Archive for February, 2005
The idea for this column came from a reader (and friend met at eBay LIVE) Orrin Adler.
You have to try this out. It’s cool and scary at the same time.
Go to Google.com and search on your phone number. Type all 10 digits, no spaces or dashes necessary (like 5084342999)
Google will then come back with your name and address. You can click on Yahoo Maps, or MapQuest to get a map to get there.
Now hopefully, if your number is unlisted it should NOT show up. If it does, please let me know.
What isn’t mentioned on the page is that you have the option of removing this info from Google.
To get your info removed, do the following:
1. Click on the link the says “Phonebook results for 5084342999″
2. You should now see a link saying “Phonebook Removal Tool”. I noticed that if the street address is not shown, but only the town then this option does not appear. If that happens to you, you can click here to get to the removal page.
When you think logically about this, it really isn’t a big deal. All this information is in the public domain.
Still, I just keep seeing this image of some wacko in a goalie mask carrying a machete in one hand, and a wireless laptop in the other using Google to locate his victims. (Hey… this is a RANDOM Thought column)
Sure, they can now easily get a map to your front door, but.. It’s not like someone can see your house and it’s surroundings. You know, to plan an escape route or look for a place to hide your dead body.
Or Can They?? (< -- Note: Insert SCARY Music here)
Want to see some satellite pictures of your house?
Imagine the detail in the military’s classified imagery!
Just read in this month’s Reader’s Digest about a man that used the internet to steal the identities of rich and famous people from Fortune Magazine’s Top 400 list. He stole over $200 million from just one person. Was on his way to a BILLION when he got busted.
Hey, I love the internet, but sometimes you just have to stop and think about the long term ramifications!
SPAM is a humongous waste of time!
I cannot believe how many SPAM emails I receive. In the past, I would simply mutter nasty thoughts under my breath as I waded my way through the emails pressing Delete..Delete..Delete over and over.
The problem with SPAM in your email is how to separate the good from the bad. Each day I receive many legitimate emails from potential eBay buyers, newsletter readers, friends, newsletter subscriptions, etc…
For the longest time I avoided implementing any tools because I was afraid of accidentally deleting valid emails.
But it finally got to the point where I had no choice. SPAM was eating up 1/2 - 1 hour EACH day of my time!
Time to find a solution.
After doing a lot research, I found two basic methods that are used to solve this problem.
Method #1 One method requires that a sender become approved the first time they send you an email. It normally requires that the person click on a link that brings them to a page displaying a hard to read word on the screen. The purpose is to require a human to follow the steps. The idea being that a SPAMMER is not going to take the time to manually do this, and software is unable to read the displayed word. This method can be nearly 100% accurate without deleting valid emails. The problem (and reason why I did not implement this method) is that if you sign up for many newsletters and lists (like I do), it gets tricky to handle these. Plus, since I run a business that lives on email, I didn’t want people to have to jump through loops to contact me. Still, this may be a good method for you. There are a ton of companies offering this as a paid service or software.
Method #2: This method takes a whole different approach. It actually “reads” the email and determines whether it is “good”, “Definite SPAM”, or “Possible SPAM”. It leaves the “good” alone, puts “Definite SPAM” in a SPAM folder that you create, and “Possible SPAM” to a different folder that you create.
This software actually becomes “smarter” the longer you use it.
Well when it makes a “mistake”, you manually mark the email as SPAM, or “NOT SPAM”, and it remembers for the next time.
The software that I use is called SPAMBayes and 100% FREE. I’ve been using it for over 6 months now, and am very pleased with it. I just installed it on my office manager’s computer about 2 weeks ago and she is happy with it too.
The software works with Outlook 2000/XP, and is quite simple to use. It adds a button to your main screen “Delete AS SPAM”. You use that whenever you see a SPAM in your INBOX that was missed. If you are searching in your “SPAM” folder, you will see “Recover from SPAM” button which is used if something is falsely accused of being SPAM. Inside the “Possible SPAM” folder, two buttons appear “Delete As SPAM”, and “Recover From SPAM”. You can select either a single message, or multiple messages and click on the button to reclassify them.
Here is how I use it:
First, I let my SPAMS pile up for a few days. I wait until I am brain dead and don’t feel like doing “real work”.
I first go and clean out the SPAM folder. I normally sort by the “To:” address. I can clean out a few hundred emails in a minute or two. Once the SPAM folder is done, then go to the “Possible SPAM” folder and click the buttons to show which is SPAM and which is HAM (good email :-). Then immediately go back to the SPAM folder and erase everything.
This method and software saves me a few hours a week in time, which is a wonderful thing.
SPAM is a nasty problem that continues to get worse.
Hopefully, one of these solutions will help you win the battle against it.
In the December 1, 2004 issue I discussed how I used picture placeholders in an auction I ran to sell my Grand Caravan.
The purpose of the placeholders was to allow me to add more pictures to the auction anytime I wanted. I figured is someone requested some additional photos, I could take them, upload them to my web server, and poof they would “magically” appear in my auction.
After that issue was released, I received a great idea in an email from Leah Weinberg (Check out her excellent niche area!)
Here is what she does.
She creates a picture like the first one below. It advertises an advantage that she has over her competitors.
