Bubblews is Bursting

bubblews scam

Unless you are a tad naive it had to have been obvious to you that the Bubblews’ business model was just not viable.  Good on you and the rest of us who made money from it (or ‘milked it’ as I say), but you know the old adage:  If it’s too good to be true…..

The only surprise I felt at the latest Bubblews announcement was that it took so long.  I mean, come on, we all saw it coming!  Paying 1 cent for every view, like and comment was just not sustainable, particularly when you consider that most of the site’s traffic is coming from Asia and India.  Did you know that only 10% of Bubblews’ traffic comes from the United States (see this chart here), with the percentage of traffic from Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand being significantly less, and Europe even less still?  So what does that mean?  It means that advertisers, in this case Google Adsense, have little interest in this kind of traffic and therefore pay very little.

Speaking of traffic….  Most of Bubblews’ traffic is not even external traffic from the Search Engines, and according to recent Alexia statistics the percentage of Search Engine traffic Bubblews receives is only 5%.  The majority of the traffic is internal, from users ‘gaming’ the system with likes, comments and visits. This is not good when you are trying to make money.  Living in a bubble is no way to make money in the long run.

bubblews traffic

Traffic to Bubblews from Search Engine (from Alexa.com)

 

I stopped writing on Bubblews last year (see why here: Is Bubblews a scam?).  Like many good honest writers who chose not to write posts that consisted of little more than drivel such as Good Morning / Goodnight, I failed to receive payment for one of my redemptions.  Some of my writer friends from Squidoo (now hanging out at SquidU) had the same problem.  Initially they got paid their redemptions and then payments started going missing.  Just to be clear, I am talking about quality writers and not plagiarists.  These are writers who own and maintain successful blogs and are recognized for the quality of their writing.

I decided Bubblews was not worth the effort and quit.  Some of my friends chose to stick with them even after falling victim to missing payments (more power to them) and some are still milking Bubblews one year later.  But they are only too aware that it will come to an end and therefore know better than to spend hour after hour on the site.  A classic case of insuring you don’t put all of your eggs in one basket!  I am glad that I never made the mistake of relying on Bubblews solely for my income, as like most of my writer friends, I own and write on several blogs as well as other platforms.  This gives me the security of knowing that if one goes down the drain all is not lost.

I seriously doubt Bubblews will be around much longer, and quite frankly, I am surprised they have survived as long as they have in the first place.  With the percentage of the writers from the USA and UK being as small as it is the money will dwindle fast.  Don’t forget the backlog of payments still to be made, some dating back 30 days or more.  I foresee a lot of missing payments and lost redemptions in the future, particularly for those who do not reside in the USA.  Bubblews simply does not have the cash flow to pay everyone.

Many Bubblews users spend countless of time on that site, everyday.  In just a few short days or weeks the bubble will burst and those people will be left with nothing to show for all of the time invested.  Can you imagine how much better off they (and perhaps you) would have been if they had chosen to invest that time working on their own websites and blogs instead?

Let me give you one piece of advice:  Backup all your posts NOW and prepare to move your good content elsewhere.

I do feel sorry for the honest writers who drank the Bubblews Kool-aid, but seriously, when it’s too good to be true…….

 

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It Really Is Not Too Late To Design Zazzle Christmas Products

Zazzle Christmas Products

Christmas angel and shepherds card

Every year I find myself falling into the same predictable pattern: in the height December, while Christmas is front and center in everyone’s minds, I say to myself,”OK, next year I definitely start adding Christmas products in my Zazzle store early in the summer, so they have time to gain some momentum”; once October quickly rolls back around and it is Halloween that starts to play on our minds, I always find myself saying the same thing, “ah darn, I am late…again”. I know I cannot be the only one to do this and I want to reassure others that even though I may intend to start earlier and inevitably fail to do so, I still usually manage to do well anyway with my Christmas creations.

Think positive and reap the rewards of a good design.

