The Ebay Rag Mag

October 2, 2008

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!!”

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Worst Match: The Reversed Visibility

Filed under: Secret Message Board — ebaygossip @ 12:20 am
Tags: , , ,

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

September 7, 2008

What the heck is wrong with DSRs?

An eBay powerseller with a feedback rating of 1207 and has been a registered member since November 1998 writes:

“What is going on yesterday and today? I get my discount, luckily. All of the sudden my shipping and handling charges are actually up to a 4.7 for the first time ever and today my stars are slammed, lower than Ebay on 3 out of 4. Anyone else notice this? Something is wrong.”

General consensus of the responders appear to be in full agreement that due to lack of transparency eBay is manipulating the Detailed Seller Ratings feature. 

In a public press release for stock holders in the very recent past, Mr Donahoe was quoted as saying the discounts given to powersellers who consistently perform well are hurting eBays’ bottom line and it was not a well thought out policy to offer discounts to those sellers.   Sever powersellers have been posting obvious manipulations with the DSR system with a flood of complaints reguarding false failed policies, major jumps in drops of calculated totals especially around the time when invoices are being calculated, and numerous disadvantages with item visibility as a result of incorrectly calculated DSR and dashboard tabulations.

I myself, this author have also seen a major manipulation within the DSR system having gone from 5.0’s and 4.9’s down to 4.5’s and 4.6’s in a matter of seconds.  It is a travesty that eBays lack of consistency and abuses of their own systems are not being monitored by the feds as they should be.  This site effects millions of people world wide and has the postentional to do to eBay sellers what ENRON did to investors.  

Within minutes of the original post, 60 ebay powersellers had responded that they also are experiencing questionable DSR scores and rankings.

Big Changes Coming for eBay Discussion Forums?

Filed under: Secret Message Board — ebaygossip @ 6:41 pm
Tags: ,

An eBay powerseller with a feedback rating of 7355 and has been registered since December 1999 writes:

“I have a very loose connection with a low level eBay employee. Without getting too specific, it’s basically a roommate of a shoe string relative. A third cousin who lives out in California.

Anyway, I was talking to my Cuz on the phone during my brief vacation from the PS forum about some of the rancor that occurs on the boards. His roommate overheard part of the conversation and wanted to talk to me.

The roommate got on the phone said there are some big changes in the works for the discussion boards.

One of which is that eBay wants to get to a point where they don’t have to moderate the boards as closely. The other is that some of the higher ups think all the negative chatter that goes on is not good for eBay so they are going to limit it.

To accomplish this they are going eliminate many of the non specific “chat” boards and introduce a grading system similar to DSR scores.

The other is that they are going to limit “on topic” posts to technical and “how to” topics and disallow the rants that we’ve all come to love. Both on and off topic posts will be sorted differently than they are now. You will have to check a box indicating an on or off topic when starting a thread.

It’s still being hammered out but how I understood it is that all posters will have an opportunity to grade a thread topic on a 1 thru 5 star system.. the question will be something like.. was this topic helpful and or relevent?

Topics that score the highest will float to the top, similar to best match. Off topics will always be under “on topics” but they’ll be options to sort things to your choosing.. meaning you can click.. show me only off topics, then sub sorts, show me off topics with he most posts, etc etc. Like I said, it’s still being worked out.

The other interesting change is that our responses to “on topic” posts will be graded. This sounds a little complicated but it really isn’t. Before your post shows up in the forum, the Original Poster has to grade it. It’s going to be a 2 or 3 part deal. Two for sure… IE,

1) Is the response relevent? 2) Is the reponse courteous and respectful?

eBay will keep score similar to DSR ratings only they will be blind (you or others won’t see your rating). Too low of a rating and you will be not allowed to respond to on topic threads. They’ll be an appeal process but not a very sympathetic one.

This is being done to keep the tone of the on topic threads civil and to ferret out posters who are habitually snarky and unhelpful. It’s also makes the threads self moderated freeing up eBay employees for other things.

