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Winning strategies for your eBay and Internet business.


Location: Texas, United States

Thalia Miller is an eBay enthusiast, author, artist, mother, wife, and entrepreneur with strong Christian values. She lives in the middle of nowhere, just north of Dallas, Texas. For more info visit: http://www.bohemiattic.com/album.htm



December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 April 2007








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Winners Circle

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
  eBay Rate Hike & Petition

Just thought you might be interested to know that two days after posting record earnings and revenue, eBay sent out emails on Wednesday and Thursday noting that it is substantially raising fees. eBay has chosen to raise selling fees, which in turn will raise costs for buyers.

This isn't the first time that eBay has upset "the community" with changes. Around this time last year, eBay raised fees in what was believed to be a reaction to an announcement Yahoo! had made to introduce it's own fees. It didn't work out for Yahoo! But the changes eBay imposed on it's sellers at that time had little impact on their operation costs and were moderate in comparison to the changes sellers face now. Besides, through thick and thin, eBay users have remained loyal.

"We believe the price changes are the right thing to do to ensure the continued success of the marketplace," eBay spokesman Hani Durzy said. "Ultimately, that's good for the entire community of buyers and sellers." Durzy declined to discuss how the price hikes would affect revenue at eBay, which reported sales of $805.88 million in the first three quarters of 2004. The new financial results for the fourth quarter were just released today and the company reports record Q4 net revenues of $935.8 million.
Read eBay's full investor announcement here.

Despite eBay's some $1.7 billion in cash and investments, the company needs the additional fees to help maintain its marketplace and to keep the company on a sound financial footing, eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said. He said the lack of any real competition to eBay and the company's goal of hitting $3 billion in revenue by 2005 wasn't a major factor in the decision to increase fees. "This is being done because it's in the best interest of eBay as a company and eBay as a marketplace," Pursglove said.

EBay shares did fall $4.12 to close at $103.13 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Its shares were at a 52-week high of $118.42 in December. Perhaps this explains why a few Wall Street analysts have reacted positively to the news, saying the increase could raise eBay's revenue by 10 percent or more. I guess they have failed to notice how the folks who are actually selling on the eBay platform have helped to double eBay's revenues year over year. (If you happen to simulatneously work as a Wall Street analyst and an eBay seller, please, by all means, let us hear from you. )

"Although fee increases never sit well with those sellers who bear the brunt of charges, we believe the vibrancy of the eBay marketplace will allow the company to implement this pricing change without a significant decline in its number of auction listings," Prudential Securities analyst Mark Rowen wrote in a research note Thursday. (What is his eBay user ID?)
You decide...
This is the actual email I received from eBay:

Dear bohemiattic,
We are writing to let you know that effective midnight PST, February 18, 2005 eBay.com and eBay Motors will be making changes to the fee structure.
The fee changes are as follows:
GalleryGallery fees will be raised from $0.25 to $0.35 per listing. We will also be increasing the size of the Gallery image on search and listings pages by 56%. This will make it easier for buyers to see details of the item before clicking into the listing.
Buy It Now Buy It Now fees will no longer be charged at a flat rate, and will instead be determined based on the Buy It Now price. Fees will be charged as follows:
Buy It Now Price
$0.01 - 9.99
$10 - 24.99
$25 - 49.99
10-Day Duration The fee for 10-day duration listings will be raised from $0.20 to $0.40 per listing.
eBay StoresThe fee for the Basic eBay Store subscription will be raised from $9.95 to $15.95 per month. The subscription fee for Featured and Anchor Stores will be unchanged.
eBay Store Inventory format listing insertion fees will remain unchanged. The Final Value Fee for Store Inventory items will change as follows:
Closing Price
Old Price
New Price
$0.01 - $25
5.25% of the closing value
8% of the closing price
$25.01 - $1,000
5.25% of the initial $25, plus 2.75% of the remaining closing value balance.
8% of the initial $25, plus 5% of the remaining closing value balance ($25.01 - $1000)
Over $1,000
5.25% of the initial $25, plus 2.75% of the next $25.01-$1000, plus 1.50% of the remaining closing value balance ($1,000.01 - closing value).
8% of the initial $25, plus 5% of the next $25.01 - $1000, plus 3% of the remaining closing value balance ($1,000.01 - closing value).
Store sellers will continue to be eligible to receive 50% off of the Store Inventory listing final value fees for Store Referral credit. Please
click here for details.
Insertion and Final Value FeesThe insertion and Final Value Fees will be changing for items listed in certain Business & Industrial categories. More details about the changes for these categories are provided below. The insertion and Final Value Fees in other categories will not be changing.
Business & Industrial Listings in Certain CategoriesThe Reserve, insertion and Final Value Fees will be changing for select high item price capital equipment categories in Business & Industrial. Please
click here to view the capital equipment categories affected by the pricing change.
The fee changes for these capital equipment categories are as follows:
Reserve fee: Lowered to $5, refundable if the item sells
Insertion fee: Raised to $20, regardless of starting price
Final Value Fee: Lowered to a 1% flat fee, with a $250 maximum charge
Additional listing upgrade fees will remain the same as for eBay.com. Pricing for all other Business & Industrial listings outside the specified capital equipment categories will remain the same as for eBay.com.
eBay will also introduce Buyer Protection covering up to $20,000 per item in these capital equipment categories this spring. eBay will offer this Buyer Protection at no cost to the buyer or seller.
The following fee changes will apply to vehicle listings on eBay Motors.
Fee Changes for eBay Motors Vehicles Listings
ReserveReserve will be charged a $5 flat fee for all eBay Motors vehicles categories except Pocket Bikes. This fee will still be refundable if your item sells.
10-Day ListingsThe fee for 10-day listings will be changed to $8 for all eBay Motors vehicles categories except Pocket Bikes.
Pocket Bikes CategoryThe insertion fee and Transaction Services Fee will be lowered from $30 to $3 each. The following fees will remain the same: Reserve ($2 flat fee, refundable if item sells), Gallery (free), Listing Designer ($5) and Highlight ($5). Motors HomePage Featured fee will be lowered to $24.95 and Vehicle Picture Pack fee will be lowered to $1.50. All other fees will be lowered to become the same as those for eBay Motors Parts & Accessories categories.
For more information about these fee changes, please see our
Frequently Asked Questions.
Some international eBay sites have also changed their fee structures. To learn more, please check Announcements for the eBay site of interest.
We understand that fees directly impact our members, and take care to ensure that any decisions to change fees are made only after careful consideration of this impact. These changes will help us continue to sustain and develop a thriving global marketplace, while balancing the needs of our buyers and sellers around the world.
Regards, eBay
What can you do about it?

