When it comes to running an insanely PROFITABLE dropshipping business, there is ONLY one thing that matters! It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how much time you put in or how much money you invest. It doesn’t matter how BADLY you want to be successful… YOU will fail miserably like 98% of other ecom marketers if you don’t understand one secret! The problem is that most people spend hours and hours each day WASTING their time and money on Facebook ads that don’t work.
If you’re anything like the masses, then you’re probably working with unreliable drop shippers, crappy products that no one really wants. Chances are, even when you can sell these products, you are UNHAPPY with the PATHETIC margins you receive. But what if YOU had INSTANT access to thousands of the world’s most reliable dropshippers right at your fingertips?
Imagine how incredible you’d feel if you had immediate access to the HOTTEST selling products on Facebook at up to 90% off retail prices! But what if these products were coming from multiple reliable dropshippers so YOU NEVER TOUCH ANY INVENTORY and YOU NEVER pay for a product until the customer has already PAID you in full? Picture how INCREDIBLE you’d feel if you knew EXACTLY how to target the PERFECT buyers for these products on Facebook all using their 100% automated software!
From tomorrow onwards, you will never be wasting a cent with the wrong dud products, unreliable dropshippers & unsuccessful FB ads that don’t make you a dime – ever again. In fact, there is no way you will target like you used to do before. My good friend and an eCom star Devid is releasing his flagship product and trust me, you haven’t seen anything like this before. Introducing Dropshiply.
Dropshiply Will Build Your Own Profitable Store As Early As TODAY Works in 3 easy steps…
Step #1: Login to Dropshiply!
Step #2: Import HOT Products
Step #3: Build a 6 Figure Empire!
This is about running a highly profitable dropshipping store in minutes regardless If you are a complete newbie or advanced marketer! To be successful with this system requires absolutely no experience! Everything is completely AUTOMATED for you to easily earn 6-figures. Meaning the end of uncertainty. No more picking products to sell through your dropship supplier and HOPING that they will actually SELL.
Dropshiply removes ALL of the guesswork so that YOU’ll hit sales records every time even if YOU are a complete newbie! This is what you need to profit massively in 2020 and beyond. But hurry up, it’s available for limited time only and the early bird discount will be gone in just few hours from now. You either get it now
Store Connect: Automatically integrate Dropshiply fully with your existing stores.
Store Stats: Instantly see and manage all the data from your stores right here inside your dashboard.
SEO Stats: Check how your store appears in Google. Get full statistics.. title, meta description, domain authority, page authority, page rank, seo score, Alexa global rank, country rank & more!
Instant Domain Search: Don’t have a domain for your store? No problem! Their instant domain generator will pick a domain for you in seconds!
Niche Intelligence: Know which niches will GENERATE MONEY before creating your store!
Ali Express Spy Tool: They integrated the entire AliExpress platform inside Dropshiply so you can find THOUSANDS of products that are impossible to even know exist without hours of laborious research!
eBay Spy: Identify top eBay products and get product ideas from top competition so you can predict how sales will go!
Walmart Product Finder: Uncover unlimited products on Walmart, you can sell on your store right away!
Alexa Site Spy: Discover traffic stats and global rankings of millions of websites and exploit untapped markets.
FB Ads Explorer: Uncover thousands of profitable interest keyword phrases for your FB ad campaigns.
1-Click Product Importer: Import hundreds of products to your store within minutes with one single click!
Built In-App Editor: Don’t like a particular element? No problem! Instantly edit product descriptions, title, price, tags, category, images, variants and more! You can even completely remove items all together!
What Dropshiply Can Do For You
SUPERB INVENTORY MANAGEMENT: Everything is instantly drop shipped. You will never have to pay for an item, until you profit FIRST.
SECRET DROPSHIPPING SOURCES: Connect Dropshiply with hundreds of the most RELIABLE dropshippers on the planet for THOUSANDS of products so that you can fulfillorders fast.
ZERO COMPETITION: They have no competition as they’re choosing items from a selection of 5 million products. Therefore, unlike most business models where everyone is trying to push the same thing, it is exceptionally unlikely that they will be selling the same product as someone else.
FLAWLESS CUSTOMER SERVICE: Dropshiply completely eliminates ALL customer service and communication problems both with YOU and the dropshipper.
TARGET PERFECT FB AUDIENCES: Their inbuilt FB ad targeting tool will allow you to instantly TARGET hungry buyers that will GLADLY buy your products.
