Thursday, December 11, 2008

More on Stores Going Out of Business: Linens 'n' Things

I've been blogging about stores going out of business as a buying opportunity for eBay sellers (and resellers).

The latest thing I heard was Linens 'n' Things is having a 50-70% off sale as part of their liquidation.

This was seen on tv in the local Washington, DC area, so you'd have to check around in your own local area, but there may be similar sales.

I plan to stop by and will blog about how it goes. New towels for Christmas, anyone?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stores Going out of Business: What's the Real Deal?

There's an mail going around that a bunch of stores are going out of business. I posted
to my newsletter about it, but someone pointed me to which says the list isn't totally accurate. Not all store companies filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy connection will necessarily close all their stores, for example. Others are only closing some stores.

Here's a quick rundown of those who have closed some or all stores or will be closing same recently:

Ann Taylor - closing 117 out of 966 stores

Cache - closed 14 out of 295 but still opening new locations

Charming Shoppes closed 14 stores

Circuit City - closing    155 stores

CompUSA - most stores closed and co. sold, but 23 stores continue to operate in some states

Dillard's - closing 21 stores and plans to close more

Whitehall Jewelers - closing all 373 stores

GAP - expected to close 115 stores but open 100 more

Home Depot - Closing 15 stores

Sharper Image - was closing all 184 outlets as of June 2008

Talbot's - has closed 28 stores and is seeking buyer for J. Jill brand, but still has rest of stores open

Zales - closed 150 outlets but opened 100 new ones in 2008.

The Motley Fool also reported in Oct. 2008 that these companies were unlikely to make it through the holidays (two of which are listed above as not necessarily closing, so we'll see:

Circuit City



Also on one message board a user posted that these stores are going out of business in their local area:

1. Lechters
2. Ross
3. Bradlees
4. Cost Less - which is owned by Lechters
5. KFC
6. Lone Star Steakhouse - 2 of them
7. Boston Market
8. Boscov

Are stores in your area going out of business? Leave a comment about it here.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Reader Mail

5) Reader Mail

Hi Julia,

I am not the type of person to write, except for now.

Does anybody know of another online site that we could list auctions on, because we have had it with being told or forced into having to accept ebay’s paypal.

They block your listings, if you do not go and sign up with pay the pal

I and it seems like many others could use another web site to list items and we all could promote the new site, like we did with ebay.

Any help I would greatly appreciate,



Hi Suzanne,

Thanks for writing! Excellent question. I've been pondering it for a while -- and I'm sorry this is so late.

Yes, I do think that some other sites are emerging out of the fray, mostly in niche areas, to become viable alternatives to eBay, if not as massive as eBay. Tho eBay is still the big daddy of everything but the kitchen sink and we'll have to see where that goes. I do think it behooves all sellers to branch out and multi-list as much as they can. Here's a quick rundown:

- Antiques/Collectibles

- Ruby Lane is a good site for higher-end collectibles and antiques.

- Also

- Books, Music, Videos, and even Some Other Stuff

- Listing on there is ridiculously easy, especially if you have a "cue cat" scanner that scans in your ISBN numbers for you. (More on that in another issue).

- alibris, abebooks: lots of books, prices higher than eBay in general, but it's another choice in the book world and great for rare books.

- Crafts and Jewelery, esp. handmade:

- etsy, etsy,! Getting good traction. Also a great place to shop. :)

- China, Dishes, Pottery

- Well eBay is still the best place, imo, but has great variety and healthy prices. Also, TIAS and rubylane.

What else will emerge in 2009, or will the landscape change? Stay tuned!

Oh, and let's not forget our own standalone web sites! It behooves most serious sellers to have one.

Best of luck selling!


That's it for this issue..see you next issue! Have safe and happy Thanksgiving, all! Remember...list, list, list...these coming weeks are the most lucrative time of the year!


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You can certainly purchase from me directly, as can anyone. Most of my ebooks are now available via the website's bookstore at Any others you have questions about, all you have to do is email me and let me know which ebook(s) you want, if you are a subscriber and thus eligible for the discount, and then PayPal me to my PayPal id at I'll be tweaking and updating the ebooks page on my web site soon.


Do you have a Flip of the Week? I'd love to hear about it! Email me at and let me know.
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eBooks by Julia L. Wilkinson:
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- How to Spot Fakes: email me!

Coasting on the Ivory Coast and Other Bad Puns: Selling Ivory

3) Coasting on the Ivory Coast and Other Bad Puns

Plastics. That's what the guy said the future would be in "The Graduate."

I have two other words for you: ivory. And turquoise. OK, so that's three words, but you get the idea.

These are the substances in what I think are some of the last under-the radar finds in the costume jewelry bins at estate sales. (And we know the fine jewelry in the case can have some not-so-great prices).

At first I hesitated to share this tip, lest any of you out there might be going to the same sales as I. But I think the odds of that are slim, and in general it's better to share information, especially in my business. (And what business would that be, you ask? Why, sharing information and selling ebooks!). And even if we are going to the same sales, there's usually plenty for everyone.

Ivory is not for everyone, and you need to carry a loupe or magnifying glass on you to sales so you can examine the pieces for the giveaway cross-hatching and striating that will show it to be real ivory. It's also close to white or white/uniform in color, whereas bone tends to be darker.

Another thing about real ivory is that it will be heavy compared to plastic. And the ultimate test, to be done at home, is to light the sharp tip of a safety pin and touch it to a not-so-noticeable surface of the piece, and see if the piece burns. If it doesn't melt, but you smell a substance skin to when a dentist drills your teeth, it's real ivory.

The carved pieces tend to do best, and I've found that pieces that sell for a couple bucks will go for $30-$100 and up.

Happy hunting! Be sure to follow eBay's rules about listing real ivory.

Flip of the Week Contest 11: Cool '80s Skateboard, Wedgwood, Signed Vase amid the Junk

2) Flip of the Week Contest 11: Cool '80s Skateboard, Wedgwood, Signed Vase amid the Junk

[ To enter the next contest, simply email me at with the story of your find!]

