Monday, December 17, 2007

Countdown to Christmas and a Packing Metruschka

I thought it would be fun to post the latest issue of my Yard Salers newsletter here. For those of you who read my blog and have not yet had the full experience that is my newsletter, you can now taste it below. (It's at, by the way).

Yard Salers: Countdown to Christmas and a Packing Metruschka - Dec. 17, 2007

Subscribe at:

We are knee-deep in the holiday season. A lot of you are probably scrambling to ship out packages and trying to keep some semblance of order in your packing supplies area as well.

At the same time, a lot of us have a lot of incoming packages, so we have boxes coming our way that we can save and use later.

I wanted to pass on to you my new favorite and space-saving way of storing these boxes. It's based on the Russian nesting doll known as the "metruschka."

Simply place the largest of the boxes on the bottom, then the second-largest,  then the third, and so on. Sometimes you can fit 2 or 3 little boxes on the top.

Other packing and shipping tips:

- save torn wrapping paper for colorful cushioning packing paper to use inside fragile packages. 

- another great, lightweight (and free) packing material is the slim plastic bags that your newspaper is delivered in. 

- If you are shipping something internationally, first check to see if it can fit in a flat-rate envelope.

The postal service lets you use the flat-rate domestic envelope for this purpose (yes, they say "domestic use only" on them, go figure, but I was told by a worker at a post office that you can use these until they come out with the new envelopes, whatever those may be). The international postage for these is $11, as long as the thing fits in there taped up.

A side note about international mailing. I had been avoiding offering shipping internationally in the last few weeks, because I was trying to avoid long holiday lines at the post office. But then I saw a piece in the Wall Street Journal about how the weak dollar has foreign shoppers going on sprees in the U.S. It convinced me to open up my bigger-ticket auctions worldwide. Something to think about for your higher-dollar auctions. In fact, I have a nice collection of art prints up now. Who's watching it? Someone in Great Britain.

- Finally, don't forget the media mail rate. For heavy books and magazines, I have been using media mail a lot lately, and people want it because Priority rates seem to be so high lately.

An interesting side note: do you know who we have to thank for "book rate"? (Another way "media mail" is referred to?

Yes, it's our good buddy Benjamin Franklin. There was a letter about this in the Washington Post the other day. Here's an excerpt:

A man said he sought to mail a book to his sister in Lynchburg, Va., and the postal clerk quoted him a rate of $14.

"I asked for something cheaper, and he said $9."

"Wait a minute," I said. "This is a book. I know there's a cheaper rate for books. That dates back to Benjamin Franklin. Books and periodicals go cheaper to encourage an informed voting public."

"You want the book rate?" he said.

"That's why I've written 'book' on the package."

"Well that doesn't mean you want the book rate. You have to ask for that. We don't offer that unless you ask."

"You mean that's a postal policy?"

"Yep. We're not supposed to offer that or even tell you about it unless you ask. I know it seems deceptive, and I've said so. But it falls on deaf ears."

"The book rate was $2.40, about one-fourth the cheapest rate otherwise. This is a small but really outrageous crime being committed by a major public institution. People mailing books for Christmas should know about it."

So there you have it. If you use, as I do, it will offer you the media mail option. Otherwise, ask for it. :)

Other quick notes: don't forget to enter my contest to win a free copy of my paperback books! All you have to do is email me at and let me know what you would like to see more of in the newsletter in 2008.

So far I'd say  you have an excellent chance of winning.

And, I'm about to close up my holiday promotion for the catalogs ebook. The price will be going back up to $8.95 by the end of the holiday season. For  now, you can get your copy (what better way to know which of those holiday catalogs to save?) for the limited time price of only $4.95 by going to the following link: ...or cut and paste:
into your browser.

Finally, I've found a new, free, cash-back referral program you all may be interested in. This one, BigCrumbs, lets you earn money back not only on what you and your referrals spend on eBay, but over 200 retailers such as Target, Best Buy, and Peapod by Giant. (I don't know about you but I spend a lot on groceries!). If you're interested and want to sign up via my affiliate link, go here:

My article about BigCrumbs will be appearing in AuctionBytes in early January. I'll send a reminder out closer to the date.

Meantime, may you make lots of money during the rest of the holidays, but don't forget to take time to relax and enjoy the season as well.

Best wishes,


Sponsored by:
Finally, a real-life eBay PowerSeller reveals the secrets to creating multiple streams of income using the viral power of eBay.

Discover how I make $1000s each month by creating simple info products, then copy me and do exactly the same: to order.

Buy Low. Sell High. What Sells on eBay for What 2007 is here. Over 300 pages high and median prices for key categories. Plus Top Searches and Most Watched Items for EVERY eBay category. Get it at half price only here in this newsletter.
Click to order.

Or cut and paste this url into your browser:
Dirty Bits of Paper Fetch $1600? Making Money with Post Cards. 40-year veteran of the trade Avril Harper says she's overspilled the beans by giving  all the information you'll need to begin making $200 - $100 or so every day on eBay, and PROMISES no one else in the eBay universe will tell you about this remarkable profit-spinner.

Find out more:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Make Money Shopping: BigCrumbs and KickItBack

I just signed up for BigCrumbs, a site that lets you earn money back for shopping on sites like eBay, Target, the GAP, etc etc. But the really neat part is you can earn referral money for up to 5 generations of folks -- you tell a friend and get a cut, then they tell a friend and you get a cut of their friend's friend's shopping, etc., etc., and so forth, as Yul Brynner said in "The King and I."

I went ahead and signed up, and am experimenting with it -- so what the heck, here's my link:">Make Money Shopping with Big Crumbs

Obviously, the more people you refer, the more you can make.  The people on their testimonials page certainly seem to be happy campers.  " "[I've earned] $540 in 3 months most from eBay..." says "rdworski" of Maryland.  Not too shabby. Others seem to be earning @ $50, $100, $200. I think these programs are the kinds of things that take time and patience to build up to really healthy levels. And, of course, people need to remember to shop the retailers' sites via the BigCrumbs or KickItBack they their sites, a desktop tool, toolbar, etc. But heck, it's free money, so why not?

KickItBack is a similar program, but focuses only on eBay. I wrote an article about them for the AuctionBytes Update which you can find here:

If you want to sign up for KickItBack (and I'm sure you want to use my referral link if you do), it's at:

Shop on, people! And earn.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Gee, Do You Think This is Spam?

From the Gee, Do You Think This is Spam department:

- A "cristmus offer" from "Linen n Things" (note, not Linens n Things)

eBay and the Knot? Gossip and Tidbits

Some tidbits for Bidbits...I was talking to my friend Paul Rapa the other day; he's a commodities analyst  and follows eBay closely. He was at a sort of "mini eBay Live" they had in Manhattan a while back, where reps from PayPal and eBay were on hand to answer questions.

