E-Bay the Golden Goose

We all know the story about the Goose who laid the Golden Egg and as you remember that didn’t turn out well for the Goose. E-Bay in my opinion is like a Golden Goose, who yes laid an egg.  Unlike me, many feel that E-Bay is the market place where its auctions are lined with gold. However the reality could be more accurately described as iron pyrite (fools gold). Don’t misunderstand there is money to be had on E-Bay but usually it’s the folks who buy into that dream that have been had.

I can guess what you’re thinking. How is it possible that I who make my living on the internet could say such a fowl (I couldn’t resist) thing about E-Bay? Well it isn’t easy.

After all as far as business formats go, you are able to advertise something for sale to literally millions of potential customers without your own website.  E-Bay is probably the world’s largest trading (for lack of a better term) community. It’s advertised as the easiest thing to use since the toaster. That’s right just place your ad and out pop’s your profit.

Oh if it were that easy!

I realize that those of you out there who are using E-Bay and making money are totally disagreeing with me. But you can’t disagree with the facts.

1)      E-Bay charges you for everything you do. Want to add pictures no problem there is a fee. Want to put a subtitle in your ad or how about a bold title, to name a few? Of course there is a fee.

2)      Now you do have to pay a commission. I call that a fee.

3)       Part of your success is your reputation. Your reputation is based in part (a large part) by the feedback from customers which is posted for the world to see. Even if the negative feedback is unfounded it can not be removed.

4)      How about the fact that E-Bay is known for its terrible customer service, it’s almost legendary. Well if there is a problem and you have money on the line good luck with getting them to help.

5)      When it comes to refunds, a customer complains and Pay Pal will refund the entire purchase price, even before the customer returns the purchase. E-Bay owns Pay Pal and now you see why I listed #4.

6)      Like anything else there is a long learning curve which will cost you money because of your lack of knowledge. You need how to create the correct ad, learn how to price the items, don’t forget shipping costs, have money to fall back on for returns, have the time to be there at the end of your auctions, etc.  All this can be learned but I just scratched the surface here. E-Bay is a full time commitment. You are tied to your computer.

7)      If you are basing your E-Bay internet business on products you are getting from a drop shipper just remember you could very well be competing against a wholesaler. They can offer the same product cheaper.

To be fair you can earn an income on E-Bay I’ve seen it first hand but it takes real time more then I am willing to give. These are just a few thoughts you might want to consider when someone tells you that E-Bay is where you should be focusing all your time and money. Because E-Bay will cost you both and this Golden Goose is not what it’s quacked (I know I did it again) up to be.

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Vacation Checklist

Much like a groundhog who sticks his head out of his burrow to see if spring is on the way, I stepped outside my home office and realized its summer.

The significance of that means its vacation time! So I ran back into the house checked my supply of sun screen, dusted off the flip flops, dug out the swimming trunks (odd their tighter then last year, I didn’t realize that wearing them in water shrinks them, oh well time to buy another pair) filled the ice chest and went to turn off the computer.

The computer, my doorway to cyber space, my Internet Business I had almost forgotten the checklist!

Everyone should have a checklist. It’s not like your Internet Business can flourish on auto pilot like the snake oil salesmen preach. It’s true that it runs whether your there or not, sales can be made 24/7 that’s one of the lures of an Internet Business. The fact that you don’t have to be there is also one of the traps that lead to failure. Because of that you should have a checklist.

Let’s face it if you owned a brick and mortar business and you were going on vacation you would make sure that everything was in place to help ensure its smooth operation. Well you need to do the same for your Internet Business as well. I know some folks, and I’m guilty as well, that pack their laptop so they won’t miss anything. Problem is you’re supposed to be on vacation and believe it or not you do need a break. I know it sounds cool to be lying on the beach with your laptop…but try getting sand out of your laptop cracks.

So create a checklist for your Internet Business, it’s easy and it makes sense. The following are some of the things I have on mine, the order they appear isn’t important.

1)      Review your marketing plan (I know you have one of those)

a)      Have I posted comments to my 4 favorite Blogs this week?

b)      Have I visited my 2 favorite Forums recently and left comments?

c)       When was the last time I submitted an article to an Ezine?

d)      How am I doing on my directory submissions?

e)      Am I on track with my 3-4 social networks?

If this part of your marketing plan is up to date then you’re in good shape.

2)      How is my keyword research coming for my new web page?

3)      Have I checked all my Affiliate Links to be sure their still working correctly?

4)      Are the Affiliate Ad offers still current?

5)      Do I need to update my Affiliate Ads?

