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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Business as usual on Bonanza: the gift that keeps on giving

As many of you know, I once had an Oshun Spirit storefront on Bonanzle (since re-branded as Bonanza.com). I no longer sell there because I cannot support the aura, or energy, that surrounds the venue. To make a long story short, their business values and ethics are simply not in alignment with my own. Just as I purchase Fair Trade chocolates and coffee (among other products) to provide a fair wage, a quality working environment, a valuing of identity, and a desire to care for and empower people and their communities in developing nations, I cannot support any organization, or developing venue, that degrades and manipulates their own community and its members. 

But the purpose of my blog today is not to tear down Bonanza or list their failings. Yesterday, through their actions and reactions they proved once again that with their heads in the sand,  they will be the masters of their own demise. In fact, I will take this time to bless my experience with them and thank them for the lessons they have offered me. I am truly grateful for the unfolding of events which prompted me to look closely what is really happening there, and in the world market at large. 

Yesterday, for me, watching the events of the day play out was like receiving a gift of comfirmation. It was the redemption of my intuition and my knowing that if I continue to follow my heart and don't fall prey to what others might want to convince me into thinking, I am, and will continue to be blessed with abundance and joy.

In hindsight I believe that my higher purpose there was not to help build and sell on their new ecommerce venue at all... rather it was to gain an understanding of what my business values truly are, and to evolve my own business "consciousness." Perhaps, so that I might have an understanding to offer to my own clients who wish to evolve their passions and dreams into spiritually aligned, service-oriented businesses... experience is the best teacher after all. Because my clients and customers are in a process of shifting their worldview to a more spiritual and ethical one, they naturally, eventually, shift the way they look at doing business, too. 

We know the world is changing in many ways. There is great suffering, but there is also great joy in the wake of these shifts. Many people are waking up and reassigning meaning in their lives. Beyond earthquakes, volcanoes, and solar flares, the electro magnetic fields which sustain all activities, including business and personal relationships, are changing. I recently read a quote that sums it up quite succinctly:

"Practice business as usual and you will likely have no business to speak of in the new era of authentic business."

Indeed. Now, there is nothing intrinsically un-spiritual about making money. An adventurous, creative, and self-reflective approach to business can have benefits all-round. Believe me, I enjoy the fun things that money can buy! But, both success and failure can lead to self-awareness, spiritual growth and wisdom... which money cannot buy. In fact, I believe that "business" can be, and should be, a deeply moving spiritual practice.
I know that people and organizations with higher thoughts and vibrations stimulate others to higher thoughts. That's how we facilitate positive change. It starts with you... but it goes on forever... you know, the ripple effect.

I came, in part, to work on the Bonanzle marketplace because I have long embraced the idea of "giving before receiving" as part of my approach in compliance with the Universal Law of Compensation. But now, I blog.  This simple act gifts prospective clients and customers with ideas, information, and inspiration which they are  seeking, and at the same time helps them feel comfortable about my ability to serve their needs.

But what's really "spiritual" about this approach is that it puts my business in harmony with my soul's divine design for my life. Running around after a buck doesn't sound like a life plan to me. Getting in tune with my inner purpose and making it work to improve the lives of people around me, does. And remembering that helped me to move forward.

When you think about it, there is a tremendous amount of time, energy, money, and effort that goes into pretending that things are one way, when they are actually completely different. If your model is efficiency and sustainability, that old model of manipulation and "smoke and mirrors marketing" and endless self-promotion is insanity. Raising the vibration of yourself and your business might prove better marketing. 

If you want your business to make a difference in the world, simply find ways to raise your own vibratory energy, as individuals and in your groups. You already know how: prayer, meditation, service, giving, time spent in nature, making love... being loving, having fun! Your customers cannot help but to get an energy boost too. They might not know why, but they'll feel lighter, happier and more at ease. They will want to be around you, and use your products and services because your energy feels so good! 

I know that once I remembered the vision I held for my "divine" life, and started to follow it in my everyday business dealings, I found that my business decisions became easy and intuitive, heartfelt, and clients were magnetically attracted to my sense of "sureness of purpose."  I immediately began reaping abundant rewards from the higher energy seeds I had sown. Simply by leaving Bonanza I stopped the bleed of the tremendous amount of time, energy and effort that went into pretending things were different that I knew them to be in my heart. Once I got heart-centered again, I started making money again, effortlessly.