At the event, Paul had offered his opinion that eBay buy and TheKnot. The latter, he notes, is profitable, growing, and can be had for 500 million. "Not bad for eBay and it is the #1 Wedding site."

Who is writing this mysterious blog? Paul also clued me into this. It's very good, just about daily posts on eBay and its business. Or businesses, multiple, I should say. Check it out. I'll be adding it to under Blogs.

eBay stock..Paul feels the stock is undervalued and should be trading at $50, mentioning PayPal just signed a deal with Mastercard where you can pay anywhere anytime. If you own eBay stock, you can feel good about paying PayPal and eBay fees. Well, at least better about it.

One of the most annoying things I encounter vis a vis PayPal is all the ridiculous, numerous spoof emails. I know to mouse over the links and see the crazy urls that come up, but do other people? I've said before and I'll say again, I think PayPal needs to do a better job educating people as to using mouseovers to avoid clicking into spoof emails. Or maybe just an email education program to not click through PayPal links at all..only use emails as fyi's, and go to the site to login and do business. I haven't thought that one through though.

StumbleUpon is growing..closing in on 4 million users..Paul makes the point that it is rarely mentioned. We'll see if this changes. I must confess I haven't been good about stumbling, though I've wanted to.

Enough dishing for one day.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Holiday buying on eBay and Getitnext

We're knee-deep in the holiday buying season, and it's only a few days past Thanksgiving. I've noticed an uptick in many of my eBay auctions, which I think is a trickle-down effect from more buyers overall trolling the site, so if you have stuff you've been waiting to sell, get it up there.

Buyers...what to buy on eBay vs.  Stores? In my household one of the most sought-after items is the Xbox 360 console. Video games and systems are often on the top of the list. My advice is to thoroughly vet the seller, go for the highest feedback possible -- 100%, preferably, and if there is no return policy specified, use the Ask Seller a Question feature to see if they have doesn't hurt to see how fast they get back to you..not to mention if they ever get back to you.

One site that aims to make eBay shopping simpler and to cut down on the clutter is Getitnext, at Coincidentally, the Nintendo Wii was the featured hot item on the home page when I visited it this morning.

There are also tabs for Find a Deal - auctions with 0 bids and less than 4 hours remaining; and Bulk Deals, Lots, Multiples, and wholesale, as well as Buy It Now items.

I've just started playing with this but I think it can be a fun add-on to the whole eBay shopping experience.

Check out my free newsletter site,, for more holiday selling, shopping and shipping tips.

Happy and profitable holidays, all!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Opening My New Chumby: Some Chumpix

I received my cushy new chumby in the mail the other day.

What is a chumby? It's the most fun new gadget out there in the world of's a little device with a screen that plays endless widgets -- such as YouTube, eBay, facebook, and other Internet-related smidgens. Some things are still in the works, it looks like -- but it's looking pretty cool.

Anyway, right now, I mainly just wanted to share my chumby photos with you. This is how the chumby looked in its packaging, and with its accessories, etc., when I took it out of the box.

Chumby_n_signe_wedding1007_001  Chumby in its cute burlap sack. (Who said you can't look hot in a burlap sack?)

I love their cute octopus logo. Steve Adler of chumby Industries fame (who I met at the eBay Devcon, where he gave a chumbydemo) told me it was done by the same lady who did the apple logo. If I'm not mistaken.

Here is the chumby itself (it's the thing in the middle row on the bottom, with the tan/beige colored trim, and a little screen) surrounded by its accessories, cute lil' bags and adorable little manual.

Chumby with its ac adaptor plugged in, and the manual open.


Chumby in all its glory on my desk, playing the YouTube widget.

More pix coming as I play with the chumby some more.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Note to amazon: Can I Has buyer address in the "sold" email, pleez?

Hey,, a note from your sellers everywhere...well, at least from me: Can you please go back to emailing us the durn buyer's name and address in the email message we get when we sell something?

Now you've gone to this irritating new system where we have to:

- 1. Go to your Seller Account by clicking "Your Account" at the top of any page, then clicking "Your Seller Account" on the right side of the
page, under Marketplace.

- 2. Find Order ID "blah blah blah" in Manage
Orders. You can search by Order ID if necessary.

- 3. Click the Order ID
link to display the Order Details page. You will see the full order details
including shipping address and shipping speed.

Fun! Yeesh. I imagine there was some security reason for this or something, but PayPal sends buyer mailing addresses in their payment confirmation emails, so why can't you?

And by the way, I fronted you like three bucks on the shipping.

There, I got that off my chest. Thanks.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Facebook Flyers: Let Us Target Groups in Ads

I've been experimenting with Facebook flyers. Did I mention I love facebook? I'll go with the lower case. I'm not surprised it's growing rapidly and is being courted by Microsoft, Yahoo, and who knows what other Internet big boys.

When I heard about their "flyers" advertising program, I was excited. It sounded like a simple, low-cost way to get an ad out on the Internet to targeted groups of people. The only problem is, although facebook has these natural ready-made groups of people on the site, called, guess what -- groups -- you can't target them with flyers!

No, you can only target a college/university or a "network."  This doesn't work well for a lot of people selling products that would tie in really well with all the myriad facebook groups out there. For example, I sell ebooks about eBay. I don't want to buy a flyer for Washington, DC, or the University of Minnesota...I want to buy a flyer for the "Addicted to eBay" group, and maybe some other facebook eBay groups as well.

This seems like a no brainer to me. C'mon facebook folks, pleez give us groups in ads. Or as the cat on another certain site would say, I Can Has Group Targeting? OK, that didn't work out.

I did write the facebook people to verify that you could not in fact target groups. They thanked me for the idea, but verified that you cannot do it. So maybe they're considering it. Let's hope. Meantime I'll keep you posted as to how my flyers are doing. Not well, at the moment. At this rate, I doubt I'll keep using them, as the keyword/network system just doesn't seem to work well for me and I bet the groups idea would.

In sum: Groups. groups. groups. facebook. please. give. us. groups. in. flyers. mark. zuckerberg. just. for. good. measure.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

PayPal donates dough to Ballou High School

I was sitting here watching Ellen, and gearing up to list some Russian art books on eBay, and they had the director of Washington DC's own Ballou High school on the show. He's apparently turned the band into a haven for the kids in the school, which is in a crime-ridden part of the city. All the seniors in the band last year went on to college.

Well in these situations Ellen usually presents the person on the show with money or gifts for their cause, underwritten by a company, and I thought it was interesting this time that the sponsor was PayPal.

They donated $25,000 to the band and $75K to the high school. Plus, Ballou-ies will be walking around with backpacks with PayPal logos on them stuffed with school supplies courtesy of the co.