"Protest to the Ebay Fee Structure Increase"
A movement has begun though it's doubtful this petition will do much to change eBay's decision regarding the new fee structuring, it may be helpful in serving to voice the rather large and growing dismay of it's online community of users. I found this petition earlier today. The signatures on the petition have increased from the 18,495 just about four or five hours ago to 18,712 (as of this writing). I believe that more would be signing it if they knew it was being offered. It isn't written in the most eloquent voice, but it says what it needs to say basically and it serves its purpose.
Pass it around.

Saturday, January 15, 2005
  Review eBay Tool: APS Toolkit

"If you're interested in making more money online and on eBay, then you need to see this brand new resource, Advanced Power Selling Toolkit. This application is not like anything else I've seen. It's not a bunch of tired, old hyped-out, cheesey information, thank goodness! So, what is it?

Industry data, expert insight, and 17 years of business experience, education, marketing and documentation together in one awesome package. APS Toolkit reveals to you actionable strategies, proven growth initiatives, real-world solutions and straight talk on what it takes to lead your business to the next level with the world's largest online marketplace, the eBay platform! But it doesn't just stop at eBay. In over 200 pages you'll learn how to boost your sales beyond your wildest dreams leveraging your eBay presence alongside your own Internet sales channel.

The APS Toolkit is much more than a business guide though. This software also provides indispensable spreadsheets and calculators. AND the APS Toolkit answers the most popular question asked by eBay sellers, "What should I sell?" with valuable assessments, instruction, and over 200 genuine wholesale contacts collected from tradeshows and experienced buyers and sellers. In fact, most of these wholesalers have been established in the wholesale business for 5 years or more.

When purchased alone these tools cost upwards of $230 online. Amazingly, www.bohemiattic.com sells this software for much less than this though. The price is normally $49.97 which is still a great deal, but right now, there's an introductory special sale. So, it only cost $24.97. Once, people discover how much money can be made with this package, it will probably go back up.

Final word on the APS Toolkit: This software skips the pipe dream theories and cuts straight to practical and proven solutions for growing your business on eBay and beyond. APS Toolkit delivers!"

If you have a review of the APS Toolkit, please feel free to share it here. Thanks so much to all of our great readers!

Friday, January 07, 2005
  eBay Joke & New Years Resolution #1: Declutter

Ah... New Years! Time again for resolutions. Those things we set out to do and never resolve to actually stick with. Many New Years resolutions are made tongue-in-cheek (perhaps from guilt?), while others with good intentions. But both are lacking the conviction required to pull them off. Maybe, we'd do better to refer to our resolutions as goals and program ourselves to stay focused. I recently had the opportunity to download a great free resource for setting goals from a marketing resource. The info is called Achieve Your Goals. It's a little unorthodox / "cutting-edge", with the buy-paul-a-beer donation page, but the info is fresh and comes with a 29 page booklet as well as an additional 34 pages of worksheets. The whole thing is in PDF form and zipped for your convenience. Another great resource for goals is the book, Power of Focus, co-authored by one of my mentors, Mark Victor Hansen.

