We've released another major update today that now allows sellers to restrict shipping locations for their sales. The new feature can be found in your Account Settings under the "Exclude Shipping Locations" field. Sellers can exclude shipping locations based on entire regions, specific countries, or outlying regions of the US. By default, United States Mainland is enabled and cannot be excluded.
When shipping zones are excluded on your account, the settings will be applied to all items that you have for sale and the excluded locations will be clearly and publicly displayed on your item listings in the "Payment and Shipping Details" section. Buyers who reside in an excluded region who attempt to purchase your items, bid on auctions or make offers on your items - will automatically be declined with an explanatory message. This feature should greatly help sellers who do not offer international shipping and will help prevent inconvenient purchases that end up requiring cancellations and refunds.
As always, with any new and major updates, please let us know if you experience any bugs or glitches with the new shipping restriction features.
We've just released a complete overhaul of the UniSquare marketplace. Our site has a completely new design along with a much more modern look and user interface. One of the most important improvements to the site is "mobile-friendliness". This means mobile users using cell phones and mobile devices will be able to browse the site - including buying and selling items. This opens up a new market of potential buyers and sellers who may have had a much more difficult time in the past with our older design. Mobile users can still view our Desktop Version through the main menu.
Every page has changed, including the category pages, member pages, feedback pages, shopping cart and checkout pages, item listing pages and the "My Square" Administration pages. Most of the features are still in the same place, except they look nicer and are more organized. There are some new changes though. The item listing pages now include zoom-window capability for images, although you can still click the images to view the full image on a separate window.
In addition to the front-end design changes, we also made a few backend changes as well. Sales taxes are now applied automatically during checkout based on a user's location. Sales (or VAT) taxes are applied on a nation-wide basis for all countries except the United States. For anyone accepting sales tax within the US, a State is required to be selected from the dropdown menu in your Account Settings.
We will continue working on additional features and fixes that may be required. As with any major update, please let report any bugs or glitches and we'll look into it.
Due to the recent massive increase in traffic volume and the number of new item listings on UniSquare, our original search engine was beginning to slow down quite a bit and was becoming less accurate. We had originally planned on upgrading the search at some point in the future, but did not expect that UniSquare and the number of item listings would grow as quickly as it did. Because of this, we pushed up our search engine upgrade to top priority.
Our new shiny, chrome-plated search engine is now live! Search queries across nearly a half million products now load up in less than a second in most cases. Equally enjoyable is a much more accurate result list that appears during search queries. This upgrade also applies to the individual store search engine script. If you've built a customized store on UniSquare, the store search engine will also be faster and more accurate. This means buyers will be able to quickly find what they are looking for - hence a higher probability of items getting sold and successful sales for UniSquare sellers!
Our new search engine searches for keywords found in the titles and descriptions of items. If you want your items found in UniSquare search queries, place a few words in your item description that a buyer might search for. This is why you don't want to leave your description empty! Not only will this help your items get found in our powerful UniSquare search engine, but also in major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing where millions of people are searching.
We will apply the new search engine technology all throughout UniSquare to help improve many other aspects of the site, including making other pages and background scripts run faster. A major technical benefit is we were able to cut our database size down in half and remove all sorts of scripts related to our old search engine. This equates to more resources allocated to making a much faster marketplace capable of handling millions of products... As always with any new update, please contact us if you experience any bugs, glitches and errors related to the new update.
We were given a heads up regarding the UniSquare Selling Feeds that stopped working on Twitter and Facebook. It turns out that both Twitter and Facebook updated their application APIs without sending us a notification. Unfortunately, no members reported any problems or issues either, so we assumed the social networking scripts were working fine until yesterday when we received a report.
We've gone in and updated the APIs and fixed up related problems. Both apps should be working fine now. Some members will need to re-give permission to allow UniSquare to automatically post your new listings on Facebook and Twitter on your behalf. As always with any update, please report any issues or glitches related to the new changes.