You go, P-Pal. Now you just need a campaign to reduce all the PayPal-related email spam out there.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Choosing your market niche by Mikal Belicove

Today I am pleased to offer a guest blog entry by my friend, a great writer and very funny person to boot, Mikal Belicove.  You can read his regular Beliblog and get other info at

Choosing your market niche

By Mikal E. Belicove

If you and I were to decide to go into business together, and we chose to
open up a brick and mortar store on Main Street, there's no way we'd sign an
18-month lease, order display furnishings, install carpet, hook up a phone line,
and hire employees without first knowing what we're going to sell. Yet, online
retailers--or, more accurately, casual sellers who want to become successful
online retailers--do it every day.

Without giving much thought to a company name, product line, or business or
marketing plan, new online sellers sign up for product sourcing services, work
with a third-party vendor to build a webstore, and only then get around to
asking, "Hey, what should I sell?" They head to eBay, see what�s selling, and
then decide to sell the same products--usually consumer electronics--for
slightly less than the competition. They end up being disappointed, mainly
because their profit margins are so low.

The problem is that these misguided novices have nothing unique to offer,
so they try to compete on price alone--an almost surefire way to go bust. One of
the keys to online retail success is your ability to establish yourself as the
person or the company from which to purchase a particular selection of related
products. Tiger Woods, for example, would be better off selling golfing gear
than home d�r� something that Martha Stewart is more qualified to sell. (For
additional details on how to compete on something other than price, please see
my two-part series, "Giving away the store," which will appear in this column
later this year.)

Selling what you know

What�s interesting is that first-time online retailers often overlook their
own areas of expertise and passion. A guy who�s spent his entire life fiddling
around with car engines in his garage suddenly decides to start selling video
games, because they�re so popular with the kids in the neighborhood. Or a gal
who�s had a lifelong passion for photography decides to open her own major
department store online, selling anything and everything.

In my line of work, I have the unique opportunity to meet many talented
individuals who simply started out by choosing the wrong products to sell. One
of these gifted people, whom I fondly refer to as �The Dart Lady,� was
interested in selling consumer electronics, despite the fact that she really
enjoyed schooling men in the art of throwing darts at her local pub. She knew a
ton about darts, was very passionate about playing, and kept up on the local,
regional, and world dart scene. As soon as I pointed out to her that she could
sell darts and dart-related equipment online, her eyes lit up with a ton of
possibilities. In her case, a female focusing on darts made her unique, as did
her product knowledge and sheer passion for the game.

I also recently met a gifted musician who never considered using his
musical talents to his advantage. He was at a complete loss as to what to sell,
so he dabbled here and there as most online retailers do, simply experimenting
with different products in the hopes that he would hit it big. When I pointed
out to him that he could use his knowledge and talents to market himself and a
line of musical instruments and accessories, he too say an infinite amount of
possibilities for his online business. Now he�s selling what he knows, and for
his local clientele, he offers lessons to accompany specific purchases.

I even met a fellow who managed to transform his work experience at a major
amusement park into a successful business. I didn�t teach him much, because he
understood the importance of picking a niche right from the start. He had worked
for a number of years in catering at a theme park and noticed how much kids and
grow-ups alike liked carnival foods. He took his product knowledge from that
space and applied it online by selling cotton candy machines, popcorn makers,
snow cone machines, and so on�an excellent example of someone who is using his
product knowledge to price, market, stand out, and sell products online.

Identifying your areas of expertise

Follow in the footsteps of these and other successful online retailers�sell
what you know. If you have trouble identifying areas of expertise, answer these
six questions:

- What do you know a lot about?

- What are you most passionate about?

- What are my hobbies and pastimes? Are you a weekend mechanic? A
seamstress? A sports fanatic? A movie buff?

- How do you spend your free time?

- What kind of professional training and experience do you have?

- Find something that makes your eyes light up, and you�ve probably hit on
the right line of products.

Researching your niche market

Once you�ve identified your niche market, you can begin researching the
market to learn more about your customers� wants and needs. The good news is
that since you will be working in areas that interest you, the research won�t
feel much like work.

As you begin researching your niche market, keep the following in

- Knowing your product is not equivalent to knowing your customer. You need
to know your customers� wants and needs. Using the products you sell and being
involved with other�s who use those products can give you a clearer sense of
what people need.

- Base your decisions on research. Use a free market data research too like
Terapeak�s database of completed eBay listings. And, if you sell golf gear, for
example, you may be able to do a little research by going golfing on

- Stay on the leading edge. Don�t follow the crowd by selling what they�re
selling and how they�re selling it. Develop your own unique vision based on your
research and your experience. Attempting to sell what�s hot usually turns into
trying to sell what used to be hot and then being disappointed.

- Get involved in your industry. Read trade publications related to your
market, attend industry conferences and trade shows when you are able, and
mingle with the people who manufacture, market, and use the products you want to

Remember: Pick your niche, research your market, and then pursue it.
Follow your heart, and sell what you know.

About the author: Mikal Belicove is an Orem, Utah-based freelance
writer, ghost blogger, and business communications consultant. Most recently, he
was the Director of Community & Education at Doba--an online product
sourcing marketplace that connects retailer merchants with the inventories of
hundreds of drop ship suppliers. When he is not penning assignments for clients,
he can be found musing about the world around him on his own personal blog at


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

eBay's Snapshot View Makes Shopping Snappy

eBay sure has been making a lot of changes lately, and I've been itching to review them all.

Let's start with one of my favorite changes, today: the Snapshot view.  This lets you select an option to view eBay's search results as many rows and columns of images across your screen, so your eyes can take in a lot more items in one look than you could previously.

Well, heck, the whole point is a visual, right? So check out one of my searches:


The effect is similar of what you could previously (and still can) get by using the timeBLASTER tool, which lets you save searches, run them at set times and then view them as "photo albums" offline later. As AuctionBytes reports in its article on Snapshot view, the tool is still available for an annual subscription of $39.95 at

But Snapshot view integrates the view into the eBay site itself, of course. With Snapshot view, you can still sort the search results by highest or lowest prices first, for example, but you need to hover your mouse over the photo to get the item's details -- item title, current bid price, etc.

I really think this Snapshot view is going to be  a great boon to shoppers, especially as the holiday season approaches (and doesn't it always seem like some sort of holiday is approaching, even if it's National Meerkat Appreciation Day?).

I tried two searches with Snapshot view, which you can eyeball yourself by going to the eBay Playground  (, doing a search, then clicking Snapshot View left of the Sort by drop-down menu.