Hi Julia,

I found your blog while searching for the 26 mile yard sale in Alabama. I signed up for your newsletter and have really enjoyed the few I've read. I'm going to check out the archived ones. This is a story about my best flip.

My husband is a licensed auctioneer and we own a live auction house in Pine Mountain, GA. When we are not having our own auction; we are at some other auction or yard sale. Believe it or not we can buy at a yard sale and make money selling at a live auction. We are certified yard sale and auction addicts!

Recently a small local live auction advertised an Antiques and Collectible Estate Auction. When we got there we were sooooo disappointed. There were no antiques; only JUNK with a capital J. Box deals of old telephones. Dollar store collectibles (is there such a thing?) Anyway, you get the idea.

They did a table choice full of such box deals and invited everyone to come up and look. I went of course, I can’t pass up looking at old junk; always in search of the TREASURE that someone missed. And there it was lying on it’s side in the middle of all those old worthless huge cordless phones that they don’t make batteries for any more, and broken and repaired dollar store items. I acted not very interested but bid $2.00. No one else bid and I got my choice of all those boxes of treasure.

The pottery vase I had spotted had a mark on the bottom of a potter at a potters wheel and Pisgah Forest 1939. That night about midnight when we got home I looked at the completed listings on eBay and there was one that sold for around $50.00.

I looked at current listing and there was one listed for $50.99 that was ending the next night.

I listed mine early the next morning so Maybe the person bidding on the other one could have a pair. I listed it for $35.00.

A fair price I thought because mine wasn’t perfect. Some glaze flaking off around the bottom of the piece. Within a few hours I had my minimum bid. The next morning it was at $100.00 and closed at a phenomenal $178.50. Here is the link. It was purchased by the curator of a museum in Washington state.

Here is the listing:

Turquoise Vase Pisgah

Forest 1939 North

Carolina Pottery

Estate Sale

This beautiful old piece is really special. It is large 9 inches tall by 19 inches around the widest part. The base and the mouth are both 4 inches across. It has a beautiful turquoise crackle glaze and the inside is a creamy pink color. Both colors are vivid not faded at all.

This piece has the following trademarks: Pisgah Forest 1939 with the logo of a potter working at the potter wheel. (see the pictures) The condition of this item is good there are no breaks, cracks, or repairs there is however; a lot of crazing or it may be the type of glaze that is crackled (enlarge the picture and it will be visible), also around the very bottom edge of the piece on one side there is some chipping off of the glaze.

It can still be displayed and look good by turning the side with the chipping to the back (again if you enlarge the pictures you can see it.) I took a couple of pictures up close of this area. There is also some bubble pops inside the mouth (again see close up picture.) These small imperfections don’t detract from the value or beauty of old pottery; it is still a fine example of American folk art.

Here is some information from the website of the Mint Potters Museum in North Carolina:

In 1901, W.B. Stephen and his mother, Mrs. Andrew Stephen opened their first pottery in Western Tennessee, named Nonconnah Pottery. Later, in 1913, after the death of his mother, W. B (Walter) Stephen opened the Pisgah Forest Pottery, at the foot of Mount Pisgah, in Ardon, N.C. The pottery is chiefly known for a turquoise blue glaze that is sometimes crackled.

Marks vary from "Pisgah Forest Pottery," with or without a rough motif of a potter at work, to "Stephen."

The Pisgah Forest Pottery was owned and operated by W.B. (Walter) Stephen from 1926 to 1961. Today, the pottery is operated by Tom Case, who is the grandson of Walter Stephen.

Many of the pieces produced at Pisgah Forest in the early 1900's are excellent examples of American folk art. A number of museums such as the Smithsonian, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Mint Museum in Charlotte own examples of Pisgah Forest Pottery. inches

My user ID is countrysideauction and my eBay store is Countryside Auction.

I have been selling on ebay actively since May 22, 2008 after I stumbled on one of Lynne Dralle's articles and was inspired beyond all reasoning; to jump in deep with both feet!!


Hey there countryside auction! ;) Sooo sorry for the delay; I know this is pathetically late. Two family members (incl. myself) have had a horrible flu. A new newsletter is percolating now and I will def. put your entry in.

Great find! Don't you love it when those lame sales redeem themselves with that one special item? I think that's what keeps us at it. ;)

A lovely vase indeed...I always turn those things over and look for a mark..lately my luck has not been so good! I bet you have a lot of great finds if you run an auction house.

Well thanks again for the newsletter coming soon!

Keep selling! Julia


Hi Julia,

I can't find the link to send along my "Flip Of The Week".

[Note from Julia: there actually is no link per se, tho I should create one; you simply email your find story to me at]

However, if you're accepting them here, here it is:

I reluctantly went to an auction with my husband in Pennsylvania, and we were only there to look around, but I couldn't resist the urge to bid on the lower-priced table items.

I struck up a conversation with an actual antique dealer who kept nudging me in the side whispering "bid on that, bid on that!" I took her advice and raised my paddle and won a big (really big) box of porcelain plates and bowls for $7.50. Well I let it sit for 6 months and last week I went through it and found a dinner plate that was selling in the range of $99.95.

I figured, "whole box, $7.50," I'll be conservative and list the plate at $59.95 and it sold for $66.01. WOW! A dinner plate for $66?!? Who would have ever thought? Now I'm going to try to sell the bowls too -


[Note from Julia: The above photo is not Bev's actual find, but a photo of a similar plate in that pattern I got off eBay].



Women and cats will do as they please. Men and dogs should just relax and try to get used to the idea.


Hey Bev!

I'm sorry -- I think I missed seeing this flip on time! That's wonderful...Wedgwood stuff can be awesome. :-) Hard to believe a plate can sell for that much..but it can, and more! I think I wrote a while back about how I bought a reticulated old Meissen cabinet plate for $150 and sold it for about $300. The book value on it was even more.

I'll enter you in the next flip contest, as I just sent the last newsletter out. Great entry and thanks for your patience.

Keep reading and selling,



Hi Julia!

I've been reading your newsletter for about a year now and have always wanted to send in a unique flip idea and finally got my chance recently!

