An Open, Civil Discussion on eBay Marketing

Got a Custom, Model, Garage Kit or OOAKS on eBay? Pimp it here! Got some ideas to help better you Modeller's eBay sale? Post it here. For non-Custom eBay listings, use the FWOOSH Deals forum.
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Actorjez
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An Open, Civil Discussion on eBay Marketing

Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:22 am

The following has been mildly edited for content and brevity:
Kirk wrote: i for one find it very disturbing someone who post on this board with everyone on that list and acts like your helping everyone - when actually your stabbing them in the back with quotes like this and dont try and be a statesman and say you werent talking about anyone on that list because you would have thoughtfully mentioned there name when posting your ebay auction - i really wish you would stop the tony little sales pitches and the whole ( my latest masterpiece ) or useing innovative describing your own work and speaking of your work
Jin Saotome wrote: Of course you won't see the recipies on my EBay auctions, or anything promoting other customizers, fwooshers, or such. You'll notice I didn't add an auto-link to Joe Acevedo's site either. I want to sell MY customs, not yours! I take it you've never been to any kind of marketing class or such, right Kirk? Again, I don't need anyone to tell me whether or not my customs are awesome or my methods innovative. People pay top dollar for them. I never have any complaints. Therefore I will promote my customs as 'awesome' or 'the best so-n-so' like with my Steel Claws because I believe they are. Obviously other people do to, and many speak with dollars, not with praises. That pays the bills, finances my figures that love so much, and allows me to eat out every Saturday.

I answer HUNDREDS of emails on a weekly/monthly basis. So many of them ask me 'how come my paint don't stick?' I tell them to wash their figures. They reply back, 'that worked! AMG!' and all is well. Sometimes they're using poster paint or enamels, then I have to tell them it's the type of paint. Should I remain silent, or play it humble like I don't know everything? Heaven's no! I'm damn sure of my self, it's called self confidence, and many people forget just what that is on a daily basis. If something works for me time and time again, I pass the knowledge on to others. I'm confident about it. If your paint always sticks, great! If you've never washed a figure ever, great! You can skip that washing step with no harm done. I'm sure LOTS of those figures I've customized didn't need to be washed, and probably wouldn't of given me any trouble. But ya know what? I like to do a professional job, so if something works, I repeat it a step. Open figure, trim flashing, wash figure, etc. I don't want to take chances, especially since it's other people who end up with 90% of my customs.
Now, I'm cool about all this controvery over my methods. Kirk can remain suspicious of me, people can still view me as having a god complex, but I won't be changing a thing. You'll still get the same tips from me, the same banter, the same EBay auctions. In fact when I put my Morpheus up for auction tonight or tomorrow, you'll see it say "The only 6" super articulated Morpheus out there!" regardless of how many other customizers have made one. They aren't selling theirs, and I won't be telling EBayers there could be others out there. All of my 'awesome stupendout talent' (hehe, that was for you Kirky), my shameless promotion, my 'tony little' hype, all of that will remain in my auctions. After all, 300+ buyers can't be wrong! *bows*
Kirk wrote:
Posting with arrogance and shunning other customizers/customs
That's right, you can actually play with this figure! The paint won't rub off, and she's not a fragile "display-only" figure like you see all too often with custom figures.


Posting WITHOUT arrogance or shunning other customizers/customs
That's right, you can actually play with this figure! The paint won't rub off, and she is made for not only display, but for heavy play.


I'm not sure who your "I don't even hide my recipe's" are pertaining to, but as you can see in the Modeller's gallery I post my recipe's as well and if I don't post it the same day then I will come back and post it.

I've heard street hustlers use the same tactics to sell there products and they didn't have to take a Marketing class to do so.
Okay, maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment. Or naive. I'm certainly taking a huge chance here, but I have faith that the inherent class that Fwooshers have will prevail.

Simply out: Despite the fact that this became a fight (in an inappropriate forum), there were some really interesting, valid points brought up by everybody regarding how we promote our eBay auctions and, by extension, ourselves.

I've put quite a bit of thought into eBay promotions myself, but it's been fairly neglected as a discussion subject here at the Fwoosh. But the potential benefits to such a discussion here in the appropriate forum should be obvious, yes? New eBay Customizers appear everyday, and if the Fwoosh is the first, best community resource for customizing on the net, it stands to follow that The eBay Forum should be as well.

A fancy way of saying the Discussion is still worth having. I hope.

So I want to hear from everybody.

