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WhatReallySellsBlog.com

Exponent Trading — 3 Months Later

September 30th, 2007

Three months ago I promised you I would review Exponent Trading in September.? I wanted to give them some time after their launch to see if they appear to be a legitimate company or just a MLM scheme.?

First off, for those who don’t know, Exponent Trading is a Network Marketing Company centered around selling on eBay and CraigsList.? When you sign up to Exponent Trading you get access to an auction launcher software that supposedly automates much of the listing process.? You also get access to some training materials (more about that later) and of course you have the opportunity to earn money by recruiting others to sell and ebay and helping them with their business.

It sounds like classic MLM but there is an interesting difference:? With most MLM companies you buy some product or service and recruit others to do the same.? ? The promise is usually something like, “you’re already spending money on long distance (or dog food, or vitamins or whatever) you might as well buy it from yourself and earn a commission and then you can show others how to do the same and earn a commission from their purchases as well.”

It sounds like a great idea.? But, as you probably know it rarely works as promoted.? The commissions are so paper thin it takes 100s of people for you to earn even a part-time income.? The products are so over priced even with your discount you’re still paying more for the product then regular retail.? The drop out rate is huge so you’re constantly having to find new people to replace the ones that don’t make it.? And since the focus of the business is almost always on the recruitment of new members the core business itself suffers a slow death because no one is focused on the actual mechanics of running the business.?

Exponent Trading appears to be? different:? Instead of spending money to buy a product, members EARN money selling stuff on eBay and Exponent Trading takes a percentage of the revenue received to fund the commissions.

But, what exactly is Exponent Tradings role?? Why would anyone want to use Exponent Trading to sell when they can go directly to eBay and save the commissions?? (which are 30% of the first $200.00 sold and a declining percentage for sales over $200.00)

The idea is that Exponent Trading will provide 3 things:

1) The tools to help you list your items.
2) Continuing training to help you with your business.
3) Access to (or at least training to help you find) products to sell.

Let’s see how Exponent Trading has done in those 3 key areas three months after launch:

1) The Auction Launcher tool.? This is the tool that you use to list your auctions.? When I first tested the tool three months ago I thought I was using a prototype of the tool.? ? It was extremely basic.? No HTML. Only 3 and 7 day auctions.? No listing enhansements offered.? You had to ship everything by UPS.? If you wanted to change anything you had to go to ebay and edit the auction.?

So now, three months later has it improved?? I logged in yesterday for the first time since July and I see no noticible difference in the tool.? ? I don’t think they have made any improvements at all.? The ONLY reason ANYONE would want to use the Auction Tool is so the sales can be tracked so Exponent Trading will know what commissions to pay.?

2) Continuing training to help you with your business.

The ebay related training materials are a joke!? Exponent Trading has a couple of videos about titles and descriptions. That’s all they have now and that’s what they had when I joined three months ago.

3) Access to products to sell or at least training to help you find products to sell.

They have a 7 minute video about consignment selling.?

Now, they also have training teleseminars every Saturday.? I attended one and the focus was 90% on recruiting people NOT on selling products on eBay.?

About a week after I joined Exponent Trading I emailed one of the leaders and asked her some questions.

I’m going to print her answers verbatem because I think it will allow you to better understand what Exponent Trading is really all about…? but, I’m not going to print her name because frankly I think some of her answers are incriminating.

My questions are in Bold, her answers are in italic and my follow-up comments are also in bold.?

Question 1:
How exactly does Craigslist fit into the exponent model?? I don’t see any way of tracking sales of exponent agents through Craigslist since there is not a centralized payment processor.? I heard on the call that agents are supposed to report their Craigslist sales but a) I don’t see any mechanism to do that and b) since the tracking is on the honor system the only reason anyone would report a sale is to use that sale to qualify for PTV.? Once the PTV requirement is meet (which as I understand is $100.00 per month for trading agents) they will realize that all they have to do to keep 100% is to not report the sale.? And it doesn’t affect their organizational earnings.