COMPLETE AUTOMATION: Dropshiply automates your entire business and builds you passive income. Your only job: travel the world while your business makes your bank account grow.
TEAM OF EXPERTS: Their entire team of experts at your disposal will show you how to create, run and scale your dropshipping business to multiple 6 figures.
RAPIDLY SCALABLE BUSINESS: One right product or ad and you can easily scale to $100k per month… and with the formula am going to reveal to you inside Dropshiply, these products can be easily found.
RAPID RESULTS: Once you fill your store with top-converting, profitable products within minutes, you can test products to see if they sell within super-short time periods of24 hours or less.
Over 4,500 students enrolled the first time, making this one of the top products of all time! And now with Dropshiply 2.0 everything has been completely updated with more than 100+ new features and improvements!So you can achieve more profits in a much faster time! Dropshiply 2.0 WILL make it super easy for you to build and run a highly profitable eCom store in minutes
Regardless if you are a newbie or advanced marketer, you’re getting a 6-figure eCom business on a silver platter. Our goal is for you to make money-TODAY. PERIOD! And Dropshiply 2.0 provides you everything you need to do that. Everything!
Everything is more expensive right now, and you’ve done what you can to cut back your spending. You brew coffee at home, you don’t walk into Target and you refuse to order avocado toast. (Can you sense my millennial sarcasm there?)
But no matter how cognizant you are of your spending habits, you’re still stuck with those inescapable monthly bills. Although we can’t swipe these off the table for you, we do have a few money moves you should make right away…
1. Stop Overpaying at Amazon
Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert when you’re shopping online at Amazon or Target and are about to overpay? That’s exactly what this free service does.Just add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including Walmart, eBay and others to see if your item is available for cheaper. Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price-drop alerts and even see the item’s price history.
Let’s say you’re shopping for a new TV, and you assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop up letting you know if that exact TV is available elsewhere for cheaper. If there are any available coupon codes, they’ll also automatically be applied to your order.
Chances are you do some of your shopping online. Whether it’s pet food from Walmart, a new outfit from Macy’s or even a flight home for summer vacation, you’re probably leaving money on the table. A free website called Rakuten has the hookup with just about every online store you shop, which means it can give you up to 40% cash back every time you buy something.
We spoke to one Penny Hoarder reader, Colleen Rice, who has earned more than $526.44 since she joined Rakuten. For doing nothing. Seriously. Rice says she uses Rakuten for things she already has to buy, like rental cars and flights. It takes less than 60 seconds to create a Rakuten account and start shopping. All you need is an email address, then you can immediately start earning cashback at your go-to stores through the site.
Your cash will be deposited directly into your bank account or via a check in the mail every few months. Talk about money for nothing.
3. Get Paid Up to $140/Month Just for Sharing Your Honest Opinion
If you’re turning blue in the face waiting for a raise at work, it might be time to quit holding your breath and start speaking your mind to someone who wants to listen. Brands want to hear your opinion to help inform their business decisions on everything from products and services to logos and ads — and they’re willing to pay you up to $140 a month for it.
A free site called Branded Surveys will pay you up to $5 per survey for sharing your thoughts with their brand partners. Taking three quick surveys a day could earn up to $140 each month. It takes just a minute to create a free account and start getting paid to speak your mind. Most surveys take five to 15 minutes, and you can check how long they’ll take ahead of time.
And you don’t need to build up tons of money to cash out, either — once you earn $5, you can cash out via PayPal, your bank account, a gift card or Amazon. You’ll get paid within 48 hours of your payout being processed, just for sharing your opinions. They’ve already paid users more than $20 million since 2012, and the most active users can earn a few hundred dollars a month. Plus, they’ve got an “excellent” rating on Trustpilot.It takes just a minute to set up your account and start getting paid to take surveys. Plus, right now, you’ll get a free 100-point welcome bonus just for becoming part of the community.
4. Buy an Apartment Building (Even if You’re Not Filthy Rich)
The uber wealthy 1% have access to exclusive, lucrative real estate investments that seem totally out of reach to the rest of us. But not anymore. A company called CalTier lets you invest in commercial real estate — specifically, multi-family apartment complexes across the country — for as little as $500.
Traditionally, you’d need a six-figure income or a million-dollar net worth to invest like this. Instead, CalTier lets you invest like the big wigs in the real estate world, even if you’re not rich. Investments in multi-family housing have outperformed the S&P 500 for the last 20 years* — and it’s expected to grow another 33% this year alone.