My husband was a skateboarder in his day and has always told me to look for old skateboards during my garage sale-ing hours. I know I've seen a few but I just didn't believe him that those old broken looking boards were worth anything. But one brave morning, my friends and I hit a sale where I spent a lot of time because I found a whole tub of Legos for my son (oh, if only I could eBay them - it would break his heart!) and the teenager selling them told me the price was $5. Well, while I was drooling over the tub of Legos, I noticed an old broken down skateboard leaning up against their mailbox.

For some reason it caught my eye. My friends and I left the sale and as we drove away, I started to realize that the stickers on it were for 1980's skate brands. Not sure how I remembered those brands -- maybe because I grew up in a surfing town where skaters and surfers were sometimes one and the same. I saw "Jimmy-Z", "Gotcha", and "Airwalk" stickers. I asked my friend Andrea to slow down after we turned around and I rolled down my window. I asked him how much for the skateboard and he said $4. I took the chance, paid him, and put the skateboard in the trunk.

The minute I walked through the door with my garage sale finds, my husband's eyes lit up.. Apparently he had a similar board and it was rare. We looked it up and it was a "Santa Cruz" Rob Roskopp #3. Who knew? I sold it last week for $147.

It's sold for a lot more in the past but my husband says my pictures falsely make it look like there is damage. No use crying over spilt milk, however, as I'm happy with my $143 profit!

Here's my auction link:

Thanks, Malia


Hey Malia! So sorry for the delay...son has been ill, various other random stuff that slows me down. Wow..that is so fun about the skateboard! Another niche I don't think I ever thought of. Esp. that the '80s skateboard stickers, brands etc are so desirable.

It's funny..I bought a board that looked a lot like that one, minus the stickers, for my son for a few bucks..gonna have to go back and take a look at it!

You're entered into the contest..thx so much and watch for a new issue soon!


Happy selling,


OK, so for the winners..countrysideauctions and Malia tie for'll win a set of eBay-related books or a complete set of eBay collectible pins. Bev is runner up and wins a tote bag and the other eBay trinkets I have left from eBay Live 2008 (oh the suspense of it all!).

Entrants all, pls. email me at with your USnail address. :-)

Next issue we'll have more fabulous prizes! So mail in those entries.

What's the PERFECT eBay product? Learn How To Make Money with information products on ebay.

Do you like this newsletter? Please forward it (in its entirety) to a friend! Just go to and see the "Subscribe" box on top.

**Don't have five minutes to read the newsletter now? Print it out and read later.**
[For more writing and photos throughout the month, check out Julia's bidbits blog at http://www.bidbits,net ]

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The Basket People: the Longaberger Mother Load

1) The Basket People: the Longaberger Mother Load

I'd heard a lot about Longaberger baskets, and how well they sell, what good products they are, how they last forever, blah, blah, blah, but never come across any. For me, it takes actually seeing something in person to get excited about it.

Well, a few weeks back was my weekend for Longaberger. I drove past a sign for an estate sale that I hadn't seen advertised on craigslist or the paper. And it was only one sign off one of our main local roads, close to the sale's street. So not many people knew about it.

Of course, I had to investigate. I pull up, and there they are. Baskets...lots and lots of baskets. All out in the front yard. Or so I thought.

I poked through many cutesy Longaberger fabric-lined, limited edition basets, trying to find ones that would resell well.

Then the ladies running the sale said there was more in the house. Hoo-boy, was there! This was one of those totally unsorted, messy sales...everything strewn all over. Looks terrible, unless you're a shopper who doesn't mind digging through all that stuff, like I do...not to mention it's better to find under-the-radar items that way.

One room off the main level had mugs, baskets, basket lids, Fenton vases, etc. etc. and so forth, all over the floor and on some shelves. I got three Fenton vases for $10 of which had a Longaberger signature on it. and I plucked a nice Longaberger American Work basket, a very nice sturdy basket with a wooden lid, off the shelf behind a bunch of other stuff.

The basement was a bonanza -- Longaberger placemats, shower curtains, valances, more baskets...large market baskets, smaller market baskets, and even craft supplies. One room in the basement was so full of boxes stacked with Longaberger stuff, the cleared space on the floor was only one person wide, and you'd have to trade places with anyone standing there or you couldn't get to the back of the room to dig.

Well, as an aside, I just have to mention that is one of the things I find very annoying at these sales, when someone is just planted there going through stuff in a tight space, blocking access to everyone else. That was the case in this room. I wanted to pick my way through the boxes in the back, but this lady had plunked herself down in a seat blocking the way, and was slowly and methodically rooting through stuff in a secretary desk on the side of the wall. Well, I didn't feel like dealing with the situation, and there were two other full rooms to explore, so I moved on.

In the end, I picked up several brand new Longaberger shower curtains, placemats, a valance, fabric basket liners, two market baskets, the aforementioned American Work basket, and two collectible fabric-embellished baskets with plaques. Not to mention the Fenton vases! Oh, and a scrapbook kit.

So who were the basket people?

Well, I saw them the second day. That's right, I went back the next day of the sale. There was a huge wall made of Longaberger baskets and other products, all stacked in a row on the lawn outside the front of this house, and a very serious woman was standing in front it with her arms crossed. I thought at first she was simply one of the people working the sale, and asked her a question about pricing or such, and she let me know in no uncertain terms that none of that stuff behind her was for sale, but that she was guarding it.

Sure enough, a couple SUVs and a truck pull up with more people...who I shall call The Basket People, and they loaded up baskets like you wouldn't believe in their vehicles. I don't know what they paid for all that stuff, but I'm sure it wasn't cheap. However, it was cheap enough that they were probably going to make a killing on all that stuff.

Well, I had my little haul, and I also knew I had some learning to do about what prices these baskets would actually realize on eBay, so I was OK with it. But again, I think people could be nicer at these sales sometimes. But you all have heard me go on about that before.

So what did I learn?

- Some of the most valuable and collectible baskets are labeled "J.W.," which are a limited edition named after the founder's first and middle initials. For example, one recently sold for $305.00. However, it was pretty vintage and rare. But they all tend to do well.

