The Ebay Rag Mag

October 17, 2008

Glitch: False Offers of Free Shipping

In a bright, hard to miss orange circle next to eBay sellers’ gallery photo is an icon that indicates that a seller is offering free shipping even though the seller has made no such offer, and it doesn’t stop there.  The glitch is two fold.  If a seller who has set an offer for promotional discounted shipping on combined purchases,  the buyer is not being charged the discounted price, he is not being charged at all.  Sellers are being forced to lose their profits and absorb full shipping costs.  On a combined purchase where shipping is calculated by weight this can be very costly.

As if the situation in itself is not stressful enough, sellers fear unfounded negative reprecussions if they choose not to honor an offer that was not authorized.

The question is, is this a sign of what is yet to come?  Another new policy that eBay is experimenting with on the back end that mistakenly reared it’s ugly face before eBay are ready to slap the sellers with an official announcement?  Is eBay going to force the sellers to raise their product prices to cover a forced offer of free shipping?  This possibility has been in speculation for several weeks.  The thought behind it is that if eBay forces it’s sellers to raise their prices to cover the cost of shipping, it’s just one more way to generate higher revenue from higher final value fees.

October 12, 2008

China Invades eBay with Counterfeits AGAIN!

On the front end EBay is increasing it’s restriction of sellers in the number of legitimate name brand items that can be listed on eBay U.S. due to the high risk of law suit by copyright owners while at the back end there is a growing number of China based sellers flying under eBay’s, “anti-counterfeit incentive” radar.   

China based counterfeit merchandise sellers are manipulating eBay’s new Best Match search tool with specific keywords and product names that slip through eBay’s anti-counterfeit program without detection but are easily found by conducting a basic human search.   The search manipulation is blatant when the product names being used are not registered members of the Vero program and other times it’s not so blatant when used with the term, “genuine”. 

EBay sellers are reporting the auctions through the report this auction  link located on the bottom of the auctions only to have the reports ignored.   They are becoming more vocal in their complaints of eBay’s failure to remove the offending auctions from it’s site and are questioning the competence of eBay’s trust and safety department.   Many are even asking for the removal of Mr Donahoe from his office.

The lack of synergy and consistency on eBay have many sellers asking where is this road leading us?  The luring big box retailers to replace the small home based sellers, the push to replace the auction format with an immediate purchase platform, increased back end fees for sellers who are not qualified under the Diamond level seller program aka the big box retailers, the failed Best Match search tool, the failed anti-counterfeit incentive program and the acquisition of Bill Me Later is making eBay a volatile ground which is fueling the growth of competing venues and the creation of new, smaller venues.

As the changing balance of global financial power shifts more and more to China why is it that eBay executives have such little respect for the basic considerations of it’s American seller base?

October 6, 2008

The eBay Powerseller Experience: Sales down 40%

eBay through the eyes of a Powerseller

powerhousemusical  (30440 ) View Listings  
“My sales down 40% in the last 2 weeks for the first time in years…That is major when you do our volume. Anyone else? Seems like ebay policy changes every week and bugs are worse than ever. What’s next?”

—————-

2dxzeus  (11064 ) View Listings    
“Do what most sellers are doing (such as myself) and change venues.”

—————

eBay powersellers world wide are expressing an increased dissatisfaction with it’s new CEO John Donoahoe and the series of changes instituded since his inception as the head of eBay and are starting to call for his resignation if not his firing.

Since Donahoes inception twenty of eBays top 100 sellers have decided to shut down and vacate the site in search of better alternatives which includes Amazon, Overstock, Yahoo stores and the creation of their own venues.  Hundreds of other large sellers are screaming, “help my account has been restricted” for reasons that eBay refuses to discuss with its sellers and are being forced to leave the site.

As I read the eBay Powerseller message board from day to day the outlook begins to look more bleak.  Sellers are now holding back on purchasing new inventory due to fear that eBays declining market and the deteriorating value of their product on eBay may put them out of business.  They are angered by the Best Match search engine tool that seems to bury their products in favor corporate sites such as BUY.com who is not held to the same buyer satisfaction standards as the rest of eBays’ selling population, nor are they being held to the same fee structure.

The smaller seller who is footing the bill for eBays’ “Diamond Level Deal” is more than just feeling the pinch, they are drowning.