Over the past month, we've made some remarkable backend upgrades geared towards our long-term growth, page speed and server efficiency. When UniSquare first began and first hit a total count of 10,000 product listings, our site began slowing down on certain pages. This required much more research and development on our logic algorithms and backend coding to help speed up database queries and page loading. We were quite successful in doing this and helped cut down our database queries 10x fold and cut the page loading time down by three times.
However, during the past few months, UniSquare experienced an explosion of growth, nearing a quarter million product listings. Our site now hosts over 311,000 items. This growth again caused our site to slow down tremendously. In some cases, category pages would take 5-10 seconds to load, as did many of our product pages. This required us to dig much deeper than ever before into algorithm, logic and code development related to our servers and database.
We are happy to announce that our backend upgrades are now complete and the site now runs with great efficiency. Most of the product pages will now load up with average times ranging between 0.01 seconds and 0.30 seconds. Category pages typically load up at 0.10 seconds. The "My Square" administration section now loads up just as fast (This is base-level server response time, not including page rendering in the browser and image loading, which is quick anyways). In fact, UniSquare now runs faster and more efficiently than ever before, even faster than when our site was small with only 10,000 items, and uses even less memory, database queries and CPU usage on the server.
Our number one reason for the improvements was obviously convenience for buyers and sellers browsing the site and adding products to the site. There is nothing worse than a slow-loading website. Another factor was SEO (search engine optimization). Major search engines such as Google prefer fast-loading websites as they want to send their visitors to the best websites out there where they can find what they searching for quickly, Google doesn't like sending their visitors to slow-loading sites. This should greatly increase our search engine rankings (hence potential sales) over the long-term, considering that UniSquare is now one of the fastest-loading marketplaces on the internet today!
Lastly, with scalability in mind, UniSquare should now be prepared to handle the addition of millions of new product listings. With our new knowledge and research, we should be able to better handle and correct slow loading times in other parts of the site, if problems occur in the future. In comparison, eBay handles around 262,000,000 products at the moment.
Due to suggestions and feedback since the launch of UniSquare, we've just completed a major upgrade on UniSquare. Sellers can now import your product listings from eBay! Please note that since this feature is still so new, it will be in beta phase in case any bugs need to be worked out. Basically, you can import most listing formats, including auctions, auctions with a buy-it-now option, fixed-priced only and make-best-offer type items. We will try to import all information, including titles, subtitles, descriptions, prices, images, categories and shipping details.
Up to 1,000 items can be imported at a time. If you have more than 1,000 items, the rest will be placed in queue where our servers will complete the job offline, or you can manually trigger each additional batch of uploads until your inventory is completely imported. Your feedback rating and eBay name will also be imported as well. UniSquare will try to sync the items to an extent, but you can read more about this feature in the link above.
We've also overhauled our PayPal checkout system. This should fix a number of issues with payments not going through, while at the same time, providing Seller Protection for nearly all sales completed on UniSquare. You will notice a new interface without the PayPal popup windows, but most of the changes are in the backend on our servers, which really streamlines the process.
Lastly, we overhauled and improved our product variations (variants) interface last month. Rather than being limited to just 30 colors and 30 sizes, sellers can now add an unlimited number of variants. Up to 5 custom variants are now allowed, and you can create combinations of each variant. The new feature will automatically calculate and produce a grid of all variant combinations that you enter. In addition, a unique quantity, price, UPC code, MPN code, and 1 photo image can be assigned to each and every variant combination. If you are selling t-shirts or shoes for example, you can allow buyers to select from the dropdown box options such as: Color: Red , Size: Large, Pattern: Hawaiian, Material: Cotton etc... (similar to how you can select clothing options on Amazon.com, eBay.com, WalMart.com and other major online retailers) This feature can be utilized for any kind of product in which you have variants.
As with any major update, please report any problems, glitches and bugs that you experience and we will look into it.
UniSquare is now a little more secure. Recently, a few scammers have been abusing the eBay feedback history feature (honor system) and have been entering in fake eBay usernames and fake eBay feedback count. We've altered the script by integrating the eBay API into UniSquare. To import your feedback, click "My Square" >> "Account" tab >> browse down to the "Import eBay Feedback" field and click the "Edit" link.