ANSWER 1:
a.? You are right that agents report their earnings on the honor system through Craigslist and that the only reason to report them is to qualify for their earnings below them.? The honor system does entail them filling out a sheet indicating who the purchaser is, etc. These sheets are subject to IRS audit so if someone forges them they will be subject to IRS audit etc and if discovered by Exponent risk losing their position.? b. Once you really get a handle on how huge the numbers become (as far as how many people end up in your group)it will become apparent that anything? more than the $200 per month in trades really doesn’t matter to you.? Let’s talk about the $100.? A trading agent is a new agent who has no team.? The new agent is only required to trade $100 until they have 4 people under them.? Therefore, until they actually HAVE a group that will be trading as well they only have to trade $100 per month.? We of course will be teaching and encouraging all of our agents to trade $200 regardless.? Now, once a new agent has 4 people trading and a few of those get people they will be missing out on potential residual if they don’t trade $200.? They don’t HAVE to trade $200 but they will miss out on their monthly money if they don’t.? I know you got this since you were on the training, but to reiterate. Let’s say someone (Bill) sponsored 4 people, who sponsored 4 people, who sponsored 4 people, who sponsored for people.? That would be 256 people on Bill’s 4th level.? If all of those people (just on his 4th level) traded just $200 per month then Bill would get 10% of all those trades.? 256 x $200 = $51,200 x10% every month.? That’s $5,120 per month.? All Bill has to do to earn that $5,120 per month is trade $200 per month himself.? I am sure that Bill will do whatever it takes to trade $200 so that he doesn’t miss out on the $5,120 per month.
Bill may even? sell a $400 item for $200 so that he doesn’t miss out on $5,120.? That’s good business sense for Bill.? And you (who happen to be above Bill) don’t really care that he is only trading $200 because you have the same scenario going on. You also don’t care that Bill sells his $400 item for $200.? The whole model is based on that $200.? That’s all we care about.? Now of course the numbers won’t work perfect like that.? But let’s say only 10% of that happened then Bill would be earning $512 per month by selling only $200 per month. But let’s look at reality.? You are in this very, very early.? There are glitches in the system.? No doubt.? We are working on those glitches.? ? You will see them, your team will see them.
You will want to do damage control with your team and be on the offensive rather than on the defensive.? Let them know that they will run into problems and that comes with the territory of being in this early.? Tell them to make you aware of problems so that you can report them up and we can get them resolved.? Make them feel good for being a part of formulating the company.? The benefit of building fast and operating as a leader in this way will be beyond your wildest dreams.? I have one guy in my group who is very excited because he just brought a person in on his team that was under him in the Excel company.? This person that? he just brought in has done networking all of his life.? This person brought 434,000 people in under him on my guy’s team in Excel.? They did this without any internet.? Now with internet and the fact that we are going global eventually….this is huge.
The numbers become staggering and YOU are in the first week.? If you climb on board and package this right and support your team, you will be amazed what not only what will happen for you, but what will happen for your team.
You have the opportunity to change lives.? It feels great when you can do that.? I know because I have done it.? The amount of money that can potentially be made can be figured by putting a number of reps that are possible on your 4th and 7th level where the largest percentages are generated (4% and 7%).? Being in this early should keep you awake at night.

Comments:? My “team” consists of me, myself and I.? I did initially tell two of my affiliates about Exponent Trading on the recommendation of Skip McGrath but after I got a wiff of what this was all about I called them and told them how to exercise their right of rescission to cancel the contract and get their money back.? They both exercised this option.?

The whole Craigslist thing is just one big hoax.? There is NO Craigslist aspect.? Exponent Trading’s software doesn’t work with Craigslist (hell, it barely works with eBay) and there is no way to track sales (not that anyone would want to)? The entire Craigslist component is just a link from the members area to craigslist. Their promotional video makes it sound like Craigslist is a partner of Exponent Trading.? Nothing could be further from the truth.? In fact, if you list on Craigslist as a consigner (which is what Exponent Trading recommends you do) you will be in violation of Craigslist terms of service and they could remove your account.?

Question 2:
What exactly is a sales rep?? This is an option listed on the Sign Up form at a fee of $49.00.? How does a sales rep fit into the organization?? This position isn’t listed in the Compensation Plan PDF Document or the Compensation and Promotions PDF Document.? Also, is Sales Rep a new position?? It wasn’t an option when I joined.


Answer 2:

A sales rep position is required by the government.? You have to give someone an option to just “take a look”.? The sales rep will not be able to launch auctions through our launcher.? They will have to do everything with physical checks, not on line.? There is no reason why ANYONE would want to be a sales rep…but it’s there because we have to offer it.? I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.? It wasn’t available when you signed up because you came in during Genesis at a pre-promoted position and you couldn’t sign up for that position and get a promotion.

