Relentless Simplicity - The Bonanza Blog
Welcome to the Bonanza Blog! Here you will find all the latest news about our online marketplace, with timely stories about how to get the most out of your selling online and effectively manage your online shop.
Legend says that nearly 127 years ago, Santa had a bunch of toys left over (cause everyone was really bad back in the old days) that were causing a riff between him and Mrs Claus. Mrs Claus had enough of it and threatened Santa with no cookies for dessert unless he cleaned out the workshop. With his mind set on snickerdoodles, Santa needed to cook up a plan, quick-like. That is when he shared his story with Buddy the Elf (his trusted 1/2 human 1/2 elf) who suggested that Santa have a mid year sale to liquidate his stock of toys. Santa applauded Buddy for his slick idea and even promised Buddy that he would eventually introduce Buddy to his real father in New York, in the future of course.
Today we call this yearly event the "Christmas in July" sale and right now is the time to get signed up and get ready. This community run event is a great opportunity to network with your fellow sellers, get involved, and have some fun! It is also a great way to promote your booth and the cost to participate is free ninety nine (free, no cost, free banners, etc).... (continued)
Today we've launched a handful of changes in how tokens are earned. Here's the latest scoop:
Tags now gone the way of the buffalo
Today we are bidding farewell to item tagging, which never proved popular enough with searchers to justify the time that our users spent tagging merchandise.
For browsers, the tokens previously earned through tagging can now be earned (and then some) by writing reviews and getting them upvoted (see below).
For shoppers, we've got projects in the works that use the Bonanza Catalog to allow you to slice and dice your search results more efficiently than tags ever could. We plan to have our tag replacement launched in search within the next few weeks, more details to be provided then.
Earn tokens by providing product insights
Meanwhile, we also launched new token-earning opportunities associated with product reviews. We are now offering 50 tokens for product reviews that are "exemplary." Exemplary reviews provide rich detail in discussing the product's pros, cons, tips, and uses. You can visit our product reviews leaderboard to see many examples of great product reviews that have already been contributed by the community.
We are also now offering 3 tokensfor... (continued)
As mentioned in our first blog about "Sprints," we have a list of goals that we are working on each week. "We" means our beloved programming team. "List" means "Sprint." The list is not set in stone and we cannot share everything with you because there are secret agents everywhere, but there are a couple of "heads up" that we can let you know about. Items that make the list are not guaranteed because, well, things come up (i.e. custom booth category weirdness, etc). This week "we" hope to do:
- Continue to enhance reviews, product catalog
- Take a pass at search to ensure we are doing everything we can to help our sellers succeed
- Strategize seller newsletters
- Investigate (and fix) reports of advertising button gone missing on page 2 and beyond.
- Investigate and fix eBay export errors ("non leaf" category, size errors, etc)
- Fix Batch Editor not playing nice for large booths (takes too long or does not complete tasks)
There are a bunch of other items on our list that we cannot share cause they are just that awesome (and secret). As mentioned above, things come up so do not be surprised if any of the above items are not... (continued)
Ladies and gentlemen,
As of our most recent deploy, you may now see something like the following next time you search on Bonanza:
This is the first glimpse into the data that we have collected in the course of building our product catalog. The goal here is to be the first marketplace to actually understand what the user is searching for, rather than the "blind word match"-style of search results that are still the norm for most sites. By implementing a semantic understanding of our merchandise, we will be able to offer product reviews, limit extraneous results, and ultimately, help buyers narrow down their focus much faster than a traditional marketplace.
Though we are beginning to expose the data contained in our catalog, we are still actively working on adding new entries, and associating our existing entries with the 4 million+ items available for sale on Bonanza. Expect to see morebetter uses of the catalog as it continues to evolve, and as always, let us know if you have ideas on how to make the catalog more useful to you.
