Official Blog of the Tophatter Auction House
Seller Town Hall: July 6 @ 8AM PT
Hopefully, you’ve all seen the Seller Newsletter. If not, here is where you can go to sign up to receive it: Tophatter Newsletter.
An update on the Meetups: There are 3 currently scheduled: Houston, Bay Area, Vancouver, BC. These first Meetups have been organized by Staff members and/or Hosts, but please email Megan (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in helping organize one for your area. If you are interested in helping with the other meetups, please contact Katie (email@example.com) for the Houston Meetup, Marie (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the Vancouver meetup, and Megan for the Bay Area meetup.
The Facebook groups: these auction-specific groups are becoming more and more important and are a great place to get your opinions heard regarding the auctions. Dan and Ryan are really active on the groups. If there are any groups that you think are needed, please email email@example.com.
eChecks Update: If a Buyer has more than 3 eChecks that haven’t cleared, then they cannot bid until at least one of them has cleared.
Feedback Update: Feedback can only be left for a transaction once the item has shipped or the shipping window has passed without any updates. Also, coming soon, a dropdown list of categories so users can choose a reason for the feedback they are leaving.
Muting: Last week, the Permanent Mute was introduced. Over the course of the week, after receiving a lot of comments from users and a lot of Staff discussion, the mute process has changed. If a Host mutes a user, the mute will only last 24 hours. If multiple reports are submitted for a particular user, the user will be muted for 24 hours. If an Admin or Staff mutes a user, that is still a permanent mute. A second mute on any users will be a permanent mute & 24-hour mutes should be seen as a warning. Note that if there are many reports coming in repeatedly for the same users, Staff will be looking into the reports to see if a permanent mute is warranted. As before, if you have been muted and feel that it was done in error, email help@Tophatter.com. Also, coming in the next week, Sellers will be able to speak while they are on the block, even if they have been muted.
Also, don’t forget that the Seller Newsletter contains the auction guidelines for the upcoming week.
If your lot was affected by Thursday night’s auction outage, email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will work with you on a case by case basis.
Other things being worked on and mentioned by Andrew: Reports for Sales Tax needs; a Printable Packing Slip.
1. When a Buyer is leaving negative feedback, can they be prompted to see if they have contacted the Seller before leaving it? Answer: We agree that the Buyer should be contacting the Seller before leaving the negative feedback, but we don’t want to send emails to Buyers if there’s not an issue. We only know if there’s a problem once feedback is left for the seller. However, if the Seller and Buyer resolve the issue, the Buyer can go back and edit the feedback to reflect the resolution.
2. Why can’t items with Spammy Titles be edited instead of removed from the auctions? Answer: More often than not, the items with spammy titles are edited instead of unscheduled.
3. Can there be a way to separate a Seller’s domestic customers from their international customers? Answer: We can look into this and discuss it.
4. Buyers need to know where items ship from. Answer: This is upcoming and on our list.
5. When are we going to give more credits? They are a big help in the higher end auctions. Answer: We are constantly monitoring where we are giving credits. Customers should bid on your items because they want them, and not because a credit is being offered. We often apply credits to help new & growing categories.
6. I can only schedule in Standby. Am I doing something wrong? Answer: We are moving towards more Standby in order to make it more fair and equal for Sellers while trying to meet Buyer demand. If you have any more questions about scheduling, please email Katie (email@example.com) who can provide advice.
7. Can feedback be edited? Answer: Yes. You can go into your Feedback tab and under Actions, you can edit any Feedback that you have left for another user.
8. Are duplicate items from the same seller in an auction OK? Answer: Yes, it’s OK if that is what the Buyer wants to do. A tip from Ryan: It may be best for you to limit selling one of that particular item per auction because it may have a better chance of being sold just once instead of splitting the bidders between two or more of the same item.
9. What is going to happen regarding the items that were on the block when the auction froze up Thursday night? Answer: Email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will look at the issues on a case by case basis. This applies to Seller and Buyers who had any issues while the auctions were frozen.
10. Will it ever be possible to advance things a few days in advance of the auction? Answer: There are no plans right now. We want to keep the auctions vibrant and interactive. But, there are improvements coming where you will be able to follow your favorite sellers.
11. Why can’t everyone schedule the same amount of items into Standby? Answer: People with higher selling stats can preschedule more at this point. All sellers can enter at least 1 item when the live Standby opens an hour before the auction.
12. If we get a Buyer to come to the site via a referral from me, do I get a referral bonus? Answer: But of course! On the main page of the site, at the top right, click on Earn Credits and then Earn More Credits. There you can invite people from Facebook or Email. If the person you invited joins the site, they will get a $5 credit to spend in their first day on Tophatter & you’ll receive a referral credit for them joining.
13. Can the higher priced auctions be set up so that Sellers can enter more than one item into Standby? Answer: It depends on what type of auction it is & if there is interest on that particular room. We would have to decide this on a room-by-room basis.
14. Why does it seem like there are more auctions being created in the higher priced categories? Answer: there has been a lot of interest in higher-priced categories and therefore we are providing the supply for this demand.
