Yard Salers: July 8: eBay Live Redux & Great New Prizes
Please forward to a friend!
eBay Live 2008 has come and gone and was a total whirlwind! For me, one
of the highlights was meeting some of you subscribers, including Dee,
with whom I had emailed several times before leaving and who I ran into
at the Meet & Greet the first night of eBay Live.
Dee went to the session on eBay for Rural America, and you can read Dee's take on the session in "Reader Mail."
There were some moans and groans from the audience, as was
expected, but many sellers also had a "get on with it" approach, and I
noticed a new professionalism and real marketing panache from many
sellers who had slick handouts, giveaways, and all kinds of unique
marketing techniques. One seller had gourmet chocolate bars affixed to
her business card and was handing those out at the Meet 'n' Greet. (I
think Dee was lucky enough to get one, but I was unable to track down
chocolate lady later).
This dovetailed nicely with some of the marketing sessions I
attended, by some of eBay's "big name" guests, including Seth Godin and
Andy Sernovitz. The latter was all about making a splash as a seller
with your packaging, package inserts, marketing programs, etc. More on
that later in this issue. So check out the eBay Live area on
But on to some really important stuff: Prizes!
I came back with more eBay swag than ever, and will be giving it
out in this week's Flip contest as well as in weeks to come. eBay was
well-stocked with swag bags, as were many of the merchants exhibiting.
It seemed you couldn't turn around without encountering a stack of
canvas tote bags in a gaudy color. And let's not forget my roll of tape
on its very own Endicia -imprinted dispenser. (Dee and i were waxing
nostalgic about the Tape Issue).
Then we'll move on to the current Flip of the week contest and get some prizes awarded.
I'm going to post a short summary in this issue, but you can
check out the coverage on AuctionBytes,com, and my own blog,
But other exciting things are happening.One more thing before
we get on to it. Furniture expert Rosemary Barnett is offering her
ebook for half-price for a limited time to all Yard Salers subscribers!
I'll have the ebook available for instant download soon, after
I get its Clickbank page set up, but meantime, if you want to buy the
ebook, simply Paypal me $9.95 (down from $19.95) to firstname.lastname@example.org,
with "Furniture ebook" in the subject line, and I'll email you the
links to download it asap, usually within an hour to a few hours. The
ebook is in Adobe Acrobat/pdf format.
She's only agreed keep it on sale for this one issue so far, so I'd jump on that if you want it!
Let's get on to the rest of it without further ado.
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In This Issue:
1) eBay Live Wrap-Up: The Yays, the Nays, the "Takeaways"
2) Flip of the Week Contest: Prizes for All
3) Reader Mail
1) Julia's eBay Live Wrap-Up: The Yays, the Nays, the "Takeaways"
Here comes Julia's eBay Live Wrap-Up.I'm going to give very short
summaries of what I thought were the salient points and other
highlights (or lowlights in some cases). But I will give you links to
go to for more info too, including articles I wrote for AuctionBytes.
I know some of you don't like navigating through a bunch of
links, but it's better than a ginormous issue that makes you feel
overwhelmed, I think.
- The DevCon
As I mentioned briefly in the last issue one of the big things
from the DevCon keynote was "eBay's plans to allow third parties to
integrate applications directly onto its site."
The Mozilla Guy and the Zappos Guy
The two big-name speakers from the DevCon keynote were Mike
Shaver of Mozilla (aka the co that makes Firefox and just announced
released of a new version, to much cheering).
- Shaver was going on about how they love the Internet, the
Internet loves it back, the Firefox logo has the fox hugging the world,
etc. I didn't take many notes because it seemed like such philosophical
stuff. Which is unlike my crazy note-taking hand..maybe my hand needed
- The Zappo's Guy (from Zappo's Shoes..an a whole lot more!)
I really loved the Zappo's guy, Tony. And not just because he
admitted he had first wandered into the wrong convention and tried to
register as speaker to much confusion -- some kind of employment for
Prior to this conference, I thought of Zappo's as a place where
you could buy shoes online. I had not used it myself. Now I realize you
can get a lot of other stuff there too, but they think of themselves as
excelling in customer service. In fact, on their web site it says
"Powered by Service."
Tony, the Zappo's founder, got his start by starting the co. LinkShare, which he sold, and then founded Zappo's.
Zappo's gets 75% of its business from return customers, with 8.1
million paying customers (now 8.1 million and one, since I just
registered to get free shoes. OK, so I haven't bought yet, but I
Zappo's ships for free both ways. How can they afford to do it? He said they look at it as marketing costs.
He related a great story about how back in the go-go days they
spent on the wrong kind of advertising...they bought a billboard in a
stadium for $75,000, and they only got...3 customers from it.
