on “Do Not Add Feedback” by mistake
UDPATE - Added new clickable payment method buttons on auction pages
UPDATE - Removed “Mark As Shipped” from buyers AAL dropdown
UPDATE - If Buyer marks AAL as payment sent a half/half icon will show until sellers marks as payment received
UPDATE -Added buttons to Auction Status section instead of text links to pay
UPDATE - If user wishes to upgrade to SELLER+ LIFETIME and they have zero due because of accumulated payments then they were will be asked to verify card instead of being sent to PayPal
BUGFIX - Listing Similar a Platinum auction and changing to Standard still had BuyNow element remaining
BUGFIX - Users able to upgrade to SELLER+ LIFETIME for zero now send to credit/debit card form instead of PayPal
NEW - Added the first HTVs to Help section
BUGFIX - Removed message to add a BuyNow price when it is not possible to
UPDATE - Added “Reason” field to Blackball function
UPDATE - Removed pagination when not required
UPDATE - Added more Google Checkout user field checks when listing auction
UPDATE - Added category list to frontpage “Buy” link
BUGFIX - Previously large photos on frontpage carousel were clicking thru to a new page instead of simply scrolling to center
BUGFIX - Exporting failed auctions of NL uploads were causing server error
UPDATE - Ninja Lister available to all sellers
UPDATE - Added “no photo” icon to top left area of auction pages without photos instead of white blank space
UPDATE - “My eBid” header dropdown changed to text links
BUGFIX - newly created My Defaults were disappearing
UPDATE - All GOLD users upgraded for free to SELLER+ LIFETIME… Thankyou.
BUGFIX - My Defaults “Start” option not being remembered
UPDATE - Added Youtube video ID to exporting and bulk uploading
UPDATE - Added larger camera icon on showroom listings
UPDATE - Added empty username and password check to login form
UPDATE - Added check to NOT allow all uppercase usernames and eBid Store titles
UPDATE - Added check when deleting My Default sets
NEW - Added country flags to logos
NEW - Added continental sites to allow buyers to purchase from around the world
NEW - Added location/distance searching for US and UK
NEW - Upgraded all GOLD users to SELLER+
NEW - Countries where Calculated Shipping is available can choose where shipping should be calculated from in My Defaults
NEW - Added Search and Sort options to Auctions I Ran
BUFIX - Our forum software has been upgraded today to a current version that fixes some security flaws that we have been notified of. As you can see there are some drastic changes that we will fine tune in the coming days instead of keeping the forums offline for longer.
UPDATE - Forum Closing Auctions added Popular and New
UPDATE - New large photos will be 600x600 instead of 500x500
UPDATE - Sellers could not watch their own auctions
BUGFIX - Continents removed from Advanced Search
NEW - Webcam facility added to My All About Me
NEW - Ghost categories. Sometimes a category can be placed in more than one parent category. We can now add Ghost categories that will appear in the subcategory list of a parent it doesn’t belong to. Eg. Home > Pets > Horse Riding is a ghost pointing to the true category Sports > Horse Riding
UPDATE - Invoice re-sends now count towards the 2 payment reminders required
UPDATE - Most populated category automatically expanded in left column on search results page
UPDATE - “Other” subcategories moved to end of list
UPDATE - Users with incorrect clock settings on their computer should be able to login correctly now
UPDATE - Added shipping method to printed invoices
UPDATE - Category browse pages added vertical breadcrumb to left column
BUGFIX - Showroom view multiple pictures were upscaling small instead of showing medium size versions
BUGFIX - Some pages not showing user as logged in
BUGFIX - DE spreadsheet bulk upload not submitting every time
BUGFIX - Shipping destinations being forgotten on auction pages when refreshed
NEW - US located items uploaded to thefind.com
NEW - Added “Back to Search Results” link to each auction page
UPDATE - Category and subcategory browse pages can now be filtered without a keyword
UPDATE - Added My Watchlist - Auction Auto-Reposted to My Emails
UPDATE - My Invoices pay buttons moved to most recent row
UPDATE - My Invoices pay buttons not shown if under minimum amount £0.40 or equivalent in local currency
UPDATE - Added link from My Fees > My Statement > invoice entry row to My Fees > My eBid Invoices page
BUGFIX - Google Shopping links linking to random eBid country sites
BUGFIX - Removed Social network buttons from pages behind a My eBid login
