Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wigix - eBay's Competition

eBay's competition - -make money buying or selling items. Make money without buying or selling any of your merchandise. Make money with referrals.

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Life Beyond Ebay -!

The Passage of Time

Since my online sales are predominantly in art I am always looking for those sites that have good art categories where I can see some sales happening. Art by Us is a wonderful site that is totally dedicated to art. Its run by the Togels who are artists themselves. Listing is free with a small charge if you wish to feature your work and you can relist indefinitely. The site is beautiful and the listing pages are clean and uncluttered. This site has been around for years and I cannot for the life of me understand why serious collectors don't flock to it. I keep some things on this site almost all the time. Little of it actually sells but then if artists don't support the site it will disappear one day forever. Hopefully, serious buyers will browse thru it and decide to give it a try.

Stop by today and take a look.

The above painting is available on my website at:

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ebay - There's Life Beyond Ebay - ETSY.COM!

Pronounced "etsy" as in Betsy. Etsy has been around for awhile now and is a haven for anyone who creates what they sell. There is a multitude of handmade items on Etsy and most reasonably priced. Listing, incredibly, is only 20 cents for 4 full months and the FVF is very low. I love Etsy. It has a way to go as far as traffic is concerned but with all the turmoil going on at Ebay Etsy is the recipient of refugee sellers AND disgusted buyers. Stop in at - visit my little shop there (yes, that's free). You might want to stay and list there for yourself.

Above is a special flower squirrel print I just put in my shop. It from my own original watercolor and would look great in a child's room or nursery. These prints are 8 X 10" or smaller on Epson Heavyweight matte Paper.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ebay Aside - Let's Talk Art

LuLu by Patricia Ann Rizzo

An exciting new collectible was born on Ebay several years ago. There have been artist's trading cards, small paintings that were traded among artists much like baseball cards. Well, an Ebay artist said why not make these art cards and sell them to the public? Novel idea but would anybody want to buy paintings that are only 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches (the one solid requirement)? We started making them and put some up for sale and wham - started the ACEO craze! ACEO (art cards editions and originals) took off like a house on fire and are still a hot category on Ebay even with the downturn in sales in most other categories. People found new ways to present them - in albums, in groupings on walls, even in mobiles. Stores are beginning to realize there is a need for frames that hold 2 1/2 X 3 1/2" paintings and now you can find them in Walmart, Aaron Bros, just about any larger store.

ACEO's became popular not only for their size but also for the fact that now collectors can purchase these tiny artworks from many artists. They are affordable - though some of the most popular and talented artists' works can go for as high as $500.00. The majority are still under $10.00 and there is always that chance that one of the artists in your collection reaches fame thereby increasing the value of the artwork.

Some artists have a particular topic they love to paint. Cats, dogs, horses, and birds are quite popular - floral gardens and tiny landscapes. Some just paint skeleton people and there seems to be a large following of collectors for those - and ravens are quite popular now. I've even seen ACEO's in glass and metal, as well as collage. I, myself, have a character who has become fairly popular with some ACEO collectors. Its a tiny "over-the-hill" gray haired chubby woman who has no inhibitions! She thinks she's beautiful and flaunts it. Her name is LuLu and that's her at the top of the article and posing with me in the thumbnail along with her friend LiLy.

Where can you find some of these pieces of art? Well, my artsite has a section dedicated to them:

and Ebay has a large assortment of them all the time.

Take a peek in both places and I promise you that with your very first piece of tiny artwork you will become totally addicted :-)

Patricia Ann Rizzo

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ebay! Can This Be True???

I picked this up on one of Ebay's boards the other day. I offer it simply for your interest and for you to read it and notice whether or not this is the path Ebay eventually takes. I neither agree or disagree with this post. What's your opinion of it?

I've edited out names, URL's etc.:


I posted this at the feedback forum at eBay but it was killed by staff less than a minute later. I should have known. My ID will be toast soon anyway. This was the only other place I thought where my statement might have an impact. Do with it what you will. After Chicago, my only desire is to be heard.

There will be those who will not believe me and I sympathize. I wish the facts were fiction but to deny what I know would be to live in a fairyland of make-believe. I understand that the bulk of this “manifesto” reveals a plot so against the spirit of eBay that it will be dismissed as lie. So be it. I cannot force the world to accept it. All I can do is state the truth as I know it and leave it to you and to your common sense and experience to judge.

