Online arbitrage has evolved at a rapid pace over the last few years. If you are trying to do OA with manual techniques that worked a few years ago, you will not see much success. Basically, you need to be using software to do the searching for you or you need to focus on other forms of sourcing.
Probably the best collective work on doing manual OA was the book, “Online Arbitrage” by Chris Green. This was groundbreaking when it came out in Fall, 2014.
Most of the techniques used involved Chrome extensions. These extensions would basically look at sites that they were affiliates of (that is how they made their money) and tell you if you could get the product cheaper (or in stock) somewhere else.
Most people probably still have these installed and do this technique to some extent (I have all mine turned off).
This worked great at first when there weren’t as many people doing OA, but the problem was that the extensions only had the incentive to show you results from sites that they could insert an affiliate link into, but as people started using cashback sites, many extensions had their affiliate link canceled and the cashback site made the commission.
This alone, with the fact that some extensions have websites (and there were some stand alone “deal” sitez) had their Amazon affiliate accounts shut down (AZ did play favorites on this), many extensions and sites had no incentive to keep handing out free information.
Software For OA
During this time, there were computer savvy FBA sellers that started developing their own software for scraping websites and using the data to find deals.
There is no way to know how many people were doing this and how many still are, but they weren’t going to tell or share what they were doing.
Then along came OAXray.
Now I do not profess to know the whole or real story behind OAXray, but I believe it was used for deal finding for a private group before it was released to the public (that is just heresay and I may be wrong).
The reason OAXray worked so well was that it wasn’t based on only searching websites that paid an affiliate commission. Their business model was to charge for the software and profit that way.
They weren’t worried about if you hit a cashback site. In fact they want to and they allow you to figure discounts within the software to help you turn unprofitable products into profitable products.
The decision that you had to make was if it cost $XX per month, will it make me more than $XX. If so, it was a good investment.
People sourcing via OAXray started eating the manual OA sourcer’s lunches. Life was good if you paid for a subscription and actually used the software. It made you money!
As a side note, around this time, a bookseller named Peter Valley came out with a software called Zen Arbitrage.
It turned the book sourcing world upside down because it was used to do AZ to AZ flips. Buying MF seller books and sending them back into AZ and selling FBA, which makes you big money.
This software had something going on for it that was better than OAXray (more about this later) that actually is OAXrays achilles tendon.
There Goes The Neighborhood
So life is great if you are the only software in town. You don’t exactly have to keep delevoping the software. You have happy customers that really don’t have much more of a choice (and you are making them money).
Then this Aussie named Alex Moss shows up. He has a software called Tactical Arbitrage that he was using for personal sourcing and it has more sites (lots more sites) that what OAXray had.
But it is sort of a screwed up software. You needed to have an Amazon affiliate account (lost mine long time ago) to get some keys to access data.
Getting and setting up an Amazon affiliate account was not as easy as paying a monthly fee and does require one to be a little computer savvy.
This pretty much kept away a lot of users. (The computer geeks jumped on this super fast).
So OAXray was still king of the hill. The software from that Aussie was too hard for common people to use, so life was still good.
Here is the problem. Alex is real good at accepting feedback and making changes. He was embraced by the computer geeks using his software. They were more than willing to help him and he had one goal: To have the best sourcing software out there.
The one day, Tactical Arbitrage no longer need you to have an Amazon affiliate.
Shit just got real!
Now I can’t say that I know when, where, or exactly if, but OAXray sort of saw the writing on the wall. They were making a lot of changes and adding a lot of features to OAXray. (side note, I have met these guys and Alex and they are all great guys)
But here is the problem and the Achilles heel of OAXray. It is a Chrome extension. This limits some of what can be done with the software as compared to Tactical Arbitrage with is server based (I don’t claim be a programmer).
Like I say, I am not a programmer. Alex may or may not have realized this when he thought up Tactical Arbitrage. But the OAXray guys already have a customer base that likes user friendly software. Changing things up may not be an option for them.
So Alex is constantly making changes to Tactical Arbitrage. It is sort of the culture there. Whereas many of the users of OAXray don’t want to keep having to learn how to use the software. (many probably don’t even use many of the newer features that the OAXray guys have come up with)
So while OAXray is a great product, they are sort of trapped by their user base and the user base is basically all fighting to use the same sourcing sites.
Now the Tactical Arbitrage user base is not afraid of new stuff and wants to keep adding more and more sites and features to the software. The results are that they are making lots of money off using the software. (that is a basic principle, the cost of using the software should be less that than the money it makes you)
Then there is the fact that OAXray needs you to sort of be present to run it.
Alex wanted you to be able to let the computer run while you were doing other things and spit out the results. Tactical Arbitrage #1 feature is the ability to use bulk lists. Instead of clicking tab after tab, you just upload CVS files to TA and let it run. Then you come back later and check out the results.
What about that Peter guy?
Well Tactical Arbitrage has a feature that allows you to basically scan books like Zen Arbitrage does.
Yeah, you get to have a software that scans similar to OAXray and also Zen Arbitrage for the same price as one of those softwares.
Now I am not a rocket scientist but that is a way better deal.
Summing It Up
In a nutshell, the fact that Tactical Arbitrage is server based allowing it to handle more complex tasks than what an extension can and the ability to upload bulk list that don’t require you to have to click webpage after webpage is why TA is the better choice over OAXray.
With Zen Arbitrage, it is simply the fact that you can do more than search just search books for the same price.
So that is basically how Tactical Arbitrage knocked off all the competition.
Using Tactical Arbitrage
So besides the fact that I am tired of typing, I think a picture is worth a 1000 words and I am going to just title a feature/technique/how to and have videos that talk about it.
Some are mine, some belong to other people.
Here is the deal. People are lazy. You probably won’t watch these videos.
They teach you how to make money, but who will spend 10 minutes watching these?
Well the people that are successful at FBA will. Which are you?
First here is a list of sites TA covers
Ok, let’s get TA set up.
No video here but a PDF on how to do it
Here is the dashboard and TA looks on the inside
Here is a basic search Part 1.
So now I will show you some of the ways I use TA.
Ok, I like to sell books and here is how you do book scans. (who need Zen Arbitrage anyway?)
But you can source other places for books.
I know, books bore you. Well I like video games too.
You don’t have a video game list? Well here is how to make some mad money doing the onesy, twosey video game flips from eBay.
Oh, you thought that TA was just for OA. No, you can do RA with it. (now you are seeing what the full time FBAers are doing)
So you found some products on clearance or the source has dried up? Yeah TA has a way to find more.
Ok, here is one that I haven’t figured out yet, (or got the settings right) but it has so much potential that it is crazy.
There is a whole lot more you can do with TA but I have probably lost 99% of the people by now. If you are still here, you can get a free trial of Tactical Arbitrage here.
Tell them Jason sent you.