BUGFIX - Edited eBid Store categories not showing in correct order
BUGFIX - Fedex package type not showing correctly when editing
BUGFIX - Social Network buttons missing from some pages when logged in
UPDATE - Added clearer messages for credit card errors
UPDATE - Added warning message to BuyNow button for users who have already purchased the item
UPDATE - Added requirement of at least one payment option per auction
UPDATE - Business address map not showing on All About Page
UPDATE - Added PayPal link to transaction details for AAL payment entries
UPDATE - Added currency conversions to AAL checkout forms
UPDATE - Added “Continue Shopping” links to BuyNow confirmation page
BUGFIX - Zip/post code box being populated on Advanced Search form incorrectly
UPDATE - Added daily currency exchange rate updates
UDPATE - My Fees > My Invoices simplified with more narration and links to paypal transactions
UPDATE - Items with Free Shipping will be shown as such on Google Shopping
UPDATE - Added facility to Delete All photos from a folder in My Gallery
UPDATE - Added checks for all uppercase eBid usersnames and eBid Store titles to allow for Google uploads to process
UPDATE - Added automatic daylight saving changes for all countries
BUGFIX - Sorting by price not showing in correct order when currency exchange required
BUGFIX - Country name showing in english on non-english registration pages
BUGFIX - Run Until Sold items were being missed out when closing out of date auctions
BUGFIX - Starting Bid field dupilcated on edit form
BUGFIX - Extra Category not showing correctly
BUGFIX - Shipping and Total amounts not showing correctly on PayPal and PPPay checkouts on continental sites
BUGFIX - “Log in for Status” link on auction pages not redirecting back to auction page
UPDATE - Run Until Sold items not being removed after 365 days
UPDATE - OFB and RUS items being removed after 365 days if seller has not logged in for lengthy period of time
BUGFIX - Added Folder filter to My Gallery overlay on listing form
UDPATE - Added Buddy Point balance to bid form on Buddy Auctions
UPDATE - Added link to all users auctions on “More by this Seller” module
UPDATE - Google Checkout payment failure now marks as unpaid in AAL
UPDATE - Adde “Save for Later” button to listing form to save auction data to My Defaults
BUGFIX - Shipping details when creating invoices for continental buyers
UPDATE - Removed eBid watermark from small and medium version of photos to improve visibility. Watermark remains on large photos.
BUGFIX - Switching to Gallery or Showroom view when a non a-z character is searched for shows zero results
BUGFIX - Close Auction search not working correctly in some advanced search forms
UPDATE - Pre filled information / barcode system incorporated into main form to promote it’s use more due to Google Shopping requirements
UPDATE - Added link to HTV page on each FAQ
UPDATE - Changed decimal point character and location of currency sign on some sites
UPDATE - Report Auctions options listed alphabetically
UPDATE - Improved help icon text for shipping options on listing form
UPDATE - Added more obvious links to shipping calculators
UPDATE - Added ISBN/UPC/EAN checks when listing
UDPATE - Added details of up to 100 auctions on mass closing/reposting email
UPDATE - Added Category & Store filters to “Auctions I Ran”
UPDATE - Disabled submit buttons on listing form once clicked to stop double submissions
UPDATE - Tidied up Showroom view gaps
UPDATE - Updated per row error messages for NL & Spreadsheet uploads
UPDATE - Added more inline checks when listing. eg. missing Gallery image, missing price etc
UPDATE - Changed submit button colours and moved Preview button to the right on listing form
BUGFIX - Auction counts showing incorrectly
BUGFIX - Auction ID searching in eBid Stores not working
BUGFIX - My Favourite Searches problems with quotes
BUGFIX - User told they were on hold if they validated account twice
BUGFIX - Hitting “Preview” on listing form too early causes shipping field errors
BUGFIX - Fixed another bug with category counts
NEW - Sitemaps for each eBid site uploaded to Google to enable more comprehensive standard search result spidering
BUGFIX - Preview button on listing form causing JS error on rare occasions and nothing is submitted
BUGFIX - Main image not being uploaded to Google Shopping
BUGFIX - Asking for Price field when Closing auction via edit form
BUGFIX - Bulk Upload message asking to launch items when none have passed tests
BUGFIX - Bulk Edit replace form out of alignment
BUGFIX - eBid Fees Invoices showing as overdue too early
UPDATE - Increased site width for larger screens
UPDATE - Added Brand field to My Bulk Edit
