Tue Jun 23 2020

deadline, timeline, business

Ok so the idea I had last night is to copy P-Memories gift campaign, and reward my buyers from their continued patronage. Firstly, I had the idea to create a custom sticker, get a roll of them printed, and send stickers out with every orders.

The customers could download a sheet of paper which they would affix stickers to. It would tally their points based on how many stickers they acquired. Once they got enough stickers, they would send them in and be able to redeem a prize.

I think that might work, but I had a better idea. An idea that doesn’t require purchasing costly stickers or setting up infrastructure to handle a mail-in campaign.

The idea is to create a website which randomly awards prizes to buyers.

So with every order, I send out redemption codes on a sticker that I print out.

The current promotion

What I do now is I print these promotional stickers on shipping labels and affix them to the inner envelope that contains the trading cards. It cost me nothing but labels and the time to cut them out and apply.

My new idea would be similar. It could even advertise my Twitter account in addition to offering the user a prize.

Each sticker would need a unique URL to a prize redemption website. For example, the sticker might show the following URL, along with a QR code for easily accessing the URL via smart phone.


Visiting that URL would show a prize redemption screen. Maybe there’s a CAPTCHA to prevent bots from attempting to redeem prizes that aren’t intended for that person.

Maybe there’s a fancy animation of a gift box that shakes and then opens with confetti, revealing the prize that the customer has won.

This idea would require some server-side code which contains a pool of prizes, and randomly choose a prize from that pool when the customer visits the prize redemption link. I think that’s the best way to do it because a pre-set prize might never be redeemed.

The one thing I want to avoid is to use discount codes as prizes. I see too many stores do that, and it immediately turns me off to their campaign. I’m not a chump– discount coupons aren’t prizes!

There are several parts to this website which would be required to make it work. There’s the prize redemption code, there’s a prize database, and there’s a sticker generator. I’m thinking the best way to do sticker generation is completely in HTML.

I did a project a few years ago which generated unique player identities for airsoft games. It would format a printable ID card for my 4×6″ shipping labels. I want to do something like that, which simply uses the same prize redemption website to generate new prizes.


This endpoint would generate new prize codes, and the stickers to display them.

Then there’s the database. The database would need to track prize code status. A prize code would have statuses such as

  • unopened
  • opened

I just thought of a new mechanic. Customers can open a prize box, and then they can choose to redeem it, or “trash” it for some sort of alternative reward. Say they open the prize box, and it’s a character that they have no interest for. Rather than simply ignoring the prize, they could “trash” it and get… points? I dunno what the points would be for. Maybe 2 points earns them another prize?

I think I might have to do a, “no purchase necessary” type of a thing to keep it all legal. Players could mail in a self-addressed envelope and I would send them a prize sticker.

The addition of the “trash” feature means I need user accounts on the website. That’s extra complexity. Not a bad thing, it just takes more time to implement.

I should probably use a boilerplate for this website. Lately I’m in love with the Elon quote, “if it’s long, it’s wrong.” I think Elon might be quoting someone else, but I heard it from him so I’m giving him credit for now.

So yeah, it would take me forever to implement all this code from scratch. It’s silly to do it that way since a server rendered website and CRUD is all a solved problem.

Ok so I’m going to use a boiler plate which includes a database and state of the art authentication/authorization schemes.

Next I need to handle prize redemption, customer address retention, admin notifications, and shipping status handling.

I should probably not use letter tracking, because these prizes aren’t going to be earning me any money. It’s mostly just a thing to reward existing customers and incentivize repeat sales.

I rode to Albertson’s and got some fruit. 8 apples, a bunch of bananas, a mini watermelon, and an ON SALE $8.99 bag of dried fruit. This bag of dried is usually $11.99!

I probably should have stocked up!

Oh yeah, I got peanut butter as well.

I rediscovered a snack that is almost as good as vegan ice cream. Peeled and sliced fuji apples dipped in all natural chunky peanut butter. The preparation of peeling the apple is a pain, but it’s so worth it!

There is additional preparation in the peanutbutter as well. It’s gotta be the non-hydrogenated peanutbutter. Hydrogenated peanut butter tastes terrible!

But there’s a reason it’s often hydrogenated. Hydrogenation suspends the oils or something. It caused the oil to stay mixed together, whereas the peanut oil in all the natural stuff becomes unbound from the nut and separates.

There are some brands that use palm oil and magic to make it all stay together, but I like to avoid palm oil if I can. I avoid it for environmental impact reasons. I know there is a really good environmental impact argument for palm oil, but I’m stubborn.

Anyway, I get the Albertson’s brand of peanut butter. It tastes pretty good and it’s not too expensive. It just requires extraction from the container and mixing and refrigeration which takes extra time.

Yeah, it’s a great snack.

So while I was at Albertson’s, I felt something in my throat. I think it was probably dust that I inhaled as I rode to Albertson’s. I felt it as I was locking up my bike with my new Kryptonite Keeper 755 but I didn’t want to cough and clear my throat because of what people might think.

