Archive for the ‘Web Apps’ Category

OfferUp Sell & Ship Nationwide is Broken

Monday, March 11th, 2024
Posted in Web Apps

Recently I decided to try to sell nationwide and got an offer. I clicked to accept the offer multiple times yet the message stayed there asking me to approve it. However it gave me a shipping label and code to mail it, so I mailed it. Later on the seller asked if I was going to accept the offer and I told them I already mailed it. I proceeded to message OfferUp, which only has a automated phone number and email address. About 2-3 days later they got back to me and I explained the situation and gave them the shipping information I gave them and they said it wasn’t a valid label. I had the latest app downloaded and shipped my item but they weren’t going to reimburse me for the loss.

Obviously there app has bugs that they haven’t fixed. Combine that with their slow response time and I cannot recommend anyone to use the app. Not only that, but they now show ads on the app. Obviously if they used the app themselves they could figure out why not many use it anymore. You are better off selling on Marketplace or Mercari.

Google Maps Gives Different Directions Each Time

Friday, August 23rd, 2019
Posted in Web Apps

I’ve noticed that using Google Maps for traveling through a new city and going to the same locations over and over. That Google Maps often gives me different directions, even if there is no traffic, road closures or issues. It’s really annoying, but since I’ve memorized a route now, I don’t have to worry about it so much, at least for my routines. I believe they do this, in the hopes that people will report any issues such as accidents, speeding traps, etc on other roads. Perhaps its also a way for them to gauge traffic, but more often than not I’m driving late at night when this is typically not an issue.

Is LetGo’s Feature It Worth Paying For?

Thursday, July 25th, 2019
Posted in Web Apps

The app LetGo has a “Feature It” that promotes the items your selling, but it’s not worth paying for. I tried to sell an item in a major city in the United States and with the 7 days “Feature It” at $5.99 and I only got 60 views. They offer other options like 3 days for $3.99 and 1 day for $1.99. So basically I got less than 10 views a day. I started the promotion on a Thursday at about 7:15pm and had no luck.

But the way it works, is that it only features your item once every 24 hours. So when you do it, you need to hope people are on their phone. Which means, don’t do it during the midnight shift hours when most are asleep. And even then, the odds someone might see it are slim.

The Problem with Selling Apps

Monday, June 18th, 2018
Posted in Web Apps

Apps that allow you to sell items similar to Craigslist like OfferUp, letgo, 5miles, VarageSale and so on have several similar problems.

Buyers that are only semi-interested and waste your time with endless questions
The problem is that these apps are real-time, which can lead to a faster sell, but sometimes people just ask if its available or ask questions to find out more but really aren’t 100% ready to buy. So you end up wasting time. I’ve had people ask me 5 or more questions only to find out they don’t even have the money to buy it.

People expect low prices on these apps
People on these apps rarely want to pay what something is worth and are looking for a deal and will give very low offers. It’s hard to sell something for even near its value and really expect to sell something half its value at most. It should go without saying, your used items are never worth retail price and are only worth 50% of retail when used for most items (excluding Apple gear and some other categories)

Buyers want more and more
Many buyers not only are interested they want things delivered. I always put in my listings if its pick up only, as some items the prices are too low for me to even waste gas to meet anyone. If they want something for $10 or less, they need to pick it up. Also many people expect you to deliver furniture or will ask, make sure to put “pick up only” to try to prevent getting asked this. Otherwise not only will you get an offer at 20% of what you are asking they will want it delivered also. I’ve had people want me to sell them a used recliner for $20 and deliver it across the city.

Buyers aren’t checking the distance first
This is a big one, these apps should calculate the distance between the seller and buyer and let the buyer know beforehand. Many times it gets close to the sell then I they find out how far I am and aren’t interested anymore.

Resorting images is a pain
If you want to change the #1 or main image you can’t. This should be made easier so we can refresh our items.

Quick Overview
letgo has a quick “I’m interested” button, however sometimes people accidentally hit it when they are scrolling through. It does allow you to post items from the app or through their website which makes it easier to copy your listings from Craigslist. Details and map are hidden under another “more info” button, which means some people may not take the time to read it. The app also only lets you put 1 image at a time with no description in its “post it fast” user interface. However, I always want to put in a description to prevent unnecessary questions (like the size, telling people if its “pick up only”, etc). I end up waiting like 10 seconds after the initial post to go in and put in the description and extra images. It ends up being slower. While its nice the app tries hard to put in decent titles for you by analyzing your picture, 50% of the time its wrong.

OfferUp allows you to set a firm price so there is no negotiation. They only allow you to post items from the app.