UPDATE - Added SKU field to My Bulk Edit
UPDATE - Added SKU field to Auctions I’m Running search
UPDATE - Added SKU field to Auctions I Ran search
UPDATE - Added Title & Description to Auctions I’m Running search
UPDATE - Added Title & Description to Auctions I Ran search
UPDATE - Added facility to upload eBid Spreadsheets with images all within a zip file
UPDATE - Allowing special characters into passwords
NEW - Added eBid Hong Kong
UPDATE - Added US$ clairification on HK site
UPDATE - Enlarged top photos on wide site auction pages
BUGFIX - Fixed messages on zero result searches @ Auctions I’m Running
BUGFIX - Fixed IE7 Forum posting form page
BUGFIX - Auctions not being found by Bulk Edit search when ebid store category chosen
BUGFIX - Pre-filled info .. photos not being found correctly
BUGFIX - eBid Store category counts not correct in left column
BUGFIX - Error message simplified when session timeout occurs during bulk upload
BUGFIX - Changing zip code on invoice creation not changing shipping amounts
BUGFIX - Auction editor not changing on demand IE7 in edit mode
BUGFIX - Fixed width of Plain HTML Box in edit mode
BUGFIX - Data Transfer Error for Item with calculated domestic shipping and flat international
BUGFIX - Calculated shipping errors for sellers with long US zips
BUGFIX - Shipping data not being saved to My Defaults in some cases
BUGFIX - Calculated Shipping - FedEx packaging choice showing for 2 UPS options
BUGFIX - AAL icons showing incorrectly on Add Feedback page in some situations
BUGFIX - Multiple emails being sent for successful sales on some occassions
BUGFIX - Brand disappearing from relisting form
BUGFIX - Extra Category box causing error when editing auctions
BUGFIX - Close button wasn’t showing on edit form page when a BuyNow had taken place
UPDATE - Added “add” command to My Bulk Uploads
UPDATE - Added “overwrite” command to My Bulk Uploads
UPDATE - Added “close” command to My Bulk Uploads
UPDATE - Added “delete” command to My Bulk Uploads
UPDATE - UK items now uploaded to thefind.com
UPDATE - Added package weight to calculated shipping prices
UPDATE - My Auction Defaults titles used instead of dates
UPDATE - My Bulk Edit limited to 200k items per search
UPDATE - Added more checks to stop closed items getting stuck
UPDATE - eBid Spreadsheet & Ninja files with missing FedEx package types now defaulting to YOUR_PACKAGING instead of error message
UPDATE - Link added to buyers finalised invoice view to “Go Back and Edit Shipping”
UPDATE - Automatically showing calculated shipping on auction page without having to hit calculate
UPDATE - Added Feedback link tabs to feedback add confirmation page
UPDATE - Added Stage One (File Check) info to My Bulk Upload Launching pages
UPDATE - Updated sale notification email subjects
NEW - Added category choices and formatting options to My Notices
NEW - Added multiple item shipping costs for Calculated Domestic Shipping. Flat Rate coming soon.
NEW - Added multiple item shipping costs for Calculated International Shipping. Flat Rate coming soon.
BUGFIX - Quantity showing incorrectly on auction preview page
BUGFIX - Seller location showing by default on invoice create page instead of buyer
BUGFIX - Zip code box not showing on mulitple auction invoice if one or more auctions had calculated shipping
BUGFIX - Google Checkout missing shipping amounts in some situations
BUGFIX - Feedback could be duplicated in very rare situations
BUGFIX - Decimal quantities were being let through when buying
UPDATE - Added BuyNow and Bid boxes for Holiday auctions to make situation clearer
UPDATE - Allow bulk upload images produced by scripts eg. they don’t have .jpg or similar file extensions
UPDATE - Bulk upload rewritten to increase CHECK speed for items with remote images by 20x
UPDATE - Bulk upload rewritten to increase LAUNCH speed for items with remote images by 10x
UPDATE - Bulk upload of zips containing physical images sped up
UPDATE - Added text to My Gallery pages explaining the lifecycle of an uploaded photo
UPDATE - Tidied up some Bulk Upload error messages
UDPATE - New uploaded images will be hosted in the cloud to alleviate problem of low disk space on our hardware
BUGFIX - SELLER eBidders unable to list new auction on rare occasions
BUGFIX - Camera icon on Auctions I Ran list not showing image correctly
BUGFIX - Popular Auctions on frontpage could miss qualifying items
I was asked how to add a donation button to a blog. PayPal makes this very simple, by providing a button builder that produces a complete chunk of code for you to copy and paste.
In PayPal use Merchant Services > Accept Donations.