"Great product, great service, low prices.." Tony said you should choose and focus on 2 of 3 of those.
The stuff he said about word of mouth marketing dovetailed
nicely with the stuff Andy Sernovitz said later in an eBay Live
One customer bought shoes, and wound up having to return them
because the man died. The rep went ahead and sent flowers to the woman,
who wound up telling the story at the funeral. So many of the people
who heard the story at the funeral became customers.
OK, that wound up being long..sorry.
Next I attended the "Product Roadmap" session w/ Adam Trachtenberg. Here's a bit from the article I wrote up about it:
"Seller Requirements, such as specifying at least one domestic
shipping service, including a handling time and return policy; as well
as new PayPal rules for international sites, and Trust & Safety
changes such as anonymizing email addresses were discussed by eBay
Director of Product Management, Adam Trachtenberg, in his "eBay Product
Roadmap" session Wednesday, June 18 - a repeat of the Monday session."
For the whole article on auctionbytes, as well as screen shots of some of the slides, go to:
For other news at the DevCon, go to http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/ebaylive2008 and scroll down to Monday.
The morning of the first day of
the regular eBay Live! conference was the shareholders mtg., and I
attended it with Ina Steiner of AuctionBytes, and her
photographer/videographer Phil Davies of TIAS.
If you want to read all about it, you can go to my bidbits blog
post about it, at
The title essentially says it all: "No Big Surprises at eBay Shareholder Mtg. 2008."
There are photos there of John Donahoe, the meeting setup, and
I'm particularly proud of my shot of Meg Whitman posing with a
shareholder. I also have some shots of Pierre I haven't uploaded yet.
In addition to the stuff I wrote on the blog, Donahoe said the
"Journey Ahead" was about how eBay is the "leader in key web
activities" -- #1 in Trade, #1 in Pay, #1 in Communicate.
- Making eBay easier and safer
- expand our selection/pricing and other incenetives
- continue to grow PayPal both on and off eBay
"It's all about our customers."
Then it was time for the conference proper, and Ina, Phil and I
cabbed it over to the other Hyatt where the convention center was.
The first session I attended was "Improve Your Search Ranking"
- eBay's "Best Match" search. I don't think I blogged about it yet, and
I think it's important, so I'm gonna dump the salient points on ya:
It was essentially a Q&A, so the points are in the form of sellers' q's and the forum moderator's answers:
- Will Finding 2.0 (I guess this is what they're calling the new search) include subtitles?
In a nutshell, they said no. Which I think is too bad, because
we could really use it. Their "intent is not to use the subtitles in
title search...moving to item specifics and custom item specifics."
One guy who sold tractor/trailers on eBay Motors complained
they didn't have the item specifics he needed, and eBay said they were
working on it.
A lot of q's were asked about shipping. I covered these in my
article about the session for AuctionBytes, which you can read here:
There wasn't a lot of time to go to some of the "fun" sessions I
would have liked to attend, but I did manage to sneak into one about
"Trend spotting" that I enjoyed.
I didn't catch all of it, but leader Rieva Lesonsky highlighted a number of things to be on the lookout for, including:
House of Tween Style - tweens like to wear makeup; Libby Lu is like the
Sephora for little girls; Mattel and Bonne Bell making makeup for
little kids (I'm only the messenger here!)
- "More shoppers seeing green in second-hand clothing"
- Big beads a la Michelle Obama are in
- Men's vests on women a big trend (I'm getting an "Annie Hall" visual here
- check site fashiontrendsetter.com - African patterns, etc.
- trends set in Paris & NY fashion shows
- NY Times: In times of recession, people dress in black.
- A lot of $ to be made in women 50 and above
- People mag had a bit about two women who started a big biz buying
weddin bands from people who had divorced; within 2 mos, the site had
500K registered users.
- pets, accessories
- smaller furniture, houses getting smaller
- Morocco and Cuba are hot
Well, that's enough of that.
I have more to say about all the sessions, but in the interest of
getting this newsletter out before the end of the year, I'll refer you
for now to the section on AuctionBytes.com with all the articles the
team wrote. Ina did some live blogging as did Greg Holden:
And check out my blog, http://www.bidbits.net, for more photos and articles.
Buying Furniture: A New ebook by a Reader
For a limited time, furniture industry insider and Yard Saler
reader Rosemary Barnett has agreed to make her furniture buying guide
half price for Yard Salers subscribers!"THE FURNITURE BUYING GUIDE:
An Insider's View Of What You Need To Know Before You Buy Your
Mattress, Recliner, Sofa, Or Dinette In A Store Or On The Internet" is
now only $9.95 instead of $19.95. (But Rosemary has only given me the
go-ahead to go half-price for this one issue, so jump on it now if you
It's an insider's guide to buying furniture, and I've read it myself.
