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Topics - WayOutWest

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It's an older article, but has some interesting points (including an interesting comment from a former eBay employee in comments section).  Basically, it says that the majority of IP infringement claims on Amazon and through eBay's VERO program are solely for the purpose of keeping the prices from 3P sellers and retail arbitrage sellers jacked up to MAP or higher.


 Anthem Inc., the second largest U.S. health insurer, said Wednesday that its computers were hacked and data on as many as 80 million customers and employees may have been exposed.

"Anthem was the target of a very sophisticated external cyber attack," the company said in a letter to its members. "These attackers gained unauthorized access to Anthem’s IT system and have obtained personal information from our current and former members such as their names, birthdays, medical IDs/social security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data."

It said that there's no evidence that credit card or medical information - such as claims, test results or diagnostic codes - were targeted or compromised. There was no word on how the hackers got in or who may be responsible.

. . .

 Anthem said it will individually notify current and former members whose information has been accessed as well as provide credit monitoring and identity protection services free of charge to those affected.

Anthem offers Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in California, New York and 12 other states.

Read the whole story at the above source link
* Amazon Central / Amazon forums poofed - oops!
« on: January 31, 2015, 01:58:33 PM »
Was just over at the Amazon seller forums and all threads have been zapped. Every category has zero threads.   Someone over there hit the wrong button  :-X :rotfl
* General Discussions / VOIP (Voice Over IP) service using Obihai OBi200
« on: January 30, 2015, 01:38:42 AM »
I've been looking at a few different ones, for a few different reasons (the high price of a full featured landline, the portability of a VOIP line, etc) and just finished setting up an OBi200 device that I got on sale during the holidays.  So far, so good.  It's not quite as crisp and clear as a traditional landline, but it's pretty darn good.  I tied my google voice number to it, which means zero monthly fees. 

The features vary, depending on which OBi device you get, but the OBi200 can handle up to 4 different VOIP numbers all feeding to one handset (which you'll need to supply).  With an adapter, you can also hook it to an existing landline and choose whether to place outgoing calls through that or a VOIP line (or even bridge calls between the landline and VOIP for conference calls, etc.). The OBi1032 is a higher end model that is designed like a desktop phone with built in handset, handles up to 6 different VOIP lines, but sells for $200+.  There are a variety of other models with varying features as well.  For example, the OBi202 has two handset jacks, allowing for 2 calls at the same time on different VOIP lines.  OBi devices support fax machines as well.

The linking of the google voice number was super easy.  And, each of those VOIP lines don't have to be from different service providers. You can set up all the VOIP numbers as google voice numbers, if you want.  It also has distinctive ring for each VOIP line.   You can also change the distinctive rings for each number, but that gets a little more complicated.

If you've been considering going VOIP, I'd recommend looking at Obihai's products. and
* General Discussions / Leaving Netflix In Feb + What's New
« on: January 28, 2015, 08:17:34 PM »
Some of these I'm sad to see go :(

What's Leaving Netflix:

Leaving Feb. 1
Blackadder: Seasons 1-­4
A View to a Kill
Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now Redux
Babes in Toyland
Batman & Robin
Batman Forever
Batman Returns
Cocoon: The Return
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Down Periscope
Fawlty Towers: Seasons 1­-2
For Your Eyes Only
From Russia with Love
Hotel Babylon: Seasons 1-­4
Jane Eyre
Live and Let Die
Mad Max
MI­5: Seasons 1­-10
Nacho Libre
Never Say Never Again
Red Dwarf: Seasons 1­-9
School Daze
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie
The Juror

Leaving Feb. 2
Jem and the Holograms: Seasons 1-­3
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Seasons 1­-4
Pound Puppies:Seasons 1-­3
Transformers Prime: Seasons 1-­3
Transformers: Rescue Bots

Leaving Feb. 5

Leaving Feb. 23

Leaving Feb. 28
Monkey Trouble
Panic Room

What's being added to Netflix:

Available Feb. 1
Bleach the Movie: Hell Verse
Dark Ride
Departures: Season 12
Gimme Shelter
Gucci: The Director
Hot Pursuit
Into the Blue 2: The Reef
King Arthur
Magic City: Seasons 1-2
MASH: Seasons 1-5
Naruto Shippuden: The Movie
Now: In the Wings on a World Stage
Spartacus: Complete Series
The Brothers Bloom
We Could Be King
We're No Angels

