Friday, November 05, 2010
Something spectacular just may happen tomorrow, November 6, 2010. Superhorse, Zenyatta will go to the post in the Breeder's Cup and for the second time may have a good chance to "beat the boys".
I have so enjoyed watching this amazing animal. She wowed us with her 19 previous finishes, she amused us with her "Zenyatta dance" to the post. More than just a horse...she's a superhorse.
Whether she wins or loses tomorrow - I only hope for her safety on the track and wish her well in her well earned retirement. She's given the Sport of Kings so much...we can only hope that one of her offspring will carry on for her.
Zenyatta...thanks for everything.
Painting for today is Zenyatta - Look of Eagles
Saturday, October 30, 2010
I think you all know what I mean. We've heard months of ads and debates for all parties concerned...we've been subjected to dirty laundry on all sides. At first the ads were all about what they wanted to accomplish (no details though) then they got to smearing each other...lately its mostly lies and exaggerations about each other.
Now, near Election Day 2010 its incessant....turn on the TV...political ads...turn on the radio...political ads. If you turn both off there is still the phone calls. Robot calls with the candidates speaking like your long lost friend when they wouldn't look you in the eye on the street before this time...and they won't after this time too! I think one of the worst things is having them interrupt you with robo calls all times of the day and being on the national do not call list means nothing! We somehow lost the right to not be badgered by political candidates!! If you are feeling brainwashed I'm afraid you'll have to suck it up till Tuesday night because even Tuesday they'll be calling you and offering to ride you to the polls. Saying you already voted (I vote in the morning) is not effective - they will act like they don't believe you! Thankfully, by Wednesday the ads will disappear and all you'll hear is acceptance and concession speeches over and over again. By thursday, life will start to return to normal...or as normal as it can get these days.
Election Day - can't come soon enough for me!
To those "trick n treaters" Happy Halloween!
Friday, August 27, 2010
I can't believe that Ebay finally understands that it needs to give an automatic 5 stars to the seller's shipping cost star whenever he offers free shipping. The very idea that buyers - whether maliciously or by misunderstanding, were able to ding the shipping cost star when shipping was FREE made absolutely NO sense. I imagine the good folks at Ebay finally realized most sellers saw no legitimate reason to offer free shipping - they were still buried in the listings and could still get a ding on their shipping cost star even though shipping is free. Many realized that in having to raise their prices to cover shipping (YES buyers, shipping is NOT really FREE) they actually lost bids. Its nice to see someone at Ebay finally came to their senses however they were pushed into it.
Now, if they could just understand that telling buyers a 4.0 is okay while telling sellers a minimum of 4.3 will keep them in good standing......but, I guess THAT will take yet another three years!
happy to deliver some good news for a change ;-)
Some jelly beans all around?
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Once people find out I have been selling online for years they always ask me about Ebay. Upon hearing about the "new Ebay" they are generally turned off from trying to list and sell there. Then I tell them about other online sites - and to my amazement, they are completely oblivious to the fact that there ARE other online sites except Ebay, Amazon and Craigslist. Maybe its time to set the record straight here...and I'll attempt to do just that. I'll be honest and tell you what I know and perhaps you will begin to see the large world of online sites where you can list and sell your items.
Bonanzle.com: - you can set up a free store there. I like the fact they have a little chat box right in your store so that if you are there you can chat with others. Its free and easy to list your items and you pay a small commission for anything that sells. You need to do some socializing and networking to get traffic to your site. This is generally done by visiting other sites and leaving messages for the owners.
Online Auctions.com: - you pay by the month for a store. It was $8.95 the last time I tried it. For the monthly fee you can list and sell whatever you like and as many listings as you like. This was a great site for interacting with the community but I could not make many sales there. I'm sure it was the items I was offering but it seemed to me there simply was no traffic other than other sellers.
Etsy.com: - this is THE place for handmade items, vintage items and art and craft supplies. For 25 cents you can list an item for 4 months - your store is free and you pay a small commission on your sales. This is another site that depends on how well you can interact with the community and network.
Overstock.com: - this was the site I felt could have put a dent into Ebay in a big way. There are two parts to this site - one is retail and the other is auctions....yes!, auctions - they seem to want to keep that part a big secret. I have done pretty well with auctions on this site in the past. I sure wish they would advertise auctions and let people know they are there. They're missing out on a LOT of revenue. Prices for listing are a bit lower than Ebay and, of course, you can accept cash, checks and moneyorders or any variety of money movers such as Paypal.
eCrater.com: - far as I can see its free to list and free to sell! They give you a store and you can list as many items as you like. I have yet to make a sale on the site. Perhaps I'm just offering the wrong items.
eBid.net: - I hit a sale and paid them $49.95 to be able to list there free for life. I can have up to 5 different stores going. I have two right now - one for art and one for other things....neither has made a sale. They don't seem to have as much traffic as is needed to make good sales.