Take the code produced and make sure you choose HTML mode in your blog editor. Paste the code in, and publish. The success, or otherwise, of your edit will depend on what elements your blog host allows you to embed. Blogger, for example, will work fine. Tumblr won’t. If you want to do something similar in Tumblr you’ll need to host the button elsewhere and link to it, as I have there.
A blog is a virtual journal, a personal route to sharing thoughts, talking to an unknown and changing audience, and getting your stuff “out there”. How can this be useful to eBidders?
Why should eBidders consider blogging? To promote sales, ultimately of course. There are a number of ways blogging can help you do this.
By sharing your expertise on any subject you help your fellow fans, and in the process (if you do it right!) get yourself a reputation as knowledgeable on some subject or other. Know a lot about what you sell? Then share some of that experience and when somebody thinks “postcards” or “china” or whatever your chosen area is, there’s a good chance they’ll think of you. You can also, of course, use a blog to directly promote a particular listing or range by giving a link and talking about the product, but if your blog is just a series of adverts there’s little motivation for others to read it. However…
There is, of course, the option to post about new items, new ranges, particularly interesting offers, and people already interested in your products will find such information useful and interesting. Corgi fans will want to know if you’ve unearthed a rich seam of vintage vans in a recent auction, so they can watch your listings for items they’re interested in. If you list a piece of rare Murano glass, your glass blog will need an update.
Make your blog an interesting read, don’t just repeat your advertisements (listings) straight from eBid, add value - tell a story about how you found the item, a bit of history about the location featured, anything that makes it worth reading and holds the attention of your audience for a few moments. Give your readers a reason to follow your blog.
Where to blog
There are a number of blogging sites, large and small. Some of the better known names are Tumblr, Wordpress, Blogspot, Blogger and LiveJournal. Different sites suit different ways of writing; some blogs have a more visual aspect (Tumblr), some are more geared to the written word (WordPress), each has its strengths and weaknesses and you might find you need to experiment with several sites before finding the one that suits you best. Many blogging sites will allow you to embed your blog in your own site, useful if you wish to keep everything under your own domain address. There are also specialist blog sites where a theme is favoured, such as food, crafts etc. Google is your friend - explore! Find a blog you like and that matches your own aims, and that hosting site is probably as good a place as any to try first.
How to blog
The mechanics are going to vary from site to site, but most will allow a variety of update methods: you can type into a web page (as I’m doing here), email updates, send from mobile phones, whatever suits the way you live and work. I find composing via the blogging site’s own web interface works best for me. You may prefer to work offline and build your thoughts elsewhere, then copy and paste in. The process remains the same: think of something you want to say, write it down, publish it to your blog (more of which, later).
How it looks will depend to a large extent on the theme you select for your blog. It is possible to tailor your own layout and presentation, but unless you get into serious blogging (well beyond needing my help!) you’re unlikely to want to go that route. Most blogging sites offer a selection of themes/templates (free or at a modest price) in which you can present your blog. This blog, for example, uses a free Tumblr blog theme, the credits for which are at the foot of the page. Even as an experienced web designer, I’ve never yet felt the need to make my own, there are so many excellent free resources available.
Three steps to a blog post
Think of something you want to say
Sometimes easier said than done! If you feel pressured to blog regularly, it can sometimes be daunting to come up with something fresh to add. If you’re just posting adverts, as I said, that can get a little stale - where’s the interest for your readers? So it’s important to have some sort of message; a story to tell, advice to give, even a question to ask. For this blog, for example, the trigger is often a conversation on the eBid forums that makes a little ping! go off in my head - exactly has happened here, and which I made transparent to all so you could follow the process through. Somebody asks about blogging, I clarified that there was an interest/need, decided to write a blog post; write, post, publish. Bingo. In your own area it could be a question about how a certain craft project can be undertaken, where a particular type of ornament is made, the history of a building featured in a painting… anything can be a trigger to a blog post. A trip to the shops, a flat-tyre, wet weather, anything that sends your brain off down an interesting path can produce a blog post. Or, as has been said, it can simply be a “look what I just offered for sale” notice. Your blog is your oyster, so to speak!
Write it down
Whether you compose on the site, on paper, in your head, whatever you choose, the blog post has got to be written somehow. Depending on how you feel about that, it can be huge fun or hard work. It can also be short, long, funny, sad, informative, angry, gripping or dull. In my experience the last one’s the easiest to achieve, and the only one you really want to try to avoid. Normal rules of composition apply, so try to have a beginning, a middle and an end (unless it’s a simple one-liner), and aim for the best spelling and grammar you can manage. Perfection isn’t necessary (thank heavens!) but you want to make it as readable as possible, and that means clear writing, well laid out. Break long text into paragraphs, use headings where appropriate, add pictures if possible; imagine you’re writing a magazine page and you want your readers to stop flicking past and stop to read.