CalTier also gives you a 30 day money-back guarantee. And if you have any questions along the way, you can talk to a real human to get them answered. Ready to join the ranks of wealthy and institutional real-estate investors?
Here’s the thing: your current car insurance company is probably overcharging you. But don’t waste your time hopping around to different insurance companies looking for a better deal. Use a website called EverQuote to see all your options at once. EverQuote is the largest online marketplace for insurance in the US, so you’ll get the top options from more than 175 different carriers handed right to you.
Take a couple of minutes to answer some questions about yourself and your driving record. With this information, EverQuote will be able to give you the top recommendations for car insurance.
The story of the modern web is often told through the stories of Google, Facebook, Amazon. But eBay was the first conqueror. One weekend in September 1995, a software engineer made a website. It wasn’t his first. At 28, Pierre Omidyar had followed the standard accelerated trajectory of Silicon Valley: he had learned to code in seventh grade, and was on track to becoming a millionaire before the age of 30, after having his startup bought by Microsoft. Now he worked for a company that made software for handheld computers, which were widely expected to be the next big thing.
But in his spare time, he liked to tinker with side projects on the internet. The idea for this particular project would be simple: a website where people could buy and sell. Buying and selling was still a relatively new idea online. In May 1995, Bill Gates had circulated a memo at Microsoft announcing that the internet was the company’s top priority. In July, a former investment banker named Jeff Bezos launched an online storefront called Amazon.com, which claimed to be “Earth’s biggest bookstore”. The following month, Netscape, creator of the most popular web browser, held its initial public offering (IPO).
By the end of the first day of trading, the company was worth almost $3bn – despite being unprofitable. Wall Street was paying attention. The dot-com bubble was starting to inflate. If the internet of 1995 inspired dreams of a lucrative future, the reality ran far behind. The internet may have been attracting millions of newcomers – there were nearly 45 million users in 1995, up 76% from the year before – but it wasn’t particularly user-friendly. Finding content was tricky: you could wander from one site to another by following the tissue of hyperlinks that connected them, or page through the handmade directory produced by Yahoo!, the preferred web portal before the rise of the modern search engine.
And there wasn’t much content to find: only 23,500 websites existed in 1995, compared to more than 17m five years later. Most of the sites that did exist were hideous and barely usable. But the smallness and slowness of the early web also lent it a certain charm. People were excited to be there, despite there being relatively little for them to do. They made homepages simply to say hello, to post pictures of their pets, to share their enthusiasm for Star Trek. They wanted to connect. Omidyar was fond of this form of online life. He had been a devoted user of the internet since his undergraduate days, and a participant in its various communities. He now observed the rising flood of dot-com money with some concern.
The corporations clambering on to the internet saw people as nothing more than “wallets and eyeballs”, he later told a journalist. Their efforts at commercialisation weren’t just crude and uncool, they also promoted a zombie-like passivity – look here, click here, enter your credit card number here – that threatened the participatory nature of the internet he knew. “I wanted to do something different,” Omidyar later recalled, “to give the individual the power to be a producer as well as a consumer.” This was the motivation for the website he built in September 1995. He called it AuctionWeb. Anyone could put up something for sale, anyone could place a bid, and the item went to the highest bidder. It would be a perfect market, just like you might find in an economics textbook.
Through the miracle of competition, supply and demand would meet to discover the true price of a commodity. One precondition of perfect markets is that everyone has access to the same information, and this is exactly what AuctionWeb promised. Everything was there for all to see. The site grew quickly. By its second week, the items listed for sale included a Yamaha motorcycle, a Superman lunchbox and an autographed Michael Jackson poster. By February 1996, traffic had grown brisk enough that Omidyar’s web hosting company increased his monthly fee, which led him to start taking a cut of the transactions to cover his expenses. Almost immediately, he was turning a profit. The side project had become a business.
But the perfect market turned out to be less than perfect. Disputes broke out between buyers and sellers, and Omidyar was frequently called upon to adjudicate. He didn’t want to have to play referee, so he came up with a way to help users work it out themselves: a forum. People would leave feedback on one another, creating a kind of scoring system. “Give praise where it is due,” he said in a letter posted to the site, “make complaints where appropriate.” The dishonest would be driven out, and the honest would be rewarded – but only if users did their part. “This grand hope depends on your active participation,” he wrote.
