Official Blog of the Tophatter Auction House
Seller Town Hall: June 29 @ 8AM PT
Yesterday, at about 3pm PST, the first Seller Newsletter went out. The plan is to get these out each Thursday at about this time to let Sellers know of changes 1 week in advance. The email contains company updates and auction guidelines. If you didn’t get the newsletter yesterday, you can sign up by going here. If you would like to opt out of the emails, there is a link to “Unsubscribe” at the bottom of the newsletter.
Topics in the newsletter:
Just a reminder that the “Give $5, get $5” promotion is still in effect. This is how the promo works, in case you aren’t familiar: Invite a friend to Tophatter via http://tophatter.com/invitations/, if they sign up they have $5 to spend on their first day with Tophatter and you receive $5 to use within 2 weeks. For more information on how referral credits work, you can visit here.
There are also great new features in the chat rooms - a direct link to user’s off-site shops, and, if you click on a user’s name, you get a new pop-up that shows where they are from, includes a link to their Seller Profile, a link to their external shop, and, if it’s linked, a button to their Pinterest page.
Starting today, permanent muting goes into effect. This is being done as part of Tophatter’s effort to ensure that the auction rooms remain as a fun & positive atmosphere. We want people who have been muted to understand when and why they were muted. This should also help against repeatedly negative users in the auction rooms. If a user is muted and believes it was in error or unwarranted, they should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
An update on the Pinterest promotion: winners have been posted here. Congratulations to the winners! They did a great job with their Pinterest boards and received congratulatory emails from the quirky & loveable duo, Wendell and Bartleby. There will continue to be weekly Pinterest promotions, so keep checking the Community Forum and the blog for more updates and details!
We have created category specific Facebook groups as a place for feedback and suggestions. Dan and Ryan are doing a great job of getting these up and running! This is a place for the community to really be part of the decision making when it comes to specific auctions. Whether it be timing, type of items, etc. For a complete list of groups, please visit here. If you aren’t on Facebook, then you can go to the Community Forum to start a thread or add to any already existing post. And, for those who have not seen it, Dan was this week’s Staff Profile on the Tophatter blog. Update from Ryan: The Facebook groups are doing really well. There are a lot of great ideas and suggestions coming from the members of the groups!
Also, as a reminder, there is a flat fee of $1.50 in the Artisan (Not Jewelry) auction starting Monday. And, the 2pm PST Daily Bazaar will start having a $1.70 flat fee as well. Remember that these fees are only charged if the items go on the block to be auctioned.
1. Will all of the Bazaars have the flat fee? Answer: Only the 2pm PST Daily Bazaar will have the fee. No other weekday or weekend bazaar has flat fees at this point in time.
2. Can I please schedule more than one item at a time? Answer: Are you a new seller? (Yes!) In that case, you can only sell 1 item at a time for your first 3 items. After that, depending on your sales and how well they’ve done, you will be able to sell more than one item at a time.
3. What is the most you can schedule at one time as a Seller? Answer: The very most is 15 lots total with 3 per auction. How do you get there? There are many factors that figure into this, and there is more information on these factors here. If you have any questions or want someone to take a look at your account, you can email Help@tophatter.com or Megan@tophatter.com.
4. How can we rebut negative feedback? Answer: If you need to dispute negative feedback, send an email to Help@tophatter.com about the issue. They will contact you and look into the evidence of your particular case. The negative feedback can’t be completely removed from your account, but Staff can flag the feedback so that it does not get included in the 10% negative feedback restriction (which states that you can’t schedule if your negative feedback items account for more than 10% of your total sales).
5. Can we deny bids/block bids from someone we know is a bad buyer? Answer: Sellers cannot block specific Buyers from bidding on their items currently. But, if you’ve had a bad transaction with a particular buyer, please be sure that you’ve left negative feedback so Staff can look into it. If you have left feedback and continue to see that person shopping on the site, you can email Help again to ensure that they’ve taken a look into it. Reports made on Buyers are always looked at, and Buyers with excessive reports are be banned from the site. If particular users have a certain threshold of unpaid invoices, their ability to bid on future items is revoked as well.
6. Can more be done to keep Sellers from adding lots to Standby that don’t belong to the categories they are listed in? Answer: Tophatter believes that providing a multiple tags per item feature is the best way to resolve this issue. This is where one item can be tagged with multiple categories & can be listed in a number of different auctions in which it fits. This feature is something we’re working on for down the line. In the meantime, please report items that are listed somewhere they don’t belong. These reports are looked at from 5am-midnight PST. Also note that, if an item is advanced from Standby, then the item cannot be removed from the auction.
7. Can I be Staff if I am under 18? Answer: If you’d like to join Staff, click the “Jobs” link here & please provide all the necessary application materials. As to the age question, as a User, you are supposed to be old enough to enter into a binding legal contract according to the laws in your state/country. So, for the most part, Users on Tophatter should be 18, as that is the age in most states. If there are users on the site who are under age, please contact Help@tophatter.com to make sure Staff is aware.