This year there is one resolution or "goal" that I must keep if I'm to regain peace in my home. I must clear the clutter. Like most moms, I have the innate ability to find anything lost. Unfortunately, you have to hack through the clutter jungle to get to it. By the time you safari through the weeds of stuff, you don't have the energy to do anything else!

My favorite Jeff Foxworthy / redneck joke is "You might be a redneck if you mow your lawn and find a car." Maybe, I'm a redneck at heart. More than likely though, the clutter gene goes hand-in-hand with being an eBay seller / "collector". So, this is why I came up with the following eBay funny for you. I did try, by the way, to track down auction jokes online, but there weren't many to choose from (only a handful really), so I wrote my own...

"You might be an Auction Seller if...

...you plan your weekends around yard sales.
...the post office is a place where the boxes are free and everybody knows your name.
...you've ever 'rescued' something from your neighbor's trash.
...you've ever looked up the resale value of your kid's toys.
...you've ever kept something because it might be worth selling someday.
...you've never heard, 'OOPS! I didn't pay enough for shipping, Let me send you more.'
...you own storage containers that are nicer than your furniture.
...you've ever asked, "Did someone say FREE?"
...your idea of a vacation is eBayLIVE!
...you think the perfect storage container would be building an addition onto your house.
Copyright © by Thalia Miller"

Honestly though, getting organized isn't much fun. If you're swinging through your house from vine to vine, I think I may have some helpful tips for you. First of all, just like any other step toward successful improvement, you have to want it bad enough. To achieve this level of desire, you have to convince yourself that getting the clutter out really is the best approach. Determine how choosing to control your clutter will help you, your family, and your business in the long run.

Once you are able to visualize this concept, the next big step is to make time to carry out the de-cluttering deed, and you'll want to wrangle as much help as you need too. Don't let them get away, especially if they helped to get you into this mess. Work in 30 minute bites, taking breaks in between. Don't rush this job. It took time to create the jungle, and it will take time to tame it. In fact, it takes 21 days to form a habit. When you can control the clutter for three weeks straight, you can maintain long-term.

Now, you're ready to create an inventory. Don't panic. It's not as painful as it may sound. Think of the storage place you'll want to establish for the stuff you have to work with and consider the staging ground for the interim, the place you'll cherry-pick the clutter. Try to choose a place that does not fit the out-of-sight-out-of-mind category, but doesn't get in the way of making dinner either. The inventory items will fall into different placement which you will set up. These may include piles for items you wish to sell, donate, share, keep, use, etc. But the three main positions for items will be keep, hold and purge. It's really all about striking a healthy balance in your environment.

Find homes for the keepers. Make the most of the things you have. If you only need one of a thing, then keep one. Sort and put these items in order. Locate keepers near the activity with which they are associated. Put bulk office supplies all together in a storage cabinet or drawer. Keep business cards in a card holder or photo album and set them next to the phone. Keep a receipt box. Shelve books, CDs and small objects like awards. Turn piles into files. Find homes for wholesale catalogs, tax papers, business documents, etc. Use sticky notes to show expiration dates on projects and paperwork. Mark your calendar. Use notebooks and binders to organize papers. Store things on disk when available. And create activity centers, a mailing center, or bill center for example. Extend your work station with additional surface space by adding a table. Go vertical and optimize your use of the height in your home office.

For hold items, contain and maintain. Create memory boxes for your children with items you want them to have as adults. For example, I have created boxes for each of the kids with memories of my childhood as well as from theirs. They are things the kids may want to share with their own families someday. Sort of like hope chests. For items you want to sell, plan the year ahead and divide the seasonal stuff in clearly marked containers, so that you
have a January container, a February container, etc.

For the purging part, retire the old to make room for the new. Share the items you won't be selling. My mother, sister and I swap out clothes frequently. Donate items. Get rid of less useful items, and high maintenance items that waste your time. If it's new, consider making it a gift. If you are saving old documents that can be accessed online, feel free to pitch. Consider paring down your collections, either through selling, or purging.

For the truly clutter-challenged, take these psychological realizations to task:

  • By clearing the clutter, you are not depriving yourself or your family of stuff.

  • There will always be more stuff.

  • Your stuff does not get mad at you when it is put up for adoption.

  • Your stuff is just stuff.

  • It's ok to say "no" to more stuff. Scrutinize what you're willing to take on, but don't guilt yourself to turn something down that you'll regret later.

  • Don't be too hard on yourself. You aren't the only one who has "stuff" issues.

  • You have the power over your stuff, believe it or not.

The only thing to do now is give what's left a good cleaning and enjoy your accomplishment. Set yourself a fun appointment to get a massage or see a movie or something. You deserve it after all that.

Signing off on this fun friday... Have a great weekend!



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