The value of AuctionWeb would rely on the contributions of its users. The more they contributed, the more useful the site would be. The market would be a community, a place made by its members. They would become both consumers and producers, as Omidyar hoped, and among the things they produced would be the content that filled the site. By the summer of 1996, AuctionWeb was generating $10,000 a month. Omidyar decided to quit his day job and devote himself to it full-time. He had started out as a critic of the e-commerce craze and had ended up with a successful e-commerce company. In 1997, he renamed it eBay. Ebay was one of the first big internet companies. It became profitable early, grew into a giant of the dot-com era, survived the implosion of the dot-com bubble, and still ranks among the largest e-commerce firms in the world.
But what makes eBay particularly interesting is how, in its earliest incarnation, it anticipated many of the key features that would later define the phenomenon commonly known as the “platform”. Ebay wasn’t just a place where collectors waged late-night bidding wars over rare Beanie Babies. In retrospect, it also turned out to be a critical hinge in the history of the internet. Omidyar’s site pioneered the basic elements that would later enable Google, Facebook and the other tech giants to unlock the profit potential of the internet by “platformising” it.
None of the metaphors we use to think about the internet are perfect, but “platform” is among the worst. The term originally had a specific technical meaning: it meant something that developers build applications on top of, such as an operating system. But the word has since come to refer to various kinds of software that run online, particularly those deployed by the largest tech firms. The scholar Tarleton Gillespie has argued that this shift in the use of the word “platform” is strategic. By calling their services “platforms”, companies such as Google can project an aura of openness and neutrality. They can present themselves as playing a supporting role, merely facilitating the interactions of others.
Their control over the spaces of our digital life, and their active role in ordering such spaces, is obscured. “Platform” isn’t just imprecise. It’s designed to mystify rather than clarify. A more useful metaphor for understanding the internet, one that has guided its architects from the beginning, is the stack. A stack is a set of layers piled on top of one another. Think of a house: you have the basement, the first floor, the second floor and so on, all the way up to the roof. The things that you do further up in a house often depend on systems located further down. If you take a shower, a water heater in the basement warms up the cold water being piped into your house and then pipes it up to your bathroom.
The internet also has a basement, and its basement also consists largely of pipes. These pipes carry data, and everything you do further up the stack depends on these pipes working properly. Towards the top of the stack is where the sites and apps live. This is where we experience the internet, through the pixels of our screens, in emails or tweets or streams. The best way to understand what happens on these sites and apps – on what tech companies call “platforms” – is to understand them as part of the broader story of the internet’s privatisation.
The internet started out in the 1970s as an experimental technology created by US military researchers. In the 80s, it grew into a government-owned computer network used primarily by academics. Then, in the 90s, privatisation began. The privatisation of the internet was a process, not an event. It did not involve a simple transfer of ownership from the public sector to the private, but rather a more complex movement whereby corporations programmed the profit motive into every level of the network. A system built by scientists for research was renovated for the purpose of profit maximisation. This took hardware, software, legislation, entrepreneurship. It took decades. And it touched all of the internet’s many pieces.
The process of privatization started with the pipes, and then worked its way up the stack. In April 1995, only five months before Omidyar made the website that would become eBay, the government allowed the private sector to take over control of the network’s plumbing. Households and businesses were eager to get online, and telecoms companies made money by helping them access the internet. But getting people online was a small fraction of the system’s total profit potential. What really got investors’ capital flowing was the possibility of making money from what people did online. In other words, the next step was figuring out how to maximize profit in the upper floors, where people actually use the internet. The real money lay not in monetizing access, but in monetizing activity.
This is what Omidyar did so effectively when he created a place where people wanted to buy and sell goods online, and took a cut of their transactions. The dot-com boom began with Netscape’s explosive IPO in August 1995. Over the following years, tens of thousands of startups were founded and hundreds of billions of dollars were invested in them. Venture capital entered a manic state: the total amount of US venture-capital investment increased more than 1,200% from 1995 to 2000. Hundreds of dot-com companies went public and promptly soared in value: at their peak, technology stocks were worth more than $5tn.
When eBay went public in 1998, it was valued at more than $2bn on the first day of trading; the continued ascent of its stock price over the next year made Omidyar a billionaire. Yet most of the startups that attracted huge investment during these years didn’t actually make money. For all the hype, profits largely failed to materialize, and in 2000 the bubble burst. From March to September, the 280 stocks in the Bloomberg US Internet Index lost almost $1.7tn. “It’s rare to see an industry evaporate as quickly and completely,” a CNN journalist remarked. The following year brought more bad news. The dot-com era was dead.