One was for a Nintendo Wii, which of course my 8-year old son wants for his 9th birthday. The other was for a Pucci top. I found the Snapshot View more useful for the Pucci search, as the variations of colors, shapes and sizes of these wildly patterned tops is much greater than the rather Vanilla looking Wii, and having all that variety nicely laid out on one page was very nice to have.  Still. the view was also good for Wii-shopping.

So, amid all the changes some of us may not like, and the constructive criticism eBay receives, I think this is one most shoppers are going to like. But of course, the proof is in the shopping.

The AuctionBytes article about Snapshot View is at

Have an opinion on Snapshot View? Leave a comment here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Make an Offer to a Watcher: An Idea for eBay

A very quick one I've been meaning to suggest: Give sellers the ability to "make an offer" to someone just watching their auctions. Keep the watcher anonymous and all that, as will probably be needed. But I've noticed in some cases people watch my auctions and then seem to forget about them.  (Of course, it may be my stuff is to blame). And I know that with eBay's new look, watched items are more in buyers' faces than usual.

More on eBay's look soon. I also have a guest blog post from a friend coming, that I am overdue in putting up.

Happy watching!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Gut Reaction to eBay's New Look

eBay has changed their home page more than I can ever remember in recent years.  It now looks to be divided "above the fold" into quadrants, and the most in-your-face are My Recent Activities and My eBay at a Glance. I've been trying to decide how I feel about the whole thing and I can see some positives, such as it certainly keeps whatever is on your watch list on your mind. (This is something I asked for a while back -- a way to have watch list items more visible to bidders, because I think they tend to set them and forget them).

But there's also a disconcerting feeling of change; a strange unfamiliarity that may just be what comes when things are this different on this top level.   Is it due to the Specialty Sites, formerly on the upper left, being gone? The list of Categories are still below that spot, but they seem less prominent for some reason. You can, however, now click the new Categories tab on the upper left, next to other new tabs Motors, Express, and Stores. I don't know how many people will do that, however. I'd like to see the list of Categories moved up; I'm not sure we need My Recent Activities in that spot when we already have My eBay at a Glance livin' so large.

Speaking of that, I think I like the way the My eBay at a Glance is very prominent..from a seller's perspective I think that will keep my stuff on people's minds. I hope so. And I think the Connect links to My World, Groups, and Blogs (further down on the page) are good, although I don't see why eBay couldn't make small, elegant tabs or links to all that stuff right across the top of the page.

Are people that busy these days that they may not even take the time to scroll down the page that far to those My World, Groups, etc. links? Yeah, in some cases, I think they are.

On the other hand, some folks have said eBay has tried to do too many things in recent years with blogs, wiki, guides, etc. and needs to focus on the core auction buying and selling business.

I don't see any problem with those things as long as they don't detract from the core business, and I think the Guides and Reviews are actually very important to stay competitive with amazon, which I think has the edge with all its reader reviews right there on the product pages. Would be nice to see eBay somehow incorporating reviews or a ratings system somehow directly into auctions and listings, or giving sellers a way to do that.

This, of course, would be easier to do with new items.

I still think the balance of Stores and regular auctions is very important. Stores now has the tab on the main screen, but I think it's how store items are incorporated in the search results that matters the most. And the other day I noticed that I couldn't select a photo gallery option on the stores search results, making a batch view of the search results that were stores items impossible. I haven't verified this but I hope that isn't something permanently gone bye-bye.

Well, those are my gut reactions to the new screen. I'll have to use it more to see how it grows on me.

Monday, August 20, 2007

World's Longest Yard Sale Day Two

by and bidbits stringer Jeff Wilson

I attend yard sales as much to meet people as to buy things, and today was a banner day in that regard�and also for finding things which, while I don�t need them, I sure as heck wanted.  At eight o�clock in the morning I was holding a conga up in front of a woman and asking her what she wanted for it.  When she said ten dollars I grabbed my wallet.  A few blocks later I saw four matching Electro-voice speakers marked two bucks each.  It�s odd enough to see two such speakers for sale, but four?  I had to ask, as I handed the woman eight dollars, if there was a quadraphonic receiver somewhere that I�d overlooked, but she assured me there wasn�t.

This was in Northside, with 127 running right through the heart of it.  Northside is a seller�s paradise � people flock to the sales, and their interests are so broad that a lot of money changes hands.  It also works out well for shoppers.  Northside has a great mix of people�young hipster married couples buying their first houses, working class blacks and whites who in many cases grew up there, gays, lesbians, etc.  Surprises abound�and good vibes.  At one sale Priscilla played classic old R&B records on her stereo while I was digging through 45s, and she was nice enough to pose for a photo.

Next I headed south.  After some sales in the Main Strasse neighborhood in Covington, Kentucky, the world�s longest yard sale picks up again about ten miles later, near Florence, Kentucky.  Although it was the third day of the sale, traffic was still bumper to bumper in many areas.  Parking was not only difficult, it was potentially dangerous, especially when traveling to and from your car.


But it was worth it.  On the third day of the sale I saw more interesting things on the lawns of the homes I visited than at the early end of most sales when I headed north.  In some boxes of records that quite possibly hundreds of people had picked through I found a sealed copy of a record by a poet and peace activist from the late sixties named Daniel Berrigan. 

So often record buyers are looking for the Beatles, Kiss and Elvis that they ignore a record that�s extremely rare (I didn�t even know it existed) and collectible, which means the world�s longest sale is still worth visiting on the third day.  (It�s also worth noting that because of their jobs many people don�t set up until Saturday).  Asking who had owned the record, I ended up meeting a man who had attended the civil rights marches in Mississippi in 1964.  Even if I had found nothing, that would have made it worth the trip.

Sales were clustered so close together on 127 that I rarely drove more than a quarter of a mile before I saw another sale.  The sales off the main drag were also worth visiting.  At one sale where I asked for records an older man led me into a barn where I blew the dust off some jazz and country 78s on the Gannett and Okeh labels and some 45s from Cincinnati, which are of great interest to me. 

So, my advice to fellow yard salers: hit the main drag, it�s worth it; but also go off the beaten path.

If you�re headed south from Cincinnati on the World�s Longest Yard Sale, one of the nice things is that getting home is easy.  At mid-afternoon I decided I�d had it.  Asking directions, I was told that if I turn left on one cemetery and left at the other cemetery, that would take me to I-75 North.
It worked, but I wasn�t done.  Late in the afternoon on the third day of the sale, the Main Strasse district in Covington was still hopping, with shoppers everywhere.  As you may have guessed, I shop mostly for records, and classic rock was selling hotcakes that afternoon and had been since Thursday.  One dealer told me he sold boxes and boxes of Beatles records for five to twenty dollars per record.

