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eBay partners with Buy.com

eBay partners with Buy.com

I was having lunch with members of the PR team on Thursday and the subject of a new partnership with Buy.com came up. I was told I’d have information by the weekend so I could draft a post for Ink. Two hours after lunch, Randy Smythe of My Blog Utopia contacted me asking if there was any reason for the apparently sudden surge of Buy.com postings to the site. As you can see from his post, he has certainly done his homework and, for the most part, he sums it up very well.

In a nutshell, yes, eBay has entered into a partnership with Buy.com that will see them move all of Buy.com’s new and in-season inventory onto their eBay store in the coming weeks. Terms of the deal are not being disclosed publicly but the messages I’m hearing echo recent themes coming out of eBay presentations focusing on a better buyer experience and moving toward a more retail-like experience. eBay spokesperson, Usher Lieberman, provided Randy and I with the following:

“eBay is aggressively using price as a lever to improve the value and selection on eBay.com. Consistent with our goals, we have entered into a partnership with Buy.com to bring their new-in-season merchandise onto eBay.com. We expect to learn a great deal from this partnership and we will build upon the results.”

In order to protect sellers from being crowded out of search results, Buy.com merchandise will be limited to a single-listing per SKU and, even though Buy.com will be competing for eye balls in the same way as all of eBay’s sellers (through DSRs), I must point out the fact that this deal is “economically feasible” for both parties.

That said, I do want to address previous comments on Ink — and Randy’s assessment of it in his post (copied below) — regarding Pierre Omidyar’s recent indication of what he meant by a “level playing field.”

From Randy’s post:
I’m all for allowing sellers to negotiate volume deals with eBay, I had asked to negotiate my fees every year I sold on eBay and was always told “that is not going to happen,” but in light of eBay founder, Pierre Omidyar’s recent quote about “the level playing field” you can see that this announcement will not sit well with eBay sellers.

Pierre said, in a recent quote from a video clip “What I meant by level playing field is that everyone should be given an equal opportunity….. I didn’t want to have sort of artificial barriers placed on newcomers and to have people by virtue of their stature outside of the eBay community somehow be treated better—special deals behind the scenes because they’re a big retailer and we want to get them to come on eBay, that kind of stuff. That would have been—is—a disaster. That is what I meant by level playing field.”

It’s my assertion that Pierre was talking about the conditions and approach to the Marketplace at the company’s founding. It has obviously evolved since then and it’s pretty clear that eBay has been, and continues to, expand and experiment with new pricing and business models on the site. Again, all geared at providing the best possible buyer experience. (I know, I know, there is PR-hack / kool-aid speak in that sentence… I just can’t help it sometimes).

I’ve been informed that we are not, at this time, extending the “deal” to top sellers and that any partnerships will be assessed on a one-off basis with hand picked partners. Personally, I think that top sellers that have put the sweat equity into helping make eBay what it is today – that have consistently provided excellent service for their customers – should be included for consideration when the time comes.

Cheers,
RBH

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By Richard Brewer-Hay

130 Comments

Scott @ TradingAssistantJournal

2008-05-03 13:53:40 Reply

Richard,

I appreciate your views on this subject and the transparency brought on by Randy Smythe’s – My Blog Utopia post…

Unfortunately I think this “Partnership” with Buy.com may re-kindle the firestorm of a few short weeks ago.

Sellers on eBay will not be assuaged by the limitation of only one listing per SKU. When Buy.com can flood the market place with 150,000 SKU’s and turn those items over 8 times per month at what must be a reduced cost, we are no longer dealing with a level playing field.

If eBay plans on offering reduced pricing for bulk sellers, and that seems to be the case, then you better advise Usher and the Execs to get ahead of this story. Look for a way to offer the long standing volume “customers” of eBay a way to partake in the same offer.

Otherwise, it seems eBay is simply telling all of the sellers who are smaller than Buy.com to go elsewhere, which may be the plan, but if it is… better to tell them sooner than later.

I am not normally this direct with my posts, here or on my own publication… And I apologize for my directness. But this deal does not sit well when only one company essentially is granted a license to steal by gaining reduced price access to core search in exchange for a “undisclosed” terms.

Peddle fast Usher, I think this story will be a job to shape in your favor without more information.

Dave_White

2008-05-03 15:05:37 Reply

Richard,

I appreciate your comments. What it will mean for your future remains to be seen.

Recent remarks by Lorrie Norrington regarding the “buyer experience” and “a retail marketplace” have become amazingly obvious very very quickly.

No more will eBay sellers see the “equal opportunity” that Pierre talked about in his video interview. The partnership with Buy.com (which by the way just entered into a strategic agreement with ChannelAdvisor) rings the final bell for small to medium businesses and individual sellers on eBay.

From a business standpoint this is a very smart move for both eBay and Buy.com. eBay has decided that hundreds of large corporate accounts are much easier to deal with than millions of individual sellers.

Top sellers on eBay will no longer be small to medium sized businesses. Plain and simple. Sellers on the site will be those large businesses with tens of thousands of items.

This business model works in today’s corporate environment for eBay. It does not work for individual or small to medium busiesses, and so those sellers very simply will need to find other marketplaces as it is very clear they will not be selling on eBay if not today, by this time next year, at least as we know the site today.

Misty

2008-05-03 18:38:53 Reply

Richard I personally have no problem with retail competition they don’t sell what I sell, I am happy with the knowledge that we will not be crowded out.
What concerns me is their fee structure to incorporate this change to retail, I feel this is unreasonable to those of us who do not sell retail items and ask that a separate tier and fee structure be created for those of us who are not retail.

Formerly Known As MarikaBooks

2008-05-03 19:31:30 Reply

Of course you will be crowded out, Misty. That’s the New Ebay way. Shove the little guy aside and to the bottom of the heap in favor of the Buy types.

And there is already a different fee structure for those who are “not retail.” YOU will pay more to subsidize the special deal that Ebay cut with Buy.

Buy is only the beginning. Which big retailer will be next to shove aside the little guys who helped to make Ebay management rich? Coming soon to a category near you.

Misty

2008-05-03 20:49:35 Reply

@Formerly Known As MarikaBooks
I know and understand exactly what you are saying and I do not disagree with you at all. I do think it is silly on their part to give a low priced retail high volume item a better deal over a high priced quality low volume item when the end result is practically the same. So this was basically the point I was trying to make.

Misty

2008-05-03 21:13:49 Reply

Also I don’t see how retail items will effect my category.

Concerned ebayer

2008-05-03 21:24:41 Reply

Make them run .99 cent no reserve auctions and file UPI’s for NPB’s.

See how long they last!

Sandi

2008-05-03 21:43:26 Reply

I guess ebay simply does not really get it. Why would I come to ebay.com to buy something from buy.com?

ebay is slow, the search is useless and right or wrong, I would have the perception it would cost less buying direct. Afterall, ebay charges “the regular seller” 12.75% in FVF for store items. Even if buy.com was getting a break, I would still know there was an ebay markup in there somewhere.

I would be curious if the deal with buy.com excludes them from some of the apsects the “regular sellers” must endure, such as ads on their listings, DSRs, etc – because if ebay claims all that is for a “better buying experience” wouldn’t that apply to ALL sellers?

With DSRs, you do have to wonder about the industry standards of customer satisfaction – and you have to look at the retail industry high of 80% – ebay going to ding buy.com if their DSRs hover around the 3-4 rating? Their customers will be different, they know they are purchasing from a big company, one that will not instill loyalty like a small seller does. Come on, I have a couple of my sellers on my Christmas card lists, and I am on theirs – never would occur to me to send buy.com a Christmas card.

Additionally, I would want the option of paying direct via my credit card and not have to use paypal.

It will be interesting to watch from the sideline. ebay may have boxed themselves in in ways they have not thought through. One of the themes I have noticed in the various election year poohla is a theme of the America people, at least, are looking for trust, intregity, moral character – ethical behavior.

When all this falls apart in ways ebay had not calculated, how can they publically state their normal pr & try to alter what was good for the “buying experience” is now “this” because the buy nows of the world refuse to allow some of this crapola to inpend their business.

eBay got alot of bad publicity in the past months and threw sellers under the truck, the press love to kick the “big corporate bad guy” when the door is flung open for them.

I have found through the years of owning a business, people stay true to form, the way Donahue thinks about the current sellers will ultimately be no different than he thinks of his “retail” merchants. I also know from experience, the mindset at the top trickles down to the employee who cleans the bathroom. ebay’s infection will ultimately cause it’s death.

But for now, I will simply write buy.com a letter with copies of my pruchases from them and explain I will no longer buy from them as long as they are attached in any form to ebay. I understand I can’t effect change, but I can make sure I do not support it when I disagree with the ethical nature of the practices occurring.

Richard, loving the job still?

Sandi

2008-05-03 21:47:08 Reply

P.S. Curious too, exactly how much “PASSION” is buy.com going to have about ebay?

Never mind, I almost spewed my hot cocoa thinking about that one.

I suspect Donahue would prefer less passion.

Patricia1

2008-05-03 22:17:39 Reply

I’m guessing they don’t even have DSR’s or have to abide by anything else us lowly sellers have to put up with. I’m guessing they will be treated the same as walmart is treated.

Well, I doubt they’ll replace art but it doesn’t matter because during the years from 2004 to now, they have effectively destroyed it. With the coming of best match that kind of finished it for small art sellers. I imagine best match will be aimed at sellers like buy.com and the rest will trail behind. This is probably the beginning of turning ebay into retail – more and more retail and less and less small sellers till we’re all gone. I’m glad they can’t see me thumbing my nose right now. Guess they’ll have to try this out – they’re bound and determined to do it…I’m only hoping we get a viable substitute in the meantime so that when ebay figures out one more huge retail company isn’t as lucrative as they think – then I’m hoping they won’t be able to lure small sellers back again! I can dream, can’t I?

Henrietta

2008-05-03 23:15:21 Reply

Richard your personal thoughts in the last paragraph undoubtedly are shared by any decent person, unfortunately it has been proven over and over again the last few years that once you get into the 1M plus per year bracket any decency has long since flown out the window.

