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Jun 25th, 2008 by estreet

The great thing about eBay is that there are interesting tactics to be studied and written about everyday.

eBay’s Trust & Safety is working in overdrive this year, NARUing sellers right and left. Like this one I meant to write about for the 6 weeks. But it was “removed” from eBay before I got to it.

Well, I’m just busy this summer. I spend an inappropriate amount of time analyzing my two daughters’ videos and photos pitching a softball. Did you know it takes 10,000 pitches to develop a decent fastball? Now, we’re working on the changeup.

Proper softball pitching form is a beautiful thing to watch… and watch and watch. With Jennie Finch as a role model, lots of girls with big dreams have joined teams this year. Her she is with my daughter Jessica.

I digress. But this is how my days are going. I have a plan of what needs to be done each day but then I start on the softball. Productivity over.

So why do I put so many hours into writing this blog? It’s hard to get started on a post and equally hard to make a relevant point. My explanation is simple: I’m finding my voice.

eBay 2008 and beyond. Chris Isaak is 52?
Jun 24th, 2008 by estreet

eBay Live! 2008 concluded on Saturday. A few exhibitors caught my eye:

  • Kijiji.com (owned by eBay) which offers free classified ads. They connect buyers and sellers, then get out of the loop.
  • Auctiva free seller tools. They are the 800 pound gorilla in the listing tool space just by the sheer number of subscribers.
  • frooition.com store designs.
  • eBay labs had some neat tools.

There were no consignment stores but plenty of shipping services. We counted 14 shipping related booths out of 85 total booths.

At 6 pm, the doors to the Gala opened and we ran into the room greeted by eBay employees with their hands out like a youth sports team saying “good game”. It was a nice gesture.

Chris Isaak came out at 8:00pm wearing a red rhinestone suit. He’s riveting! He’s one of those people that you just can’t take your eyes off of. Wikipedia says he is 52, but he looks 42, 45 tops.

Back to business -> There are a lot of changes in store for the eBay platform such as constant tweaking with listing requirements (shipping) and active content policy. This will weed out the solutions providers who don’t have the cash nor energy to keep up.

Developing applications for eBay this year has been a game of whack-a-mole. Digital delivery for all categories. Whack. No digital delivery. Whack again. New policy violations. Whack. Random API errors. Whack Whack.

Now there are mandatory shipping, handling time, and return policy requirements. Then active widget approvals. The moles are breeding at an alarming rate.

A few years back, the high spending solutions providers really bugged me. Spending someone else’s money to buy customers is a completely different philosophy from spending your own money. Well, most of those guys are gone, and the frugal are still around. Frugal is what making money on eBay is all about.

blog troll service
May 7th, 2008 by estreet

I got a new stalker who spews hate towards me yet obsessively visited this blog 55 times in the past day and a half. You don’t have to do much to pick one up, as the Pulsers know.

This is clearly a Blog Troll. I came across this blogging service – you can rent a “Blog Troll” from a website called www.sanestorm.com. How funny is this? :-)

blog troll consulting and provisioning
what is it?

A blog troll is an obnoxious, hurtful and incredibly valuable loser who, for whatever reason, is both obsessd by and constantly annoyed with, and deeply offended by everything you write on your blog. And while you can ban him/her from commenting on your site — they’ll come back as alts and you can ban them, too — you can’t ban them from commenting on other sites and pointing back to your blog, and you can’t ban them from posting things on their own blog that point back to your site.

And you really, really wouldn’t want to.

Because a blog troll will provide you with more traffic to your blog than an interview with William Shatner, a brief affair with Amanda Congdon, or even a pointer from BoingBoing.

Why? Because being hated is interesting, and tons of people will want to know why this freak has it in for you. That makes you special. That makes you interesting. Nobody targets a nobody.

what does blog troll consulting and provisioning involve?

Basically, one or more of our writers will take the time to get to know your blog and despise it and you and everything you stand for. We will come to believe that we can see inside your soul and understand you better than you know yourself. We will end up RSSing every page of your blog to watch for comments on comments. We will Technoratti your name and the names of everything you’ve ever written.