You will then be prompted with a link to import/update eBay feedback. Clicking this will redirect you to eBay, where you will be required to log in, verify your eBay account and give UniSquare permission to import your feedback history. Once this is done, your eBay User ID and feedback score count will be imported under your account at UniSquare and publically displayed to all buyers. Your current eBay feedback and score can be updated by clicking the import/update link, which will send you through the same verification process and import your most current feedback history. You may also remove your eBay feedback history from UniSquare at any time.
Please note that this will only import your eBay username and feedback score count. We cannot import each individual comment.
Google has announced that they will be retiring their Google Checkout online payment processor on November 20th, 2013. Unfortunately, this has forced UniSquare to discontinue Google Checkout as a payment method. Google does not plan on developing any robust alternative payment processor for physical goods. We have removed the service from this site and modified relevant member's payment methods to reflect the new changes. UniSquare will now look for another alternative to PayPal. Most likely, we will try to integrate Amazon Checkout instead. We decided to remove Google Checkout now before the major holiday season so that our members have the time to plan this out.
In other updates, UniSquare has upgraded the PayPal payment processor to make it more efficient and fix up a few compatibility issues. Members had complained about PayPal not loading up correctly or not at all, which was due to buyer's browser popup windows being blocked. Our new update has fixed this issue and we have no longer received any complaints since the fix.
Also, our servers were updated around August 1st, 2013. These new servers are tremendously faster and the load time is 1/4th what it was before this time. Due to this upgrade, search engines are able to index more pages at a faster rate, ultimately resulting in higher rankings and more traffic. We've also done efficiency upgrades on the backend of UniSquare to allow pages to load up faster provide stronger scalability as our site grows. In just over a week, UniSquare will celebrate it's 2nd anniversary. Since around this time last summer, our traffic and sales have nearly octupled in volume since then! We hope to continue this tremendous growth over the next year.
We've made a few recent changes over the past few weeks or so. One major feature upgrade is the ability to allow sellers to add their own social network links to their Facebook page, Twitter page, Google Plus page and LinkedIn pages. To add these, please login, visit My Square and edit your account preferences. These links will appear on your store homepage and your member information page! They will appear in small symbol blocks that visitors can view and click:
Due to feedback, we've made an additional feature for coupon codes. When you add or edit your coupon/promo codes, you can now make them appear and display live on all of your listing pages. This was due to concerns about trying to market the codes and let potential buyers know about them. Although, we also made a clear option to hide these codes (the public ones that apply to everyone at least), so they do not display on the item pages themselves, in case you would like to use them in external marketing campaigns.
Lastly, and due to feedback by those knowledgeable in SEO, we've got around to an SEO change related to individual listing pages and made them look more SEO friendly by inserting the actual title into them. In addition, the old and short original URLs still work. So you can still send the short numerical item ID URLs to people, while the SEO-friendly URLs will provide one more boost in the search engines!
Due to feedback and suggestions, we've added a few new features at UniSquare. The first main feature we added was a Watch List. While logged in, you can now add any item to a watch list and view it from the Summary page or "Watch List" page inside of "My Square" to keep an eye on it. Members can watch an unlimited number of items here and remove them at will.
In addition, we added two more tabs to "My Square" called "Saved Sellers" and "Saved Searches". Members can now add a member to their "Saved Sellers" list. This is handy if you want to keep track of high quality sellers or simply keep track of your favorite members on UniSquare. In addition, you can leave up to 1000 characters note on that seller that only you can see. To add sellers to your list, simply view a page that has an item for sale by that member and click the "Save this seller" link, or visit their member page and click "Add to favorite sellers". Again, you can keep track of an unlimited number of sellers here and they can be deleted at any time.
Lastly, we added a "Save Searches" feature that allows you to save search terms and configurations. To do this, login and simply perform a search in the search bar. When the results come up, a new button will appear called "Click here to save this search in My Square". Click this and it will be saved. This feature will keep track of your search terms and bring you back to the exact search results. The feature even keeps track of price ranges, search in specific categories, best offers, free shipping, specific items, specific members, sold items, bidders and any other advanced criteria!