Patricia & Sandi
Buy.com currently has DSRs of 4.8 across the board. I seriously doubt that the status of their DSRs will affect the special deal they got because they do not have to abide by the multiple choices rule either.

Only thing I am curious about is the response of the Pesa/ECMTA group who had such a lovely get-togher in New Orleans last week.

We live in interesting times. The numbers will tell in the end.

http://www.redinkdiary.com

Patricia1

2008-05-03 23:28:26 Reply

Henrietta – do you think whatever DSR’s they have and whatever they’re rated that it would effect their standing as sellers or their placement in best match. I seriously doubt it.

Sharron

2008-05-04 00:14:03 Reply

Since the DSRs are annonymous, how do we really know that buy.com’s DSRs are being accurately reflected in their feedback?

Mechelle

2008-05-04 00:24:50 Reply

You know what I don’t understand is how eBay gets away market manipulation. Why hasn’t anyone called them on their manipulating our auctions in the name of a “better buyer experience” with the true intent of increasing conversion rates so they can collect fees be damn with the rest of their customers- rig the auction to eBay’s benefit or your not getting what you paid for- that is their scam.

I was scrolling last night and I noticed some ads for shopping.com at the bottom and they were the exact brand of makeup I was searching at the time- so the shopping.com ad was advertising Sephora- nice! the real kicker was that I noticed as I would hit the bar going down that as it neared the next page bar – the page would drop – passing the last 3 auctions and force the exposure of the shopping.com ad. Also, the shopping.com sephora ad was on every single page of search results- some have 50+ pages and that ad was exposed on that many occasions forcibly even.

Every search I did for all the different brands I sell had a shopping.com with a competitor peddling the same brand as all the sellers who paid for their auctions to be shown- paying for the eBay.com site and supporting the build of eBay’s other shopping site.

My question

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM eBay YOU CAN BRING ALL THE BUYERS TO US, BUT YOU CAN’T BRING BUYERS TO YOUR SHOPPING.COM SITE? Maybe that’s because you don’t bring anything to us you little fools- again your existence is relative to our letting you be. If this site goes down- eBay Inc. will crash hard – nothing else eBay holds is independent. They are 100% nothing without all of us- nothing nothing nothing

Funny, I know I am nothing without my customers,and I thank them for choosing to buy from me. It really does work better – I have happy customers who send me personal emails expressing their pleasure with our transaction. From the way I feel and what I see your communications regarding your services are nothing to brag about- hell I would be crying if my customer’s felt and said the things your customer’s do and say about you. It’s a good thing I have self-respect, pride, and integrity so I will never have to experience the hatred and disgust from my customer’s that yours feel about you.

[Sentence edited: see comment policy]

Sandi

2008-05-04 00:33:28 Reply

but back to what I said about price, I just picked the first item that came up, a book called Shotgun Bride. I can buy it on ebay from them for 7.20 and some change, 4.85 shipping (12.05 total), or go straight to buy.com and buy the same thing for Price: $4.73, Shipping: $2.85 (7.58 total).

Or The Truth About Money, ebay I have to pay 12.06+6.15, but direct I only pay 11.35+4.55.

ebay offers me NO VALUE as a buyer to want to pay more. What ebay is more trustworthy, safer than buying direct from buy.com? Of course not. To simply use ebay’s search, ebay should be PAYING me for the extra time it takes to find what you are looking to buy for goodness sakes.

I don’t need ebay to buy new things for more money.

What I did need ebay for was finding those one of a kind gems someone found at an estate sale, or the one of a kind sculpture that fits perfect in my living room, or that one of a kind eames era paper weight. For that I was willing to spend hours searching.

I was willing to pay more for used from a small seller because I could not buy it RETAIL. That’s what made ebay special.

Misty

2008-05-04 01:29:03 Reply

[Quote] “I was willing to pay more for used from a small seller because I could not buy it RETAIL. That’s what made ebay special.”

Thank you Sandi you proved my point exactly. ;)

denny

2008-05-04 03:32:47 Reply

Just one more nail in the coffin of eBay. eBay used to be THE place to find the obscure and unique – soon it will be just another wasteland of the mundane and usual – overpopulated with the sameness of the mass retailers. Perhaps a deal with Walmart could be worked out too???? Who will want to search through all the chaff to find a single grain of wheat??? We delighted in eBay becoming our full time living 4 years ago now we are only saddened by every announcement. We used to put our efforts into improving our listings and merchandising – now we put our efforts into creating our own UNIQUE web site away from the crowd.

JJH

2008-05-04 07:19:05 Reply

Anyone who sells the type of consumer or commodity items that buy.com has pushed over to ebay is essentially screwed, and I feel sorry for them. For the “flea market” seller, I see absolutely no impact from this move. I don’t sell what they sell, so it has no impact on me.

However, regarding Pierre’s statement in his video about the “level playing field”, you can put whatever spin you want on it (“oh, he was referring to back then, not today”), [sentence edited: see comment policy], and I don’t think you’re going to win any brownie or trust points from sellers. You’re just going to push more away who are currently “on the fence”. However, as we’ve seen over the past few months, does that really matter? Does management really care? I think the answer always was, ans still is, no.

@Sandi

I can buy it on ebay from them for 7.20 and some change, 4.85 shipping (12.05 total), or go straight to buy.com and buy the same thing for Price: $4.73, Shipping: $2.85 (7.58 total).

Interesting. Buy it for less on buy.com then through ebay. Interesting.

Well, that is and always will fall under the basic rule of “shop around”. Now that you’ve made me aware that any “buy” listings I may come across probably cost more, I will never buy something from buy.com through ebay. So whose loss is that?

What I did need ebay for was finding those one of a kind gems someone found at an estate sale, or the one of a kind sculpture that fits perfect in my living room, or that one of a kind eames era paper weight. For that I was willing to spend hours searching.

And why do you feel that’s changed? That’s just the sort of thing I would sell, which is why I contend that this buy deal has no impact on the flea market seller. There is still a market for “one of” items, and best match has no effect on this sort of item when there might only be a few of them posted. I still sell plenty of “one of” item where I’m competing with no more than a handful of other listings. Never more than one page worth, sometimes less.

Randy Smythe

2008-05-04 07:42:51 Reply

@JJH,

You are absolutely correct. This move will have no impact on sellers like you, but sellers in my old category (Media) are going to struggle, big-time.

eBay is moving to the Mall strategy where their are several huge anchor stores along with lots of little shops like yours.

It was the local Hardware Store, Video Store, Music Store, etc that were killed by the big Anchor Stores in the malls. The same thing will happen on eBay, but the vintage and collectibles shops will survive.

Formerly Known As MarikaBooks

2008-05-04 08:24:30 Reply

Quote: “but the vintage and collectibles shops will survive.”

I have to respectfully disagree. We’ve already seen the Chinese take over those categories with their fakes. (Art categories, as well) What’s to stop Ebay from offering Buy-type deals to sellers like that? Not one darned thing, IMO. We KNOW counterfeits don’t really bother Ebay. And soon the lion’s share of legitimate collectibles will be crowded out, too.

When Ebay is clearly spitting on media sellers with this Buy arrangement, why would any of you assume they won’t do the same to you in your catgeories? If they get the chance, they surely will.

Randy Smythe

2008-05-04 08:48:26 Reply

@ Formerly Known As MarikaBooks,

Logic would dictate that eBay wants to improve the “buyer experience” not ruin it, so the counterfeit and Chinese fakes will eventually be dealt with. It probably isn’t a priority right now. Collectibles and vintage items are not a high volume business. eBay will concentrate on their high volume categories first, bringing in an anchor store or two to drive the majority of business and concentrating on the retail-like merchandise.

After they’ve “fixed” that they will deal with the collectibles and vintage stuff. I talk to a lot of sellers in this category and they are doing fine right now — JJH mentioned he is doing fine.

This is the “New eBay” and they will not change their direction, they are committed. Sellers of commodity items are going to have a real tough time, compared to the good ole’ days but they will adjust.

Used commodity type product should actually thrive on eBay now that Buy.com is setting the bar.

Headbeater

2008-05-04 09:09:46 Reply

What I’m doing myself, and perhaps all should consider, Is to NOT do business with these big corps. that undermine my ability to survive in the marketplace. In time I believe ALL these corps @ ebay will see devaluation of their brand through the disgust of their being associated w/ebay. ANY seller currently trying to sell on ebay is, in fact, financing their own financial demise. If ebay wants to change their bussiness model let them do it on their own dime. To sit back and literally pay someone to ultimately put you out of business, well, to me, they deserve what they’re about to get!

Scott @ TradingAssistantJournal

2008-05-04 09:43:20 Reply

‘Change’ is scientific, ‘progress’ is ethical; change is indubitable, whereas progress is a matter of controversy.
Bertrand Russell
British author, mathematician, & philosopher (1872 – 1970)

We have always lived in times of controversy, eBay will change as eBay sees fit.

Welcome to the Revolution

For one PeSA Members take on this climate of change…

Read Here:
Amazonation of eBay? http://snurl.com/2730n

Patricia1

2008-05-04 10:25:28 Reply

Well….they haven’t looked around if their idea is anchor stores with lots of little shops in between. I bought several large items online recently…but not from the likes of ebay. I bought a new vacuum from Walmart…picked it out and paid for it online and then they let me know when it was in. Picked it up at the store and headed right out the door with it. No inconvenience….no SHIPPING charges!!! Same with Best Buy, same with KMart, Sears, Target, JC Penney – almost any large store one can think of! So, now ebay – full of themselves as usual think they have an original idea? Heavens no – they’re killing the only original and unique idea they have…and trying to become a mall???? How silly is that? We always wanted competition for ebay and now they’re walking right into the biggest competition in the world and all of them are simply a URL away!

