Saturday, February 28, 2009

I Like Carol Bartz! Update

I generally don't talk about Yahoo much unless I'm making fun of them, but I noticed recently that Yahoo's share price had stabilized and in fact Yahoo's Market Cap was now greater than eBay's by more than $3 billion.

I've also been very impressed with new CEO Carol Bartz -- I like her style. Today, Ms. Bartz blogged for the first time regarding the upcoming restructuring. I don't know much about Yahoo's current structure but it looks like some needed changes are being made.

Some key points from the blog post that I like: 
"I’ve noticed that a lot of us on the inside don’t spend enough time looking to the outside. That’s why I’m creating a new Customer Advocacy group. After getting a lot of angry calls at my office from frustrated customers, I realized we could do a better job of listening to and supporting you. Our Customer Care team does an incredible job with the amazing number of people who come to them, but they need better resources. So we’re investing in that. After all, you deserve the very best."
"Finally, a note about our brand. It’s one of our biggest assets. Mention Yahoo! practically anywhere in the world, and people yodel. But in the past few years, we haven’t been as clear in showing the world what the Yahoo! brand stands for. We’re going to change that. Look for this company’s brand to kick ass again."

Now she sounds like the type of CEO that should be running eBay. Perhaps in the coming months she will :) I may have to bring back my Yahoo/eBay merger posts.

Update: Now this from the Silicon Alley Insider: Can We Have A Carol Bartz For eBay, Please?

Just my 15%

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Introduction of the Kindle 2 on CNBC

I really just wanted to embed a video clip from CNBC for the first time. (I've only been suggesting it since 2006) So I chose a clip on the Kindle 2

Just my 15%

Best Buy is Getting into the Secondary Market

According to a blog post by Best Buy CMO Barry Judge;
"We have a new team at Best Buy called the Secondary Market Team. Most people don’t have a clear idea of our vision in this area or what the team is doing. This is a team that gets me very excited about the future at Best Buy, let me tell you why.

Secondary markets refers to all the buying and selling involved in “non fresh” product. Things like vendor overstock, consumer returns, refurbished, used, etc. that are often sold through alternative channels like auction sites, clearance centers, overstock stores, etc. You might be shocked to learn that secondary market electronics sales represent an estimated $15B market in the United State. This is a space where Best Buy has only just touched the surface of all the opportunity. Getting our “fair share” of sales in this market is easily a $1B revenue opportunity for us."
What this ultimately means to the secondary market is unclear as Best Buy is in the planning stages, but it is clear that more retailers will be thinking along these lines. 

Could Best Buy eventually open a marketplace of their own? Judge hinted about that;
"Now that we have the ability to receive, process, and re-sell products in these markets, it opens up opportunities for new business models which were not previously feasible. Things like extended product support or “trade in to trade up” privileges may become viable because we have the ability to extract the value from secondary market products through alternative channels."
Just my 15%

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Update: "eBay" Top Online Retail Name in Search for Jan. 09'

See I can say something positive about eBay. 

Clarification. After re-reading this info, I need to clarify something. "eBay" the name was searched 19,321,000 times in January. This list was not searches done on eBay. So folks are going to Google, Yahoo, Live, etc. and searching on the name "eBay" 14 million times more than they searched on "Amazon" in January. Sorry for the confusion. I should have read the press release closer.

["eBay" led all online retailers names in searches in January, according to Nielsen Online and Internet Retailer. "eBay" outpaced "Amazon" by some 14 million searches]

Here is the list of the top 20 retailer names searched in January with the number of searches for each, according to Nielsen Online:

1) ebay, 19,321,000
2) walmart, 6,061,000
3) amazon, 5,227,000
4) best buy, 4,058,000
5) target, 3,742,000
6) netflix, 3,067,000
7) circuit city, 2,990,000
8) home depot, 2,790,000
9) sears, 2,020,000
10) lowes, 2,005,000
11) office depot, 1,700,000
12) macys, 1,452,000
13) costco, 1,395,000
14) staples, 1,351,000
15) qvc, 1,283,000
16) walgreens, 1,247,000
17) barnes and noble, 1,120,000
18) kohls, 955,000
19) kmart, 947,000
20) office max, 927,000

[These are not searched conducted on eBay, but searches done on the Internet for the name "eBay" Perhaps, folks are searching on the name "eBay" in conjunction with another term (possibly product name) They just go to Amazon and the other retailers rather than search on them in search engines.

With this revised look at the data, what are your thoughts?]

Just my 15%

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Visit to - Podcast

I know, I haven't been writing much lately and I hope to change that in the coming weeks, but I have made the rounds a bit on the podcast circuit. 

Here is my most recent podcast interview with John at and this evening I will be on the Auction Wally show at 8:00 PM est.