In addition to bug reports and normal site maintenance, we have a list of goals that we are working on each week. "We" means our beloved programming team. "List" means "Sprint." The list is not set in stone and we cannot share everything with you because there are secret agents everywhere, but there are a couple of "heads up" that we can let you know about. Items that make the list are not guaranteed because, well, things come up (i.e. custom booth category weirdness, etc). This week "we" hope to do:
- Continue our campaign to submit items to Bing Shopping
- Investigate advertising on Amazon via Amazon Product Ads
- Improve accuracy of NIF category suggester
- Take a pass at search to ensure we are doing everything we can to help our sellers succeed
- Update Google Attributes
- Speed up all page loads by about 20%
- Investigate claims that items are showing up multiple times in the Google Shopping feed
- Investigate/exclude service-type items from our Google Shopping feed
- Show related questions when user enters a question on the Community Help page
- Index Community Help questions/answers when users search help pages
- Allow users to tag their Community Help questions
There are a bunch of... (continued)
It has arrived at last! Today we are debuting an updated and improved Community section, with emphasis on the key areas that we heard are most valuable to our customers. Here's a quick rundown of each:
About a month ago, we reached out to you and asked you how you would like to improve the forum experience on Bonanza. We had our ideas on how this could happen but it would be silly if we did not tap into our awesome community to see what you thought. Thanks to you, we received a ton of great feedback to get us to where we are at today. We are happy to announce that our new Community pages are ready to be launched and will be live the next time we deploy (aka, upload all of the things we have been working on). With so many great suggestions, it was hard to narrow it down. For example a few suggestions that nearly made it into production:
Please create a laser where you can zap posts, you know, like a video game. -Luke Slywalker
Please add a Netflix plug in to the forums so I can live on the Bonanza forums. -Betty JWhite (the J is silent)
Unfortunately those suggestions may have to wait until the next go around. In the meantime, feast your... (continued)
This Sunday, May 12th, most will be celebrating a very special lady in their lives, their mother. Moms are the glue that hold our families together. They are the anchor that keep us grounded. Moms bring calm and reasoning in situations that would otherwise send you in a different direction. Thank you to all of our mothers for everything you do. May your day be filled with beautiful flowers, a delicious breakfast in bed, and lots of love. Now a word of advice from Mr. T.
Our web hosts are going to be taking our servers on an exciting adventure this upcoming Friday morning, as they relocate their facilities north into Seattle. They have estimated that the migration will begin at 12am PST on Friday morning and be complete by 4am PST Friday.
The site will be unavailable during this window, but should be up and running by 4am PST. Thanks for your understanding.
Update 6:35am PST
The server techs are still working on getting systems operational. We have half our normal web servers online, as well as our database, but they've still got quite a bit to do to get things running normally again. Current page loads are slow whilst they scramble to get the rest of the web servers (and all the behind-the-scenes servers) functional. Though they don't have an official estimate on their completion time yet, I'd wager it's at least 1-2 hours off. Stay tuned...
Update 7:35am PST
Getting closer to normal. All web servers are back online, as well as search. Still working on getting our behind-the-scenes servers running, so stuff like long batch edits won't work yet. Rate of progress seems to be increasing though, hopefully we can be fully operational... (continued)
Over the last four years, almost every page of Bonanza has gone through one, two, or more evolutions as we continually get feedback to improve what we have to offer. The Bonanza forums have been the exception to this -- they still look, feel, and offer an experience that is largely unchanged since Bonanza's earliest days.
This is partially because we think the forums have delivered a ton of value to users in their current form. But as time passes, we have seen more and more cracks in the forums' ability to deliver on the goals we have in mind for them:
- Upbeat, positive introduction to Bonanza for new users
- Place to swap tips on how to maximize selling effectiveness
- Free opportunity promote booth
- Location to keep users up-to-date on what's new on Bonanza without all the overhead of blogging
Since our launch, we have witnessed sites like Etsy significantly cut back on the breadth of topics covered in their forums, while newer sites like Addoway, Copious, and the like don't even offer forums at all. I'm not aware of any credible marketplace launched in the last three years that even has forums.