As always, please report any glitches and bugs with new feature updates. We'll continue to fine-tune these features as time goes on, especially if we missed something. One thing we fine-tuned is the bidding history, members can now bid anonymously and hide their name from the public. We've also patched up a few other minor, elusive bugs on the site which are generally in the background, and we've also done backend work to make pages load faster and more efficiently. This should make things smoother in those areas.
Due to feedback, marketability and business strategy, we've decided to transition UniSquare into a 100% free online marketplace and online auction house. Before, there were no listing fees, no registration fees, no monthly fees of any kind - only a 2% seller commission or final value fee. Now we've eliminated the commission fee so that it is 0%, so no more commission fees and final value fees. Instead, UniSquare now has no fees of any kind! Please tell everyone you know about the new changes and link to our site from your personal websites and resource sites!
As always with our major updates, please let us know if there are any bugs or glitches related to this new update. Particularly, please let us know if you still experience any messages or billing notification related to the our old 2% fee system.
Due to feedback, we've greatly expanded our books marketplace and added over 6000 new categories. The categories are now inspired by Amazon's book structure, so listings will no longer be in categories that are too general and vague. The benefits of this is now sellers will have a much richer, wider range of categories to list almost any kind of book in. This ranges from audio books (cassettes, CDs, MP3 CD), new and used textbooks, fiction and non-fiction categories and A LOT more. In addition, we added genres for the DVDs and Movies categories, so it should make things easier for listing new and used DVDs, VHS, Laserdisc, UMD, films and other formats.
This makes it much easier for buyers to browse and find what they are looking for immediately. In addition, your items pages will now contain the specific category links, which displays rich, specific keywords. This should definitely boost the SEO benefits in the search engines with more specific keywords showing up in you rankings and search listings. The end result is you should receive more visitors and potential sales.
Lastly, we fixed up a few bugs in our Bundle Builder "Make An Offer" feature as well as contact forms and other forms. Please let us know if you experience any further issues with these new changes.
We've made a few more feature upgrades to UniSquare. The first major upgrade is the addition of Advanced Search. There is now a new "Advanced" link just next to the search button. This will allow members to search for items based on specific item numbers, search for specific members and their items (along with keyword defining of those items), search for bidders and their recent bidding history, search for recently sold items based on keywords, specific member usernames or both. The general advanced search will allow visitors to search for items based on the regular keywords and price ranges as well as by "Best Offers" or "Free Shipping", or by item conditions: All, New, Used and Refurbished. In addition, the general search will also show items from specific members based on those above preferences, or even exclude a selected username from the search.
In addition, members can now write a reply to any kind of feedback or offer some kind of counter-feedback. As for the auction listings, we've now come up with a better system for bid history to display a list of the current bidders, their bids, bidding time and other related statistics. Note, we will not show the maximum bid for members on the bid history screen, that will stay hidden. As always, please let us know if you come across any bugs and glitches with these new feature updates.
Our biggest news right now is that UniSquare is close to releasing a full-fledged bulk importer/exporter due to extremely high member demand. It's all set to go, but we will try getting some beta testing done with it and work out any bugs first. This new feature will allow members to upload 10,000 items at a time. In addition, members can export all items for bulk editing purposes or for marking items for deletion. After all items are imported, members can create smaller files to add new items, edit existing ones or delete items all at the same time during import. Users will be able to upload tab-delimited txt files or comma-delimited csv files. In addition, we've done some major restructuring on the database, mostly back-end stuff. We will announce more information soon. As always, please let us know if you spot any issues, bugs and glitches!
In addition, we have received messages about email notifications being delayed or not sent, and issues with payment status confusion. We've also heard reports that members have tried contacting us through the Contact Us form and we never received these messages. We worked with the server and believe the email problem should be fixed, so members should be receiving notifications of when items are sold and etc. As for the payment statuses, the new default payment status on invoices are now "Marked as Unpaid" instead of "Marked as Paid". PayPal lets us know when a payment is actually made, so the status will change automatically to "Marked as Paid". As for Google Checkout, Checks, Money Orders and Payment upon Pickup payment methods, the seller must verify that a payment was actually made and then manually select "Marked as Paid" on the invoice. This should help clear up any confusions... Supposedly, the world is supposed to end tomorrow (December 21st, 2012), so we wanted to make sure these fixes were done before then.
