Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bonanza Update

I reported previously that the name change from Bonanzle to Bonanza had a devastating effect on my sales and traffic for my booth, Jennifer's Series Books. I have observed that just about everyone who sells series books on Bonanza ranks better on Google than I do. Whenever I search for one of my books on Google and discover a Bonanza listing, it is for a book listed by someone else on Bonanza. For whatever reason, I have been affected the most profoundly in the search results.

My theory is that because I was the first person to list series books on Bonanzle, I am more associated with the old URL than anyone else, so I am having the most trouble leaving it behind. I had many links to my Bonanzle booth, and I have been trying to remove those links. Just a few days ago, I discovered that my Twitter page still linked to Bonanzle. That's not good. I have now changed it as well.

I am beginning to see some improvement, and this is what I have accomplished so far.
  1. I wrote a bunch of posts for my Jennifer's Series Books blog. If people search for "Jennifer's Series Books," they land on that blog and can go to my booth. I have linked to many individual items in my booth. A few items now have a better ranking in Google, while I am still waiting to see improvement on the rest. Some of the individual posts for the blog, such as one on Nancy Drew Applewood editions, are showing up extremely high on Google, so that provides a gateway to my booth.
  2. I linked to my Jennifer's Series Books blog from a number of pages on Series-books.com. The purpose is to improve the blog's page rank so that it will in turn improve my booth's page rank. While I wait for that to happen, I have already had the immediate result of getting traffic to the blog from Series-books.com, which provides another gateway to my booth.
  3. I noticed that one seller on Bonanza who has no attributes and has done no search optimization shows up rather high on Google. That seller uses a large font. I have gone through my items and increased the font size. I also made it bold and changed the color to make it stand out. It took hours to go through all of my listings, except the freebies, and change the font size.
  4. I have been working towards getting as many different books up as I can for each format of Nancy Drew. I have also been trying to get as wide of a variety up as I can for the other series. I have bought several larger lots lately on eBay solely for the purpose of adding to my variety of listings. If I can get a wider selection, I hope to be able to improve my showing in Google's results.
  5. As I get a wider variety of books listed, I plan to write additional blog posts for my Jennifer's Series Books blog and will use those posts to link to my books.
I had 34 transactions in August, 18 transactions in September, 12 transactions in October, and 20 transactions in November. November was definitely better than September and October.

In October, my traffic was running about 40% of what I had before the name change. In October, my sales were 35% of the previous level. My traffic is currently running at 60% of what it was before the name change. My November sales were nearly 60% of my previous level. The increase in sales matches the increase in traffic.

I have so far had one sale in December. I expect a dip in sales and traffic this month, although it could go either way. I am hoping that once the holiday season ends that my Bonanza traffic will be back up to around the same level that it was on Bonanzle.

I could use eBay to drive traffic to Bonanza, but I have mostly given up on eBay's 100 free listings per month. My books do not sell on eBay. I have a growing suspicion that my account may have a hidden black mark against it. Some of you are undoubtedly rolling your eyes and remarking, "Yeah, right." To those people, I say to read this particular AuctionBytes letter to the editor and then carefully read all the comments. Actually, just skim the letter to see that it is very anti-eBay and then read the comments carefully. Quite a saga unfolds in the comments.

The writer withheld her name and then was taunted in the comments section by a well-known pro-eBay person for not stating her name. The insinuation was that her comments had no validity unless she gave her name. She gave her name and then the very next day returned to state that her seller performance had just changed that day to "below standard," and she lost her power seller status. She called eBay, and customer service could find absolutely no reason why her status had changed, and it was reinstated to the previous position.

I was very critical of eBay in this blog in late 2008, and at that time, my seller performance standard oddly swung between "above standard" and "below standard" for no reason that I could see. It would not surprise me if I have been punished for my comments. If so, it caused me to try Bonanzle/Bonanza, and I am not turning back.