Malls are not new to the internet. Right after I started online back in 95 there were large “malls” popping up all over…for a fee (monthly or yearly) you could have a “store” in these malls and they would advertise and bring in the customers. Funny….none of those are in existence now. So much for the big “mall” idea LOL

Patricia1

2008-05-04 10:32:30 Reply

@ Randy:

“Logic would dictate that eBay wants to improve the “buyer experience” not ruin it, so the counterfeit and Chinese fakes will eventually be dealt with. ”

I certainly hope you are right. Chinese fakes are rampant in the arts categories. I would hate to see the largest gathering of artists and original art for sale anywhere in the world continue to be plagued by chineses fakes who not only peddle fakes but steal the artist’s work off ebay, print it and sell it right on ebay! Do the chinese still get free listing? That would really rub salt in an already festering wound.

Randy Smythe

2008-05-04 11:01:12 Reply

@Patricia1

I hope I’m right also. I just think it is farther down on the priority list.

As to the Mall idea: I think eBay is creating a hybrid of the concept, the success will be in the execution. The jury is still out on their ability to execute and yes the play on words was intended.

They may have to execute some smaller sellers to accomplish their goals.

Formerly Known As MarikaBooks

2008-05-04 12:38:16 Reply

“Logic would dictate that eBay wants to improve the “buyer experience” not ruin it, so the counterfeit and Chinese fakes will eventually be dealt with. ”

When did logic and Ebay ever go together?

It’s all good. I won’t say “I told you so” if it turns out that “I told you so” is appropriate. :-)

JJH

2008-05-04 12:46:21 Reply

@Headbeater

What I’m doing myself, and perhaps all should consider, Is to NOT do business with these big corps. that undermine my ability to survive in the marketplace.

Many of the commodity items ‘buy’ is offering I wouldn’t consider buying through ebay or any mail order. I’d just buy it locally. I need these things NOW, not in a week. If I needed a vacuum cleaner, or some other household appliance or electronics, I’d go to Walmart or Target or Kmart. If I needed a router or computer item, I’d go to Micro-Center. You get the picture.

ebay is NEVER going to be a retail destination for me. For my limited online buying ebay falls into the “looking for the oddity item” location.

Example: I just needed to replace my UPS battery. I could buy it from APC for $37 plus shipping, or I could find one of a dozen surplus dealers selling the same exact battery (as a generic battery, but still the identical item)for $15-20 including shipping. This is how I’m going to continue to view and use ebay.

I don’t know what focus group(s) ebay has been gathering it’s data from to determine they need to become retail, but that’s not for me. Unfortunately though, in this process, they are destroying established business or both large and small sellers who deal in these items, but when the quest is for the bucks and the stock price, the human factor NEVER matters.

@Richard Brewer-Hays

I’ll take a shot at it again. I know you edited a sentence of mine earlier, and maybe I shouldn’t have referred to Pierre that way, but I’m going to restate it again, [and if you have to edit it again, so be it] that the video, and what has just happened, at the very least makes him look like a lier and someone that the community he so fondly “respects” can no longer trust. Is that better?

Sandi

2008-05-04 13:05:09 Reply

“And why do you feel that’s changed? That’s just the sort of thing I would sell, which is why I contend that this buy deal has no impact on the flea market seller. “

I respectfully disagree, ebay is no longer the first place, or second place, or even thrid place I look for anything.

Ebay has ignored so many of the real issues of the site, the search is too slow, often times there is something broken, I don’t consider it safe and it’s not the scam sellers, it’s the variety of security issues within the site itself.

Add I take issue with the ethical landscape possessed by those in charge, while I can’t change their minds with logic, I don’t have to support their efforts with my money.

Sadly, you must not have listened to Donahue’s statements, it’s the flea market he wants to get rid of. He has openly and publically stated as such.

“Now that you’ve made me aware that any “buy” listings I may come across probably cost more, I will never buy something from buy.com through ebay. So whose loss is that?”

That impacts everyone. ebay will become known as the place that costs more or it is fake.

News articles around the world have already documented the volumne of fakes on ebay, now they can add overprized.

All of ebay’s noise and they have yet to address the real number one reason they are losing buyers globally.

Mechelle

2008-05-04 13:46:38 Reply

I don’t understand why eBay is partnering with a company who’s feedback is littered with their selling products they don’t have and not refunding for days (one person stated 19 days after they paid). That is against eBay policy and less than excellent customer service- I have had a couple miscounts in my inventory and as a result sold something I didn’t have, but I hunt that product down purchase it regardless of cost and ship it. I don’t refund several days later (often without any communication)informing my customers that I sold them something I didn’t have and they are SOL. Not only is their practice of selling products they don’t have reflected in their neutrals and negatives (which are insanely high) they are commented on in their positive feedback as well.

Well, I’m confused of what eBay considers a better buying experience

Items not received for weeks

not received at all

unreasonable length of time for refunds

selling what they do not have

no communication when they made an error or when their customer contacts them

excessive shipping- charged someone 35 dollars that fit in a flatrate box which right now costs 8.95.

And- one of the customers mentions excessive shipping fees and when I looked at the item it said free shipping- now a customer may mark a 4 on free shipping but they don’t claim excessive charges- so clearly eBay let them revise their listing which we are not allowed to do. I constantly have to end listings that had quantity with a sold item because I needed to revise. Apparently they can change anything they want.

So can eBay layout their idea of excellent customer service? it appears that they do want us to provide the level of customer service that eBay and buy.com provide.

JJH

2008-05-04 14:38:57 Reply

Well, I’m confused of what eBay considers a better buying experience

Items not received for weeks

not received at all

unreasonable length of time for refunds

selling what they do not have

no communication when they made an error or when their customer contacts them

excessive shipping- charged someone 35 dollars that fit in a flatrate box which right now costs 8.95.

@Michelle

Consider this though. Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, etc, all operate mail order operations. There is no consumer feedback on those operations that we can see like there is on eBay, so how can you compare that to any meaningful data? When you do thousands of transactions per month, you can’t please everyone. This is true of every high volume seller.

I hate to bring up DSR’s, but look at Buy’s DSR’s. They are what, all like 4.8? They also have 28000 accumulated DSR counts. We all know how the DSR’s work. With a count that high, it would take thousands of 1’s or thousands of 5’s to make that 4.8 move. All I can ioffer is there appears to be a mismatch between the text feedback and the numerical DSR feedback.

@Sandi

Sadly, you must not have listened to Donahue’s statements, it’s the flea market he wants to get rid of. He has openly and publically stated as such.

I disagree.

#1, I “heard that”, but where is that printed? Point me to a documented quote. I also heard him say just the opposite, that the small seller is the foundation of the place. Was the quote in context, out of context, blown out of proportion by angry users? I don’t know. Frankly, I don’t care WHAT he says anymore. Over the past few months I’ve come to realize the man is to be ignored. Now, if I go any deeper in how I feel, I’m going to get edited again. All that matters to me is:

#2, as long as the stuff keeps selling, and the hit counts are reasonable, I have no reason to look to sell elsewhere. Those two things tell me the buyers are still there. when/if my metrics drop, then I’ll worry about it.

I respectfully disagree, ebay is no longer the first place, or second place, or even third place I look for anything.

I have no problem with any disagreement, however ebay is still the place I would go to first to look for anything odd. Sorry, but those other sites just don’t have those types items listed on them. I constantly check.

Patricia1

2008-05-04 15:18:29 Reply

@ JJH

“Consider this though. Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, etc, all operate mail order operations. There is no consumer feedback on those operations that we can see like there is on eBay, so how can you compare that to any meaningful data?”

Yes, there certainly is feedback. I bought two items online at Walmart. One was a Black & Decker Scumbuster and the other a Hoover Vacuum. In both cases they wait a couple of weeks after you pick up your items and then send you a form you can give feedback on. This feedback, both good and bad is published under that particular item on the item’s own page. There is a list of feedbacks for each item. They ask how long you’ve had the product…they ask you to rate the product with stars (5 being best) and they allow you space to write about the item, service, etc.

JJH

2008-05-04 16:29:07 Reply

Patricia1, OK, I stand corrected if there is feedback. But, is it feedback that can be compared apples-to-apples with the feedback system ebay uses? You can’t compare metrics if two different types of systems are being used.

I see “product ratings” on sites like Best Buy, Circuit City, etc, when you look up something. These are opinion ratings. As you read through them you often find that more negative opinions are expressed rather than positive. This is because unsatisfied people are more motivated to write than satisfied. I wonder if the system you refer to isn’t the same.

One has to wonder if the feedback system is even relevant on ebay anymore. Just get rid of it and use the DSR values.

HOWEVER, this seller thinks that BUYERS should also have an anonymous DSR system they should be held accountable to as well. There are plenty of things I could say about my buyers as well, such as:

How quickly did they pay?
Did they reply to your communications?
Did they follow your post-sale instructions?

Usher Lieberman

2008-05-04 17:06:04 Reply

@Sandi

the lower price on Shotgun Bride is actually being sold by a 3rd party seller on Buy.com, it is not Buy’s inventory.

Formerly Known As MarikaBooks

2008-05-04 17:18:26 Reply

LOL. Out of all the discussion, questions, and angst here, Mr. Lieberman can only answer one question about Shotgun Bride, of all things.

Oh my, yes. They are really listening. And ignoring, for the most part. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Mechelle

2008-05-04 18:19:28 Reply

My main point was – why is it alright for their to be multiple accounts of items being sold that they did not have- under positive (quick refunds), neutral, and negatives. I’ll bet this is in the 3 digits if not more just in a month or less- I only went back a couple weeks.

I don’t think it matters at all the amount of volume they have – because they also have employees. Us low volume sellers do it our selves on top of everything else that life demands. We don’t just hand out a list of assignments to a bunch of employees and act as though it is more justifiable to have lesser service provided or selling products we don’t have.

I view it quite the opposite- they should have equal or better feedback.

If a small seller has 300 customers a month – do all the work their selves, and the other jobs they still have, actually have the item they sold or get an item they sold they didn’t have, refund the day the issue arises, have packages delivered within a week to a week and a half, do all the purchasing, packaging, communication, listing, revising and on and on- why can’t the large volume seller with the employees do just as well? I think they should be doing as well or better.