Off topic threads topics won’t be graded nor will the posts be graded. eBay plans to recruit some floating moderaters who are long time eBay members in good standing and don’t have a record of being reported. They’ll be compensated in some way that hasn’t been worked out yet.

They’ll still be a report button on the non topic posts, but the report will generate an email to an assigned moderator rather than to an eBay employee. The assigned moderator will send bulk type reports to an eBay moderator.

There’s more. I wish I would have written some of it it down. I even called the person back and asked more questions.

Is this all really going to happen? I’m not sure. My disclaimer is that I’ve been off my meds, it might have all been a dream, I sometimes have an overwhelming urge to tell a gigantic fib. Time will tell the tale. Or has it been told?”

It is the eBay Rags Mags’ opinion that with all of in the infighting among sellers, all of the brutal and cut throat competitive tactics between sellers and all of the nastiness that occurs behind the scenes that buyers are not aware of,  this is just another platform for abuse.   eBay sellers can now get their competition thrown off eBay for disagreeing with a post that no matter how relevent and helpful it is.

Way to go eBay!

September 1, 2008

What is with the attitude lately?

An eBay Powerseller with a feedback number of 2787 and has been a registered member on eBay since March 15, 2001 writes:

“Is it just my luck? or have you been getting “attitude” from customers? It seems lately they don’t ask any questions, but start out with a demand/belittle or just plain un-civil (off course not all, but what happened to the occasional moron?).   I try to be polite and accommodating (swallow my pride), but one of these days the glass will be full.”

General consensus throughout the thread seem to be agreeable to the idea that since the new feedback policy has been introduced, buyers as a whole are tending to be generally rude, and increasingly insulting and demanding.

One seller suggests, “I think it just results from the current state of the world wherein everything you need to do is a fight and battle, from dealing with your credit card company, your bank, your cell phone bill, or any thing to do with the government, or a return to any major retail store, no one seems to be able to provide efficient courteous customer service any more. People are becoming so accustomed to every little thing being a war, that they are just cocked and primed for it from the get go. ”  and another seller insight-fully adds his observation of the newly of age American culture as a whole, ” think manners disappeared – so even nice people have learned to be pushy to get by.”

We’re not going to respond to that with the usual, “that’s the result of the politicians, parents and unruly students and teachers that created the  dumming of America scenario is it?”  We see no problem with our delinquent and illiterate society.  No problems to be addressed here!

August 23, 2008

The Brand New Improved Ebay Logo has been unveiled – AMAZING!!!!

Note:  This is sarcasm and not the new logo.

This logo was brought to you by a shooting star powerseller with over 22,100 feedback and has been registered on ebay since Febuary 1999.

The reponse of the powerseller logo has been agreement:

“LOL – maybe you could also drape a bath towel off the end of the “Y” – Motley Fool had an article today entitled eBay Throws in the Towel …”

 

“I think it should be a fork in the letter U.
as in FORK U….”

 

Followed by a new logo:

The poster of this logo has over 8500 feedbacks recieved and has been registered with eBay since March 1999.  “Here is what I think the new logo should be!”

 

“omg hilarious… stick a fork in ‘er…she’s done”

Followed by yet another new logo:

–artfully created by a powerseller with over 4000 feedback recieved and registered on ebay since May 1997.

Additional possible new logo’s for eBay included the ebay logo with a fork being rasted over a fire, Mr Donahoe (eBays new CEO) pictured in front of an evil castle and a fallen, broken down eBay sign, photos of the eBay logo on a sinking Titanic, the fallen Zepplin, a category five hurricane named Donahoe getting ready to pummel the gulf coast and one large enough to pummel the entire United States and they continue to add up in the growing thread.

