My #2 Pet Hate of Poor WebSite Design – Blog Navigation

Following on from early article on My #1 Pet Hate of Poor WebSite Design this one gets #2 place as it drives just as bonkers as the first one.

reverbnation-blogCan you see it yet?

The owners of this blog know the issue, they have tried to combat it.

Spotted it yet?

Blog Navigation

Yep, its the home link in the top left.

Firstly lets not diss this company, their rankings were quite high for the project I am working on, although not what I was looking for, my searches landed me in their blog. This is absolutely fantastic, this company has been leveraging the use of a company blog and just so happens they also have recently released their own iPhone app. Nice.

But what gets my goat is the navigation at the top, because the blog (wordpress) is not themed in-line with their main website, see main website and their blog so when I manually hacked the URL to remove the ‘blog.’ I was a little shocked to see their main website was nothing like their blog. But a common theme is not even my point here, just being able to readily navigate is.

The blog looks like Thesis (edit: doh, it says it in the footer), which is an extremely powerful template, so they have forked out +£100 for the theme, but completely (well mostly) failed to remember that browsing readers assume that the top left is the ‘reset button’.

Now this ‘reset button’ on this blog needs two uses, one to get the blog home and one to get to the website home. So….. Label them!


If you look closely at the image above or on their blog, you will notice that they are at least aware they have an issue transferring the browser back to their main site, they’ve added some text and a link to the right, but sadly, this is not where people look for navigation and the big fat ‘reset-get-me-back-home-again’ button.

Sooooo close, yet sooooo far.

Please stamp this in your head now

I’ll leave you with this godly statement, please carry it with you always:

Customers are idiots
Do not make an idiot to try to think
Its dangerous

Do yourself a favour, Block Bad eBay Buyers

Yep you know the type of buyer I am referring to. Since eBay took away the ability to neg these types of people, you can still block them from being able to bid and purchase future items from your eBay ID(s) using the block bidders option in eBay.

Block Bidders In eBay

ebay-block-biddersYou can block them on eBay here:

Adding more than one ID is simple, just separate them using commas as shown in the example above.

eBay Buyer Requirements

Its quite amusing to stumble into the a conversation where a client bitches, sorry ‘discusses’ about eBay allowing buyers to buy from countries they do not ship to and other minor things that can easily be solved by visiting the eBay ‘Buyer Requirements’ section.


You can review the buyer requirements here:

There are plenty of options in this section, please note its extremely unlike that eBay will ever block zero feedback buyers, I do not believe they should, at least some community spirit should survive and we all had no feedback once…

eBay Blocked Buyer Logs

Also interestingly, eBay added a log too, so you can see who is being blocked & the reason why


Enjoy these forgotten tools to help you have a better new years & sweet revenge on those that left you negatives and neutrals :)

Part 2: Leveraging more than one eBay ID

If you’ve not read the first part, you can catch up on from this link How To: Selling on eBay with more than one eBay ID. I strongly suggest this before continuing.



The response I received yesterday was hilarious to the previous article, here are two quotes from my email:

“What the ***** are you doing Matt? You can’t give this **** away for free. What you doing man?”

“Mr Ogborne[This was him being sarcastic, I think], we’ve known each other a long time now, I’m not sure what you are trying to achieve on your blog, the information you have passed on, in the multiple Ebay accounts document,  is fundamental to our business, you cannot go around giving this away”

I’ve added several * to replace two words, I am sure you know what they are. I also received two phone calls and quite a funny text message. I’m sure I’ll get more, hence this article.

As I have said individually to these ‘what-were’ concerned parties, it really does not matter. It is in the application of the concept where the true skill is required and its in exactly this skill, the reason why it doesn’t matter if I let ideas like this into the wilds.

No-one is you and no-one else is me. Soundly in the knowledge of this, no-one can be me or you. We have out own DNA sets and out methods of thinking cannot be duplicated (unless you’re a sheep called Erma or something, but even then that’s not enough to duplicate thought processes). My point is we’re all unique. People can copy, but they cannot be you.