- Bigger is usually better. The hampers retail for around $300 -- they were selling one for around $100 at the sale, but a lady was hovering around it and at that time I didn't know what they resold for, so I didn't go for it.

The big picnic and market baskets do very well too.

- People love basket "combos" where you offer a fabric liner, plastic protector, wooden lid, etc. if you get a chance to buy accessories, to sell with baskets or separately, go for it.

- Longaberger is known for its quality and being long-lasting. I have already found this to be true with the four placemats and market basket I kept for myself. The placemats are very sturdy and have withstood washing and even my putting them in the dryer a few times, when they are really supposed to dry flat.

That's right...sometimes it's good to keep a few items for yourself! It will also remind you of that really fabulous sale you came across when you see them.

I also bought a set of brand-new placemats in a lovely blue/teal color to give to my sister for Christmas. (I don't think she reads this newsletter-- let's hope). That's sales are great places to get inexpensive but quality holiday gifts. But that's a whole 'nother article!

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Yard Salers: Nov. 25: The Basket People, Gifts that Keep on Giving

Yard Salers: Nov. 25: The Basket People, Gifts that Keep on Giving

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Hello, all!

Please forgive me for the lateness of this issue. The family has been felled by illness in recent weeks..well, specifically, my son and then I. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice to say if I had it to do over, I would get that flu shot.

I've been to a few memorable estate sales since last writing you all. One of them has stuck in my mind with the phrase "The Basket People." I'll explain why in the first article in this issue.

Another cool one was in a house in Southern Maryland, which had its own barn, and I shall heretofore reference it as "The Barn Sale." I figure it can't hurt to give your sales nicknames.

A third one I simply chanced upon via craigslist.

I find craigslist to be pretty hit-and-miss. The thing is, you're going to miss the hits if you don't look regularly. One of the nicest things I saw on there recently was this lovely wooden cabinet/sideboard by Broyhill -- that someone was just giving away for free because they were moving! I thought, someone could probably make a whole business by hiring two burly guys to haul off good free furniture, storing it in their house or warehouse (you would need a room or two or more for storage), and then reselling it on eBay as a local pickup auction, or even on craigslist itself, or other site. Maybe even if it's an antique.

Now, my husband would cry especially foul if I started hauling home whole pieces of furniture, instead of the smaller items like dishes and books he puts up with now.

And, of course, some of the stuff being given away for sale is...just, well, butt-ugly, if you'll pardon my French.

Back to this good sale, though. Speaking of larger items...usually, yes, I stick to smaller items..books, jewelry, maybe art that's not too huge..but I saw some things I just could not pass up.

Two antique chandeliers. And sconces. One for only $35, with a solid brass fixture and real leaded crystals. I was actually poking through a few large stacks of cd's, not hopeful of finding much, when I heard the lady giving the sale talking about how she was surprised no one had yet bought these two great antique chandeliers they had for sale. Everyone had come for the tools and building material.

In fact, the sale had been advertised as mainly a tools sale..with something like, "Men..don't miss this sale!"

I picked up the smaller chandelier and saw that it was very nicely made. It was also small enough that I could easily put it in the car, and it could be shipped for a non-astronomical price if I put it up on eBay.

I bought it for $35 and it sold for $149 a week later. The lady who bought it got a good deal (I think it would retail for $300-$400), I got a good deal, and the people who got rid of it just wanted to get rid of it.

The other chandelier is quite a bit bigger, but it was so lovely and had such an interesting backstory (it was allegedly brought over from France by Lillian Russell, and the house actually had some reclaimed stained glass from a Russell estate in it which I saw with my own eyes, so I believe it). It also had an old door which had been in one of Winston Churchill's office, and was the coolest thing.

It did not sell on the first go-round on eBay (one reason being I had to do it as a local pickup; it is just too heavy), so I have it in my store and have one lady interested in it who's tying to figure out a ride for the thing. Yes, the lovely old chandelier is going to try to hitchhike.

Another interesting find I got there was a wonderful old US Naval commission document which had been signed (most likely by autopen) by Andrew Johnson. I got it for $25 and it sold for close to $200.

These finds just show you, you never know about a sale. Sometimes you just have to show up and see for your own eyes. As Woody Allen said (I think it was he), 90% of life is showing up.

As to the "miss" part of craigslist, sometimes things can seem pretty overpriced. I came across this one posting I thought was funny, from one person frustrated with this situation...I thought I'd share it with you all. It's snarky but funny:


Reply to: xxxxxx Date: 2008-10-30, 5:28PM EDT

It's about time that all jewelery sellers woke up and realized certain things: 1) saying that you are sacrificing something for a portion of the appraisal price is ridiculous because we all know that appraisal values are marked up at least 100%;

2) the original retail price that you paid for something from a chain jewelery store is even more ridiculous because we all know that stores mark up prices 200%;

3) used jewelry (and that is what you are selling) is worth much less than new jewelry;

4) you need to lower your expectations in this economic environment as you obviously need money if you are selling something;

5) BUYERS DETERMINE MARKET VALUE AND SOMETHING IS ONLY WORTH WHAT SOMEONE IS WILLING TO PAY FOR IT, NOT WHAT YOU MAY THINK IT IS WORTH. IF SOMEONE THOUGHT YOUR SELLING PRICE FAIR, YOUR JEWELRY WOULD HAVE SOLD ALREADY! Many of you have re-posted the same ad for your same, unsold jewelry for over two months. Why? Because no one thinks your price to be fair! Wake up! Stop getting mad at others for offering much less than your unrealistic asking prices. Their offer prices to buy are actually much more realistic than your offer prices to sell. They have the cash, you need the cash. Figure it out.


OK...welllll..'nuff said.

And before I forget...the "gifts that keep on giving" in this newsletter's title sourced earth-friendly wrapping "paper" -- by this I mean one or two scarves in holiday colors, which you can get for a song (look for red, green, gold or holiday pattern), tie them around your gift box, and secure with a sparkly dirt-cheap rhinestone or othe festive brooch you got at a yard sale.

It keeps on giving because they can wear their wrapping paper, or use it to wrap someone else's gift.