She puts it on a website, NOT EBAY PICTURE HOSTING!!! She calls it something like www.mywebsite.com/images/message_regular.jpg
She also makes a version that she uses when she has an announcment to make, like holiday or vacation time. For example, she used this last Thanksgiving time:
She calls this something like: www.mywebsite.com/images/message_vacation.jpg
She then copies one or the other to www.mywebsite.com/images/message.jpg, which is the one that she includes in her auction.
Whenever she need to make an announcement, she simply creates a new graphic with the message and copies it over www.mywebsite.com/images/message.jpg.
It then instantly will appear in ALL of her auctions, with no additional work!
Once vacation is over, simply overwrite www.mywebsite.com/images/message.jpg again, and the message goes back to normal.
Pretty cool huh?
This is a subject that I just can’t write enough about.
For people just getting started with eBay selling, this can be the major stumbling block to starting their own business.
We’ll also discuss how “the herd mentality” can also lead you down “the road of no profits”.
Dropshipping is a favorite choice, especially for new sellers. You have to admit, the thought of selling a million dollars a month of product on eBay with no inventory, and no start up cost is a delicious fantasy!
Unfortunately, (at the risk of major bubble popping), this just isn’t going to happen the majority of people.
There are a few reasons. Dropshipping is like a popular lake on the first day of trout season. Everyone is in the same spot, with the same bait, all trying to catch the same group of fish. When there are more fishermen than fish, the fishermen go home hungry.
Since it takes little effort, investment, and warehouse space to get into dropshipping, this is the method that many people want to use.
Is that a bad thing? No, here is the bad part. Most when getting started are trying copy what everyone else is doing. They go to the same HUGE distributors, look at the same “cool” products (laptops, dvds, MP3 players, etc..) and get exasperated when the eBay price is the same (sometimes even LESS) than the wholesale price.
Has that happened to you?
Have you ever wondered: “How can these people sell this on eBay FOR LESS than the wholesale price?”. Here are two possible reasons:
1. The eBay seller does not know what they are doing, and he is losing his shirt. They might be making up some $$$ on the shipping & handling.
2. The eBay seller is using the item for a “loss leader”. This is what the grocery stores often do. “Buy 1 gallon of ice cream and get 1 free”. They’re counting on the fact that while you’re picking up your ice cream you are also going to do some impulse buying. The eBay seller may also be hoping to sell some accessories, refills for consumable items, or get repeat business from the buyer.
3. The wholesaler is “buttering both sides of his bread”. Some wholesalers will sell to eBay sellers AND sell on eBay themselves! Zoinks, you can’t compete in that situation!
Are Dropshipping Profits A Fairy Tale?
No, dropshipping IS a great way of making money on eBay, WHEN you do it right!
There are MANY ordinary people consistently racking up eBay profits by dropshipping items.
What do they know that many other sellers don’t?
They know what to sell!
If your instinct is to sell an item that is easily found at retail stores or even the big online stores, then don’t waste your time.
The “trick” to finding an item to sell is to select something that:
* Cannot be found at Walmart, Circuit City, Best Buy, or other corporate chain retail stores.
* Cannot be found at online merchants like Amazon.com, eCost.com, etc..
* In fact, if you cannot think of a “chain” store that would sell the item, then you are probably on the right track!
* Many people want to sell the “hot” general items. Although there is nothing wrong with that, you don’t want to be going up against huge giant corporations. They have the power to cut special deals with the name brand companies, that you just don’t have.
* You want to think “niche”, NOT mainstream. I’ll rattle off some examples.
o Catering supplies.
o Welding supplies.
o Beads (making jewelry is huge)
o Other hobbies.
Need some help finding ideas?
Try reading the paper version of the Yellow Pages (List of businesses by category). Look for areas that are NOT served by huge corporations, but rather by “Family owned and operated since 19XX” type businesses. Normally the type of items sold by these businesses have a HUGE markup. Why? Simply supply and demand. Less suppliers equals more demand which equals more money in your pocket.
Don’t have a paper yellow pages? You can read an online version here.
Of course, once you have an idea, you need to find sources.
One method is to look up the manufacturer (or find some manufacturers). A great source is at ThomasNet (formally ThomasRegister.com) They list manufacturers throughout the USA and Canada. Once you find a manufacturer, simply call them, and ask who their local distributor is in your area. Next, give them a call and ask if they dropship the item. My personal experience has shown that you have more flexibility with smaller distributors than larger corporations. I took this approach (as discussed in 12 Killer Dropship SECRETS For eBay Sellers) and it has resulted in 1104 sales for a total of about $121,000 (so far) of a single product! Cha-Ching!
Another way of locating dropshippers is to use Chris Malta’s Worldwide Brands Search Engine, or Tim Knox’s Ultimate Dropship & Wholesale Guide Be careful! There is a lot of junk out there. These are the only two legitimate sources that I recommend.
So yes, you can make really make money dropshipping on eBay.
Points to remember:
* Don’t compete with the “BIG-BOYS”.
* Do not buy from distributors who also sell on eBay
* Look for niche products that are hard for buyers to find locally.
* Limit your competition by avoiding mainstream wholesale distributors.
* Do some extra homework to find manufacturer/distributor sources that are smaller and less popular. These will lower the competition and often be more flexible in comparison with the “giants”.