Having sweated over your mini-masterpiece, the time will come to publish it. This means make it public on your blog page (it will be hidden from view during composition). Publication will be a built-in function of your blog host, a button to press more than likely. But there will be certain extra functions you’ll want to employ. Most blogs will have “tag” options. Tags are keywords that identify the subject-matter of your post, and should be added to every entry. You can see my examples on any eBid Widgets blog post here. Blog readers can search by tags for subjects that particularly interest them, so make sure you tailor your tags to suit your audience and there’s no reason you should soon be picking up new readers from around the blogosphere.
Your blog will probably also have options for integrating with your social networking sites (in any) so make sure you set-up your Facebook and Twitter links on your blog and your new posts will be automatically promoted to your friends and followers out there.
So there you are. Blogging in a nutshell. Think of something to say, write it down, publish it to a blog. What’s keeping you?
Quoted with thanks to the Facebooker who kindly posted this entire message to show what eBid’s latest advice is about getting your items uploaded to Google’s shopping base:
To be included for upload to Google Product Search your listing must have at least 3 days to run and MUST have BuyNow feature enabled.
Auction with at least 3 days remaining & BuyNow available
Auction with On First Bid & BuyNow available
Fixed Price with at least 3 days remaining
Fixed Price with Run Until Sold
Avoid placing full capital lettering throughout the title. Use sparingly with capital letters only at the beginning of a sentence or word. All capitals are not allowed. All symbols such as /”!(*#@]+ 1 etc, are not allowed. Never have anything in the first 250 characters of your description that refers to shipping or that says anything not directly related to describing your item.
Once items have been uploaded to Google Products we are reliant on Google to place the listings in the Searches. Google list items at their discretion and it is not always obvious why an item has not been included.
Please review below. If you feel changes are required, please close the auction/s and repost with the changes and hopefully the item/s will be submitted. We have no control but in the vast majority of cases items will be listed without a problem if they have a ‘Buynow’ feature and more then 48hrs to run.
Adult goods and services: All adult products must be marked as unsuitable for minors. Posting is not permitted for the promotion of prostitution or non-consensual adult material. Learn more about the adult setting in your Google Merchant Center account.
Affiliates, cataloged drop-shipping programs, and multi-level marketing: Posting is not permitted for the promotion of affiliate or pay-per-click links, products sold through a commission-based relationship, or sites that sell through cataloged third-party drop-shipping programs. This includes item pages that are made up almost entirely of advertisements, or pages where advertisements obstruct the view of the product. Posting is not permitted for the promotion of multi-level marketing (MLM) business products or for other businesses that recruit members and offer them rewards for recruiting others and/or selling services.
Anti and Violence: products and associated websites may not promote violence or advocate against a protected group. This standard applies to everyone who wants to post on Google, whether we agree with their viewpoint or not. A protected group is distinguished by their race or ethnic origin, color, national origin, religion, disability, sex, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity.
Body parts: Posting is not permitted for the promotion of body parts or human remains.
Bulk marketing tools: The promotion of the following bulk marketing products is not permitted if the stated or implied use of these products is unsolicited spam:
Email lists that are not opt-in
Bulk email software
Copyright unlocking devices: Posting is not permitted for the promotion of mod chips or other devices designed to circumvent copyright protection.
Copyrighted or counterfeit goods: All products must respect copyright and trademark law. Posting is not permitted for unauthorized or “bootleg” copies of media, software, or other licensed or protected material. Posting is not permitted for products that are replicas or imitations of designer goods; Products without a celebrity endorsement that would normally require such an association, fake autographs, counterfeit stamps, and other potentially unauthorized goods.
Drugs, drug paraphernalia, and drug test circumvention aids: Posting is not permitted for the promotion of illegal drugs and drug accessories, including herbal drugs such as salvia and magic mushrooms. Posting is not permitted for the promotion of products such as drug cleansing shakes and urine test additives.
False representation: You may not post on behalf of Google, or otherwise impersonate a Google employee.
Fireworks and hazardous materials: Posting is not permitted for fireworks and related goods; toxic, explosive, flammable, and radioactive materials and substances.
