“Quite simply, [Bonanzle is] the best I’ve seen in my four years of reviewing and writing about start-up marketplaces” –Vangie Beal, on behalf of Ecommerce Guide.
At Bonanzle, we think that online shopping is stuck where online search was 10 years ago, in the age before Google. Many users today think that eBay and Craigslist are “good enough,” and the “rules” for online shopping are set: items get posted through a series of selling pages, buyers browse static listings, buyers buy items and hope that sellers are trustable.
We think there’s still a lot of room for improvement over the precedent that eBay and Craigslist set 10 years ago (and that the eBay/Craigslist lookalikes have copied ever since).
Here’s how we think online shopping ought to be:
- Relentlessly simple. Remember five years ago when it was easy to post and browse items on eBay? We have spent more than a year designing the easiest selling process, and re-invented the concept of a “store” to revive that refreshing feeling of ease eBay once gave you.
- Instant. Every seller on Bonanzle has the option of tying their Instant Messenger to their group of items, so buyers can get questions answered (or deals made) instantly. For local items, sellers can pre-schedule pickup times to take the guesswork out of which of those Xboxes you could pick up today.
- Engaging. On Bonanzle, the journey to buy or sell your items is part of the destination. With built in user-to-user messaging and pervasive chat, you’ll find that shopping isn’t nearly as lonesome as you remember it being on Craigslist.
- Safe. It sucks to have no idea who you’re dealing with. At Bonanzle, we’re committed to building a community of friendly, everyday people. Bonanzle is not (and will never be) a place for adult content or unseemly message forums.
- Free and Almost Free. There is no reason that you should have to pay a percentage of your item sales to The Man. At Bonanzle, listing is free and fees are dirt cheap. They’re also guaranteed not to raise an iota through 2010.
What Does “Find Everything but the Ordinary” Mean?
While everybody is welcome to sell on Bonanzle, our most successful sellers are those that have items that aren’t new, shiny, and mass-produced. Why? Because we believe Amazon already does a darned good job at helping people find new DVDs, CDs, electronics, computers, and books. We specialize in helping you buy and sell everything else.
I’m Still Not Sold. Is Bonanzle for Me?
“[Bonanzle] is without doubt the cleanest and easiest to use selling platform I’ve ever listed anything on.”
– Auction Wally, Marketplace Writer & Antiques Expert, in article eBay Alternative Bonanzle is Super Simple
“The runaway winner as our Best eBay Alternative is Bonanzle. This startup combines an easy listing process with cutting-edge features such as on-the-fly image cropping and live chat and an avid seller community.”
– SmallBusinessComuting.com, Marketplace Journal, in article 2009 Awards: Reader’s Pick the Best Small Business Tech Tools
“Bonanzle is putting the fun back into online selling.”
– Randy Smythe, Marketplace Analyst, in article You Can Find eBay’s Soul At Bonanzle.com!
“If there was just one eBay competitor to watch, I might just put my money on this one.”
– Scott Pooler, Marketplace Journalist, in article Bonanzle – Bodacious eBay Competitor Gives Birth to Fresh Merchandising Format
“There’s a reason Bonanzle is experiencing tremendous growth. Well, ten and a half reasons, actually. But it all boils down to a simple business model that promotes communication and builds trust among members, a simple interface that’s easy on the eyes and even easier to use, tools that make simple things even easier, and reasonable rates.”
– Salehoo, marketplace review blog, in article Bonanzle: An exciting eBay alternative
… And that’s not to mention the many thousand positive messages about Bonanzle on the Powersellers Unite forum, making it the most talked about eBay alternative in the four year history of this popular site!
Posted by R.W. Casandra Date: Friday, May 8, 2009
Starting Today Websites That Begin Accepting Amazon Payments Receive Free Payment Processing Through September 30, 2009
SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apr. 30, 2009– Amazon Payments, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced that leading shopping cart and e-commerce solution providers now offer Amazon Payments as part of their offerings. Shopping cart and e-commerce solution providers provide a host of services such as content management, merchandising management, shopping cart, order management and payments that help websites sell online. More than 25 providers, including CardinalCommerce, Miva Merchant, Magento, ShopVisible, Mercantec, and Zoovy will be supporting Amazon Payments as part of their offerings. These integrations make it even easier for websites to begin offering the ease, convenience, and security of Amazon Payments within the framework of the e-commerce solution already provided to them by these companies. In addition, Convio, a software and services provider to the nonprofit community, is integrating Amazon Payments into its fundraising platform to enable its client base to accept alternate payment methods for online donations. Plug-ins for widely-used open source e-commerce platforms, such as osCommerce and ZenCart, are also now available for quick and easy integration with Amazon Payments. Businesses and non-profit organizations can sign up and start using Amazon Payments today at www.amazonpayments.com/offer or by contacting any one of these providers directly.