Checks and Money Orders will no longer be accepted – you have to be kidding

An eBay seller with a shooting star feedback of over 18,000 and has been registered with eBay since April 2001 writes: 

“Granted – about 10% of our buyers use them these days.
But gee whiz – thanks Ebay for taking those customers away Ebay.
Now this really sucks. It sucks big time!
Didn’t this noble attempt fail in Australia?”

The overall reception of eBays new policy is not favorable by it’s sellers:

And from what I’m reading Paypal will take 3.1% of your sales up to $3000.00.

Lets see, FVF 15% + PP 3.1% + listing fees =s eBay GREED!

On top of this the punishments are insane.

4.0, 4.1, 4.2 are all “REASONABLE” DSRs but once again eBay doesn’t understand words and says that they will ban you from listing for 30 days.

The small claim courts will be getting FULL!

OH, should I mention the searches THAT DO NOT SEARCH.

We must now kiss all the buyers that only pay by check or MO goodbye.

EBAY IS NOW RAN ON PURE GREED!!!!! ”

 

What should I do if a buyer demands to pay with checks or money orders?

Send them your address, and tell them that eBay can get stuffed.

What should I do if I have long-standing, repeat customers who insist on paying with checks or money orders, even after I explain the benefits of electronic payments and offer suggestions?

Remind them that there might be 80 million other merchants on eBay, but you’ll always be happy to accept their payment in whatever form is most convenient to them.”

 

“In my main category, and I’d assume other collectibles categories are the same, a significant percentage of buyers still prefer to pay by check or money order. This change WILL cost eBay, (and we as sellers), buyers, and many of these buyers are high ticket purchasers.”

 

“Are there any categories excluded from these payment requirements?

Vehicles (Motors), capital equipment (Business & Industrial), Mature Audiences and Real Estate will be excluded from the new payment requirements.

Specifically, the following categories will be excluded:

Motors > Cars & Trucks
Motors > Motorcycles
Motors > Powersports
Motors > Boats
Motors > Other Vehicles & Trailers
Business & Industrial > Agriculture & Forestry > Tractors & Farm Machinery
Business & Industrial > Construction > Heavy Equipment, Trailers
Business & Industrial > Food Service & Retail > Concession Trailers & Carts
Business & Industrial > Healthcare, Lab & Life Science > Imaging & Aesthetics Equipment
Business & Industrial > Industrial Supply, MRO > Fork Lifts & Other Lifts
Business & Industrial > Manufacturing & Metalworking > Manufacturing Equipment
Business & Industrial > Manufacturing & Metalworking > Metalworking Equipment
Business & Industrial > Office, Printing & Shipping > Commercial Printing Presses
Real Estate
Everything Else > Mature Audiences”  (Point for our readers:  PayPal does not accept payment from adult sites or any web payment made for mature audiences.  The rest is pretty obvious.)

 

“I find eBay’s rationale for this change rather suspect:

Today, items paid with check or money order are 80% more likely to result in an item not received (INR) than those paid with credit card or PayPal. Also, buyers who pay with check or money order are 50% more likely to leave negative feedback than those who pay with electronic methods. So starting in late October, 2008, we are moving to 100% electronic payments – credit cards, ProPay, or PayPal.

I tend to find that buyers sending checks or money orders are much MORE committed to the purchase and most of them pay by check/money order because they specifically mention that they don’t like, or refuse to use, PayPal.

So I’m sure it will work to condescendingly pat the buyers on the head and tell them that they just don’t realize how amazingly safe Paypal is, and that eBay knows best. Uh huh.”

 

Today, items paid with check or money order are 80% more likely to result in an item not received (INR) than those paid with credit card or PayPal. Also, buyers who pay with check or money order are 50% more likely to leave negative feedback than those who pay with electronic methods.

This is an excellent example of playing with statistics to justify a change. Percentages tell us nothing when raw data is missing. Out of millions of transactions, what is really happening? An increase from 1% to 1.8% would be 80%, but is still insignifcant relative to total volume.”