Anyway, if someone chooses to use the customer volume argument they must be very satisfied with eBay’s crappy service- and expect nothing more. After all they are a high volume seller of services

permacrisis

2008-05-04 18:34:55 Reply

Hey, wait a second. Buy dot com accepts Google payments.

We aren’t allowed to accept Google payments.

This is gonna get interesting.

Mechelle

2008-05-04 18:39:48 Reply

Also, people are people- you can have 20 customers and have one that refuses to be pleased- 100, 500, 1000. It doesn’t matter it’s the luck of the draw on who gets slammed with a crappy buyer and who can afford to pay them off if that is even possible.

Sears, walmart…… are entirely irrelevant not only do they not have feedback they also do not sell within the eBay marketplace therefore are not accountable to the same expectations that people who do sell on eBay are held to- otherwise be suspended. Buy.com is selling on eBay (partnering with eBay which I am unsure of what that is even supposed to mean if not serious discounts for their presence on eBay)they should be held accountable just the same as we are and the items being sold that they don’t even have would not be ok for us especially at that frequency- so I don’t care what their volume is- what sears and walmart do- there are eBay policies that we are all expected to adhere to and there should not be any preferences given to a volume seller- period.

Also- clearly not only is Buy.com receiving discounts those discounts are being extended to buy.com third party vendors. Why are other eBay sellers paying more than buy.com and more than their third party vendors?

Oh, and apparently these third party vendors get to hide behind the feedback and DSR ratings that are accumulated through Buy.com’s account. How is that guaranteeing a positive buyer experience? There could be a handful of these third party vendors racking up those negatives and crappy DSR portions yet no one would know not to buy from those third party vendors. So, as is clear from the feedback there is no guarantee that the buyer will have a positive experience and because of the volume of feedback and DSR ratings that vendor will never be held accountable.

Usher Lieberman

2008-05-04 18:54:09 Reply

@Mechelle

This deal is for buy.com, to the best of my knowledge it does not extend to their 3rd party sellers. Buy.com is listing *their own* merchandise on eBay.

Usher Lieberman

2008-05-04 18:55:22 Reply

and just so you don’t think I’m ducking…I will answer as much as possible tonight. For now I am off to enjoy what remains of my weekend.

Patricia1

2008-05-04 19:21:46 Reply

@ Michelle – Walmart does, indeed have feedback on their site. Proof:

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=2519232

If you scroll down the page you’ll see the feedback…star system and all! I think I explained this before.

Mechelle

2008-05-04 19:25:24 Reply

@Usher Lieberman

This is what you said above

“the lower price on Shotgun Bride is actually being sold by a 3rd party seller on Buy.com, it is not Buy’s inventory.”

How is anything differentiated? Clearly this book is related to Buy.Com’s eBay store, so unless that third party seller had to pay eBay directly to have their items show up in our search – they are in fact benefiting from the discounted rate that eBay is giving to Buy.com. So, yes the third parties are receiving the discounted rate and are not held accountable to the same feedback and DSR standards that we are.

On top of that explain to me why Buy.com gets to list on our site for lesser fees to benefit from the traffic that eBay sellers have accumulated with all their hard work and money? It seems to me that Buy.com is benefiting from us sellers (as is eBay) yet were getting stuck with the bill- what’s your explanation for this assault?

Amber

2008-05-04 21:03:39 Reply

Usher, thank you for popping in. I’d just like to say that after all of the changes my business has absorbed, this particular decision has tipped the scale.

I am going to close my ebay store.

I’m a media seller (I guess that should be “I used to be a media seller.”). I’ve operated a tiny, but reliable romance bookstore here for over 5 years. My repeat customers are 40-50% of my business every month. People who shop on ebay because they like buying from me. By turning the site over to the big retailers, you’ve undercut that person to person loyalty that created this site and that makes eBay unique.

I’m wiping the tears from my cheeks as I contemplate the end of my selling career here. I don’t understand the logic of destroying what is wonderful about this site in favor of a quick buck. People don’t buy here to have a retail experience. Most buy because there really is a person behind the computer screen, not some automated software.

It won’t make any difference to you or other eBay execs, but you’ve lost me and will gradually lose my customers as well. I won’t buy on the site and will move my inventory elsewhere. Clearly, I’m no longer needed or wanted here.

Usher Lieberman

2008-05-04 21:38:07 Reply

@Mechelle – Not really sure how you drew your conclusions about buy’s eBay store and their 3rd parties. Buy’s inventory is on eBay, not their 3rd party sellers.

@Amber – I am sorry to see you go.

Patricia1

2008-05-04 22:00:08 Reply

@ Amber – open a small website, stock it with your romance books…then go thru your receipts and invite those repeat customers ;-) In the long run I bet you come out ahead.

Patricia1

2008-05-04 22:03:23 Reply

@ Mechelle –

“Sears, walmart…… are entirely irrelevant not only do they not have feedback.”

Don’t know where my last post went, but go to walmart dot com and put Hoover Vacuum in search – pick out any model then scroll to down that model’s page – you will see feedback from customers who bought – AND they have a star rating system. Who knows…perhaps this is where ebay got the idea of DSR’s – we all know it wasn’t an original idea on their part :-)

Mechelle

2008-05-05 01:02:42 Reply

Okay- I see what you meant- so Sandi demonstrated that we can buy direct through Buy.com completely bypassing eBay entirely- not even go through eBay to get to Buy.com in some odd way and buy the book including shipping cheaper on Buy.com than on eBay.

And your point about the book was yes we can buy it cheaper on the Buy.com site from one of their third party dealers.

Thanks for the tip Sandi and thanks Usher Lieberman for the confirmation that we can absolutely get a better deal on Buy.com than we can on Buy’s eBay store.

Amber I am so sorry that you are having to experience such pain. I know what it feels like to have it slap you that all you have put into something is just gone. As soon as eBay made their announcement in January I knew I could no longer be here- not because of feedback (I have superb feedback) not because of DSRs (they are already anonymous so should not change) not the fee changes (I’m probably the only seller who did get a decrease)- all the things that hit the nerves of so many (though I feel they are wrong and can very easily damage any of us giving the right nut job) meant nothing to me I was floored that eBay just told the world that I was a crooked piece of trash that has to extort people into leaving me positive feedback, that I rip people off through shipping, that I don’t know how to provide a good buying experience for my own customers. Due to all my failings and corrupted character eBay had to step in on behalf of my customers to protect them from me.

I just can’t live my life participating in a relationship with anyone or anything that thinks of me and portrays me in a such a way to the public. We all have to have some self respect – there has to be a point in which we say ok that was over the top out of line and won’t be tolerated- and for me eBay hit it.

It wasn’t and isn’t a singular emotion for me – for a few weeks every time I thought about closing my store I would just start crying. I have put so much time and emotion into my store and my customers the thought of walking away was excruciating. I have only been doing this for 15 months, yet it seems that the rest of the world stopped when I started. Due to needing to get inventory counted, pictures taken and edited, and listings up while trying to figure out the nightmare of setting up my store I had moved myself downstairs just until I got those things set up- couple weeks should do it I thought.

Well I have lived downstairs for 15 months, and I don’t mean I spend my days working down here – I mean I live down here. My family lives upstairs and I live down here, I only leave to go to my sons’ various events , when we went camping last summer for a week I drove to my mom’s house an hour away from camp everyday and spent the entire day into the night working on the endless list of tasks involved with selling on eBay, I don’t watch TV. I do nothing but my eBay store- absolutely nothing until lately – these discussion boards have become my breaks.

With all that I have set aside and the days I’ve gone without sleep- yes days straight – because I am answering questions from international buyers, or designing new parts for my store, taking pictures, updating inventory, listings, revising, purchasing, packaging……. I have- in a generous estimate- averaged 4 hours of sleep a night for 15 months. My husband caring about me has a few occasions let me sleep into the afternoon on Saturdays- well my words were not thank you , because I just missed a shipping day. I understand he must be tired of looking at his wife and her new pasty white skin and sunken black eyes, but shipping days must be used and if that means short sleep times than that’s what it means- I must ship!

With all I had put into this – everything I have in me- to read the trashing that was done to me and every other seller on eBay in sweeping fashion I just crumbled- I was outraged that they would dare say that I am a fraud, that I am a thief, that I am out to harm my customers. How could someone, anyone, anything assign such terrible traits to me – to all of the eBay selling community- without even knowing who we are, what we do, or how well we do it? EBay’s actions and words are unforgivable assaults. I have been working on my new store designing it and making sure everything is just right so that my customers will know they can count on me being in that one place from then on and not worry about if they’ll need to set their favorites to another site again. If not for my regular customers I would have closed my store and just worked on my new store, but they are frequent shoppers and I’m their first stop in my category on eBay and for a couple the only stop on eBay at all, so I didn’t want to just flip the off button on them, but they know we’re moving and the only thing they have to say about it “is let me know where we’re moving to“.

I am sure glad I didn’t have 5 years- 10 years, or even a month more than my own time put into selling on eBay, because it is so painful just the 15 months I wouldn’t want to know how the betrayal feels after 5 or 10 years.

The problem with eBay- they don’t see that we are people – they don’t see us at all

CAM

2008-05-05 02:12:46 Reply

This move seems to be very short-sighted. Last year, Meg Whitman talked about the “core” vs. “store” and bringing back the magic. How much “magic” is a site cluttered with new cra…er..stuff I can get cheaper at my local mall, target or walmart?

In my mind, bringing a more retail experience from an eBay perspective means.. easier faster one click checkout, accurate relevent search and/or even standardized shipping and payment methods (ie..paypal only). As much as sellers (me included), kick and yell about those, I assume they are coming – to enhance the buyer experience.

I don’t, however, consider, giving special deals so someone can list 300,000+ retail items as fixed price (in “core”), neither fair to “core sellers” who struggle to pay for core listings and turn a profit, nor even a good business long term practice. If a business cannot affort inerstion fees and FVF it means their items are not selling at a rate that can guarantee profit, and any “deal” that eBay gives them provides an unfair advantage over like sellers who have built eBay with their blood sweat and tears.