Today, the era is typically remembered as an episode of collective insanity – as an exercise in what Alan Greenspan, during his contemporaneous tenure as chair of the Federal Reserve, famously called “irrational exuberance”. Pets.com, a startup that sold pet supplies online, became the best-known symbol of the period’s stupidity, and a touchstone for retrospectives ever since. Never profitable, the company spent heavily on advertising, including a Super Bowl spot; it raised $82.5m in its IPO in February 2000 and imploded nine months later.
Arrogance, greed, magical thinking and bad business decisions all contributed to the failure of the dot-com experiment. Yet none of these were decisive. The real problem was structural. While their investors and executives probably wouldn’t have understood it in these terms, dot-com companies were trying to advance the next stage of the internet’s privatisation – namely, by pushing the privatization of the internet up the stack. But the computational systems that could make such a push feasible were not yet in place. Companies still struggled to turn a profit from user activity.
In his analysis of capitalist development, Karl Marx drew a distinction between the “formal” and “real” subsumption of labour by capital. In formal subsumption, an existing labour process remains intact, but is now performed on a capitalist basis. A peasant who used to grow his own food becomes a wage labourer on somebody else’s farm. The way he works the land stays the same. In real subsumption, by contrast, the labour process is revolutionised to meet the requirements of capital. Formerly, capital inherited a process; now, it remakes the process. Our agricultural worker becomes integrated into the industrialised apparatus of the modern factory farm.
The way he works completely changes: his daily rhythms bear little resemblance to those of his peasant predecessors. And the new arrangement is more profitable for the farm’s owner, having been explicitly organised with that end in mind. This is a useful lens for thinking about the evolution of the internet, and for understanding why the dot-coms didn’t succeed. The internet of the mid-to-late 1990s was under private ownership, but it had not yet been optimised for profit. It retained too much of its old shape as a system designed for researchers, and this shape wasn’t conducive to the new demands being placed on it. Formal subsumption had been achieved, in other words, but real subsumption remained elusive.
Accomplishing the latter would involve technical, social and economic developments that made it possible to construct new kinds of systems. These systems are the digital equivalents of the modern factory farm. They represent the long-sought solution to the problem that consumed and ultimately defeated the dot-com entrepreneurs: how to push privatisation up the stack. And eBay offered the first glimpse of what that solution looked like.Ebay enlisted its users in its own creation. They were the ones posting items for sale and placing bids and writing feedback on one another in the forum. Without their contributions, the site would cease to exist.
Omidyar was tapping into a tradition by setting up eBay in this way. In 1971, a programmer named Ray Tomlinson invented email. This was before the internet existed: Tomlinson was using its precursor, Arpanet, a cutting-edge network that the Pentagon created to link computers across the country. Email became wildly popular on Arpanet: just two years after its invention, a study found that it made up three-quarters of all network traffic. As the internet grew through the 1980s, email found an even wider reach. The ability to exchange messages instantaneously with someone far away was immensely appealing; it made new kinds of collaboration and conversation possible, particularly through the mailing lists that formed the first online communities.
Email was more than just a useful tool. It helped humanize the internet, making a cold assemblage of cables and computers feel inhabited. The internet was somewhere you could catch up with friends and get into acrimonious arguments with strangers. It was somewhere to talk about politics or science fiction or the best way to implement a protocol. Other people were the main attraction. Even the world wide web was made with community in mind. “I designed it for a social effect – to help people work together,” its creator, Tim Berners-Lee, would later write.
Community is what Omidyar liked best about the internet, and what he feared the dot-com gold rush would kill. He wasn’t alone in this: one could find dissidents railing against the forces of commercialisation on radical mailing lists. But Omidyar was no anti-capitalist. He was a libertarian: he believed in the liberating power of the market. He didn’t oppose commercialisation as such, just the particular form it was taking. The companies opening cheesy digital storefronts and plastering the web with banner ads were doing commercialisation poorly. They were treating their users as customers. They didn’t understand that the internet was a social medium.
Ebay, by contrast, would be firmly rooted in this fact. From its first days as AuctionWeb, the site described itself as a community, and this self-definition became integral to its identity and to its operation. For Omidyar, the point wasn’t to defend the community from the market but rather to recast the community as a market – to fuse the two. No less a figure than Bill Gates saw the future of the internet in precisely these terms. In 1995, the same year that Omidyar launched AuctionWeb, Gates co-authored a book called The Road Ahead. In it, the Microsoft CEO laid out his vision for the internet as “the ultimate market”: “It will be where we social animals will sell, trade, invest, haggle, pick stuff up, argue, meet new people, and hang out.
