October 19, 2018

E-COMMERCE

Amazon sued for poaching eBay sellers

eBay is suing Amazon for illegally poaching high-value sellers through eBay’s internal member-to-member contacting system.

According to eBay Amazon employees opened eBay accounts with no intention of ever using them to conduct legitimate business on eBay’s platform.

One Seattle-based Amazon representative opened three accounts within one week, sending solicitation emails to eBay sellers within minutes of opening each separate account.

Some Amazon representatives never used their eBay accounts to buy or sell, but instead, only to lure sellers off the eBay platform.

Needless to say that this scheme violated eBay’s User Agreement and policies.

Two weeks ago a company statement said “We have demanded that Amazon end its unlawful activity and we will take the appropriate steps, as needed, to protect eBay”

Amazon said it was conducting a thorough investigation of the allegations.

With that kind of evidence, we wouldn’t put our money on Amazon this time… But maybe Jeff has some secret plans.


FACEBOOK

Facebook created its election security war room

When we first heard “Facebook war room”, we imagined it being like this video here, that explains how Facebook really knows how to serve you the right ads.

It’s not the case…

It’s actually high-ranking team members from across divisions at Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp coordinating rapid responses, trying to minimize how misinformation influences how users vote.

TechCrunch’s camera team got access to the war room for the US midterm elections.

TechCrunch also talked to Samidh Chakrabarti, director of product management, who pointed out that in the last year Facebook’s safety and security team grew from 10,000 to 20,000 people.

According to Chakrabarti, Facebook can go from the first detection of potentially misleading content to action in just a couple of hours. He also underlined the high level of agility and speed of the team.

It looks like Facebook now has what it should have had two years ago. It’s a tough job because it can never be done perfectly. Only time will tell if they did a good job this time around.

Following the midterm elections, Facebook will evaluate whether it needs to constantly operate a war room. But after it was caught by surprise in 2016, Facebook accepts that it can never turn a blind eye again.

Retargeting tips from Depesh Mandalia

As simple as it can sound, retargeting can also be a headache. Especially when you rely on Facebook to decide whether or not your ad is good enough to show to your custom audience.

Luckily, Depesh has some advice on what to try if your retargeting strategy isn’t quite working yet.

Tim Calwell brought up the main issue – he only gets reach of exactly 1 every day with a few cents spent. This is from 3, 10, 30 and 180 days ATC custom audiences, that exclude purchases.

It goes without saying that not 100% of people who’ve added to cart also purchased, so there should be some left there.

Here are some possible remedies Depesh suggests, with some additional general retargeting tips:

  • Test Link clicks or Impressions optimisation.
  • Use testimonials when retargeting, offering a limited time (0-3 days) discount within the ad too.
  • With a 3-4s website load speed, which is about average, you might want to send warm traffic only to your website, because it’s more forgiving of load speeds.
  • If you have a higher AOV, like over $100, it might take longer to convert within the attribution window so give it a few more days to judge the ads.

There you go. Yep, it’s not a step-by-step guide, but a few small things to take into consideration if your strategy is not quite as successful as you want it to be.

Guide: Building a real following on Instagram

Have you heard? The Gram is probably Facebook’s hottest asset right now.

That’s because it still has a growing user base and it seems to have won the battle against Snapchat, at least in the US.

You can run ads Instagram if you want of course, but this is about how to kickstart your organic following. Take this advice with a pinch of salt – you never know how rules and algorithms change.

The guide comes in the Ecom Empires group from David DundasSmall warning: David was the CEO of Decisive, a mobile display traffic source that still hasn’t paid back all the advertisers. Test out the advice – don’t throw money without doing your due-diligence.

We’re going to focus on the main points – you can go and read the original if you want all the small details.

1. You’re looking for distribution. You want your content to be seen by as many people as possible.
2. The first important threshold is 10k followers. At that point, you will unlock the Swipe Up option to send traffic to your store.
3. The algorithm alone will probably give you an exposure to 10-20% of your followers.
4. To get more exposure you need to go through 3 steps:

  • Find relevant niche content that has gone viral in the past.
  • Research 30 relevant hashtags, where trending posts have engagement.
  • Decide on a posting time, based on your IG analytics.