Boocoo.com: - chances are you haven't heard of them. They are brand new, still in beta I think and listing is free right now. This site is owned by a variety of newspapers across the country. Its easy to list there and they give you a free store. I believe there is a small fee if you sell an item.
These are just some of the online sales sites presently out there. There are many others (Atomic Mall, ePier, SpecialistAuctions, PlunderHere, Blujay, Ioffer to name a few) that I did not include here. Those above are sites I've actually listed on and still list on many of them. So, when you feel you're trapped by Ebay's high fees and draconian policies why not give one or more of these a try? On most of them you can't lose anything but your time.
A little watercolor painting today. 5 X 7" Cats in the Iris
Sunday, August 01, 2010
Yep, that's what I said, Ebay is soliciting the help of its sellers to sign a petition against the Main Street Fairness Act.
"The Main Street Fairness Act was introduced by Massachusetts representative Bill Delahunt on July 1, who said the bill was designed to help states "retrieve billions in sales tax revenues that are owed but currently going uncollected while providing long overdue relief to Main Street businesses by restoring fairness and competition to the marketplace."
Before you yell out "help WHO????" consider this, most online sellers faithfully collect the state sales tax on purchases in their own state. Under this bill sellers would be forced to collect state sales tax for almost ALL states! A horrendous job considering how many different states and counties within those states one would have to figure out.
There's another point to consider - this would let the tax people "get their foot in the door". I'm sure we all realize that once done, it will never be undone and the tax that is presently aimed at larger sellers will eventually fall deeper and deeper until it encompasses ALL sellers both large and small and will reach out to their own websites and into every site they list on until nothing can be sold on the web without paying a tax!
Most sellers simply want to throw up their hands and say they would never do anything to benefit Ebay. Plenty of them are and were being manipulated, squeezed for fees and treated like criminals by that site and plenty of them left because they could no longer profit there. Okay...Ebay is soliciting help to fight this - but YOU should sign the petition to help YOURSELF! Consider it folks...it does make sense. Hold your nose, close your eyes - do whatever is necessary, but sign up to fight against this. In the end if this bill passes it will boil down to just another imposition on YOU, the seller.
My painting for today is called Life Cycle II. Its an oil I painted and sold back in 1976.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Looking for a nice online gallery that will sell prints of your work and leave you free to make any sales of the originals? I've just picked up a spot on http://www.fineartamerica.com Its only been a couple of weeks but people are looking at my work and they are leaving comments so I'm hopeful this will turn into a viable venue for me.
On this Fine Art America you must upload files of your paintings to them. I generally upload a file of about 3 to 4 megs at 300 resolution. That's easy to do in any paint program to set the resolution to 300 pixels per inch and make the image as large as possible. This allows Fine Art America to make fine prints of your work for any customers who wish to buy them. You set your own commission on purchases.
They have free spots and for a small fee (30.00 a year) you can get more perks. They also have community forums and groups so its a nice place to go and chat with other artists.
Just thought I'd pass this information along and hope you will comment and add places where you are doing well.
My painting for today is a silly piece I just simply enjoyed painting.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Saw this on a blog and got permission to print it here....dem's my feelings exactly:
Whatever happens to Ebay in the months ahead, it will change. Definitely not the turnaround Donahoe wants but it will change or it will die! Simple as that. For over 2 1/2 years he has been promising a turnaround and a big change....that is NOT happening. Ebay has stagnated from quarterly report to quarterly report and now depends heavily on Paypal's success (which also is not forever). At this point about the only hope Ebay has is to oust present management and his team and hire people experienced in online sales and what it takes to make those sales (the latter being the most important). Donahoe relies on Ebay's name and since that isn't working he probably doesn't know which way to turn at this point. The result is nothingness...a stagnation that will kill.
If Ebay were my site I would immediately divide it in the style of Overstock...with the diamond sellers on one side selling retail and the small sellers on the other side selling auctions and BIN's. Its Ebay's only hope and that hope is fading as days go by. Sellers are leaving and other sites ARE getting a foothold - whether Ebay wants to admit that or not!
