Posts from October 2008.

Praise for ProPay, Good Grief!

For those of us who are no longer doing eBay, ProPay has come up with the coolest gadget I have seen in years. The days of lugging around a three pound weight credit card scanner for point of sale charges are over!

Are you working craft fairs, flea markets, sales parties or shows? Check this out. Full disclosure, I gain no financial benefit from telling you about this whatsoever.
The MicroSecure Card Reader. Is that cool or what?

It is a secure, encrypted, portable card reader that comes with a lanyard and USB cord. You simply swipe the card, the green button lights to tell you everything is copascetic, record the name, amount of charge and last 4 digits only of the card in your duplicate receipt book, hand your customer their receipt and move on to the next sale. You can store 71 transactions at a time. When you get home, plug the Card Reader into the USB port on your computer, login, your transactions will appear one at a time. Enter the amount of the transaction and an optional invoice number. No more entering card numbers and hoping you got them right.

If you have an internet connection and computer available, the reader processes and authorizes real time transactions.

How secure is secure?

From the look of it, very secure indeed. The device stores and encrypts the data and is fully compliant with card-association security standards. If it gets lost or stolen the information is still secure and can’t be decrypted without access to your ProPay account and using the ProPay software.

And the price tag is?

Amazingly low. Did I just say that? Hmmm.

Regular price $149.95 with a $4.95 service fee per month. Pay that fee annually up front and it drops to $39.95, a year. There is an introductory price on the device of $99.95 and service fees are waived through 2008 (better than a swift slap upside the haid!) If you buy more than one you will not be charged more than one monthly service fee. No contract, no termination fee and you can sell the device (with some restrictions) if you no longer need it.

There are of course the normal merchant credit account fees in addition to the card reader service fees.

Back in the day I paid over $200 for my reader and $75 a month, with a one year contract. I had to lug carbon paper forms, be connected to electricity and a phone and most of the time input the transaction more than once.

I am really impressed. I don’t often say that.

Y’all come back!

In Demand on eBay

Once again Scot Wingo has a very interesting revelation on his blog. Scot is the President and CEO of ChannelAdvisor, which provides large retailers and manufacturers with the tools and services they need to successfully utilize consumer marketplaces as a sales channel. Recently ChannelAdvisor received substantial funding from eBay; one of the main marketplaces they utilize.

Although InDemand will not please smaller sellers or those sellers whom eBay considers ‘not good enough’ to benefit, (regardless of what information they have on their dashboards) on the surface it could be a positive move to match retail supply with demand.

Positive:

eBay has been guarding their data for years and only trot carefully selected portions of it out when they think it will give them backing for the policy of the moment. Maybe someone in a position of power has finally realized that sellers can use data to offer stock that buyers are looking for. That is a radical concept which takes the first tiny baby step towards realization that eBay and sellers should not be locked into an eBay fomented adversarial position. Yes, unless eBay is going to Amazonize to the point of stocking and fulfilling orders themselves they do need sellers.

Negative:

  • Virtually the same set of well connected high volume sellers of brand new goods will receive all the benefits of this program. *If they can qualify.*
  • Everyone else is invisible, sheesh, just pay your fees and shut up!
  • From what we know so far, InDemand will be gameable; if it is possible sellers will do it.
  • In order to prevent gaming the system eBay may well make it effectively unusable
  • eBay appears to be giving items their own set of eBay ID numbers, why? All this type of product already have ISBN numbers and SKUs.

The devil will be in the details

History has shown that eBay is capable of conceiving wonderful ideas. Implementing them in a usable manner is is a challenge that eBay has repeatedly failed.

*If you qualify for this program and sell the types of items that would benefit from it please satisfy my curiosity and leave a note in the comments section. After checking feedback for several excellent sellers who do not qualify, I am wondering if anybody qualifies.

Implementation of yet another elitist eBay program makes me want to turn into a socialist, or a vegetarian anarchist, or something. Maybe just staying an ex-eBay seller will be less stressful.

Y’all come back!

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Randy Smythe - My Blog Utopia!

eBay Turns On

Dinesh is at it again. Yup he of the feather and VP Seller Experience. That is an interesting title. Note they don’t say Good Seller Experience. He made an announcement on the 16th about legal gambling on eBay and another one on the 21st to remind sellers to do their chores before eBay turns on the Paperless Seller Experience.

It then took another week for eBay to turn it on. So what else is new? According to Scot Wingo, although he is very polite and sideways about it, it is not quite ready for prime time.

No he didn’t actually say ‘not ready for prime time’, he didn’t say “You have egg on your face, Sir” either, what he said, politely, is that there are ramifications to the policy eBay apparently hasn’t thought about. I guess they didn’t cover that in the MBA program. Scot said he had been talking to John McDonald (big chief eBay’s Trust and Safety for the USA) who did not have an answer to the following question:

There is some confusion around international (eBay calls this cross border trade or CBT)- e.g. can I specifically mention in my USA listing that “for DE buyers I take x, y, z?” - assuming x/y/z are allowed in DE, but not in USA?

What a surprise!

Personally I could care less whether a buyer uses Google Checkout, mails me a check or Money Order or meets me at the local Starbucks with cash. Heck if they want to they can even use PayPal, but then I don’t sell on eBay any more, so I can be the decider in my business. I like that, it is why I am not an employee drawing a paycheck.

Y’all come back!

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Well Whaddya Know?

I guess if you aren’t an eBay insider or e-comfortable it is easy to get confused.

I can tell you that Pierre was surprised, see for yourself:

There is a short news video clip (scroll down) and I found the most amusing part of it to be Meg’s face.

Personally I have always believed Keith Ferrazzi who said that to be credible “the first prerequisite is deep familiarity and facility with your subject matter.” On the other hand maybe Ferrazzi Greenlights mission and values aren’t a good fit in this case.

Y’all come back!