Okay, so people have been pinging me about what I decided at the end of the day in regards to my ‘stink’ with BANS, and what I would recommend to others. I know there have been claims of me being unfair, which is weird to me. First of all, I’ve only posted my issues on this blog. I haven’t ‘swayed’ people on Digital Point forums, or other sites. This blog was to be about my personal experiences with affiliate marketing from the stand point of a programmer, and hopefully be able to help others succeed with their marketing ventures, etc. BANS might be the product for you, etc.. .and it might not be.
Here is a simple break down, and it’s not about the product or angle, but about your own personal skill set with programming and what your goals are with a eBay store front.
BANS (Build A Niche Store) – Depending on server environment, this product should be easy to roll out. My personal experience was not simple, due to my strict environment and ‘issues’ that arose from that. If I had a more lenient server environment and didn’t care about issues found, it would have installed quick and easy. Your level of PHP doesn’t need to be at high standard if you want to use the product out of the box and roll out a site in minutes.
Now, here is where we break from the pack. If you want to do some heavy customization you’ll need to roll the sleeves up and get your PHP on. BANS is not the cleanest code I’ve seen (not by far). Editing templates is fine, but if you want to edit core presentation layers, it’s a mess. Again, this depends on your needs. If you don’t care about the RSS parser and where things are layed out, this will not be an issue to you.
If you roll your own code, you’re going to have one potentially large advantage or disadvantage. That is the ability to stand out of the herd. You definitely could write the ugliest and poorest performing eBay store and really stand out in a bad way, but then again, you could write something that was really appealing and something that promotes sales, and you avoid the cookie-cutter approach of using a out of the box product. Again, if you use BANS, you can customize your template, but you definitely run across a lot of BANS sites that are basically default installs.. which is fine, but rolling out your code can separate you from the rest. And since this market is highly congested and competitive, any advantage is worth something.
In the end, I ditched BANS and continued developing my own eBay stores. They were basically missing administrative areas, so I felt that route would be better in the long run for me. I’m still holding on to the BANS script for a possible project down the road, but still uncertain of my plan.
So to summarize. BANS.. great if you want something quick and easy. Maybe not the greatest if you wanted to highly customize it. If you’re at that level where you could highly customize it, then it wouldn’t be worth the cash to buy it.. just work on a simple RSS parser using basic PHP xml functions and preg_match() to strip items out of that. If you’re a novice PHP programmer, but want to ‘get in the game’, then this would be think about. The last few days, I’ve found a few eBay RSS parsers that were much cheaper and simpler.. a little Googling before you buy might be a good idea to find the right fit for you.