UniSquare has just added a major brand new feature called "Make an Offer". Sellers may now have the option to accept offers on any Buy It Now (BIN) fixed priced items. This will add a "Make an Offer" button to your item page. Buyers may click this and add an item to their "My Offers" cart. In fact, buyers can not only make an offer on just one item, they can also continue to add items into this separate cart and make one large bundle offer. A list of offers you've made or received can be found in your account Activity page. When an offer is accepted, it is instantly turned into an invoice with the shipping address and all. It's simple and very convenient!
On another note, tomorrow (September 20th, 2012) will be our 1st anniversary of the launch of UniSquare. We've come a long way in the development of many new features and upgrades of the site as well as marketing and getting the word out. We would like to greatly thank our members for spreading the word and linking to our site - We hope this will bring in more deals in return! We've also finally broken out of the "Google Sandbox" effect, which is basically purposely deflated search rankings (very little visitor traffic) imposed on all new sites and imposed for a long time for large new sites like ours. Since about last month when this happened, the growth in traffic has more than doubled (along with sales) and the traffic growth is going to increase very strongly over the next few months.
We've added a new feature which will allow sellers to create customized coupon codes, promo codes and discounts for buyers to use upon checkout. You can manage an unlimited number of codes and this feature is free. Coupons can be applied to all items you have for sale on your store or member page. The type of coupons sellers can now create are free shipping codes, percentage discounts (such as 20% off an order) or fixed price "gift certificate" types of discounts (such as $20 off an order). You can configure the codes to have unlimited uses or be used one-time-only. Also, you can even limit a code to specific members, such as for your most loyal buyers for example. The interface is extremely simple to use and you can promote your codes anywhere on the internet. To create coupons, click the "My Square" link and then the "Account" tab to view your account preferences. Then browse down to the "Coupon Code Management" field and click the "edit" link to begin adding codes!
We've completed a few upgrades on the site. One major upgrade we've done is enhanced our IP logging system to help reduce known spammers and fraudulent members from creating multiple accounts. We've also connected our banned list with our sister site at USA Coin Book as well to prevent frauds and spammers from coming over there and vice versa. During this upgrade, we've been contacted about a glitch that was preventing some members from registering on the site. This glitch has not been fixed.
In addition, we've also added a new page showcasing some of our major features for buyers and sellers at UniSquare: click here to read more about them. There are many features that members may not even know about or take advantage of, so this was important. A powerful new feature we've recently added was creating product feeds for Google Shopping, Bing Shopping and TheFind.com. Nearly all items added on UniSquare will automatically be listed on these three shopping search engines (which are different than the normal organic search results at Google.com and Bing.com). This has been wildly successful in bringing in major increase in targeted shoppers!
We now have the UniSquare Selling Feed set up on Twitter as an app. Just like the facebook selling feed, sellers can now have all of their new listings automatically announced on twitter in the form of a tweet. This not only informs your followers of new items listed for sale on UniSquare, but anyone searching on twitter may also spot your keywords in the search feature. This will enhance exposure for possible quick buys, especially if someone is searching for the right item at the right time! To install this app, login and click the "My Square" link in the upper left-hand side of the screen. Then click the "Account" tab to view your account preferences. Browse down to the "Social Network Sharing" section and click the edit link. Go down to the Twitter app and click the link to give UniSquare permission to post your new listings on your twitter account. That's it!
We've developed another useful facebook application called UniSquare Stores. If you have a facebook fan page, you can add this app and it will appear as a page tab button just above the timeline. Whenever anyone clicks on this button, they will see all of your UniSquare listings for sale as a store inside of facebook for all of your viewers to view! Visitors can search for items that you have for sale on this page and click through to purchase them as well. To add this app to your fan page, click here.