This is the reason why this site even exists, if it was not as kick up the rear by a good friend, I would not be sharing this information and storing it up, like I have done for years now.

Its in the Application of Ideas & Concepts

Exactly, it doesn’t matter that I have let loose an software salesman’s wet dream in to the wilds or what a collection of small, medium and large companies do to drive more sales. Once you run into existing application of this idea with your eyes wide open, it is then glaring apparent.

Its in knowing that you can leverage such an idea and then applying it to your own business. Its in the application of the concept where the skill of a person such as myself, really  matters.

I read recently in an article (bloody good read, see it here) about Zara, here is an extract from it relating to the non-on-line world:

Zara has opened, on average, a store a day for the last few years. Each store brings new footfall and new customers.
The strategy may be hard to execute but is simple to conceive. Footfall – a given of the physical world where rent equalsguaranteed visitors – needs to be sought and bought online. Retailers with offline brands clearly get a base level of traffic “for free” but if they don’t play in the online marketing world, they are simply leaving prospective customers for their competitors.

Can you see the logic behind this? Spelt out simply as an equation:

More Stores = More Sales

Now if you business model, franchise, whatever works, then all you are left with is scalability. Lets take some other examples McDonalds are everywhere, Coca-Cola is known world wide (and deploys product locally), Pizza Hut and so on…  Get the point?

So why would it not work on-line too? See its simple. You have proven your business model works, so why not duplicate it over and over?

Going back to my earlier concept breaker:

For the vast majority of manufactured goods, you are not the only company selling them, thus every single day, customers choose your competitors over you. There are an infinite number of reasons for this, timing, colour scheme, layout, description, title are a few factors.

Which again leads on to this pivotal statement:

So if you’re selling widgets, there are lots of other widget sellers for customers to choose from, so why not be one of the other widget sellers?

I feel its important to add here that straight business copies on eBay especially are blatantly obvious and add no value to either party. This is where the requirement for someone like myself steps in and provides the fresh thinking and the guidance on the deployment of them.

Some Words of Caution

Now this is where it would be irresponsible for me not to tell you the following points.


The first has to be Amazon. Let me spell this out, as simply as I can:

Do not mess around with Amazon. Ever

Please , I beg you soak this in, here it is again:

Do not mess around with Amazon. Ever

Are we clear?

Amazon UK

You really do not want to be pissing off Amazon, I mentioned in an earlier article, these people are not eBay. eBay is a lapse in numerous areas and can be bent to ones own needs with the right influence. Yes, Amazon can be bent too with the right know how (sorry not giving this away publicly). But its a risk not worth taking.

You can, with Amazon’s say-so have more than one Amazon account, this is only allowed if you have two separate business identities, running in two different product groups, for example an outdoor furniture company and DVD & media business. But everything else, no.

As I have tried to hammer-home above, don’t even try it. Trying to get back on Amazon is a nightmare, I’ve seen sellers booted numerous times, in almost 10 years, I’v seen maybe three get back on again, you need a golden contact list and a bloody good reason.

Software Tools

If you try and do this manually using ‘turd lister’ (thats ‘turbo lister’ to everyone else) you will quickly exhaust yourselves. I saw an elaborate system using excel once, it was pretty food too, but yep that failed as well.

You really need the use of a software product, I’m not mentioning names here (for once), but the tool has to be scalable, just like the concept I have been describing.

Recently I have come to the conclusion that one tool is not enough, when you start to factor in all the different aspects that a business requires. I have plans to elaborate on this in the future, so stopping line of thought here.

eBay Policy

eBay UK LogoI did indicate above that eBay is more lapse, they have been tightening up on the poorer deployments of this concept with policy changes to drive down the number of duplicates. Quite rightly so I hasten to add, some have been shockingly bad with no ‘unique selling angles what-so-ever’.

The USA got slapped pretty hard in the October update, see this article eBay: Doing ‘Whatever is Needed’ to Keep the Seller Entertained, while the UK got off quite lightly and at a far better time of the year.

Its because of the intrinsic flaw of the way eBay was/is designed, which allows this concept to be deployed at all. Each seller is allowed to design their own mini-page per product, so every listing is different.

