Why do research calls take lotsa time?

August 22, 2007

Occasionally research requests have been taking a bit longer than one would think they should.  It’s part of using the API feed from eBay.  The CL data is lightning fast, but the query time, at times, for the other data is in the 5-15 seconds.  That’s the difference between spending $1k (like we did) for the API or $10k’s  for the data dump.

It’s free, and there is a caching layer in the service.  So higher demand calls are definitely returned faster.

While it doesn’t solve the problem, I hope this helps clear up why it happens.



WipBox launches WipBox Mobile!

July 16, 2007

Now you can search eBay and Craigslist when you’re out shopping, at a garage sale, browsing a swap meet, whatever! Find out what that item’s REALLY worth AND what you can get it for locally. Boy, oh boy, did your bargaining power just go up!

Here’s all you need to do. From any cel phone, capable of sending and receiving SMS messages, send WipBox and item’s name to the phone number 44636 (4INFO). We’ll send you back the high and average prices on eBay and Craigslist in a matter of seconds. If you’re not yet a member with WipBox, we’ll automatically return results from the SF Bay Area – Craigslist. Once you join and link your phone to your WipBox account, we’ll return your local area’s prices and availability for Craigslist.

Click here to learn more. It’s free and pretty kickass!

wipbox sms search ebay craigslist

WipBox goes Free!

June 14, 2007

When I built the first version of WipBox, it was created to help me sell my stuff in my move from LA back to the Bay Area. Although it had its bugs, it did exactly what it was designed for. It liquidated my extra stuff driving my moving costs from the $3,000 that it cost to move to LA to about $1,500. Mission Accomplished!

After raising a tad-bit of angel investment from a friend @ Stanford, WipBox 2.0 was launched AND we started charging. We’ve made a good stream of revenue from out ~7,000 users, but the idea of charging for this didn’t quite feel right. SO, today, it goes FREE.

Check it out, log back in. Let me know how things are workin.


eBay and Craigslist research item update.

May 17, 2007

Thanks to everyone for all of the killer feedback on ‘Research item.’ We’ve listened and added a bunch of improvements to WipBox and launched it this afternoon.

It now enables users to see how many items have been available, what the HIGH and AVERAGE prices for have been over the last 7 days on eBay and Craigslist, and what the HOTTEST categories are for your item. Also, we’ve combined the research to pull from BOTH eBay and Craigslist instead of requiring users to choose which they’d like to see. That (also) means that instead of paying 50¢ to research both eBay and Craigslist you now only pay 25¢. That’s pretty cool as well.

Finally, we’ve refined the user experience a bunch so that it’s quicker and much more easy to use.

Let us know what you think.

research eBay and Craigslist prices

Edit your eBay and Craigslist photos with WipBox + Snipshot

May 17, 2007

Now you can edit your photos on WipBox using Snipshot.

Now that it’s fully integrated, all you have to do is click ‘Edit’ after you’ve uploaded your photo and you’ll be immediately taken into the editor. We’ve set it up so you’re automatically white-balancing the photo and then can crop, resize, rotate, change color, etc at your leisure. When you’re done click ‘Continue’ to return to your listing in WipBox (it’ll seem like you never left). This makes it even easier to get you listings up onto eBay and Craigslist than ever before.

Step 1: Click ‘Edit’ next to the picture you want to edit

Click Edit to enter Snipshot

Step 2: Edit your picture in Snipshot

Edit your photos in Snipshot

Step 3: Save it and return to WipBox (SUPER simple)… Now you’re photo is ready to go in your listing!

Edited photos in your WipBox listing

The Snipshot API was a dream to integrate. Once we had it hooked up, Amazon S3 + Snipshot API + WipBox = Killer inegrated photo editor for your eBay + Craigslist posts.

WipBox wins @ 2007 SEOmoz’s Web 2.0 Awards!