There's more in this issue, about making lemons from the current economic (as in bad) environment, and more. But let's go ahead and get into it.

Meantime, everyone have a happy and safe Thanksgiving, and I hope your Black Friday puts you very much in the black. B-)


Garage sale and wholesaler expert Pat Bateman has put together a fabulous ebook about making regular income with yard sales, finding wholesale goods to sell, using drop shippers, and more. Right now I'm offering it at a special preview price for $8.95. PayPal me at and you will receive the ebook via email, usually within hours.


Don't forget the facebook group for Yard Salers:

- if you are already a facebook member.

Or, go to facebook, select the "Groups," and search for the "Yard Salers." Once you have clicked into the group, you simply join using the "join" link. (You do need a facebook account to do all this).

To check out the ning Yard Salers social network go here:

The First and Most Thorough eBook of eBay Prices: "What Sells on eBay for What" (aka "Julia Classic.").

If you're new to Yard Salers or haven't yet read this ebook jammed with prices and tips for flipping stuff on eBay, you can still get the subscribers' 1/2 price of $12.49 -- an instant download -- by going here. HALF PRICE.
In This Issue:
1) The Basket People
2) Flip of the Week Contest 11: Wedgwood, American Folk Art Vase, Cool 80s Skateboard
3) Coasting on the Ivory Coast and Other Bad Puns
4) Stores Closing - An Opp to Buy Closeouts
5) Reader Mail

[ Pls. See Next Post for Article 1]

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Terapeak Tool Compares eBay Sales of NFL Teams

Hi all,

Hal from Terapeak marketing has contacted me a few times about their new tools, and I've been bad about blogging about them. So I'm going to try to get this one out right away.

This tool lets you compare NFL items on eBay based on teams -- with # items sold, average price, and total sales.

For example, the Skins (aka the Redskins, my hometown team) stuff has an average sale price of $86.61, Hey, that's pretty good! I think I'm gonna raid my closet and put some stuff up. I also noticed it's a bit higher than the average sales price of Cowboys stuff. (Ouch, sorry about that, couldn't resist! Anyway, info from Hall below and the link):


"This is Hal again from Terapeak with our latest fun tool�and I think this one�s my fave so far.

With the NFL season having kicked off last weekend, we�ve developed a league-wide sales index that compares the eBay sales of all 32 teams. Sorting either by conference or division, you can see how each team ranks in Total Sold Items, Average Price, and Total Sales. As always, it also includes a bloggable widget, so that as the standings take shape over the next couple months, you can track the rise and fall of each team�s sales.

As expected, the Cowboys are selling nearly twice as well as the next-best team (Pittsburgh), but there are plenty of surprising results. Last year�s Super Bowl combatants, the Patriots and Giants, both rank fifth in their respective conferences in terms of Total Sales, behind three non-playoff teams: the Bears, Browns and Jets (we�re sure Brett Favre�s jersey sales aren�t hurting). Jacksonville, meanwhile, winners of 12 games last year (including a road playoff tilt at Pittsburgh), have sold fewer items on eBay in the past 30 days than any other team in the NFL!

You can view the full index at, and a link to the widget just right of the magnifying glass. Please feel free to use either yourself, and pass the link on to anyone else you feel might be interested.



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Court Refuses to Restrict the Sale of CDs on eBay

A friend of mine sent me this clipping..which I excerpt below:


UMG Recordings v. Troy Augusto

"This case involves a suit brought by UMG, a music recording company,
for copyright infringement against Augusto for selling copies of Promo
CDs, which were initially distributed for promotional use only, and
labeled with the following:

"This CD is the property of the record company and is licensed to
the intended recipient for personal use only. Acceptance of this CD
shall constitute an agreement to comply with the terms of the license.
Resale or transfer of possession is not allowed and may be punishable
under federal and state laws.�

Augusto was not an �intended recipient��he purchased these
promotional CDs from music stores and online auctions before reselling
them on eBay. Augusto counter claimed that UMG violated the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act by knowingly misrepresenting to eBay that
Augusto�s auctions infringed on UMG�s copyrights to halt his sales.
Both parties moved for summary judgment on these claims.

Neither party disputed the facts that UMG owned valid copyright in
the Promo CDs and that Augusto sold the Promo CDs to the public in
violation of UMG�s exclusive right to=2
0do so. Augusto, however, argued that his sales were legal under the
�first sale doctrine�. [The first sale doctrine permits owns who owns a
physical object, such as a book, whose content is subject to copyright,
to sell the book without violating the author�s copyright.] To prove
that these sales were legal under this doctrine, the court required him
to prove that: (1) the CDs were lawfully manufactured with UMG�s
authorization; (2) UMG transferred title to the CDs; (3) He was the
lawful owner of the CDs; and (4) He disposed of, but did not reproduce
the CDs. It was undisputed that UMG lawfully manufactured the CDs and
that Augusto simply sold them (as opposed to reproducing them).

In examining whether UMG transferred title to the intended
recipients of the Promo CDs when sending them out, the court made it
clear that if UMG did so, then Augusto lawfully owned the CDs at the
time he sold them, permitting him to lawfully sell them under the first
sale doctrine. If UMG did not transfer title to, and retained ownership
of the CDs, then Augusto was not the lawful owner, and the first sale
doctrine could not apply.

The court noted that, while the language on the CDs purported to
create a license, UMG distributed the CDs with no intent to regain
possession, no consequence for the loss or destruction of the promo
CDs, and no instructions for the recipients to return the CDs. This
created, in their minds, strong presumption of a sale20rather than a
license. Additionally, unlike typical licenses, the licensing of these
CDs does not provide any recurring benefits to the copyright owner,
strengthening the proposition that this is actually a sale or a gift,
rather than a license. In fact, the court determined that the only
apparent benefit UMG was gaining by labeling this a license was the
ability to restrain distribution of the CDs. The court held that the
distribution of the Promo CDs should be characterized as a sale,
protecting Augusto via the first sale doctrine.