I must say also, that like any spiritual pursuit that leads to growth, having a transparent, service-oriented,  and authentic business model will challenge you. Synchronicity and it's inspirational lessons would lead to my booth's functionality being manipulated for almost two months, limiting my ability to do any business at all. I was censored, and finally suspended from the Bonanza forum because I spoke the truth about the experience on behalf of the community of sellers there who remained unaware of the business practices they too were immersed in.

But it is difficult to unsettle the wise man or woman. The ethical maturity of one who approaches life and business with a spiritual perspective is likely to make him/her more settled, confident, and detached than the typical ego-centered, profit driven businessperson. This detachment is not apathy, but the relaxed mindfulness of a person who is able to see that regardless of the ebb and flow of life, and the up and downs of business, that there is something behind it all that is unmoving – the Spirit. 

And, in the end this is the greatest asset for us all as we go about doing business in the marketplace.

May you be blessed!

image credit: mousemusings.com


  1. Thank you for just writing honestly...it's so refreshing and so helpful for many others...healing, validating, inspiring.
    I don't especially like surprises anymore...I've changed..I don't like tricks or mysteries that affect me or my biz. I like Transparency.
    I have been feeling "less than" so much, while trying to maneuver thru the site workings, politics, policies and wondering what is the motive? It's tiring. It's tiring to not know exactly what I'm dealing with and who and what I'm in "partnership" with.
    I don't feel like it's productive or "good" to fall into the ebayesque mentality and act like an employee of Bonanza instead of a customer but that's what happens when I'm constantly wondering what will come next.
    I also believe that in my life, it's most important to Trust and Understand whoever and whatever I'm dealing with. Whoever I allow to have control over my business, I Must Trust implicitly.
    But, as I'm a believer that Biblical scripture is just full of life instructions from my Father God, I have to remember that partnerships are warned against...as much as I love partnerships, there's just so many problems that can arise. I Have had good and fulfilling and prosperous partnerships...well partially or for most of the time, but there always lies in some slight issues....and that is where I have problems with Bonanza.
    What and Who are they today? It has changed for me...so, I have to ask, "What can I control?" in this partnership? I can post facts, do business and work hard to be of the utmost honest and honorably transparent with the management of Bonanza and my customers, and that's all.
    I can't control who or what they are but I'd sure like to know in my heart the answer.

  2. Pam, I think it is in our nature to give the benefit of the doubt... but there is also a wise saying, "when someone shows you who they are, believe them the FIRST time." Your heart knows when trust has been lost. And you are correct, they should be working for you, not the other way around. That my friend, was the greatest manipulation of all time!

  3. great blog oshun as always

    yep, we should believe them the first time we see their true face.. but, we do tend to want to believe the better.. especially when we have invested so much time and emotion ... it takes longer for some than other... some of us have very trusting natures and want to believe the best in someone or something we have faith in.. it often takes a lot to realize that your trust, time, work and caring has been misplaced and misused... and when you realize it you are very hurt

    also coming to mind is "fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me"

    but hope springs eternal

    being involved with a business like bonz is akin to being in a bad relationship.. you started with high hopes in what you thought was mutual respect and concerns, you keep looking for the best and even giving excuses for them when things are not quite right, you just do not want to give up the time and effort cause you are sure it can still work... until finally one day you realize that you have wasted your time and energies.. it does mess with your emotions, frame of mind and overall wellbeing

    I think bonz has broken a trust .. one many gave to them from the time the site started.. I think all was well for the first year and then the direction changed... I have my own thoughts but can not say for sure if something changed along the way or if the intent from the begining was not what we all thought

    but, over the past year and a half things are certainly not what we had all hoped for

    the site uses it's members to promote the site and the site does not promote the members

    they want money for memberships yet do not listen to the things we need to help us be successful and want to charge for some things that should be available to all members

    working for us??? they sure should be, you bet .. we are their CUSTOMERS .. they seem to forget that

    I am not sure what the ultimate goal is they have for the site.... but something needs to change if they want to keep their customers

  4. Thanx Pugs!

    Well, life is a series of hellos and good-byes, attaching, connecting, and often separating and then detaching, disconnecting and letting go. Not all connections are healthy ones.You are right: toxic, unhealthy relationships fueled by disrespect, leave us feeling depleted rather than energized and valued, and many Bonanzlers feel that way – for good reason.