I'm calling all of you out. The eBay Old Guard (Cal, Crainius, Jin, Levit, Lowe, 4p4thy ink, etc)...the New Generation (Kirk, Johima, Darth Leon, A.G., moleman, etc)...everybody. This includes the “part-timeâ€
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Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:52 am

i'm sad i didn't get a shout out :(


.... but maybe you should link your e-zine article in here...... fine I'll do it:


http://www.thefwoosh.com/~ezine/editori ... hints.html
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Jin Saotome
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Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:04 am

Hmmm, I'm getting called to the stand. There a jury around? *looks left and right*

For the cout, let me go on record. EBay is a harsh, unforgiving, brawl-pit, capitilistic, and many times underhanded resource on the net. I'm not sure how else to put it, heh. Some people abhor Ebay, and they've dealt with the worst that it has to offer, every experience an awful one. Others make their living off of EBay, opening successful stores and selling their wares on a daily basis.

Now it boils down to HOW you sell your stuff, and that's where people seem to disagree. On the net and EBay, a good set of words can out-do a picture that's supposedly worth a thousand of em, heh. When people click on an auction, they get a description and a picture(s). Let's get a quick example.

This is a custom figure of a Sentinel. It's painted with acrylic paints so you can handle it. The eyes light up along with the mouth. It's 18 inches tall and has new parts sculpted on it. It comes with extra batteries. I really enjoyed making this figure and I hope you enjoy it too. You can't find this in stores either, it's the only one I'm making. *basic picture of the product*

Hmmm, there's a general description. It states the facts, it's true, and provides all you need to know. Nobody will be left to guess that this is an 18 inch sentinel whose eyes and mouth lights up. Now look at the other guy's auction.

Check it out, this is the Custom Sentinel you've been waiting for! It's been hand painted with top-quality acrylic paints so you can handle it, pose it, and wreak havoc on your X-men figures for hours of play! Not only does this beast look awesome, IT'S EYES AND MOUTH LIGHT UP! "Scanning for Mutant subjects... bzzzt" Now your X Men figures will have the fight of their lives when they face off against this mutant hunting robot. This sentinel is NOT available in stores! You get a set of extra batteries and man, you're gonna love this thing! I almost didn't want to part with it. So don't pass this one up, the best Light Up 18" Sentinel custom has arrived! *gratuitous photos with photoshopped backgrounds added*

Hmmm, wow, that's a pretty neat sounding Sentinel. Captain Whizz-bang must be all over that sucker. Yeah, I can envision it towering over my X-men figures... and boy the light-up eyes and mouth will look cool as hell I bet. Hmm, it sounds cool, and looks really neat, I think I'll place a bid.

Well, there you have it. There were no lies in the last guy's description. There were plenty of assumptions of course, that it WILL look cool with your x men figures, you WILL like it, and it WILL be the best one available. It was hand painted with top quality paints, the eyes and mouth light up, same as the last one. But for some reason it just sounds more exciting. And the pictures were really neat looking. *hook* There you go, you've got a bidder.

Hundreds of people are casually passing over auction upon auction. What makes yours so special? What makes it stand out from the other guys? What's that you say? You have a quality product? So what. So do 1000 other people, and they're all selling the same thing. Your auction gets 30 views, while the guys with boreders, headers, flashy pics, a powerful description, and bold text gets 400. Is it fair? Of course not. But neither is anything in the retail/business/marketing world. If you're offended, don't bother selling/buying. If you have standards, good for you, don't jepordize them to sell your customs.

In the end your customs are art. You deserve top dollar for them, because you made them with love, care, and imagination. It's sad there's no 'customizer's Ebay' that has the pull and following of EBay itself. It's sad that the guy with flashy stuff in his auction gets the bugs bucks, and ends up becoming popular with the bidders. It's sad, but it's true. Advertising/marketing is the most necessary part of a business. You see where it got McDonalds, Wal-Mart, Budwiser. Will Ronald mcDonald jump out to meet you for dinner when you arrive? No. Will a trolly full of half nekkid chicks pull up when you crack open that beer? Hell no. But you went there to eat, and drank that beer because you saw the flash.

I see many MANY people here bashing me for using such tactics. I never lie in my auctions. I put on a good show, I crack jokes, I tell you you're getting the best, because I believe in my work. And when the package comes, you crack it open and take out the figure, you're happy with it. You'd be happy with the first guy's product too, but you chose mine because it caught your eye and excited you. When I say 'you', I don't mean you personally of course. I mean the thousands of people that looked at my auction over the next guy's.