The court additionally noted that the Promo CDs could be
considered a gift under federal law. The CDs were �unordered
merchandise� which were sent without the �prior expressed request or consent of the recipient�; in such circumstances the merchandise may be
treated as a gift by the recipient, with no obligation to the sender.
By sending the Promo CDs to the music industry insiders, UMG
transferred title to those individuals, meaning that the CDs are
subject to the first sale doctrine.

Lastly, Augusto additionally argued that UMG abandoned their Promo
CDs under California Law, claiming that UMG did not possess the Promo
CDs, and that UMG intended to abandon them. While UMG no longer
possessed the Promo CDs, the court held that mere passivity on the part
of UMG was not enough to be considered abandonment.

Regardless, UMG was found to have transferred title to the
recipients of the CDs, giving Augusto protection under the first sale
doctrine, making his resale of the Promo CDs legal. The court granted
Augusto Summary Judgment on the copyright infringement claim.

[stuff deleted]

Augusto was granted summary judgment on the copyright infringement
claim, and UMG was granted summary judgment on the DMCA counterclaim.

This case calls into question [for the first time] whether the
sale of discs with other licensed content, such as RF images can be
restricted by the copyright license. While license agreements for RF
images, provides that the license is not transferable, the physical
disc is an object that is most likely owned by the purchaser of the
disc. Photo libraries, as well as music labels, do try to stop the
resale of RF discs on eBay, as it is contrary t
o the language on the license.

The question is, whether title to the
disc is transferred to the designer that purchases the disc, or is the
disc as well as the images just licensed and remains the property of
the photo library. The language on CD packages should be reexamined to
try and avoid the consequences of this decision."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Google's Chrome Browser: First Impressions

Here are my first impressions of Google's new Chrome browser. In short, it's a shiny ball of fun which is also wonderfully useful.


The first thing that hit me was the cool, shiny-looking Chrome logo...a round ball made up of the distincting bright Google colors. I like the way they gave it a 3-D and realistic look.

Once the browser installed, I thought the translucent-looking borders were cool.

- Most visited sites: Then it told me it would create a "most visited" area: The "Most visited" area shows the websites that you use most often.

After using Google Chrome for a while, you will see your most visited sites whenever you open a new tab. You can learn more about this and other features on the Getting Started page.

Following the Getting Started link, you are prompted with "What makes Google Chrome different," including that it will give you suggestions for both search and web pages as you type in the address bar.

If you want more differences, you can click "view all features." Google famously keeps its information coming at you minimal, so you can choose what you want and only get more when you have the time.

- Easy, "Instant bookmarking."

"Want to bookmark a web page? Just click the star icon at the left edge of the address bar and you're done. Learn more."   I like that. I hate having to click something and then monkey with a drop-down menu as well to bookmark something. I just want to click once and be done with it.

- Cool comic book. A comic book available on the Chrome dashboard explains the story of Chrome and why it was developed the way it was, for today's more application-based web use. I love that they documented their story of such a modern, cutting-edge tool with one of today's most popular formats, the graphic novel or comic book.

I went to three sites at first -- 3 of my usual stomping grounds -- eBay, YouTube and AOL. Then, next time I fired up my Chrome browser, they were right there in neat little boxes, awaiting my click.

So far, for me using the browser, it's a great start. Google has created a browser which has taken into account the way we use the web today and given us many conveniences.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Art of Pricing - Pricing auction items for profit without scaring away customers

The Art of Pricing

Pricing auction items for profit without scaring away customers

At what price should you start your auction items? There seems to be an abundance of opinions on the subject, plenty of which contradict one another.

For example, one school of thought recommends you start everything at $9.99, because your eBay insertion fees will be lower. (The $9.99 price is one of the thresholds for eBay's insertion pricing tiers: As I'm writing this article, an auction item starting at $1-$9.99 has an insertion fee of 35 cents, whereas an item starting at $10-$24.99 has an insertion fee of 55 cents). Using this approach, you hope market forces will give you a fair final sale price for your item.

Another common theory is to start everything at an even lower price, like $1, to garner your items more attention�and bidding. Again, you are relying on the ever-popular market forces to get you a fair sales price. You may also need to sell a high volume of items to make up for those items that fail to meet expectations and wind up selling at that disappointing dollar.

This low-price/high-volume strategy is one used by jayandmarie, the renowned eBayers who sell "1 Cent CDs." They start every CD at a penny; and some close at a penny, while others sell at more than $70.

�The best strategy is to start with a realistic price that is the least you will be satisfied with for that item�
Some sellers start listings at the highest price they think they can get from the get-go, figuring the elevated number will convey cachet to their items and make bidders wonder what's wrong with the cheaper stuff. You see this strategy in action, somewhat strangely, on, where one used copy of a book is listed at a ridiculously higher price than the next-closest book on the list.

After listing hundreds of items and analyzing all the different starting and final sales prices, I've come to the conclusion that the best strategy is to start with a realistic price that is the least you will be satisfied with for that item. (Note that I said satisfied with). You have to take into account the possibility that your item will sell at its starting price.

In the best-case scenario, your item will get bid up higher and you'll make even more money. In the worst case scenario, the item doesn't sell at this go-around, but you can relist it at auction, or even send it to fixed-price in your eBay Store, where it can patiently await that right buyer.

There is also the scenario that the item simply sells at the starting price on the first go-around, which is fine, because you built your profit margin into that number. And, of course, you needn't worry about any more listing prices or eBay Store fees.

This lesson was reinforced for me when I found a unique designer belt with a wonderful coyote head buckle. It was highly collectible and I'd seen similar belts from that designer go for more than $100. But I started it at a very modest $29.95. Although it had five watchers, it wound up selling for that humble starting price, to my surprise. Later, the buyer admitted she thought the starting price was too low, and she would have paid more for it. I could have priced it higher and patiently waited for the right buyer to come along�and I am confident they would have. Lesson learned.

So, unless you are selling in volume and using very low-priced items as "loss leaders," protect yourself and put modest but profitable starting prices on your auction items. People love a bargain, but you can provide them with that without giving away the store.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Getting the Most out of Your eBay Store

The perks of parking your stuff in these virtual stalls

The eBay Store: It's a much talked about, yet little understood�and underused�selling venue.

