Well, this is fun, an old interview and write up on Addoway and Founder Fred Nijm! We love Addoway and so want to help it get back to its strong and rightful place in the marketplace. Maybe this will help all of us see what we can do to make that happen and soon!
Addoway Seeks to Create Trust-Based Online Shopping Experience
Leveraging Facebook to Help Buyers Find Reliable Sellers
By Mitchell York
Why would anyone want to create yet another shopping site on the web? For Fredrick Nijm, 31-year-old founder of Addoway.com, the answer is what it is for many (most? all?) entrepreneurs: "We started it to change the world."
Addoway, founded in 2010, is working on leveraging Facebook's "social graph," the application that developers use to tie into Facebook members' profiles and buying patterns. Nijm describes the company this way: "Addoway is an online marketplace that helps you buy with your friends and merchants you can trust. Our mission is to guide you to the most trustworthy shopping experience imaginable. Through our complete integration with Facebook's Social Graph, we recommend merchants your friends have purchased from in the past and merchants that your friends know personally. And by accessing a seller's reputation, credibility and influence scores, we offer an inside look into the seller before you buy. Making this information readily available, we are able to reduce the anxieties associated with marketplace shopping and allow you to make more confident buying decisions."
The competition Addoway faces is daunting. Among others, tt competes with eBay on fashion, electronics and other commodity items and Etsy on crafts and handmade goods.
He says his biggest mistakes have been:
Not shipping: "Taking too long to come out with a feature, because we wanted it to be as perfect as possible. The problem is that it will never be perfect and you will always be adjusting and pivoting all of the time. Get it out there and see what people think."
It gets worse: "We didn't realize that there were going to be more bad days ahead of us than good days. You have to be beyond strong to run your own business. You have to be dedicated, passionate, resilient, and take criticism with a grain of salt. Some feedback needs to be taken and others ignored, but which is which?"
PR doesn't make everything okay: "Thinking we had to get featured in TechCrunch orMashable to have a chance. Well, we got featured and we realized it's just a small piece of the overall pie. A very small piece." .....
And his best decisions:
Define a niche: "Sticking to our core focus on making Addoway all about trustworthy shopping. Everyone constantly told us to go after a niche market like collectibles because it's easier to grow that way, but we decided to follow our gut and go with it -- and it's working." ...read more
OK, so what can we on Addoway do to help get all of us back on a higher Sales Track?
UPC or MPN Codes on listings -- Done that, still not working
Good Photos --- Done, not working
Accurate, Succinct Descriptions - Yep, not working
Good Customer Service, Feedback - Uh Huh, not helping
Social Media - well Twitter, not on FB, but get lots of help from an array of 'friends' there
Blogging - some, and love, but is a labor of love with little return if any on the investment...well at least as far as Addoway sales go. (It absolutely helps our sales on other sites, as Google points people to the stronger sites...our opinion only.)
We took a decent webinar last week on SEO/Search Engine Optimization, Cassini (eBay's search engine...whose by the way Lead Manager quit recently going for greener, probably better fields...), briefly hit on Amazon's Search Engine and the Google/eBay Spat/Family Feud. Why are these important to Addoway? Well, the tips we will list in a minute about filling in EVERY trait asked for will help your Addoway listings in Google's new Algorithm...and the truth is that the eBay/Google spat impacts all marketplaces. Google claimed that some of ebay's feeds were spam (as they are;o)...and so held spreading them up for ransom (my sister's opinion/words) so that ebay would have to part with some money to oil the pathways to all the Google Spiders to do their work/spread the data.
Almost all eBay sellers had a sudden and significant drop in traffic and sales because of the e-G disagreement...officially sales overall were off about 30%, but for some they were 70-90% down.
Think of Addoway as a Tributary to the larger sites, as eBay and Amazon. When the main waterways go dry, so, too do the smaller markets. Amazon, as you know, has its own tools to help drive traffic and sales...so it is less dependent on/less easily perhaps held hostage by Google. The good news is that the water is seeping back into the main avenues, so apparently some differences have been resolved.
Here are some notes from the webinar given by SocialSandi.com You may sign up for her webinars, too, on her site. Please note that you know what works best for you, so please just use her and others' ideas/tips when you think it may enhance your marketing efforts.
Her main points:
~ 3 Pillars of Google: Organize, Accessible, Useful
~ Avoid 'Bump' sites as Google will penalize you in search results.
~ Don't Key Word Dump -- loading key words at beginning of listing
~ Don't use/repeat title in your description
~ Don't use NWT or OOAK as they are only familiar to ebay, etc sites.
~ Gallery picture is most important
~ 1st 40-50 characters are main ones read by search engines (all, ebay, google, bing, etc.)
~ The Cassini/eBay search will count Defect Rate against all sellers a LOT on Aug 20. Trust, Value and Relevance (to what buyer puts in search block) are key to your stuff showing up. One good thing is that no one will ever again be #1 100% of the time in searches;o) Cassini reads the titles and the pictures (so name them better) and rarely the description
~ Don't show all inventory on ebay as Cassini counts sold to unsold ratio in searches
~ Don't go back and change everything..just use her tips on listings going forward.
~ Fill in EVERY Traits option eBay offers/has a drop down menu for, as Google and Cassini love all those facts. Unknown is to be entered if you do not know or have a trait that they want.
~ Strip out all Payment, Shipping, Policy statements in the description - have those in the places eBay has above the description. Some sellers have policy boxes, all will soon (like Condition, Color) etc. Also strip out most templates/graphics, no videos, YouTube or gif animated art.
~ Don't use bullet points, rather short sentences, all lined up (another course said everything left justified, not centered.) Amazon, of course, requires bullet points at the beginning of their listings;o)
~ Don't use paid Buying links - (but we think they do help--like @JDsGiftShack, the Gypsies @JuanitaMart47, @MelangeTulsa, etc. who tweet and post on pinterest, FB, etc. for a small fee.) She also said that tweeting or socially promoting listings gets you a larger number of hits, but that those usually just glance and leave. Google and eBay like views that spend more time looking at your listing. (We strongly disagree with her on this point, as know it helps our sales when we do use these services, and most helpful of all is our tweeting others' items..to show that we are beyond our niche in connectivity. In addition, the number of hits/views attracts the spiders...several of whom latched onto our Bonanza NeillsDeals site for weeks, with 100,000-140,000 views a week. That lights the tunnels for others to better find you and your listings...it gets people on the bandwagon....our opinion.)
~ When using Pinterest, use the introductory sentence in the description, not just the title.
~ Invest in Terapeak.com on eBay or learn (the not easy) free Google.com/KeywordPlanner. Or enter some key words on the eBay search and the most used search words will be first on the list...to help you craft your title as effectively as possible.
~ Do not use Instagram to promote your things, as links in posts will NOT help in SEO.
~ Hummingbird is the Google Algorithm - It is precise and fast, comprised of over 200 algorithms, which are ALWAYS CHANGING! --- So we must adapt and change, too!!!
Please feel free to add your ideas on what works, does not, and especially as it applies to Addoway!