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Do you sell stuff on-line? Interested in it? Well, this blog might be for you. Don't expect lots of news stories or other stuff you can easily get. I want to give you the ugly side...the practical, the-stuff-they-don't-warn-you-about side of on-line retailing for the small seller.

I've been selling on-line for about 9 years. And I'm happy to share some of my experience and knowledge with anyone who has the patience to trudge their way through my random ramblings!

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Monday, July 6, 2009

My nominee for next "ebay wannabe" to die: WebStore


"webstore"? Is this the catchiest, most imaginative, cleverest name you could come up with for you, er, well...web store?

But that is far from the biggest reason why I think webstore (probably originally billed as "the next ebay") will likely be "the next wagglepop".


1. The name. Yeah, the name stinks. Google. Yahoo. These are cool to say. "webstore"? Boring. Besides, who doesn't already have a "webstore". "You sell on line? Cool. Where's you web store?" "Oh, it's on webstore." Wow. The originality makes me want to stick my head in the oven.

2. The numbers. 43,500 items. ebay probably has this many listings close without bids in like 5 minutes. Maybe 1 minute.

3. The fees. Webstore is "sponsor-paid". No seller fees at all. "Sponsors" provide the income for the site, usually via banners, flashy boxes, stuff like that. Ick. "ads by google" banners everywhere. Links to hosting sites everywhere. It's not a web store...it's a blog that OD'd on "pay-per-click" injections.

4. The look. In a nutshell, it looks like something out of a box labeled "My First Website" with a sticker on the bottom that says "recommended for ages 3 and up". Seriously. Get a designer.

5. The news. The liveliness of a site IMO can be measured in what info they provide about themselves. Outages, maintenance times, etc. are GOOD things in my book. It shows the site gives a crap about its users. Telling me bad news is better than me finding out the hard way. Webstore's latest post is about their set-up with ViaWest (perhaps "the poor man's Cable and Wireless") which provides operations hosting. "server array". Wow. "Redundant array of disks". Wow. Boring. Who cares. What the hell are you doing to get customers?!??!

And this ViaWest thing REALLY gets under my skin. So NOW you are worried about the reliability and uptime of the site? NOW 24/7 is important to you? This should be a non-issue; your site should have had all this hardware redundancy in the first place. The "news" is that you got away without it for this much time!

OK....deep breath...calm down...happy place time....OK, now I'm better.

Now, I do have to give them credit. They really do seem to be trying. RSS feeds, affiliate programs, new store categories.

But all that brings me back to my first question...


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