Note: Yes I know about GPS etc… blah blah blah

Final Words

With the right implementation of the concept, you can tackle your niche from at least two more angles, depending on the business, it can go a lot further than just two more times.

This is really where the skill of a person like myself comes in and why clients like the ones that emailed me should not be concerned (and no longer are I hasten to add). Its the combination of your business, unique skills, a fresh, independent look on the business, my skills & experience that can readily expand the areas the business can grow into, without any new knowledge and leveraging existing information and processes.

To understand a little more why this blog even exists and where this knowledge comes from, see ‘Project Matthew Ogborne‘.

From Amazon MD Brian McBride – ‘Information about your Christmas order’

Amazon UK

Quite a well thought out email from the MD of Amazon, Brian McBride.

Dear Customer,

Ensuring that you receive your order in time for Christmas is our number one priority.

The recent weather conditions have resulted in backlogs across the entire UK for our delivery partners, but we are in constant communication with them and are working around the clock to make sure that orders with an estimated delivery time before December 24, arrive in time for Christmas.

We are currently experiencing an increased volume of e-mails and phone calls into our customer service centre. This is causing delays to our usual speed of response but rest assured, we are working through all enquiries in order of receipt.

There are some useful self-service links that allow you to see the details of your order and its current status. You can access these by visiting Your Account.

If your order has already been dispatched via a trackable method, please use the tracking information on your confirmation e-mail or in ‘Your Account’ to track your delivery via the relevant carrier website.

If your order was dispatched via a non-trackable method, please rest assured that your item is on its way to you now.

If your order has not yet been dispatched please check ‘Your Account’ regularly where you will find the most up-to-date information regarding dispatch dates and estimated delivery dates.

We appreciate your patience and understanding.

With kind regards,
Brian McBride
Managing Director,

An Apology Needed?

Interestingly there is no apology for the delays in the contents of the mail, maybe there is no need to ‘apologise’. If someone apologises, does it make them appear at fault or perhaps just sympathetic to the customers issue? Me, I’d rather apologise, even if it is the fault of others.

A Part of the Selling Process

Ultimately the delivery and does impact the impression of Amazon and any other company that uses a third party to despatch goods to customers. When an item arrives, the speed, cost and security of the delivery are all factors that greatly impact the overall impression of the company the product was sourced from.

Ask yourself this:

Next time you receive an item from say Amazon, eBay or where-ever, try and summarise the service in a few words, just like feedback.

Now I bet you instantly thought about the delivery part of the product, the second you went to write this, the actual item and its condition, is normally always secondary.


I do appreciate the mail, two books I ordered are outstanding, one from Amazon and another from bookdepository, I’m not that cheesed as I’ve got plenty (11 to be precise) other books to read over the Christmas period and I can also see this delay from multiple perspectives. But normal customers really don’t give a dam and want their items NOW.

So with that in mind, nice email, but its a fail & too late.


Always a question that goes through my mind when looking at anything, What would I have done different to better what I am considering? In this case, bribery is the instant reaction, coupled with an apology.

Not wanting to linger on the apology bit too much, but the delivery part is a part of the selling process and it does form part of the ‘entire’ sale. If part of the process is failing, be a man and apologise, being humble always throws the other party off.

The inclusion of a say a £1.00 voucher would have been nice, free expedited shipping for non Amazon prime customers on an order to use in the new year would have been (here comes that bloody awful set of words) win-win for customer and company, by getting the customer to return to the site, to undo the previous possibly poor experience and get a bonus sale at the same time.

How To: Selling on eBay with more than one eBay ID

This is another article where its contents I would have kept to myself, but inline with Project Matthew Ogborne, I am going to use one word a lot in this article, its called ‘leverage’. Lets dive in and find out why you need more than one eBay ID for your business.

Underlying Principles

Before we continue, you need to understand the following basic fact of eBay and selling on-line or anywhere for that matter, which forms the base of this concept:

For the vast majority of manufactured goods, you are not the only company selling them, thus every single day, customers choose your competitors over you. There are an infinite number of reasons for this, timing, colour scheme, layout, description, title are a few factors.