Think of the hustle and bustle of the New York Stock Exchange or a farmers’ market or of a bookstore full of people looking for fascinating stories and information. All manner of human activity takes place, from billion-dollar deals to flirtations.” Here, social relationships have merged so completely with market relationships as to become indistinguishable. The internet is the instrument of this union; it brings people together, but under the sign of capital. Gates believed his dream was at least a decade from being realised. Yet by the time his book came out, AuctionWeb was already making progress toward achieving it.
Combining the community with the market was a lucrative innovation. The interactions that occurred in the guise of the former greatly enhanced the financial value of the latter. Under the banner of community, AuctionWeb’s buyers and sellers were encouraged to perform unpaid activities that made the site more useful, such as rating one another in the feedback forum or sharing advice on shipping. And the more people participated, the more attractive a destination it became. More people using AuctionWeb meant more items listed for sale, more buyers bidding in auctions, more feedback posted to the forum – in short, a more valuable site.
This phenomenon – the more users something has, the more valuable it becomes – is what economists call network effects. On the web, accommodating growth was fairly easy: increasing one’s hosting capacity was a simpler and cheaper proposition than the brick-and-mortar equivalent. And doing so was well worth it because, at a certain size, network effects locked in advantages that were hard for a competitor to overcome. A second, related strength was the site’s role as a middleman. In an era when many dot-coms were selling goods directly – Pets.com paid a fortune on postage to ship pet food to people’s doors – Omidyar’s company connected buyers and sellers instead, and pushed the cost of postage on to them.
This enabled it to profit from users’ transactions while remaining extremely lean. It had no inventory, no warehouses – just a website. But AuctionWeb was not only a middleman. It was also a legislator and an architect, writing the rules for how people could interact and designing the spaces where they did so. This wasn’t in Omidyar’s plan. He initially wanted a market run by its members, an ideal formed by his libertarian beliefs. His creation of the feedback forum likely reflected an ideological investment in the idea that markets were essentially self-organising, as much as his personal interest in no longer having to mediate various disputes.
Contrary to libertarian assumptions, however, the market couldn’t function without the site’s ability to exercise a certain kind of sovereignty. The feedback forum is a good example: users started manipulating it, leaving praise for their friends and sending mobs of malicious reviewers after their enemies. The company would be compelled to intervene again and again. It did so not only to manage the market but also to expand it by attracting more buyers and sellers through new categories of goods and by expanding into new countries – an imperative that shareholders imposed after eBay went public in 1998.
“Despite its initial reluctance, the company stepped increasingly into a governance role,” writes the sociologist Keyvan Kashkooli, in his study of eBay’s evolution. Increasing profitability required managing people’s behaviour, whether through the code that steered them through the site or the user agreements that governed their activities on it. Thanks to network effects, and its status as both middleman and sovereign, eBay easily turned a profit. When the crash of 2000–01 hit, it survived with few bruises. And in the aftermath of the crash, as an embattled industry, under pressure from investors, tried to reinvent itself, the ideas that it came up with had much in common with those that had formed the basis for eBay’s early success.
For the most part, eBay’s influence was neither conscious nor direct. But the affinities were unmistakable. Omidyar’s community market of the mid-1990s was a window into the future. By later standards it was fairly primitive, existing as it did within the confines of an internet not yet remodelled for the purpose of profit maximisation. But the systems that would accomplish that remodelling, that more total privatisation of the internet, would do so by elaborating the basic patterns that Omidyar had applied. These systems would be called platforms, but what they resembled most were shopping malls.
The first modern shopping mall was built in Edina, Minnesota, in 1956. Its architect, Victor Gruen, was a Jewish socialist from Vienna who had fled the Nazis and disliked American car culture. He wanted to lure midcentury suburbanites out of their Fords and into a place that recalled the “rich public social life” of a great European city. He hoped to offer them not only shops but libraries and cinemas and community centres. Above all, his mall would be a space for interaction: an “outlet for that primary human instinct to mingle with other humans”. Unlike in a city, however, this mingling would take place within a controlled setting. The chaos of urban life would be displaced by the discipline of rational design.