Just some of the things this guide covers are: what to take with
you when buying furniture; how furniture salespeople work and what to
look for in them (a real eye opener, I found); pricing games and how
sales work; types of wood; fabrics; kitchen furniture -- what works and
how to keep things looking good; dining room, including what to look
for inside a china hutch; what to look for in construction of bedroom
furniture; the types of mattresses and beds and considerations for each
type of construction; how to tell if a piece is real leather, and much
I wish I had had this guide before buying the large pieces my
husband and I purchased for our home. But I'll check it out going
Also, for anyone who buys this book Rosemary says she is
willing to receive emails to answer questions you might have about
furniture already in their home or a pending purchase.
I'll have the book available for instant download soon, after I
get its Clickbank page set up, but meantime, if you want to buy the
book, simply paypal me $19.95 to email@example.com, and I'll email you
the links to download it asap, usually within an hour to a few hours.
(Don't worry..Rosemary will get her proceeds from the sales!).
Happy furniture buying (and selling)!
2) Flip of the Week Contest: eBay Swag Prizes for Everyone
Rooster Bowls: Henny Nets a Pretty Penny (Sorry, I couldn't resist)
Subject: Flip of the week
Julia, I had an interesting flip during the last couple weeks. I
was out looking for yard sales with my daughter when we found a church
I picked up several items that looked promising. I had in my
hands 6 small bowls with a rooster head in the middle, two bass fishing
books by Bill Dance, and a small saucer of a pattern I recognized.
There were no prices listed on any of the items and when I asked what
they wanted for the lot I was told to "make an offer." I hate when they
do that. I don't want to cheat anyone but I do want a 'deal.' Anyway I
offered $5 for the bunch.
So far I have only listed the bowls. They were a set of 6
bowls marked on the bottom: Howard-Holt 1962. I did a 10 day auction
and started them at $5.99. They sold for $71.01. I wish those kind of
finds happened more often. They bring such excitement to my little
eBay site of this sale: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=350052929854&ssPageName=ADME:L:EOISSA:US:1123
I really enjoy your newsletter. Thank you,
Thanks for sending in that
great find! I am so sorry for the delay! I am writing in this next
newsletter that I am going to bring stuff back from eBay Live to award
as prizes for this current Flip contest.
I am partial to roosters myself..having several similar bowls on
display in one room. I hadn't heard of Howard-Holt..you learn something
new every day!
Thx again for sharing and pls. watch the newsletter for the winners! :)
Subject: Flip of the Week - Coleman Lantern w/ Pyrex Glass
Hi Julia - I have been reading your newsletter for some time now &
enjoy it so much. I would like to add a couple of our flips, although I
apologize for not keeping the photos.
My husband & I drove up to a yard sale, on an extremely hot day
here in Florida. Luckily, I chose to sit in the air conditioned car as
it didn't look as though there was much of anything there. My husband
came back empty handed, as I suspected he would. Luckily for both of
us, the fact that I was sitting, looking out the window really paid
I spotted a gold Coleman Lantern with Pyrex glass - it was in a
corner under a table. He went back & the owner of the house told
him he had a matching Coleman stove as well. He said he found them in
the attic when he moved into the house & was now moving out &
selling them. We paid $2.00 each for them. The lantern sold for $255.00
& the stove, $64.00. Needless to say, we were thrilled.
Another time, I purchased two miniature Hummels from a woman
who told me her mom had them in a doll house. She sold them to me for a
quarter apiece & we sold them both for $125.00.
Thank you for letting me share these flips with you.
Thanks so much for sending that in! Now why have I never been lucky enough to get Hummels for a quarter? I love it!
I also love your lantern story. There is another thing I hadn't though
of, but working an estate sale the other day we had a vintage
"Williamsburg"-style lantern that I think was going for around $100.
Now if I see a good old one I'll snap it up.
Wonderful find, and thanks again..read to the end of the issue to see who wins what. :)
Subject: Flip of the week
Hi Julia - I am an Ebay seller/flipper for about 8 years now. I
find that I tend to focus on the same old things and overlook items
that I could do well. So to expand my Ebay horizons and educate myself,
I have been reading your newsletter for a few months now and have
learned some new tricks. Recently, your Winston Churchill book tip
netted me 50 bucks on a 5 buck investment.
Anyway, I did a nice flip about 4 year ago now and it is one that I
tell to my friends. My wife and I walked up a driveway and the seller
has a huge beautiful framed print of Jack Nicholas standing at Saint
Andrews golf course in Scotland. The print is still in the plastic with
all its papers. In the frame dimensions were about 4 feet high and 3
feet wide. I ask the seller his price and he tells me $50. He further
explains that he won the print at a fancy corporate golf tournament but
was selling it because he was a Tiger Woods fan and not a big Jack fan!