I think the World�s Longest Yard Sale could be as worthwhile in Kentucky or anywhere else.  It just needs more exposure.  Even the sellers in Kentucky felt that there was less press than in previous years.  More communication on the net from places like could turn that around.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

World's Longest Yard Sale - Wish You Were There

by and bidbits stringer Jeff Wilson

How far does the world�s longest yard sale extend? Some people say the northern tip is Covington, Kentucky; others vote Defiance, Ohio;  and others claim the sale stretches all the way through Michigan.

One website ( led me to
believe that the sale was beginning to thrive in Ohio.  That convinced me to try heading north instead of south on Friday.

127 begins about a mile from my apartment.  Hamilton Avenue (a neighborhood in Cincinnati) is also part of Highway 127.  Friday�s lack of sales in Northside could be attributed to one very simple factor: on Saturday an annual neighborhood sale will be taking place with 50 vendors listed on the website ( and who knows how many unlisted vendors. Anyone who attends the 127 sale anywhere close to Northside should make that a destination.

College Hill and Mt. Healthy were Cincinnati neighborhoods that took advantage of the 127 buzz with sales directly on or close to the main drag. At Rink�s, a flea market in Mt. Healthy, I met Stan Ferguson, who was kind enough to pose for a photograph along with Sheri Bowling. Although Sheri is not his girlfriend, he assured me had several. Along with filling me in about his love life, Stan played me an excerpt from a country music cd he recorded in Nashville.

In the next neighborhood, Fairfield, yard sales either close to or on 127 were scattered about, but the density of sales was relatively light. The same was true all the way through Hamilton and Seven Mile. More disappointing than the scarcity of sales was the fact that most consisted primarily of new and uninteresting wares (like baby clothes and videos) or objects that looked as if they had been purchased in auctions or other yard sales and marked up for increasingly hungry shoppers.

I turned around after Eaton, and went back to West Hamilton, and just wandered�and found much more interesting sales. Although it was mid-afternoon, the front yard of one sale was still packed with tools and other wares. So was the driveway and the back yard. Early that morning there was a line down the block to attend the sale, and people were still flocking to the sale and buying and buying. Again I was reminded that sometimes you have to go off the beaten path to find what you�re looking for.


Sunday, August 5, 2007

Images from the World's Longest Yard Sale

You wanted to go to the World's Longest Yard Sale, but couldn't. But not to worry, because now and bidbits brings images of the sale to you courtesy of our stringer Jeff Wilson, out in the field. (Literally out in the field, in some cases).

So here are some...

Scenes from the World's Longest Yard Sale.





Friday, July 27, 2007

Kijiji vs. Craigslist

Will Kijiji be able to take on or surpass craigslist as the go-to place for online classifieds? Of course it's hard to say.  But in the Internet world, it seems anything is possible with the right mix of interface, perseverance, and critical mass.

This weekend a funny thing happened. I was online discussing Kijiji with a friend of mine, Paul Rapa, a commodities analyst who has a lot of thoughts on the topic, and I popped over to Kijiji to see what was up. It was interesting to be confronted with the big green U.S. map right away on the first page, but certainly eye-catching and clean.

So, lo and behold I drill down to the Washington, D.C. area where I live, and I find a estate  sale listed just down the road from me.  For whatever reason, I did not also see it on craigslist at that time.

Paul has these thoughts: "In order for
them to defeat Craigslist they would have to add Skype to Kijjii soon and drop
that dreadful name."

Also, craigslist is pretty efficient at eliminating spam, flagging postings, and self-policing its community.  Whereas "Many of the ads on Kijiji NY are inserted 10x each," says Paul. "If Ebay wanted to get serious in fighting Craigslist they should have a fiilter to prevent these ads."

And yet, one journalist I read (I can't remember who now) was complaining that craigslist was slow to implement improvements..for example, he wanted a better way to filter items in his surrounding areas or different distances.

Paul thinks eBay should use the myworld domain instead of Kijiji. Other thoughts of his...
Stumbleupon and Kijijii have areas for dating -- "they can
get a jump start on all the dating sites by combining with Skype video and
chat...Skype video can be huge on a dating

It will be interesting to see how this kijiji-craigslist thing plays out. (And if eBay has a 25% interest in craigslist, does it make it some kind of internecine fighting?).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

New ZipGarage Map Widget - Find a Garage Sale on the Map

Michael Carluen, co-founder of, has come out with a cool new widget tool -- I just posted it to the left-hand sidebar of this blog so check it out -- it's "a
nifty and simple widget appropriately called 'Map Widget
for Blogs.' "  Basically, he says, the widget is a just very small google-map
that contains all upcoming sales listed in ZipGarage.  "The small widget
can be placed anywhere in your website or blog. There is no programming
involved. It is as simple as cutting-and-pasting a short html tag� like
embedding a YouTube video or a photo into your blog or website�s html
page - that�s it!"

And so I did. Very cool, Michael!


As he points out, the widget allows you instant access to ZipGarage
sale data, across the US,
within blogs or websites.

For me, it's great because I run a web site called as well, and I try to keep my readers informed of tools like this. As Michael says, "I am hoping it�ll be a good service
to you and to all other garage/yard sale bloggers out there." I think it will be...thanks again, Michael.  Check it out, everyone.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Ztail Makes It Super Easy to List on eBay

I've found a new tool that makes it as easy as anything I've found to list items on eBay. It's called Ztail, at, and it draws product data and images from online databases for many existing products (and even products that are some years old) and plunks it into your listing.

So far I've used it to list (and sell) a 2-3 year old Canon Lide scanner, and I currently have up for sale a Conair hair straightener. I'm going to use the Ztail code to cut and paste the auction below...let me give this a shot...hang on here:

Conair Infiniti 208 Hair Designer Styler / Dryer

View more pics

right now on eBay


This item is currently for sale. Click below to bid or learn more!

eBay Current Price, High Bidder, Total Bids

End Time



See It Now

See all of my Ztail listings

Try Ztail!

This listing created for FREE in less than 1 minute with Ztail.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My First eBay Affiliate Link - Anyone for Harry Potter?

I have a pretty cool set of 1st Us/Canada edition softcover slipcased Harry Potter books up for auction. I decided to use them to test my very first eBay affiliate program link.

Let's see if this works..wish me luck!

Click here for a cool early Harry Potter Boxed Set!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

AuctionAds..a more general eBay ad

Let's try our AuctionAds affiliate ads again, this time with a more general term, "ebay." (That's pretty general wouldn't you say?

Oopsies! That one ran off the page. How about a medium rectangle?

Need a Coach Bag? An AuctionAds test

One way to make money via eBay's affiliate program is to sign up via AuctionAds,, which won the Star Developer Award at the eBay Developers' Conference a couple weeks ago.

I've signed up for the program and am now testing the ads formats. You select the keywords you want to use for the ads..for example, in the below test, I put in the words "Coach bag," because, well for one thing I really like Coach bags and think they're quality items.