    It's hard when we find ourselves having made a relational mistake in both our personal and professional lives. But we have to honor our self respect, and then find a way to accept and transform that mistake into a growth opportunity. For me, leaving Bonanza was taking a necessary loss on my investment to make room for all the new that awaited me. In the end, it's all good! And all the best to you!

  5. Great post. As I was reading I had to admit that I did learn things from the experience of selling on Bonanza, good and bad, but both have enabled me to move on to where I am now which a pretty great place so far, so I am thankful for that.

    I am also thankful that a few friends emerged from it with me and we place no conditions on each other, just acceptance for what and who we are.

  6. Thank you Wilma. I agree, as an independent seller I was attracted to the marketplace concept primarily because I like to brainstorm and share experiences with other sellers, to learn and grow.

    I met lifelong friends from the earliest days of Bonanzle and I know I can count on them for honest advice and a friendly reality check today. I said it before and I'll say it again: It's the values, not the venue, that binds! And on that note, it might be time for a peach margarita. Share one with me?

  7. I'll take one of those peach Margies Oshun, thanks honey :)

    Same for me on the relationships. Best and only real thing I got from Bonanza was Dungeoneers in my heart - I love you guys! And I'll always have your backs!

    One day they will stop blaming sellers for errors and issues on the site. One day I also hope they stop pretending those don't exist. And one day - oh please - I hope they stop using clear cache and cookies as every answer. What is broken at Bonanza WON'T be repaired by clearing cookies and cache.

    But I do thank you Oshun, once again for a spot on excellent blog report and moreover for reminding me that even such sad negatives can result in positives. It's all in how we look at it and handle it when it comes our way.

    Will the new memberships "help" Bonanza. No. That will take topnotch technical help. IMHO it isn't there yet.

  8. Oh - I failed to put my name on this post (above) Deb - aka jamiro. Not trying to be anonymous.

  9. I feel the thunder of hoove-beats coming this way... and all is well.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Wednesday morning rolls around and the panel advertising 5x more sales with platinum membership still in place. An oversite? If they didn't want it there it would be gone. This is the trust issue in full view. http://www.bonanza.com/memberships

  12. LOL and look at the bottom of that page (http://www.bonanza.com/memberships) they have recommendations from other members and the thing just now became available so how can those people know it's worth it? AMAZING

  13. "Although gold dust is precious, when it gets in your eyes it obstructs your vision."

    Hsi-Tang Chih Tsang,Zen master

  14. Beautiful. So glad you do business the way you do; from the heart. ♥

  15. Thank you Lisa. I hold every single purchase to my heart before I pack to send it off with a blessing and the intention that the recipient finds it to be more than an "object" upon receipt, but experiences a "moment" that inspires them in the direction of their dreams.

  16. Marla said...

    Susan I so appreciate your writting and clearity expressed so well at this time of my disappointment. I can not add anything much to what has been written already.

    My hope, faith, energy and time was put into this upstart site for a dream hoping for a successful sales site that was built on a foundation of integrity. I actually thought my input could help the site since I have track record sales of many years and a following..."they" were green in that department. I was not as active as many of the posters but I was very supportive bringing others to the site and being a cheerleader....until about 1 year ago when it was evident that Bonanzle was heading in another direction and used the founding members only for their upstart process.

    What I gained was knowledge of what I want/don't want in a site. I have remained active on eBay all this time and do not want another eBay/Bonanza.

    What I am thankful for is the many friendships I have gained there. I have great respect for those that refuse to be walked on/used any longer. We can all choose again...even Bonanza can re-direct/resurrect....for that I am thankful...more choices.

  17. Thank you Marla. Indeed, that hearty group of sellers that built Bonanza from the ground up arrived from ebay with expertise, community, and buyers! But instead of listening to those sellers and giving them the tools they needed, mgmt saw fit to feed off of their reputations and existing base while they added (shoddy) features that did nothing to help sellers or enhance their customers experience. The site still lacks basic functionality. And it would appear from the recent press that they have succeeded in running off last of their base.



    I agree Marla, there are many alternatives and I am sure the smartest developers of these start-ups have learned "what not to do" by watching Bonz implode. A site has to make it right for the sellers (their customers) first. Bonz mgmt never got that concept, but someone else will.

    Chin up! It's a new day and there is a whole world out there beyond Bonanza! And you are brighter, wiser, and better than ever!