Which leads on to this pivotal statement:

So if you’re selling widgets, there are lots of other widget sellers for customers to choose from, so why not be one of the other widget sellers?

Soak that up for a moment, instead of bitching about your competitors, why not be your own competitor and drive more sales to you and drive your so-called competitors nuts instead?

In a Perfect World

Say there are three sellers of a widget, working on averages alone and assuming the playing field is fair, you have a 1 in 3 chance of selling to a customer.

Now lets add a new seller identity, so there are now four sellers, but this new seller is you. That means that you have a 2 in 4 chance or a 50% chance of selling to a customer.

I like 50% odds much more than 33% odds. I am sure you do too.

Who is leveraging this?

Here is something for you to chew on. I have been doing this since I was a seller over 9 years ago, but don’t think this idea is unique one by any means, there are a lot of reasons for doing this, I’ll cover some of these shortly, but for now, here are some did-you knows:


Did you know that LittleWoods is known also by these names?

  1. Very
  2. Marshal Ward
  3. Woolworths
  4. Additions
  5. Kays
  6. Great Universal
  7. Empire Stores
  8. Choice


Did you know that Barrats Shoes are also known as these names?

  1. Love Your Shoes
  2. Discount Shoe Store
  3. Big Shoe Boutique
  4. Petit Feet
  5. Priceless Shoes

I am sure there are more identities for both companies mentioned, but these two I can rattle off the top of my head, there are more companies that leverage this idea too, there is not enough virtual ink to cover them all!

I’m not going to mention any specific eBay’s sellers in this article, I do not feel its appropriate that I do so, but let me word it this way:

While working for eSellerPro, it was not uncommon for companies to have more than one eBay ID and more than 10 eBay ID’s is not unknown off and I know of at least two companies that leverage this to amazing effect.

Stop thinking small and start thinking big.
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. T. Harv Eker

Other Reasons for Multiple eBay IDs

Not sold on the idea? Here are some more reasons why you need more than one eBay ID


This for me is the #1 reason besides market share. By having more than one eBay ID you are diluting your risks, the maths for me are simple:

(Risk / Number of eBay ID’s)
* Static Risk Modifer
= Overall Risk

Any number greater than one for eBay ID’s is a way to lower the risk in the business. Imagine if you sole eBay ID was trashed by a scurry of hundreds of negatives. You’d cry, I know I would.

Note: I added the ‘Static Risk Modifier’ to indicate that there is always risk of a certain level, its a factor of being in business.

Multiple Price Points

Instead of starting your second eBay ID on a cheaper price point, make it more expensive. Why? You’ve got yourself into the mindset that you are the best seller of widgets, BS, sorry to break it to you, you are not (neither am I!!!).

You need to break your mould and realise that there are niches within niches and if you are starting with your first additional eBay ID, the rule of thumb is that you go up in price. As you grow, then you can leverage the now multiple selling ID’s to try differing price points for the same products.

Matt’ s Tip:
In Excel you can use this formula to make random prices:


It makes a number between 1 and 100, you could do (1,49) and it would make…

Unique Selling Points

With multiple eBay ID’s you can try out different selling angles of the same products. Using Barratts above, you’ll notice two very interesting names, ‘Petit Feet’ and ‘Big Shoe Boutique’. Oversized or undersized footwear is a problem for buyers with flippers or stumps, this way Barratts, can leverage two different customer groups, rather than trying to marketing them broadly within their normal confines.

See what they’re doing? Instead of trying to be one-for-all they are helping the buyer find the product group they are looking for, as I said, niches in niches, they exist everywhere and virtually limitless.

Designs & Layouts

Ever wondered what effect a full blown creative deisgn would have on a business? Ever wondered if you wound things back to and made what I consider a ‘crap id’?

Matt what is a ‘crap id’?
That’s a great question madam, let me define this as:

An eBay ID that purposefully looks shockingly bad, you know the ones, just like your very first listing you made with colourful H1 and H2 fonts (if its bigger they’ll read it right? *cries with laughter*), but employs killer conversion tools.