5. DM Groups – create a group of 10-30 profiles in your niche that have a bigger following. Then people message the group when they post something new so that everyone can engage with the new content. Sidenote from us – this can still look like bots/fake engagement if not done with the right people in the group.
6. To create such a group, search trending posts for your hashtags and message the profile owners if they’d be interested to be in such a group. The conversion rate from message to the group seems to be 10% so you need to send 100 messages to get ~10 group members.
7. Set clear rules for the group.
8. Telegram engagement groups. Similar idea to DM groups, usually much larger, and harder to judge quality. That means it’s just lower quality really…

We’re far from specialists in Instagram, but the strategy sounds like it can be summarised like this: The more relevant accounts engage with your content, the more likely you are to be put in front of more people who follow your hashtags.

So those are just some ideas on how to get said relevant engagement.

If you are an Instagram pro, we’d love to hear your thoughts on building a following from scratch.


GENERAL

How this best-selling author went from publishing print magazines to selling cars online

Dennis Publishing. The name might ring a bell if you read “How to Get Rich: One of the World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs Shares His Secrets” By Felix Dennis…

Yep, Dennis too – so Dennis Publishing is his company. The one that is a big part of the book too.

Here’s what we found out yesterday that we thought is very interesting. If there was ever a clear example of how businesses change, how they evolve, this is one of them.

Across 2018, Dennis Publishing is expected to make 40% of its revenue from selling cars online. How much is 40%? About $81 million. Not too shabby.

The source article is a case study on how to use an existing audience and your skills to expand your business. Even if sometimes the niche you’re expanding to doesn’t seem too related at first sight.

Here’s roughly what Dennis does:

  • They have one main website where they list cars. It’s a typical car search portal.
  • They get traffic from review sites, which they own (ta-da, publisher perks for them!)
  • They get a share of the care sales but that’s not much profit
  • Most of their margin comes from add-on packages, like payment plans.

In other words? Sounds like a typical e-commerce funnel but for a high ticket item – the car. It uses its own network of magazines and website to drive traffic, instead of having to buy on Facebook.

Dennis Publishing seems to have more-than-adapted to the online landscape. Perhaps it’s time to check out his book again…


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POOLSIDE CHAT

Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things affiliates like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.

Why not slap 4 cameras on a phone?

After releasing the triple-rear-camera Galaxy A7 a short while ago, Samsung now has announced the Galaxy A9 with four – yes, that’s correct – rear cameras. 

Counting the (new and improved) front camera, that makes a phone with five cameras. The first worldwide.


But what can they do exactly?

Apart from the 24MP primary camera, it also boasts an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens, which can see 120 degrees just like human eyes. The 5MP depth camera allows adjustment of a depth effect before and after taking the pictures.

But those are all features it shares with the A7. What’s special about this one is its 10MP telephoto lens, which enables 2x optical zoom. So you can take prettier pictures of far away things.

The phone also comes with an AI scene optimizer, that automatically detects the best settings for your scenario.

The primary and front cameras use a new technology called Pixel Binning, which allows for better pictures in low-light conditions. Since the A7 has it, it is safe to assume the A9’s front camera also comes with a “Pro-Lighting” feature, where you can edit pictures with multiple lighting settings.

Now, if we’re honest, none of these things are especially new, as Huawei currently seems to lead the market in terms of smartphone photography. But hey, at least Samsung got themselves a piece of the “world’s first [something] cameras phone” cake.

We’re now waiting for someone to make a DSLR that can make phone calls.

WHAT THE AFF.. is (not?) reading

OK, we don’t always read, we also listen to podcasts sometimes. Especially when having a slightly longer commute. So why not share some of the outstanding but probably less popular podcasts we’ve listened to?

Thomas recommends Farnam Street

More specifically, this episode with Tobi Lütke, CEO and founder of Shopify.

Tobi talks about how video games helped him prepare to run a company. He tells his story how selling snowboards online lead to the creation of one of the biggest tech companies.

It’s a 106-minute interview but well worth the time. Even though Tobi is dyslexic he tries to read many books and highlights Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb – we approve!

When asked about mistakes most people make, he said “getting cause and effect wrong”. That’s also how the WTAFF Crew feels – too many people mix those up in their decision-making process. We also learn about his philosophy of making decisions.

His concept of “the trust battery” fosters better teamwork, communication, and productivity. It is a mental model of how to think about the relationship between people. 

For any company size, there is plenty for us to learn from his thoughts about culture and building a team.

The interview ends with an optimistic outlook on how technology will impact how we do things in the future.

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