So let's see how this looks, shall we?

OK, that looks OK. Now let's see how this does. I'll be blogging about it here.

Got any questions about AuctionAds? Please post them as comments and I'll be asking the AuctionAds folks and other eBay affiliate people shortly.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Three Dot: Some Thoughts and Ideas I've Been Wanting to Get Off My Chest

This is going to be an experimental blog post, via a vis the "three dot" newspaper columns...I think Larry King had one a while back in..USA Today was it? And I miss it.

Here goes:

I wish eBay would give us a feature to "send offer" to people watching our auctions -- keep them anonymous or not;  I think a lot of people put it on their watch list and then fuhgeddaboutit...    Can listing in a second category be worth it when it doubles your fees? I doubt it... maybe for big-ticket items..

Off-eBay topic..speaking of Larry King, oh brother, he just had to get a Paris Hilton interview..why do we have to keep hearing so much about Paris Hilton? And am I now part of the problem?

Can rap really be on the wane? And does that mean we will see more rock? Can it really be 40 years since the Summer of Love? OK, so I was only 2 then, but I heard about it.

All for now. No, wait..I want a new Vaio.  And a Chumby. I don't think I'll get an iPhone right away. Let the price come down and let other people gripe about the first generation's flaws.

OK, that's really it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

eBay and Google Checkout: What Next?

eBay Live is now over and the eBay-Google foofaraw also seems to have died down a bit...first Google planned the "Tea Party" (I"m still wondering what they would have done..thrown Monopoly money into the Charles River?), then canceled it after working things out w/ eBay, eBay pulls its ads from Google, a Google sympathizer is ushered out of the eBay Live gala, etc. 

(See Ina Steiner's blog post at if you want more on that.)

I've been trying to decide what to make of the whole thing. Different people seem to have completely different takes on the thing: on the one hand, most of the eBay seller-type folks who left their thoughts on an AuctionBytes phone poll seem to be of the opinion eBay should allow Google Checkout, it's being a mean monopolist, etc. (I'm paraphrasing but that seems to be the gist of things).

As as an eBay seller and buyer, it would be nice to have multiple checkout options for people and myself. As an eBay shareholder, I  think I can understand eBay protecting their turf. As a Google shareholder as well, I appreciate that Google is an incredibly competitive and innovative company. Should they be so aggressive with Google Checkout, however, or should they take more of a Ho Chi Minh strategy, and be patient for the long term?

Remember what happened with PayPal? eBay had its own payment system, Billpoint, and resisted embracing PayPal until it became clear it had gained so much momentum and was what everyone wanted to use.

At the eBay DevCon, early eBay investor Bob Kagle said of PayPal that eventually they decided they should look at buying the company, but at
first $300 million, it was too expensive, then at $700 million, it was
too expensive..."finally at a billion and a half dollars, we realized
it was cheap." This got a laugh out of the crowd.

Of course, this would not be a case of eBay buying Google Checkout. (At least I don't think it would).  But I wonder if Google Checkout becomes so popular and there are so many people clamoring for it, eBay will give in and accept it. But they may figure, why borrow trouble before then?

On the other hand, an analyst I recently met said "Checkout is doing everything possible to encroach on eBay's domain. Many people in the community state that if Google wanted to trounce eBay they would have opened up an auction site. Google sort of did with their Google Base."

"Again, this was a typical strategy of Google. Open up something under eBay's radar and state it is not in competion with eBay. Over time if it was successful, Google would have transformed it into an auction site. With all of the money eBay spent adertising with Google they could have purchased a very decent search engine."

He cites as one example.

I hadn't thought about eBay buying or developing a search engine, but it's an interesting idea. I have, however, seen all the eBay ads that popped up all over the place, and with some pretty obscure word combinations, when doing Google searches, and wondered if eBay wasn't maybe overspending a bit with the ads.

But one would  hope they are monitoring the results of the ads and not spending where it was not effective.

Hmm..will eBay buy a search engine? Will Google checkout encroach more on PayPal's turf? And what about Google Base? Is that going to gain momentum?

As the Chinese say, may you live in interesting times.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

YouTube Video of eBay Live 2007

I've made a youtube video of images from eBay Live. I put most of my favorite images in there.

It's at:

I wanted to do a medley of songs, but in the end it sucked up so much time that I'm going to have to leave it with this one song.

By the way, if you haven't seen or weren't aware of all the eBay and eBay Live related youtube videos up there, check it out. People have posted the clapping tunnel, bits of Kool and the Gang, employees dancing, etc.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Pierre Omidyar and Me at eBay Shareholders Meeting 2007

Here is a photo of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and me at the eBay shareholders meeting on Thursday, June 14, 2007. Pierre was very gracious about signing my card and having his picture taken with me. I thank him again. And thanks to photographer Phil Davies of, who was at the conference taking photos for, for taking this photo.


My take-aways from the photo:
1. Pierre is very nice and gracious.
2. To do before next year's conference: get a quick cheap facelift in Costa Rica.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Saturday at eBay Live: Town Hall, Kool & the Gang, Men on Stilts.

Saturday at eBay Live was more craziness. I covered the Town Hall for AuctionBytes. You'll be seeing the story on the AB site most likely tomorrow (Monday). A lot of questions were about the perceived fairness (or lack thereof) of the new star feedback rating system, but the execs said buyers are happy with it overall. I'll be posting my thoughts about it later. I largely agree with them..I am mostly happy with the improvement as a buyer, but as a seller I think there is potential to be rated unfairly. Anyway, let's go to the pic:

eBay execs including Bill Cobb, Philippe Justus, Rob Chenut, Jim Ambach, and Jamie Jamie Iannone at the eBay Town Hall Saturday, with Griff moderating.


The crowd gets balloon hats made while they wait for the doors to the gala to open.


A gaggle of eBay execs gather for a quick group photo in the quiet hall before the gala crowd comes in and the joint starts hopping. It's been a busy week.

Triumphant eBay employees walk into the gala. The eBay sellers clap for them. It's a nice role reversal from the clapping tunnel to come. There's definitely two-way appreciation at these events.

Below, eBay Employee Cool Hair Guy and Me:

His hair is vertical.
I believe he said his name is Jimm, with two m's. Everything he does is exteme.

Kool and the Gang, below.

Who is Kool and who is the Gang? Did I really live through the 70s?


More pix tomorrow.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Few Images from the Town Hall

Here are a few images from today's Town Hall meeting and then I will blog about the q and a's later.



More eBay Live Friday Madness Images; Town Hall Coming Soon

The eBay Live Town Hall is about to begin here this morning, but I wanted to post a few more images from the Friday madness before heading off to it.