Comments:

I almost fell out of my chair when I read that statement.? Essentually, it’s a made up position in order to make it look like they’re legit.? ?

Question 3:
How can someone become a retail client of Exponent Trading without joining up as an agent for the opportunity??

Answer 3:
The only way someone can be a retail client is if they know someone who is an agent and they ask them to sell goods for them through consignment.

Comments:? I’m not an expert in MLM but isn’t that a violation of the FTC regulations that require network marketing companies to allow people to buy their products without signing up as a rep?? ?

Question 4:
On the training call Bob said that for existing eBay sellers they should only channel $200.00 worth of volume through Exponent Trading in order to qualify for the seven level commissions. If this is the case then what exactly is the benefit of using Exponent Trading over just going straight through eBay?

Answer 4:
I think this is covered in the answer to question #1.? The benefit is fulfilling the requirement to receive the percentages of trades below you.

Comments:
I think that pretty much sums up what Exponent Trading is all about.


Question 5:
The Auction Launcher is very basic.? In fact, there are free versions that are much more robust.? Why would anyone want to use the auction launcher then have to open the auction up in ebay and edit it when they can just create the auction in eBay to begin with??

Answer:
Again, I think this was answer in question #1.? However, what appears to be basic to you actually is VERY detailed on the back end.? Our launcher ties into tracking all of the agents that are in your organization to infinite levels below you and what your agents trade as well as how much you get paid for each.? Granted the front end of the launcher is basic but we started out this way to allow for very simplistic trading to be done and tested.
Exponent is working diligently to clear up things from the first week of company launch and has major enhancements in the launcher planned.? You are right this is very basic.? I have had numerous conversations about this with Andy Thornton and so has Skip.? It will not look at all like it does not in weeks/months to come.? The same is true of the training part of the site.? Remember you are here in the first week of launch.

Comments:
Remember what I said above: “…since the focus of the business is almost always on the recruitment of new members the core business itself suffers a slow death because no one is focused on the actual mechanics of running the business.”?

That’s exactly what’s happening here.? The auction launcher (which should be the backbone of Exponent Tradings business) is so basic it’s a joke.? But notice, they make damn sure that the backend tracking of the commissions works.? ? Because THAT is all their business really is:? A MLM scheme with an ebay wrapper to? make it look pretty.

In conclusion, I know this post seems in stark contrast to my prior post about Exponent Trading (see prior post).? But, after getting recommendations from some people whose opinions I trusted I decided to give it a chance. (Plus, I really enjoy pissing off Terry Gibbs and any opportunity for a good argument with him is a welcomed event :)

I still think there is an opportunity for someone to step in and do this right.? Focusing on helping people get started with eBay and then showing them how to earn money teaching others.? Someone could create a Mac Daddy auction launcher tool that TRULY made the listing process easier and then charge a monthly fee to access it.? That monthly fee could be used to fund the MLM aspect.? Then give people training and support to help them grow their business and bring more people in.?

I’ll be the first to sign up.

James

P.S.? Terry you were right (damn it!)

A person who lives in a forest doesn’t need to buy a tree.

June 27th, 2007

There’s an ebook that will be selling on ClickBank soon. I haven’t actually seen it and I don’t understand exactly what it’s about but I recommend that you don’t buy it.

How absurd is that statement?

That’s just what one internet marketers is telling his subscribers. Only he’s talking about a new opportunity called Exponent Trading.

In a nutshell Exponent Trading is a company that trains people to become ebay consignment sellers. They provide training, support? and the tools to manage your auctions.

But, there’s also a MLM aspect to Exponent Trading: you can bring in other people under you and train them and you will earn a commission on their sales. This goes several levels deep (I can’t rememeber off the top of my head how deep)

Terry Gibbs sent an email out to his subscribers today telling them to “just say NO to Exponent Trading Company.” Quoting from his email Terry says…

Over the past few days I’ve been contacted by a number of people asking me to join the latest eBay fad. All the people who contacted me told me The Exponent Trading Company was a chance to make some good money off my list.

None of them could explain how it would benefit my readers, just how I could profit from telling you about it. I looked at this “opportunity” and I’m saying NO THANK YOU.

You can read Terry’s entire post on his blog here:
news.iwantcollectibles.com/reviews/exponent-trading.shtml

I’m not completely sold on Exponent Trading either. Not yet. BUT, I am willing to give them a chance. So I signed up. I haven’t decided if I’m going to promote the opportunity to my list or not. If it’s something I think will be good for my list you better believe I’ll promote it. If not I won’t. And I’ll let you know why.