For our part, we have always had... (continued)
If you visit our changelist on Bonanza then you are already aware of our often updated programming journal which lists bug fixes, new updates and features as they go live. So if you want to be "in the know," make sure and keep an eye on that page. Here are some recent items to note:
"Show larger images in search results"
This one has not been added to our changelist yet but it is just about ready to be launched. Shoppers will now be treated to an even more appealing search with much larger images. Make sure the images you are using for your main image are tops. Great pictures sell items so be sure to use all of the tools available to you to make that happen, including our background burner!
"Add magic brush to Background Burner"
If you have not used our background burner recently then now would be a good time to get reacquanted with this lovely photo editing tool. We have added new features and continue to optimize this Bonanza exclusive tool. Rumor has it that Bill is going to lift the already low fees for our background burner and make it free... (continued)
When is the last time you used our feature Saved Item Search? Homie say what? You mean you have never heard of this feature? Have no idea where to find this gem? Well then this here blog is dedicated to you my good friend (aka "homie").
A Saved Item Search will automatically keep you updated on a daily or weekly basis when new items are posted to Bonanza. First created for buyers to shop, we found that many sellers use this tool to keep a pulse on newly listed items in categories that interest them. Setting up a saved item search is easy peasy. To do so, go to your "My Bonanza" page and locate and click on the "Saved Searches" icon.
Once on your Saved Item Searches page you can click on the "Create a new saved search" icon to get started. If you have existing searches you can also manage them from this page.
- This is where you will enter the title of your search (this is for your reference and will not influence the search results).
- Here is where you would enter your search terms (i.e. "Civil War"). You can edit this at any time to... (continued)
I wanted to give a heads up about a new featured we launched yesterday in Bonanza search: the ability to supplement search results with Amazon products when Bonanza has little to no inventory that matches a particular search query.
This feature is designed to fix the situation when a buyer comes to Bonanza and wants to find something that is ordinary, or a commodity (things we don't specialize in). For example, if a user comes to Bonanza seeking accessories for "Halo 4 limited edition," they would find just one lonely result:
This is not a surprise. As has been established, new video games are not an area that Bonanza is trying to excel at, so the results for a query like this are limited. And given the limited quality of our results, we can either leave the buyer with the impression that Bonanza was the wrong place to search, or we can show that even when we are short on results, we can still help them find exactly what they seek. Amazon to the rescue:
A couple key points about this implementation should be noted:
- Amazon results are not shown when we have more than 20 results for the query the... (continued)
This short user anecdote sent to us recently from Kabbage.com, about a Bonanza seller who had tried Kabbage. I thought it sweet:
My name is Mohamed Rachadi and I am the owner of Morach Regulatory. Our main selling focus is pest management supplies.
I started in the ecommerce world in 2002. We were an import and export company and selling online internationally made the most sense for us economically. At first it we sold our products through our own website and now we sell on Bonanza, eBay, and Amazon.
I first learned about Kabbage through an ad I saw on Bonanza. I thought this was a very creative idea! I applied and was approved in 5 minutes. We have to be very competitive with our pricing in this business and Kabbage has afforded us the opportunity to do that.
It has been very easy to do business with Kabbage. I appreciate how quickly the funds are made available to you. No one else is capable of giving you funds so quickly. I know that with the help from Kabbage my business will meet our goal of a 40% profit margin!
Update Monday Afternoon
Our landlord called and said that he has been unable to get clearance for us to house a limitless number of sick and infirm animals, so it looks like we'll have to put the BPE on hold for now. Thanks to everyone who sent in their animals, we will get them mailed back to you ASAP.
Seems like we always have such rotten luck with the new features we launch on April 1...
Original Post as Follows
Successful business is built on identifying opportunity and becoming the leader of a niche.
When it comes to Bonanza, this can be difficult, because our sellers span such a wide breadth of categories that picking one niche to focus on can be challenging. But after talking with family and friends, we've realized there is one crucial niche that no business has yet to fill.
Today we're excited to announce that we will be closing down the Fashion Exchange, and replacing it with the Bonanza Pet Exchange (BPE). We're confident that the BPE will offer an experience unlike any other you'll find online.
Cocker Spaniel to your doorstep, packaged with love & care
What To Do When Pets Become Pests?
Every year,... (continued)