Here is one of the most photographed guys at the convention ths year -- I don't know his name (I should have asked for his business card) so I'll simply call him "balloon hat guy" for now:

He was in the eBay Chatter newsletter this morning as well.

Scot_wingo To the left is Scot Wingo. He's famous.
He works for Channel Advisor but also writes books. I ran into him talking to Ina Steiner of AuctionBytes in the Press Room at eBay Live.


To the immediate left, a couple of the Marketblast guys. They were in the booth next to me during my eBay Price Guide signing at the Hammertap booth.  (Thanks again to Hammertap, makers of an awesome eBay research tool, for hosting my signing. And to all the members of the Hammertap team for being so nice and helpful at their booth).

Speaking of Hammertap, Jen Cano of Hammertap gave a presentation to a packed room about using she is below talking to an attendee after the session:

She's also the author of her ownbook about research and I'll be posting an image of it soon. Off to the Town Hall..more soon!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Images from eBay Live 2007: Friday Madness

Every time the "celebrate" song by Kool and the Gang plays, the crowd here at eBay Live 2007 goes crazy and starts moving like lemmings towards eBay booths and employees blessed with bags of the sacred pins.  I haven't had nearly enough time to just hang out on the Exhibit Floor and collect pins, but I have been having fun and really enjoying the seminars. And..I had two book signings today!

Here are two of my favorite eBay employees, who came to my "eBay Price Guide" signing at the Hammertap booth today:

Naveen and Bret, two not only handsome, but powerful men. (See "Pretty Woman," the scene with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in the store on Rodeo Drive).

Here's an awesome shooting star seller holding a copy of my book:

I finally made it upright.

I have to go now but more pix coming soon.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

eBay Live 2007 Keynote: Will PayPal Improvements and eBay Fee Discounts Bring You "Windorphins"?

The main event of the first day of eBay Live 2007 started off with eBay's own employee band, "Twisted Lister," who I thought was pretty darn cool. They've got the covers down; now they just need to start working on the originals. Because you know I always like to bring you visuals, here they are:

I think the guy on the left is the lead singer. I'm sorry but I didn't catch his name. If any eBay employees on there know it and are reading this, please email me or leave a comment on this blog. (An about "She's snipey"...something along the lines of the Beastie Boys' "She's Crafty"? Only with a different melody. Ha.

After the band did their thing, the incomparable Griff (eBay's "Uncle Griff" and one of its earliest employees -- oh, you know who he is...came out and did a great ad-libbing audience interaction thing. I don't know if things behind the scenes were going late or not, but they sent Griff out a second time to do more ad-libbing before Meg came out, and he did it with humor and grace as always. Plus, he had a cool sparkly jacket made me think of last year's eBay Live in Vegas:

Thu_seth_godin_n_keynote_021Griff gave a lot of kudos to the sellers in the audience: "I don't know how you do it..where you find the time." He walked through the audience and asked several people what they sell, what they hope to get out of eBay Live and how they're doing. One lady, Barbara from Just Wigs in New Jersey, had been selling on eBay since the late '90s. Barbara's hair was a bright mix of red, blue, and other "primary colors" which she recommended for the head. "Do yo know you're wearing a wig?" Griff quipped.

Then Meg came out and did the traditional feedback countdown in the audience..everyone stands, and she asks people who have 100, then 500, then 1000, then 10,000 feedbacks to sit down. After 10,000 feedbacks, several folks were still standing and they all got a big round of applause.  Then they went up to 100,000 feedbacks and about six folks were still standing! Whew.

Meg showed a video and talked a lot about the Giving Works program. Then she introduced the head of PayPal, Rajiv Dutta, who had some juicy stuff to announce about PayPal, especially in the Trust and Safety areas. Let's sum them up:

- They're bringing the PayPal security key out of beta tomorrow -- it's a small electronice device, which adds an extra layer of security. It will be available to eBay customers.

[Since] they introduced online dispute resolution, there's been a reduction of complaints by 50%.

And they're launching payment review, highlighting those transactions that may pose a risk. "You'll be protected, 100% guaranteed," said Dutta, to much applause.

- And while PayPal has expanded comfirmed addresses by 50%, "I'm committing PayPal will deliver we'll make every address in the system confirmed." This got even more applause.

Dutta then intro'd Bill Cobb by reminiscing about the time he first met him. Meg asked him "what do you think?" and he thought he was great but "is it just me or does he have a really loud voice?" Then he quipped that "back then he was just a tad thinner."

Cobb came out and joked "I'd like to thank my friend Rajiv who just called me fat."

I'm getting low on time to I'm going to summarize the major stuff he said. I'd like to come back later and add in some of the anecdotes:

- There will be no increases in selling fees this [July] (I think he said this July; he may have said this summer).

- eBay is now holding some items most favored by criminals before they go into the search

- they already eliminated private feedback [much applause].
Then he unveiled the new marketing campaign, based on a concept called "Windorphins" (in case you don't know what the heck that means, I believe it's a pun on "endorphins," those feel-good chemicals in the brain; and "win," as in winning an eBay auction. It could also be a pun on "windows" as in computer windows but I'm just pointing that out. They showed a video of a commercial that was coming and it seemed very cute to me.

Also there will be new features such as visual navigation, and a cool thing calld eBay countdownm that has a more graphical representation of the bidding interface. Here's a visual:

Thu_seth_godin_n_keynote_024 What I thought was most cool about this was, if you click on the pic to enlarge it, you can see the little funky bidder avatars next to the bidder bars. So bidders can have kind of a persona. (Hmm..will this make us fel bad when we outbid people?  Maybe not).

- Also, a featgure is coming where you can place a bid WITHOUT HAVING TO WAIT FOR YOUR COMPUTER TO REFRESH! (Cobb's emphasis).

- He also plugged the new video in listings feature by showing a very funny video of a guy selling an acoustic guitar...he showed himself in all kinds of states of dress pants. (But Cobb urges us to "keep it clean.").

- Anchor Stores will be discounted $200 to $299.95.

- eBay will offer customer support to top buyers who buy 50% of merchandise on the service.

Here's something really cool. I shouldn't bury this in the bottom so later I'll try to blog about this separately. They're testing "Pricing and Shipping sort" - so it can sort search results according to the shipping and handling. This to me is very big, because the price of shipping can be a factor that is relatively hidden, and when added to the total cost of an item can totally skew the price results in the search. A $1 may have $39.95 shipping and make a similar $10 item with $2.95 shipping look relatively expensive.

- UPS is announcing savings up of to 31% on UPS ground and air by as much as 22%.


- The PowerSeller program - will be based now on both unit volume and dollar amounts, and they'll offer the option to high-level seasonal sellers on a seasonal basis.

Lastly (for now), starting in August, powerseller status will come with a "rebate" for unpaid item fees.

