by Andy

AuctionSage Interview

We talk to John P Corea, Programmer and Sole Proprietor of AuctionSage.

Tags: Interviews

WR: How long has AuctionSage been around and why did you create it?

Since May 2002.

Before AuctionSage I created "eBud" (1999) which I subsequently sold to another company and then developed AuctionSage. Early on in my selling days on eBay (1998) I saw the need for software to keep track of things and at the time there was no software around, that I was aware of, for that purpose so I created my own and built a loyal customer base mostly via word of mouth.

WR: AuctionSage has a five-star rating on the site, and a strong following from its users – which can be seen in your forums. How do you keep your customers so happy?

I treat my customers the way I want to be treated. I regularly add/modify features that my customers request. Bugs are fixed in a matter of minutes, hours at the most, when I become aware of them. I supply helpful answers, not the 'stock' answers that are norm with many 'support' systems.

I realize keeping my software performing up to par is critical to my customer's business and so I do not rest if my software has a problem. Occasionally this means an all night programming session to deal with eBay changes.

WR: AuctionSage does not use the official eBay API, so it can malfunction when eBay changes the site. How do you address that?

AuctionSage does not utilize the eBay API because of the prohibitive fees charged by eBay. If I were to utilize the eBay API the net result would be my users would pay triple or quadruple the fees for using my software while at the same time have less functionality since I would have to limit certain features because eBay charges for API calls once you exceed a certain number.Also, while my users would have to pay much more for the software I would not realize any increase in profits. Only eBay would benefit from using their API in the form of more fees for them.

In order to keep the costs to my users down I developed a system which allows me to provide reliable software despite the constant tinkering by eBay on the various pages. Simply put, I maintain a database of code segments that my software looks for on eBay and when eBay changes something I usually can fix my software by adding to or modifying this database of code segments. Often this is done without the user even being aware that there was a problem.

Since I first released AuctionSage there has never been a 24 hour period where any feature wasn't working except for those features which won't work because the problem is eBay itself. For example, retrieving eBay fees will not work for some users at the time of this writing because the account status page on eBay won't work for them.

WR: eBay has changed a lot over the years. How has that affected you and your customers?

That's a loaded question :)

Some of the changes on eBay over the years have improved things but many of the changes have only created more work for sellers, thereby reducing productivity and ultimately profitability. I do my best to deal with the changes and make them as seamless as possible for my users. The main goal with my software is to save my customers as much time per day as possible. After all, time is money and being an eBay seller is a very time consuming business.

WR: You have recently released the Sage Dynamic Duration Tool. What is that?

It is a tool strictly for my registered AuctionSage users which sits in their system tray and monitors their active listings and revises the duration anywhere from 1 day to 10 days. The purpose being to increase visibility on eBay by appearing in the "ending today" list 4 times instead of once.

SDDT is not for the really big sellers however. It will only perform well for sellers who list no more than 100-150 items per day on average and who have a Cable internet connection.

WR: What’s next for AuctionSage?
JPC: AuctionSage is constantly evolving. I get many suggestions from my users and cook up a few of my own. I have no big plan other than to keep it working and keep improving it. I add features where they are needed and constantly seek to improve the product.
WR: Thank you for your time and keep up the good work with AuctionSage!

Discuss this interview here

Article Added: 19 September 2005
Last Updated: 19 September 2005

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Seller Dynamics