Thanks, Rob

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Auctiva Was Too Good to Be True

The moated manor house of Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire, England

The moated manor house of Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire, England

Gosh, you go away for a little while, and when you come back it’s like somebody smashed your toys.

I was reinstated on eBaY and looking forward to picking up where I had left off, storewise. But my store was no more. I sent a whiny e-mail to eBaY and received a very cordial e-mail back, but the message, if one were to read between the lines, was,

What is WRONG with you, Woman, that you think you can go for MONTHS without paying your eBaY fees and then SASHAY back in and expect us to have kept your store AS-IS on the remote (based on your payment record  hitherto) chance that you might actually dribble back in from La La Land and pay your LONG-overdue balance and resume selling through  your store, which, we don’t mind telling you, is a MEGA-losing proposition, but you have no way of knowing that because our fee policies are so CONVOLUTED that it’s nearly impossible to make a profit and if someone slips through a loophole, WE JUST CHANGE OUR FEE POLICIES.

When this exchange transpired, I had neither the time nor the inclination to rebuild my store from scratch; but then I remembered my fail-safe backup: Auctiva, wherein all my listings had been securely stored.

Braveheart_impNot so fast, Gonzalez! Auctiva — which many preferred over eBaY’s own Turbo Lister because it (Auctiva) hosted your photos and automated your listing, PLUS you could include up to 24 photos per listing at no additional charge, and it was all free Auctiva, in a heinous act of betrayal comparable to that in the movie Braveheart, the part where Mel Gibson, as William Wallace, had settled it with some of the other Scottish clans to support him and his rag-tag army against the impeccably outfitted English, and then it turns out that the English general has made a deal with the clans, which have shown up at the battlefield for the sole purpose of thumbing their noses at William Wallace and then sauntering off the battlefield and back to their castles because the English general has liberally bestowed upon them a lifetime supply of WD-40 so that they can  oil the hinges on their drawbridges and get them operational again, which is important because the moats that surround the castle are approximately ten feet wide and three feet deep and thus are an insuperable deterrent to attacks by the armies of their enemies, the English, unless, of course, the drawbridge is stuck on “DOWN” — Auctiva, in a measure every bit as appalling, has begun charging fees.

The REAL William Wallace

The REAL William Wallace

Oh, there’s still a free “tier” — you pay Auctiva nothing, you get, basically, nothing; and there’s a $2.95-per-month tier, allowing you to use Auctiva for up to fifteen listings. But to get what you got free as recently as a couple of months ago, you have to pay $9.95 per month.

And that means you have to factor $9.95 per month in with the eBaY listing fees and seller fees, which are conveniently laid out for you in a document that makes the U.S. Code look like a Little Golden Book.

The Poky Little Puppy, a Little Golden Book

The Poky Little Puppy, a Little Golden Book

I glanced at eBay’s list of approved partners to see if there might be a service comparable to the OLD Auctiva, the Glinda the Good Witch of the North Auctiva, as opposed to the Wicked Witch of the West Auctiva, flying monkeys and all. But those services all used words and phrases I didn’t understand, like platform and integrated solution, and it was clear that there was going to be a large learning curve, which I, as an Attention-Deficit-Disordered Individual, had no inclination to decipher.

None of this was stopping me from purchasing on eBaY like a maniac, and I noticed quite a few Auctiva listings that were stripped down and, I would have thought, an embarrassment to the seller and to Auctiva. Then I happened upon a listing that had been laid out on a very attractive template and that was photo-replete, and it was not an Auctiva-generated listing.

robshelpThus it came about that I discovered RobsHelp home of FreeForm, serendipitously, and I discovered that it was, as suggested by its subtitle, free. I was greatly encouraged when I read the following:

FreeForm has been successfully supported by voluntary donations since 1999 because of its popularity, because it is not itself a hosting service (except for the templates you save within it and the free backgrounds), but mostly because it is completely independent of eBay and free of their transaction fees that would otherwise need to somehow be passed on to you.

From Flickr's home page

From Flickr's home page

But, reading on, I found a fly in the FreeForm ointment. RobsHelp does not host your images. This is where I’m on shaky ground, because I haven’t attempted to embark on Rob’s learning curve, but, as I understand it, your photos have to be hosted somewhere (I don’t know why you can’t just store them on your own computer, as when you use Turbo Lister), and you can use any of the free online image-hosting services (such as, I’m assuming, Flickr), but that would involve a process that I would need to understand, whereas, if I used Rob’s affiliate, EAPH.com, I need pay only $8 month for hosting, and it would be more convenient than, e.g., Flickr. I think. See, Rob has one of those no-frills sites that rambles in English laced with the Geek patois, which I don’t understand, which I don’t want to understand, and which, if I did understand it, would probably be instructing me to insert HTML code before the <body> of the document, which cannot be found. These people are always wanting you to insert HTML in places that don’t exist, planting in your mind the evil impulse to insert HTML code in places where the sun don’t shine.

If I’m going to pay $8 per month anyway, I might be interested in The Seller Sourcebook, which, based upon my scanning the home page, is user-friendly and seamless with eBaY and costs — $8 per month.

But I still have to calculate the various eBaY fees along with the Seller Sourcebook monthly fee, should I choose that vehicle. Because eBaY listing fees and seller fees vary according to the type of item being sold, I think that I will begin with just one type of item: to wit, books.

To be continued….

P.S. …And may whoever is on duty bless you and your endeavors —Mary

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2 thoughts on “Thanks, Rob

  1. Hi,

    Vendio is a certified eBay provider and although we have a “Platform” and an “integrated solution”, we have also helped sellers of all sizes for over 10 years automate their sales on eBay.

    I wanted to let you know that Auctiva customers can use Vendio free for the rest of 2009.

    https://secure.vendio.com/ecommerce/auctiva-alternative/

    With Vendio, you can sell on eBay, Amazon and your own store using one set of inventory. Even if you decide to not use us to list to eBay, you can keep the Vendio online store for free.

    Hope you give it a try and let me know what you think 🙂

    Best regards,

    Helen
    Marketing Manager
    Vendio.com
    Twitter @vendio

  2. P.S. This is one of the scary vendors… when all I want to do is list my books on eBaY in the most convenient, economical manner possible:

    “ChannelAdvisor helps the world sell online with solutions for retailers to efficiently distribute their products across multiple online channels, drive shoppers to those products, and then convert those shoppers into customers.”

    HELP! I don’t know what that MEANS and it sounds EXPENSIVE!

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