It’s like stalking, but legal and not dangerous.

Then, once we’re really steeped in your escence, we’ll start unleashing a torrent of troll posts on other folks’ blogs, on new blogs that we’ll create just for this purpose, etc. And on sites like Digg, we’ll consistently try to un-Digg your blog, which will only get it more attention, as everybody knows that total morons that Dugg stuff for lame reasons get just as much air-time as truly interesting, valid posts.

If you don’t want us to troll for you, we can also consult with friends and relatives of yours and provide them with training in how to drive “invert-negative” traffic to your site.
why do this?

Two words: Atten-shun.
why do it with sanestorm?

We’re blog people. We know this language. We understand how to be truly annoying in ways that aren’t obviously so. We know how to tweak the grognards, the wonks, the beardy types and the pointy-heads. Nothing generates interest in your blog more than some total asshat saying that it sucks.

And, depending on your needs, we can charge by the hour, the word or based on your increased page-views or unique visitors. No matter your budget, we have a troll package that’s right for you.

Stop blogging in the desert. If your light is under a bushel, let a troll guide others to it by pissing on it.

Add website features with contract developers
Mar 2nd, 2008 by estreet

When I had the idea for eSeller Street 3 years ago, I looked to friends to help with development. Well, it turns out that model doesn’t work. I went through 7 friendships. Nice track record, eh?

Then I picked up the PHP development myself for the next couple of years. It was arduous but worked fine.

I’ve paid my dues in full. Today I’m ready to jump into the hiring pool and apply a team to www.AuctionCritters.com.

Are you ready to add features to your website by hiring development contractors? Here’s some tips to make the most of your contractor experience:

  1. Clean house: get rid of prototypes and unused files on your server.
  2. Use version control software and an issue tracking system because you need complete control over your source code. I use www.hosted-projects.com which offers Subversion (SVN) and Trac or BugZilla for <$7 a month. The developer you hire can set this up for you.
  3. Spend 30% of the alloted time on specifications.
  4. Keep communication through your issue tracking system. Any contractor understands the importance of using tickets to open and close issues.
  5. Create development and QA/test subdomains on your server. Once new features are proven in these subdomains, move them to your production domain. Your contractor can create these for you.
  6. Price: expect to pay $10 to $25 per hour. You minimize the total developer cost when you do steps 1-5.

Find a contractor through referrals or on www.Elance.com. You should choose an Elance contractor based on feedback (95%+ is good), portfolio and listed skillset.

Cool Color Picker
Feb 28th, 2008 by estreet

I’ve been busy working on a new user interface on my eBay banner maker site. There are a lot of color pickers out there, but Farbtastic is exceptionally nice looking, easy to use and fully functional. I just hope we can put it in a popup without any problems.


You gotta love people who publish their code for others to use. Generosity like that enables the average person to become a web developer.

Nice job, Steven Wittens! http://acko.net/dev/farbtastic

Google Street View
Feb 15th, 2008 by estreet

My mom and I went to Chinatown in Chicago yesterday. It was a belated Chinese New Year / Valentines occasion. I googled the Double Li restaurant at 228 W Cermak and to my surprise I saw -> the Google Street View for Chicago!

Street View is available wherever you see blue outlines on the street map.  It’s great to see an actual 360° view of where you want to go because you can read the signs.  I found the nearest parking lot and could almost make out the hourly rates on the sign.   


 Here’s my first house in Westmont, IL.   


Smiles!  Michelle

Fanmail – Mean people suck!
Feb 1st, 2008 by estreet

I get email.

Sometimes I get, “I disagree with your point” or “Did you know there’s a problem with your site?” (Thanks very nice person, Jake!) Unfortunately, this is not one of them.

StalkerJones is a mean one. He/she writes (and by the way, I’m MW):

MW’s Business model: Ambulance chase, scam people by writing about scams, and hope they click on affiliate links.