But, I’m NOT? going to set here and bash a company without checking them out throughly for myself. Whether I have a competing product or not.

And “checking them out” doesn’t mean spending a few minutes pursuing their website and faq. It means buying the product and putting it to the test. I feel that it’s my duty to my subscribers to spend my own money and more importantly my time to check something out before I recommend it (or not) — As publishers, internet marketers, whatever you want to call us isn’t that what we’re supposted to do?

I’m one of the people Terry’s referring to that called him. But, I didn’t ask him to join. I asked him if he wanted to get on a conference call with me, Skip Mcgrath and a couple of other people to discuss Exponent Trading. He told me why he wasn’t interested so I dropped it and we talked about other things.

Now, personally, I think Terry Gibbs is a genius. I don’t just mean a “genius” the way internet marketers throw around the word “genius” when talking about their internet marketering buddies. I’ve had many telephone conversations with Terry that have lasted for hours and hours just talking about eBay and internet marketing, business and life in general. I know a genius when I see one and Terry’s a genius.

And he knows his stuff too. Terry’s been a consignment seller for years. He’s written a manual on consignment selling that he’s now giving away for free to prove that he’s not bashing Exponent Trading just because he has a competing product.

I respect that but I don’t think it really proves anything. People have to go to his website to get the book. He’ll still get people to sign up for his list. He’ll still sell stuff on the backend. It’s smart marketing but trust me — Terry’s getting something out of giving away his Consignment Book.

(I’ve been giving free access to my eBay training videos for almost a year. You can view them here and there ain’t nothing to sign up for: www.30dayauctionchallenge.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=11

BTW, the forum is closed to new users because of spammers running amuck but you can still read all the posts and watch the videos)

Plus, why the heck would Terry PAY for a Google Adword ad for the keyword phrase “Exponent Trading” UNLESS he’s tring to stir up a little contraversy and drive traffic to his site?

Anyway, to Terry’s question — what exactly is the benefit of Exponent Trading?

I’ll answer that but first let me ask you a questions: Out of all those books and courses and videos and audios that you’ve bought over the years have you actually done anything with the knowledge? Have you even read or watched or listened to them? Be honest now! I know I’m guilty of buying stuff and never even looking at it so don’t be ashamed to admit it.

We all have lives outside of the internet. We’re all busy ALL the time. Who has the time to filter through all the stuff and figure out what we need to do?

I think THAT is the benefit that Exponent Trading brings to the table. Providing not just the opportunity but also the training, the motivation to do something and the support to fall back on when things don’t go as planned.

Some people don’t need that. They have no trouble jumping into the deep end of the pool and figuring out how to swim before they sink.

But for the rest of us — we do need that extra help. We need the training. The support. The motivation. Heck, just knowing you can pick up the phone and call someone when you get stuck! That’s huge.

I’ll be checking out Exponent Trading over the next few weeks. I’ll let you know what I find out. Good or bad.

James

Candlestick Phone Circa 1901

May 9th, 2007

Here’s an old Candlestick Phone I picked up at a yardsell for $3.00.?

Candle Stick Phone?

I normally like to sell items on eBay that I have some experience with. That way, I know what to expect.But, every once in a while I’ll run across something that I’ll take a chance on. Just because it looks like it may be valuable or just fun to sell.

Researching past auctions can really help you out when you have an item that you have never sold before or know little about. A few minutes spent researching can mean the difference between getting a lot of bidding action and a nice high final price for your item or 0 bids and a “sorry — your item didn’t sell” notice from eBay.On the other hand, if you don’t know how to research you can waste a lot of time looking at auctions trying to figure out why one item had 10 bids and sold for $75.00 while the exact same items had 0 bids and didn’t even bring the opening bid of $19.99.

Finally, someone has taken the mystery and drudgery out of researching…

Jenni Hunt has just released a brand new — free — report called, “Duplicating Hot Auction Success!” In this report Jenni reveals the 5 essential parts of a successful auction and she shows you how to dissect hot auctions and quickly figure out what makes them tick so you can apply their success to your own listings.

You can get Jenni’s book from this link:

http://www.kickbuttideas.com/jenni/

Not only is it free you don’t even have to enter your email address to get it.Go download it now before Jenni realizes how valuable it is and starts changing for it.