Gaming/gambling: Posting is not permitted for online casinos, sports books, bingo, and affiliates with the primary purpose of driving traffic to online gambling sites.
Illegal goods and services: You must post in accordance with the laws of your target country. Posting is not permitted for materials, products, or information promoting illegal goods or enabling illegal acts. You may not disclaim knowledge of, or responsibility for, the authenticity or legality of the products you offer. You must authenticate any products you sell. Submitted products must be legal in the entire target region in order to be accepted. For example, items submitted to Google Product Search US must be legal in all 50 states.
Posting is not permitted for illegal knives or other illegal weapons.
Posting is not permitted for pornographic materials involving minors.
Posting is not permitted for fake IDs, passports, diplomas, and noble titles.
Posting is not permitted for manuals, how-to guides, information, or equipment enabling illegal access to software, servers, websites, or other protected property.
Posting is not permitted for products that descramble cable and satellite signals in order to obtain free service.
Miracle cures: Posting is not permitted for the promotion of unsubstantiated cures, remedies or other products marketed as quick health fixes.
Online gaming goods and services: Posting is not permitted for the promotion of currency, items, or related services for online games.
Personal Information: You may not post content that includes contact or personal information about another individual without their permission.
Precious metals: Posting is not permitted for the promotion of rare, scarce, or valuable metals or gemstones.
Prescription drugs or pharmacies: Posting is not permitted for the promotion of prescription drugs without valid PharmacyChecker or the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) approval. Google only accepts listings for pharmacies that are based in the US, UK, and Canada. Learn more about accepted pharmacies.
Wholesale currency: Posting is not permitted for the promotion of discounted currencies or currency exchanges.
All your product submissions should follow three principles:
Be honest and factual.
Describe your message clearly and accurately.
Include relevant and complete information about your products with attributes.
In addition, make sure you:
Use Standard Spelling and Grammar. Avoid any repeated and unnecessary use of punctuation, capitalization or symbols. Don’t use exclamation points in your product titles. The use of symbols, numbers, and letters should adhere to the true meaning of the symbol.
Avoid gimmicky repetition. You may not post excessive, repetitive, or irrelevant keywords.
Avoid offensive or inappropriate language.
eBid Support Team
It’s a thorny, not to say perennial problem. Do you register on a site as business or personal? It becomes particularly tricky if you intend selling both household clearance, and pukka retail stock, and the site discourages dual accounts - as eBid does.
eBid’s stance is: you can only have one account. In practice, in fact, they will allow extras but only if you ask first, and make your case. If they see an alternative solution, they’ll advise you to take that route. Duplicate accounts are discouraged for the protection of buyers (no shill bidding, no hiding behind alternative IDs) and for all-round transparency.
So if you’re going to be selling both your own excess gubbins, and your business items, what do you choose? The decision, of course, is yours. On the face of it there’s two ways to go: open a personal account and clearly mark your business items; open a business account and clearly mark your personal items.
Why does it matter? It matters because in many countries, the UK included, the legal burden on the seller varies if a sale is private or business. Business sellers are expected to perform to a higher standard; expected to know more about their product, provide better guarantees, and generally be (as you’d expect) business-like in their behaviour. Personal sellers can get away with a more relaxed approach, and can put more of the responsibility on to the buyer.
Because a lot of buyers are well aware of this, many will look for business account sellers for preference. They are happier that they have good protection, and appreciate sellers being up-front about being in business. Some buyers will positively avoid anybody they identify as a business seller using a personal account, as this can be seen as trying to weasel out of the legal shackles that constrain business sellers. “If they’d lie about that”, the reasoning goes, “how can I trust them to deal with me honestly?”
As I say, the choice is yours, but if you want my advice (and you are reading my blog after all!) I’d say err on the side of caution - if in doubt, call yourself a business.
How do you do that in eBid? If you didn’t select a business account when you were joining, then it’s not too late to update your information. There’s no extra charges involved, it simply informs your customers of your status, and allows you to put a business address in for use on invoices. VAT and/or Company registration can also be recorded. The information lives on your “my eBid > my Personal Details” page, and can be changed at any time (so if you stop being a business, you can swap back).
Take a look now, and see if your information is up-to-date, and accurately reflects your selling status.
If you have a Facebook account you can create an event and invite your friends and fans to come along to your Spring Sale, Christmas Party, or other special eBid occasion.
Creating an event on Facebook is perfectly straight-forward.
If you have a shop or eBid user “fan page” on Facebook, you now have the option to use FB as that page. I recommend this technique, and the following instructions include that step - if you create an event as yourself (your main or personal account) some minor details may vary, but the technique will remain the same.