For a brief period, sellers basked in the glow of easy sales when Store items bubbled up near the top of eBay search results, along with regular auctions. But even under eBay's new Best Match formula�resulting in more modest placement of Store items on eBay's search results pages�Stores are still a great way to sell your items as part of a comprehensive eBay strategy. In fact, if you sell regularly on eBay and do not have a Store, I believe you are at a disadvantage.

What exactly is so great about an eBay Store and what exactly can one do for you? Let's break it down.

The price is right

You can't beat eBay Store listing fees with a stick. While many other eBay fees have recently gone up, Store listing fees are now as low as 3 cents for a $1-$24.99 item; 5 cents for a $25-$199.99 item; and only 10 cents for an item $200 or above. And you're going to need those low fees because, as I've learned with many items, the right buyer just doesn't come along right away. Which leads us to...

Patience is virtual

�The eBay Store is the perfect inexpensive, low-maintenance place to park those listings until the right set of eyeballs comes along�

They say eBay is a numbers game�meaning you need to list a lot of stuff to see enough bids. But it's also a patience game. By that I mean sometimes your item needs time to wait for the right buyer�a lot of time in some cases!

As an example, one of the types of things I like to sell is yearbooks. They can sit for months and months, but when they do sell, it's often for healthy sums. I recently sold a yearbook that had been languishing in my eBay Store for about a year. It went for about $70. But the cost of hosting it in the Store was only around 60 cents. (This does not include the $15.95 Basic Store monthly fee; but you have to spread that cost across all your Store listings). The eBay Store is the perfect inexpensive, low-maintenance place to park those listings until the right set of eyeballs comes along.

Make your own sale

Who doesn't love a sale? eBay Stores have this great, fun little tool called Markdown Manager that lets shoppers see your original price crossed out and the new lower price in its place. It's great for buyer psychology and I've found it effective for moving the merchandise. To get to it, select "Marketing Tools" from your left-hand Store dashboard, then "Markdown Manager" under "Item Promotion." (I'd prefer to see it moved up a level, but what can you do).

I don't see many sellers using Markdown Manager, and I don't know why because I think it can be very helpful. My guess it they may just not know about it.

Keep in touch with customers

eBay makes it easy to send out e-mail promotions to the people who request it. You don't need any layout or graphics experience to use this; they've made it very easy. You can easily access their e-mail tools by going to Marketing Tools > Store Marketing > Email Marketing. They show you different e-mail templates and wording you can use. Sometimes customers just need a little reminder that you're there.


You can use the Cross-Promotion settings, found under Item Promotion in the Store Marketing area of your eBay Store, to define what shoppers will see when they view your items. This is based on what categories you create in your store, e.g., Books, Jewelry, Clothing, etc. You may only have one category if you specialize in one type of product.

This can be useful for "cross selling" items that are complementary. That is, if you sell both shirts and ties, you can choose to cross-promote those two categories.

So if you sell on eBay and do not already have an eBay Store, I highly recommend building one. But unless you sell in high volume already, I do suggest starting with the much less expensive "Basic" Store, which has the lion's share of the functions a seller needs, in my opinion. And at $15.95 a month, it's affordable.

Now start setting up that virtual window display!

Amazon's Holiday Selling Guidelines for the Toys & Games category

An seller I know recently received this email. Looks like amazon is instituting tougher guidelines for sellers in the Toys & Games category, in gearing up for the 2008 Holiday season (which is evidently ramping up already -- yikes!):

Subject: Your Toys & Games Selling Account

Greetings from Amazon Services.

With December 25th looming on the horizon, this e-mail no doubt finds you well

into your preparations for holiday selling on We know that you count

on us to maintain customer confidence in our Toys & Games category, and we want

our sellers in Toys & Games to provide a high-quality customer experience.

As part of our strategy to maintain buyer confidence on, we are

implementing Holiday Selling Guidelines for the Toys & Games category.

Effective September 12, 2008, we will stop accepting new sellers in the Toys &

Games category. Effective November 17, 2008, existing sellers who do not meet

the following performance criteria will not be able to sell products in the Toys

& Games category from November 17, 2008 through January 5, 2009:

- Seller's first sale on must be prior to 09/19/2008 (sale does not

need to be Toy-specific).

- Seller must have processed and shipped at least 25 orders  by 10/18/2008

(orders do not need to be Toy-specific).

- Seller has no greater than 1% defect rate. Order defects will be evaluated for

orders placed between 07/06/08 and 10/04/08.

Starting on November 17, 2008, we will be monitoring the performance and

listings of all merchants who are approved to sell in the Toys & Games category.

Amazon Services reserves the right to cancel listings, suspend merchants or

prohibit the selling of specific products during the holiday season to maintain

a seller platform that is safe for buyers.

Here are some steps you can take to remain eligible to sell in this category

throughout the holiday season: 

- Monitor your performance metrics and take corrective action if necessary.

- Check your orders frequently using the Manage Your Orders feature in Seller


- Keep your storefront accurate; don?t show more stock for sale than you

actually have available.

- Update your product quantities regularly to reflect what you have on hand.

- Make sure your shipping lead times are accurate and take into account the time

it takes for you to package and transfer the package to your transport service.

- Send shipment confirmations and order cancellations/acknowledgements to Amazon

in a timely manner.

- Ensure your policies are up-to-date.

Starting in early August 2008, you will be able monitor your performance metrics

in your Seller Account. This will allow you to monitor your performance and take

corrective action if necessary. We will provide final notification if you are

eligible to sell in the Toys & Games category during the holiday season by the

middle of November. 

These Holiday Selling Guidelines are only applicable to the Toys & Games

category. Sellers can continue to sell eligible non-toy or -game products in

other non-restricted categories. If you would like to learn more about

restricted products, visit our Product Guidelines in Marketplace Help:

Help > Selling at > Listing > Condition Guidelines

For tips on selling more effectively, check out our Marketplace Sellers Best

Practices page: 

Help > Selling at > Feedback & Performance > Seller Best Practices

If you have questions about our Holiday Selling Guidelines, please review the

FAQ below.