Oh more thing!  Summer relief: 1st traunche of listing fees will be lowered from 5.25% to 4.25%.

eBay Shareholders Meeting Kicks off eBay Live 2007

eBay's annual shareholders meeting took place as scheduled this morning  at 8.a.m, just before the start of the eBay Live  2007 convention later in the morning. I was there with Ina Steiner of AuctionBytes and Phil Davies of TIAS, who is taking photos and video for AB at the convention.

After a very rote series of votes of four proposals including elections to the board (including Meg Whitman),  an IRC code matter, and an ESPP (employee stock purchase plan) extension, Meg Whitman got started with a presentation.

She joked it was a little early in the morning, especially for folks from the west coast (such as her), for whom it was really 5 a.m.

eBay's new mission statement is (you know you were wondering): "eBay's vision is to help people connect, discover and interact through commerce."

The three pillars of the system now are "Buy - Pay - Communicate."

Under the "Buy" umbrella, you have things like eBay, Kijiji, Marketplaatz, and Loquo. "Pay" is "PayPal." (duh). "Communicate" is "Skype."

Of course there are the stats: eBay's "large and growing" core biz:

- 37 global markets
- $1800 GMV per second
- 6.4 million daily new listings
- 80,000 API developers

If eBay were a retailer, they would be the 9th largest retailer in the world. In Q1 07, $14 billion was traded.

She acknowledged, however, there were some things they could do better. One of them was search. E.g., if you type "Madonna" currently, you can find some 60,000 listings.

That's why eBay is working on new search features, including:

- new search results
- new search landing page
- new relevancy-based listings sort - best match

Also they have some things coming to improve the shopping experience. When I heard about this one it reminded me  of the "bid  groups" you could set up with auctionsniper. the sniping service I use.

What they're doing is "bid assistance" -- "what if you bid on 3 items but you only want one?" In other words, I think, let's say you're chasing down a certain thing like an iPod and hedging your bets by bidding on multiple iPods of the model you want, but you only want to win one auction.

Feedback 2.0 - another thing they've introduced. "Feedback was one of the key innovations" said Meg and "sellers jealously guarded their feedback ratings." With 2.0, buyers can rate sellers on a number of different areas such as shipping time, etc.

Whitman said they have 70% adoption of this  -- "I think buyers find it useful." She did acknowledge she'd had some feedback from sellers that "this is an extra burden, but I think this is the right thing to do."

They plan to streamline checkout --- I think she said something like from about 15 steps to 6, but don't quote me on that.

eBay Motors 2.0: this category has the most GMV -- sellers sold over 1 million cars, mostly used. An overhaul of the experience is coming.

Trust & Safety: they're doing things like safeguarding member id's, setting limits on the numbers of the types of items that can be sold which are favored by counterfeiters. "The bad guys are becoming more sophisticated," she said.

"We're only letting a small number of luxury brands [be] sold at a time because that probably weeds out the counterfeiters," she said.

She said when you pay with PayPal you're covered up to $2000.

Other things: with eBay Express, there are new search engines and shopping cart for the convenience-oriented buyer.

eBay acquired StubHub -- they wanted to augment the ticket experience; a best in class buyer-selling experience.

Growing beyond GMV - is the leading comparison shopping engine in the US, with 60 million products.

She also touched on eBay's growing Classifieds empire, including its stake in Craigslist, Marketplaatz (in the Netherlands), Kijiji, and Loquo. These are the #1 or #2 classifieds players in about 400 cities -- "this strategy pays off over time," she said.

She wrapped things up talking more about PayPal and Skype, and Skype growth statistics like it's in 28 languages and nearly every country (not North Korea, she said, quipping "that may be a while," to laughter from the audience.

Overall it struck me as a fairly sedate, rote annual meeting, with no big surprises. Even the couple of tough questions from the audience are the kind that come up every year...a lady from Peta got up and protested eBay's continued tolerance of the sale of animals on the eBay China site-- animals who are abused horribly ("beaten, strangled, or boiled") -- yikes!  Meg said they would continue to engage in a dialogue and they did go by the laws of each country.

Another guy, with the Parents Television Council,  complained about eBay advertising on tv shows with "foul language and graphic violence." He used CSI as an example.

The unflappabe Meg gave her usual calm response -- saying they would think about it and engage in a dialogue, and she'd be interested in what other companies of their size, such as Disney,  do.

Well that's it for now. I'll post more soon.



Wednesday, June 13, 2007

eBay Live Meet n Greet: Mad Hatters n Food Platters

I popped in and out of the eBay Live 2007 Meet n Greet pretty quickly, but long enough to get some pix of the crazy hats. (The theme was the Mad Hatter).  Some of the buzz at the event was about how Google had canceled its "Boston Tea Party" which had apparently been a reaction to eBay disallowing Google Checkout on its ProStores platform (I'm going on memory here so check AuctionBytes if you want the exact facts...they have a complete story on it).

Wed_meet_n_greet_007(Left: some of the most fun crazy hats at the Mad Hatter Meet 'n' Greet at Ned Devine's in Boston).

I was wondering just what Google was going to do at this party...get some Monopoly money and dump it into the harbor? Just have some Sam Adams beer 'n' Bostonian style bites? Or what?

We'll see what, if anything, continues in the saga between Google checkout and eBay.


Another hat.

Wed_meet_n_greet_008 The BuySafe guys.


Another cool hat. Sorry, it's sideways.

eBay DevCon 2007 Wraps Up; Pierre Omidyar's Coffee Talk

Can eBay DevCon 2007 really be over already? I have to say I think they did a really good job with the conf. this year. This morning I covered the Coffee Talk with Pierre Omidyar and Bob Kagle, one of the earliest venture capitalists in eBay, and now a general partner at Benchmark Capital (moderated by eBay Marketplace President John Donahoe) for AuctionBytes. I'll post a link to the article here soon, but for now here's a pic:


     That's John and Pierre on the left. Is it my imagination or is Pierre's hair a little longer?


John, Pierre, and Bob Kagle.

It was really funny to hear Pierre and Bob reminisce about the early days...especially the first demo Pierre gave Bob, where Bob said the site kept crashing (Pierre later disputed this, in his jovial way, saying that in a classic marketer/developer style he thought it was just page slowness and attributed it to a lot of traffic on the site.  Hmm...)

They both opined about the potential of eBay Anywhere, and the empowering nature of the technology, and how it would be nice to see Nairobi drumsmen selling goods to people in Japan (drums?) And one guy who runs a language translation site got up and said there are some 400 million cell phones in Africa. Pierre agreed this was a great opportunity and he was excited about the mobile platform. (I'm paraphrasing there).  Well, look for my article on because it will have a lot more detail. :)