The PESA/ECMTA Position Paper states, “During the past few years, that economic balance has shifted dramatically to the disadvantage of merchants. In our opinion, eBay still does not recognize that their excessive extraction of value in the form of fees and other monetization techniques has resulted in dramatic underinvestment on improving the marketplace. Declining buyer activity also has a direct result on average selling prices and conversion rates on the platform. Thus the lower margins in conjunction with rising eBay fees, results in eBay taking more value while leaving less for merchants.”

While the majority of eBays changes have been focused on it’s sellers and less towards it’s buyers and increased buying activity, eBay powersellers are becoming more and more disenchanted with not only their selling experience but the over-all experience, it’s time to start focusing on the root of the problem which is repeated poor decision making from eBays top executive offices.

eBay has effected the world economy and has encouraged trade accross the internet for more than 10 years now.  In the past, that effect has been a positive one.  Current times are changing fast.  The world economy is in crisis, people are losing their homes, their jobs and their life savings.   Many of those people have depended on their eBay income to create a balance between their losses in the stock market, to help finance their mortgage, to put their children through college, to keep the lights on.  Unfortunately, that balance is no longer reliable.  There is no balance period.  eBay has become a volitile venue for it’s sellers.  These are scary times which are calling for some reassuring measures.

EBay Cuts Jobs, Buys Bill Me Later

Filed under: News & Gossip — ebaygossip @ 3:06 pm
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AP: Online auction site eBay says that it will reduce its work force by 10 percent which will affect about 1,000 jobs. EBay, which has been struggling to attract new users, also announced that it will buy three online companies, including payments business Bill Me Later.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Oct. 6) – EBay Inc., which still reaps big profits but has been struggling to attract new users, said Monday it will cut about 1,000 jobs in an attempt to streamline its business. The cuts amount to 10 percent of eBay’s work force.

The online auction site also plans to get rid of several hundred temporary workers and reduce open positions. EBay Chief Executive John Donahoe said in a conference call the company is “creating efficiency” in areas that require it.

The company expects restructuring charges of about $70 million to $80 million as a result of the cuts, mostly in the fourth quarter. EBay said the reductions will lead to $150 million in annual cost savings.
The latest round of cuts follows eBay’s announcement earlier this year that it was cutting 125 jobs in Europe and North America, including 70 posts at its headquarters in San Jose, Calif.
Donahoe said Monday the weak economy and the effects of the strengthening dollar are “affecting our businesses.” Nonetheless, eBay said its third-quarter earnings would be higher than it predicted in July – though revenue will be at the low end of its expectation. The company is scheduled to report third-quarter results on Oct. 15.
EBay shares were down $1.19, 6.3 percent, at $17.75 in morning trading.
EBay also said Monday it will buy online payments business Bill Me Later for $820 million in cash and $125 million in outstanding options. The company also said it will buy Danish classifieds site dba.dk and vehicles site bilbasen.dk for $390 million in cash.
Bill Me Later allows online retailers to offer shoppers credit. EBay said Bill Me Later has “sophisticated underwriting techniques” and tells shoppers within seconds if they’re approved for credit, without detailed application forms. Bill Me Later will become part of PayPal, the online payment service eBay bought in 2002.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2008-10-06 08:12:22

eBay Announce Reductions, Cuts and Downsizing

Filed under: News & Gossip — ebaygossip @ 3:01 pm
Tags: , , ,
 
blukentucky  (14528 ) View Listings | Report  
eBay Inc. Buys Leading Payments and Classifieds Businesses,marketwatch: http://tinyurl.com/4kdlkbStreamlines Existing Organization To Improve GrowthLast update: 7:45 a.m. EDT Oct. 6, 2008SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct 06, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — eBay Inc. (EBAY:EBAY, , ) today announced two acquisitions that significantly extend the company’s leadership position in online payments and classifieds.In payments, the company is acquiring the U.S.-based online payments business Bill Me Later(R) for approximately $820 million in cash and approximately $125 million in outstanding options.

In classifieds, the company has acquired Denmark’s leading online classifieds site dba.dk and vehicles site bilbasen.dk for approximately $390 million in cash.

The company also announced plans to reduce its global workforce by approximately 10 percent,

affecting about 1,000 employees in addition to several hundred temporary workers and the reduction of open positions.

The global reduction is intended to simplify and streamline eBay’s organization, improve the company’s cost structure and strengthen the overall competitiveness of the company’s existing businesses.

The reduction is expected to result in pretax restructuring charges of approximately $70 million to $80 million, with the charges predominantly recorded in the fourth quarter of 2008.

“We are making aggressive moves to strengthen our leadership positions in e-commerce and payments to competitively position our company for long-term growth,”

said John Donahoe, eBay Inc.’s president and chief executive officer.

