Topics in this issue:
- eBay 101 – Watermarks.
- Reader’s rant – leave my pictures alone!
- Amending dispatch times.
- Ask Molly – Should I tell George?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
I was delighted to see that PayPal has finally split from eBay, until I realised that my screen is still jumping from their pop-up message. It could be a cunning plan to get me to click on advertising banners. If you have done this you will understand.
This week it is pictures that take the limelight, but also further thoughts on maintaining ‘best match’.
[For admin details for this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY 101 – WATERMARKS
The reason for adding this section on watermarks will become clear as you continue to read the bulletin but it slotted in nicely here.
“A watermark is a semi-transparent mark on a photo or piece of printed material that helps to identify image ownership. While watermarks are not fool-proof, they can help deter image theft.”
I do suffer from time to time with other sellers using my photos to sell their items and as this causes confusion for buyers who see two identical items at different prices it has to be sorted. This problem only impacts on my cosmetics business as one tube of hand cream is the same as the next. [Ed - not if it's a different size!]
Almost from the very start I opted for a distinct background combination which makes spotting my items very easy when checking prices and maybe buyers recognise me, which I hope is a good thing.
A quick e-mail to the offender and the problem is sorted.
If you decide to add an eBay generated watermark to your picture, you can use the camera icon, your eBay user ID, or both. I would opt for the user ID.
“If your user ID is more than 24 characters, the ID watermark is automatically shortened to 24 characters so it will fit the picture. However, we won’t apply watermarks to pictures we display at sizes less than 500 pixels on the longest side.”
To add a watermark:
- Go to the ‘Describe your item’ section of the listing form.
- Click the ‘Add or remove options’ link, and then select ‘photos’
- Select one or both watermark options:
- Enable watermarking with my eBay user ID
- Enable watermarking with the eBay camera icon
- Click the Save button.
Watermarks aren’t available for pictures uploaded using the quick listing form and can only be applied to new listings.
2. READER’S RANT – LEAVE MY PICTURES ALONE!
As per your last bulletin, I saw someone complaining that they had been pulled up for copying pictures/photos.
I have been on the other end of the issue twice now.
I spend lots of money on my software, camera, etc., and take time to produce photos of a good standard. Then someone comes along and thinks “Nice photo, I’ll use that for my own,” especially if the item is a good seller. I knew it was my photo as I had added in an extra item that had been discontinued several years before.
I never gave anyone permission to use my photos and to make things worse eBay demoted my listing due to a duplicate being on the site. The other seller had also nicked my wording!
I could not understand why my mvl listing that was selling 50-60 a day for a year or so suddenly became 1 or 2 sales a day. Even though eBay removed the other listing, mine had slid so far down the rankings… it never went back up to its original placement in best match.
A few weeks ago, someone else copied my photo and I then had to spend even more time proving it was mine. Again their item was removed but I was not impressed.
I know most people think it is reasonable to copy pictures, but you are harming the original person’s account.
Sorry for the rant.!”
Great rant and remember readers you are most welcome to abuse me and let off steam at the usual address.
Now is the time to scroll back up and read item 1 more carefully.
3. AMENDING DISPATCH TIMES
With the holiday season now upon us eBay sellers face a quandary. Do they shut up shop or display banners and risk poor feedback from disgruntled buyers who don’t read the message. I was banging this drum last week and it prompted a warning note from Aber Crystal who spotted a similar topic being discussed on the Tamebay website.
The gist of the problem is the resulting fall from ‘best match’ if you manually push out dispatch dates while you are away.
I had never even contemplated this but it does make sense to shift the dispatch date on the first day of your week away out to 7 days and then reduce it by one day each day as your holiday progresses. It would be a lot easier if eBay did this automatically for you, but enough of that. You may achieve a few sales whilst you are away and the shop is open, but if your standing in best match suffers for up to three months after you return then it could an own goal.
So we are no nearer to a satisfactory solution. Molly suggests that you:
- Close your shop for the first part of your holiday.
- Open the shop a couple of days before you return and show the ‘out of office’ banner.
- Change all your listings to ‘next day dispatch’ – this still counts towards best match and might help a bit.
- Make use of any hidden noticeboards you may have in your descriptions to reinforce the message that you are away.
- Ensure that your ‘out of office’ e-mail response is working and has an appropriate message.
- If you are really bored of an evening you could e-mail buyers and inform them that you are away.
Any thought? Please let me know at the usual address.
4. ASK MOLLY – SHOULD I TELL GEORGE?
I read your emails each time and find lots of help and advice, so I wondered if you you could help me out.
I have sold items belonging to children and Grandchildren – stuff around the house – and deceased parents’ items since retiring a few years ago.
This has all helped me to live on my pension plus eBay.
I want to carry on with this now as a hobby as I love my car booting and the buzz one gets with a bargain, so just need a bit of advice regarding the old taxman.
Do I need to upgrade to a business? At the moment I have a shop as it seems cheaper and have over 3,000 feedback accumulated over six years.
If I keep records of sales, outgoings, etc., will they go back over the last few years and the stuff I have sold or will it start as soon as I declare a business?
I would appreciate your advice, or would it be best to get in touch with tax office or accountant?”
Great question and one that does crop up from time to time. My first question back to you is: Are you finding many bargains at the boot sales this year? I am struggling to pick up much at all and resorting to clearing out the shed. Judging by the dust thickness I am back to stock bought two years ago!
- Register as self-employed with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to make sure you pay the correct income tax and national insurance.
- Keep records of your business income and outgoings.
- Pay your tax each year, usually in two payments, 31st January and 31st July. Ouch!
- Your records can be very simple – What you sell something for minus what it cost to buy and what it costs you to run the business.
- Keep your own records. Avoid using an accountant if you can as although I love mine to bits they are expensive.
If you have a question about eBay or home working in general, please send it to me at the usual address. I will reply personally to every email I receive and, remember, there are FREE copies of my book available for the best questions, tips or stories.
– END NOTE –
Check out Harriman Intelligence for the latest news from Molly HQ.
Author of the bestselling title, The eBay Business Handbook, available direct from the publisher Harriman House.
– NEWSLETTER ADMIN –
The eBay UK Bulletin is an independent newsletter and is not approved or endorsed by eBay UK.
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