Thank you buySAFE!

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Today, I am starting a new chapter in my entrepreneurial story. It is with both a bit of sadness and a lot of excitement that I share with you the news that I have left buySAFE to pursue other start-up and entrepreneurial interests. In addition, I have joined buySAFE’s Board of Advisors so that I can continue to assist the company in whatever fashion is necessary.  Click here to see buySAFE's announcement on the buySAFE blog.

After almost nine years of building buySAFE, I am leaving the Company in very capable hands, with fresh funding, and the brightest future that the Company has ever had. It has been a deeply satisfying experience to create something valuable, and I want to sincerely thank our customers, our partners, my colleagues and the many investors who made buySAFE possible. I am obviously looking forward to my next adventure, but I am also very much looking forward to buySAFE’s continued success over the coming months and years.

I founded buySAFE after getting burned in an online transaction on eBay. As a student, I didn’t have any extra money to lose to ecommerce fraudsters, and so I decided that there had to be a better way to buy and sell products online. buySAFE was born!

This adventure started for me while I was earning my MBA at Wharton in 2000, and as with all start-ups, there have been huge successes and great challenges. For me, both have proven to be invaluable learning experiences.

Developing buySAFE’s early business/technology plan, acquiring our major financial institution and strategic partners (including two major strategic partners to be announced in the coming months), and raising our $30 million in venture capital financing were all challenges that I ultimately found to be great learning experiences. Over time, I was able to lead almost every aspect of buySAFE’s business operations, and all of these experiences were amazing for me personally and professionally. I plan to share with you many of the lessons I learned at buySAFE over the coming months.

Perhaps the thing I am most proud of at buySAFE is our team. Early on, I recruited Jeff Grass, Tim Woda, and Hans Dreyer to buySAFE. Today, Jeff is buySAFE’s CEO, Tim is the VP – Sales, and Hans is the VP – Operations. They are the core of our team even to this day. The rest of our team is amazing as well, and it has been a pleasure working with each and every one of them.

I never intended to spend almost a decade working on my Wharton class project, but along the way, buySAFE provided me with an amazing opportunity to make great friends, to learn important new skills, and to see that anything is possible with persistence and creativity. It also taught me that you can’t build a company by yourself.

Although I could never hope to name all of the folks that deserve my thanks, I wish I could. A few folks in particular – my wife, my brother, and buySAFE’s employees, customers, investors, and advisors – have all obviously been invaluable to both me and buySAFE. To all of you, thank you! I sincerely appreciate your investments in time, capital, expertise, and support. There would be no buySAFE without you.

As far as the next chapter in my entrepreneurial story, I am not ready to share the details quite yet, but please stay tuned. I will share my adventures with you here on my blog, so if you are interested, please make sure to subscribe using the form below.

Thank you buySAFE!

Related posts:

"Steve Woda, Founder and Chairman of buySAFE, Pursues New Entrepreneurial Ventures" on the buySAFE blog

"Founder of buySAFE, Steve Woda, Steps Down" on AuctionBytes.com

Shopping Advisor approved by Mozilla for Firefox

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After two months of testing in Mozilla's developmental sandbox,
Mozilla approved the buySAFE Shopping Advisor for public distribution
via the Firefox Add-on site starting this week.

If you aren't already using Shopping Advisor with your Firefox
browser, you should install it as an add-on today.  You can check it
out on the official Mozilla Firefox Add-on site here… https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/9009

I am obviously excited about this big milestone, and as always, I hope you will continue to provide us with your feedback, insights and ideas on
Shopping Advisor over the coming weeks and months.

Have fun, and happy new year!

Steve

Obama is More Famous, But Paris Has a Better Energy Policy

Okay.  I couldn't resist digressing a bit today.

Paris might not be as famous as Obama, but she seems to have a better energy policy than he does.  She makes fun of the "white haired dude" as well.  This spoof is a classic. 

Nicely done Paris.  You're "so hot!"  🙂

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Also, while I have you here, please check out buySAFE's new safe shopping tool, Shopping Advisor.  This revolutionary application is something that my team has been working on for more than a year, and the industry reviews have been tremendous thus far.  Of course, I would love to get your comments and feedback as well.