Boasting, promoting, and 'laying it on thick' works to your advantage in EBay auctions. If people are told it's spectacular, it's awesome, they tend to have that stick in their mind and believe it. I'm not suggesting that people need to be told what to like, they just like the flash and glamour of it.
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Kirk
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Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:23 am

i belive what i quoted the customizer as saying (you can actually play with this figure) for sure undermines everyones quality of work without a doubt . i believe making statements such as this hurts the old guard and the new guard of customizers and i would never ever say such a statement to hurt any of you guys - if it wasnt for any of the guys actorjez just called out i wouldnt be seeing a increase in my customs sales , all of you have most diffently made a differance in my quality of last minute touch ups and sculpting before i put them on the bay and to say something like that is a slap in your face . if you will notice he didnt answer why . i post here to gain knowledge from you not use sales tactics to boost my sales on ebay - theres a section for that and if i remember correctly modellers gallery says its here for help and learning not pimping. also the quote (thats right you can actually play with this figure and the paint wont rub off and shes not only made for display but heavy play) is saying anything or anyone elses customs will not stand up to his methods so dont take a chance on them - i know there is no such thing as a custom paint job that ruff or heavy play wont hurt -and i know because my familys business was for35 yrs in specail coatings hell my dad made a fortune off of it and bought a condo on the beach . so i emailed this statement to him and a picture of this customizers work and after about 10 minutes of study he told me there is no guarantee on the affectiveness of any paint product including 2 part apoxies and urethane based paints on plastic . that coming from an old timer with pockets full of cash made by applying special coatings - and thats what everyone here at fwoosh already knows and thats why almost everyone of you put for display and moderate posing or lite play - to say anything less is putting your custom at risk and jin superglue on joints doesnt make your customs any different than anyone elses we pretty much all do that.

i guess what im trying to say is we DO NOT need to bash other customizers to sale our products we need to if nothing else mention our fellow fwooshers to help the cause and saying things like the statements actorjez quoted is in my eyes hurting us all .

sorry for taking up 5 minutes of you life -i know you would rather be customizing - but this topic means alot to some of us .
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Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:30 am

jez, i dont think you saw the real issue there. it wasnt about ebay auctions it was about Basically saying My stuff is the best everything else is crap, i really dont think it belongs in the ebay section One person was sayin that it was all part of selling on ebay, while the other was saying its basically being an arrogant jackass. which i would have to agree with both points, however it does refelect poorly upon the seller to claim that His/Her customs are simply the best out there, regardless of whether or not its being sold.

im not going to get heavily involved in this topic i just thought i should bring forward the point that only half the argument actually had anything to do with ebay.

Now obviously there are much more considerate ways out there for promoting things, like "This is one of the best _____ figures youll find out there!" or "This here figure isnt just for show either!" things like that. its Ok to have confidence in your own work but its being a total asshole to say yours is better than everyone elses because you made it.
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darthleon_customs
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Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:50 am

To be honest, before this thread even started I was looking over Jin's advertising. It really seems to be working for him. The amount of veiws that he gets is astounding. I need to do some work on my advertising. I guess I'm a bit too humble to go ahead and say that my figure is the best or so on, but I have no problem with others saying it. Obviously, it is going to be the "Best" to a bunch of people. He has the confidence to make such claims and well should do so because he does make some of the best figure around.
Even though I'd never say I have the best this or that, I am considering doing a lot more promoting. It draws people in and like Jin said with his example, when it sounds exciting, people start thinking about how exciting it would be to own that figure. Why not do it. Comercials do it all the time. Gillett "THE BEST A MAN CAN GET"? Is it true, probably not but it's catchy and there is a chance that It is the Best a man can get.
One more quick point is if someone says they have the "Best" then push yourself to prove him/her wrong and put out a better figure the next time.
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Jin Saotome
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Wed Oct 26, 2005 9:28 am

People here need to seperate EBay from the Fwoosh, seriously. You'll never EVER see me say "My custom is better that yours" on anybody's thread. I call my customs awesome because I believe they are, and I love my work. I impress myself all the time, and make that known.
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Actorjez
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Wed Oct 26, 2005 9:35 am

Sniper2160 wrote:jez, i dont think you saw the real issue there. it wasnt about ebay auctions it was about Basically saying My stuff is the best everything else is crap, i really dont think it belongs in the ebay section One person was sayin that it was all part of selling on ebay, while the other was saying its basically being an arrogant jackass. which i would have to agree with both points, however it does refelect poorly upon the seller to claim that His/Her customs are simply the best out there, regardless of whether or not its being sold.

im not going to get heavily involved in this topic i just thought i should bring forward the point that only half the argument actually had anything to do with ebay.
I think that's exactly is the question, though, Sniper. And that's why it specifically has to do with eBay.

