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The Best Revenge is SUCCESS!
A Great Motivational Moment for eBay Sellers
Three months ago, I thought I'd do something different with a hub by presenting in real time the actual ongoing action with one of my listed auction items on eBay. To make it more interesting and daring, I started my auction off at a penny. This was, in essence, a throwback move to the old eBay era when auctions, not fixed price or Buy It Now listings, ruled the day.
Ever since I joined HubPages in February of last year, I've attempted to build a special niche--a marriage of two passions, if you will--promoting all things eBay on HubPages. This literary community already is home to dozens of eBay writers, but primarily the focus has been on mainstream content mill articles that more often than not replicate a How to Do This... or How to Do That...on eBay template. Don't get me wrong--these are definitely bread and butter type articles that play a significant role in teaching people how to effectively earn an income on eBay. Not only that--they also matriculate well, much better than my creations ever will, with the search engine algorithms.
But I wanted something different.
Actually, what I wanted was something old school.
I wanted to re-introduce the element of human interest stories. My gut feeling was that there were a lot of people out there who truly wanted to try eBay out. But everything they were reading was like polished apples...produced by those who promoted themselves as successful cream of the crop entrepreneurs.
No, what I wanted was to show things that were behind the scenes...the pimples and blemishes underneath the makeup; the tree stump stubble before the five-bladed Gillette Fusion does its early morning precision plowing; the real looks a husband and wife give each other a year after the honeymoon regarding the issue of morning breath...ad nauseam. This way, I reasoned, readers would be able to more readily relate to both the triumph of success as well as the despair of failure.
Even greater was the hope that the perception of failure could itself be turned upside down. In other words, it was my earnest prayer that failure--a concept that I have been most intimately acquainted with in my lifetime--could be viewed as a necessary stepping stone, and not a hindrance at all--in one's ultimate climb to the pinnacle.
Big Fail on eBay!
- 1 Cent Opening Bid for Spider-Man on eBay--What am I...
Establishing integrity as a writer sometimes involves reporting about the bad as readily as the good, especially when it's embarrassing to the author. Here's an interesting example of a writer putting this into practice in real time.
So What Did I Do?
I followed my gut feeling.
Three months ago, my gut was a little bigger than it is now. So when it promoted a strong hunch, I was inclined to listen to the Big Guy.
It was reminiscent of Kevin Costner listening to whispers. List the auction with a starting bid of a penny, and they will come!
Oh, they came alright! Whoever they were, they came in droves.
By the end of the week, there were only 69 views and a couple of watchers.
I searched all over for my gut so I could do a major rant!
But, surprisingly, it was nowhere to be found. Rumor has it that it hitchhiked cross country to a Dunkin Donuts shop somewhere in Connecticut. Mumbling something about drowning its sorrows in New Haven...
Anyway, I'm not going to belabor the point by retelling the story of the Spider-Man Bobblehead fiasco. You can read about it by accessing the link a few inches to the upper right. While it's certainly not a prerequisite for understanding the hub you're reading, it will shed some light on those who feel like mushrooms today.
Okay, so I failed.
And while I kept my word about being true to the human interest angle by publishing the article, it was quite a while before I could get rid of the defeated and embarrassing taste of crow in my mouth.
I determined that the best way to learn from failure is to saddle up the old broncin' buck and have another go-'round.
This time, I came prepared. I'd done some research, and I also picked a product that appealed to at least two major population groups on eBay--sportsmen (specifically, fly tyers and fly fishermen) and beauticians (specifically, hair extension stylists).
Now, at first glance, these two vastly different groups do not appear to have anything in common with each other.
But, hold on, Jethro...there are a thousand naked chickens out there who would beg to differ with you.
Naked chickens? WHAT?!?
I jest, of course, but I'm hinting that the common denominator linking these two groups is something that will raise your hackles.
In fact, that's exactly what the product is...HACKLE!
Whiting Farms Dry Fly Black Saddle Hackle
What in the World is Hackle?
Specific to fly tyers and fly fishermen, hackle refers to the long slender feathers on the neck or saddle of a chicken.
Fine tuning the term even more, the product I chose to put up for a penny auction was a genetically engineered, high quality black rooster saddle. The saddle is the part of a chicken's back just before the tail. A synonym for saddle would be pelt. Each saddle consists of hundreds of hackle feathers.
Fly tyers and fly fishermen utilize hackle liberally in their creation and/or use of fishing flies. Fishing flies are handmade synthetic lures. The particular saddle featured in my auction was primarily intended for the manufacturing of dozens of dry flies, or flies that are meant to land and remain on the surface of the water, thus mimicking the adult stage of mayflies, mosquitoes, or whatever happens to be the bait food of choice for hungry trout at any given moment.
The photos to the right are of a Whiting Farms Hebert Miner Dry Fly Black Saddle Hackle. Each pelt is evaluated by a team of professionals in the business. The key items include:
- Fine, supple quills...for neat, effortless wrapping.
- Freedom from web...for more strength and less absorbency.
- Uniform barb length...for optimal appearance and higher floating flies.
- High barb count...for more hackle per turn.
- High barb strength...for maximum support on the water's surface.
- A longer "sweet spot"...the area where prime hackle resides on a feather.
- Full, generous pelts...for excellent value and economy.
(Note from author: Bulleted comments above are quoted from the text on the backing board of a Whiting Farms hackle package.)