BUT, the biggest slam my head against the wall in frustration wondering if you can see the forest through the trees is customer retention. Why is Buy.com selling on this inefficient channel when they have their own web footprint? Well..yes..CUSTOMER ACQUISITION. How short-sighted is it to give away your customers (ebay buyers) to Buy.com and expect them to buy from eBay next time..when they can just hop on over to Buy.com website and pick it up in 1/10 the searching time (of course, Buy.com will use this as a customer acquisition tool and when no longer a good channel will be off eBay). What do you thing, Buy.com is NOT going to market to these customers directly?? Hello???

Congratulations..You’ve just made eBay a giant Billboard for large retail companies to finally get their hands on eBays buyers, opening up that cookie jar, which they have envied and lusted after for years. Giving away the golden goose for a quick payday.

Good Luck with that..

CAM

JJH

2008-05-05 06:05:48 Reply

To Mr. Leiberman,

Thank you for providing a link to the “flea market” quote. It does appear to have been twisted out of context by many people to suit their own feelings.

Except, in the article you referred me to, this quote, by the author took me by surprise too: “[of the many changes] These have included new ways of searching for items, to downplay the flea market feel.”

OK, so what’s WRONG with the “flea market feel”?

What makes something “look or feel like a flea market.”? Why must this change?

Also, regarding the blog, I would have never seen your reply had I not scrolled back looking for something. Richard: I really do not like that new posts can all of a sudden appear in the middle of the blog comments where many may never see them. I think it is critical to have ALL new comments appear at the end, and refer back to previous comments.

Can I make a suggestion? Each topic entry should have a NUMBER, which is also a link, so that it can be quickly referred back to.

I’d also REALLY like to have a PREVIEW ability so out message can be checked for correct format, typos, spelling, and the like, before submitting.

CrunchyPostingGoodness

2008-05-05 06:27:44 Reply

Richard,

“It’s my assertion that Pierre was talking about the conditions and approach to the Marketplace at the company’s founding.”

If it was really true, that Pierre was referring to what he HAD meant by “a level playing field”, then why did you write in your blog: “Pierre addressing some of the recent changes in the Marketplace. He also addresses what he MEANS by “a level playing field” and how it RELATES to the eBay experience… “?

In both words “MEANS” and “RELATES” you used the PRESENT tense. Why would you have done that unless you felt that he was referring to the PRESENT meaning of “a level playing field” as it relates, right now, to the current eBay experience?

Not to mention the fact that Pierre clearly states in the interview:

“I never meant that everyone, regardless of the quality of the service they provided, regardless of their experience on the site, regardless of their feedback rating, everyone should be treated exactly the same way. That wouldn’t make any sense. What I meant by level playing field was that everyone should be given equal opportunity and if you can use that opportunity, different people, individuals use their opportunities differently. And if you can use that opportunity differently and advance more and provide better service to customers, if you’re a seller, and so forth, then you should be rewarded for that. And I think that is entire consistent with the level playing field.”

What Pierre is really referring to, in the above quote, are the special privileges, discounts, and search rankings awarded to Power Sellers over other everyday sellers. He believes that eBay allows everyone the opportunity to become a Power Seller, if they wish, and should a seller achieve that status, then they should be rewarded with special privileges and deals above other sellers. This is basically a defense for the recent Power Seller discounts and PayPal protections for Power Sellers only.

More over, if you wanted to apply this to the idea of outside retailers, then the current deal with Buy.com would be in violation of this. Sellers, no matter their size or service level, are not being given the same OPPORTUNITY as Buy.com to have their listings ever show up in the same manner. Nor are they being provided the OPPORTUNITY to get the same pricing deal as Buy.com.

Remember, Pierre stated that they should always go back to their core principles. He never said that it was okay to change or eliminate them – just re-interpret them in accordance to the current online marketplace. So please explain who one can possibly reinterrpret the “level playing field” priciple in a way which shows the current Buy.com deal is in agreement with?

“The thing I was concerned about, with level playing field, is that I didn’t want to have sort of artificial barriers placed on newcomers, and to have people, by virtue of their stature outside of the eBay community, somehow be treated better, [Donahoe says, “Right”] you know special deals behind the scenes because their a big retailor and we want them to come on to eBay, and that kind of stuff. That would’ve been, THAT’S (present tense again) a disaster. That’s what I meant by a level playing field. [Donahoe comments, “Right”.]

Note how Pierre changed his wording of “would’ve been” to “that’s a disaster”? Clearly he corrected himself to demonstrate that he feels such an idea would always be a bad idea on eBay. He did not mean past tense.

Sorry Richard, but you’re belief that Pierre was only reffering to the past, as opposed to the present, is clearly wrong. This is shown in both what you wrote and what Pierre stated. Honestly, it appears now that you are simply backtracking, not unlike the idea that “no plans” simply means “no time frame”.

As I have stated before, I understand your need and desire to defend your employer, it is only natural. However if you expect for people to take what you write seriously, then you really need to becareful of what you write in the future, especially if you plan to change it on a whim, depending upon what new change eBay decides to role out.

I think what is really hurting your creditability is that you wrote before, present tense, and now you are backtracking by saying it was refering to the past.

CrunchyPostingGoodness

2008-05-05 06:28:53 Reply

“@ Patricia — Buy will be held accountable to buyers through the same DSR system as all eBay sellers.”

Just keep in mind that actually means that eBay has established “no time frame”, as of yet, to when Buy.com will no longer be held accountable to the DSR system. ;-) Even Amazon made an exception to their “no feedback removal” policy when a large retailer accidentally listed a designer pillow for $10 and refused to honor the hundreds of sales that it made at that price. Several buyers left negative feedback for that retailer and Amazon removed everyone of them.

If a reputable company like Amazon has done that in the past, then I have no doubt that a company like eBay, which seems to lack a reputable character, will do exactly the same thing, should it work to their advantage.

====

On a more personal note, I have bought several times from Buy.com in the past, and if I ever purchase from them in the future, then I will go directly to their site – not eBay. For one, I like to deal directly with the merchant’s website, and second, I wouldn’t want to purchase anything, in any way, shape, or form, which would help eBay to accrue more traffic and/or fees at this time.

eBay is right about one thing, buyers are emotional and they do not like to be manipulated. Knowing how eBay treats those who sell on their site, I would never want to endorse or encourage such actions from buying there. When I’m buying – I’m entitled to this emotional response and perspective.

Amber

2008-05-05 08:04:31 Reply

“The problem with eBay- they don’t see that we are people – they don’t see us at all”

You’re right Mechelle, and that’s the most galling part. It’s all about the numbers, and it’s clear they have no clue what differentiates eBay from the plethora of other online venues.

I find it ironic that they’re hollering about customer service when it’s been my experience that the super volume powersellers are the real problem here. They have the volume to impact far more buyers in a negative way than a single low volume seller. It simply doesn’t show as readily due to the volume. 99% of my bad buying experiences were with those high volume sellers–impersonal and indifferent customer service, high shipping charges, etc.

Whereas I maintain my lily-white 100%, My DSRs are 4.9, 4.9, 4.8, 4.8 despite having a HUGE portion of my business as international. I’ve kept that 100%, despite the occasional lost package, the long transit times in the days of the surface M-bags, even the postal changes of last year.

I personally answer all emails; I recognize my repeat customers BY NAME; I offer specialized services that you will never find on the larger media venues.

All of that kept my buyers coming back to me AND EBAY.

Customer retention is important in the light of the dwindling traffic here–but eBay’s response is to drive that traffic away with Sponsored Links and back room deals with the high volume retailers.

As for the Shotgun Bride example above, I’d be surprised if they sell a thing. LOL The average ebayer would save $.75 or so off the list price and pay nearly $1 more in shipping than the same book on Amazon. So much for “pricing” improving the buyer experience.

Mechelle

2008-05-05 09:53:54 Reply

I agree customer retention is key and yes eBay apparently knows this in theory but has no clue of how to achieve satisfied customers and from what I hear the only reason most people remain seems to be due to the social and emotional ties to the other sellers in our category and to our customers. I have many friends that are my direct competition and I share ideas with them on how to bring up their sells and I even help them source product. I know most people think this is totally insane behavior for a business owner, but I have had more experienced bigger sellers help me over the past year with sourcing and advice and I don’t mind paying that forward. As one of them told me “there is enough room on eBay for everyone” and I see that as true.

A friend of mine who I met when she won one of my first auctions carries in her store 80% of the exact items as I do that we purchased together to attain a lower price for a quantity order, and over the past 14 months since we have been doing this we have shared a customer maybe 5 times all the rest are unique to our individual stores. I think this demonstrates that there is room on eBay.

My customers are emotionally tied to me as I am them. I have given them advice on how to handle situations when they are mistreated by other sellers- I have even walked a couple through the dispute process with PayPal. I advised one of my customers not to succumb to the extortion of the negative from – yes a very large seller whose feedback clearly demonstrates her pattern of forcing feedback withdraws- not to withdraw her neutral to have the negative feedback that seller gave her in response to her neutral and then outright told her she would wear the negative if she didn’t withdraw her feedback.

What really ticked me off about that seller was she totally over reacted and took a very hostile approach to the situation. As is well known many of our customers don’t understand the significance of the feedback they leave. She left a neutral because it wasn’t a terrible experience, but not entirely satisfying, because the product was broken which she stated in the neutral while at the same time asserted that she believed it was a manufacturer defect and had nothing to do with the seller. I know this action so common with buyers annoys and frustrates us as sellers, but I think it is important to recognize that they are judging the experience as a whole not always entirely the seller and of course have no idea the consequences of a neutral for the seller which with justifiable reasoning should have no effect on their score. So I feel that as a experienced seller she should have explained the consequences of the neutral not hit her with a negative to get her to remove it.