15. Can we get a text alert to let us know our items have been advanced out of Standby? Answer: You currently get an email to let you know about it, but we can look into getting a text message sent to you.
16. An update on a Seller Search? Answer: We are working on a general search feature and the ability to follow your favorite Sellers.
17. If an item is unscheduled because of a report, can there be a way for us to add it back to the auction once it’s been corrected? Answer: Yes, eventually. Right now, this cannot be done because items can’t be scheduled back to an auction once it’s been removed from that auction. This came about because people were scheduling items and then unscheduling/rescheduling them in order to keep them at the top of the Standby list. If you feel like you’ve been unscheduled in error, please email email@example.com
18. Can there be an instant message feature in auction rooms? Answer: This is currently in discussion. There is going to be a private messaging auction for in the rooms, but we want to be sure that it’s done right before it gets released.
19. I would like to be able to copy an item listing before they’ve sold? Answer: We don’t want to allow this because we don’t want the exact same listings over and over again on the site. Sellers can relist items after they’ve sold.
20. Are items scheduled in Standby included in our seller ratings? Answer: If the item goes up on the block, then it will be considered when calculating a Seller’s scheduling statistics, regardless of whether it sells or not. If your item is never advanced out of Standby, then it will not affect your statistics.
21. Do you have any idea of when/if an expanded shipping time window will be up and running (for drop-shipped items)? And a Ship From field? Answer: we’re uncertain if an expanded shipping period will be helpful/effective as it doesn’t necessarily help in reflecting expected delivery for drop-shipped items. Ships From field is in the works.
22. I’ve had several items unscheduled in error, what should I do? Answer: please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
23. How is it that some people have more than one item in Standby? Answer: Staple auctions only allow Sellers to list one item in Live Standby. There are specialty auctions where Sellers can list more than one item. Additionally, sellers can pre-schedule items into Standby according to their statistics. That means that if a Seller can preschedule 3 items in any auction, they could hypothetically preschedule 3 items into one auction & add another item into Live Standby.
24. A customer bought a necklace and ring set from me and was reselling only the necklace. However, they used my picture that shows both, which is misleading. What should I do? Answer: If it’s misleading, report it as such - click on the item, and click on Report menu in the bottom left corner. When the pop-up opens, select Misleading as the reason and, if you have additional information, type that into the comments section for Staff to reference.
25. Can there be an option for a Max Bid when we pull an item from Standby? Answer: This is not in the plans. We like the live auction experience and the liveliness of real-time bidding.
26. What is the ratio for “super secret priority” status? Answer: There is no such thing as “super secret priority” status, and there are a number of different factors that determine a certain level of statistics.
27. I am afraid to refer customers to the site because I worry that they will become Sellers too and take my sales slots. Answer: Don’t worry about that! If someone wants what you’re selling, then they will buy it from you.
28. Why can’t items be removed from auctions once they’ve been advanced from Standby? Answer: Because advancing the item is a contract between the Buyer and the Seller, and we don’t want to break that. If there are issues with an item, Buyers should contact the Seller to see if they can resolve. Otherwise, Buyers are protected by PayPal & should always leave negative feedback for the seller if the item was not what was expected.
29. Does the number of RSVPs affect the number of items that can be pulled out of Standby for an auction? Answer: No. This is based on the number of items in past auctions, the number of buyers in past auctions, etc.
30. Are reported items ever automatically unscheduled? Answer: No, they aren’t. Every item that is reported is reviewed by a Staff member who then makes a decision.
31. Can the Seller be highlighted a little longer when they have an item for sale? Answer: the Seller tag is removed from the user’s name once the item is sold. The seller should always have the seller tag while their item is on the block. Another new change: when the Seller is on the block, their chat bubble remains is persistently featured in the room. If you’d like to thank your winner, we encourage you to do so.
32. Is there any way to pay Seller fees one at a time? Answer: You can settle your fees via the Invoices tab right after a Buyer pays for the item. Otherwise, all fees will be bundled & must be paid all together.
33. How long does it take to get a refund for Seller’s fees? Answer: Send an email to email@example.com. Your email will be responded to within 1 business day and then it should take approximately 3-5 business days for the refund request to be processed. Seller fees are not automatically refunded to the Seller, so an email with the information needed is necessary to get the refund processed.
34. How is it that some people seem to be able to schedule into new auctions before anyone else even knows they’re there? Answer: When you list a new item, you are shown a list of auctions you are eligible to schedule into. Only auctions that your items fit into will appear in your list. In addition, sellers can schedule a certain number of days in advance, according to their scheduling statistics.
35. Are there still going to be Designer Brands auctions? I don’t see one on the list of auctions for next week. Answer: The auction either may not beehave n created yet. Or, there may not be anything scheduled into it. The auction won’t show up on the front page of Tophatter until an item has been scheduled into it. Yes, there will be Designer Brands auctions running daily.
36. Can there be a pause while Standby reopens? Items seem to go for less when this happens. Answer: We don’t plan on implementing a recess or pause for when standby reopens.
Thanks for attending this week’s Town Hall! If you have any questions that weren’t addressed today, please post them on the forum or email Megan (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Katie (email@example.com).