Available Feb. 5
The Little Rascals Save the Day

Available Feb. 6
Ever After High: Spring Unsprung
Danger 5

Available Feb. 7
Dead Snow: Read vs. Dead
Elsa & Fred

Available Feb. 8
Blood Ties
Catch Hell

Available Feb. 10
Dwight Howard: In the Moment

Available Feb. 11
Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Available Feb. 12
Young Ones
The Two Faces of January
Scary Movie 5

Available Feb. 13
Mako Mermaids: Season 2

Available Feb. 16
Save the Date

Available Feb. 17
The Overnighters

Available Feb. 18
Earth to Echo
In Secret
The Fluffy Movie

Available Feb. 19
White Bird in a Blizzard

Available Feb. 20
Richie Rich: Season 1

Available Feb. 21

Available Feb. 24
Hawaii Five-0: Seasons 1-4
1,000 Times Good Night

Available Feb. 26
Open Windows
Russell Brand: Messiah Complex

Available Feb. 27
Ralphie May: Unruly
House of Cards: Season 3

In the past, if the customer did not have a Prime account, they had to spend $35 (previously, $25) on items sold by, or shipped by, Amazon in order to qualify for free shipping.

Starting yesterday (Jan 27, 2015), items fulfilled by 3P sellers, who offer free shipping, will count towards that $35 minimum.
* General Online Selling Questions & Issues / Know your product
« on: January 06, 2015, 09:04:33 AM »
Just came across a very good example of why you need to know your product.  I was at a shop inside the Denver Mart that sells pricey fashion belts, bags, and some clothes. They had some belts that had buckles with a large stone.  When the person I was there with said something about preferring it to be real turquoise, the sales person insisted it was real turquoise, followed by a statement that it was African Turquoise.  Um, African Turquoise is a marketing name (one that shouldn't be used) for a type of jasper.
* General Discussions / Netflix Last Chances - Expiring Tonight 12/31
« on: December 31, 2014, 10:45:35 PM »
Looking for something to watch tonight?  Every month, Netflix removes some movies from the stream.  Movies that Netflix will be removing Jan 1, 2015

12 Angry Men (1957)

Batman (1989)
Boyz n the Hood (1991)

The Breakfast Club (1985)
Carrie (1976)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Duck Soup (1933)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Manhattan (1979)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Roman Holiday (1953)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
A River Runs Through It (1992)

A Mighty Heart (2007)

Backdraft (1991)

Bad Boys (1995)

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Braveheart (1995)
Gladiator (2000)
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

The Longest Yard (1974)

Love Actually (2003)
The Original Kings of Comedy (2000)

Saved! (2004)

Spaceballs (1987)
Titanic (1997)
Tombstone (1993)
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Beethoven (1992)
Far and Away (1992)
Happy Gilmore (1996)
Hitch (2005)

My Girl (1991) 

The Parent Trap (1998)
Red Dawn (1984)

Good Burger (1997)

The Mighty Ducks (1992)
Rocky IV (1985)

Turner and Hooch (1989)

Can’t Buy Me Love (1987)

Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)

Kiss the Girls (1997)
Scary Movie 2 (2001)
Stargate (1994)

* Amazon Central / Amazon rocks at wrapping!
« on: December 22, 2014, 03:19:03 AM »
Came across this on web and had to share

FWIW, I once ordered the gift wrap option to see in person how well they did and while it wasn't as perfect as their stock photo, it was a heck of a lot better than in those pics  :rotfl

* General Discussions / Native American Tribes & Marijuana
« on: December 21, 2014, 03:28:28 PM »
The U.S. DOJ has said that Native American tribes can legally grow, use, and sell marijuana on tribal lands, even in states where marijuana is illegal.

This is going to pose a particular conundrum to Oklahoma and Nebraska, who have both sued Colorado over their legalization of marijuana. (A lawsuit I don't agree with, especially since Oklahoma's attorney general has more than once spoken out about the federal government violating states' rights. I dunno about Nebraska's AG, but apparently Oklahoma's wants to have his cake and eat it too.)
Just got this via email from 11Main

Our low transaction fee of 3.5%* will begin January 1, 2015. However, to ring in the New Year with extra savings at 11 Main, we'll continue to waive our listing fees through March 31, 2015! 

* Amazon Central / Amazon Sold/Ship Now Text Messages
« on: December 12, 2014, 02:32:01 AM »
I've been signed up to get the text messages from Amazon for awhile now, but with all the other txt messages, the little ding noise didn't catch my attention.  'Course, I look at Seller Central throughout the day, but still it'd be nice to have the cell phone truly alert me when I'm away from keyboard, out on buying trip, etc. 