What I’m getting at is eBay executives clearly are not part of the eBay community and don’t understand the emotional ties that seem to be more prominent than the typical marketplace social interaction. How often is a customer of a large chain retailer outraged if that dealer is treated unfairly? How often are their customers ready to defend them at all costs? How often do they have customers that will boycott right along side them? They don’t, because they are not people – tit is merely a customer and a seller exchanging money for goods without a second that once the transaction is complete.

Everyone talks about the uniqueness of eBay being the collectibles, but I think the uniqueness is in the people and their relationships. I think a large part of the difficulty with leaving eBay is because of these friendships not just the traffic as is evidenced by the large number of people who left eBay a long time ago yet still post on the discussion boards.

eBay does not understand this dynamic, because they don’t understand that we are people and our customers are people. Their ignorance is what is killing eBay, and will ultimately drive them out of business.

Gail

2008-05-05 10:33:21 Reply

Mechelle, eBay understands full well what it’s doing. Unfortunately for eBay’s longtime sellers, the truth about eBay has been the same since it went public. It’s just blatantly obvious with this last move. Buy.com lists a multitude of items, eBay’s numbers go up, stockholders are happy, eBay’s stock rises, corporate executives reap the benefits. There’s no emotion in eBay’s decisions. It’s all about the money.

Mechelle

2008-05-05 10:50:59 Reply

I agree eBay knows what they are doing- what I meant is their lack of understanding the dynamic of the eBay members within the marketplace is what is killing eBay.

Also, yes their is no emotion- how can there be when they choose to think of us as numbers and not people

JJH

2008-05-05 11:06:55 Reply

I’m really surprised any of you are even bringing up the “human/emotion” and “we are people” card. This is a business, a PUBLIC business. It’s ALWAYS about the money. Period. You can’t view it beyond that.

Also, comments about ebay “killing itself”… Be serious. I mean really, ebay isn’t going anywhere. It isn’t going to go out of business. It isn’t going to even be hurt.

I hate all the changes as much as the rest of you, but anyone that thinks they can “bring ebay down” is just being naive.

Amber

2008-05-05 11:13:34 Reply

“You can’t view it beyond that”

The human/emotion card is very important to what ebay is all about. If media BUYERS wanted an impersonal business transaction, they would go elsewhere.

It IS about the money. What you and ebay execs don’t get is that buyers aren’t going to be spending that money here for the same or inferior service they can get anywhere else on the web. The thing that drove sales, especially for me, was the human element you get here.

Patricia1

2008-05-05 11:22:31 Reply

@ JJH – this is really true. BUT we are their customers whether they wish to admit it or not. Right now, seller morale is at its lowest – ebay can’t keep their listings up without a gimmick and that gets worse and not better. For business alone, they need to find respect for their customers. Businesses who have no respect for customers lose them! I think the “shape up or ship out” declaration broke the camel’s back! What business doesn’t do PR work to keep their customers happy…this one…it feels it can just kick them around because it feels they have no choice.

JJH

2008-05-05 11:59:18 Reply

I didn’t say those things to stir up any further emotions, I hope you know that. But this is business 101. ebay is like the electric company, like Exxon, link any other company. Money. Please the investors. Profit. Greed. I don’t believe for a minute that there is a huge public company left that doesn’t care only about “Numero Uno”, themselves. Customer service and caring is gone from virtually every company you can cite. For every customer lost, there is always another dummy to replace it.

That “seller to buyer” connection that Amber cites IS still there, believe it or not. For the kind of items I’m selling, I don’t have repeat customers. 98% of my sales are to a new person who I’ve never had contact with before and I’ll never have contact with again, and that magic is for the most part still there. ebay is killing that only in certain sectors, like commodities and retail items. Antiques, “one ofs”, and unique items, for NOW anyway are still safe.

Mechelle

2008-05-05 12:25:50 Reply

@JJH

Given the reaction that sellers are having to these changes I think it is clearly an emotional issue for most and not just about money. eBay, and apparently you, may not want to acknowledge that the emotions of eBay members has been and continues to be a powerful element within the eBay marketplace it absolutely is. This is a unique characteristic that most companies don’t have, but it is very important to eBay’s success, because it means so much to both the people who sell on eBay and those that buy on eBay.

I think that the eBay community expects the same respect from eBay as we do from each other, and we have every right to that expectation. As Patricia said, we are their customers yet they don’t respect us,and most people don’t pay to be treated like crap outside of eBay and I think the people within eBay are tired of paying for it too.

A business that alienates its customers will eventually crash. Your assertion that eBay will never go away is naive. There have been equal and bigger businesses who have crashed over the years eBay is vulnerable to the same outcome- the same as we are. There is no business that will succeed without customers- it simply isn’t possible. As for the argument that there are always people to replace sellers who have left- the problem is that there will no longer be those more experienced members to help out the new comers such as those that helped me. I would not have made it the last 15 months without their help that is a reality for me and given the amount of new sellers that ask me for help I am guessing that for a large majority this has been driving the success of eBay so far. Without the help the customer turnover rate on eBay will be so high there will no longer be any constant for buyers to have faith enough in to continue to shop on eBay.

I’m not claiming I can bring eBay down- what I said is eBay is bringing themselves down and they are.

Patricia1

2008-05-05 12:40:24 Reply

JJH – you’re right they are like Exxon…you’re wrong – they’re not like the electric company. I get a reduced rate from them because of my limited income, same with my telephone and gas company. Same with my car insurance company who gives me a lower rate because I’m a safe driver and I’ve been with them a long time….so, yes, they ARE like Exxon – wrong, they are NOT like every other company. Not all businesses are run the way you say – and I know of no other company that tells their customers to shape up or ship out. My own customers are well treated – always with respect and the repeat buyers get little gifts, cards, sometimes free shipping and sometimes just a small surprise painting that I think they would like. I would never dream of telling them to shape up or ship out!!!! By the way, emotion doesn’t even enter this picture….good business sense does…or should! I learned at an early age NEVER to burn my bridges behind me no matter how much I may personally feel the person isn’t worth my time.

CrunchyPostingGoodness

2008-05-05 12:46:07 Reply

@ JJH

I think the reason why so many are bringing in the “human/emotion” aspect is because that is what eBay is founded on, and in fact, what it still wishes sellers to be, in part.

If it was simply business, then eBay should not expect so much communication on the part of sellers to their buyers. eBay stresses that sellers should try and make their buyers feel special and valued.

Also keep in mind that a lot of people sell on eBay just to make a little extra money or as a hobby. They don’t intend is as a full-time business, and therefore it is emotional for them. Plus a lot of sellers started out on eBay from the very beginning, when starting a business was the furthest from their mind and eBay stresses a community selling/trading environment. eBay created and encouraged the formation of an emotional based marketplace, so is it really any wonder that a lot of people who sell on eBay do so with a lot of emotion?

Where I sell, nothing like that is suggested or expected of sellers. That isn’t to say that I do not do things to make those who buy from me feel special, it is just that it isn’t expected or required by the selling environment or the people who buy there. When I buy from a large, online retailer, I do not a warm, fuzzy feeling from the buying experience. I just want to pay for my item and have it delivered.

eBay expects sellers to operate as professional seller is some terms, but yet small sellers in terms of making the buyer’s experience a special, warm and fuzzy one.

Sandi

2008-05-05 13:21:01 Reply

jhh@
Antiques, “one ofs”, and unique items, for NOW anyway are still safe.

You are wrong. When one reads through the world news, ebay has not lost buyers due to the bogus reasons they are giving. The global slowdown is directly attributed to fakes on the site.

eBay’s bad press regarding being the largest fence operation in the world is what is killing sales – especially in the areas you mention. You can find websites that list the sellers who are selling fake antiques and they actually track when and how many reports to ebay it takes to get the seller booted.

To really fix the problems, ebay would have needed to expend real monies – and they have proven they are not going to do that. They are taking the short-sited approach of replacing current sellers with the buys, targets, Wal-Mart’s that they think they simply do not have to police.

I guess ebay even understands they have no credibility in the marketplace and is trying the shortcut method to correct that. I suspect their thinking is look, instead of spending money to really police the site, let’s give large retailers a discount for lending THEIR credibility to the marketplace.

But back to my statement about shortsightedness, ebay opted to ignore consumer satisfaction ratings for large retailers or they would have checked buy.com’s consumer rating because it is in the 80% bracket – people rate large retailers lower than the small seller.

http://www.bizrate.com/ratings_guide/cust_reviews__mid–18893.html

http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Buy

http://shopping.yahoo.com/merchrating/user_rv.html?merchant_id=1002688

http://reviews.pricegrabber.com/buycom/r/8554/

The reviews do make one wonder if the dsr’s here on ebay are really as they appear given the negatives they have received. One would think the people who are leaving negatives are leaving 4 & 5’s on the DSR.

@Mr. Liebermann

Bottom line, I can buy it cheaper off ebay. Please do not insult my intelligence; any retailer coming on to ebay will pass the ebay fee (discounted of course) on to me. I understand business 101. eBay does not bring any value to spend extra monies to simply buy it on ebay.

JJH

2008-05-05 13:24:03 Reply

To all, I’m sorry if I touched a nerve. I was just as angry and upset as all of you over the past few months. I’ve said some pretty strong and nasty things in other forums. I’ve calmed down now and come to see the reality of what has happened.

The difference perhaps, as I said, is that ‘magic’ is still working here.

Crunchy, and Patricia1;

I am that small seller you describe. I’m a hobby seller. Even when I was a Powerseller I was a hobby seller. I gave all my customers 100% of my attention. I always did, I always will. I wish I could reveal myself and let you all see my feedback, and all the comments left for me over the years. Comments like “He told me his basement was flooded from a hurricane but the item came right away anyway” and “Emailed he was in the hospital, hope you get better, ship when you can”.

I have the same emotional bonds you do to this place, which is why I’m not ready to give up. That magic is still there for what I’m selling. The DSRs are excellent, the FB is 100%. I don’t see the FB changes causing any trouble for me.