Here is the scoop… The buySAFE Shopping Advisor is a free browser plug-in that enables consumers to shop online safely and securely. The Shopping Advisor provides objective ratings on eCommerce websites (almost 400,000 as of this morning) so consumers have the information they need to make safe and informed online shopping decisions.  More importantly, Shopping Advisor provides exclusive access to a unique safe shopping channel where every purchase is guaranteed with a bond up to $25,000 and identity theft protected – at no cost.

Have fun, and buy safe!

Install your buySAFE Shopping Advisor

A Little Challenge to the Private Sector

Today’s post is provided by Joan HerbigJoan is the Chief Executive Officer for ControlScan, a leading provider of security and Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance solutions designed exclusively for small- to medium-sized e-commerce businesses.

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I recently sent some employees to a seminar to get an industry-recommended security certificate. The seminar is aimed at providing education on the newest and hottest cyber threats.

With all the news of mega breaches out there, including one I just wrote about on www.esecuritydiva.com, it would seem as if an information-packed seminar such as this one would be packed with IT people, right? Actually, it was. But with public sector IT people. Private sector attendees were few and far between.

What’s going on here? This little piece of news could be a telltale:

Continue reading “A Little Challenge to the Private Sector”

What is the Most Cost Effective Marketing Channel for eCommerce Merchants? Email Marketing!

According to eMarketer, email marketing is still a very effective means of driving e-commerce.  The following is an excerpt from eMarketer’s article, "E-Mail Marketing Still Works"…

First, the good news: permission-based e-mail is great at getting consumers to buy.

Half of US adult e-mail users surveyed in April 2008 for Merkle‘s "View from the Inbox" study, conducted with Harris Interactive, said they had made an online purchase in the previous year as a result of permission-based marketing.

In addition, e-mail was second only to customer reviews on Web sites for influencing online purchases, according to DoubleClick Performics‘ "Green Marketing Study," conducted by Opinion Research Corporation in February 2008. E-mail was roughly equal to search results in terms of influencing online purchases.

SPAM emails are obviously a huge problem, but when consumers expect to receive an email from a merchant, they obviously open those emails and respond in a material manner.  Our experience suggests that email marketing is here to stay and in fact, is going to grow in importance for online merchants because there are few, if any, more cost effective ways to drive a sale than to market to your current and past customers via email.  Having said that, consumers are increasingly likely to stop doing business with a retailer if the retailer uses poor email practices.  Therefore, there is a huge opportunity here for merchants, but if done incorrectly, it can be costly. 

Make sure you understand email best practices.  EmailLabs has produced nice list of email best practices that might be helpful for you.

Once you have acquired your customers via more expensive channels like Paid Search Advertising, eBay, or CSEs, make sure you keep them buying from you on a consistent basis by offering them interesting offers via email.  This really is a no brainer.

Read more of the eMarketer article here >> E-Mail Marketing Still Works – eMarketer

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Daily Roundup for 2008-04-16

  • It’s a question marketers are still grappling with years after the first waves of corporate blogging flooded the web. But for better or worse, it seems corporate blogging — and the title of chief blogger — is beginning to hit its stride. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Marriott and Kodak all have recently recruited chief bloggers, with or without the actual title, to tell their stories and engage consumers.
  • These days, online consumers and companies are collaborating on a range of activities, including R&D, marketing and after-sales support.  Here are a few examples of how brands and consumers are working together online.

Continue reading “Daily Roundup for 2008-04-16”

Daily Roundup for 2008-04-14

  • Yahoo’s resistance to a takeover by Microsoft looks foolhardy to some investors and Wall Street analysts. But the push-back may prove effective in the end—at least by forcing the suitor to cough up a few more bucks a share.  Executives from Yahoo (YHOO) on Apr. 7 reiterated the reasons for their opposition. The $31-a-share offer, made public Feb. 1, "substantially undervalues" Yahoo, and its stock component is even less attractive in light of Microsoft’s (MSFT) slumping share price. "We have continued to launch new products and to take actions which leverage our scale, technology, people, and platforms as we execute on the strategy we publicly articulated," Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang and Chairman Roy Bostock wrote.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) just dropped the bomb on Yahoo (YHOO). Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Apr. 5 sent a letter giving Yahoo’s board three weeks before it initiates a proxy fight, including nomination of a new slate of directors likely to approve the deal.

Continue reading “Daily Roundup for 2008-04-14”