5miles only allows you to post items from the app. They also recently now only allow square images. Another problem I’ve had lately is many images now show up as black, I’ve reported it but they just told me to reinstall the app and I did, but it never fixed anything. I’ve kind of abandoned this app, because of this issue and the requirement of square images as I don’t have time to make sure my images will work like that, the app should do it for us or allow us to crop them.

OfferUp Promotions Review – 2nd Attempt

Monday, June 18th, 2018
Posted in Web Apps

I tried again to promote a nice piece of furniture on OfferUp. Again another 7 day feature promotion. I started on a Thursday and it lasted a week. In total I only got 349 views from it. So OfferUp doesn’t guarantee how many views you get. It also means that it’s possible so much is being promoted that yours might get lost in the mix. There was no holiday during my week, so not sure what happened. I had great pictures and started it $450 as the starting price and eventually lowered it. I only got 1 inquiry about the item and it was for $150, way too low. It might be nice if they told you how many times it was actually even shown as a promotion to people so you could see the ratio of promotions to views. But they won’t tell you that. If they told us the amount of promotions it got, then maybe we might not feel as ripped off when our items get few views, because the app did try to promote it a lot. But since we are left in the dark, it seems like a bad deal without the other information.

So my conclusion, is do not waste money on promotions, definitely not more than 3 days for sure. And be ready to sell your stuff at 1/4 its value. Because people on OfferUp are looking for things cheap and will not even pay half of its value.

Are OfferUp Promotions Worth Buying?

Friday, May 11th, 2018
Posted in Web Apps

If you are selling items on OfferUp (an app that lets you sell things similar to Craigslist but much faster and easier), you have the option to pay for promotions. Promotions vary from bumping your item up one time to featuring your item for a limited period (3 days, 7 days or 14 days). I decided to try this out on a piece of furniture I had.

So I started bout the Feature 7-day option at $11.99 on a Thursday afternoon. The furniture I put on there I started at $400. However, the next day (Friday) I lowered it to $350, then the down to $325 on Sunday, and then down to $300 on Monday. In total I received 2379 views, with 4 messages. One person offered me $100 (a third of my asking price), another $150 (half of my asking price), another offered to trade me a diamond, and another said they liked it but couldn’t afford to buy it right now.

So while I got a lot of views, the item never sold and I think most people are looking for something cheap anyway. These promotions are how the OfferUp company makes money, but unfortunately I didn’t have any success with it. And to be honest, I don’t think I would pay for this again. I definitely wouldn’t suggest paying for the “bump” as you can easily delete your item and post it again.

Top 5 Open Source PHP Content Management Systems

Friday, August 13th, 2010
Posted in Web Apps · Tags:

I wouldn’t consider this list to be the best, just the ones that have become the most popular. Some of these CMSes became popular because they were good, but many overtime have become pretty bloated. However, since people know them, they are highly customizable, and very powerful they have huge communities behind them. But as you know, what’s popular today on the internet will soon change. Afterall, back in the early 00’s PHP-Nuke was the most popular open source PHP CMS.

  1. Drupal – Even though it’s very popular, Drupal has a slightly steep learning curve and it’s usability isn’t what it could be. However, you don’t need to know how to code to get things done. There are a lot of plugins to do almost everything you want, however since they aren’t official plugins, you are at the mercy of the developer (if they break or if you need a feature added to them, unless you know how to modify the code). It’s possible to make your own plugins if you like as well.
  2. Joomla! – Like Drupal you won’t need to know how to code to use Joomla, but you can make your own plugins if you want to get in and code. There are a lot of plugins, however many of them cost money. The interface is a little more intuitive than Drupal, but not exactly elegant.
  3. WordPress – Although it’s primarily used as a blogging platform the custom fields, custom posts types and custom taxonomies features allow you to use it like a CMS. Plenty of great free plugins and themes exist out there. Plus if you want to get into the code you can build your own plugins as well or just modify your templates. WordPress is a personal favorite of mine. 😉
  4. XOOPS – Another popular CMS, however the themes aren’t as customizable as I would like. Still it’s got a lot of features and the admin is easy to use.
  5. MediaWiki – Even though it’s really a wiki, many sites have used it like a CMS. When Webmonkey relaunched their site, it was built in MediaWiki.

Most of these CMSes I believe are popular because they are very flexible. With a little training a non-technical user can create content like blogs, site news, an online book, FAQ, RSS feeds and more. Along with that some feature standard community based features such as forums and comments. With a little coding, the developers that set them up can extend the functionality beyond what they was intended. The ones on the list above have been the most popular since 2006 and have maintained their popularity since then. But I don’t believe all of them will remain in the top 5 in another 5 years.