The deck is stacked against me. Aside from the natural resistance to believe I know that the boards are stocked with eBay’s tools. Their goal will be to discredit me. I will be accused of being a “disgruntled”, “paranoid”, and “emotional” seller. Their words will be specially chosen for effect. That is part of the function of the tools and I am not fazed by it. However, to protect my own identity within the corporation, I cannot be too specific lest the details single me out to the powers that be.

What I intend to reveal is common knowledge to many in the management division behind the scenes.

By the way, the tools are not only the mouthpieces that promote the policies. The psychological tactics employed by the powers that be are far deeper and grander than that. The subtlety of the method is remarkable. The tools come in a wide range of flavors with their own, individual “characteristic” rhetoric. From those who are “for” the policy - and spread various degrees of hostility toward the sellers - to those who are “against” the change - and spread panic and further the divide with the buyers. Both serve the same exact purpose: a manipulation designed to remove the more involved and savvy small to large sellers who will not fit into eBay’s future business plan.

First, let me correct the record regarding the concept of sellers extorting positive feedback. While the violation was known to happen, the activity amounted to less than a tenth of a percent of the yearly transactions. Further, it involved sellers whose feedback percentages were below 80%. The absolute majority of sellers did not engage in such practices. Nevertheless, the powers that be could not resist the fact that promoting this notion of feedback extortion as a wide-spread phenomenon would be the perfect cover with which to hide the true intentions of the policy.

The powers that be want to transform eBay into an overstock warehouse venue. A kind of outlet store for the internet much like a cheaper and streamlined version of Amazon. From a strictly business point of view, given the size of eBay and the growing costs of doing business, it makes a certain kind of sense to shift gears. Think about it: when eBay started, sellers were about rare and unique items but here and now the majority of items are common, used counterparts of what can be found new online at retail sites. Truly rare and unique items are sold at real auctions; the “stuff in your attic” isn’t glamorous enough and won’t keep eBay afloat any longer.

The trend away from the rare and unique to the big box retailer is not new. Several years ago the powers that be noticed that the big “powersellers” were simply listing items that existed in their retail stores or inventories. Thus the concept of “buy it now”, “best offer”, and “eBay stores” were created. It was the nascent stage of the plan yet to be. Little by little, without the population noticing, the mechanisms required to replicate the average retail storefront were already in place - and with its rise came the slow, steady downfall of the auction format.

Yet outright pursuit of a retail venue would have led to a major problem that at the time could not have been surmounted. The vast majority of people, on and off line, know eBay as precisely the place for auctions of rare and unique items. The sellers and buyers held onto that perception too but in truth their opinion even involvement in new and improved version of eBay is irrelevant by a certain Machiavellian calculation made by the powers that be. As part of the plan, eBay calculated thus: even if they lost the sellers as part of the change, the buyers will be coming back to buy regardless of who or what operated within the retail-outlet venue.

No, it was the stock holders who the powers that be feared.

Only the stockholders had the power to change the direction set forth by the CEO and the board. So it became imperative to change the equation. Part of the plan is to devalue the stock gradually so that investors merely dumped the stock as opposed to wanting managerial change ala Yahoo. Then to buy back the stock at lower cost and to such a volume that no rebellion against the powers that be were possible.

By the end of July that phase of the plan will be successful and there est of the plan will be revealed without fear of backlash from those who otherwise would have had the power to pull eBay back from the brink.
Indeed, if you believe the current changes are obvious signals that small sellers are not wanted - be prepared - you have seen nothing yet.

So far what have they done? All they have managed to do is silence a seller’s ability to warn others about buyers (half of the purpose behind the original idea of feedback), burden you with higher and higher fees, dangle “treats” like discounts while setting the bar of eligibility so high that the rewards cannot be reached. and, by the way PayPal deals with “complaints” leave you vulnerable to fraud. What if worse was yet to come?

They know if you do not feel safe that you will not use eBay. The changes that have been enacted only eliminates the small sellers. Meanwhile they want to eradicate the mid-sized seller too. And they want to ensure that both do not return.

For the mid-sized seller the DSR became the tool of choice. The powers that be raised the level of what is a good seller artificially high. No manipulation is required; they know exactly the effect of the policy. This is why buyers are told that 4 is a good score and sellers are told that 4.9 yields discounts and higher listing placements. As long as that fractured point of view exists, eBay does not need to interfere with the DSR as has been suggested, the buyers will be killing the sellers naturally.