Ebay needs to bring community and fun back to the auction side. They need to let up on some of those draconian policies that are chasing sellers away. Make it okay for sellers to make a profit selling on the site!
Take the power to destroy sellers out of buyers' hands and make that an administrative decision! Get rid of the childish DSR's and go back to relying on feedback and that percentage figure of negs and neutrals.
Ebay needs to get their hands dirty - get into the trenches and work with buyers and sellers. Time is gone where they could simply sit back and rack in the money....they need to realize this.
I have one word for John Donahoe: Rakuten. I think he best work and work fast on a logical turnaround that is built for success and not the quick buck. Rakuten wants world dominance and they are aggressively working on it. Its only a matter of time before they reach out to US buyers...AND...US sellers...! ;-)
My painting for today....Gala Apples - an apple for the teacher?
Friday, June 11, 2010
Do you have them around you? Well, if you visit discussion boards - especially on Ebay, you're bound to run into more than one - called Trolls. In the Ebay Cafe (an Ebay chatroom) they are called Hooners (long story as to why). When they follow you around specifically and tend to step into a thread you're commenting in - only to bash you personally and not the topic at hand, then I call them stalkers. Some call them "cheerleaders" because they seem to be specific to Ebay and will jump to Ebay's side and bash anyone commenting negatively on the subject. It seems the internet spawned this new breed of cowards who like to hide behind their monitors and feel like big wigs. They generally end up making fools only of themselves...but you can't make them understand that. As you can tell, I'm venting because of one or two specific stalkers who start out saying I'm negative and end up saying things about my age and mentality. Crude...yes. Can you make the stalker understand he looks the fool?...NO!
I'm sure there are others out there being annoyed by one or more of these mentally unbalanced bashers or aggravated by a troll who inserts himself/herself into every thread on a discussion board only to detract from the topic of the thread.
Step forward - you are completely anonymous here and let's hear your story.
A shadowy painting for today.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
I posted this on a UK blog this morning and felt it was good enough to post here on its own. As sellers are hearing the news about the giant Japanese company Rakuten, Inc. buying up Buy.com - they can't help but wonder what this will do to Ebay and its three year destruction path called "disruptive innovation." I'm hoping something great will come of it. What is needed here is stiff competition and I'm hoping Rakuten will become just that. I'm sick to death of hearing the excuses about auctions not being popular or that the economy is to blame. Underneath it all perhaps bad management and the wrong business model are to blame?
My post: I think you’ll find that here in the States we are pretty much for the underdog…the downtrodden. The idea that Ebay was a place where the elderly, the disabled and the stay at home moms could earn some money was worth supporting, and make no mistake auctions are pretty much alive here. Ebay, in the last few years, has managed to kill the excitement of auctions and destroyed the feeling of community that was so alive on the site. They’ve pitted buyers against sellers and driven off some good decent small sellers at the whim of buyers having a bad hair day! Ebay’s reputation is mud here right now.
I feel Ebay would profit from splitting their site – much as Overstock has done. Retail on one side – auctions and fixed price listings on the other. Instead, they try to combine them as Amazon does and its not working. They simply have no skin in that game – they sell nothing but a service and right now they are doing that very badly!
I think Ebay may finally be realizing they can’t make it on retail alone. The competition is stiff, wiley and well-honed. Up against the likes of Amazon they look like what they are – shabby and disorganized. It will be interesting to see what Rakuten will add to this mix. If Ebay does not get back to their roots and their niche as a place where one can find the unique, the rare, the vintage, etc. I believe they will drag on like this for years or until the present management is finally ousted. That’s my take on it after selling on and observing this business for past 12 years.
My painting for today is a watercolor - "Spring Walk"
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I really hesitate to even bother with this post but it seems to be necessary to bring up a big point. Ebay has probably the largest artist community in the world yet instead of helping artists they are busy pounding them into the same mold along with iPods and other items sold on the site! The same rules apply to artists as apply to iPod sellers....quantity will make you a Top Rated Seller and TRS sellers get top billing in the listings. Offering free shipping will also get you better placement in the listings. So, now, instead of a piece of art selling on its own merits buyers are instead seeing the art of those sellers Ebay gives the most exposure! Most art will not even be seen on the site. Top sellers will grind out the same art enmass to keep themselves at the top - good art will be missed or not seen at all! Ebay still uses its best match search in the arts category. That just has me scratching my head....best match to what? An artist can be brilliant but if he takes his time and lists just a piece or two a month then he will find himself buried in the listings and given little to no exposure. Soon....he is forced to walk away. I just have to ask you art buyers and collectors....are you aware of all this or are you content seeing the same artists over and over again - is this really how you want to buy your art? Comments please....
