February 21, 2008

The Nuremberg Toy Fair

Scott and Milinda attended the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany from February 7th to the 14th. Over 80,000 people from all over the world attended and over 1,000,000 products were on display! We met with the folks from MTH, Bachmann, Marklin, LGB, Aristo-Craft, Walthers, and Piko. We checked out the booths of everyone else. There were 17 huge buildings with one devoted totally to trains! The majority of the train exhibitors were European HO manufacturers, but there was just about everything you can imagine from Z to G. Look for some interesting things coming down the pike from what we found on the trip! We have managed to loose most of our pictures, but here is the ICE train that we took from Frankfurt to Nuremberg

February 20, 2008

Oops! Lionel 2008 Catalog Corrections Update

February 19, 2008


6-24213 – Universal Lockon – This item is in the catalog twice. On page 199 in the Signature catalog the price is $3.49, on page 200 in the Signature catalog the price is $3.19. The correct price is $3.49.

6-31758 – Jersey Central Passenger Set – This is listed in the catalog as Legacy Control System this will be changed to TMCC1 the price will go from $799.99 to $749.99. (Signature – Page 22)

6-28561 – New York Central #5628 – Price in catalog is $339.99 should be $399.99. (Signature – Page 68)

6-28304 – Union Pacific Legacy “Super Bass” It will ship in Nov. (Signature – Page 80)

6-28305 – CSX Legacy “Super Bass” SRP price is $429.99 It will ship in Nov. (Signature – Page 81)

6-27019 – Imco PS-2 Hopper SRP price is $59.99 (Signature – page 108)

6-36815 – Santa Fe Moe & Joe Flatcar – This item is sold out. (Signature – Page 120)

6-24248 – Manual Crossing Gate – Not in catalog. (Signature)

6-30089 – Pennsylvania Flyer Freight Set – Photo number 630069 should be 630089.
(Ready to Run – Page 3)

6-30038 – NYC Freight Expansion Pack – Cars included are Operating Log Dump Car, Single Dome Tank Car, and Hopper. (Ready to Run – Page 7)

6-30035 – Sodor Freight Expansion Pack – Photo number 630069 should be 630035.
(Ready to Run – Page 9)

6-38600 – Union Pacific Dock Switcher – Photo number 638630 should be 638600.
(Ready to Run – Page 32)

6-38630 – U.S. Army Dockside – Photo number 638600 should be 638630. (Ready to Run – Page 32)

6-38664 – Lionel Lines 4-4-2 – Item printed 638644 should be 638664. (Ready to Run – Page 32 and 33)

6-38651 – Lionel Lines 0-8-0 – Price in the catalog is $219.99 should be $119.99.
(Ready to Run – Page 34)

6-26401 – Northern Pacific Ore Car – Photo is wrong, you will find the correct one on the Web Site. (Ready to Run – Page 38)

6-26411 – Lionel Lines Ore Car – The correct photo is on page 38 under Northern Pacific Ore Car. (Ready to Run – Page 40)

6-12028 – Inner Passing Loop Add–on Track Pack – Price in catalog $86.90 should be $86.89. (Ready to Run – Page 44)

6-12030 – Figure 8 Add-on Track Pack – Price in catalog $58.17 should be $58.19. (Ready to Run – Page 44)

6-22104 – PRR Freight Car – Price in catalog $209.99 should be $134.99. (K-Line – Page 7)

February 11, 2008

Finally!!! The 2008 Lionel Catalog is on our Preorder Site!!!

We're excited to announce that you can now place your preorder for the Lionel 2008 Catalog items at http://store.trainzpreorder.com/ The deadline is March 17th. And, if you are looking for the catalog you may order it from http://store.trainz.com/Items/1202395603?sck=14061815
If you have any questions concerning the preorder program please email us at preorder@trainz.com

February 5, 2008

COMING SOON!!! 2008 Lionel V1 Preorder Program

We are busy preparing our PreOrder Trainz Website http://store.trainzpreorder.com/ with all the new listings from the newest Lionel catalog! At Trainz, it takes a little longer to bring you our program, because we create each listing with the full description and photograph from the Lionel site. This makes ordering easier and much more convenient then having to switch back and forth between our site and looking the item up either online or in your catalog. We hope to have all the listings posted to the site within a day or two.
If you are subscribed to our mailing list we will send you an email alerting you when the listings have been posted. http://www.trainz.com/groupmail/subscribe.asp
The deadline to get your preorder in by will be mid-March. We'll post the exact date later. Although we continue to accept preorders after the deadline, we highly recommend that you get your order in to us before the deadline to secure your preorder. Sometimes, the train manufacturer will actually sell out of an item before the item is even released. To read more about our preorder program, please visit our FAQ page http://store.trainzpreorder.com/Store/Tab.aspx?tabid=5
Thank you for your patience as we prepare the site! And, remember at Trainz you'll enjoy special discount pricing and Free shipping!!!