By August there will be no pretense and the intentions of the new and improved eBay will be clear. The following is only a partial list of the rules that will be imposed. It comes from a memo that circulated within my corner of the managerial department the week before Chicago. I cannot be too specific about certain items and I cannot reveal details of the latest additions without endangering my anonymity.

1. Neutrals will be converted to negatives complete with red icons and reduced feedback scores. Afterward neutrals will not be offered as a choice of feedback.

2. The entire process of feedback will be automated. Buyers and sellers will chose standard feedback from a list. For sellers this operation will be performed automatically upon the buyer winning. For buyers there will be an extra free line with which to add a few comments about the seller without restriction to content. Replies will not be allowed.

3. The implementation of a stricter rules regarding shipping. From the boxes, packing, labels and tapes to where you can buy postage. Orders have been placed for prototypes of “eBay” boxes. UPS and FedEx will be instructed not to accept “eBay” merchandise if it’s not inside “eBay” boxing. They will know, of course, because when sellers buy the “eBay” postage from the “eBay” source, a detailed list of contents with item numbers will be available to the shippers upon scanning a bar code. As for those who continue to use USPS, another level of quality control will be implemented - buyers will be asked, upon confirmation of delivery, if the seller used “eBay” standard shipping items. Naturally, no verification of the buyer’s truthfulness will be attempted, and continued ‘infractions’ will result in suspension. eBay will have other ways to check if a seller is not using the “eBay” equipment - as they will be required to buy at cost the supplies immediately after items are listed. (This is such a large scale operation behind the scenes that I feel comfortable sharing as much of it as I know.)

4. Sales taxes will be included automatically; shipping cost and sales taxes will be used to determined FVF.

5. Item descriptions will be “standardized” with templates which include the posting of a new, universal return policy. Only yearly subscribers to the retail-outlet venue can opt out of these universal return policies but even they cannot alter the template structures being devised.

6. Strikes against buyers will be eliminated as the whole concept of a buyer and bidding will be altered. FVF will be calculated when payment is submitted.

7. Time to Close will be eliminated entirely. Best Match will be the non-alterable default. Best Match is a system that caters to the needs of shoppers not bidders.

8. Placement within Best Match will be determined by several factors, the most important of which will be the extra display features added onto the listing.

9. DSRs can be removed by retailers and powersellers who pay a certain yearly fee.

10. The end play itself which consists of four phases:
a) the main focus shifts to retail sellers whose fees are on a per listing basis
b) stores will be replaced by a classified section, fees will be based on yearly subscriptions and FVFs
c) occasional auctions will be conducted for unique items (celebrity auctions, items that have been featured on the news, etc.)
d) total elimination of auctions for regular sellers.

From the point of view of eBay’s agenda to change gears these alteration make sense. The powers that be want to turn eBay into a retail venue format. Therefore the “buyer” must be changed - bidding and commitments to buy are part of the past. In a retail venue, the item is either in your cart or not and you only commit to buy when you pay at checkout. The seller is also redefined in the way they will be required to do business. They will be forced to copy the methods of retail stores.

The goal is to become Amazon Lite. Unlike Amazon the merchandise will be stocked by the retailers in their warehouses, eBay will be just an electronic centralized venue for outlet sale - a “trusted” name with a wide customer base and popular name recognition.

That is the future and as I write this I know that it cannot be stopped. There are no investors with enough clout and will to challenge the CEO. Stock holders will simply walk away. eBay will not sink, however, it will be exactly in the position its rulers intend it to be at.

Sellers, my advice is simple. You are not wanted. Leave. If you stay, you will be crushed. Leave. Go away. You cannot win.

I am sorry because for too long I have been a complicit tool behind the scenes. I was part of those teams and think tanks that spearheaded many of the “innovations” you know very well and which will be used to destroy you. I know I will not be believed. I will be mocked and ridiculed by the tools and even those who are real, actual people will be hesitant to accept what I have to say. What has been done to this community, the plots and schemes hatched in meetings and across memos, is far, far worse to endure within my soul than any treatment I will receive at the hands of the tools by posting this. You do not know how much they hate you. It is my conscience that I want to clear going forward. Again I apologize. There should have been a better way for the powers that be to effect the change they wanted for eBay - instead they succumbed to cloak and dagger deception.