So what if we are late again? That shouldn’t stop us from giving our Christmas ideas as much love and attention as we can. Go ahead, make the most of the autumn season and never think it’s too late for success – my experience has proved otherwise. If you want a prime example, how about the fun Christmas pig I designed last year that was a big hit with my consumer base and the fact that I sold a ton of wrapping paper and Christmas cards with that pig design on it, even though I uploaded it late in October. A good design uploaded in October will sell better than a poor design uploaded in June.

christmas pig wrapping paper

My Christmas pig design on wrapping paper

The best place to start with a design to ensure a high volume of sales is with the big 3 sellers: cards, wrapping paper and ornaments. We never have too many cards or too much paper on hand for those last minute gifts. Once you have established your cute character or quirky image on these must-have items you can expand the range with other products available on Zazzle for additional sales.

People LOVE using matching stamps when they send a Christmas card so don’t be shy about adding “design available on postage stamps” on your card description and vice versa for a quick impulse buy.

Also, did you know that you can now put your own edible design on top of sugar cookies, shortbread and even brownies. Yes real cookies, freshly baked! They are expensive BUT with the right design they could be a worthwhile venture and you may be surprised by the profits. Don’t forget that winter is the season of office and corporate parties as well as hostess and teacher gift dilemmas. Some people have the money to spend on these items, they just need to see your beautiful and original cookies!

personalized christmas cookies

One of my Christmas cookie design

Once a design is established, the choice of additional merchandise is up to you. Don’t forget that because Christmas designs are seasonal, many people are shy buying expensive products that they can’t really use all year around. Personally, I feel that napkins, mugs, plates and stickers are worth adding because they make great party supplies and can be bought in bulk for many guests. But other items such as cases and skins can be ignored.

A great product list is a must, whether you start in June or October, but you also need to promote the design and products to make these sales.

As long as you manage to find the middle ground between under-promotion and spamming, promoting your Zazzle products shouldn’t be too difficult. The first step is to head to the Zazzle forum and post in a relevant thread in the “Zazzle Merchandising Team” and “show me” sub-forums; however, your greatest promotional friends are blogging and social media. Use your blog, post links on Facebook and Twitter and, if you write on Hubpages or other content websites, use your products as images.

Niche and focused Pinterest boards are ideal but do NOT pin only your own products; instead, take the time to find LEGITIMATE related content that can be used to help promote the theme and style. Lots of spammers pin cute images and then link them to their spammy site or worse, porn sites and counterfeit designer items sale pages. Make sure you check out those urls before pinning on your well curated boards.

Head to Viralwoot for extra Pinterest promotion. It’s free to use and can bring some good repin action.

It really is not too late to design Zazzle Christmas products and to get them noticed, so get designing, think about the ideal product range – from cards to cookies – and take the time to work on some tasteful promotion on social media and blogs. Through these three steps you should find just as much success by starting now as you would have if you started in summer. We will never break this cycle so let’s embrace it and make the most of it instead.

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How to Make Money With Retail Arbitrage

Retail arbitrage can be a good way to supplement your main source of money with additional income streams? If you are a person who loves to shop and bargain hunt, retail arbitrage is one way to bring in some bucks on the side. It will work even if you do this part-time.

What Is Retail Arbitrage?

Arbitrage basically means, “buy low, sell high.” More specifically, it is the practice of making a profit by taking advantage of a price difference between two different marketplaces. In retail arbitrage, you find local sources for bargain-priced items, and resell them online in a venue where you can get a higher price.

Is this just a fancy way of saying, “Sell stuff on eBay”? Yes and no. Retail arbitrage is a particular niche in online selling. Many people on eBay, Amazon and other online marketplaces are doing retail arbitrage, but not everyone. And eBay is not the only, or even the best, place to do this these days, depending on what you are selling.

How Does Retail Arbitrage Work?

So here is how you do retail arbitrage. You go to a discount store, say, Big Lots or TJ Maxx. You bring some money and your smartphone with a price scanner app. You dig through the discounted, sale, and clearance items and scan them with your phone, checking the price at the store against typical selling prices at your online marketplace of choice.

For example, suppose there is a popular brand of toy like Monster High dolls, Littlest Pet Shop or LaLaLoopsy. These product lines have dozens and dozens of items, some of which go in and out of stock pretty quickly — and there are also kids and collectors out there who simply have to have every one of them. You find a Monster High toy on sale, and check the selling prices on Amazon. The sale price where you are is $7.99, but the lowest selling price on Amazon is $19.99. If you buy it here, and sell it through Amazon’s Marketplace, you can potentially make almost $10.00 profit after expenses and fees! Based on how much you think you can sell it for, how quickly it will sell, and how easy or difficult it will be to ship, you decide that you will buy this toy and re-sell it, and into your cart it goes.