With multiple eBay ID’s you can and you can very easily, leading me on to the next key point.

Time to Create Inventory is a Fraction of the Original

Think about it, you exerted a lot of effort to make the first inventory item, to prepare it for another eBay ID is only altering the elements that need to be changed to make it different. If you’re using software tools such as eSellerPro, Channel Advisor** or similar, then this is childs play.

This process as an equation would look something like this:

Original Time To Create the Record
+  (Original Time To Create the Record / Number of eBay ID’s + Time to make edits)
= Overall time to create inventory

The biggest exertion was to document the first record, all the rest are simple edits and in the right circumstances can be done in an external tool such as Excel to manipulate the data in a organised fashion.

**Channel Advisor: They solved this in a update about a year ago. Before you had to have two or more sets of inventory for the same inventory item to sell using two or more eBay ID’s. It was a joke and rendered this tool virtually un-usable for use with Multiple seller IDs. But that’s resolved now I hasten to add (Thanks for the clarification James)


There is more to be covered on this topic and I will add further articles to expand on what are concepts covered in this first section.

I hope I have opened your eyes to the fact that this is commonplace, especially in well known brands. It makes perfect sense to do this, when you consider that adding a new second, third, forth etc… business to your first business as it only requires a fraction of the original effort and as a bonus, the more you add, the smaller this fraction.

Maybe I didn’t the term ‘Leverage’ that much in this article as I expected, lets close this article with final statement.

When adding a second, third etc… eBay ID to your existing business you are leveraging existing processes and the same platform in your favour.

Now, go get busy!

A New Unique Selling Point with a Feel-Good Factor?

Last week I was reading an interesting white paper from UKFast, a hosting provider on ‘What Customers Want’, you can read the paper for yourself here. Within the paper they quote Sir Richard Branson as saying:

“Companies that fail to change won’t have a business in 5 years time”

While I expect that businesses that don’t change will still be trading, I do suspect that businesses that promote this as a unique selling point (USP) will have an added advantage over their competitors, especially considering the governments have committed so heavily, we are bound to be battered with PR on this from all angles in the forth coming years.


Head Start?

Jumping in early could see some early learning picked up and give yourself an edge. Thinking about it, would it be miss-leading if you promoted that parts of your business were 100% carbon neutral, using the web hosting as an example, for what is peanuts, you could claim the 100% carbon neutral card, although just not playing with a full pack.

In the paper mentioned above, they’re suggesting that 64% of UK customers prefer to purchase products that are environmentally friendly are willing to pay up to 10% more for products that are better to the environment.

Hosting is a nice simple one, there are probably unlimited other ways too, such as:

  1. Allowing staff to work from home
  2. Setting up car share schemes
  3. Using carbon neutral energy suppliers
  4. And so on…

Further Reading

You may want to see and for more information and suggestions for businesses.

Migrating Internal IT Apps to Amazon Web Services Webinar Tonight @6PM GMT

This caught my attention a few days back & I’m looking forward to attending, the details and link is below:

Attend this webinar and learn how, as a customer of AWS, migrated their own internal IT applications to the cloud. Jon Jenkins, Director of Corporate Applications, will talk about best practices for migrating to the AWS cloud, including how his team evaluated the cloud services, how they got started, and where they are today with more than 50 internal applications running on AWS. In addition, JJ will dive into three key application architectures: a video processing engine, BMC Remedy, and SharePoint on AWS.

Jon Jenkins is a Director in the Corporate Applications team at  He is responsible for assuring that Amazon’s internal users have access to the tools and systems necessary to do their jobs.  Jon’s goal is to drive down the total cost of ownership of Amazon’s internal IT infrastructure while optimizing the productivity of Amazon’s employees.  During his six years at Amazon Jon has held leadership positions on many teams including: personalization, web site content optimization, and web site operations. Jon’s career in IT spans more than 20 years.

Registration Link:

Best Use of the New Facebook Layout?


This has to be the most ingenious use of the new Facebook layout I have seen to date. So much so I might just have to borrow that for my own use!