Going on thier own words, Jin's basic argument (edited for clarity):
Jin Saotome wrote: Boasting, promoting, and 'laying it on thick' works to your advantage in EBay auctions. If people are told it's spectacular, it's awesome, they tend to have that stick in their mind and believe it.
Kirk's (edited for clarity) is:
Kirk wrote: the quote (thats right you can actually play with this figure and the paint wont rub off and shes not only made for display but heavy play) is saying anything or anyone elses customs will not stand up to his methods so dont take a chance on them -i guess what im trying to say is we DO NOT need to bash other customizers to sale our products we need to if nothing else mention our fellow fwooshers to help the cause and saying things like the statements quoted is in my eyes hurting us all .
So one guy is saying the self-hype is a valid, necessary way of increasing sales, while the other is saying that it's unecessary and actually hurts sales.

Since the eBay Forum is supposedly for helping increase our sales, I'm very interested!
:)
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mzeid
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Wed Oct 26, 2005 9:43 am

lemme just say jez that with your avatar you look like some mac daddy talkin to your kids.


ok ill shut up now. carry on...
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Actorjez
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Wed Oct 26, 2005 9:49 am

mzeid: Y'know what scares me--? If you saw me in real life, that avatar isn't too far from reality. My wife just about fainted when she saw the first Incredibles preview...

But don't distract me! Back to business...
Jin Saotome wrote:People here need to seperate EBay from the Fwoosh, seriously. You'll never EVER see me say "My custom is better that yours" on anybody's thread. I call my customs awesome because I believe they are, and I love my work. I impress myself all the time, and make that known.
Yeah, let's try to keep this one on-topic folks. Nobody's talking about self-hype in a fwoosh gallery...only on eBay.

Stay on target...stay on target... :wink:
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Wed Oct 26, 2005 10:34 am

well, I don't know if I really qualify as a part-time ebayer, with all of one auction under my belt. :mrgreen: but seeing as how I'm an opinionated SOB, I'll state my piece since I was asked for it. this is best taken with a grain of salt, since some of it comes from armchair quarterbacking on the ebay front, and some of it comes from my observations of the business world.

I see selling customs on ebay, at least for those who do it regularly, the same way I see selling a product on TV. the ebay customs market has these attributes: 1) a limited number of customers - they are repeat purchasers. 2) a moderate amount of competing products - most of them are unique. and 3) a limited number of customizers doing most of the supplying.

from Marketing 101 come the 4 Ps. they are, product, price, placement, and promotion. in ebay, placement and price are somewhat irrelevant. placement - it's ebay. and price - that's determined by the bids.

that leaves product and promotion.

for promotion, I understand how Jin thinks about his wording on ebay and why he says what he says there. he treats it like advertising. sure, you can pick whether you want your auction underlined or bolded or put in multiple categories, but the bottom line is that what you write in your description is effectively your only chance to promote what you're selling.

for product, just like with products on TV, customs will differ in terms of quality. they can be good, bad, or somewhere in between. we know from looking at the loads of customs that get posted here what the attributes are that make a custom good or not. the people who buy them do too.

with me so far? cause here's where it gets interesting.

it's the market conditions that determine which of the 4 P's (in our case 2) are important. for the ebay customs market, with a limited number of repeat buyers and a limited number of repeat sellers, I'll suggest that in the long run, it's the product (and its quality) that determine how it will sell - not how you promote it.

why is this? because over time, people will know if your stuff is good or bad, despite what you tell them. this is the notion of building a brand, good or bad.

as an aside, here's an interesting conclusion - Jin's stuff must be good. and he might not have to push it so hard.

to get back on topic, which was about what kind of promotion is appropriate for ebay, it may help a guy starting out to describe his stuff in the most glowing terms possible, but once you're branded, it doesn't matter all that much. I think the best example is our own Actorjez - he goes out of his way to recommend the work of his fellow ebayers. doesn't seem to hurt his auctions at all.