After my vent I think we need something calming. My watercolor for today is called "Tranquility"
Sunday, April 25, 2010
In our present society, where people stand in line overnight for the latest electronic gadget, its pretty easy to ignore the artists and their work in this country. That's kind of sad. Art is a talent - it can be honed and perfected thru hard work but the spark has to be there...within the artist. It's what makes a true artist - not a scribbler or a paint dripper who are touted as genius in the artworld but the true artist who enjoys creating for the sheer joy of it. We have literally thousands upon thousands of them in the world and their talent is mostly ignored. A sad fact.
Artists can be so ignored in our society that a good one can be found most anywhere and most do not even know they have this talent. People always come up with the same stale old line "I can't even draw a straight line" - well...neither can I but I have the patience to pick up pencil, brush, chalk or whatever and to let my mind wander to what I want to put on paper.
After awhile, the hand learns to draw what the mind sees and creating art becomes a joy, and the soothing of the act of creating art becomes a calmness and a euphoria!
Some artists stick to a single theme or medium. I seem to enjoy all themes - all mediums. #1. The Lesson, pastel. #2. The Biker, watercolor. #3. A Walk in the Rain, Acrylic.
So, grab a pencil or brush and some paper and give it a try AND have a bit of encouragement for that artist in your neighborhood or your family or among your friends. Art needs to come into the sunshine once again and it needs to gain the respect and be recognized by our society once again.
Last but far from least....go out and BUY some REAL art. I don't mean prints from Walmart. I mean something an artist has taken his time to do and to put down for posterity. Places like Ebay, Overstock, Etsy, etc. are full to the rafters with original art - most selling below the price of prints you will find in stores AND you don't even have to move from your computer. SUPPORT artists by encouraging them and by buying real art.
Now, for listening to old granny's rant.....have a cupcake :-)
Saturday, April 10, 2010
People close to me know that my hobby has always been thoroughbred racing. I'm not a bettor nor a gambler but I love the horses...love to draw and paint them and used to love going to the track. Before I moved to Orange County over 9 years ago you might find me at Santa Anita...Box 68 was my favorite spot. I don't go anymore, but thanks to TV and youtube.com I can follow the important races.
Back in 73 a Super Horse came along...named Secretariat. He was truly a wonderhorse and one appreciated by many - even those who never followed the races. Times were kind of tough back then and the coming of Secretariat gave the public something to latch onto and root for. Then came Seattle Slew, Affirmed, the tragic Ruffian and now another Super Horse, the undefeated Zenyatta. She comes to us at a time when the country is in recession with many out of work and losing their homes - and a country tired from fighting two useless wars! She deserves more press time (reporters? journalists?)
I must confess that I knew little about this horse. I've had some illness that kept me from being as active as I like and most things just fell by the wayside...BUT, if you ever want to see the most intense couple of seconds in sports then youtube Zenyatta's 2009 Breeder's Cup Classic and pay attention to her in the last few seconds when she does the impossible! She came from dead last and ran against the boys and kicked dirt in all their faces.
I also did not know that Zenyatta is quite a big girl and at 17 1/2 hands (a hand is 4 inches and a horse is measured to the top of the shoulder or "withers". She is bigger than most, if not all of the fellows she ran against...she's even bigger than Secretariat himself.
We're all privileged to see such greatness in a racing thoroughbred. There are so few of them....maybe a couple a century. They are quite rare. Well, Zenyatta just finished her 16th win and so far is undefeated. If she does nothing else, she has already proved herself as a Super Horse and one that demands respect for being the top of her breed!
Saturday, April 03, 2010
Yeah....I know, "I can't even draw a straight line"! Might interest you folks to know that I can't draw one either. Very few straight lines in paintings and even then, there are rulers...so no excuse! They say petting a dog or cat is very tranquilizing - well, so is creating some artwork...even if that artwork is in needlecrafts, such as crochet, knitting, tatting, macrame...whatever!....and you don't have to feed artwork or take it for a walk. What I'm trying to say is CREATE SOMETHING - it will do you good!
Art has always been a part of my life, I was born that way. That is still no excuse for you not to try some on your own. Pick up a cheap tin of watercolor paints, a brush and some paper and give it a try. Youtube.com has many demonstration videos in painting all mediums. A cheap set of acrylics and a couple cheap brushes will do miracles for you. You can while away hours and pleasantly too. Take a couple of nightschool lessons in painting - here, we have them at our community center. Inexpensive but could open up worlds for you to explore. Can't afford paint and paper....pick up some crayons or colored pencils and a pad of cheap drawing paper and have a go at it. If you can't afford that then go to http://www.ratemydrawings.com and paint digitally - its FREE! Give it a try...that's all I ask.