I've been at now for a month and I'm starting to get into a bit of a flow with my routine, so I should be back writing more frequently soon. Of course there are a number of sources out their in the blogosphere for ecommerce/eBay news so I'll continue to write about stuff I think I can add my 15% too.

Aren't you all proud of me for not turning this into a commercial?

Just my 15%

Monday, February 23, 2009

Scot Wingo's Amazon vs. eBay Series! Updated

I couldn't think of anything earth shattering to write about, so instead I thought I would highlight a great series of blog posts by Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor, comparing eBay and Amazon.

The entire series originally consisted of 4 Episodes (Episodes being Scot's tribute to Star Wars) but has since morphed into a Q&A post and part A and B of Episode 3.  Stay tuned this series could go on for ever.
Episode IV may take several more blog posts, who knows. Anyway, Scot has some great stuff in these posts.

Just my 15%

Richard Brewer Hay Interview at

I know, I've been throwing up lots of media clips and podcasts recently, but nothing much has been happening that I want to add my 15% too.

Just my 15%

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tech Ticker: More Retail Carnage.

Here is an interesting video clip about the carnage affecting major retailers in 2009

I'm seeing a very interesting trend here. The mainstream press continues to beat the "depression" drum; Brick and Mortar retail is in real turmoil; The Consumer's discretionary spending is not happening to the degree it needs to help these large businesses stay afloat and yet Amazon and Buy and other ecommerce pure-play sites are still growing. 

There will be winner's and losers during this recession and online merchants will be among the winners. In fact I'm hearing from many 3rd party sellers that they are continuing to show stronger sales then they anticipated. 

Spending is down and those companies that over-built or have huge overhead are not able to manage the sales downturn, many of them are too heavily in-debt to survive this turmoil. Small merchants on the other hand are not leveraged to the hilt, they have access to customers on their own websites and at marketplaces like eBay, Amazon,  and the smaller sites. 

People are still spending but the big guys are the ones taking the hits. Smaller players are getting access to product that is being liquidated and are able to actually grow during this downturn. 

2009 will be a tough year for the Brick and Mortar and Click and Mortar retailers but 3rd party merchants may be the lone bright spot in this terrible retail environment.

Just my 15%

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tech Ticker - Retail Outlook Is Worse Than You Think, Ford Models CEO Says

I didn't really think the CEO of Ford Modeling Agency would have anything to offer my readership but this clip had some interesting nuggets about the economy and the current retail environment -- take from it what you can.

Just my 15%

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Amazon Shows Sponsored Links Above the Buy Box

I was doing some research on Shoe Merchants who sell online, so that I could reach out and introduce them to, when I searched on Rockport 7100 Men's Walking Shoes on Google. There was a link to Amazon so I figured I would see who was selling the item over there.

Here is the page that was displayed. Now I have never looked for shoes on Amazon before so this may not be new. Click on the image to see a larger version.

There is messaging at the top of the buy box that says "Customers viewing this page may be interested in this Sponsored Link" followed by the text for the sponsored link "Don't Buy Men's Rockport 7100 Shoes Until You See InsiderPricing Here!"

So it appears Amazon is being very aggressive with the placement of their sponsored ads by placing them at the top of the page above the Product Detail. 

I haven't seen this on Amazon before and it only seems to show-up when you click onto Amazon from organic search in Google, Yahoo or Microsoft Live. I couldn't get the sponsored link to show-up on media items though.

With all the concern over sponsored ads showing up on eBay listing pages, it looks like Amazon beat eBay to the punch. 

Sponsored ads are not going away and when Amazon is showing them above the product detail information on product they themselves sell, I have to ask why?

Since I'm not privy to the data, perhaps it shows that customers who click on the sponsored link still come back to purchase on Amazon and if they don't at least Amazon made some money on it.

[Thanks to Hallie over at the PeSA board, I checked into the ClickRiver aspect of these sponsored links and it looks like ClickRiver is only available for service businesses, so this program may be handled by a new department or by a 3rd party service. If you get any info please email me]

Update 2: It looks like once the visitor clicks on an Amazon site link the sponsored ad no longer shows up above the detail page. Perhaps Amazon is trying to monetize that % of visitors who link to the site and then bounce back to Google to look for something else. This would explain why the sponsored link gets such a premium placement. If it was lower on the page, the "bouncer" wouldn't see it long enough to click on it.

st my 15%

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Why eBay Will Have A Problem Being Amazon

If you don't change the perception of eBay in the world, consumers will still believe THIS is what eBay is all about.

eBay is part of popular culture and is known just as much for these types of "items for sale" as the hard to find product or great deals. If eBay is to grow they need to change the brand and that is not an easy thing to do.

Just my 15%

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Meg Hits the Talk Show Circuit

No comment here just posting a clip from Meg's trip to the Today Show and an interview with hard hitting interviewer Matt Lauer :)

Just my 15% Comes to eBay!