  18. I'm one of the old timers, joined Bonanza during the first year they were up and running. My first impression was they needed to advertise for the sellers. That didn't happen, but the support team was great at responding to problems and listening to the members. I thought wow this is great. Over the next two years things started going down hill.

    Little things that didn't seem to amount to much started surfacing. But when you add all those little things together you have a mess.

    Not only do they charge for memberships that are not worth the money you pay, they still do not advertise, and they say with a membership you will get 2 X to 5 X more sales depending on the level of membership.

    That was a crock, it is not the level of memberships that get the sales, it is the level of promoting you do yourself that gets your sales. Hmmmmm, did they tell a lie ?
    How many other lies have they told ?

    I just did some quick searching, and my Artfire Studio came up first when I searched for DigitalDesignsandMore ( my Bonanza did not come up , which is the same name ).
    Are they really feeding your items to google ? Or is your items showing on Google because of YOUR efforts to promote. Hmmmm, is that another lie ?

    I am glad I have been on their venue, because like was mentioned, I have learned from the experience.

  19. Thanx you for posting your thoughts and feelings. Yes, the ad they are running pitching the Platinum Membership states that with it you will get 5x more sales, and Alex admitted that is a false statement. Yet they are still running it today. That they did not JUMP to rectify the "error" speaks volumes. It would seem, according to their business consciousness, that lying to their sellers is not a problem.

  20. Susan, The value we place on those that step forward to move any venture ahead, are those that any business should always keep close. Listening to your customer is key to the success of any business. When listening stops, people question. If all the cash registers and computer were down at Walmart every other day, would we shop there? Of course not. A small example of what happens when key issues are a hindrance to what customers need. Just some of my thoughts.

  21. Thank you for posting. How is it possible that the very sellers that brought their repeat customers, promoted, wrote reviews, lenses, and testimonials, and offered favorable word of mouth publicity – changed their opinion en masse? To neglect a loyal customer base in pursuit of new customers is the kiss of death in any business. Loyalty works from the top down. It is wise to remember that loyalty is built over time through a collection of positive experiences. And equally prudent not to assume that the lack of complaints (by those who have been made afraid to speak out) is equal to a satisfied customer base. The bottom line" Don't treat your customers as if they were expendable.

  22. Today, in spite of site glitches which have prevented sellers from listing, editing, and communicating for a week – and buyers from being able to check out... Bonanza implemented new features which I discovered had some issues on release. I tested the new video toy: in Firefox only the upper left corner displayed. Safari looked good.

    So, after several hours I checked again to see if the new feature was working (friends asking for help, I still give it for free).

    Much to my surprise upon my return visit my profile picture had been replaced by a cartoon unicorn (bad choice boyz, that's energy not to abuse), my banner was gone, and my feedback and testimonials stripped. And guess what: my password no longer works on both Journey Beads and Oshun Spirit.

    Well Bonanzle (a) I sincerely hope you also strip my google, paypal, credit card and other privy info from your books as well. I would hate to be counted among the many that have been billed extra "accidentally" this month (another fun feature Bonanza is rolling out along with 5x more sales for $50)... oh the list is too long to make an accounting.

    Bill and Mark, you are charlatans and cowards and the Goddess will deal with you as she sees fit. But I will thank you, you have served your purpose well.

  23. I am so sorry they did this to you in such a despicable manner with no communication. This is one bad habit I have never seen another site have. I guess if you have an account with them they expect to control your voice on the entire Internet. What a shame for a site that started with such great potential to fall this low.

  24. I have to say that I am still with Bonanza...theres been several times when I just wanted to pack it all up and leave..but I didn't ..giving them the benefit of the doubt that they know more about the business end of things than I do..so I stay..when they changed their name without even letting us know ahead of time I was outraged..I learned about it on facebook...I was so mad...aside from that I don't do very well on Bonanza..and isn;t it us that try to get the word out...we play games in the forums just begging for sales...every now and them someone from the outside will sneak in and buy...hooray I say...but I agree with everyone...its getting old...I know at least 15 people that have gone..many are my friends still..we may have met on bonanza but a friend is a friend...and I'm not giving up my friends just because a site fails us...thanks for the blog Oshun...it was great....