We've developed and launched our first facebook app! This app will allow your member listings to automatically post onto your facebook news feed. This will allow all of your facebook friends to see new items for sale at Unisquare. To enable this feature, you must first log into your UniSquare account, click "My Square", then click the Account tab to view your account preferences. Browse down to the "Social Network Sharing" field and click the edit link. You must then click the link to allow UniSquare permission to access your news feed in order to post your listings at any time.
Once you have done this, UniSquare will be able to post any of your newly created listings directly to your facebook news page. This will happen whether you are logged into facebook or offline. You can disable this feature at any time from your UniSquare account preferences page. Note, this is a beta version and our first facebook app. Please let us know if you experience any problems or issues getting this app to work. In the future, we will try to build a similar app for automatic Twitter sharing as well!
We've written up a new guide to help members get more traffic and potential buyers. There are simple methods and tips to follow when listing items for sale which can greatly increase your product exposure in major search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask.com and many others. These tips explain certain ways of writing product titles and descriptions, as well as some of the automatic SEO that we built into UniSquare for all listings.
Besides on-page content factors, we also explain off-page factors such as link building to market your store, how to build links and the benefits of building links. Another topic we touched on was facebook, twitter and marketing with social networking. This guide is mainly a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) guide, but it's great for beginners who don't know much about SEO or how the search engines work. How you write your item page can determine whether you no visitors or many visitors (and sales) from search engines, which is why this is an important topic for any online business. To check it out, view our web marketing and SEO guide.
In addition, we created a facebook page for UniSquare, so don't forget to "like" us and spread the word around about UniSquare!
Based on recent feedback, we created a new feature that allows you to block specific members from bidding or buying your items. You can block a nearly unlimited number of usernames. To edit this feature, login and click the "My Square" link and click the "Account" tab to view your account preferences page. Near the bottom, there is now a new field called "Blocked Members" with an edit link. Click the edit link to edit the blocked members field. This page displays a text block where you can type in the username you want to block. Separate multiple members with a comma. Members will be blocked instantly and they will receive an error message informing them that they have been blocked whenever they try to bid on, or buy your items. Note that these members can still contact you in order to work things out.
To unblock a member, simply delete the username from the list. Don't forget to contact the member and inform them that they have been unblocked and will be able to purchase from you again. As always, please contact us if you notice any bugs or glitches with this new upgrade!
We have added some new upgrades to the site, including this updates and news page! Members can now view and display visitor counters across all item pages. These are simple counters which keep track of how many visitors are viewing your items. To enable this, login and visit your account preferences page under "My Square". Browse down to the "Visitor Counters" field and click the edit link to enable or disable this feature. By default, the counter is disabled, but UniSquare counts all visitors in the background whether the feature is enabled or not. In addition, a visitor's IP address is recorded and is counted as a unique visitor once every 24 hours.
Last week, we also created a Google Analytics feature as well. Members can sign in to Google Analytics create a tracking ID there first. Then login to "My Square", visit the account preferences page and browse down to the "Google Analytics" field to edit your tracking ID. Once you have inserted your Google Analytics Tracking ID here, Google Analytics will automatically and instantly be integrated into all of your items, your member page, your store page and all of the categories inside your store page. Google Analytics will help keep track of your visitor's behaviors and other useful statistics.
Lastly, we created a new archive record of all previous sales and successful auctions. To view this page, please visit: https://www.unisquare.com/reference-guides/recent-sales/. Members also have the option to view auctions and BIN items separately, see how many bids were made.
As always, let us know if you experience any bugs, glitches or other issues with our new upgrades!
A quick summary: We originally purchased the domain name UniSquare.com back on June 12, 2011. UniSquare.com had many previous owners and websites before this time in unrelated indusstries. Eventually they abandoned their websites and let the domain name expire and so we decided to purchase the domain name and start from scratch. The site was being constructed and later completed on September 20th, 2011, which is the day we launched publically and officially. Although, we did not begin our marketing push until early January of 2012 since we were concentrating on building many new features including the options with items and the shopping cart where members can buy and sell items with multiple sizes and colors (such as shoes, clothing and etc.). Finally on April 17th, 2012, we decided to build this update page and announce news and important upgrades at UniSquare.