If you love shopping, this is the fun part, also know as “sourcing” or “scouting.” Once you have made your purchases, you move on to selling your items, and making your money.

Where and How Do I Sell?

One of the easiest ways to do retail arbitrage is through Amazon’s “Fulfillment by Amazon” (FBA) program. You set up a seller account through Amazon, enter the product codes for the items you are selling, and Amazon gives you a label to attach to each item and a shipping address to send it to. You pack up the items in a box and send them to the fulfillment center. Amazon takes it from there. Your products are stored in Amazon’s warehouses under your name until someone purchases them, then Amazon packs them, ships them, and deposits the money in your seller account. Amazon subtracts their fees and transfers the rest of your seller account money to your personal bank account every other week.

You do not have to store your stock or a ton of shipping supplies at your home. You don’t have to pack individual items and rush off with them to the Post Office or UPS. Best of all, your merchandise is covered by the same satisfaction and delivery guarantees that Amazon offers for their own products, including free two-day shipping for Amazon Prime members!

Amazon FBA is a convenient and popular way to sell new, unopened items or certain types of used items like books, DVDs, and other media. Don’t forget: before you go on a buying spree for food and beauty products make sure you have been approved by Amazon to sell in these categories!

Other used and collectible items can find a better home on Ebay or specialty marketplaces. And for really big items, like cars (yes, people do this with used cars!), your best bet is to sell locally through Craigslist or other venues that reach nearby buyers.

Is Retail Arbitrage Legal?

Absolutely! You are taking advantage of market differences, in the best capitalist tradition. Consider how many people live far from specialty stores like Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, or IKEA, but love their products. Or who may live near those stores and other bargain outlets, but would prefer the convenience of shopping online. These are the people who buy your items.

There is one area where the practice of buying for resale can run afoul of manufacturers’ proprietary agreements, and this is in high-end designer merchandise. To keep the demand (and prices) up for their products, companies like Gucci or Louis Vuitton deliberately make them scarce by making exclusive distribution agreements with retailers in an area. If a manufacturer finds out that you are reselling their items, they can ban you from buying their products, and demand that the online selling venue remove your listings! Because of the prevalence of counterfeits at this level, many online selling locations will not even let you list such items. For this reason, most online sellers steer clear of high-end designer stuff.

How Much Money Can I Make With Retail Arbitrage?

This is not a get-rich-quick scheme by any means. It is a type of hobby income, since you have to really enjoy shopping and digging for bargains. The pace of sourcing and selling can vary considerably throughout the year as well, so the income is not always steady. That said, with good knowledge and good local sources, you can make hundreds and even thousands of dollars a month. There are some people who do this well enough to make a full time living at it, but the majority of sellers do this as a part-time gig.

If you are going to try retail arbitrage, you need to do your research beforehand, and start small. There are plenty of websites, e-books, and YouTube videos out there that explain the process in detail, including all the ins and outs of using Amazon’s fulfillment program. There are even fee-based subscription services that provide daily updates on items going on sale at Wal-Mart, Target, and other big box and online retailers.

The best way to do this is to pick a niche where you already know something about the brands available, and what typical selling prices are. Your niche can be books and media, toys, cooking equipment, or pretty much anything you know about and enjoy shopping for. Some sellers specialize in medical supplies, fishing equipment, or even closeout beauty products — it is amazing what devotees of a particular type of lotion or makeup will pay to get the last of a discontinued item! Many sellers start out in one niche and add new ones or drop old ones as they expand their knowledge of what sells well and what is easy to source in their local area.

You will make some mistakes. Many items are languishing in clearance aisles and bargain outlets because no one wants them, or because they are low quality and cheap. It takes research to separate the garbage from the arbitrage. There is a learning curve, but if you get a thrill from the quest for items to sell, and turning your bargains into profits, the learning process is a fun challenge and not a depressing chore.

By far the best season for selling your arbitraged items is the year-end holiday season. There are more people buying and more demand for scarcer items, so prices are higher. If you want to be ready to make some real money in November and December, start building your arbitrage business in the spring and summer so you have things down to a routine by fall. This also will give you a chance to build a track record and gather favorable feedback in your chosen selling venues.