What DOES piss me off is I get no discount for this HARD WORK and EXCELLENT service. Well, now the powersellers can complain because buy.com got a better deal than they did. Tough noggies. Welcome to the new ebay.

As for ebay expecting everyone to “act like a professional seller” now, I got a news flash for you. I have ALWAYS acted like a PROFESSIONAL, and I consider myself as one. Always have. I’m sure you do too. I’m proud of my record, and I know you are too (of yours, not mine :).

Personally, I consider high volume Powersellers UNPROFESSIONAL SELLERS. Their feedback stinks, their DSRs are low. They bit off more than they could chew, and it shows.

Mechelle:

I don’t really care if ebay “respects me”, I only care that there is a respect between me and my buyer. As I’ve said, it still is. I am still proud of what I do and how I handle myself. As long as the buyers keep coming, it’ll be OK.

Patricia1

2008-05-05 13:38:20 Reply

JJH – from what you’ve posted here, I know you are a good and honest seller. I think all of us who keep posting here are fighting for the good honest sellers. You didn’t strike a nerve with me. I was simply trying to impress on you that some businesses like Exxon have you between a rock and a hard place and don’t feel they need to treat you with respect…Exxon knows the future and so they are grabbing all they can now! Most other businesses that are in this for the long run do show customers respect. They know what side their bread is buttered on…which is why I gave you those examples. There is no emotion attached to treating your customers with a certain respect – you want that customer’s business…its simply good business sense and a sense that MOST giant successful businesses practice. Check out Walmart for a prime example…certainly a big robust business – yet, return an item. It is taken back with no questions asked. In effect, they are respecting their customers, pleasing their customers because they want them back. Business 101 is just not cold, cut and dried. The human aspect certainly does enter into it. I retired from a giant conglomerate – bigger than ebay. They treated their customers with respect I witnessed it over and over again thru my years there.

Sandi

2008-05-05 13:49:37 Reply

Not sure if it was the links to ratings in my port or censorship, but my post did not make it, so here it is again minus links, just the info from the links

jhh@
Antiques, “one ofs”, and unique items, for NOW anyway are still safe.

You are wrong. When one reads through the world news, ebay has not lost buyers due to the bogus reasons they are giving. The global slowdown is directly attributed to fakes on the site.

eBay’s bad press regarding being the largest fence operation in the world is what is killing sales – especially in the areas you mention. You can find websites that list the sellers who are selling fake antiques and they actually track when and how many reports to ebay it takes to get the seller booted.

To really fix the problems, ebay would have needed to expend real monies – and they have proven they are not going to do that. They are taking the short-sited approach of replacing current sellers with the buys, targets, Wal-Mart’s that they think they simply do not have to police.

I guess ebay even understands they have no credibility in the marketplace and is trying the shortcut method to correct that. I suspect their thinking is look, instead of spending money to really police the site, let’s give large retailers a discount for lending THEIR credibility to the marketplace.

But back to my statement about shortsightedness, ebay opted to ignore consumer satisfaction ratings for large retailers or they would have checked buy.com’s consumer rating because it is in the 80% bracket – people rate large retailers lower than the small seller.

Bizrate rates buy.com: 86% positive in last month, 3% neutral, 11% negative

Reseller rates buy.com: Six-Month Rating: 2.14 / 10

Yahoo says buyers rate buy.com: 2.5 overall, 3.5 price, 3 shipping options, 3 delivery, 3 ease of purchase, 2.5 customer service

Certainly nothing to write home about, but having bought from buy.com I found them no different than other large retailers.

The reviews do make one wonder if the dsr’s here on ebay are really as they appear given the negatives they have received. One would think the people who are leaving negatives are leaving 4 & 5’s on the DSR.

@Mr. Liebermann

Bottom line, I can buy it cheaper off ebay. Please do not insult my intelligence; any retailer coming on to ebay will pass the ebay fee (discounted of course) on to me. I understand business 101. ebay does not bring any value to me as a buyer to pay more money for anything.

Sandi

2008-05-05 13:55:07 Reply

Sorry, should have added yahoo was out of 5 withe 5 being excellent, 1 being pooor.

CrunchyPostingGoodness

2008-05-05 14:03:31 Reply

JJH,

I think the point trying to be made here is that every seller is different. It is wonderful that you have always acted professionally, even thought you are a hobby seller. That is your choice. However just because you choose to operate a certain way, as a hobby seller, doesn’t mean that other hobby sellers should be held to the same standards. Not every seller is the same, and the “magic” of eBay was that it had embraced these differences. Unfortunately, they are not embracing this uniqueness anymore.

Yes, I do consider myself a professional seller, in both sales volume and attitude, which is why I do not feel that eBay currently has the stable selling environment and reliable class of buyer necessary for my business. However just because I am a professional seller, does not mean that I am going to hold or require everyone who sells anything to operate according to my standards. It is unrealistic and unfair on a site like eBay.

If someone chooses to ship items once a week, and makes buyers aware of this in the ad, then I do not believe the seller should be punished with low stars. I do not believe that the stars should be used to compare sellers, but as a rating of whether the seller abided by the terms they stated in the ad. Sellers should be compared to others who offer like levels of service and not to just one cookie cutter standard.

If eBay was a site like Amazon, which has very strict standards for those who sell there, then yes, I would agree only sellers who are able to operate to that level should sell there. However eBay has been widely known as the place where anyone, regardless of ability and experience, can sell. In fact, probably the only place on the web where inexperienced people can successfully sell their items.

I believe the “emotional” resistance is coming from that area. However there are also several professional sellers who are also voicing their concerns and disappointment because eBay is no longer a reliable selling venue for them – no emotion – just a smart, financial business decision.

I’m glad you are doing well on eBay and I hope that you continue to do well. However, please try and take into consideration the valid feelings of those who may not be fortunate enough to have the ability, resources, or time to dedicate to their hobby as you do. That is who eBay was created for and who eBay is unceremoniously dismissing as no longer necessary.

Amber

2008-05-05 15:00:22 Reply

Crunchy, I actually think that small sellers SHOULD be held to the same standards as the “professional” sellers.

The problem lies in the fact that due to low volume, they are actually being held to a higher one.

I also think that the word “professional” is being misused all over the site by sellers, buyers and ebay corporate. I consider myself a professional seller. I’m low volume, low $, and do not depend on ebay for my entire income BUT… I also am a registered DBA, reported my income on my taxes, and have a Seller’s Permit in my state that requires/allows me to collect sales tax.

In essence, I have a business and therefore should be treated as a professional.

For the most part, I think the hobby sellers do a far better job with customer service than the larger powersellers.

I do, however, think there is a minimum level of professionalism that all sellers can achieve. Shipping once/week isn’t a terrific business practice. Expecting everyone to ship daily is unreasonable,too. There’s a happy medium. Most online retailers ship within 3-5 business days and charge extra for expedited “processing.”

The same is true for communication. No, a lot of sellers DON’T do this full time. They have “day jobs.” So expecting them to remain on call via email 24/7 is unreasonable. Asking them to respond within 48 hrs is not.

The same is also true with S&H. I do not have access to the negotiated rates that Amazon or BN does. I worked for Barnes and Noble–I know what they paid to ship UPS. Of course they can offer free shipping, when the average shipment is pennies on the dollar of what most ebay sellers are charged.

There are so many things ebay could do to make the DSRs more fair–or to help sellers achieve better DSRs–but it is in their own self interest to keep the DSRs as low as possible for the majority of sellers. Why else would they warn buyers with a message asking them if they’re sure they want to leave all 5 stars?

@Patricia,
Thank you for your post :) I do have a website that I started several months ago. I’m opening another on the Moon and just listed my first item on the River. This buy.com deal AND the store changes that I’m sure are coming are impossible for smaller media sellers to cope with. I’ve weathered the storms for 5 years, but this time I’ve finally had it. With the constant changes on the site, it’s amazing to me that any business would want to invest time or inventory here.

Patricia1

2008-05-05 15:44:18 Reply

Amber ;-) that’s the spirit! You’ll do just fine.

CrunchyPostingGoodness

2008-05-05 16:02:39 Reply

@ Amber

“Crunchy, I actually think that small sellers SHOULD be held to the same standards as the “professional” sellers.”

I agree that the difference seems to be with the definition of a “professional seller”. Like you, I believe a professional seller is one that operates as a business, is registered as a business, and has the necessary time and materials to be able to communicate, package, and timely and economically ship items just like other retailers. I do not use the term “professional seller” to indicate sales volume, sole employment, or high sales amount. When I write “professional seller” I’m strictly referring to ability. Also, I think I wrote “hobby seller”, which I use to make a distinction between that and “small sellers”, since I feel they are different levels as well.

When I write “hobby seller” I equate that with someone who is simply cleaning out their garage, old belongings, etc. Similar to an online garage sale.

When I write “small seller” I equate that with someone who sells on eBay, is registered as a DBA, but runs their eBay business as a side note – after personal business is taken care of, kids, day job, dinner is over, etc. I also see a small seller as one who tries to operate at the level of a professional seller, but is hindered in part by cost of shipping material, time, and resources.

So my question is, according to the above definitions:

1. Is everyone who sells on eBay a professional seller?

2. Should everyone who places an item on eBay be a professional seller?

3. Should eBay no longer be a venue where the average joe, non-professional seller, can successfully sell their item?

If the answer to any of the above is “yes”, then it would seem that the recent changes are heading in the right direction to get that result.

“The problem lies in the fact that due to low volume, they are actually being held to a higher one.”

While I grant that one neg will hurt a low volume seller worse than a higher volume seller, just to play devil’s advocate, there is a flip side to that. If a seller has a high volume, then that increases that seller’s likely hood of receiving more negs than a low volume. They have more sales (opportunity) to receive them, a greater chance of making mistakes, and a greater chance of attracting bad buyers.

Lurch

2008-05-05 16:13:56 Reply

Looking at their return policy – does this really “enchance the buyer experience?” And will PayPal be making special allowances in the event of disputes to support buy’s return policies?

