Lance Cleveland

Selling On eBay? Be Prepared To Pay A Hefty Surcharge

eBay has been the go-to listing service for anyone wanting to get rid of used and unwanted items for over a decade.    I started listing with them in their second year of existence.  Over the past decade I’ve sold over 1,000 items.   This month is likely the last month I’ll be doing that.

I decided to clear out some older items that I no longer use.   Doing so around the holiday season makes for quick sales on eBay and makes room for any new items that are coming next week.    I listed a dozen items on eBay and many sold within a week.

Then the bill came.

Nearly 35% of what I earned went back to eBay.   Where people used to game the system by selling items for a low cost and then charge outrageous shipping to avoid paying eBay fees, eBay is now using that VERY SAME TACTIC to milk your listings for additional fees.

In fact eBay has gotten so good generating revenue here and hiding it from casual users, like myself, that it should be considered false advertising.  At the very least it is very bad customer service.

Case In Point

I listed a $20 computer accessory on eBay.   They tout there “Free Listing” all over the place.   Nice!    I list for free until it sells.   When it does sell I only pay their relatively minor commission, around 10% of the selling price.  Not bad.

They even help me figure out what my shipping fee should be;  just put in the weight and they will calculate how much to charge the buyer based on where they live.

A buyer snags a great deal just 48 hours after I start the listing.     eBay decides that the shipping fee via FedEx based on the product weight should be $12.   Sounds about right.

Package and ship the item.     Buyer is happy.   All is good.

Then the bill arrives.

That $12 shipping , for which eBay gives me their $1.45 corporate discount? WRONG. 

FedEx charged them $17.  Yes, the original freight was $11.13 per their estimate for a 7 pound item.  The problem is that eBay conveniently leaves out the Fuel Surcharge: $0.65, the DAS surcharge of $3.15, and the residential surcharge of $3.25.  Luckily they did get the $1.45 discount right.    The total damage , which eBay is more than happy to pass along despite THEIR CALCULATOR ERROR, is $16.73 not the $11.13 they first calculated nor the $11.91 they charged the buyer.

That is a $4.83 difference on a $12 line item … a 30% error just on shipping.

Then there are the fees.   The listing is free but the rest sure isn’t.   Yes, eBay needs to earn money and they deserve a commission but let’s break down what is REALLY costs versus the 10% they pretend to offer.

$2.20 for the final value of the item, exactly 10%. Add another $1.69 for 10% of the ACTUAL CHARGE the shipper charged them, NOT the $12 they calculated.

At the end of the day a $22 item with $12 shipping brought in $34 and cost $20.62 all going right back to eBay and the shipping company.

Selling on eBay ends up costing an astounding 60% of the total value of the transaction.

Sadly this is not an isolated case.   Adding up the fees and shipping miscalculations is a huge cost to any seller on eBay.

The worst part of it is that eBay must know this is a problem but why would they change it?

By charging 10% fees on the shipping charge, the more their shipping companies charge the more profit eBay makes.  No reason to work with shipping companies for lower rates!

By making their calculator GROSSLY UNDERESTIMATE SHIPPING FEES they convince buyers to purchase items because it costs them “almost nothing” in shipping costs.   Buyers buy more items, eBay earns more commissions.

By passing through actual shipping costs to the sellers eBay assumes ZERO RISK and passes all the costs of the error on to the sellers.

It is a perfect system.   The sellers pay for all fees associated in selling an item: all the shipping costs, the packing materials, the handling, fuel surcharges, liability in product listing errors, liability in damaged or broken products.   It is a great way to earn millions while doing as little as possible to ensure the software works in anyone’s favor but your own.

As you can probably guess, my next items are being listed on Amazon and Let Go.   Maybe they are not better than eBay when it comes to fees, but they certainly can’t be worse.

Publishing Press Releases

The launch of MySLP, a new SaaS version of Store Locator Plus, requires marketing and promotion to ensure we get enough traffic to recoup my investment in that project.    Just sitting back and waiting for people to find the service or hoping users of the WordPress “buy it and own it” plugin is not a good marketing method.    As we start to learn the marketing and promotion world we’re going to need to learn some things.  My starting point?  Press releases.

This article is my collection of notes on publishing a technical Press Release.    What services we find out there.  Direct contact information and, eventually, what is working and what is not.

As a point of reference our “limited traffic” Store Locator Plus site gets 35,000 unique visitors per month.  Any “news” site with less than 250,000 unique visitors / engaged subscribers is not going to get much traction.

We’ll update this article via content or comments or back-link to it from related articles as we expand our research into promoting press releases.


A quick summary of services in this article.

  • PRLOG – free , $249, $349 (Newswire)
  • EIN Presswire – free, $49, $249, $399, $999 (Google News, Topix)
  • PRWEB – $99, $159, $249 (Street Insider, International Business Times)
  • Newswire – $254
  • eReleases – $399 (Associated Press)
  • NPR – free (self: MM subscribers)
  • Street Insider – $149 (self : 1M subscribers)
  • International Business Times – $undisclosed (self: 55M subscribers)

Free Press Release Services


Unique Visitors per month: undisclosed
Email Subscribers: undisclosed

Basic Posting : Free (ad supported)

No distribution.   They gather press releases and post them online as content in hopes of increasing readers and ad revenue.

Premium : $249

Premium Plus : $349

Includes Newswire submission a higher-level service listed in this article.


This is one of the first services we posted our press release to.   They put the article online fairly quickly after filling out a handful of forms.   They also got EIN Presswire , noted in this article, to start hitting us up to try their service within minutes.

