Archive for February 27, 2009

25 Random Things (and sort of a history) About Avalon.ph

1. Original name was ph Auctions (1999). First hosted by free webhost Fortunecity.com.

2. I used to bid and buy from eBay.com back in 1998. One time I checked if there’s a local auction website and can’t find any. So I started one.

3. The very first version of the website was run by an offline auction software. Unfortunately I cannot recall the name of the software. I can recall the website selling at least 10 items, maybe 30 maximum from Feb 1999 to Jun 1999- 1st version.

Old Website

4. I was still using a 38400 modem when I uploaded the first pieces of code back in February 1999. The function of the website was not even in real time. I had to log-in once a day to download new items posted and submitted bids, run process, then upload the new data.

5. We are technically the 2nd online auction website in the Philippines after Subasta.com (1997-98?). However, when the auction site started, Subasta.com was already offline. I did some research to verify if we were actually the 1st online auction website in the country but Subasta.com came up in searches. However, I cannot verify if Subasta.com was a local Philippine website, just hints of it being one.

6. I got from this website the 2nd version of Avalon.ph (ph Auctions / eAuctions.ph): http://www.everysoft.com/. This started mid-1999.

7. I have no computer programming experience at all. Until now, I don’t even consider myself an average programmer. I work in ‘reverse’- study a finished code, figure out the logic and work my way back, then I do my stuff until I get it right.

8. Top selling items first 2 years of the website in the following order: Collectible Toys & Action Figures, Original Region 1 DVDs, Books, Comics.

Macross

9. The first out-of-Metro Manila buyer I had was from Dipolog City (2000).

10. It was during the fourth quarter of year 2000 when we received funding from a HK firm and the company invested on a Php1.8M software- that doesn’t work now :). That software is now defunct and the domain name was sort of locked with it so we changed our name from eAuctions.ph to Avalon.ph.

11. Type in www.eauctions.ph now and you’ll be redirected to Avalon.ph.

12. We had our first and only website launch back in November 2000 at Hard Rock Cafe, Makati City. Free food for all, music, auctions and open bar. I wonder if that will happen again :).

13. Yes, someone did try to auction her virginity back in 2000. Of course the posting was banned (please don’t ask if I verified it). Besides, it was obviously a prank.

14. In the past 10 years, I’ve only been late for pick-ups/meet-ups definitely less than 6 times. The last time was late last year when there was a sudden downpour in UP Diliman.

15. The most memorable item I encountered being sold on my website was a Hello Kitty dild… nah I don’t think I’ll finish that sentence.

16. Google AdWords (NOT AdSense) is my best investment with regards to advertising- I sometimes get returns above 3,000%-4,000% per month. Yes, three thousand percent and I know my math.

17. I used to sell hardbound Moleskines for Php400.00 each – LARGE. I also used to sell unread overstock copies of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere (Trade paperback) for Php180.00. Sometimes I worry too much about inventory not moving fast enough.

18. Website ICQ number before was 41444804. ICQ was sort of the Yahoo Messenger of 1999-2000.

Old Users File19. We have buyers from 10 years ago still patronizing our website (I can recall at least 5). One from 9.5 years back even bought something just a month ago.

20. The book I regret selling: US 1st/1st Hardbound copy of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, sold for Php500.00 back in 2001/2002. Current price is at least USD500.00.

21. Images (royalty free) from the current website were taken from sxc.hu – a free stock photography site. The shopping mall image in the front page is not from the Philippines.

22. I honestly can’t recall the very first item sold on the website. Sad but true. One item sold in 1999 that I recall pretty well was a Fountain Pen from user “nuitblanche”.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

23. First Signed Book sold on the website was Neil Gaiman’s Stardust (Hardbound 1st/1st)… waaaay before he first visited the Philippines. The second Signed Book sold was Adventures in the Dream Trade, also by Neil Gaiman. One important book I sold was a hardbound US 1st/1st copy of Haruki Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, now at least USD300.00.

24. A small but meaningful portion of the website’s yearly income is used as a form of “tuition financial relief” to a select 3rd/4th year high school student from my former school. I’m not into symbolism much, but that is my charity.

25. And finally, most e-mails originally from Eudora imported to Gmail and Yahoo! Mail are still kept. Oldest e-mail dated 10/6/99. I hope I can still find 01/99 e-mails in old EDSAmail & Outlook back-ups.

For more information about Avalon.ph, please visit the website “About Us” page.