I would be very interested in reading your comments about your current level of success on both eBay and Bonanza, and any thoughts you have about selling series books and the current prices.

11 comments:

Jenn said...

I haven't sold much on Bonanza in months but I haven't worked with the booth or added anything to it and have very little listed--I sell at my website mostly so I tend to stay focused on that. One of these days I'll get back to Bonanza.

However, at eBay, I haven't sold in what may be over a year or maybe close to 2, can't even remember the last time I listed something. And to think I used to list tons of stuff all the time. Pretty sad for eBay when people stop selling.

The one thing I've noticed in the Nancy Drew category which may be the same elsewhere most likely, is that the SAME Nancy Drew books keep getting relisted over and over again and they're not selling. Even cheap books. I check the listings daily for books ending that day, and started noticing a pattern of the same books each week being relisted over and over. Sales must be way down to have to keep relisting.

Jenn:)

Jennifer said...

The same books are getting listed over and over with no takers. Some sellers are using the 100 free listings to list the same books over and over in one day auctions so that the books are near the top all the time. Surprisingly, even those books are not selling.

I now completely ignore the Buy It Now listings, except for the ones just listed. I always sort Buy It Now by newest first to look for good deals. The rest of my searches are for auctions only, which weeds out most of the books that are over-priced and not worth viewing.

The prices seem to have fallen even more for the scarce books, if that is even possible. Some of this may have to do more with the economy than in lack of interest in the books. It's hard to say.

Brandi said...

I can't complain about my sales level on ebay lately, however, I'm just trying to get rid of books because I just don't really have time or space for selling so I've dropped prices to below their values in some cases - well, a lot of cases, I suppose. I have noticed something odd with my listings. It seems that ebay is playing musical chairs with my descriptions. When I relist a book from my unsold items, sometimes a description is switched with another book. It has happened to me more than once, and I know this for a fact because I've changed the description on one book twice. Strange.

It's certainly a buyers market lately. I've gotten a couple really great deals. It seems to me that prices have fallen a good deal even since I started buying less than a year ago. I remember fighting for my Judy Bolton Trail of the Green Doll and paying almost $35 for it. I recently upgraded and resold it at about $12 I think.

My sales on Bonanzle have came to a complete halt. Sadly, it's been almost three weeks since I had a sale, and the last one I had to lure over from ebay because I told her that the only way I would take less was if I had to pay less fees. I'm surprised I wasn't caught when I told her as much in the ebay message.

I certainly hope things get back to normal for Bonanza soon. I'm afraid I just don't have the patience to wait. :) I'm slowly getting all my books listed on ebay and if I can't get rid of them before next semester, I think I'm just going to take loss, start them all at next to nothing and cross my fingers.

Jennifer said...

We can now click on a seller's feedback number to see how many transactions that seller has had on Bonanza. The total also includes purchases, but it still is a good way to gauge who is or who is not getting sales. Doc-h has had one or two recent sales. I seem to be the only one who has gotten a number of sales, and as already stated, my sales are much lower than what they were a few months ago. I know that I have sales only because of repeat buyers combined with the links present on my website and in this blog. I hope that my recent promotional efforts spill over and help others out as well.

I think I'm just going to take loss, start them all at next to nothing and cross my fingers.

I've done that often with large lots of books. What usually happens is that I end up selling $200 worth of books for $20. Ouch. I hope you don't have to take any losses as large as that.

Brandi said...

I hope not too. I'm ready to have my office back though! :) I read the article that you linked to. I feel so bad for the lady who wrote it and now has so many issues with ebay. Crazy stuff!

Jenn said...

I almost wish that eBay would take away the free 100 listings a month thing so all those ND books that nobody seems to want would just go away and there'd be less clutter to weed through daily with the auctions ;) But I realize that sellers get a lot of help there by getting them free and with all the fees, that helps quite a bit I'm sure. Guess they had to do something to compete with Bonanza?

Jenn:)

Jennifer said...