EIN Presswire

Unique Visitors per month: undisclosed
Email Subscribers: undisclosed

First Release: Free

Same as the basic service for a one-time trial.

Basic : $49

A single release that they host on their website.   That site shows up on search engines and in Google News and Topix.

Pro : $249

Five releases.  They email their members.   No report on how many people that is or click-through reporting.  They also put it on their Twitter and Facebook sites.

Pro Plus : $399

Ten releases.   Add scheduling to the release of press releases.  Other than that it looks the same as Pro.

Corporate: $999

Fifty releases.  Same as above.


EIN Presswire was the second service we tried.  They give you a “free trial” for your first press release.    Like PRLOG we filled out a couple of forms and within an hour they approved our press release and posted it online.   They hit us up fairly quickly to purchase a premium upgrade.

They claim to promote your press release but after 24 hours it appears they have only managed to post our own press release on the Linked In account we attached to the service when signing up.    That’s OK, but the JetPack service we enabled on our WordPress-based marketing site did the same thing.  Though we did get a comment from a contact the day after signing up for EIN Presswire and having them post to Linked In which we did not receive after we published on our own through JetPack.  Maybe they are posting the article somewhere different in Linked In.

Now that our free release is over we’ll see how it goes.  It basically looks like a “we’ll post it on our website” service, like many of the others.


Unique Visitors per month: undisclosed
Email Subscribers: undisclosed


NPR is a well-known national news agency.  The allow submissions of articles at no charge in several key categories.  However the chances of their finding your article newsworthy and getting it broadcast on their network is slim.   If you have something new, exciting, groundbreaking and proven you’ve got a shot.

Premium Press Release Services

Some other services we know about thus far that we’ve not delved into yet.

Basic : $99

Put the article on their website.

Standard : $159

Send article to “thousands of news outlets”.
Post to social media.

Advanced : $249

Optimized for “search visibility”.
Sent to premium news sites like “StreetInsider” and “International Business Times“.


Like most of the press release services it seems their premium offer is nothing more than feeding a release to a higher traffic site.   For example, you can push to Street Insider directly for $149 (see below).


Single Release : $254


They send your release to 4500+ news outlets and have a database of 430k media contacts.  It is not clear whether they include the featured publication on Yahoo News, AOL, ABC, FOX, NBC, CBS, CNN Money, and Bloomberg but not likely at this price.    They also “allow you to find and pitch” using their database of 430k media contacts, which means they give you the list but you do the work by the sounds of it.

Newsmaker : $399

Includes “Buzz Builder”, news via “Associated Press“, and 500 words to 2 industry targets.


They claim to have 347,000 journalists and bloggers in their database, 200,000 “media points” and 7,000 “syndicated sites”.

Street Insider

Claimed subscribers: 1M

SI Newswire Single Release : $149


Street Insider is one of the “higher level” business news websites fed by other submission services.

International Business Times

Unique Visitors per month: 55M global / 35MM usa


The company behind the recently re-released Newsweek magazine, Medial Daily, iDigital Times, and several other online brands.

Local News Outlets

These are places near either DevriX in Bulgaria or Charleston Software Associates in Charleston, SC USA.   Local media often has more interest in reporting on companies doing work in the area than regional, national, or international news sources.

Moultrie News

Mount Pleasant, SC USA

Moultrie News is a hyper-local news service that caters to the region east of Charleston known as “East of The Cooper”.   We submitted a press release here, no response and no action.

Post & Courier

Thad Moore
Technology Reporter
Charleston, SC USA
(843) 937-5703

The Post & Courier is the only major news service that caters to the Charleston South Carolina metro region. We submitted a press release here, no response and no action.

Press Releases


iOS (and now Android) Has A Better Keyboard

Did you know your iOS device can extend the keyboard you use to type just about everything?  Installing Google from the Apple play store allows you to activate Maps, Drive, and search from Google. What most people don’t realize is that it also allows you to activate the Gboard as another , and in my opinion better keyboard.   For all the cool stuff Apple has  done with iOS , the default keyboard is not on that list.

Install the Google app, go to general settings as Nd switch to the Google keyboard now you’ll be happy you did. Add emoji, use a Swype keyboard, add images, and yes search Google from a simple keyboard. Sweet!  

Yes you can even add gifs with a simple key press…

Ok, that may be overboard! Maybe.

Google’s great iOS keyboard is now on AndroiD

by Adi Robertson@thedextriarchy Dec 12, 2016, 1:11pm EST

AsteroidOS Open Source Alternative To Androidwear

Androidwear has long been a second class citizen , especially when living on an iPhone.  Hopefully this open source attempt at a watch OS can help Android watches regain lost functionality and compete with the Apple Watch.

With Android Wear critical, open source AsteroidOS offers smartwatches a life line

Android Authority

Kris Carlon20 hours ago

Android Wear has been on life support for a while. We’re still waiting for the miracle cure of Android Wear 2.0, but the clock is ticking, the doctors seem pre-occupied and various relatives have already given up hope as smartwatches limp ever closer to the precipice. But smartwatches may just have a new hope: a new open-source wearable platform called AsteroidOS.

Configuring VirtualBox As A nginx RTMP Server


This is how I went about building a version of nginx that supports RTMP media streaming on an Ubuntu 16.04 VirtualBox.   It is not a simple plug-and-play exercise but anyone with basic Linux system admin skills can get this going.
Read More

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