Philatelic News

Building Your Collection?

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I want to discuss using the Internet to help build your collection. First, we have to consider your collecting interests, are you interested in topical or general issues?

As a topical collector you’re looking for different ways to fill your topical interests. You can search by topic or catalog number. You can begin by looking at the philatelic agencies of the various countries. The best source is the Universal Postal Union (www.upu.int). Established in 1874, with its headquarters in the Swiss capital Berne, it is the second oldest international organization worldwide. Currently there are 192 member countries with links to those with philatelic web sites. Here you can find information regarding upcoming or recently announced issues - even before the dealers have them. Another source for information is the American Topical Association (www.americantopicalassn.org). This is a tre...

Let’s Be Social!

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We’ve talked about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) but now we need to put you out there for the entire world to see. You’ve heard people talking about social media – sites such as Facebook (www.facebook.com), Twitter (www.twitter.com), and others. Do they work? Do I have the time to do this; I’ve heard you have to tweet several times a day to be effective? Yes it works! How often you upload to social media depends on your business and what you have to say. Let’s start with the basics.

  • S – Strategy
  • O – Organization
  • C – Content
  • I – Interaction
  • A – Analysis
  • L – Learn

Before you start building profiles you have to develop a s...

What’s in a name!

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We’ve discussed the various factors that go into making your site a hit in the search engines, now I would like to throw one more item out there as well as review what I consider to be the most important factor - content.

Whether you have an existing website or are putting up a new one, what you choose for a domain name can, and does, make the world of difference in site traffic. Many dealers are established and choose names that reflect their company name – Victoria Stamp Company (www.victoriastampco.com) and Champion Stamp Company (www.championstamp.com) are a few examples. But what happens when people search and they don’t know the company they are looking for? Let’s say you are interested in Russian stamps or postal history. The average user would simply search by topic. A search for each of these search terms provides the following; russian stamps gives us www.russianstam...

Internet Security Practices.

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I wanted to take a moment to discuss the Internet and Best Security Practices. This applies to site owners and collectors equally. There is a plethora of web sites out there that want your money and/or your personal information and there are ways to prevent them from getting it. First I want to discuss the practice of phishing.

Phishing is done via email. You receive this really pretty email that looks official with links to, what you’re expected to believe, are links back to their site. There is usually some dire warning about your account being deactivated, or unusual transactions. This in itself should be enough reason not to click on the link(s). These emails don’t always come from banks or credit card companies. I got one over the holidays that confirmed my purchase on Amazon. This email had a rather large amount listed for the order total that I knew was bogus. Normally ...

Stamp Investing and the Internet?

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I can hear the sides lining up already, but before you dig your heels in I just want to take an objective look at the question. Stamp investing has been discussed by various authors over the years. Some believe it is about collecting while others believe investing is the future of philately.

Before I begin there needs to be a few definitions. The first is the investor type – philatelic (collector) or commodity investor (investor). A collector is someone who is building a collection, or purchasing items with knowledge of philately and (possibly) purchasing them with the hopes that they will increase in value over time. This does not include collecting for fun such as topicals, etc. An investor is someone with little or no knowledge of philately and who is making purchases with the hope that the value will increase over time and they can sell for a profit.

What are the ...

The Internet as a Tool!

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Many bemoan the slow death of philately and the ageing population. They point to the decline in show attendance, or the lack of interest in the younger crowd. What many do not realize is that there has been a shift in how people collect and where they gather to share their interests.

Many of you (Collectors and Dealers) already use the Internet as a tool to help with you with your philatelic interests. If you are not, you are missing an entirely new world in philately. However, even those of you already online may be missing opportunities that exist today. One such opportunity is stamp related forums.

I’ve spoken with Don Denman, founder and owner of StampSmarter (www.stampsmarter.com). He is also a moderator on Stamp Community Forum (SCF) (www.stampcommunity.org). Part of our discussion involved online membership, average ages and interests. It seems that the average ...

Build It & They Will Come –NOT!

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You’ve built your site and you’re anxiously waiting for the dollars to come in, but it just isn’t happening. What’s wrong? Just like any business endeavor you have to let people know about it and that’s what we are going to discuss today. The following applies regardless of the type of site you have – informational or e-commerce. Before I get too deep into this I want to apologize for some of the technical aspects of the article. I’ve tried to give useful information while keeping it understandable.

First, we will discuss Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how it relates to your web site. Search engines seek to determine relevance to the user based on what they are looking for as it pertains to rankings. I could write a book about the subject and it would be outdated before it was published. But we can hit on some specifics. Factors they consider in their ...

Stamp Dealers and the Internet.

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When I go to stamp shows I walk around and talk with dealers about the Internet and whether or not they are online. I’ve discovered there are several classes of dealer. There are those with no web presence, those with a basic site (whether they post inventory with a printable form or not), and those with some type of E-commerce.

For those with no web presence I say shame on you. Some dealers I talk to point to a wall of boxes and/or albums and lament that they could never put together an inventory. They enjoy doing shows, small and large, and meeting the collectors. That’s fine and I understand. You still need a basic site and a web presence. The site can tell people about you – what you’re buying or selling, and about you in general. If you enjoy meeting people think about posting the shows you will be attending and inviting them to your booth. You may not realize it but pe...

Building Your Collection?

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I want to discuss using the Internet to help build your collection. First, we have to consider your collecting interests, are you interested in topical or general issues?

As a topical collector you’re looking for different ways to fill your topical interests. You can search by topic or catalog number. You can begin by looking at the philatelic agencies of the various countries. The best source is the Universal Postal Union (www.upu.int). Established in 1874, with its headquarters in the Swiss capital Berne, it is the second oldest international organization worldwide. Currently there are 192 member countries with links to those with philatelic web sites. Here you can find information regarding upcoming or recently announced issues - even before the dealers have them. Another source for information is the American Topical Association (www.americantopicalassn.org). This is a tre...

Finding that Special Item on the Web!

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Last time, I wrote about the Future of Philately and the Internet. The next few articles are dedicated to collectors and will describe helping you search more productively and zero in on what you are looking for.

Everyone knows about Google (www.google.com) and Bing (www.bing.com). Both sites rely on what are called “string searches” to find what you are looking for. Basically they are looking at your search term(s) which they compare to their database to find matching words or terms. The problem with a string search is that you end up with anything that matches, including irrelevant items that have nothing to do with what you want. It is left to you to scroll through the garbage with the hope of finding what you really want. First you need to learn how to search. Rather than trying to give you a complete lesson in a short article I want to direct you to a Google resource that...

The Future of Philately?

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It‘s the Internet! Reading that you are either in full agreement or shaking your head. Many people discuss the current state of philately and its’ future, raising concerns, and sometime arguments, about what to do to reverse the decline in sales and memberships. Little progress is being made because many of the people leading the discussions don’t fully understand the Internet and how it relates, or they are simply afraid of change. It is time to raise the level of understanding and change the discussion to one that is more meaningful.

In the US, collector and dealer attendance at shows has declined, in part, due to an aging collector base, slow sales, higher costs associated with attending shows, and a general lack of interest. While collectors have been quicker to embrace the Internet as a place to buy and sell, dealers have been slow to embrace the medium. In Europe and ...

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