  25. So, do you want to do business with them? It's your choice.

  26. You know I realized over a year ago that this site could care less about us little guys.
    After they refused to do anything about a certain "designer" stealing my template code, I lost all respect for them.
    People can complain about Ebay all they want, but the times I had this problem on Ebay they stood behind me. Bonanza/Bonanzle/whoever they are, would not.
    I was just a nobody anyway, but you guys were part of what drove them. They have treated you with no respect. Sad, it will come back to them oneday.

  27. Today Ina Steiner writes in AuctionBytes: "eBay's new policy on Opened Cases flies in the face of common sense. In fact, I wonder sometimes if eBay has a psychologist on staff advising them of how to demoralize their sellers."


    She makes an observation of questionable business practices, and writes a blog to discuss them. Do you think ebay will hunt her down? They probably have better things to do.

    Meanwhile, right now, on the Bonanza forums management is allowing a discussion and a bit of bashing of this very policy among its members.


    The OP writes: It doesn’t appear that ebay’s announcement today on a new fee structure is going over very well. The largest displeasure is aimed at having FVF’s now include the total price including shipping charges. Once again, they’re playing a shell game and will state that there was no net fee increase. The Ebay Seller Alienation Program (e-sap) continues.

    So it would appear that discussing business practices that drive sellers away is OK, as long as its not their practices. Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

  28. I see in my emails that at 12:50 and again at 1:17 pm Alex Berg attempted to post to this blog and his response for some reason does not stick. It was not deleted. I will post his email in its entirety. Rest assured, censorship is not part of my business model. Alex wrote:

    Alex Berg has left a new comment on your post "Business as usual on Bonanza: the gift that keeps ...":

    (trying my comment one more time since it appears to have not made it through or was deleted. If it disappears again I won't bother trying to repost).

    Hi everyone. Alex Berg here. I want to respond to a few items in this blog post and comments if I may.

    I'm sorry to hear some of the sentiments expressed here, but I respect your opinion. We openly acknowledge that there are, from time to time, bugs on the site as we endeavor to quickly enhance the product. We do emphasize speed over perfection in an effort to make the product better. And while clearing cookies and cache can address some temporary issues we certainly know that it is not a cure all, nor something we should expect our members to do regularly. We too want the site to be stable, predictable, and light on bugs. We also want to improve it rapidly.

    A couple of comments now regarding the revised premium programs. The Plus and Premiere programs were re-branded as Silver and Gold. The programs were largely unchanged with the exception of Gold which had a new feature added so we feel using the testimonials of Plus and Premiere customers is fair and accurate.

    As for the claims regarding the new Platinum program's potential effects on sales and views, we changed the positioning so it is clearer. Given that the program has all the benefits of Silver, Gold (and more) it has the same potential to help drive sales and views as those programs.

    To all of you I say 'thank you.' Thank you for the time you invested in Bonanza and for your feedback. While you may disagree with our tactics from time-to-time we do honor your feedback and consider it constantly.

  29. Well Oshun, I see your opinions were greatly valued. Your booth is now completely gone. Not even the fancy artwork is visible any longer. That certainly was speedy.

  30. Oshun, both your booths on Bonanza have been deleted now. They are gone.. poof.. deleted. I wonder why Bonanza felt the need to delete them for????

  31. Virginia Morgan-BurrMarch 17, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    Susan, your booth is gone on Bonanzle! Red X and....You do not have permission to access the booth requested. If this is your own booth and it hasn't been activated, you must be logged in to view it.

  32. It appears I made a mistake in my last post. When your id is searched on the forum that hideous childlike drawing of the unicorn is showing as your avatar. I am so sorry to see this.

  33. >>>emphasize speed over perfection in an effort to make the product better<<<<

    whenever I got in a hurry as a kid, my grandmother had a saying "more haste less speed, you will spend more time fixing your mistakes than if you would have taken time to do it in the first place"

    she was right and I thank her for a lesson well learned.. cause if I rushed it did take me longer in the long run

    so, I didn't see anything addressing why Susan's booths are gone.. she says she has received notification that she has done anything wrong.. so whatsup with that

    yes avocado.. when people are gone their posts are still on the forum and whatever their last avatar was is what will show

    so, that being said, I wonder how fast it will take to see a generic one in place of the stick unicorn

  34. Thank you for letting me know. Bonanza has not send me any notification. But they are certainly getting their message out LOL!


  35. Oshun I just re read your truthful,sharing blog after 1 year. I think the old saying "time will tell" fits for Bonanza...time has told...some things will never change for the better. Marla