The Tasp and Droud

The Tasp and Droud

FeeBay Piddles on their Product without Fixing the Problems

February 26th, 2008 Filed under: Uncategorized by admin

I read a great article on eBay’s shipping fees and feedback at this blog.   

As we have just opened an eBay store to add another sales channel for UpStart Batteries, eBay’s policy changes have a direct impact on us.  It is interesting to me to watch ebay dick around with their product in ways that ultimately damage their company without fixing the problems they are trying to resolve.

There are three reasons that sellers charge 1 cent for the product and $10 for shipping.  One is the final value fees.  Ebay could easily fix this by lumping all receipts from the buyer together and charging final value fees on that.

Another factor is that ebay stupidly charges higher fees for higher initial value prices.  A related third issue is that ebay will recharge the fees (after one free second attempt) to relist the item.

Combine these three issues and there is a clear economic incentive for sellers to give the “product” away and offer expensive shipping.    The net is that in a competitive category, it can be extremely expensive for sellers to keep listing a high cost item.  Furthermore, in a highly competitive space, such as batteries, it is not uncommon for product not to sell.  Some of our products are selling very well on eBay, and others do not.  For those that sell more slowly, I am especially  motivated to control costs and ensure that listing prices don’t get out of control.

I am hoping eBay will experience a significant change in corporate culture now that Meg is gone.  So far, though, it doesn’t look good.  eBay’s success depends upon buyers and sellers.  If they let the equation get too far out of balance, too many sellers of unique merchandise will disappear… leaving only the dollar store junk that fills the site now. 

In spite of our good sales to date, the margins are nowhere near what I would like.  Perhaps it was a mistake to open a “Tiffany’s” store in a flea market.

If eBay thinks that sellers are “avoiding” fees, then they should make the fees balanced and reasonable.  They might discover that sellers are happy - even grateful - to pay them.

Recommendations:  combine final value and shipping charges and take a cut of the total.  That gives us sellers the right to experiment as we see fit without being penalized or crammed into a specific business model.  Secondly, charge a flat rate to list a new auction.  This rate could be different by catagory, if necessary, but remove the disincentive to skew price vs shipping.  They should also drop fees for scheduling auctions.  10 cents each is pretty rich when you think that we might run 9000 listings a month.  Autiva doesn’t charge $900.  They do it for free. 

Instead of treating us sellers like we are “lucky” that eBay exists, the company should treat us as the valued partners we are.  Good luck.


Super Tuesday - facebook vs race vs face

February 6th, 2008 Filed under: Uncategorized by admin

I have been enjoying the super tuesday  “espectaculo”.  There are so many themes percolating from the media, internet, under rocks, and wherever else it is that I bere witness to the events of the day.

As a Canadian, it is offensive to me how important the role Race plays in this election.  We may be cynical up here, but when the canditates, the media, and everyone else with a pulse goes out of their way to claim how small a role that “race” plays on the “race”, and then watch how carefully ABC News slices the vote on ethnic lines, I am truly saddened.  Maybe it is because Canada is a Godless, immigrant nation without a civil war history, but people up here really don’t seem to care much about where people are from.  We have had ethnic, catholic and women leaders already.  We are as shallow as the next group, but for different reasons.  We would happily vote for Hillary or Barak, but for novelty.  Never had a black or a women president?  That’s worth a vote. 

Maybe it is a function of our “representative democracy”… for the Americans that read this, what “representative democracy” means is that Canadians decide who is the “coolest” (or least objectionable)  potential Presidential Candidate and vote for their party.  In practice, this means voting for some schmuck in your riding that you have never heard of, that you don’t care to hear of, and that makes no difference, even if elected.  Stay tuned.

Canadians have a “First past the post system”.  This means that the leader of the party that wins the election is the President.  (ok, Prime Minister… I am tailoring this message since it IS Super Tuesday after all).  The President of Canada makes all the rules (if they have a majority government, which we don’t right now, but that is a whole other issue). 

We don’t have a division of powers based democracy like America.  In principle, we should be another banana republic.  Or maybe, an Igloo Republic.  That would be cool… I like Igloos.