James

How To Speed Up Your Listing Time

September 19th, 2006

I just received an email from a subscriber who asked…

“What suggestions do you have regarding writing copy fast? ”

She is referring to the auction descriptions and how much time it takes to write them.?

Here’s my reply to her:

Yes, writing descriptions for multiple listings can be time consuming.? One thing you can do is take more pictures and let them do the talking.? Then just add a few sentences about the condition and point out anything unusual or noteworthy (features, included accessories, etc.)? ? Just make sure your pictures are not too large.? I have some lessons on www.30dayauctionchallenge.com that show you how to take pictures.

The most important things about your listing are (in this order):

Product Itself (is it a product that people want?)
The Title (you have 55 characters to both describe the item and include keywords that people will search for)
Gallery Picture
Pictures in the auction
Description

See how far down the description is on the list?? Get the other 4 things right and you can scrimp on the description.?

Try using an assembly line technique:

1)? ? ? ? ? ? Take all the pictures for all the items at the same time.
2)? ? ? ? ? ? Crop and prepare the pictures and upload them to your picture hosting service.
3)? ? ? ? ? ? Use a template to prepare the auctions.
4)? ? ? ? ? ? List the auctions on ebay using Turbo Lister.

I have lessons that cover most of this at www.30dayauctionchallenge.com

James

30 Day Auction Challenge Link

August 8th, 2006

Ok, better late then never.? Here’s the link to the 30 Day Auction Challenge.?

http://www.30dayauctionchallenge.com/forum/

It? started on time? but I forgot to post the link? here.?

?

eBay Phishing Scam Source

July 28th, 2006

If you’ve ever wondered where all those phishing scams come from check out this post on Brian Krebs blog:

http://snipurl.com/u18y?

James

More Details about the 30 Day Auction Challenge

July 28th, 2006

During for? 30 days beginning August 1st I’m going to take you step-by-step and show you how to set up an eBay Income Stream. I say, Income Stream instead of “business” because I know some of you don’t want a business and really just want to learn how to earn a few extra bucks on eBay or earn a part time income. But, if your goal is to start an eBay business this will be a great foundation.

My goal during the 30 Day Auction Challenge is to help as many people as possible to create an eBay Income Stream. And I’m doing it absolutely free. Why? Because, I get emails every single day from people who have read dozens of ebooks about selling on eBay — they have spent hundreds of dollars on various products but yet they still haven’t even sold a single item yet. (many haven’t even created their seller account yet.)

I’ve designed the 30 Day Auction Challenge to solve this problem. So, if you’re a complete beginner, this program was developed especially for you. If you’re an expert then please, feel free to jump in and help out the beginners. And if you’re somewhere in the middle don’t worry, I guarantee you’ll increase your knowledge and your auction income.

If you’d like to join in the discussion or ask a question you will need to register. Just click the register link at the top of the page. Registration is not required to read the posts.

I hope you have a great experience, learn a lot and most of all have fun.

We start August 1st.? Be sure to mark your calendar.

James

30 Day Auction Challenge Scheduled for August 1st.

July 25th, 2006

Great news guys:? For the entire month of August I’m going to help you get your auction business off the ground.? My goal is to help as many people as possible list their first auction and make a profit within 30 days.?

I’ll be creating step by step videos that you can watch to help you with the mechanics of listing items, writing keyword packed titles, growing your feedback fast, etc.? We’ll also have a discussion board were you can go to get help from other ebayers.? Finally, we’ll have teleconference calls on various auction topics.? ?

Best of all — it’s all free and you won’t even have to sign up for anything.?

More details later…

James

?

Link to eBay Big Ticket Items

July 13th, 2006

http://pages.ebay.com/buy/bigticket/index.html

This is mostly real estate, businesses for sale and vehicles but occassionally something unexpected will show up.? For instance, check out these two:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6049821442&category=50340

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6272172482&category=14895

Somebody please explain that “Ruinscape” thing to me.? I’m at a complete loss.

James

Mpire Teleclass Tonight

July 12th, 2006

Sorry for the late notice on this.? This call was originally scheduled for June 28th but Mpire had to reschedule.? The class is titled, “How To Drive External Traffic to your eBay Auctions.”? You can sign up on Mpire’s website at this link:

http://www2.mpire.com/businessCenter/teleclass.html

Class starts at 9:00 PM ET tonight.? Hope to see you there.

James