Week 21 Blog post – I’m back!

Jul 20, 2020

Hi, and welcome to another standard blog post. I did a 2 week hiatus on the blog posts while trying to determine a different format, frankly I didn’t come up with one. I do however still write these internally, so I figured I would publish this one publicly while I figure out how to proceed. We’ve had a solid few weeks, though a big shock last week. We came across an Amazon listing that was a different format, with country of origin prominently displayed at the top. When Amazon does start telling people where things where items are made, and I imagine they will eventually, it’s going to bring up a lot of bittersweet feelings. You absolutely should be able to see where an item is made while shopping online, I’m particularly surprised that regulation heavy Europe hasn’t implemented it. However when it happens it will also crush this project.

The Extension

A lot has been done since I last posted. We got the categories/brands out there and that’s been great, we’ve had a good reception. We have made a lot of work on enabling our extension to have a premium version, thought that’s been waiting for our banking to be set up. I didn’t bother setting up the company until it was clear we were going to have something good enough to release, and COVID has caused huge delays with the IRS so we haven’t been issued a tax number, which means we can’t get a bank account. That’s delayed our plan to charge, but the features are ready. The other thing we have on our plates is a referral program, we think it’s a natural fit for the extension. Past that we haven’t made any solid plans, we want to be able to quickly work on issues that show up. If we get a good reception however we will start work on more search improvements. We have some solid ideas and are confident we can make our results significantly more relevant.

Research

We’ve been researching like crazy and have done more than 50,000 listings since our last post, putting us north of 350,000 listings! We have a large backlog of listings waiting for their final confirmation, so we’ve been pushing to clear all those in time for the launch of our premium version. We’ve also been surprised at how many of our listings get delisted. We classify by ASIN, and there are a lot of advantages to that, but every month a sizeable % go unavailable, much more than we anticipated. We are running out of the very easy brands to identify and in the next month or two will be moving to a more proactive research method, filling holes in our listings.

The Website

Traffic has been steady and decent, I can’t complain. The infographics I’ve posted do great and we’ve been getting a better reception from Reddit. We’ve also been much more proactive with contacting customers and have had some good conversations. Most of our users, particularly the ones who found us from Reddit, just don’t want to buy Chinese stuff. We’ve also gotten a lot of complaints that we don’t have a version for Canada or the EU, but those locals are a lot harder to do.

The future is bright. I think the extension as it stands now has some serious execution issues, the search needs to work a lot better and we need way more products. On the other hand though the reception has been very positive and I’m proud of what we have created so far.

See you next week!

Gareth Struivig de Groot is the founder of Buy Localized. He originally hails from Vancouver, and he is passionate about helping people get informed about where the things they purchase come from.
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