8. Someone said there’s a rule that Sellers have to list all of their ingredients in the items they sell in the Edibles auction. If Sellers do that, people could copy what they’re selling. Answer: You don’t have to include the entire recipe & list of ingredients. You just need to include a list of known allergens for both Edibles and Bath & Beauty items.
9. Ricki came on camera to give her tips on how to disable eChecks for those who are interested. What are the steps? Answer: I (Katie) looked into this on my PayPal account, but it appears that eChecks can only be disabled if you have a Business account. If you want to double check whether or not this will work for you, here are the steps to follow:
Log in to your PayPal account.
Click on My Account.
Click on Profile.
Click on My Selling Tools.
There is a section named “Getting Paid and Managing My Risk”.
Click on Update.
If you can disable eChecks, this is where you will be able to do so. Remember to click “Save” after making this change.
If you have any more questions on how this works, Ricki provided her personal email address: email@example.com.
10. If someone bids on an item and doesn’t pay for it, we just cancel the sale? What about the bids being a contract between the Buyer and Seller? Answer: If they don’t pay, then the Buyer has broken the contract with the Seller. So, if that’s the case, go ahead and cancel the sale and leave negative feedback for the buyer. You will be able to offer the item to the second highest bidder. Staff are the only ones who can see negative Buyer feedback, which is used to determine if they are habitual bad buyers who need to be removed from the site or blocked from buying because their cancelled/unpaid item to paid item ratio is too high.
11. Can we please get an option to offer an item to the second highest bidder on items paid for with eChecks? Answer: Megan will ask about this. The issue is that items paid via eCheck are marked as paid in the system so “refund” is the only option (instead of canceling the transaction).
12. Can the allowed time to ship be changed for some categories? Supplies shouldn’t need two weeks to ship. Answer: Comments from the chat regarding items being drop shipped from China can take a month or longer to get to the customer, but Sellers aren’t noting in their listings that the items are being drop shipped. This is up to Sellers, as they are the ones who determine the shipping window for their items. The Sellers should clarify where the items are coming from. Please start a discussion thread on the forum about this subject. Staff will see if it’s possible to provide a longer amount of time to select for estimated shipping. But if you have a transaction with a seller who didn’t disclose that their items are being shipped from elsewhere, please report this as misleading & leave negative feedback. Sellers should be transparent regarding the amount of time you should expect an item.
13. Can there be a Ships From field in listings? An item was listed as taking 2-3 days to ship, but a note in the item listing stated that it would take 21+ days for the Buyer to receive their item. Answer: yes, we’re working on adding a ships from field & it’s on our list of things to do. Please note that while a listing may say it takes 2-3 days to ship, this is the # of days until the seller mails the item. Not the delivery date. It’s important for sellers to include the extra information if their items will take an extended amount of time to ship.
14. Are there guidelines/tips for writing item descriptions? Answer: Katie will work on a blog post about how to write a great description. There are some tips in this blog post from earlier this year. Keep your eyes out for the new post, coming soon.
15. I reported items that didn’t belong in an auction, but they were already advanced from Standby. Why can’t they be removed? Answer: Items that have been advanced have an opening bid placed on them. It’s Tophatter policy to not remove an item from an auction once a bid has been placed on it as it is a binding contract between the seller & buyer.
16. Why can’t dog treats be listed in Edibles? Answer: Staff believes that Edibles, as a category, is best limited to human consumables only. We advise you bring this up in the Edibles Facebook community to ask fellow members what they think.
17. We know that RSVPs are important for Community Auctions, but do they really mean anything for the regular auctions? Answer: Yes, as the community grows & we reach limits in the rooms, an RSVP will guarantee you a spot in that specific auction room. To review Community Auctions: 10 RSVPs will get your auction to appear on the schedule on the Community Auctions page. Then, after that, 30 attendees to your auction will cause it to appear on the front page of the Tophatter site.
18. The retail price on a lot of items appears to be artificially inflated. Can something be done about this? Answer: If you see an item with an artificially inflated retail price, please contact Help@tophatter.com. Staff can look into this issue and these reports on a case by case basis. Please note that retail prices may vary slightly; for example, costs for one user may be higher than another seller’s. However, please do report sellers who overinflate their retail prices.
19. Can there be a requirement that Sellers note that they drop ship their items? Answer: Megan can look into this and will also look into the maximum time limit for shipping the items. Dan will look into how this affects things in the Supplies categories specifically, as that auction is where drop-shipping mostly occurs.
20. Are there plans to sell Tophatter swag? Answer: Yes! We will be ordering shirts in more sizes shortly, and often put them in the auctions. We also include T-shirts as promotional prizes too, so stay tuned!
On a side note, the Tophatter Meetup group is up and running: http://www.meetup.com/tophatter/. Please join the group so you can find out when a meetup will be going on in your area! And, who knows? Maybe some TH swag will show up at the Meetup too. :)
If your questions weren’t covered in the Town Hall today, please post them in the forum, and they will be answered there. Thanks!