This shows with a little creativity, that even the dull blue of Facebook can be lifted. Thankfully, Facebook has a far limited set of design options when you consider some of the shocking myspace, twitter and youtube profiles there are.

Google Chrome WebStore – Just Another App Platform?

App’s are everywhere these days any why not? The majority of applications extend existing platforms beyond the wildest imaginations of the original developers, just take the iPhone App store or the Android market place as examples, so finally there is a App store for Google Chrome.

Now this for me is quite interesting, as we move forwards with technology, there are chasing platforms, one of which is my favourite web browser, Google Chrome. For me it was a pure speed thing, running Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome next to each other, even hitting return on IE, then FF and then Chrome, Chrome would load pages faster, noting this is the person that has 50Mb broadband and anything that takes more than 1 second to load is classed as ‘laggy’.

The Introduction Video

This is from Google themselves:

Getting Users to Pay

Now this is an interesting concept, I have to date never bought an application solely for a web browser. But considering I spend some 75% using one, I suspect the chances are extremely high, especially when you consider the likes of have a free app and there is hundreds of them to choose from.

Take a browse today through the Chrome WebStore and see what you can find.

My #1 Pet Hate of Poor WebSite Design

Residential Home

Brace yourself, this one drives me utterly nuts and once you realise what it is, it’ll drive you nuts too!

Its so simple, the top left logo on any website should be a link to the homepage.

Is this soooooo god-dam hard to do? No, its not.

eBay listings are prolific offenders at missing this simple navigation aid. The logo in the top left should be a link, is this not common web courtesy? Is this not such common practice that anyone and everyone expects the brand logo to be a link to the home page? Please mentally weld this into your mind:

Top left,
Link to the homepage

Annoyance In Action

Here, see this in action at and don’t think its limited to their website, bingo thier eBay listings are the same.

No logo in the Top Left?

Simple, do what I have done and sit a 1 pixel transparent image in the top left that covers the picture of the dead mosquito. Yes it is invisible, but anyone navigating up there will get the hand cursor and naturally click ‘home’ on it.

The Importance of ‘Home’

Home is like a website reset button, if you get lost you can always go ‘home’ and start again. I’ve seen people do this several times on a site until they get where they want to be, its also highly suggested that you have a bread crumb trail in the header somehwere too like:

You are here: Home » Market Places » Amazon » Amazon IS Human – They Make Mistakes Too!

Don’t make your browsers think, they are too scatty to be put off by bad design. Serve them common and easy on a simple well formed plate of website fodder.

Amazon IS Human – They Make Mistakes Too!

Relish in this one, its the first time I have ever spotted a mistake by Amazon.

While checking to see where one of the books I ordered on the 5th was too, I noticed in my email an email relating to the new Jeans Store they are promoting.

After taking little look around, mainly to see if they were promoting anyone else other than their own stocked products, I spotted the first mistake I have ever seen on Amazon for one of their own products.

You can view the item here:

Amazon Screen Shot


Amazon Makes Mistakes Too!

Spotted it yet? Here it is:

Size: #REF!

A common error in excel when the reference is not found.

Matthew’s Top Tip

You can stop mistakes like this by using the ISERROR() function in excel. Lets assume that we want to verify the source in cell B2 is not #REF! or similar (as this function catches far more than just #REF!).

In A2 we would use this little combination function:

=IF(ISERROR(B2),"An Error is Found","No Error Found")

In English this is:

If B2 has an error in it, do "An Error is Found" otherwise do "No Error Found"

See even Amazon can make mistakes too when it comes to data, although I must admit, from literally the hundreds of thousands of items I have seen on Amazon and help create for sellers on the platform, this is the first time I have seen Amazon make this mistake.

Thinking about it, it would be really easy for them to check the data being imported for common errors such as #N/A, #VALUE!, #REF!, #DIV/0!, #NUM!, #NAME? or #NULL and reject it (although if you take this suggestion, please add a decent error code as the Amazon error codes list are far from useful, saying ‘or another problem’ is not helpful at times *stamps feet*).