As Gruen’s invention caught on, the grander parts of his vision fell away. But the idea of an engineered environment that paired commerce with a public square remained. Gruen’s legacy would be a kind of capitalist terrarium, nicely captured by what urban planners call a “privately owned public space”. The systems that dominate life at the upper end of the stack are best understood, to borrow an insight from the scholar Jathan Sadowski, as shopping malls. The shopping malls of the internet – Google, Facebook, Amazon – are nothing if not privately owned public spaces. Calling themselves platforms, they are in fact corporate enclosures, with a wide range of interactions transpiring inside of them.
Just like in a real mall, some of these interactions are commercial, such as buying clothes from a merchant, while others are social, such as hanging out with friends. But what distinguishes the online mall from the real mall is that within the former, everything one does makes data. Your clicks, chats, posts, searches – every move, however small, leaves a digital trace. And these traces present an opportunity to create a completely new set of arrangements. Real malls are in the rental business: the owner charges tenants rent, essentially taking a slice of their revenues. Online malls can make money more or less the same way, as eBay demonstrated early on, by taking a cut of the transactions they facilitate.
But, as Sadowski points out, online malls are also able to capture another kind of rent: data rent. They can collect and make money from those digital traces generated by the activities that occur within them. And since they control every square inch of the enclosure, and because modifying the enclosure is simply a matter of deploying new code, they can introduce architectural changes in order to cause those activities to generate more traces, or traces of different kinds. These traces turn out to be very valuable. So valuable, in fact, that amassing and analysing them have become the primary functions of the online mall. Like Omidyar’s community market, the online mall facilitates interactions, writes the rules for those interactions, and benefits from having more people interacting with one another.
But in the online mall, these interactions are recorded, interpreted and converted into money in a range of ways. Data can help sell targeted advertising. It can help build algorithmic management systems that siphon more profit out of each worker. It can help train machine learning models in order to develop and refine automated services like chatbots, which can in turn reduce labour costs and open new revenue streams. Data can also sustain faith among investors that a tech company is worth a ton of money, simply because it has a ton of data. This is what distinguishes online malls from their precursors: they are above all designed for making, and making use of, data. Data is their organizing principle and essential ingredient.
Data is sometimes compared to oil, but a better analogy might be coal. Coal was the fuel that powered the steam engine. It propelled the capitalist reorganization of manufacturing from an artisanal to an industrial basis, from the workshop to the factory, in the 19th century. Data has played a comparable role. It has propelled the capitalist reorganization of the internet, banishing the remnants of the research network and perfecting the profit engine. Very little of this vastly complex machinery could be foreseen from the vantage point of 1995.
But the arrival of AuctionWeb represented a large step toward making it possible. The story of the modern internet is often told through the stories of Google, Facebook, Amazon and the other giants that have come to conquer our online life. But their conquests were preceded and prefigured by another, one that started as a side project and stumbled into success by coming up with the basic blueprint for making a lot of money on the internet.
If you want to start a resale business to sell collectible, luxury, thrift, or pre-owned items, eBay could be the right platform for you. eBay sellers can make more than $1 million in sales, depending on their success listing and selling unique and in-demand items, such as sneakers, handbags, electronics, and furniture.
Your eBay store is only as good as your listings. The resale site hosts approximately 1.5 billion listings, so it’s a highly competitive space to get shoppers to click on yours. Most shoppers search for specific items based on commonly-used keywords, so your listing must outrank thousands of similar products on the site.
But there are some simple steps you can follow to ensure your listings stand out. eBay’s vice president of seller experience, Harry Temkin, said in a YouTube video that there are four essentials to the perfect listing.
Here’s how to improve your listings to get more eyes on your eBay store.
1. Maximize your title
You can use up to 80 characters for your item title. The words you choose will determine how shoppers find your listing in their searches. Use descriptive keywords, brand names, and model names to optimize search results leading to your item. For example, “Michael Kors Women’s Black Leather Purse Handbag” is more specific than “Black Designer Handbag.”
Always include the color of the item and include size if you’re selling clothing, shoes, or other wearable items.
High-quality photos are a must. Your listing photos are your first impression to shoppers, so yours will need to stand out in a sea of search results.
Photograph your products in good lighting with a clean background. Make sure the photo captures the true color of the item and doesn’t make it appear a shade darker or lighter. When in doubt, a white background will look crisp and highlight the details. eBay’s mobile app has a built-in photo editor that will automatically make your background white.