February 3, 2008

eBay announce 2008 changes: fees, management, feedback, & rewards

Scott and Milinda attended the eBay Top Seller ecommerce forum in Washington DC January 28th -30th where eBay introduced their new top management team, fee changes, feedback changes, and a host of other changes all aimed at providing buyers a great experience using the site.

First of all on fees – the listing fees were lowered, but final value fees were raised for both auction and store listings. eBay estimates that the overall fees will be less, but it depends on how you list your items, for us they will be going up. Here are the charts from eBay.

All gallery images are now free! These are the thumbnail images that you see (or don’t) when scrolling through eBay listings. Expect to see everyone using this now.

Feedback Scoring – Many changes were made here as well.

Sellers cannot leave negative feedback – Actually we never have. eBay’s research found that sellers used this for retaliation against buyers who left them a negative and when they did, those buyers stopped buying on eBay.

Sellers will be able to report bad buyers to eBay – But now using non-public tools, like the unpaid item reporting process, and new processes to be announced. eBay promises to take serious actions with buyers that leave inaccurate feedback.

Negatives & Neutrals cannot be left within 3 days of the end of the auction – I wish it would have been 3 days after they initially contacted the seller, but it is still better than before.

Feedback window is shortened to 60 days – It is currently 90 days.

Feedback % based on last 12 months – The feedback% calculation will be changed going forward to reflect the ratio over the past 12 rolling months, not lifetime as it is now.

Multiple positive feedback credit – Starting immediately, feedback ratings will be calculated based on multiple feedbacks from repeat buyers, up to one per week. In the past feedbacks only counted once in the feedback score from each buyer. So even if one person bought 50 items over the course of a year and left 50 positive feedbacks it only counted as 1. Now up to one per week will be counted, recognizing good sellers who have a lot of repeat buyers.

Negatives and Neutrals will be deleted when buyers do not respond to eBay’s unpaid items process – currently they are just removed from the feedback calculation.

Negatives and Neutrals will be removed from suspended members – If eBay suspends a member, all of the feedback that they left for other members will be removed, and they are doing this retroactively.

PayPal protection to sellers increase – Buyers have more flexibility

PayPal announced that now any address in PayPal will be treated as a “confirmed” address. This means that sellers can now ship to wherever a sellers asks them to, as long s they put it in PayPal and PayPal will cover the seller against all unauthorized and non-receipt claims. This applies to Power Seller’s only. You must sell over $1000/month to be a Power Seller.

There is no longer an annual limit of $5,000 in claims from sellers.

Seller protection will now apply to 190 countries worldwide instead of just the US, Canada, and the UK.

Great Sellers will be rewarded

And finally, eBay is going to start rewarding its best sellers! eBay defines their best sellers as those that get 4.8 or better out of 5.0 on their feedback DSR’s (Detailed Seller Ratings), which are the star ratings that you see when you leave feedback.

Now in order to be a Power Seller, at any level, you must have a 4.5 or better for each of the DSR ratings, not an average.

Great Power Sellers’ items will show up higher in the search results when eBay changes its default sort order to “Best Match” in March. This will be based on the sellers DSR score over the past 30 days.

Great Power Sellers will also earn feed discounts based on their monthly DSR scores. 4.6’s or better on all four will earn you 5% off your Final Value Fees (FVF). 4.8’s or better will earn you 15% off your FVF’s. Currently only 15% of Power Sellers qualify for this 15% off discount, but it is clearly eBay’s intention to motivate Power Sellers to achieve this.

That’s the bottom line – better sellers mean better buying experiences, which mean more buyers, more purchases, and more money for eBay – and for great sellers. So it is good old American Capitalism at work.

All in all, I think the changes are well intended and well aimed. I don’t like the higher fees, but I sure like the refunds, so expect to see us working even harder to ensure the satisfaction of our buyers.

New Management

Meg Whitman is retiring at the end of March. Meg has always said a CEO shouldn’t stay past 10 years, well her 10 years are up and she is retiring. Meg has really done a great job with eBay – when she started eBay’s revenues were $300,000! John Donahoe is taking over as the new CEO.

Bill Cobb is also retiring as the President of President, eBay Marketplace Operations effective at the end of this year. He is being replaced by Lorrie Norrington.

Rajiv Dutta is now EVP, eBay Inc. and the President eBay Marketplaces. He had previously been the President of PayPal.

Scott Thompson is now the new President of PayPal.

There were many other management changes, but these are the primary ones. You can read their bios here.

Thanks and sorry for the long post, but there is just a lot happening!