Thank you again for all your support!

Jas

New Titles Posted, February 2009 (1st)

Calvin & Hobbes
The Dumbest Moments in Business History (2004)
Art & Artifice and Other Essays on Illusion (Gaiman Intro)
The Best American Sex Writing 2004
Best Food Writing 2005
Best Food Writing 2006
The Further Adventures of Beowulf: Champion of Middle Earth
Scared Stiff: Tales of Sex and Death by Ramsey Campbell
A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright
The Book of Sand and Shakespeare’s Memory by Jorge Luis Borges
The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions by H.P. Lovecraft
How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World: A Short History of Modern Delusions
Wise Children by Angela Carter
Queer by William Burroughs
Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit
Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses, Devils and Demons by Manfred Lurker
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones
Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig
Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Henry and June: the Unexpurgated Diary (1931-1932) by Anais Nin
A Beginner’s Guide to the World Economy (1995)
The Solitaire Mystery: a novel about family and destiny by Jostein Gaarder
Red As Blood (or Tales From the Sisters Grimmer) by Tanith Lee (HB)

Calvin and Hobbes: The Essential Calvin and Hobbes
Calvin and Hobbes: The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes
Calvin and Hobbes: Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat
Calvin and Hobbes: The Days Are Just Packed
Calvin and Hobbes: There’s Treasure Everywhere
Calvin and Hobbes: It’s a Magical World
The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide by Douglas Adams (Hardbound Omnibus 6-in-1)
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen (Hardbound, The Fairy Tale Series)
Wicked: The Life & Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire (HB)
Extremes: Reflections on Human Behavior by A.J. Dunning
Choice Cuts: A Savory Selection of Food Writing.. by Mark Kurlansky
The Math Gene: How Mathematical Thinking Evolved and Why Numbers are Like Gossip
A Treasury of Kahlil Gibran
The Best American Poetry 1992 (Edited by Charles Simic)
Traveler’s Tales: The Fire Never Dies by Richard Sterling
The Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls & Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient
Understanding Manga and Anime by Robin E. Brenner
Traveler’s Tales: The Fire Never Dies by Richard Sterling
The Science of the X-Men (Out-of-Print)

==================

For Auction:

Monopoly

Monopoly: The World’s Most Famous Game & How It Got That Way
Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake (Book One)
Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake (Book Two)
The Storm: Stories & Prose Poems by Kahlil Gibran
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
Military Intelligence Blunders and Cover-ups
JLA: Liberty and Justice (Alex Ross & Paul Dini)
The World’s Great Handguns: From 1450 to the Present Day (HB)
The Darwin Awards 4: Intelligent Design
Freud for Beginners (Comic Book Form)

The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen
Technology in the 20th Century by Alex Chase
Psychiatry for Beginners (Writers and Readers)
Instant Physics: From Aristotle to Einsteins, & Beyond
500 Manga Heroes & Villains by Helen McCarthy
Superman: Sunday Classics 1939-1943 (Hardbound)
Anne Rice: The Sleeping Beauty Novels (COMPLETE!)
Death: At Death’s Door (Sandman, Comics)

Thanks and happy shopping!

Tenth Anniversary Initial Sale!

Avalon.ph 10th Anniversary

It was February 1999.  I started looking for a local online auction website to browse but can’t find any, so I figured why not start your own?

Ten years, seven different versions. Check out the history and profile of Avalon.ph.

We are starting a series of Php10.00 auctions on our auction website. Great selection of book titles, and expect us to add even more in the upcoming weeks.

Once again, thank you for all your support.

Beware of Forged Signed Books

Always be careful when dealing with autographed books. I do my due diligence and extensive research before dealing any signed book online, especially before selling them on Avalon.ph.

From readingeagle.com:

A Reading man is accused of forging these names and others on books to sell online:

Truman Capote, Tom Clancy, Michael Crichton, John Grisham, John Irving, Norman Mailer, James Michener, Annie Proulx, Anne Rice, Philip Roth, Leon Uris, Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Wolfe

A Reading man has been indicted on federal charges that he made more than $300,000 over six years by forging the signatures of famous authors on books before selling them to unsuspecting buyers on the auction Web site eBay….”

For the complete story please click here.

PSFK Avalon.ph Interview – Lessons from an Independent Online Bookstore

psfk.comSharing the link of my interview with PSFK.com – Lessons from an Independent Online Bookstore.

PSFK.com is one of the leading trends, innovation and marketing website today.