RIP eBay

Friday, June 20, 2008

eBay Live! 2008 disaster sellers upset over policy change

Man blows up during an eBay Live! talk session. Recorded on 6/19/08 in Chicago. eBay sellers are upset over eBay policy changes that have put many ebayers out of business. Movie was made on a jailbreak iPhone. Sorry for poor quality.Finally, I'm seeing some proof of Ebay's utter and ridiculous failure! Its something I've felt in my business and now I'm seeing it firsthand - the empty seats at Ebay Live tell volumes more than even the irate seller who had the guts to stand up and tell them all off! If Ebay management isn't replaced soon with some good, solid business minds then all is lost. This ship is sinking!!!

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ebay Aside - Sellers - Look to the Future

Sellers made Ebay what they are today. For years it was a mutual business with much give and take (Ebay mostly taking while sellers gave). Still, thru all of that there was some respect for sellers - we weren't all just "noise". We're coming to a rude awakening now. Ebay is telling me in so many ways they aren't going to need me anymore. So I need to move on and build for my own future.

I go to Ebay less and less these days and mostly just to keep up with friendships formed with other sellers on their boards and in their groups though I still keep a few small listings up in order to drive some traffic to my website. Most of the ebay groups now seem to have a thread that focuses on other ways to market our items and other sites to sell them on. Its a perfect opportunity for sellers and they need to make the most out of it while they can - while the opportunity still exists. too, has come out with a column on various "storefronts". I thank Ina Steiner. She seems to understand the plight of small sellers and wants to help.

Nothing stays the same and though last year was a banner year for me on Ebay - one in which I was able to pay some bills and put new windows in my home all on ebay earned money. Now, since January, the writing is on the wall loud and clear and so, in order to keep my business, my sanity and my self respect I am pulling away from Ebay. I hope to cut them off completely before its necessary for them to do it to me. ;-)

to all small sellers - you really must consider moving on. Sitting and waiting for things to change is simply spinning your wheels and making life more stressful than it needs to be. I wish you all great great good luck...go out and build more ebays - but not just one, build a bunch of them so that this kind of monopoly can never happen again!


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Why Auctions Are Dying on Ebay

Auctions are NOT dying - Auctions on EBAY ARE dying because EBAY has slowly been killing them. Thru its own greed over the years it has milked sellers and ignored fraud and scamming and now thru its rigid, one-sided policies, it is driving small sellers away. Small sellers are what made Ebay and its auctions so exciting. Now, with fees sky high and small sellers' profits down to almost nothing there isn't much in the way of bargains that can be offered buyers. Instead of offering small sellers the same benefits offered to their powersellers, they have imposed even more rigid rules on them. For example, a buyer has to wait 7 days before he can give a powerseller a negative - small sellers can receive negatives immediately with no chance of trying to right whatever went wrong with the transaction. One negative can put a small seller so far back in the listings that he'll never be seen. I am a 10 year ebay seller with a perfect feedback record. I stopped listing on that site in an effort to keep my untarnished reputation in the hope that logic and sense might return to that site. Maybe some miracle that will sweep out a management who practices "disruptive innovation".

Back in 2004 Ebay actually started killing off the auction excitement when it ended the feature "Going, Going, Gone"...when did you ever hear of an auction that didn't use that wording. It was a listing of everything due to end so that bidders could jump in and grasp that item at the last minute. From then on it was all downhill on Ebay's site. The site became confusing, convoluted, full of ads and glitches due to constant changes. Those constant "improvements" turned into higher and higher fees for sellers while it turned off buyers and traffic fell off. Now, they are coddling mega sellers and powersellers and shoving small sellers to the back page in listings that are so manipulated that the buyers sees, basically, only what Ebay wants them to see....yet all sellers pay the SAME FEES. Buyers don't want to bid on items they can buy at Walmart! They want the unique rare, flea market finds that the small sellers offer. Ebay is responsible for shoving small sellers away and killing the excitement of an auction format...more than any other factor. Most sellers are leaving and starting elsewhere - trying to build new sites the same way they built Ebay. I only hope its not too late.

Ebay is turning into a retail site - much like a cheesy Amazon clone. I say cheesy because Ebay will try to do it without any real customer service - customer service costs them money that they never wanted to spend - they will be using bots instead of hands on manpower. It won't work and in the end I see them becoming a boring and untrustworthy online retailer in a lineup of very competitive and solid online retailers, in fact most of the major retailers are already online! far as auctions are conserned - well run auctions on sites where sellers can still give buyers a bargain will be around for awhile - but don't think Ebay will...