In the last couple of years, people have stated that eBay needed to offer free auction listings because of how bad the auctions do. And, the auctions do bad because of the destructive changes eBay has brought about to the site in the last two years.

I also mentioned here how I had to leave eBay because the listing fees were killing me. At the end of December in 2008, I paid something like $60 in fees for $250 or so in sales. Factoring in what I paid for the books, I took a loss overall. The fees were so high because of the listing fees on the items that did not sell. That was what drove me to Bonanzle.

When eBay began offering the free auctions, I was on board since that was the only way eBay could get me to list there again. Unfortunately, my items are no longer selling with the free listings, so even free is too high. There is no point. Bonanza is where I'll stay. eBay just had to kill what was a perfectly good marketplace.

Brandi said...

Jennifer, I'm sure your traffic and sales will bounce back and be as good or better than you were. You have a large fan base. :) Your booth has quite a few scarce books, and you are well liked.

stratomiker said...

Yes, eBay has screwed up, but the problem with series books goes far beyond that, and you sellers who insist on getting 1990s prices for the books today are just beating your heads against brick walls.

Sellers of Norman Rockewell, Lladro, Goebel, baseball cards, comics, and many more, have had to face the reality that the economy is still really bad, that their 'collectible' has lost its cache and popularity, and that to sell it today takes a great deal of creativity and much lower prices - NOT whining and complaining and blaming it on this, that, and the other.

I have to laugh at some of the prices listed on items in Bonanza booths. It was hard to get them 15 years ago. Who's gonna pay them now? No wonder sales are way down.

I see the problem here as a big bad case of Denial. To get your fixes and finance your book addictions you are going to have to spend lots of money now and take big losses. The glory days of big bucks for series books are gone. They may come back. One never knows when a topical collectible will re-emerge, but it's history now and I think some of you need a good dose of reality.

Mike

Jennifer said...

Some sellers' asking prices are outrageously high. Some of them are on Bonanza, some are on eBay, and some sell in both places.

I am quite aware that the prices are down. They have dropped even more since summer. We are soon going to have to pay people to take our books.

I know some of my prices are high, but I think that the ones that I have a bit high are some of the books that still have some value. For instance, I have a first printing of Crumbling Wall in dust jacket that is priced above $200. One just sold on eBay for over $300. Granted, mine is in worse shape, but the book does still have a good bit of value.

For other books, I just don't care right now if they sell or not, and I'm leaving the prices where they are at. In one case, I was going to lower the price of a book when I saw someone pay a good bit more than that in a recent eBay auction. Many of the books do still have value.

What is interesting to me is that for some books, I can get more for them on Bonanza than people are getting on eBay. I have been successfully selling many Dana Girls picture cover editions for $10 to $20. I see the same books going unsold on eBay for under $10 or sometimes selling for less than $5. The prices are all over the place.

For me personally, eBay caused me more problems than the economy has. They reduced my search visibility, and I feel like I still have a black mark against me because I have an older account. My stuff does not get noticed and does not sell.

I think the people who are trying to get $1,000 for the blank endpapers Old Diary are the ones who need to get a clue. The book is not worth $1,000 if it does not have a dust jacket!

Jennifer said...

My sales being down on Bonanza has nothing to do with my prices. I am also not whining or complaining about it, either. It is simply a fact that my sales took a dive as a direct result of the name change, and it is my responsibility to get my position back where it was before.

I didn't sell series books in the 1990s except for 1998 and 1999 on eBay, so I don't price by 1990's standards. I am aware that the books will no longer sell for those amounts.

I am aware that my first printing Hidden Staircase with partial dust jacket might be too high, but I don't care to list it on eBay and pay 10 times more in fees. I will gradually lower the price once every few months until it eventually sells.

It is true that the last Judy Bolton book, Sand Castle sold for $300 to $500 in the 1990s. I believe we all know that the book is not worth $300 to $500 nowadays. It is true that some sellers are trying to get around $150 for it, and that is too high. I am not one of those people.