Finally, be flexible and keep learning about various niche markets. Sources can dry up, and profitable items can become unprofitable if the market becomes flooded with them and prices drop. However, there will ALWAYS be items out there that online buyers will pay a premium price for, and there are ALWAYS sellers, be they retail stores, thrift stores, or your neighbor having a yard sale, who want to simply rid themselves of merchandise and don’t care about seeking the highest profit for it.

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5 Broken Things to Sell on eBay

Broken things to sell on ebay

Broken things to sell on eBay for profit

One of the great things about eBay is that you can find just about anything for sale. On the seller side, you can reach out to millions of potential customers to sell a vast range of goods. Even broken items, or those with missing parts can have value.

Collectors often need original parts to complete a piece. There are also people who make a living buying and repairing broken electronics, small appliances, and many other things. Some things are also just so valuable that even in terrible condition there is still a demand.

Here are five broken things to sell on ebay:

  • Board Games: Not all board games are worth the time and effort. Rare and popular board games can still bring the bidders missing pieces. In many cases, it’s best to part out the pieces of board games missing pieces. Some game pieces are also in demand for crafting.Here are a few examples of board games worth selling incomplete or parting out. Crafters love Scrabble tiles. Some special edition Monopoly player tokens sell well. Out of print special editions of popular games may still have value parted out, like some of the Lord of the Rings branded games. See this article: Rare Board Games to Sell on eBay
  • Vacuum Cleaners: A broken plastic Bissel, Hoover or Dirt Devil won’t be worth a whole lot, even parted out. The canister of some models might be worth $20-30, but don’t expect a bidding war as they’ll likely be very slow movers.The vacuums that can bring in good money, even not working, are higher end. Some of the better brands are Rainbow, Kirby, Royal, Dyson, and Roomba. Of course, some models of each brand are in greater demand. Depending on time consideration and mechanical inclination, some vacuums may bring more money by selling individual parts. It will take longer to sell all the parts than the whole vacuum, though.
  • Coffee Makers: People love their coffee. Some even need their morning coffee. It’s a huge market. Many coffee makers are quite expensive. People don’t necessarily want to replace them when they stop working, so they look for parts. Other people don’t want to deal with the hassle and become a great source for inventory.Some brands that can bring higher prices include De’Longhi, Saeco, and Jura. Even the more common coffee makers by Mr. Coffee, Krups, Keurig, and others can sell. Low end coffee makers might not be worth the trouble, but some of the parts might be. People need replacement carafes, filter holders, and water tanks, among other things. But don’t expect those parts to fly out the door. They’ll probably sit for a while.
  • Video Game Systems: While non-working video game systems rarely command high prices, there are enough of them out there to make it up in volume. The newest systems, the most popular older systems and the rarest systems are in greatest demand. Some systems even sell for the same price in either untested or tested and non-working conditions.Some of the systems worth selling in non-working condition include the various Gameboys, NES, Nintendo Famicom, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, PlayStation 2-4, Xbox 360 and One, Atari Jaguar, Commodore Amiga, Colecovision, Sega Genesis Nomad, Sega Dreamcast, and Sega CD.
  • Jewelry: A lot of broken jewelry, especially gold and silver, still has enough value to sell on eBay. Even costume jewelry can be worth selling damaged.With the rise in precious metals prices over the last few years, there are many places that advertise that they buy gold and silver. Well, chances are the prices they offer are lower than can be garnered by selling on eBay.For simple gold and silver jewelry without expensive precious stones, they will generally sell based on weight. Most sellers use a gram scale. Also, be sure to specify the purity. Are the pieces 10k, 14k, 24k, sterling, 950 or coin silver?Broken costume jewelry is usually best sold in lots. Lots can be completely mixed or organized by color, designer, type, period or some other method. There are many people who buy broken costume jewelry for crafting or creating new jewelry. Including the terms “crafts”, “jewelry making”, “repair” and similar to get more traffic from those kind of buyers.

Sell That Junk!
These are just a few things that can still bring in money even if they’re broken or otherwise not working. Hopefully these ideas can also inspire further ventures of salvaging goods for new life and make some money in the process.

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