6)      When is the last time I updated the pictures on my web site, is it needed?

7)      Have I updated the content recently, does it need it?

8)      Am I current with my email correspondence?

9)      When was the last time I tested my contact us page?

10)   Is the monthly computer maintenance done?

This is not a complete list but you get the idea. Make sure that you’re Internet Business, which runs on auto pilot (yeah sure) is primed and ready for your vacation. It won’t take long if you use your checklist on a regular basis.

Now if I could only find my snorkel.

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SERP Stop and Listen

When Google speaks everyone stops to listen. Curiously not everyone hears the same thing. When Google finally rolled out their new SERP (search engine results page) design everyone with skin in the game found their voice and began filling the town square with their rants. Many proclaimed its advantages others decried what they perceive to be flaws (this usually means that some folks think their sites will be hurt by the changes) and some have declared that Google made the changes in desperation.

What desperation? Yes because it resembles Bing’s format, so to those who would rather use Bing, Google was just playing catch up.  Oddly enough the Bing supporters never said that when Bing copied About Us.com, which had the format first.

So what effect will the changes have on the way you construct and run your site?  That question is what all the folks are running around talking about. Everyone should just stop.

SEO is still the way to go! (Reads like a bumper sticker doesn’t it?) Do not change the foundation of your site. Stick to the basics. You do not have to reinvent the wheel.

Stop talking about why Google made the change, who really cares?

What the new SERP design does is gives you more opportunities to market your site. This is the area where you should be hearing what Google is saying.

You should be asking yourself questions like; Folks can now search by images, time (past 24 hours, last week etc), social networks, videos etc.  You should be asking yourself “What Is Google telling me with these changes?”  If Location, location, location is important to an internet business what do you think marketing, marketing, marketing is? It’s everything.

This new SERP design gives searchers (potential clients/customers) more ways to refine their search. It also gives you more ways to be discovered in that search.

Let’s face it you need to think outside the box and start boning up on how to market your internet business.  Continue to do the things your doing, commenting on blogs and forums, creating articles for Ezines but now really focus on social networks and look hard at videos.

It’s all about frequency, quality content, positioning and being at the right place at the right time and you do that through solid marketing.

This is what I suggest you do. Educate yourself. Start doing Google searches for articles on SERP design. Take notes. Throw out the useless information ie who was first, who likes the new design etc. Focus on those areas that you hadn’t thought of. Attempt something new…stretch your marketing plan…do it for free.

What’s the worst thing that can happen? Yup you’re right you find a new customer. Oh the misery!

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Soapbox Time!

Sometimes I just have to rant and rave about things that are going on in the internet business world. So bear with me as I discuss the laziness of those folks who think they are promoting their internet business when they try to place back links on Blogs using an automated system. Who do you folks think you’re kidding? These automated systems; that you’re using, are only able to crank out some canned spam that borders on…no goes beyond disrespect to the Blogger.

Have you ever taken the time to look at the comments that are being spewed out, with your name attached? What am I asking? Of course you haven’t, because you’re not really serious about your internet business. If you were serious you would see how stupid those comments sound when attached to posts that you never read.

So to put a fine point on this topic those of you who are about to use these automated systems to promote your internet business…DON’T! The reason is really quite simple, 99.99% of the time your comments will be rejected by the Blogger. Don’t look shocked because you have been paying out hard earned cash to companies who promised you great results. If you don’t care enough to do the work yourself, you get what you deserve.

You might think that I’m being harsh and you would be correct.

If you really want to build your internet business then stop looking for the quick easy answers…most of the time they won’t work. Promoting your website is crucial to your success, you must realize it, or why else would you be trying to get back links? You need to be overseeing this effort on a weekly basis. You need to be personally involved, unless of course you enjoying failing and fail you will.

Now that was really harsh!

Ok now because I already know that those to whom this rant is directed aren’t really reading this, I will step off my soapbox and once again resume my laid back self.

Because part of your marketing will be directed at Blogs it makes sense (Dollars and Cents) for you to visit the targeted Blogs and read their posts. Once you have read them, then you can leave your comments that truly relate to that post, not some generic dribble (oops started to stand on that soapbox again). Not only do you read the posts but also take the time to read the other comments. By reading the comments you have the ability to find leads…look at this exercise as panning for gold. If you do it enough you will find customers to support your business. If you don’t look you won’t find, but someone else will.

Yes I know it takes time and effort and that equals work. This is an internet business and the competition is tough. But if you do the correct things the “right” way, time after time, then your competitors will become spectators.

You know I really love when that happens.

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