Catch of the Month: My New Jersey Wine Quest

Each month I’ll feature a lens that I discovered while exploring Squidoo.

NJ winesThis month’s catch highlights the value of personal recommendations in a lens.

In My New Jersey Wine Quest, lensmaster Sockii shares her quest to visit every winery in the Garden State. I’m originally from NJ and enjoy wine, so this lens got my interest when I found it.

The lens includes a listing of all the wineries in the Garden State Wine Growers’ Association and Sockii’s detailed review of each winery she’s visited including pictures she took there. She also explains the motivation behind her quest.

Her reviews of the wineries are honest and personal. They include her impression of the winery and each wine she tasted. I like that she shared her wine preferences (dry vs. sweet, oaked vs. unoaked chardonnay, etc) which helps the reader relate each review to their own wine tastes.

The review that interested me most was for Auburn Road Vineyards. It’s not far from the route we travel when visiting family in NJ and, most importantly, Sockii describes their wine as, “very good, some of the best I’ve tasted in New Jersey to date.”

She was right. When my wife and I were in NJ this month, we visited Auburn Road and really liked it. Definitely the best NJ wines we’ve tried so far. It’s also a cool place to hang out and enjoy the wine. We bought several bottles. Two of them (we’ve already given the rest as gifts) are in the image above with the other NJ wines in our wine rack.

Thanks to Sockii for the reviews, spreading the word of NJ’s growing wine industry and the tip about Auburn Road. Without her lens I might not have discovered this outstanding winery.

(Sockii still has over 20 NJ wineries to visit and review. So visit the lens and give her some

Image by Mac33

Check Your eBay Module Search Settings

While updating my Hess Trucks lens yesterday, I noticed something strange. Most of the eBay modules showed no search results. No listings means nothing for a visitor to click and potentially buy on eBay. That’s not good if you like earning commissions.

I copied the search criteria from one of these modules directly into eBay’s search tool and got a “Your search returned 0 items” message. That was followed by another message, “Search using the wildcard symbol (*) is no longer supported.” What!?

That’s right, eBay got rid of wildcard searches. To clarify, eBay took away a useful and powerful tool for shoppers to find the specific items they’re interested in buying. Brilliant! If I had stock in eBay, I’d consider selling it.

How can lensmasters (and eBay shoppers) replace wildcards in our searches?

You’ll need to build a new search query to find listings you want displayed in your eBay modules. Read eBay’s advanced search engine options page for info on constructing search queries. Test your new query on eBay. When you’re satisfied with the results, update your module and republish the lens.

In my case, I had used the wildcard to find items from a specific decade (e.g. 198* for trucks from the 1980s). So I replaced 198* with a Boolean OR search. Using eBay’s syntax that search is now (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989). It’s ugly but it works.

If your new query is long (my query above went from 4 to 51 characters), you might have to break up your listings into multiple modules due to eBay’s 100 character limit on search queries. The important thing is to check your eBay modules now and replace any wildcards.