Description: Join our half.com team to ask questions of the half.com staff. Hosted on the half.com discussion board, this online event is free to all members. At noon, we will open up this thread for folks to post questions and comments to. (Due to privacy concerns, we won't be able to address specific account questions.)
Re: The Brown Bag Lunch email sent to you on Wednesday, September 28
In addition to the earlier email I sent you relating to the cancelled August Brown Bag Lunch, there is a long list of further concerns and suggestions posted on the site under the thread title, Brown Bag Vol. 4 (http://forums.ebay.com/db1/thread.jspa?threadID=1000345956&tstart=0&mod=1159135082869).
In an attempt to save time, I would again urge you to start the September BBL with a post of answers to those questions and the summary contained here.
The latest example of failure to communicate was the scammer situation. The discussion board became aware of the problem in early September, but the site never did acknowledge the problem. The “We’re working on it” on another board wasn’t enough and Gary Brigg’s numbers manipulation was just insulting.
a. Time and again buyers stated they had just “stumbled” across the discussion board and the help available there. What are you going to do to make it easier for buyers and sellers to find help with their systemic site problems?
b. Why is it taking so long for the site to see it has a problem? The board is a great tool for heads up on problems but doesn’t seem to be used.
c. On the book board, you listed yourself as part of the Team. Here, you list yourself as the Staff. Are there any other Staff assigned to this site? Who are they and what are their duties? What are your specific duties? (Not job title) If you are in place only to deal directly with sellers like Milde, Betterworld, and Casacaiman, then most of the folks on the discussion boards would be better off posting about ice cream than about how to deal with scammers.
d. The change on listing Book Club Editions seem to just pop out of the blue. When you are considering a change, could it be pre-posted here?
e. Also the communication between buyer and seller. The scammer situation was aggravated by lack of response from sellers after the sale. When buyers e mailed their sellers to confirm an order that was a long time in transit, they often received no reply. This raised the cry of scammer even when the book had not been in shipment for any length of time.
There’s a whole thread devoted to the problems of the catalog and its many errors.
a. What are you doing to prepare for the new 13 digit ISBN’s? Amazon already recognizes them, but not Half.
b. The MUZE catalog fails to recognize so many editions and mis-catagorizes so many more, that it has been noted you’re actually driving away sellers and limiting the buyer’s selections. Possibly this is because MUZE’s CEO puts books fourth on their list of priorities? What plans, if any, are there to get a real book catalog instead of MUZE?
c. A number of posters would like to see the opportunity to sell Book Club and Music Club editions if only under Acceptable. Like wise some home schoolers would love to see the return of Teacher editions. Ebay has the ability to create listings for items materially different than the catalog, why not Half?
Our problem du jour. This hurts us all. Even the non-textbook sellers.
a. What changes are proposed prior the next Textbook season?
b. What general security changes are proposed to limit the damage and help identify potential problem sellers?
4. E Mail
a. When is the e mail to the buyer going to stop referring to “expedited” shipping as “express”?
b. Many reports of sellers not getting “You’ve made a sale” e mails. Not all are dumping the notices as spam. Any updates on the fix? As a subtopic, how many scammers are just lazy sellers who don’t check their sales page? Maybe it’s time to bring back order confirmation.
c. How can you make it easier to contact a seller prior to a purchase to insure the book is actually the one that the buyer wants? And add to that a penalty for sellers who don’t respond to after the sale emails. Many complaints this time about buyers emailing sellers multiple times, finally threatening to file a claim and only then being told that their book was no longer in stock and they would be refunded.
d. A simple change might also help during textbook season. From the order: Orders shipped via Media Mail typically take between 4 to 8 days to arrive. In some instances, Media Mail shipments will take as long as 12 days to arrive.
No where do they make reference to business days which are much more realistic than just 4-8 days nor is there any mention that the seller may take three business days to actually mail the item. Many students saved a few bucks on shipping and didn’t get their books until after the start of class. Maybe a floating delivery date in the email indicating the normal delivery date after shipping, the normal delay range and the “If you have not received your order by…” claim date?
e. There are still requests to make the packing slip from the sales email easier to use and printable as one page.
When you’re done with this list, could you start on the rest of the August questions?
Every other site has a notice on the home page about upcoming maintence schedules and unplanned events. It would be wonderful if you would acknowledge problems as you created them or became aware of them.
Q Router problem: Why did it take so long for Half to even recognize this? The discussion board recognized it and had a solution before you even noted it.
A I’m so sorry that there was a delay in getting the information to you all. Sometimes I hesitate to post incomplete information, for fear that there might be new information that would be helpful to include or that the information I’ve got is not 100% correct. So, as much as I want to get you all information as soon as I have it, I sometimes need to hold off to make sure the information is complete and correct.
Q It would be very helpful to have the item SKU listed within the notification email that is sent out when someone orders an item. Half is the only marketplace that doesn’t have the SKU listed in their emails.
A Thanks for the suggestion – we are working on getting this done. It’s taking longer than I would have hoped. Thanks for your patience.
Here is my Ideas:
I think the Bulletion Board needs improvement
1. Allows Posters to delete Threads they posted
2. Catagories to post in(Instead of just 1)
3. Show how many users here looking and who they are.
4. Lets you look at all the posts a single user has posted
5. Shows how many messages a person has posted
Q Another on-going problem is the failure of You’ve Made a Sale emails to reach sellers. A simple fix might be to change the Seller Instructions to read that the Seller will be notified of a sale on their Sales Page and that email confirmations may or may not be sent.
A Thanks for the suggestion. We did have a problem with a bug causing the emails not to go out, but that has been fixed. I’m sorry for the hassle there.
Q A cheap and easy promotion, Emails to customers that haven’t used Half.com in a specific period of time like 6 months. In the e-mail, it would state what the buyer had purchase X product and that if they were looking for other similar product, Half could help to find them. Q Half.com could do an advertising campaign like this. They must have all of their past customers in a database. E-Mail would be a very cheap way to promote this site. There must be a percentage of their past customers who are reluctant to buy from this site because of the past computer glitches. If they have customers who haven't purchased for a long time, give those customers a promotion to try Half.com again.
A I think this is a great idea and will work with our marketing team to see what can be done here.