May 11, 2007

WOOOOOOHOOOOO! Found out this morning that we won 3rd place for the best retail Web 2.0 site in 2007 according to SEOmoz. Thanks to the judges for the big ‘ol nod. WOOOO!!!HOOOOOOOOO!!!!
2007 Web 2.0 Awards Winner

Judges included industry experts:

WipBox gets killer review from Webware

April 27, 2007

Thanks to Josh and Rafe over at Webware.  They gave us a great review after meeting up yesterday!


How to take better pictures for your eBay and Craigslist postings

April 24, 2007

A big pain for most people is to figure out how to take better pictures for their eBay and Craigslist listings. The key to making pictures attractive isn’t terribly difficult. The biggest things you need to make sure you do when shooting images is that you 1. show everything that will be included in the sale (in one shot — commonly called a master or primary shot) in ways that make potential buyers WANT to see more; 2. do closeup shots of any of the major pieces that make up the item you’re selling; and 3. color-correct your photos. This will really boost your chances for selling the item at higher-prices than the rest of the classifieds or auction listings.

The Master (or Primary) Shot.

In the master shot, it’s best to commonly show all of the items you’ll be selling in your eBay or Craigslist post. It’s normally best to take the picture of the items at an angle to give it more depth. However, many people use a tablecloth or blanket to background their images. Not really the best idea. The wrinkles or texture in the background can sometimes conflict with the actual item you’re selling. It’s normally better to use your floor or countertop as it will represent a more consistent surface making the item stand out to potential buyers. Here’s an example of the way to ‘frame’ (a.k.a. compose the shot in the camera) a master shot for an Apple iPod Shuffle.

Master Shot for eBay and Craigslist posts

This shot was taken on a countertop. Notice, in the master shot that ALL of the pieces that will be included in this eBay or Craigslist sale are shown nice and neat. Now I’m not a professional photographer, but it just takes a couple extra seconds to lay the pieces out this way and the impact is much better with your buyers.

Closeup shots of the pieces

Now that the primary photo is taken, make sure to shoot closeups of each of the major pieces being included in the auction or classifieds listing. If your camera has a ‘macro’ setting (which sometimes is a little flower-like button on the camera), enable that before shooting. What this does is disable your camera’s longer-range auto-focus to make things close to the lens appear clear. Normally an item will have 2-3 closeup shots to go along with the master shot. Here’s an example:

Close up of item for eBay or Craigslist

Color-correct your images

What does this exactly mean??? Well, to color correct your images, you set the levels so blacks seem black and whites seem white. On Adobe Photoshop is simply Apple-Shift-L. BUT, if you don’t have Photoshop and don’t want to shell out several hundred bucks for it, you can use the integrated photo editor in WipBox (yep the shameless promotional plug finally comes). When you edit your photos from your item, WipBox has the ‘enhance’ setting enabled by default auto-leveling the image. Just hit continue to save the auto-levelled image.

If you use these techniques, you’ll end up getting buyers to look more at your listings and end up getting higher prices than by not (on average — nothing’s ever guaranteed though :).

Bye bye DHTML/CSS pop-over layers in eBay and Craigslist research!

April 24, 2007

Just released from QA…when you now go through Adding an Item (http://www.wipbox.com/wizard/) or Managing your items (http://www.wipbox.com/home/) you will no longer get the pop-over DHTML modal window asking you to opt-into eBay or Craigslist Research. It has now been worked into the user flow so it’ll act more seamlessly. Also, all research calls have been AJAX-ified more so, so now things are a little more fluid. There was alot of feedback to bag the annoying pop-overs. So..POOF! They’re gone! They’ll be phased out of the Research Item (http://www.wipbox.com/research/) area and the ‘Post an Item’ to eBay and Craigslist over the next couple days.

Adblocker issues with research…

April 23, 2007

An adblocker issue has been tracked down when users do research and auto-charge options are disabled.  A modal window (a.k.a. DHTML popover) asking users to opt-into research is hidden if the adblocker is enabled.  There is a patch being QA’d right now and will (barring any showstopper issues) be deployed tonight.