I did some digging and found an app for that!   CustomSMSTones
It's a 99-cent app and it lets you assign a custom tone to be played when you get a txt message from someone in your contacts list.  Just click one of your Sold Now txt messages and add it to your contacts, then use CustomSMSTones to assign a custom message alert to that contact.  Easy peasy.  Now I hear the sounds of a slot machine win when one of my MFN listings sell.  :laugh

Most of my stuff is FBA, so having an alert like this for MFN is really handy.
Coming in 2015, UPS and Fedex will be applying dimensional weight ratings to all ground shipments. With the exception of when shippers have contracts that call for alternate divisors, both carriers use the following formulas to determine dimensional weight:
For domestic shipments -- ( L x W x H ) / 166
For international shipments -- ( L x W x H ) / 139

All measurements are rounded to the nearest inch, using 5/4 rounding. E.g. 12-1/2 inches becomes 13 inches, whereas 12-3/8 inches would be 12 inches.  Shippers should be sure to measure the outsides of their boxes, as some box manufacturers stated dimensions refer to the inside dimensions.

So, for example, a 12"x12"x12" box that weighs 8 lbs will be considered to weigh 11 lbs ((12x12x12)/166 = 1728/166 = 10.41)

For light, bulky parcels, vendors might want to consider USPS, regional shipping companies (such as OnTrac & LaserShip), or the parcel/postal hybrids (surepost & smartpost).

* Amazon Central / FBA Fee Increase & NEW 6-Month LTS Fee
« on: December 03, 2014, 03:12:51 PM »
Just got email from Amazon. They're increasing the FBA fees.  And, they're introducing a new, 6-month long term storage fee!  Up until now, the current LTS system allowed overstocks from Christmas season to be run through another Christmas season without LTS fees (e.g. shipped in Nov 1, 2013, would be safe from LTS fees until Feb. 2015) Now they'll be hit with the 6-month LTS fee in August.  :-X

 I dunno about everyone else, but this drastically changes how I'll be shipping stuff in and also changes how many items I'll be self-fulfilling.  For some items I might consider having them ship it back to me and then turning around and sending it back in for the holidays, but most of the items I've had sent back in the past have arrived damaged due to poor packing.

From the email
We’re writing to notify you of next year’s changes to Fulfillment by Amazon fees in the U.S. To give you time to plan for these fee changes, they will take effect beginning February 18, 2015, after the holiday selling season.

We are introducing the following updates to our fees:

  • Fulfillment Fee rate adjustments. Effective February 18, 2015, we will adjust our Pick & Pack and Weight Handling fees to reflect the changing costs of fulfillment, transportation, and customer service.  See details or scroll to Fulfillment Fee schedules below [table not included in this post but link is available to view online at end])

  • Dimensional Weight threshold. To align with announced changes to industry standards, we will adjust when we apply Dimensional Weight—a calculation based on a unit's cubic volume. Currently, if the unit’s volume is greater than 5,184 cubic inches, Fulfillment Fees are calculated based on the greater of Dimensional Weight or unit weight. Effective February 18, 2015, we will remove the 5,184 cubic inch threshold. Instead, we will calculate Fulfillment Fees and fees for the optional Inventory Placement Service based on the greater of Dimensional Weight or unit weight for Large Standard-Size Non-Media units weighing more than 1 lb. and for all Small, Medium, and Large Oversize units.  See details and examples of products to which this applies.

  • Monthly Inventory Storage Fee. For inventory storage beginning March 1, 2015, the monthly fee will vary between Standard-Size and Oversize units. Rates for storing Standard-Size units will increase, and rates for storing Oversize units will decrease. This change will first be reflected in April charges for storage in March. See details (or scroll to the Monthly Inventory Storage Fee schedule below)

  • Long-Term Storage Fee.  This fee is currently assessed semi-annually on February 15 and August 15 on units that have been in Amazon fulfillment centers for 12 months or more. On August 15, 2015, units that have been in Amazon fulfillment centers between 6 and 12 months will also be subject to the Long-Term Storage Fee, at a rate of $11.25 per cubic foot. Units that have been in fulfillment centers for 12 months or more will continue to incur the Long-Term Storage Fee of $22.50 per cubic foot. See details.
Fees for Order Handling, Zero-Fee Fulfillment, Multi-Channel Fulfillment, and FBA Prep Services are not affected by these changes. For complete details of the fee changes, visit

It's complicated, and requires a few things and steps.