“Working with shopping cart and e-commerce solution providers to make sure their solutions seamlessly integrate with Amazon Payments was one of our immediate priorities when we launched Amazon Payments less than a year ago,” said Mark Stabingas, General Manager, Amazon Payments. “Now businesses have an additional option for getting started with Amazon Payments and reaching Amazon’s tens of millions of customers with the easiest way for customers to complete a purchase, while also enjoying the benefits of Amazon’s fraud-detection technologies.”
Amazon Payments solutions are available for merchants, service providers, nonprofits and virtually anyone accepting payments online. Checkout by Amazon is a complete e-commerce checkout solution suited best for websites selling physical goods and includes support for tax, shipping, and promotion functionality along with post order management support. It offers customers access to their Amazon.com address book and payment information to buy quickly and easily, and also transact using Amazon’s 1-Click© ordering. Amazon Simple Pay is the best choice for websites selling digital goods, offering subscriptions or services, or accepting donations. It allows customers to use payment information from their Amazon.com accounts without the need to re-enter the information.
Websites of all sizes, including retailers such as OneCall, Stacks and Stacks, ToolKing, Jockey, and Fat Brain Toys, are already enjoying the benefits of Amazon Payments. Amazon Payments is also accepted by the American Red Cross, Jambool (one of the fastest-growing sites offering virtual currencies for social networking applications), and (RED)WIRE (the digital music magazine supporting medical aid to Africa).
“We added Checkout by Amazon to our website, making it easier for Amazon.com customers to buy. Over 30 percent of customers using this checkout option are brand new customers for us,” says Chris Smith, VP Ecommerce/Catalog, Jockey International.
“Checkout by Amazon is already outperforming other payment brands by bringing in net new customers and higher value orders,” says Howard Wyner, CEO of Scentiments.com, a fragrance retailer named to the Internet Retailer “Hot 100” for 2009. “The implementation through CardinalCommerce was easy, and we consider the launch of Checkout by Amazon to be an immediate success.”
Amazon Payments is also announcing a free payment processing offer through September 30, 2009 to businesses and organizations that begin accepting Amazon Payments using Checkout by Amazon and Amazon Simple Pay on or after April 29, 2009. Additional details and terms of the offer are available at www.amazonpayments.com/offer.
About Amazon Payments
Amazon Payments provides consumers, merchants, and developers the simple and trusted way to pay and get paid online. Amazon Payments enables consumers to send and receive payments for goods or services by using the payment methods already associated with their Amazon.com accounts. Merchants and developers can also take advantage of a portfolio of payment and checkout solutions, such as Checkout by Amazon, Amazon Simply Pay and Amazon Flexible Payments Services, to enable tens of millions of Amazon customers to complete purchases on their websites and applications. Go to http://www.amazonpayments.com for more details.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel; Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial.
Amazon Web Services provides Amazon’s developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon’s own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. Examples of the services offered by Amazon Web Services are Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), Amazon Flexible Payments Service (Amazon FPS), Amazon Mechanical Turk and Amazon CloudFront.
As used herein, “Amazon.com,” “we,” “our” and similar terms include Amazon.com, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.
This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management’s expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to competition, management of growth, new products, services and technologies, potential fluctuations in operating results, international expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment center optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, indebtedness, inventory, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com’s financial results is included in Amazon.com’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings.
Source: Amazon.com, Inc.
Posted by R.W. Casandra Date: Friday, May 1, 2009
Mystery continues to surround the U.S. Postal Service’s investigation of Amazon.com. For those who missed it, Amazon disclosed in its annual regulatory filing Friday that the postal service is “investigating our compliance with Postal Service rules, and we are cooperating.”
Peter Rendina, a Washington, D.C.-based spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, said in an interview Tuesday the investigation is “ongoing,” but declined to provide details. Some, however, are pointing to the internet retailer’s use of bulk mail or media mail services as the possible focus.Ron Wiener, CEO of Seattle startup Earth Class Mail, which works with the U.S. Postal Service, said he had no direct knowledge of the Amazon investigation, but had a few thoughts.
“The USPS is absolutely desperate for revenue so one of the very first things they’ll do is go after major accounts and see if there’s any revenue leakage,” said Wiener, whose company scans postal mail so customers can read it online.