“Bill Me Later is a perfect complement to our portfolio, a company that belongs with PayPal.

Together, PayPal and Bill Me Later will make online payments safer, easier and more convenient than ever.”
“Our classifieds acquisition gives us another market leadership position in Europe for this rapidly growing part of our portfolio,” Donahoe said.

“We are the global leader in classifieds with top positions in Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom, and sites in more than 1,000 cities across 20 countries.

The acquisition of dba.dk and bilbasen.dk gives us technology and expertise we can leverage across our classifieds portfolio to create better customer experiences.”

Commenting on the company’s workforce reduction, Donahoe said: “While never an easy decision to make, these reductions will help improve our operations and strengthen our ability to continue investing in growth.”

The company also stated it expects to hit the low end of its Q3 2008 revenue guidance and exceed GAAP and non-GAAP earnings per share guidance as issued in conjunction with its second quarter earnings release on July 16.
eBay is scheduled to announce third quarter results on October 15.
More information about Bill Me Later and dba.dk and bilbasen.dk can be found in separate press releases issued by the company today.

eBay Inc. will host an investor conference call today at 5:30 a.m. PDT to discuss this announcement. A live webcast of the conference call can be accessed through the eBay Investor Relations Web site at http://investor.ebay.com. An archive of the webcast will be accessible through the same link.

SOURCE: eBay Inc

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What are the eBay Powerseller reactions?  The following quotes were taken directly from the powerseller message board:

“After a short lived rebound into the $17.80s, the stock is falling again at $17.50.”

—-

“Can’t find the link/article, but read that eBay has been blocking Google Base feeds. Now, I can’t speak for the rest of you, but over 85% of my purchases were directs from Google & the lowered FVFs were bread and butter for me.

The point being, eBay and all its control freak wisdom, hosed best match and MANY other factors have drastically cut sales and eBay traffic.

What Donahoe and Pierre hoped to accomplish is not understood, but they’re certainly doing a bang up job of killing the site for both the shareholders and sellers in very little time.”

—-

“Quoting Donahoe:

Penetration of Paypal on Ebay grew more in the third quarter than on any time in the last several years

LOL – black and white figures don’t LIE!!!!!!
What a CROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

—-

“I think it’s hysterical that they think another payment method will bring more buyers to ebay more than Google Feeds would.

They are such control freaks, they can’t stand anybody else interfacing with their little piece of the pie.”

—-

“eBay is in trouble with Skype in China at the moment. Just read this one:

http://www.securitypronews.com/news/securitynews/spn-45-20081003SkypeScramblesAfterBreachAndCensorshipRevelations.html

—-

“Here’s another one:

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Skype-Takes-Heat-For-Chinese-Censorship-98174

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“i went and checked out that billmelater website – and I couldn’t find anywhere that it list the cost to the person/business offering the service to buyers.

also – it is a service that only takes payment from a checking or savings account. It also accepts money order payment –

I’m guessing this is going to be one of ebays answers to buyers who want to still use “paper payment” options.

though the service does access your credit report as a buyer to use the service. That would turn me off as a buyer – I don’t want a service going into my report everytime I buy something.”

—-

“The best part of the Bill Me Later landing page is the Featured Stores section. I wonder how much longer Overstock and Amazon will be there.”

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“If I were Wall Street, I’d view it as throwing gasoline on the fire. They need to fix the issues they already have rather than adding potentially more issues.

You know they’re going to be integrating BillMeLater into eBay eventually, and now that they own them it’s going to miraculously become a trusted payment service.”

—-

“eBay is scrambling for anything to generate immediate and aggressive growth – it ain’t gonna work!”

October 2, 2008

Burbank Sportscards to Launch 30 Million Listings to eBay

Filed under: News & Gossip — ebaygossip @ 12:29 am
Tags: , ,
By: Ina Steiner
Tue Sept 30 2008 030:27:55
Burbank Sportscards has 884,862 listings on eBay and plans to launch its entire 30 million-card inventory. While that exceeds Buy.com’s inventory of 739,473 listings on eBay, there is a major difference: Burbank Sportscards cards are in Store inventory format, meaning its cards only show up on Store searches or at the bottom of core search results.

It is also cheaper to list in Stores versus the core platform. However, eBay cut a special deal with Buy.com, whom many suspect pays no listing fees for its fixed-price inventory on core.