4. Ensure your price is right
Keep track of the prices other sellers set for products similar to yours. Your price should factor the demand, rarity, quality, and brand name of your item.
eBay’s “Terapeak product research” tab within the seller hub will help you research the most effective price for your product. It shows you other listings of similar products, sell-through rate, and average price.
SEE ALSO: A step-by-step guide to selling on eBay, including how to create the perfect listing and authenticate luxury items
MUST READ: Selling thrifted clothing on Instagram earns a college student an extra $1,000 a month. Here’s how she handles marketing and selling to her 36.6K followers.
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He raised $1.2 million from friends at VC firms True Ventures and Harrison Metal in 2009 and has collected a total of $73 million from investors. “They’re just scratching the surface of what we think is a massive market,” says Pete Jenson, a partner at Spectrum Equity, which led a $65 million Series C round in 2018. Neither he nor the company would discuss the company’s valuation or their ownership stakes other than to confirm that Rosenberg has a minority stake. Based on the one publicly traded competitor, Liquidity Services, the company is likely worth at least $130 million, but that is likely low, given how fast it is growing.
“That is why Spectrum wrote us a check for $65 million. They like big markets,” agrees Rosenberg.
B-Stock isn’t the only option, of course. Washington, D.C.-based Optoro operates one warehouse but these days mostly sells software that helps chains identify the best way to offload unwanted inventory, whether by restocking merchandise, returning it to a vendor, refurbishing, donating or sending it to a secondary marketplace. It also operates Blinq.com, which sells one-off returns to consumers, and Bulq.com, a smaller B2B competitor to B-Stock. Happy Returns installs pop-up receiving sites for chains that have limited brick-and-mortar presence, and Liquidations.com similarly sells excess inventory via auction.
Rosenberg has taken a different tack, putting all of the burden back on the original sellers, who deal with sorting, packing and shipping items to buyers. No inventory risk, no shipping costs and all the pricing decisions are made by the buyers and sellers. Even the warehouses where all that stuff sits in are the domain of retailers or third-party logistics companies. Sellers pay an estimated 5%-to-10% transaction fee based on the amount of merchandise they move through some 175,000 auctions every year. That keeps overhead low–85% of Rosenberg’s costs consist of doling out paychecks–and that, he claims, has helped him produce net profits since the day he started in 2009.
To help retailers get the best price, B-Stock tinkers with things like whether to sell stuff together or separately, how big a lot should be, how long an auction should run, what pictures to use and what day it should close. It also helps leverage the power of brands–trusted retailers can command a 15% premium–with separate marketplaces for each customer.
“There are times when we get bogged down with returns,” says a manager at a Fortune 500 company that has worked with B-Stock for six years and declined to speak on the record. “We needed someone to help us find homes for product that might beforehand been thrown away.”
Who’s buying all this? People like Clayton Cook, 33, who runs three discount stores in Salt Lake City. He spends an hour every morning browsing B-Stock and typically places about 150 to 200 bids for toys, apparel and other items sold by Walmart, Target and Costco. He doesn’t have time to haggle, so he lowballs his bids and figures he will only win a fraction of them. “The biggest plus is that I get it directly from the source. Because of that I get a better variety and a better product,” says Cook, who expects sales of $8 million in 2019. The site has also attracted a lot of eBay and Poshmark sellers, although the company doesn’t keep track of just how many.
That’s not to say the business is hassle-free. The company’s Better Business Bureau page is littered with complaints from unhappy buyers, most of them upset by the actions of a retailer but blaming the middleman as the face of the transaction.
Rosenberg says the marketplace model has allowed him to build the biggest online liquidation business in town, yet he still only lays claim to less than 2% of a liquidation market that totals $100 billion. To continue cashing in on the returns boom, he wants to bring on outside companies who can offer various logistics services, including sorting and shipping, for an extra fee. He also has plenty of new business to chase: Only 18 of the top 100 retailers in the country are working with B-Stock, plus his current customers could be liquidating even more stuff through his platform.
“It’s a huge opportunity,” says Rosenberg. “And a really, really big market.”
I am a staff writer at Forbes covering retail. I’m particularly interested in entrepreneurs who are finding success in a tough and changing landscape. I have been at Forbes since 2013, first on the markets and investing team and most recently on the billionaires team. In the course of my reporting, I have interviewed the father of Indian gambling, the first female billionaire to enter the space race and the immigrant founder of one of the nation’s most secretive financial upstarts. My work has also appeared in Money Magazine and CNNMoney.com. Tips or story ideas? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.