Thursday, March 17, 2011
I just spent a few minutes reading the last comments of my blog post dated Tuesday, March 8.
Thank you for the information. Am I surprised? No. I will accept that those actions are my reward for playing nice with Alex, and that the post created such a dramatic response carries its own message forward.
The unicorn thing was childish. If you visit http://www.facebook.com/oshunspiritstore there are some endearing comments posted about it. After over 900 hits, there is not one comment which supports the business model of degrading your customers. If it was meant to reflect poorly on me, it fell short.
But yesterday's news is today's fish wrapper. Today's news is that Bonanza emphasizes speed over perfection in an effort to make the product better. I can't let it go. They sent it to me. It is the answer to the question I asked time and time again. Thank you!
I will direct you to:
In Bill Harding's own words, he felt that I was "regularly being at odds with our prioritization. "Our" being Bonanzle Management's, and indeed that was true for him. What was true for me is that I wanted to understand why "selling" was not the priority of an e-commerce marketplace.
As a Premier member (in fact I was one of the first Premiere supporters, and I was first to sign up as a member of the BAC, first to hold a chat/auction on Bonanzle, yes I had a vested interest in the sites success) I had access to google analytics which I also had on my website oshunspirit.net, a mirror of the Bonanzle booth to which I directed my .com. Comparing apples to apples, the Bonanzle conversion rates were way, way off, month after month. I might add, I left ebay as a powerseller, so I hadn't just fallen off the turnip truck.
I had many customers emailing that they couldn't check out, and intuitively I knew there had to be even more that were having similar issues that I was not hearing about. So, because I was on Bonanzle to do business, a functional checkout system was a priority. I admit it.
And I cared, not just for me, but because people were suffering. Really suffering, because of it.
Does anyone remember poor Razmear? I tried for 3 weeks to buy multiple items, a wholesale lot, from him and we finally completed the sale off site because he needed that money to keep his electricity on. Such sacrifices to personal financial stability were not unheard of... early adapters that stopped selling on ebay and had no other means would have starved had it not been for the goodwill of other members. I bought a lot of stuff I didn't need because I could. A great community, a bad business plan. Take the emotional component out and you've got dumb.
In April 09, after they introduced Bizzy, the rude robotic personal assistant, I begged that their next project might be to address the barriers to sales and our inability to complete sales on site rather than add further embarrassment to what was already an increasingly embarrassing situation – that is, constantly apologizing for customer's inconvenience. I got a really snarky answer, something about how hip and professional can go hand in hand.
My skin prickled and I knew there was a disconnect. Maybe generational, maybe deeper...
When Bonanzle added widgets instead of addressing the issues, I asked again. When they added syndication and affiliates, I asked again. When they added Twitter and Facebook integration, one more time I expressed that spamming the social networks would do little for the bottom line if the incoming buyers could not navigate the site. Games came and went, handpicked lists became a favorite pass time and then there was a constant stream of booth do-overs to incorporate site upgrades which often upset the apple cart. Lots of busy work to do, games to play, chatty features to ensure stickiness. Of sellers, not buyers.
I couldn't get a buyer to stick, not with widgets, not with Bonanzas, or coupons, or anything else. And I'm sharp.
All the while my website converted (even as I literally ignored it) and Bonanzle did not. Yes, I kept asking for functionality. And I received three answers in perpetual rotation: I had "it" set up incorrectly, my customers were doing it wrong, or I needed to clear my cache.
No, I was not the only one. I am one of many whose voices were silenced for speaking out and questioning the site's prioritization, asking for clarification. But I suppose I was an influencer of sorts and I call it like I see it. And I usually see very clearly. In fact, my predictions about Bonanza run with 100% accuracy. I'm sure someone will testify to that.
In July of '10 I finally put my booth on hold and wrote the blog, http://oshunspirit.blogspot.com/2010/07/bonanzlecom-launches-two-new-games.html. Bill said he was sorry to see me go.
What? I said I wasn't going anywhere, that I would wait for functionality and a return on my investment...
In hindsight I understand that was not what he was hoping to hear.
"They" offered to do a detailed analysis of my booth if I offered it up as a test case. From July 19 - Sept 1 my booth was closed while "they" worked on it to find solutions. I "lost" my images, attributes, traits, shipping, and prices. I was shocked, I thought it was all about the checkout, cart, and shipping profiles. I let them know my booth was GONE, that the fixes were generating unrelated glitches. I received emails that did not address the points made. Over and over again. Then I got it. Oops.
Trashed, not fixed.
I posted in the forum about my experiences, just the facts, backed up by emails, and bmails, and I was censored til 2015. I examined my experience on my blog. Those who responded and shared similar stories were hunted down, suspended, and invited to leave as well..
Well, that's just nasty business no matter how you spin it.
On September 9, management announced that they had " fixed full page new item form zeroing out international shipping that was set as "see description" or "calculated" and fixed shipping profiles not being applied to new items on full page new item form. But there were still problems...
The real problem: They didn't know how to fix the problems.
Then, just a few months ago, Bonanza with a team of new programmers in place, renovated their checkout system because their research showed it needed simplification and buyers were having problems. Bada-bing!
Several weeks ago Bonanza merchants were all over the social networking sites frantic, livid, remarking about the ongoing site functionality issues. They received three answers in perpetual rotation: They had "it" set up incorrectly, their customers were making errors, or they needed to clear their caches. I've been there, done that, I have a point of view...
I wrote a blog. And here you are.
I now sport a Unicorn as an avatar, my booths sport red x's where they once were. And they will say to you through my example, "you may be next."
And I will say to you, may you be blessed!
From Alex' response: "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." Speed over perfection... if haste compromises functionality, many are left wondering how a product gets better.