so to all you aspiring ebayers out there, my recommendation to you is to describe your work as honestly as you can - focus on the things you think are really good, and don't go out of your way to point out the flaws. keep improving your skills, and over time, your product will speak for itself.

whew. if you made it this far, Magz will spoon with you if you go to his house ;-)
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Wed Oct 26, 2005 1:05 pm

I must be insane for posting here

My one eBay custom was a moderate success price-wise (considering it was my first time selling anything). I had...issues with the aftermath, but that's a different story. Wanna know what model I used for my write-up? Actorjez's Nightwing auction. I figured the best approach to take was to describe the process of making the figure and the steps I took to reduce paint rub and make a quality figure. I also posted extra images of the figure in various positions. In short, I let the product aid the bidder...I told the truth about quality and left it at that.

That's not to say that other approaches are less effective (lord knows I am very much a novice at this), but I figure it's a small community of customizers, and if one can sell an item successfully without negativity and offending others, why would they choose to do otherwise?
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Wed Oct 26, 2005 2:06 pm

hmmmm, where do I start?

Okay, whatever I say, isn't given in the sense that it should put off anyone.

I understand that some of you guys think you're product is the best. No harm done, you should be able to think that way. But the real test comes from the consumer themselves.


Jin, don't take this the wrong way; you were one of the customizers (inadvertantly) that got me started into this great hobby. Have you thought about a different marketing scheme? I mean, have you tried to let the product sell itself? For example....Leon's Ronin. Skyrocketed to over $100 in no time. Here is his main description:
Leon's auction of Ronin wrote:Up for auction is this a Marvel Legends style version of "RONIN" as he appeared in The New Avengers comics and other Marvel comic books. As you can see by the pictures this figure was painted and Sculpted with accuracy in mind. Many hours were put into the paint job to get the shading just right. His Entire Costume and Head was sculpted to match as closely as possible the figure in the comics. This is one figure that needs to be seen in person to really appreciate the detail this figure has. It will make a fine addition to your Marvel Legends collection as well as your custom figure collection. Bid early and often to make sure you will be able to own this great piece.
Now, he goes and tells it; basically, he tells about his custom. He doesn't say whether it's the only or the best; but we can probably tell it might be the only ever made. But he's letting the product sell itself. Nevermind that Leon has sculpting skills. Your customs are just as great, IMO. You can tell you've put forth effort in your customs, and it shows.

Then again, we can probably take it one step further, and talk about Jez's auctions. This man deserves credit. He was the first customizer (that I can remember) that praises other customizers in his auction. That gives the consumer a feeling of appreciation for him because of it. He does this on top of letting his product sell itself (for the most part, right?)

Back to the topic at hand......
you can actually play with this figure
This gives me mixed feelings as well. Most customizers state that their customs are for show only. Mine? I play with mine with no paint rub. But I think this may make others feel 'inferior', and I personally don't think that was what you are trying to do, Jin. But, is there another way to say it, without sounding so 'perfect'?

Again Jin, I don't want you to think I was attacking you; I'm just trying to make civil conversation.
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Wed Oct 26, 2005 3:25 pm

I'm swamped at the bank today so I'll keep my first one short.

I don't think that all the hype is really needed if you sell a great product that lives up to it's description. I take clear pictures, I tell it like it is, you can play with my figures and the paint won't come off any more than it will a factory figure, which is usually never unless you abuse it. But I partially agree with Jin; great advertising can really help to sell a product. But I must ask, why all the hype if it's really as good as the claim?

Why do you claim that your steel claws wolverine can actually be played with (as if it's somehow special) when you haven't painted it? Of course you can play with it, Toybiz intended it to be that way. And I'm not attacking you, it's an honest question.

I'll be back for more :)
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Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:39 pm

SamuRon wrote: over time, people will know if your stuff is good or bad, despite what you tell them.
In a nutshell.

The thing is, no matter how much you initially promote your custom (whether excessively, or anemically), when the customers get that custom into their hands, either the damage is done, or they are sold on your work, and thus, you as a brand. We've all successfully sold customs, so once a few people have your work on their shelves (or even play with them!), you will get repeat bidders regardless of how much you hype your product. To paraphrase what's already been said, the customs-on-eBay community is a pretty incestuous one. I guarantee we've all had common bidders at one point. So there's no magic trick to it. Make good customs.

Presentation is obviously an integral part of selling on eBay, but it isn't the be-all and end-all unless you're just plain ignorant in your item description or post one grainy photo, etc.

That's my 2¢.

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