I started hearing rumblings of changes coming to eBay's media category, during the summer of 2008, those changes are now live on the site and all I have to say is... they just turned eBay Media into
  1. Listings grouped by item condition
    Brand New, Like New, Very Good, Good, and Acceptable. I like this idea because I sell used product but if you are not in the top 4-5 items in a search you might as well kiss sales goodbye. If they go to free listings (I think they will) at least you won't lose money listing stuff that won't be seen.
  2. Standout with Sub-title
    Sub-title is now prominently displayed on the left had side of the screen, so make sure to use it to draw attention tom your listing
  3. Best value box 
    "Best Value" box shows 1 item representing the best value for the buyer. The item is selected via Best Match, considering total price (including shipping) and the seller’s track record—seller’s search standing must be "Raised". This is eBay's version of Amazon's Buy Box but they I don't trust eBay to select the "Best Match" let alone the "Best Value" My first search had a "used good" item in the Best Value box but you didn't know that until you clicked on the listing itself.
  4. Formats mixed
    Buyers see a mix of Best Match Auction-style and Fixed Price listings. They are only showing 4-5 items per condition so the buyers choices are limited. Used items are most likely to be auctioned so auctions should dominate the items displayed in search.
  5. Shipping revealed
    Buyers see shipping charges right up front. 
Media sellers should be watching things closely over the next couple of weeks as this new sort display takes hold. Remember you are still paying listing fee's (even if only 5 cents) but if you don't get into the top 4-5 items for your condition you will probably never be seen.

Certain sellers will dominate the "New" media category now, but used items will get more prominence and be easier to find. 

Some observations
  • This move effectively kills the SIF (Store Inventory Format) format in media -- it was on life-support anyway. 
  • If you are smart and have raised standing you can dominate the media category for your sku's. A lot of sellers will see their sales drop substantially. eBay needs to repeal listing fees on media items immediately.
  • This is a very good move for sellers who sell used items and opens the door for improved bids on auctions if you can get raised standing in search.
  • It will take some time to sort this all out, but it looks like it will soon be feast or famine for ebay media sellers.

Just my 15%

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

TheFind100, the Top Specialty Stores of 2008

TheFind, Inc., the leading shopping search engine and web destination for discovering lifestyle goods, announced today the winners of the inaugural TheFind100, recognizing the best 100 online stores in sixteen shopping categories. These categories include: Apparel, Appliances, Baby Clothing, Bags & Luggage, Crafts, Food & Wine, Furniture, Garden, Health and Beauty, Home, Jewelry, Kids & Family, Kitchen, Pets, Shoes, Tools & Hardware, and Sports & Outdoors.

TheFind100 annual list can be found by visiting

Over 500,000 online stores and retailers can be found on TheFind, and over 11 million people are visiting the TheFind every month. This sheer diversity illustrates the great achievement that these 1,600 merchants demonstrated by being clear favorites of users searching within each specific category.

“At TheFind, we are committed to connecting shoppers with the best stores and online retailers, and believe that by recognizing unique, specialty retailers with this annual award we will go a long way to promoting the very best of online shopping,” said Larisa Hall, Vice President of Marketing for TheFind Inc.

You can read the entire press release here.

I just recently came across TheFind through some relationships on Twitter and I really like the way they handle product search. It is much more visual and shopper friendly than Google's GoogleBase, IMO.

Check out The Find today and submit you product information, you don't want to miss out on 11 million visitors a month who might be introduced to your product.

Just my 15%

Monday, February 09, 2009

It's Official - Meg Runs for California Governor in 2010

We've heard the rumors before but now its official with the launch of her campaign website.

Just my 15%

New eBay Store Format Slowing Down Sales?

I've been hearing some interesting anecdotal stories from sellers that have seen sales slow down once they opt-in to the new eBay Stores format, so I thought I would reach out to my readers and see if you were experiencing the same thing. Apparently sales return when sellers opt-out of the new format. 

Please let me know what your experience has been. 

The new stores format becomes the default in March so if there are problems eBay needs to address them now before they have to rollback another change.

Just my 15%

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

It's February, Where are the eBay Announcements?

Normally by now eBay would have made their big announcements for the year, so I'm wondering what's up. Sure, they make big announcements now in Aug also but late January is traditional for the biggest announcements.

I've heard everything from a shopping cart to the ending of SIF (Store Inventory Format) I can't help thinking that "free listings" are coming to media and that reduced FP-30 listing fees are coming to everybody else. Inquiring minds want to know.

Maybe the uncertainty of the economic environment has thrown their forecasts for a loop or maybe they are just struggling to get everything completed, but sellers are going to want to know sooner or later.

What do you think the changes will be?

Just my 15%