Honorable Mentions

List of Reserved Login or Bad Usernames

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010
Posted in Web Apps

The following are names you might want to prevent form being used not only by users, but also anyone that uses the admin to your site.

about, aboutus, admin, administer, administor, administrater, administrator, anonymous, auther, author, blogger, contact, contactus, contributer, contributor, cpanel, delete, directer, director, editer, editor, email, emailus, guest, info, loggedin, loggedout, login, logout, moderater, moderator, mysql, nobody, operater, operator, oracle, owner, postmaster, president, registar, register, registrar, root, signout, test, user, vicepresident, webmaster

A few of them are misspelled, typos, common login names, names hackers usually try to use to break in, and other names that regular users probably shouldn’t use as they would pretend to be someone they are not. Of course you may want to add the ability to prevent any starting with or ending with admin or moderator.

This is a good list to start with, share any others if you like. I didn’t include any cusswords, but it’s a good idea to add those into another table and make sure people don’t use those for usernames or just for part of it. Also this list took into consideration that the shortest username would be 4 characters long and only allowed letters and numbers.

WordPress Email Exposure

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
Posted in Web Apps · Tags: ,

I’ve noticed WordPress’s blog by email feature has the possibility of allowing anyone to see other email addresses. This feature can be turned on in the Admin in Settings->Writings and then Post via e-mail. Let’s say you set that email address as wordpressposts@example.com, that address will stay hidden. However anyone that emails that address will can have their address exposed on your blog by going to http://example.com/wp-mail.php (assuming that’s where you have WordPress installed at http://example.com). Chances are most people will have this set to a cron job and have it check it every so often, but it might be possible for others to request the page beforehand. And when you do go to that page, it shows something like this:

Author is myworkaddress@example.net

Author: 1

Posted title: Some Blog Post Title

Mission complete. Message 1 deleted.

Thus, if you are using your a email address you’d like to keep private and you are emailing wordpressposts@example.com, that email address has the possibility of showing up to people. Which is not good if you email from the same email address that checks the posts. And even worse if you email from a email address for a user in WordPress and has the rights to post contents because the email will get “publish” status rather than “pending” and will go live on the site. And if someone has the email address that is a user and has posting rights, they can easily send fake emails from that address, because all WordPress checks is the From or Reply-To line (whichever it finds first).

It’s easy to prevent it from showing email addresses by opening up wp-mail.php and looking for this line of code

echo '<p>' . sprintf(__('Author is %s'), $author) . '</p>';

And this line of code

echo "\n<p>" . sprintf(__('<strong>Author:</strong> %s'), esc_html($post_author)) . '</p>';

And then you could comment those lines out by putting // in front of both of them.

I understand WordPress outputs this information so you can see logged from any cron jobs you have setup or if you visit the page manually, as a way of just knowing whats going on. However, it could be done better to prevent the addresses from being shown to everyone. A simple solution is to setup a query string and have a secretkey (don’t make this your blog’s password however). For example, lets say your blog is installed at http://example.com/, we are going to know require the following URL to check Posts via e-mail http://example.com/wp-mail.php?secretkey=abc123. And if someone doesn’t send the right secretkey, it won’t check the email address or echo anything out.

So before this line of code

/** Make sure that the WordPress bootstrap has run before continuing. */

Let’s add

if ($_GET['secretkey'] != 'abc123')
exit();

Feel free to change the secretkey to whatever you wish. You can also change it to be called something other than secretkey. If you have a cron job, you’ll have to point to that new URL as well http://example.com/wp-mail.php?secretkey=abc123. If you use the secretkey method you can leave the lines where it echoes out the email address if you like (the 2 lines I showed you could comment out).

phpBB 3.x RSS Hack

Monday, February 2nd, 2009
Posted in Web Apps · Tags: , ,

Where I work we use phpBB and I was surprised to see version 3 didn’t have built in RSS support. I found a mod, but it contained several files and required modifying several more files. I put together a hack that will pull the latest posts that are approved and non-reported; However, it will keep them unique to a topic. So if the last 5 posts are for a topic called “That is awesome”, it will only show a link to the last post on that topic and will look for the other latest posts from other topics.

It’s configurable with a item_limit (number of posts to pull) and word_limit (how long the description is). However the description is just the title for the last post, so it will most often be “RE: original post title” unless the user changes it when posting. I could of done another query in a loop to the table phpbb_posts and pulled out the corresponding post_text, but didn’t want to have the overhead. Although you could easily modify that in and cache the file for say 5 or 15 minutes. Think of this as a head start to get the feeds from your forum for whatever you plan to do with them. 😉

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