A Pair of Fly Tying Patterns Utilizing Black Hackle
Examples of Fishing Flies I Have Tied Using Black Saddle Hackle
The photos on the right are of flies I've personally tied. At one point in my life, I was a prolific fly tyer, manufacturing tens of thousands of flies that were sold in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, New York, Pennsylvania, and Alaska. There were also international sales to Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, France, and Argentina.
The first photo is that of a Black Ant pattern. Note the density of the barbs, significant for keeping the dry fly floating on the surface of the water.
While the Black Ant was used primarily for trout, the next photo is that of a Red Butt Skunk, a fly pattern tied on larger and more durable hooks for steelhead fishing. A steelhead is a silvery rainbow trout that migrates to the sea before returning to fresh water to spawn. Hackle with more web, or the soft, less dense, and larger fibers, is used to form a collar at the front of the fly. In contrast to dry flies, the Red Butt Skunk, sometimes weighted with lead wrapped around the shank of the hook, is presented to the fish below the surface and is thus characterized as a wet fly. The black hackle gives this particular fly the semblance of bulk, thus enticing or provoking the steelhead, whichever the case may be.
Hackle Used As Feather Hair Extensions
Fashion Mavens Love Hackle, Too!
In 2011, fly tyers, fly fishermen, and eBay sellers of hackle (including yours truly) were initially surprised and then a bit miffed that a new fashion trend sweeping across the globe was radically depleting what had long been an abundant supply of rooster hackle.
While perhaps not the first famous personality to utilize hair extensions as a fashion statement, rock crooner and American Idol judge, Steven Tyler, certainly amped up hackle sales to beauticians all over the world when he began sporting the novel hair accessory on national television. Women especially, but a few avant garde men as well, loved and replicated the look to such a degree that fly fishing blogs and sporting goods press release statements were feverishly ranting about the new evil that had eradicated store shelves of the precious fly tying material. Expert genetic engineers were spending long hours in their research and development laboratories attempting to find a way to accelerate the growth of chickens in order to meet the huge demand for hackle. Prices for hackle skyrocketed, and soon the cost of an individual saddle soared to triple and even quadruple figures.
And the poor chickens were besides themselves trying to keep up with the cruel and unusual demand!
Karen Hellier's HubPages Invitation
- Join Me in Four Hub Challenges in 2013
Who's ready to join me in some Hub Page Challenges? Read on for dates of my 4 Hub Page Challenges in 2013.
Round Two of My Penny Auction Campaign on eBay
So there you have it. That was the general background and marine setting of the eBay waters when I decided to avenge my 1 cent auction fail.
Basically, the key difference this time is that I'd done extensive homework in finding a product that had a better chance of moving with the old school tactic of the penny auction.
I also was directing the auction at two distinct groups that do a lot of shopping on eBay--outdoor sportsmen and hairstylists.
Now it was time to initiate the auction, kick back, and monitor its progress. What follows, then, is the action that was recorded in real time a few days ago and intentionally was reserved for a hub to be written during Karen Hellier's Ten Hubs in Ten Days Challenge for the period of February 10 through February 19, 2013.
Definition of Views and Watchers
What's the difference between a view and a watcher?
Views are the number of times unique individuals visit an auction listing. If a person views the auction listing on multiple occasions, only his first view would be tallied.
A watcher, on the other hand, has actually bookmarked the item listing with the respective eBay tool. This is an individual who wants a ringside seat to the action. He or she may be a principal bidder, a potential bidder waiting for an opportune time to enter the skirmish, a competitor wanting to gauge how a rival seller is doing, an eBay newbie studying the action and picking up valuable tips, or an eBay tourist (aka Looky Lou).
Penny Auction Chronology
01/29/13 I listed the item at 9:54 PM with a starting bid of a penny.
01/30/13 Someone places a first bid at 7:14 AM.
At 8:27 AM, a second individual places a bid for $2.75.
02/02/13 The bid remains at $2.75 for three days. Then, with about three days left in the 7-day auction, the bidding resumes. After two more bidders enter the auction arena, the bid is now at $12.49.
02/03/13 It's Super Bowl Sunday, and there's been a little pre-game action with this feathers auction. There have now been 7 official bids placed, and the leading bid is at $15.50.
What's important to me, too, as a seller is that the number of views this item has received has climbed to 125. In addition, 18 people are watching this item.
02/05/13 Okay, this is it, the very last day of the auction for this rooster hackle. When I woke up this morning, I found the bid has moved up slightly. It is now at $16.50 with just 13 hours and 43 minutes left. There are currently 21 watchers, and the view count has climbed to 195. While these last two numbers do not necessarily have any bearing on the final outcome of the auction, they indicate to this eBay seller the potential for a most interesting finish. Stay tuned!
02/05/13 At 9:58 AM, someone attempts to place a bid, but because an earlier bidder two days ago had a higher maximum bet, the earlier bidder's bid is now pushed up to $17.50.
6:23 PM--A new bidder enters the arena and bypasses the buyer who's been the front runner for a long time. The thirteenth bid is for $23.50.
7:11 PM--Two more bids, and the price to beat is now set at $31.00!
8:45 PM--Sixteen bids so far, and the bid is at $33.00.
Author's Note: This is where the bidding ended. From a starting bid of one cent, it shot up to and was sold for $33 one week later. Not a huge amount, mind you, but certainly a far cry better than the fate of the Spider-Man Bobblehead three months prior.