I put on my mask and went inside and did my shopping, filling up a basket worth of fruit.

I got to the checkstand and the itch in my throat became almost unbearable. I still didn’t want to cough because now I was around more people than before.

I tried to scan and bag my groceries as fast as I could, but the itch in my throat was becoming serious. My eyes were watering, my nose was running, and I almost felt like I had to vomit. I thought I could run to the bathroom or something and tell the checkstand attendant that I would be right back.

I thought it was so ridiculous that I didn’t just cough and clear my throat. I thought that I was not taking care of myself.

The feeling was so intense that I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I coughed once into my shoulder.

I paid and walked back to my bicycle. I remembered to myself that today is tuesday, the day which the local CoDA group meets. They’ve been meeting via Zoom lately. I thought that this story of holding back a cough because of what other people might think would make a perfect story to tell at CoDA.

I’m not going to go though. I don’t have a good reason other than I’d rather be doing something else.

Holy shit, I just scored a Precious Memories Nisemonogatari booster box for $43.61. That’s bonkers low!

I didn’t think I’d win that auction, but I’m happy that I did! That box should net me a really good return.

I’ve got a bunch of packages sitting at Buyee’s warehouse. Close to 10. I have to curb my desire to purchase more items, because I really need to get some of those already purchased items shipped to me!

I can’t make money on them if they’re sitting at Buyee!

Today I’m going to open some booster packs. I’m going to see if I can pull some rare cards!

I hope eBay continues their 50,000 free insertions. I hope they just get rid of insertion fees because that’s the thing that is going to hold me back from the kind of business growth I would like to see. I have almost 3K items listed, and I’m going to have to downsize to 1.5K.

I want to have 25K listings! It’s not going to happen though. eBay is too poo poo for that!

I listed 16 cards from 3 booster packs, stashed the duplicates in my reserve box, and I also took a nap. Felt so good to nap.

I really need a new bed. I’m still sleeping on a camp pad every night and it’s hella uncomfy. When I napped, I slept atop the camp pad atop all my blankets atop my couch, which was actually very comfy!

I’m reheating leftovers now. I’m super hungry.

I think I might be getting sick. Could be Covy. That itch I felt in my throat earlier… It’s back. Hopefully it’s just dust or allergies or something. I’d rather not have the Covy.

If I do have covy, it’s about damn time! The lockdown has been so stupid. I can’t live on the $1200 that I got from the gov’t. I thought the lockdown was going to be short so I spent most that money on building my business. No regrets.

Anyway, from the getgo, people were saying that everybody was going to get Covy, and that the lockdown was to simply spread the infections over a longer period of time so hospitals wouldn’t get overwhelmed.

Such a rude virus, one that attacks the respiratory system. I need those lungs to ride my bicycle and shit!

We’ll see. I’ll just focus on self care, and I won’t allow myself to stress out like I did yesterday.

I don’t think I wrote about that. I spent most of yesterday coding a playwright script to log into eBay partner network website and automatically create affiliate links for eBay listing URLs that I pass into it.

the script accepts URL(s) as input and returns a list of affiliate links.

It works pretty well!

I crammed yesterday to get that script working properly. There were hours and hours of trial and error, and I ended late in the evening feeling terribly stressed.

I wanted to get this part of green-seller implemented because Monday is marketing day. Marketing day means I schedule one or more tweets per day via TweetDeck for the upcoming week, and I wanted all the links to be affiliate links so I got a fee discount should the items sell via those links.

I got it done! I got the feature implemented, and I got my tweets scheduled.

In the future, I plan on automating green-seller futher, to not only generate affiliate links, but also download the item images from the page. This will help me create scheduled tweets even faster, and I can focus more on drafting witty, attractive messages rather than having to go through the drudgery of downloading images and copy-pasting links into the eBay Partner Network website.

I pulled a special booster box listing from eBay which had 4 watchers. It’s from Bakemonogatari series and it contains 10 booster packs. Frankly I’m amazed it hasn’t sold yet. I’m amazed that I haven’t sold any booster boxes yet.

I sent 50% offers to the 4 watchers of the Bakemonogatari special booster box. None of them snatched it up! I’m so amazed.

I’m thinking of opening all my sealed product at this point. They are incredibly rare, out of print, new sealed in box, but people aren’t buying them!

My prices are high, but I think those prices fit the market supply. I’m probably the only seller in the USA who has such product. I might be the only seller worldwide on a few of the items.

People seem to buy singles at high prices, but not booster boxes. I suppose my job might just become extracting value from booster boxes, rather than trying to sell them all as one.

I removed my Precious Memories Amagi SS+ Plus booster box as well. I’m going to relist it in a few days.

My idea for temporarily removing these items is to again, create artificial scarcity. The watchers may check back from time to time, and they’ll see that the product they were interested in is no longer for sale.

They missed their chance. Too bad for them!

But then I’ll relist the item, and suddenly there’s another golden opportunity for them to seize the deal!

They won’t be able to resist… They’ll buy straight away!

That’s my idea, anyway.

That’s enough for today. Byebye!

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