According to Burbank Sportscards’ About Me page, it has an inventory of 35 million cards, of which 1.2 million are unique. “Our goal over the course of 2008 is to bring our staggering inventory to this EBAY store and delight collectors the world over with the very best possible selection of singles that fit with the unique style of your collection. And we’re going to offer this selection with the best possible shipping and handling deals anywhere.”

Burbank Sportscards uses Beckett Channel Integration (BCI), “a multi-channel inventory management tool that allows users to keep track of products across their Beckett Marketplace, eBay store and in-store Kiosk.”

Sellers in the sports card category may be wondering if Burbank Sportscards will become eligible for Diamond-level PowerSeller status, which would allow it to negotiate fees one-on-one with eBay for listing on the core platform. If so, expect a major disruption in the category similar to what happened when Buy.com flooded certain core categories.

 http://blog.auctionbytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.pl?/comments/2008/9/1222774075.html

Slow traffic today? eBay Powerseller notices rapid decline in site traffic

Filed under: Secret Message Board — ebaygossip @ 12:27 am
Tags: , ,

A powerseller with a feedback number of 4663 and has been registered on eBy since June 2006 writes:

“Not many sales today, so I checked my traffic report. I usually have 1,200-1,500 unique visits per day. Today so far I’ve only had about 400 unique visitors.

Then I went to view it hour by hour, everything was significantly low compared to yesterday and all month. It was scary to see that yesterday I got 88 unique visitors from 2PM-3PM, and during the same time today I only had ONE unique visitor.

Has anyone else experienced this? Or is it that nobody wants to purchase musical instruments today?”

His post was preceeded by the following reaction from his poerseller peers;

Powerseller with 1300+ feedback writes:  “I have been having 200-300 unique visits daily – but today, a whopping 19! Something is wrong. ”

Shooting star powerseller writes: “I haven’t sold a thing since Sunday.”  (His post was written on Wednesday)

Shooting star powerseller writes: “Very Slow today!!”

Worst Match: The Reversed Visibility

Filed under: Secret Message Board — ebaygossip @ 12:20 am
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A powerseller with 1490 positive feedback who has been a registered seller with eBay since August 2001 notes;

According to Auctionbytes.com and some other threads on this board, Best Match has been running ‘backwards’ for a couple of weeks now… meaning that search results consistenly gave “Worst Match” the most visibility!

If your sales tanked recently, and you agree that we all deserve some sort of partial refund of our insertion fees or perhaps a chance to list for free for a period, please respond below!

If we’re expected to give OUR customers full or partial refunds, even when we don’t screw up, then we certainly deserve something from eBay!

——–

To add insult to injury, eBay further insults it sellers with the folowing in e-mail in response to this topic;

“Here was EBAY’s reply when I requested a refund on my fees due to their broke search”.

Dear eBay member,

Thank you for writing eBay in regard to your recent listing ending.  I would be happy to assist you with that today. After reviewing your email I am currently showing that however frustrating this situation may be we are unable to give credit for this issue. eBay does not guarantee that listing upgrades, regardless of which one you use, will place your item on the first page of the searches. Members have multiple ways of searching for an item including time ending soonest, nearest first and
best match to name a few. Unfortunately because there is this variety of search criteria and multiple ways for your item to receive appropriate exposure we do not credit for items not appearing on the
first page. Again I apologize for the frustration this situation has caused for you.

In order to help you in a more timely manner next time a situation like this should arise please don’t hesitate to contact Live Help. Live Help lets you chat one-on-one with an online representative who can help you right away with most issues. Links to Live Help appear throughout the eBay site, including the Home page and the Sell Your Item form.

Clicking one of these links will connect you to a private chat room where you can ask an eBay representative your question — live. Live Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To reach Live Help, go to: http://pages.ebay.com/help/basics/n-livehelpemail.html

1. Click the “Get Help Now!” button.

It is my pleasure to assist you. Thank you for choosing eBay.

Sincerely,

Professional Seller Alliance PESA tells it as it is

Filed under: Secret Message Board — ebaygossip @ 12:10 am
Tags: , , , ,
Discussion
PESA/ECMTA Position Paper, September 30, 2008
noblespirit  (31880 ) View Listings | Report Oct-01-08 07:27 PDT
http://www.gopesa.org/news/index.cfm?page=eroding-ebay-seller-confidence

September 30, 2008

PeSA Official Statement on eBays Marketplace:
Deteriorating eBay Market Conditions Erode Seller Confidence

Members of the Professional eBay Sellers Alliance have been concerned with the vibrancy of the eBay marketplace for the past few years. In the first nine months of 2008, we have observed a substantial deterioration in the value of the marketplace for merchants. Broader e-commerce growth is in the high teens while eBay’s GMV has increased at low single digit rates; a clear sign that eBay is losing wallet share among online shoppers.

