Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Third Incarnation of Wagglepop Part 1

In January 2005 eBay announced an increase in basic store subscriptions from $9.95 a month to $15.95 paired with a Final Value Fee increase from 5.25% to 8%. Sellers were horrified. Raymond Romeo, who was and still is still an eBay seller, with an eBay store and currently using the ID printed442; announced that he was founding an new venue. Wagglepop launched with much fanfare and a great deal of support from other sellers (who wanted an additional venue as an exit strategy) on February 16th 2005.

About one week later Wagglepop closed abruptly with this (much abridged) announcement

Within hours, I will be closing Wagglepop for good, and forever. The servers will be shut down, and all drives reformatted, destroying any and all personal data.
An estimated 2000 sellers were stranded, many with no way to service paid sales.

Wagglepop II launched very quietly May 16th 2006. By January 2007 Ray is quoted in an interview on commerceguide.com saying
Our current Alexa Traffic Rank after just eight months in operation is currently at 47,303,which puts us on par with or ahead of most other independent alternative online auction sites at this time and ahead of all internal projections. We average roughly 2,000 unique sales per week, and currently have 140,000+ listings available in a variety of formats for bid or purchase.


And they all lived happily ever after .. ..

Well, not quite. Within three months of rebirth, Wagglepop II CSR Karen was making strangely 'Ray like' posts in the forums "They visit us and blow the horns of despair, hoping someone, anyone will 'hear the call' and follow up the hill of negativity to nowhere." Karen was succeeded by Andrew Pittino (Director of Business Development & Customer Care), a Richard Ambrose clone, with a unique touch for customer questions as in this response to a potential seller who did not want to use PayPal.
You are exactly the kind of idiot eBay is trying to get rid of, and we don't want you here either.


There were, and still are 'issues' with the site search engine. Wagglepop sellers learned not to mention this to management. The February 2008 newsletter places blame squarely where it belongs, on the sellers.
Conversely, incredibly, in excess this past month of 75% of all keyword searches by those 50,000+ unique visitors yielded "0" search results!

Mind numbing.

It's time we stopped thinking about Stores in the hundreds and talked about them here at Wagglepop in the thousands or tens of thousands - this is the opportunity everyone has been looking for and now is the time to populate this site! 200 or so Stores and 100,000+ listings simply won't support the incredible amounts of traffic we get each month - unique shoppers looking to buy!

I am unsure how many times and how long we as a company can repeat our message - becoming a Wagglepop Merchant is a real opportunity to break away from eBay that everyone has been clamoring for for so long. Let's go online selling community - no more excuses. More than enough online sellers know about Wagglepop. We have thousands of buyers looking for your items and products!

It is rather obvious to me at this point that third-party vendors are not going to support sites outside of eBay and so-called auction-related "independent reporting" news sites are not going to risk their affiliate eBay relationships (and affiliate and/or advertsing income) either.

It's going to be up to you. Revolutions are made, not observed.

Wagglepop II page views peaked in March 2008 claiming 67,810 month unique visitors.

It should be noted that Wagglepop does no paid advertising or promotion. This is considered to be the responsibility of Wagglepop store operators who are encouraged to spam boards, newspaper comment sections and blogs. WagglePop does NOT permit use of the logo by sellers in advertising. Store fees up to May 31st 2008 were $9.95 per month and sales incurred a 2% - 3% commission which on eBay would be called a Final Value Fee.

Graph courtesy of Alexa.comStatistics:
As of today Wagglepop's Alexa ranking is 178,928. There are 83 stores; 3 Showcase stores, 14 Featured stores, and 65 basic stores paying 39.95 a month, one of which has a notice of pending closure.




Mid March sellers received this (much abridged) communique:
I have been issued a direct deadline within an approximate six month timeframe to achieve new ownership participation goals. Should those goals not be achieved, we must then consider either adjusting participatory costs or realigning site services and structures to match participation.

It is a shocking reality that makes many things more apparent to us than ever before regarding the entire vision of Wagglepop as designed and presented. Had everyone stayed that signed up, we would have near 5,000 Stores and about 3.5 million listings.

Our single month high was 910 Stores, but that is a bit misleading as we had a delinquency rate at that time in excess of 65%.

The past two months plus showed a low of 110 Stores, 546 new ones, and 376 closed or suspended for non-payment bringing our current count to about 280.


Pretty high attrition rate there Andrew?

Maybe this customer comment in June will give you a clue why.
One thing for sure is that Wagglepop management need to go to school and learn what customer service is because when you ask a simple question or you ask the wrong question or you challenge what Wagglepop management is saying they have no ability to be professional and answer the question in a professional manner; instead they resort to name calling, throwing a tantrum, deleting threads or posts and anything else that is immature.


Chronologically this is the next installment or episode in the ongoing e-tail soap opera at Wagglepop.com

Final episode coming soon.

Y'all come back!



3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I almost signed with them on the first go around. Glad I did not. Will not ever sign with them for anything.

It still amazes me how many people with no hard retail or selling experience, let along customer service expertise, start these internet commerce businesses and immediately begin as the first order of business to irritate, insult and attempt to dictate to their customers.

They all should be required to spend a year, totally dependent on the miniscue income, on the front line serving customers in a major franchise such as MacDonald's or Burger King and perhaps learn a little humidity and real customer service before being allowed in the adult world.

tomH

Kevin_T said...

You know, Wagglepop is actually a real live parody of everything they allegedly tried to set up in opposition. Hilarious stuff, even after three years.... unless you are a customer/victim of such incompetence.

Karen made "strangely 'Ray like' posts in the forums" from the first day she introduced herself. I don't think it was Ray, but I guess it would take a fairly specific mindset not to see through all of his BS and walk away very quickly.

Thanks for the soap opera update, Kevin

tula said...

I see people flogging this site on boards all the time, but was not impressed with what I saw there. The name "wagglepop" doesn't really inspire confidence in the first place (I thought it was a porn site first time I heard it, LOL!). Glad I never bothered with it.

Serious business people don't have time to deal with unprofessional behavior from site management and would hardly want their businesses to be associated with such a silly name. They need to buy a clue from the likes of etsy or eBid.