Wiener said it’s plausible that the investigation has something to do with the postal service’s manifest mailing system for bulk shipments.
“While it’s hard to imagine that Amazon would do anything inaccurate, because they are accuracy freaks, it’s possible that if they’re doing fulfillment for smaller resellers, it’s hard for Amazon to know if the weight calculations are correct,” Wiener said.
Some comments on TechFlash and postalnews.com, a site frequented by postal workers, have speculated that Amazon, or those who sell through Amazon, are using the Postal Service’s Media Mail for items that don’t qualify.
Media Mail is meant for mailing “books, sound recordings, recorded video tapes, printed music, and recorded computer-readable media (such as CDs, DVDs, and diskettes),” according to the postal service website.
Amazon said it learned of the postal service probe in January 2009. The company has declined to comment beyond the bare-bones statement in its regulatory filing.
The U.S. Postal Service is lately grappling with mounting losses amid the growth of electronic communications and the worsening economy — and recently proposed cutting back mail delivery from six days to five. Amazon is clearly a big business customer for the postal service — so the stakes are high. We’ll continue to follow this story as it develops.
Posted by R.W. Casandra Date: Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The online retailer hits the street with a two-fold gift for investors: a great quarter and a share price to match.
By Michael V. Copeland, senior writer January 30, 2009: 11:54 AM ET
SAN FRANCISCO (Fortune) — Finally some good news, brought to you by Jeff Bezos and the gang at Amazon.com.
In a week when company after company announced horrible earnings and pulled the plug on tens of thousands of jobs, Amazon’s fourth-quarter net profit rose 9 percent, to $225 million, or 52 cents a share, in the quarter ending December 31. Overall revenue jumped 18% (the Street was looking for 13%).
Those are good numbers by any measure, but in the context of total online retail sales down 3% over the holidays, according to ComScore, and overall retail down 5% during the same period, according to the Commerce Department – they’re stunning.
A big part of the story for Amazon appears to be international growth. While net sales for categories like media (books, DVDs and the like) in the U.S. slowed to a 7% rise versus 31% a year ago, international was on fire.
Excluding the effects of exchange rates, Amazon’s fourth-quarter net sales from sites in the U.K., Germany, Japan, France and China climbed 31%, slightly down compared to the 35% growth during the same period last year.
“But based on everything we know about the global economy,” says Thomas Weisel Partners retail analyst Matt Nemer, “That is downright shocking.”
Bezos is cagey about the future direction of his business, and he wouldn’t say which countries and which categories Amazon might tackle next. “Internationally we focus on the same things that we focus on in North America,” he said during a conference call.
According to Bezos, those are great pricing and a great customer experience. The Internet giant’s continued focus on those two areas was a refrain repeated by both Bezos and Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak throughout the earnings call. Pressure on margins was apparent, as Amazon lowered prices to keep shoppers coming, but not as bad as analysts had feared.
In general, neither Bezos or Szkutak gave away much, dodging questions about the specifics of Kindle sales, the impact of defunct competitors like Circuit City and just what Amazon might spend some of its $3.7 billion in cash on. Bezos didn’t even hint at the launch of its second-generation e-reader Kindle 2, widely expected to be revealed February 9th.
Like many companies, Amazon refrained from giving full-year guidance. Szkutak did offer broad first-quarter estimates, pegging operating income between $125 million and $210 million in the current quarter. That spans either a 37% decline, or a 6% growth in operating income compared with the first quarter of 2008. Even for the world’s largest online retailer, apparently visibility is an issue.
Investors warmed to what they heard. Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) stock rose about 18% Friday in early trading, just north of $59.
You can bet some of that is a short-squeeze being felt. There isn’t likely to be a sustained run-up is its price, because at $59, Amazon is trading at around 36 to 40 times 2009 projected earnings (depending on whose projections you use), far exceeding its Internet peers like Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) (16 times) Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) (29 times) eBay (EBAY, Fortune 500) (8 times) and retail competition like Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500) (13 times).
Had Bezos ventured full-year guidance he could have instilled enough confidence in investors to take the plunge at $59 or more. Without it, too much uncertainty remains to send the stock appreciably higher.
“The problem is, in a tough economy Amazon doesn’t get a lot of margin for error,” says Nemer, who has a “hold” rating on Amazon. “You can’t take away what they have done, but if they have a blip the other way, stocks trading at 36 times can get hurt.”
Of course, if Amazon keeps nailing its quarters (and not just sand-bagging them as they seem to be inclined to) $59 could start to look pretty cheap.