 

“The majority of my buyers are older retired folks who are collectors of antiques. MANY don’t trust online payment in any form, and I don’t blame them. AND they shouldn’t have to be “trained” to do it whether they like it or not.

Looks like for us it will be ‘business as usual’ until January, 2009. I’ll take the payment options out of my listings for the rest of this year (starting October) but I’m not making any major changes until I have to – and between now and then, will be doing some thinking on whether it may be time to do something else with all this glass.”

“This change REALLY bothers me.
I sell collectibles/unique and I’d say about 20% of my customers pay with paper.

I can understand wanting more Paypal fees but this is a slap at
sellers AND buyers.
Some of my customers do not trust or aren’t computer savy enough to go through Paypals hoops.
What right does ebay have to tell me what form of payment to accept?
Especially when they narrow it down to the point that Paypal is pretty much the only choice.

Maybe this is the red herring on these newest changes?
Everyone says not fair/focuses on this, then ebay reverts to previous rules (similar to the nuets as neg … while no one paid attention about raised FVF).

I know …. thats really cynical of me …….”

 

opened it up to more non-electronic payment methods

LOL, what other non-electronic payment methods are there besides cash, check and MO? Barter, IOU’s and bearer bonds?

This is probably the change that I find most offensive out of all the changes in the past eight years I’ve sold here.

I’m sure eBay has its reasons, but I don’t think it actually benefits the buyer experience to limit their options.

I am deeply suspicious that their statitics are deliberately out of context and are being inappropriately used to make site wide changes (even though they are exempting the most problematic category Mature Audiences).

items paid with check or money order are 80% more likely to result in an item not received (INR) than those paid with credit card or PayPal. Also, buyers who pay with check or money order are 50% more likely to leave negative feedback than those who pay with electronic methods.

 

The above quotes are only from the first page.  Currently there are six pages and a total of 300 similar responses to the thread.  We also note that this thread is very active and continues to grow at a very rapid rate.

August 12, 2008

DSR’s: FAILING policy compliance

An Ebay Powerseller with a feedback number of 1784 and a 100% feedback percentage writes:  I was wondering if anybody else experienced this after the DSR problem was fixed this past weekend. I have been showing as PASSING policy compliance since the dashboard was implemented and now it says FAILING. I had one policy violation with the date shown of 11/24/07. That is still the only violation that I am aware of or have been notified of and shows up under that section. I thought they rolled off after 90 days? And why all of a sudden the failing? I sent an email but haven’t heard back yet. Anybody else have this problem?

The responses? 

Hundreds of ebays top 10% sellers are being told that they are failing despite the fact that most of them don’t have any violations and never did.

The miscalculations, the undeserved punishments and falsely placed disadvantages on undeserving sellers  continues as does the loss of thousands of dollars in daily sales.

August 3, 2008

Powersellers Notice a Bad Vibe On Ebay

An unnamed powerseller who has been registered with ebay since November 2005 and has over 28,000 sales under his belt writes:

It seems like such a negative place to sell these days. Buyers expectations are higher than ever. Negative feedbacks are at an all time high for us…yet our service has not changed…if anything it has improved. Seems like ebay has been successful in creating a buyers vs. sellers atmosphere. I think it stinks.

I find myself not caring as much as I used to because when you do a good job and it’s still never good enough it kind of lowers your own expectations. I went from 99.9% to 99.4% and from about 5 negs in the first few years (out of 20,000) to 14 more in the last couple months. My buyers are so quick to be nasty…it’s like the first defense. It’s like they can do what they want and it doesn’t even matter if they are right – they are always right when it comes to feedback. I have had several of them regret it and email me back to try to remove it but it can’t even be removed anymore. You know the drill.

His post has been well recieved with many other sellers who are feeling the same negative vibe.

Ebay is a tough place to be right now.  It’s difficult enough to operate a business in an open forum where competitors regularly make underhanded purchases from one another in order to defeat the competiton, throw in some salt, add a few insults and you’ve got yourself a number of very unhappy sellers.

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