The basic gist of it is that they have some discounts on the kindles AND they have where you can get Prime for a discounted price when you buy a Kindle Fire, and can get the kindle unlimited plan at a discount when you get the regular Kindle.   Thing is, those plans can be gifted and then converted to gift cards.  So, you gift them to yourself.

For the regular kindle, you will need two amazon accounts, one with Prime and one without Prime

For the Kindle Fire 7, you will need the 2 accounts AND an Amazon branded credit card.

You will do the buying with your non-prime account and gifting the add-on plan(s) to the other account

For the Kindle Fire, you have to add it to the cart (along with discounted Prime plan and tell it that it's a gift) AND go back and view the $49 kindle, add it to cart with the discounted Unlimited Kindle plan, then remove it from cart, leaving the Unlimited Kindle plan in cart.  AND you have to pay with your Amazon branded card and use discount code KDL30ARC to get $30 off (discount is because you are an Amazon Visa card holder)

You can get up to 3 Fires using the Visa coupon code and other discounts.  And, once you get your first plans gifted to yourself and converted to gift certificates, you can apply those to orders #2 and #3 as well

Full details here

Your card will be charged more than the prices in title, but since you tell the system that you want to convert the gifted plans to gift cards, you're getting that price in a sense (some of your $ will now be in gift card form)

The $30 off for Amazon card holders ends at 11:59PM on 11/30/14
Dunno when the discounts for other kindle end, but I presume at the same time.

disclaimer - whether or not Amazon will get P.O'd at ya and shut down your buyer account (or worse, your seller account) is unknown. So, do this at your own risk

* E-commerce In The News / Vinyl is officially back!
« on: November 29, 2014, 07:45:02 AM »
Some of us have never lost our love of vinyl, and some that grew up without it have been discovering it. Now, it's official. Vinyl record sales have topped 1 million units this year, for the first time in 18 years!    Can't help but wonder if Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd being in the top 10 for 2014 have anything to do with the legalization of pot  :laugh
* General Discussions / 4 SciFi movies in the works
« on: November 29, 2014, 07:33:01 AM »
There are 4 new science fiction movies in the works.  Coming next year, a new Mad Max movie and Star Wars: Episode VII.  In 2016 there will be a new Independence Day movie, and one that the date is yet to be set, but is getting ready to start production, a sequel to the popular tv series, Farscape!   :D! :D!

* Great Deals / Waffle maker $2.99 @ Amazon!
« on: November 27, 2014, 03:20:29 AM »
Waffle maker is $7.99 or a mere $2.99 if you clip the coupon below the price  :o

Edit to add - If you buy it, be sure to read the reviews for tips on use due to it "having a personality". 
* Amazon Central / ACK! FBA Screwup
« on: November 21, 2014, 06:22:12 PM »
I was creating product listings, stickering, and creating an FBA shipment.  For one of my widgets, when I created the product the browser got stuck, so I had to refresh.  This resulted in two of the items being created.   I deleted one of them.

When I was printing FBA labels, I accidentally had it print a label for the deleted copy of the widget.  I didn't catch it until after it was added to the FBA shipment and the shipment dropped off at UPS.

So, what now?

Edit - I found the answer.  Posting it in case someone else does it (or in case I do it again and have to look for it  :-[)
1) Go to the shipment and view the shipment contents.
2) Copy the EAN/UPC from the item
3) Open a new tab and do an "add a product" search using the EAN/UPC
4) Go back to the tab with the shipment contents and copy the MSKU
5) Go back to the tab with the add product page and paste the MSKU into the Seller SKU field, fill out the other relevant info (price, tax, qty, etc), select "I want Amazon to ship. . .", and click the Save & Finish button

The item is now recreated with the same MSKU, same FNSKU, and inventory will show that there are X number of 'em inbound.

This is for the smaller, portable version, not the desktop version

Staples is going to have the Neat Receipts portable scanner for $99 on Black Friday.  This is a great price for it.  It is normally priced around $180, with some places sometimes having it at $150 (right now that's the price and HSN). 

I have one and love it!  It easily fits in your carry-on luggage, for business on the go. With it you can scan all of your receipts (and other important documents) and toss the hardcopy, saving on clutter and storage.  Just be sure to keep a backup of the files, whether it be by using Neat's optional cloud storage subscription, dropbox, an external drive, or one of the various other options.

This is a single sheet feed, stick scanner.

I would also recommend the optional travel case, which will run you around $15, depending on where you buy it.

For those wanting the desktop version, they'll have it for $299
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