OK, I admit it–I was an Amazon Prime subscriber for a few years. I took advantage of an attractive student discount where I paid half the normal Prime rate. When my last renewal came up, it would have been for the full $99/year subscription rate. Looking at it for more than a few minutes, I realized what a poor offer it really is for me.
Amazon Prime offers both free two-day shipping and now, access to certain video programming. It offers other benefits I’m sure, but I really only wanted to have access to the fast, free shipping.
The problem is, I never watch video on Amazon, nor do I use any other Prime services, so I am paying for something I never use. Two day shipping? Only in rare cases have I ever needed something in two days. The way Amazon has been opening up distribution centers lately, most of my orders from their warehouses have been arriving in two days anyway. As for the free shipping, it takes me almost nothing at all to come up with a $25 order to meet their minimum.
If I am in a situation where time is of the essence, I could pony up for a single month’s Prime subscription. So it is not like it is totally inaccessible. But otherwise, Amazon has improved enough in other areas that I really don’t need to pay for a full-blown yearly membership.
What I would really like to see is a service called Prime Shipping. Offer it for $39 or $49/year and I may just resubscribe. And it might bring others on board who feel the $99 price is too steep and, like me, have no use for the other Prime benefits.
Craigslist sellers take advantage of a great worldwide classified ads site that doesn’t cost them a penny. Yet many of these sellers make things so frustrating for buyers, that many buyers pass up items due to the wonky terms some of these sellers use.
The first rule of marketing and promotion: make it easy for the buyer to buy from you. Yet, why do so many CL sellers go against the grain and put hurdles in place?
Here are some helpful tips. I don’t expect many CL sellers to follow these, but I had to put it out there. I’m sure many will agree.
- Always use, accept and read email. Always. No exceptions. Nothing is more frustrating to us than a buyer who wants buyers to only call or text them. What if I can’t call, or don’t want to? We are not near a phone 24/7, nor will you like us calling at 3:00am if we spot your item for sale. Seller, stop being lazy. This is 2013, not the dark ages. You should know how to use email by now. By the same token…
- The more contact methods you have, the better. Email? Always, without exception. Phone or text? Even better! If you’re a business, you might even include your location so visitors can stop by. However…
- Be careful if you are an individual–never give out your home address in a publicly listed ad!
- List a fair price. Do your research. I’m not paying $150 for your 7″ Kindle Fire HD when the same exact item sells new on Amazon for $139. Check out prices for pre-owned equivalents to what you have, and use the absolute lowest figure you find–this is often as much as most CL buyers expect to pay. Unfortunate as it may be.
- Also, never sell items as a bundle. Gaming systems are a prime example. Yes, you may want to sell your Wii bundle with 30 games for $400, but consider the following. Who has $400 to blow all at once? Not many. Breaking up the items makes the smaller chunks more affordable. With a gaming system, most buyers are only going to like maybe three or four of your 30 titles. Why should they buy the extra 26 they don’t want? Selling minor needed accessories with a game console makes sense, but leave the games out (unless it is a single game bundle). You will even want to split those games up and sell as several related groups or better yet, individually.
- Next up: If I respond, please reply. Don’t leave me hanging. At least tell me a sale is pending. Or that the item is sold. But if that item is sold…
- Remove your sold items. Promptly. If you have a pending sale, note that also. Common courtesy. Speaking of courtesy…
- Be courteous and polite in your replies. Snipping at a potential buyer does you no favors.
- Skip the rambling paragraph about spammers, scammers, etc. Asking us to use a unique subject line is OK; trust me, most users know a scam or spam when they see it, and your rambling will do nothing to stop spammers or scammers anyway–they’ll do what they want to.
- Learn how to take proper digital photos. If you must use a camera in your phone, use it correctly and give us a sharp, zoomed in, clear photo at full size. And please learn how to rotate them properly!
- Do not ever use keywords in a post. Many of us now search on titles only. Keywords will also get you flagged by others, including yours truly–it is forbidden in CL’s terms of service, actually. Keywords do nothing but pollute the search results with unwanted items, and you only anger those who see your unrelated listing in their search results. Never use keywords. Ever. And also…
- Do not “vertical spam”. Yes, we see your ad. We don’t need to see it four times in a row. You think keyword spamming pisses people off? Vertical spamming will get all of your posts flagged. Serves you right.
- And finally…learn how to spell and use your grammar. Not everyone has to be perfect, but posting in childish “txt spk” or in such poorly written English (or native language of choice) that we can barely understand it does you no favors.
It’s not that hard to create a good, concise listing on Craigslist. Follow these tips and your listings will be most effective…without getting flagged!
Security and privacy alert: a friend of mine had an issue with his Facebook account. He thought he may have been hacked, but he also could have been victim to the recent rash of malware, click-jacking and scams that have taken over Facebook in an epidemic as of late. What I didn’t realize was that Facebook keeps a list of potential friends that you may invite to join Facebook. Read on to discover a couple of inherent dangers.
Continue reading Facebook: Clear Your Invite History →
In the past two or three months, I have witnessed an exponential increase in the number of scam posts, phony videos, fake offers, etc. hitting the walls of my friends and my news feed. In my case, having been online for 20 or more years now, I’ve become somewhat immune to all of the spam and scams out there. For my part, I have systems in place to virtually eliminate spam and many scams (it’s called Google Apps/Gmail), never click on anything unfamiliar, never visit untrusted sites, and am naturally wary of anything I encounter.
For the less computer savvy friends of mine, I worry. They don’t have my experience, or my background in computing, networking, online life, and computer security. I am constantly badgering everyone with warnings, informational posts, and other tidbits to help keep their Facebook experience safer. What worries me now is that the deluge of scams, spams and click-jacking is increasing, often faster than I can post a warning about them, or other sites can issue alerts.
Continue reading Will Facebook Ever Do Anything Against Scammers, Spammers and Click-Jackers? →
Is Facebook killing forums? That was an essay topic on the Admin Zone forums. My opinion is that forums have survived the onslaught of all sorts of “threats” over the years, which turned out to be minor blips on the radar. As the Facebooks over the years have come and gone, forums have survived. We’ve survived instant messaging, Twitter, MySpace and other so far. Forums are more focused, and group members are more single-minded in the topic at hand. Facebook is more generalized, simpler and more user-friendly in many aspects; we’re comparing apples and oranges.
Forum software itself has grown rather stagnant, however. phpBB3 was a long-overdue update to phpBB2 that caused many forum owners such as myself to look elsewhere since the software sat undeveloped for about five years. SMF’s latest version looked promising but there, the development staff has splintered and development has ceased, despite what they are claiming publicly. vBulletin had a major update with the release of 4.0, but many forum administrators (present company included) found it to be a bit nicer looking, but also a bit slower and rather devoid of any really new thinking in the area of forum software. How did such a major and influential product lose its way?
Continue reading XenForo: The Future of Forum Software →