We are interested in your opinions, and encourage you to submit feedback to us


Thank you for selling at


Amazon Services

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are there Holiday Selling Guidelines for the Toys & Games category?

Customers have high expectations for purchases during the holiday season. We

want to ensure that our sellers in Toys & Games provide high-quality customer

experience and that all orders are fulfilled and delivered in a manner that

meets or exceeds our customers? expectations.

When will you allow all merchants to list in the Toys & Games category again?

Sellers will be able to sell in this category as of January 5, 2009.

How do I know if I'm pre-approved to list product in the Toys & Games category?

Sellers will be notified in early to mid November if they are eligible to sell

in the Toys & Games category. Effective September 12, 2008, no new sellers will

be approved to sell in the Toys & Games category for the remainder of the year.

How can I strengthen my performance rating?

Read our Help page on your performance summary:

Help > Selling at > Feedback & Performance > Performance Summary

How can I build my reputation?

Read our Help page on seller best practices:

Help > Selling at > Feedback & Performance > Seller Best Practices

What is an order defect?

An order is defined as having a defect if we have received a negative feedback,

an A-to-z Guarantee claim or a service credit  card chargeback on that order.

What is order defect rate (ODR)?

The order defect rate is defined as the number of orders with a defect divided

by the number of orders in the time period of interest. It is represented as a


What time period is the order defect rate computed over?

The defect rate can be computed over any historical order period. In this

particular case, we are evaluating the trailing 90-day period (with a 30-day

time lag); in other words, the period from 120 days ago to 30 days ago.  We

usually use a 30-day time lag for computing these rates because many defects are

reported after orders are placed or received.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Yard Salers latest: eBay Live 2008 Redux & Flip Contest Winners

Yard Salers: July 8: eBay Live Redux & Great New Prizes


Subscribe at:


Please forward to a friend!

Hello, all!

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,
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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yard sale this summer? Julia's newest special report, "Yard Sales that
Really Sell," tells you how. Special preview available for only $4.50.

Includes: Where to Advertise your Sale, Where are the Best
Places to Locate your Signs, How to Prepare and Be Prepared for your
Sale, What you're Going to Need for your Sale, Setting Up your Sale
& How to Price, and How to Run the Sale to Maximize Profits. Only
$4.50! Click here to buy and download: instantly:


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
some love.

-  The Zappo's Guy (from Zappo's 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
Hispanics gathering.

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
probably will.

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 and scroll down to Monday.

Shareholders' Meeting

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.

Priorities include:

- 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."

eBay Live

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 - 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 with all the articles the
team wrote. Ina did some live blogging as did Greg Holden:


And check out my blog,, 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
want it).

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, 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
rummage sale.

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:


I really enjoy your newsletter. Thank you,



Hi Gladys!

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 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.



Hi Bev,

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 to the end of the issue to see who wins what. :)

Thanks again,

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:

  Hi Jeff!

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). 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
do well!

Keep flipping,


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 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 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

Have a great (and profitable) week, all!




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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Amazon commission fees for Everything Else category creep up

Looks like Amazon's fees are creeping up..for the "Everything Else" category, anyway, from 10% to 15%. My friend who sells more on there than I do recently sent me this:

Sent: Fri, 18 Apr 2008 4:04 pm
Subject: Amazon: Commission fees for the
Everything Else category

Greetings from

We want to be sure that you are aware of a recent change in the Everything Else
store on On April 4, 2008, the commission rate for all products
listed in the store was raised to 15%. On that date, our Help pages were updated
and a notification was posted to the following page: Help - Selling at - Participation Agreement - Changes to the Participation Agreement.
The previous rate was 10%.

Because you are a valued seller, we will be providing a 5% credit to you for
items sold in the Everything Else store between April 4 and May 13. These
credits will appear on your account after this period has ended, and you will
receive a summary via email describing these credits within five business days
after the credits are completed.

Thank you for selling on

Best regards,

Monday, June 23, 2008

"eBay Live! 2008 disaster sellers upset over policy change" - YouTube video and part transcript

"eBay Live! 2008 disaster sellers upset over policy change

This is the title of a YouTube video that was on the top page of Google when I put in "eBay Live 2008" as a search term. I thought it would be interesting to see the top links for the conference.

The link is:

Part transcript I found on an eBay board:

SPEAKER:  You know what? We can't do anything (garble) we're giving
them the level of transparency that we can.

EBAYER:  They're gone! They're real (cut off). Look around your room; the room's empty! ebay live's
empty!  The sellers are leaving!

SPEAKER:  Ok, uh, everyone's got their opinion and you can either (garbled)

EBAYER:  Look around with your eyes! Ebay live's empty! There's not even a line at registration.
Look at the empty seats in this room! Sellers are leaving because you're putting them out of business,

*** this is one of the more dramatic exchanges that came out of the convention. I found out more about this seller on Henry Blodget's wit:

"Meanwhile, we spoke to the seller/protester in the video. Here's what he had to say:

    * He sells $300,000 a month of stuff on eBay
    * eBay's changes almost put him out of business overnight--until he figured out how to game the system
    * eBay's changes will put thousands of sellers out of business
    * eBay has taken a formerly democratic system and made it a police state
    * If there was any viable auction alternative to eBay, sellers would leave en masse.  As it is, many sellers are throwing in the towel, setting up their own sites, and buying Google and Yahoo keywords.
    * The eBay Live 2008 conference was a ghost-town: In previous years, it has been standing room only. This year, cavernous conference rooms, banquet halls, and concerts were practically empty
    * A Chris Isaak concert capped off the eBay Live event. The room was so empty, the seller said, that he had a table for 10 right at the front all to himself. "It was like having Chris Isaak play in my living room." "

My comments..I think the descriptions of how "empty" eBay Live 2008 was are an exaggeration. Still, attendance clearly seemed to be down from last year and previous years.

I will be blogging more about this soon, but to try to strike a positive note, there were a few issues on which eBay execs seemed to be willing to correct course, such as giving sellers back a way of removing negative feedback (if warranted, presumably); more details on the Links policy, and more information about or changes to dsr's and the counting of a neutral as a negative.

- Julia, also at