snapcasa.com vs thumbshots.org
Sep 28th, 2009 by estreet

Snapcasa.com and Thumbshots.org are free services that take snapshots of websites and host the images for your use. You can see snapshots in action on the bing.com search engine.

I love website previews because it saves me time. I don’t have to click on links that take me to deadends. The preview shows you exactly where you will end up.

Unfortunately Snapcasa has some serious delays in their website snapshot capture and image hosting. Maybe I just caught them at a bad time. The site is completely unresponsive now.

Thumbshots.org is much faster but the thumbnails are smaller. You have to credit Thumbshots in order to use their free service. The paid service removes the attribution requirement.

Snapcasa thumbnails:



I will use these thumbnails on Watched Item – most watched eBay items and Smiling Shopper – discount gift cards.

Here’s another service called Shrinktheweb.com. The resolution on the 120 px by 90 px thumbnail is better than thumbshots’ but the tradeoff is file size. Thumbshots’ images are around 4KB but shrinktheweb’s files are ~14KB. Shrinktheweb’s images are a few weeks old. I requested an image refresh.

Thumbnails powered by Thumbshots

Website Thumbnail Provider

PlasticJungle Twitter Contest – I Want to be a Weiner
Aug 1st, 2009 by estreet

PlasticJungle runs a safer marketplace for giftcards than eBay. I had a great experience with PlasticJungle last month. My $35 check arrived promptly. Check out the eBay widget below to compare giftcards on eBay vs. Plastic Jungle.

Well, now they are running a Twitter contest starting Aug. 3. View the details on PlasticJungle.com.


Save up to 40% at your favorite stores!

The Etsy API and CraftCult App are Sweet!
Aug 1st, 2009 by estreet

I just used the Etsy API to run some product searches. It was very, very easy.

The Etsy Developers need to add a few more sort parameters to the keyword and tag search, like number bought and number of favorers (yes, that’s a word). But I like it. I really like it!

Here’s a nice looking Etsy application called Craft Cult.


Etsy offers a nice community feature that is missing on eBay. Etsy shows sellers who is has marked their shop as a favorite. CraftCult.com runs a cron to show the history of new favorers. Cool!


Etsy also shows the Etsy user names who “heart” an item for sale. Love it! I don’t know why eBay doesn’t utilize their watch list to build their community like Etsy.


My eBay app, WatchedItem, shows the number of watchers of an eBay item. Watchers are anonymous on eBay.


Watched Item shows the top 500 most popular items on eBay. It’s a good way to find the most attention grabbing items on eBay.


Amazon acquires Zappos
Jul 22nd, 2009 by estreet

Lunch with Zappos executives
Originally uploaded by Robert Scoble
Here Rackspace executives and employees meet with Zappos
executives. They don’t like being called executives, by the way.
They call themselves monkeys.

Amazon buys Zappos for 10M in Amazon stock. Does Zappos + Bezos = Bappos or Zezos?

Last month, there was a report that eBay Senior Vice President Stephanie Tilenius said that Zappos would be selling some items on eBay. That project was promptly squashed. Now I know why.

By the way, 10M in Amazon stock is worth $890M!

eBay Developers Conference – 2009
Jul 13th, 2009 by estreet

Cool! There I am at the eBay Dev Conf in San Jose.

Yep, that’s the back of my head. I’m in the front/right wearing the BRIGHT pink shirt chatting with Kevin from Auctiva.

Next year, I might turn around.

WatchedItem.com blog is live!
Jul 10th, 2009 by estreet

My Watched Item blog is now live!

I did tons of customization on the theme, then I noticed that it looks bad in Internet Explorer. The round corners are square in IE. I almost always use FireFox.

But I’m satisfied that it matches the main site and he first couple of posts look pretty good. I just need to automate the link generation a bit. I’m doing too much by hand.

BTW – It’s blueberry season here in Illinois. We got 12 pounds of big ones. My belly is full.


Transformers in front of Paramount Studios’ classic Bronson Gate
Jul 8th, 2009 by estreet

Transformer picture.

Wild Horses of Assateague Island
Jul 7th, 2009 by estreet

This picture was taken by my husband, Brian, last week on our family vacation.

I just love the Maryland coast.

Check out his photostream on Flickr.

PlasticJungle.com Gives You Cash Back for Unwanted Gift Cards
Jul 7th, 2009 by estreet

I found an old $50 Banana Republic gift card in my box of wrapping paper. Hmmm… there is nothing at Banana Republic for under $50 so I might as well sell it.

Sell it on eBay? Naw, the gift card market is too weird for me. PlasticJungle.com? Yes!

I will get $35 by check for my $50 card. That’s close enough to the right price and there is no hassle.

Here’s the fastest way to get cash for an unwanted gift card on PlasticJungle.com.


I would add step 0: Register on the site.

Selling your gift card is easy

  1. Step 1Find out what it’s worth
  2. Step 2Select your offer
  3. Step 3Enter your card information
  4. Step 4Print two copies of your receipt
  5. Step 5Send your card with the label provided

As soon as we receive the card,

  • …get your cash by check OR
  • …get your Amazon.com® Gift Card* by email OR
  • …get your DonorsChoose.org Charity Gift Card
    by email

The best thing is that Plastic Jungle even provides the $.61 postage for mailing your card to them.

Yep, Plastic Jungle was a lot easier than eBay. I will check them out the next time I want to purchase a card.

Update: July 13

I like Plastic Jungle’s communication:

Dear Michelle Waldorf,

Thank you for your recent transaction on our site to sell your Banana Republic card valued at $50.00. In order for us to complete this transaction you will need to print the free shipping label provided. Place the label on an envelope, enclose your gift card and send it to us. Once we receive your card, we will verify the card value and send payment to you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can be reached by email (customerservice@plasticjungle.com) and/or telephone (877-MYJUNGLE).
Thank you,

The Customer Service Team
Plastic Jungle

Congratulations on the sale of your gift card. We have issued your check in the amount of $35.00 and you should be receiving it in the mail within the next 5-7 business days.
We are constantly striving to provide our customers with the best possible service. We hope that your selling experience has been an enjoyable one!

If there is anything we can do to improve your experience please let us know. We can be reached by email or by phone: customerservice@plasticjungle.com 877-MY JUNGLE.

Why do Walmart gift cards sell over face value on eBay?
Jul 6th, 2009 by estreet

Here is the angle to why Walmart gift cards sell over face value on eBay.

LordKronos said:From time to time, eBay offers members coupons for 10% off if you pay with paypal. In addition, for Buy It Now auctions, live.com often has promotions giving you a percentage back via a deposit in your paypal account a few months later. Right now it’s at 9%. The peak I saw was the day after thanksgiving when it reached 30%. At the time, eBay had also given out some of those 10% coupons which could be combined with the live.com offer giving a total discount of 40% (I got a few good deals on that one).


Just looked back at my MS CashBack records. In November, when the discount often went to 25-30%, we purchased around $7-8K of gift cards (Costco, WalMart, Target, safeway), all at a premium. The net price to us was around 80 cents on the dollar. We also flipped several of them for $100 or so net per card. As you point out, the discount is down to 9% currently, so paying a premium isn’t worth it to us at this point.

Take a look at the Walmart gift cards selling over face value.

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