By Cliff Ennico

I just got back from speaking at this year’s eCom Chicago conference for online retailers (

A little history: about eight years ago, when eBay started cutting back on its popular outreach programs for eBay sellers, eBay sellers starting forming their own mutual support groups called “meetups” (for a complete list of all eBay meetup groups around the U.S., see

One of the earliest meetup groups was the Chicagoland Area eBay & eCommerce Sellers MeetUp Group, founded in 2006. Today the group, co-chaired by Rich and Nila Siok of (a leading online purveyor of customized signs for small businesses), and Mark and Robin LeVine of (a leading online purveyor of bubblewrap and other shipping supplies for online sellers), boasts about 1,000 active members and sponsors the annual eCom Chicago conference in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.

As new online platforms such as Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) and have come onto the scene, the conference has expanded its scope beyond eBay to include people who sell on these platforms.

This year’s event attracted over 250 sellers from all corners of the country and some of the top speakers on the national eCommerce circuit. Here are some tips and new resources I learned about at the conference:

Lynn Dralle, eBay auction expert, has a new book out called “The 3rd 100 Best Things I’ve Sold on eBay” ( I love Lynn’s books, because they’re really fun reads about lots of things you have lying around in your attic that might actually fetch serious bucks on eBay. What’s best about them is that Lynn tells you exactly how much she paid for an item, where she found it, and how much she got for it on eBay.

Cynthia Stine (, Amazon selling expert and author of the book “Suspension Prevention: Get Reinstated and Protect Your Amazon Seller Account”, focused her presentation on new Amazon rules that will make it difficult for sellers to continue making serious money using “retail arbitrage” techniques (basically, buying stuff, paying the full retail price, and then selling it for even more money online).

Kathy Terrill (, Internet marketing expert and former Hollywood actress (she played “Lolly the bar fly” on the TV soap opera “All My Children” and many movie roles), said there was a big difference between “social” media and “selling” media, explaining that if your primary objective on Facebook is to sell stuff you won’t go very far.

Jennifer Dunn of TaxJar ( said that if you were trying to minimize your exposure to state sales taxes your best bet was to relocate your business to one of the NOMAD states (New Hampshire, Oregon, Montana, Alaska and Delaware) that don’t currently have sales taxes.

Jeff Cohen of Seller Labs (, talking about online reviews, spoke about Amazon’s new rules requiring anyone posting a review on the site to disclose clearly any compensation (even a free teeshirt) they may have received in exchange for the review (for details, see

Rachel Abbott of (, a leading source for liquidation goods, said that in an effort to reach out to sellers who work from home or want to try liquidation for a minimal investment, Bulq now offers smaller cases, in addition to larger pallets, which deliver with $30 ground shipping to anywhere in the contiguous United States.

If you were trying to sell to lawyers, wouldn’t you want to know exactly how many people search for “attorneys,” “lawyers” or “legal counsel” when looking for legal help online? Keyword Inspector ( not only helps you figure out the best keywords for a particular online search, but helps you avoid legal trouble for “keyword spamming” (for example, using competitors’ names as search terms).

But the fun doesn’t stop there. Acting on a dare, I reworded the lyrics from an old Beatles song and sang it (my first public vocal performance in 44 years, and probably the last) at a karaoke event sponsored by Scanner Monkey ( during the conference. Mercifully, the actual performance wasn’t posted anywhere online that I’m aware of.

Here are the new lyrics I came up with:


(sung to the tune of the Beatles’ “Taxman”)


Let me tell you how it will be

Whether it is Trump or Hillary

They’re raising taxes (yeaah, raising taaaxes)


Should Congress change its hands this fall

The Fairness Act* will make you crawl

They’re raising taxes (yeaah, raising taaaxes)


They will raise income and payroll rates

1099 your PayPal gate

Pretty soon they’ll even tax the air

And will make you save Obamacare

Taxes! [bridge]


Don’t ask them what they want it for (ah, ah, Mrs. Clinton)

Whoever wins you’ll pay some more (ah, ah, Mr. Trump)

They’re raising taxes (yeaah, raising taaaxes)


With a $20 trillion deficit

Web sellers all will take the hit

They’re raising taxes (yeaah, raising taaaxes)

And you’ll need a good lawyer to survive!

* [a reference to the proposed Marketplace Fairness Act (, supported by both U.S. presidential candidates].

Okay, so it’s not Bob Dylan. But if you infringe my copyright, you’re toast.

Cliff Ennico ( is a syndicated columnist, author and host of the PBS television series ‘Money Hunt’. This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state. To find out more about Cliff Ennico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit our Web page at COPYRIGHT 2016 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC. Follow him at @cliffennico.