You are nothing but an ambulance chaser and it seems that you write about nothing of true value anymore. If you continue to write about the low-lifes that you choose to write about, what does that make you? An ultra low-life.

I know, I know, what you write about may pull in traffic, but if your main concern is monetizing traffic, setup a porn site.

Let’s see if in 2008 you will make a difference in this world, instead of contributing to the downfall of it….

Game on, StalkerJones! This calls for crying a fight name calling a poll.

Please vote for the proportionate response:

1. I haven’t chased an ambulance in months. They are too darn fast to keep up with. I just howl with the sirens.

2. You are not allowed to read my blog anymore until you say you’re sorry. Note to self – block IP address , server50320.uk2net.com until sincerely apologetic email arrives.

3. It’s Friday night. Step away from the computer and head down to the pub for a pint of ale.

4. “Looks like someone needs hug,” said Will Farrell to the raccoon in Elf.

5. It’s 2008? When did that happen?

So there, Mister Crabby Fingers.

The perfect business
Jan 16th, 2008 by estreet

My quest for the past 2 1/2 years has been the perfect business. I’m giving myself 6 years to build one. AshBo, a 17 year old, already has one with Whateverlife.com.


What makes a perfect business?

#1. The perfect business makes money when you are sleeping. Money has to be coming in the doors whether you are working that day or not. If you only make money when you work, then it’s a job. Some people mistakenly call this “passive income” but it’s not. It’s a revenue stream from an asset.

Examples of Perfect Business models: Any smart dot com – eBay, PayPal, Whateverlife.com, Flickr, MySpace, FaceBook, LinkedIn, and yes – the eBay Pulsers’ eBook sales.

#2a. Minimal expenses. The business only needs a few servers and a couple of fast, efficient, smart people. No office, no furniture, no waste.

#2b. No inventory costs. Think of the risk when you hold inventory and the cash it ties up. This eliminates the sales of all physical goods. This eliminates Amazon and eBay sales of hard goods from the perfect business list.

#3. Scalable. You can serve thousands to millions of people.

#4. You can quickly respond to market changes. Think: morph the service to the next hot social networking scene.

#5. You can sustain your business even if someone quits. And no employees, just contractors.

To get started, get your domain name from GoDaddy for $6.95. Host your service on a shared server for $4.95 a month at Glowhost.com. Learn some basic HTML and CSS – it’s not that hard. Find someone who knows PHP and MySQL -> like, email me.  I love to help people.

Blog Stats
Jan 14th, 2008 by estreet

Here’s the weekly number of hits to this blog.
Blog Stats

The week over week growth is promising. The dip is due to Christmas. Statcounter.com is my preferred traffic analysis tool. Here’s a screen shot.

visitor statistics

The Statcounter stats on this blog are not perfect because Wordpress disables JavaScript. JS is required to capture referring URLs and track visitor paths.

I like subscribing to blogs by email better than RSS. I use Feedburner to manage the email list for my blog. The only negative of Feedburner is they take up to 24 hours to send an email on a new post.

Sign up to receive new posts by “Watched Item Ending Soon” via RSS or email in the upper right hand corner.

My Blog's Most Viewed Posts this month
Dec 31st, 2007 by estreet

So long 2007.

Here’s the most popular posts of Dec. 2007. Time for me to upgrade to a better blog setup so I can get perfect stats to slice and dice.

  1. Another eBay Pulse manipulator – Kekoa64 has a challenger
  2. Jeff Paul’s Shortcuts to Internet Millions
  3. Outstanding Paper on How Sellers Manipulate eBay Pulse to Gain Watchers -Kekoa64 update
  4. Watching Kekoa64, Josh Kulp and MysteryG
  5. QuickBooks Simple Start 2008 v Microsoft Accounting -Both Free but Which One?

Shoemoney posted the stats and finances for his blog yesterday. As always, Jeremy provides accurate and useful info for people who make a living on the internet.

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