Go to your Facebook Page.
Click on Use Facebook as [page name]
Click on Events
Click on Create an Event
Fill in the boxes (including clicking Add End Time if needed, extra boxes will appear)
Decide if you want to show the guest list and let others write on the wall, and tick/untick those boxes as appropriate. I’d leave them ticked for a promotional event - the more interaction the better.
Top left, click on Add Event Photo. If you ha
ven’t a picture of your own you wish to use, the eBid logo would be a good choice. You’ll need to make sure you have this saved to your computer before you start, if you wish to use it. When clicked you will be prompted to choose a photo from your PC.
With all boxes filled…
Click Create Event
Your event now exists.
Click “I’m attending” to add yourself to the guest list.
Click “update fans of” to send invitations.
If you are using Facebook as a Page you will be prompted to switch back to yourself at this point, just agree.
Fill in the Subject and Message boxes for the invitations.
If you tick Target this Update you will be offered some options to narrow down the invitation list - they are unlikely to be needed for a general promotion.
Send the update!
Your event has been created, and your friends/fans have been invited. Your event will now appear on your wall.
If you used as Page you’ve invited your page fans but not necessarily your personal friends list. When the event is on your wall “invite guests” will be an option beneath the item and you have the chance to bring them all along.
Views on what the forums are there for, how to use them for maximum effect or maximum fun are bound to vary wildly. So this is just my take…
The basics & background.
eBid provides the forums for three reasons that I can see. 1. To take the strain off the support team. 2. To create a friendly community. 3. To promote the site.
In many areas the advantages to the users of the forums will coincide nicely with eBid’s reasons for supplying them, but there will be clashes and the first thing it’s important to recognise is that eBid’s wishes will always rule.
Why do eBid’s customers use the forums? For a different set of reasons. 1. To get help. 2. For fun and company. 3. To promote their own stuff. 4. To help the site. 5. To vent anger.
Those lists aren’t, as you see, a perfect match - which explains why moderation is sometimes called for. The eBid forums aren’t actively moderated, but there is a report function and if somebody objects to another poster’s comments they will be checked, and may be removed. Posts most likely to be removed are those promoting sales elsewhere, containing personal attacks, or insulting the eBid site generally. This will disappear quite quickly, as you would expect; they don’t comply with eBid’s reasons for providing the forums in the first place.
Removal of posts will often create a certain amount of hot air, with those who’ve been moderated speaking of “freedom of speech” and “censorship”. While the latter is undoubtedly true, censorship does exist, this is because the concept of “freedom of speech” on a privately-owned, business oriented, publicly viewable site is a fallacy. A total nonsense, in fact. eBid has no requirement to provide a platform for freedom of speech. It is selling a service, and its obligation is to itself and its customers, the buyers and sellers who are trying to make deals on the site. Allowing complete freedom of speech on any subject, from religion and politics to “this site sucks” would make no sense. If you’re looking for freedom of speech, head for Central Park, or Hyde Park Corner; you’ll never find it on a service website.
So, given the background above, how do you make the most of the forums? For a start, make your own posts and your own behaviour match the requirement of eBid as closely as possible. Since a clash of aims will always be settled in eBid’s favour, fit with them as best you can for better use of the site.
eBid wants the forums to be friendly, and helpful. So for a start, try being friendly and helpful. You might think you don’t know enough to start offering advice to those looking for help, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you pick it up - and there’s nothing like answering somebody else’s newbie question to make you realise you’re not a newbie any more! If you can’t answer a specific query, you can still be welcoming and encouraging. If a puzzled newcomer has been asking for help, and none has arrived, bump the thread for a new audience to see. Make suggestions of where users can find more help - maybe a better forum to ask in than the one they’ve chosen, or an external site they can look at (you’re welcome to use any of mine, of course, but there are other excellent resources out there such as Astral’s Knowledge Base and Jeweleffect’s great Guide to Setting up Google Checkout. Just knowing where the instructions are puts you ahead in the game.
Often people will only turn to the forums when they’re failing - this can make them angry and frustrated, and their “cry for help” might not always be a positive thing. It can often start with insults and sarcasm. Try to remember they aren’t personally angry with you. If you can offer positive advice, and you think it might be listened to, then great. If you’ve nothing positive to say, try saying nothing. Walk away and let others deal with it. If you think the post is really aggressive or unpleasant, or you see it promoting angry responses in return, report the thread. Sure, some people will talk about “snitches” and “button-pushers” when they see that advice, but we’re not in the schoolroom or the prison yard now, we’re talking about a professional business where people are trying to make a living - not just the users like you and me, but the guys who own it too - and we’re allowed to be the adults when we see bad behaviour that needs addressing. The report button (small exclamation mark) is there for a reason, and will be acted upon. If you can help keep the forums clean and friendly, then you’ve helped the whole eBid community.
