E-Commerce Millenium Newsletter, Issue #23
In the wake of so much bad news for e-commerce and with the realization that so many smaller webmasters are still struggling to
bring traffic to their sites, we've created this special issue with ANSWERS to your most commonly asked questions in mind! This month
we cover the importance of ensuring that your company's website is listed with EVERY search engine (major AND minor) and we also
spend some time focusing on the dreaded topic of merchant credit card chargebacks! Speaking of which... Our site of the month award
goes to [drumroll, please!] www.chargebackprevention.com - for its continued efforts to school merchants on fraud reduction, dispute
resolution, and processing bank fee reduction! It's rare in today's day and age that a site truly delivers so much useful information. We
chose this site not only because of its relevance to one of this month's topics...but because of its extensive scope...and the great
amount of thought & research that evidently went into its creation!
As always: Read-on... Web-on...and Learn!
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****SEARCH ENGINES : SHOULD WE SUBMIT OUR SITE TO EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM....REGARDLESS OF THE COST? - YES!****
By now, most webmasters realize that submitting their sites to the major search engines is critical to their success. After all, finding
sites via search engines such as Yahoo, Google, Lycos, & Altavista, still exists as one of the leading instigators of e-purchases. But
what too many merchants FAIL to realize is how important it is not only to be listed with every "major" search engine but also to be
listed with every "minor" search engine as well. For every "top" engine there are least ONE HUNDRED lesser known ones as well. And
although these inferior engines are admittedly much smaller and can hardly boast the same levels of traffic, it's quite clear that
maintaining solid listings with a few hundred minor search engines is as least as important as maintaining one good listing with a major
search engine-- So why not maintain both? Sure: One big engine is far more important than one small engine...but what about One big
enging vs. 250 smaller ones? We firmly believe in being listed EVERYWHERE for this reason ...and others....
A few years ago, Google was a "minor" search engine. Then it developed incredible search technology, got recognized and adopted
by Yahoo, and BOOM!-- it's now one of the key players in the industry. Those sites that were already included in Google's index
certainly had some lead time on everyone else who only waited until it was "big" to get listed. Remember also, that just because
YOU'VE never heard of a particular search engine doesn't mean that it's not well-known in some other region. Even within such large
countries as the US of A, Internet Service Providors will very often pick one engine -- sometimes an obscure one-- to service users
from their home page. There are typically entire towns...counties...even regions..using search engines YOU may never think about.
Can your company afford not to be listed with them? Can you every really have too much traffic? If your answer to both of these
questions is a firm "NO!"--then we believe your company should spend at least 1-2 full days going through every search engine out
there..and ensuring that your site is submitted! We recommend conducted searches online for key phrases like "list of search engines"
to find some of the most comprehensive directories out there; itemizing engine by engine! YAHOO also features a "search engines"
category with a pretty extensive list of its own. Listed below are some of the top "mid-range" search engines we recommend getting
listed with immediately (if you're not already up there!):
Voila ( http://voila.fr/ ) -- Yes, even foreign language search engines are likely to bring in an occasional order for your company.
Even if 100 of them each only bring in one per year... that's 100 extra annual sales you would not have had otherwise!
Azoos.Com ( http://www.azoos.com ) -- Great example of a regional search engine with its own niche market. Azoos charges a
small fee to add your site but guarantees SAME DAY inclusion. Can you really afford NOT to be listed? Surely, your company is
bound to make back its tiny "investment!"
All The Web a.k.a. "FastSearch" ( http://www.alltheweb.com/search?query=&cat=web&type=all ) -- Rapidly growing into one of the
Net's most significant engine, their database is used by a number of engines and sites. 'Tis foolish not to be included!
SunSteam ( http://www.sunsteam.com ) -- Another fee-based submission site, SunSteam originally created its database from free
listings and has grown into a significant minor league player over the years.
TrueSearch ( http://www.truesearch.com )--A quick & easy free listing for your company!
In sum, we DO believe its VERY worthwhile to be listed..and even to pay to be listed..with virtually every search engine online. Even
if an engine charges $50 to be listed and you "only" make $20 per customer on average; What are really the odds that a listing will fail
to find you three or more customers in the next 6 months...or in the next year? More often than not, paying to be listed is one of the
safest investments you can make. Typically, search engines are crawled by other search engines and some sites rely on the
databases of others for their "meta" searches. A listing with one search engine may turn out to be a multiple listing with many other
search engines. Only the foolhearted will turn their noses up and decline to submit their site to a particular search engine for any given
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****IS THERE ANY REAL WAY TO REDUCE CHARGEBACKS AND STAY ON THE PROCESSING BANK'S "GOOD SIDE?" - YES!!!****
Every e-merchant has stumbled across at least a few chargebacks in their career. Most grow fueled with anger when they're
defrauded and some grow even more upset when they just "know" a customer is "wrong" about a quality dispute for which the bank is
taking THEIR side. What many don't realize, however, is just how NASTY the bank (and its associated agents) CAN truly get when it
comes to chargebacks. Even if you run a clean, successful...and profitable online business, certain ambigious red flags can cause your
processing agent to demand that they set up a reserve account using your money to offset chargebacks for a period of 6 months or
more (i.e. permanently ongoing!). Often, these "reserve accounts" can grow into 6 digit numbers. If your company can't afford to fund
the reserve... oh well! In some cases, when chargebacks exceed a measley 1.5%, Visa and/or Mastercard themselves can enter a
merchant into their "watch" programs--and begin by **fining** them $10,000 or more! Simultaneously, a merchant in their watch
program may even find their chargeback fee is DOUBLED! Think this wont happen to your company? Review your merchant contract!
Think you're company is too stable and has too much of a "good thing going" with the bank? We've even seen reserves & fines
slapped on multi-million dollar e-commerce companies who never even had one quarter's sales dip into the red! So what can you do to
*Keep chargebacks low at any cost: Chargebacks are costly enough but they become even pricier when they're suddenly causing
you to be fined enormous amounts by Visa. E-tailers should proactively take steps to ensure that the worst never happens to them.
Even if it means phoning each customer one by one for voice verification - Do it! -Don't say we didn't warn you!
*Keep the lines of communication open: Inform your merchant bank rep. whenever you add a new product or service. If
chargebacks start pouring in for a product/service they weren't aware you sold, you may have lots of trouble on your hands!
*Accept Novus and American Express cards whenever possible. Not only are they easier to deal with when it comes to disputes,
these companies are less likely to give their merchants any grief!
*Sign up for a support service: There are all kinds of services on the 'net offering software-based tools to help eliminate fraud. We
believe, however, that KNOWLEDGE is power and INFORMATION is key. This month's hot site award goes to the relevant:
www.chargebackprevention.com - a site featuring HUNDREDS of pages worth of information, tutorials, advice, and guidance on
lowering chargebacks, fees, and other costly items associated with being a merchant. ChargebackPrevention.Com takes an
approach geared towards keeping chargebacks low AND keeping sales UP. They recognize that some of the chargeback-fighting
techniques promoted by MasterCard & Visa can actually reduce sales for some merchants, and they provide pages and pages of
additional advice to teach merchants how to achieve a happy medium. Sections of the site also deal with reducing your processing
fees, handling quality dispute chargebacks, etc; The site charges a one-time sign up fee of $39 but is likely to save even the
smallest merchant FAR more money in reduced chargebacks, fees, etc;. We strongly recommend it!
Well, that's all we have for this month! Until next time: Read on.. Web on... and Learn!!!!
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