My painting for today is "Luminous Red Poppies" recently sold on Overstock.com
Monday, March 08, 2010
This was a comment on my last post - I felt it was too good to be tucked away in comments so I'm posting it on its own.
Submitted by EventHorizon1984:
I, along with thousands of other sellers are waiting...we're waiting for the next "Ebay" - the next large community of sellers and buyers. I don't see one on the horizon and if one doesn't show up soon then the whole business of online sales will go to the big, rich, retail companies who only wish to expand their presence to the internet.
We'll frame this like the shadow of a fairy tale.
"Once upon a time there was a Great meeting place. People had never seen it's like before. This Great meeting place thrived for many many years. There came a time that when the powers that be decided to improve the Great meeting place. Certain small people were told to leave or were removed by force. Many other small people fled. In time these little folk congregated in a dozen or so small meeting places. Because the other Lesser meeting places would not take them.
But the Great meeting place put forth the word that these small meeting places would never be it's equal. That these small meeting places would need the banking support and guidance of the Great meeting place. For all time.
The small meeting places boycotted the Great meeting place. But the Great meeting place survived and continued to thrive. And laughed at the noise.
Now on their own, these small meeting places squabbled amongst themselves and soon dispersed into dozens of other small meeting places. All faced years of hardship and uncertainty as to their survival. But being stubborn and spirited, survive and grow they did. And in the fullness of time became a multitude of great meeting places.
Sounds very familiar doesn't it? You're thinking the fairy tale version of eBay?
In case anyone is wondering, the above was an abbreviated history. The "Great meeting place" is not eBay but Great Britain. With the "dozen or so small meeting places" as Australia and the Thirteen Colonies. The latter becoming thirteen States, which in turn became 50.
We're expecting something similar. With Google providing the common bond and communications between the 'small meeting places'. Abet this being the Internet, the process will not take centuries, but years.
The Great meeting place is not going away, but neither should all of you small sellers. Consider where you would be, if your ancestors decided to turn around or give up?
"Don't worry, on a new job it's quite common for things not to go well at first."
Cora, Quigley Down Under (1990)
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Lately, I've been reflecting on the economy and on my sales and the sales of other artists. Since I'm retired, its pretty easy for me to think about the future. Financially, I'm not wealthy but I do have a modest income - enough to cover my needs. These days I think more about the people who are out of work and desperate then I do about myself. I keep hoping for a turnaround, but that doesn't seem to be happening yet. I keep wishing that the leader we put into office, with such great hope for change, would begin doing something for the citizens of this nation. It saddens me but there is nothing I can do except be grateful for what I have and hope the rest will prosper soon.
Online sales for small sellers of collectibles and artwork has fallen off to the point where it is almost useless to list items and hand over fees. The smaller sites need AUCTIONS there is no excitement in searching by keywords and blundering onto what you want and the same stuff sits month after month. Their present format is confusing and not successful...yes, I'm talking Etsy, Bonanzle, eCrater, etc. etc. They're gaining more sellers but those precious buyers are still mostly out of their reach. None of them advertise...that I can see. Overstock does advertise but for the life of me I cannot understand why they seem to hide the fact that they have auctions running too - if you don't believe me go to the site and LOOK. Sellers deserve more than this type of service. Sellers are willing to pay for service but most of the small sites operating today aren't prepared to give us that.
As for Ebay, the old CEO, campaigning for California governor, is still bragging about the thousands of little people she helped start a business on Ebay while her hand-groomed successor, the new CEO, tears it apart and puts most of those sellers out of business. No use mentioning any more about them. Its water under the bridge now and not worth the space in this post.
I, along with thousands of other sellers are waiting...we're waiting for the next "Ebay" - the next large community of sellers and buyers. I don't see one on the horizon and if one doesn't show up soon then the whole business of online sales will go to the big, rich, retail companies who only wish to expand their presence to the internet. It will be same brand new chinese junk you now find in any mall or large store and the excitement that was once Ebay and online sales of the eclectic, the rare, the vintage...will perish!
Not the best mood for a Sunday morning but I felt I had to tell it as it appears to me and then we, perhaps, can collectively hope for a turnaround...in the economy and the online sales.
Something different today, an abstract, called "Cupcakes & Wine"