So now we’ve addressed making your approach to the forums match eBid’s wishes,
what about looking at our own? The three main issues for regular users are: getting help, promoting stuff, and having fun. Getting help is easy on the forums, just ask. If you’re fairly new, I’ll remind you now that the people you’re asking are just other users like you. So be nice. It’s easy to come across as surly or demanding in print. A simple “how do I do that” can be worded in real life, with an enquiring tone, a smile, and look of pleading, or even just a raised eyebrow and a tone of chirpy interest. In text you have to substitute all that, or it can look like a demand. How you choose to make those substitutes is up to you - I favour emoticons (little smiley faces) but lots of people don’t like them. You can use extra wording “please, how do I do that, I’m totally lost!?” or you can use friendly looking fonts and colours to dress up your request.
Having fun is trickier to address on your behalf… I’ve no idea what your idea of fun is! So while we’re talking about approaches rather than details, some things to bear in mind are: not everybody has the same sense of humour, the forums are all public so anything you say could be read (out of context!) on Google, anything rude is likely to be removed, even if it’s meant harmlessly. There are a number of ways to have fun via the forums, including chatting to your fellow eBidders about anything you like (or don’t like) in the Kitchen Table area. Jokes and funny pictures are often posted. People share stories about their families, pets and their neighbourhood (again, remember what you say is viewable worldwide by members and non-members alike) and once a month the charity auctions produce a lot of very silly fun with eBidders running around “nicking ticks” (out-bidding) from each other and threatening dire punishments for anybody who wins their favourite item.
It can sometimes be tempting, in the friendly atmosphere of the forums, to diverge wildly on somebody else’s thread asking for help, if an opportunity for a leg-pull or vicious pun is spotted - remember to check that the poor old eBidder asking for help has got their answer before you start making fish puns, okay?
Dos and Don’ts.
Again, let me repeat my initial statement, this is just my take. If you’re new to the forums some detailed dos and don’ts might be helpful. If you find you disagree and end up wanting to behave in a different way, that’s your choice and just between you and eBid. I hope you’ll find these guidelines useful, whether as a starting place or a set of rules to behave by; but it’s your choice. So, here are my dos and don’ts, in no particular order:
Do remember please and thank you, it’s easy to forget the basics in the hurly burly of a rapid exchange.
Do make sure you respond back to any thread where you ask for help, so that people know their time isn’t wasted even if you don’t necessarily agree with what they’ve said.
Do remember that the people you’re talking to are your fellow buyers and sellers, potential customers, probably competitors - they don’t owe you anything, they don’t have to help, they’re just being kind.
Don’t ask the same question in more than one place, unless you’ve given it sufficient time to prove the first location hasn’t been noticed or attracted the right attention (we’re talking days, not minutes here).
Do remember that if you ask for opinions there’s a chance you won’t get back the answers you expected. If you don’t want to hear the answers, don’t ask.
Do make sure you put your questions in the right forum. It’s not always easy to know which one that is, so give it you best shot and be prepared to move the thread if advised to do so.
Don’t worry if you don’t get an answer instantly, it might be a matter of timing (there’s nobody who knows around) or people could be sitting thinking about your problem prior to answering.
Do check if a subject has been covered previously before asking; repetition of a question, however reasonable it is individually, can be annoying for the people who’ve been around a while.
Don’t swear, make personal comments, post contact details, link to e-commerce sites, talk about other selling venues in detail, advertise your stuff outside the proper forum… or in any other way break the rules.
Do offer help to others where you can; what goes around, comes around.
Do set-up your signature to promote your shops and/or items each time you post, but…
Don’t post pointless threads just to give you signature an airing (we’ve all seen it a million times, and nobody’s fooled).
Don’t be upset when you post your genius idea and nobody’s thrilled. Chances are, we’ve seen it all a million times, don’t take it personally.
Do post your genius idea though, maybe it will be a real first and everybody will be thrilled!
And finally… do join in. What’s the worst that can happen? :o)
Oh, and finally, finally… those are my theories on using the forums; I wish I could claim I always live up to them!