Well my father-in-law is a golfer so I figure if I can' sell it I will
give it to him. I pay him $50 and run back down his driveway!
I take it home and take a close look. I discover it is a limited
edition/numbered print. It is signed not just by the artist but by Jack
Nicholas himself ! I was able to verify all this on the artist's web
site who actually had photos of himself and Jack with the print. I have
since forgotten the artist name but he was best described as an up and
coming Leroy Neumann-style artist type. Turns out he is selling them
the same print for $2000 a piece on his web site.
I posted it several times starting at around $1000. I ended up selling
it at Christmas time to two kids who bought it for their Dad as an Xmas
gift. I sold it for $730. I am sure if I wanted to play hardball I
could sold it for more by waiting, but I was very happy with that
I have some other good ones but people find that story the most
interesting. I also have a flop concerning Thomas toys which I can
elaborate on at a later time.
Attached is a photo of my flip. It was a few years ago so I can not provide you with an item #.
Jeff wrote me back a bit later to thank me for my reply and also to
mention a revision: "the print depicts Jack Nicklaus at Pebble Beach, I
thought it was St. Andrews. Anyway same result! Thanks again and I
really enjoy reading your newsletter. - Jeff."
[Note from Julia: I left the original bit about St. Andrews
because it gives me the chance to say stuff from and about the St.
Andrews golf course tends to do very well, so watch for it].
My original reply:
I am so sorry for the delay, esp. since you have such a
wonderful story! But maybe it's fate that I am only reading it now with
all this US Open golf excitement going on. (For what it's worth, my
husband loved Jack Nicklaus but is not crazy about Tiger Woods..I guess
he thinks it takes some of the excitement out of it).
Wow...to find such a work of art, and not only signed by the artist but Nicklaus himself, that's amazing!
I am writing in this next newsletter that I am going to bring stuff
back from eBay Live to award as prizes for this current Flip contest.
So watch the next couple issues to see the winner and the prizes.
You're def. in the running. I really want to run the photo too, but I
don't know if it will make this issue, coz I am scrambling to get out
to ebay Live.
I am also really gratified that my Winston Churchill tip
netted u some $. That's what really makes me happy..when I help readers
Now for the winners...::drumroll::. everyone wins something in this contest, because I have so much loot from eBay Live.
- Gladys wins an eBay Devcon tote bag and a Kijiji water bottle
- Bev wins a govliquidation tote bag and complete set of eBay multicolored pens
...and the grand prize of an eBay Live tote bag with a complete set of eBay Live 2008 pins goes to..
- Jeff for his golf painting flip!
Everyone, please email me your mailing address so I can ship the loot out to you.
Didn't win this time? Fear not! There's plenty of loot left for
the upcoming contests, including more eBay Live pins, tote bags, the
eBay Live t-shirt, and all kinds of strange little bits of swag like
endicia.com tape. (You know how we love tape in this newsletter because
we did a whole issue on it).
3) Reader Mail
I'm behind in Reader Mail and plan to catch up in the backlog in
the next issue. For now, YS subscriber Dee's take on eBay for rural
America from eBay Live and the conf in general:
Dee tells us:
I had a good time a Live!, and was glad I was able to meet you
in person, you're as great as I figured! I spent a lot of my time by
myself, which was fine for me, needed a break! I did talk to a few
people and liked most of the seminars I went to. A couple of the ones I
wanted to go to were shut down...so room left...darn it!!! Don't
remember which ones now. Anyway, I was a great "get away" time for me.
And I did learn something, just not sure what yet...LOL.
I went to the Rural America seminar hoping to get some great
pointers of how others in rural areas operate their eBay business. I
enjoyed the seminar, but was a bit disappointed.
The speaker mostly pointed out what rural eBayers have to
deal with. Like shipping problems, small post offices, no pick up
service, not being able to mail as quickly as we would like. But others
pointed out that we have access to things others don't have that live
in cities. The seminar was more of a sharing time than anything. Which
in one way was nice, there wasn't a lot of negatives comments flying
around. If they have it again, it would be nice to have a more ideas
from the speaker of how to operate an eBay business, not just a sharing
Thanks for your nice comments and feedback on that session, Dee! I must
say it was wonderful meeting you. I met some other YS subscribers at my
Wiley book signing session, and I hope to meet more of you in the
Well, that's it for this now ginormous issue. More Reader Mail -- catchup time -- coming in the next issue.
Also if you really can't get enough Julia you can sign up for my twitter updates at http://twitter.com/juliawww.
Have a great (and profitable) week, all!
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