We were encouraged with the culture of change that swept through eBay during the past 12 months; however, we believe the flawed execution of change has accelerated the deterioration of the marketplace. Today eBay merchants have an increased level of business uncertainty due to eBay’s poor execution of changes in many areas including seller performance measurement, fees, site search, buyer activity, and seller communication. The result is that merchants are changing their behavior in ways that we believe is not beneficial to the eBay marketplace.

Merchants are pursuing alternate channels for their businesses which are more economical, including launching their own website, participating in other third party channels such as Amazon and Overstock, and even opening brick and mortar stores. Based recent feedback from PeSA members, merchants are focusing on other channels at higher rates than we have ever measured in the past. Prime products that used to find their way to eBay, are now being diverted to these new “premier” channels that are reportedly delivering higher margins with greater certainty and decreased overhead.

Merchants that used to prioritize the eBay channel now regard the marketplace as a venue of last resort used mainly for liquidation of product that doesn’t sell elsewhere. eBay has acknowledged that it may have an undersupply of merchandise on the site, however, they fail to recognize that the supply issue on eBay is a direct result of their relationship with their customers, the sellers. The lack of credible communication from eBay to its sellers about its strategy has resulted in a marketplace of skeptic sellers, which is bad for business. We would like to highlight eBay’s recent move to allow “big box” retailers free access to eBay, at a competitive advantage to its existing seller base, as an example of a decision that exacerbates the situation by threatening the diverse supply of merchandise that shoppers expect on eBay.

As PeSA has stated in its prior position statements, the real issue affecting eBay is buyer activity. We believe that issue still exists. According to eBay’s latest published results, eBay’s annual active user churn rate was close to 40%. eBay has discontinued reporting the data that allowed us to actively monitor the issue, but based upon the flat active user growth, we believe eBay is still seeing poor user activity.

Unfortunately, most of the changes at eBay have been focused on sellers, not buyers. We are proponents for measuring the performance of sellers and rewarding those sellers that provide positive customer experiences. The concept is used in other marketplaces; however, the eBay execution of that concept resulted in a Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) system that is substantially flawed both in its measurement and transparency. We understand that a new system will not be perfect and should be adjusted as experience builds. The real problem is that eBay seems to be building on top of a flawed DSR system that has not been adjusted to reflect true buyer experience.

At PeSA, our position on eBay fees has been that as long as sellers are receiving value, eBay is certainly entitled to share in that value. During the past few years, that economic balance has shifted dramatically to the disadvantage of merchants. In our opinion, eBay still does not recognize that their excessive extraction of value in the form of fees and other monetization techniques has resulted in dramatic underinvestment on improving the marketplace. Declining buyer activity also has a direct result on average selling prices and conversion rates on the platform. Thus the lower margins in conjunction with rising eBay fees, results in eBay taking more value while leaving less for merchants.

In addition, the diversion of traffic off the eBay platform in the form of advertising (run by Yahoo in the US) helps eBay monetize the marketplace, but leaves less buyer traffic for merchants that list on eBay. And, the greater compliance burden of operating on eBay combined with the risk that a merchant business will be shut down with little visibility creates an unworkable environment.

We embrace the effort that eBay has made to adjust fees to better align with the success of merchants. But, again, the implementation of the changes comes across as an effort to increase the take rate on merchants without really investing in the marketplace. While eBay lowered the upfront cost to list on the marketplace, they dramatically increased the fees on the back-end. We were disappointed with this approach and would have preferred that eBay show some commitment to increase value to the marketplace before raising final value fees on its customers.

We argue that the declining economics on the marketplace justified lowering front end fees without an associated increase on the backend. After all, less buyer activity means that the marketplace is not as valuable a channel for a merchant and the cost to list on the marketplace should be less. Unfortunately, eBay does not see it that way and the result is that eBay is placing the burden of all the changes on the marketplace on the backs of its customers, which are its merchants. We continue to experience one step forward on concept and two steps back with execution. We cannot find any other case where a company, with the desire to restructure and improve its business, places the burden squarely on its customer base.

PeSA is focused on promoting professional and successful selling on the eBay marketplace and are actively working with all professional sellers to help them navigate the changes on the marketplace. We believe eBay still needs to better understand its customers and we hope that sharing our views helps highlight the most pressing issues. it is our intention to continue working with sellers and with eBay to effect positive

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