Somehow, between the igloos, the bananas, the schmucks… I am losing my way in this post.  Let’s bring it back.

As a shallow Canadian, I didn’t care that Hillary is a woman, or that Barak is black.  What I cared about…. was John McCain’s face. 

What is wrong with John McCain’s face!?  It is not perfect… he doesn’t look anything like Mitt!  Now, I wouldn’t want to vote for Mitt… I don’t abide his social politics, but still… Poor old John doesn’t look perfect!  And not just because he is old, either.  There is something wrong with that man.

So, I turned to Google, ( - I don’t want to give them a back link), to find out what was up.  I found no end of commentary.  And it was interesting.  The morbidly, bordidly curious folk, like me, would write a question like, “What the hell is wrong with John McCain’s face?”  and the answers would vary from “Vietnam” to “Skin Cancer” to “Screw you, you liberal commie bastard!!”.  But there was plenty of data.

So, I need some help here….  Your average Canadian would pat himself on the back because we yawn over race and sex…. (with who and how many, yawwn….) but, ugly is still ugly.  That’s why I just had to check out the data on old John.

Please tell me…. am I worse than the average ABC correspondent that slices up the vote by ethnicity?  Tell me, I can take it.

But before you accuse me of being unAmerican, I love John McCain, and would have voted for him in 2000 if I had the Green Card.  I didn’t, so GWB won.  Blame me, I can take it.

I also respect Hillary, and love Obama’s fire.  So long as any of those three win, which is a near certainty, I believe that America will be headed in a new, better direction.

My career sees me travel through almost every American state.  I love America.  My family tells me I don’t even talk “right” anymore after too much time in the South, but I love it.  My family says “Proh-sesss” but we that know better say “prawww-ses” but I digress.

I will never, ever, forget when I watched the towers come down on September 11, 2001.  That day, like even the French said, “We are all Americans”.  I was an American that day. 

GWB squandered the best historical opportunity in hundreds of years to redefine America’s role in the world.  I love America, but I HATE American foreign policy.  I am not alone in that opinion.  To this day, I cry at the lost possibilities, and the world cries with me.

So who would I vote for?  God, that’s a tough one.  Hillary is competent, and I remember the Bill days with fondness.  Maybe Americans were worried about who he was shagging, but we don’t care much about that up here.  It was good for the Economy, and it was good for the world.  Besides, we would have shagged Monica too. 

Hillary might bring those days back… but, she also has the stink of establishment that Bill never did have.  I just don’t trust that she could escape the clutches of the special influences.  Maybe, maybe not. 

As for Barak; he looks cool, but he has no real experience.  He reminds me of GWB;  a rube just waiting for the Special Interests to tell him what for.  I don’t trust his ability to actually make change for the bettery in America.  His policy announcements are often silly, at best.  He could change America’s direction, but it could be for the worse, economically.

And John?  Given my hatred for Bush and for his regime of mass destruction, I have a really hard time imagining voting for Republicans.  But John McCain is Stephen Harper with an interesting past and a little personality.  I respect his economic conservatism and his social “liberalism” as his competitors like to brand him…  If you ask me, that is the height of all irony in terminology, as it is John McCain more than the Mormon or the Evangelical that wants to preserve FREEDOM for Americans.

So, I do hope that John McCain spends his election bonus on a facial, so that when we are looking at him for the next four years… it doesn’t hurt so much.


7 Abandoned Wonders of the Former Soviet Union [w/ pics]

January 28th, 2008 Filed under: Uncategorized by Todd

There are abandonments all over the world, but the former Soviet Union has some of the most interesting, unique and strange abandoned buildings. The complex political, military and social history of the country has led to everything from almost-finished buildings abandoned before actual use and entire abandoned cities to chilling gulags.

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Oh god I am bad with computer. How did this get here?

January 28th, 2008 Filed under: Uncategorized by Todd

oh god how did this get here I am not good with computerThis is too funny.

This captures how I have felt since 1981 when I first started working with the damn things. It doesn’t matter if you are an “expert computer user”, whatever that is… there is always something new that you have to learn that makes you feel like a knuckle-dragging idiot all over again.

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