CrunchyPostingGoodness

2008-05-05 18:42:51 Reply

Out of curiosity, how many sellers think they could get away with having the following terms of sale on eBay, without low DSRs, for very long in the new buyer experience environment?

“Processing Time = One or two days to get your order looked at, your credit card authorized (much longer for checks and money orders), and to make sure the ship-to address is on file with your credit card company. If your card does not authorize, your order will not proceed to the next step. If your ship-to address does not match your bill-to, or is not on file with your credit card company, your order will not proceed to the next step. If your order does not proceed to the next step, we will notify you via your order status and by email with instructions on how to proceed. If no action is taken your order will be cancelled.”

* Doesn’t Buy need to specified this in the actual listing, especially the part of the credit card payment shipping address? I thought eBay wanted all Terms to be stated in the actual listings so the buyer would be well informed.

“Minimum time: 1-2 business days. We do not process your order on Saturday, Sunday or holidays. Allow an additional 1 to 2 business days for weekend orders.”

* I thought eBay thought it was a good practice for sellers to be available on weekends too?


“Back Order: This product is not currently in stock at any of our warehouse locations. We have ordered the product from our supplier, but have not received a date yet as to when we will receive this product. We will update you on the status of your order via email.”
– and –
“On Order: This product is not currently in stock. We have ordered the product from our supplier and will ship your item as soon as possible. We will update you on the status of your order via email.”

I noticed that most of the negs Buy gets has to do with canceling orders after-the-fact because the item is out of stock. Doesn’t eBay state the seller is expected to have the item in stock, unless pre-approved to sell certain items as pre-orders?

Mechelle

2008-05-05 19:43:20 Reply

That is what i pointed out yesterday- how many times can someone sell something they don’t have and just refund (when they get around to it no less) and it be acceptable business practice and conforming to the excellent buying experience? Not only is this mentioned in the neg and neut it is in the positive as well. They have a clear pattern of collecting money holding it until whenever they decide to refund based on the sell of a product they didn’t even have. This is not an example of a business proving an excellent buyer experience.

Well maybe it’s alright with eBay if they sell products they don’t have while consuming a potentially large amount of money from a buyer to hold until the product becomes available or until they feel like refunding. eBay clearly has a different set of rules for Buy than they do for us.

They get a lesser fee cost and don’t have to follow any of the “best practices”. If this isn’t proof of eBay’s disingenuous proclamations of creating a marketplace with a better buying experience rooted in excellent customer service- than I don’t know what is. I think it is looking more like eBay’s new feedback policies are in fact a maneuver to allow the crooked buyers to trash the reputations and businesses of sellers.

Why the abuse eBay? Why not just suspend all of us so you don’t have to deal with us any longer? Is it really more pleasurable for you eBay to actually cause us to suffer? to watch us fall under assaults and defamation? I don’t understand what is inside of you people- how can anyone be so incredibly cruel?

I understand that Corporate officers are responsible for ensuring the viability of the company protecting the investment of the shareholders, but you people take cut throat to an extreme that I could never have imagined. eBay seems poised with its hand in the popcorn tub waiting for the psychological massacre they have set into motion to begin. Are you on the edge of your seat? does it seem like it is taking forever for the curtains to be drawn?

Amber

2008-05-05 21:21:59 Reply

1. Is everyone who sells on eBay a professional seller?

No

2. Should everyone who places an item on eBay be a professional seller?

No, BUT a certain level of professionalism should be expected and is relatively easy to achieve.

Paypal shipping w/carrier pickup is available for most hobby sellers. No excuse for late shipping, there. Most hobby sellers aren’t going to mess with international sales etc that require trips to the PO.

3. Should eBay no longer be a venue where the average joe, non-professional seller, can successfully sell their item?

Everyone should have equal access and pay the same fees IMHO. Special deals for anyone goes against the very core of ebay values.

As for devil’s advocate ( :) ) I agree that larger volume sellers encounter more potential whacky negatives…but I’ve also seen large volume sellers with terrific feedback. It depends on the category and the level of hands-on experience a seller has. Someone with a personal knowledge of their product will do far better than someone using a dropshipper or 30 different warehouses. If everyone involved in the business knows their product and values their customers, the feedback (overall) will reflect that. If the buyers are just a credit card number or $ sign, the feedback will reflect that as well.

CrunchyPostingGoodness

2008-05-05 22:34:35 Reply

Amber,

“No, BUT a certain level of professionalism should be expected and is relatively easy to achieve.”

I completely agree, a certain level of professionalism should be expected. I think the part that I disagree with is that all sellers should have to reach the highest level of professionalism, which is what eBay seems to be expecting from sellers.

I think hobby sellers should have one level, small sellers should have a slightly higher one, and professional sellers should have to reach the highest level. I also think that certain privileges should be allowed for each level, above the other ones below, in recognition of the greater effort necessary to achieve that status.

As to shipping w/ carrier pick-up, I’ve read posts from several sellers through the forums over time who live in rural areas and do not have postal pickup available. Also, I would never leave packages outside of my house from pick-up, as I would be afraid that they may get damaged by weather or stolen. So I’m not sure that shipping solution is the right way for everyone, and therefor shipping on-time is not always that simple.

Not to mention personal illness or family emergencies. I can rely on my business partner to get out any orders on time, should any of those situations arise for me, but I’m not sure that a hobby seller, or small seller could always promise the same. I have never heard of a large retailer telling people that they couldn’t send out their orders due to a family emergency or illness. Severe weather, perhaps, but never for personal reasons.

As to the feedback, if receiving good feedback is simply a matter of knowing the product and valuing customers, then the recent changes to feedback should be of no real concern. However, on ebay at least, I think there is a bit more to ensuring good feedback, but only eBay has control over that.

Lurch

2008-05-05 23:13:21 Reply

Crunchy and Mechelle – thanks for adding all of the words I wasn’t feeling well enough to type today :)

There’s also other issues there, too, including the restocking fee (as far as I know PP doesn’t usually allow for that? I think?)

CrunchyPostingGoodness

2008-05-06 08:09:23 Reply

Lurch,

The eBay help pages say that a merchant can charge a re-stocking fee, but I’m not sure if PayPal will honor that. The two divisions seem to have different and conflicting policies. The decision also depends on which PayPal employee you deal with at a given time.

Furthermore, eBay is all about the “buyer’s experience” right now. For most buyers I would imagine a restocking fee would qualify as a “bad buying experience”. Buy is a large corporation so it can probably get away with this, because eBay wants to keep them. Smaller sized sellers – not so much.

Mechelle

2008-05-06 09:10:00 Reply

No PayPal does not honor restock fees, but I’m sure there are different rules for Buy on this circumstance as well. I think it is safe to say that eBay’s new policies and clearly fees are solely meant for us and not any of the retail and/or large webstores.

What do you make of the announcement of there not being an eBay live next year?

Lurch

2008-05-06 13:11:45 Reply

Crunchy – yep, that was my point – most of what they have in there does not lend itself to “enhancing the buyer experience” or creating “a better buyer experience.” And yeah – I was pretty certain PP would not normally honor a restock fee, nor do I think they’ll honor the defective product exchange clause in a dispute should buy stick to that, rather than the clause which reads “or at the sole discretion of Buy, the purchase price will be credited to the credit card used for the original purchase (or, if possible, through the original payment method such as PayPal).” I’m wondering if their deal with eBay gives special allowance for a lot of their TOS, return policies, etc.

They also have sections on digital downloads in both their returns and TOS, which are not allowed on eBay anymore (outside of classifieds – maybe they are also listing classifieds?).

I don’t think *this* will enhance the buyer experience, either: “9. No Responsibility To Sell Mispriced Products Or Services. Buy shall have the right to refuse or cancel any orders placed for products and/or services listed at an incorrect price, rebate or refund, or containing any other incorrect information or typographical errors. Buy shall have the right to refuse or cancel any such orders whether or not the order has been confirmed and your credit card charged.” Their stating right up front that they reserve the right to be a Non-Performing Seller. eBay is actually cool with this?

There’s also an awful lot of references to “our site” throughout their documents. Guess they’re viewing eBay as their site now.

And there’s also allowances for their third party sellers in their return policy (so it is possible all items listed will NOT just be buy’s inventory?): “For all purchases made from Marketplace Sellers, you will need to contact the Marketplace Seller directly to determine their applicable returns policy and to schedule any allowed returns. All credits, costs and expenses regarding such returns shall be borne by either you or the Marketplace Seller.”

And there’s a lot more in there that’s odd. So yeah, it really does bring into question this whole “enhance the buyer experience” bit. Anyone from eBay care to comment on some of these items? You did refer to this as a “partnership.”

Lurch

2008-05-06 13:13:50 Reply

Oh the typos I’ve made. Yeah – how ’bout that preview function?

Lurch

2008-05-06 13:40:54 Reply

The more I read, the better it gets. According to their TOS, they seem to lay claim to copyright of “the Site” (which would be stores.ebay.com). They further state “You also agree that Buy may, in its sole discretion and without prior notice to you, terminate your access to the Site.” – So as part of this partnership, buy can suspend a user from eBay?? And the link to their privacy policy is broken in their TOS.

Carol

2008-05-06 13:49:31 Reply

eBay’s new business plan can be described in one word: BORING. Certainly there is NOTHING exciting or anywhere near innovative about eBay’s wannbe mall craving. I almost feel sorry for their lack of imagination and desperation to impress Wall Street.

Dagny

2008-05-06 14:34:39 Reply

Lurch I think perhaps Buy did not edit those TOS from their site before posting on eBay.

If not, then eBay has truly thrown its Community Values out the window.

So, eBay are you going to police your new partner?

Amber

2008-05-06 14:38:05 Reply

“I think perhaps Buy did not edit those TOS from their site before posting on eBay.”

Makes you feel real comfortable with the accuracy of their descriptions, doesn’t it ;)

Dawn

2008-05-06 14:53:18 Reply

“So, eBay are you going to police your new partner?”

I noticed several listing violations in the handful of things I looked at in Buy’s store – prohibited links, miscategorized items, and a few listings that appear to be for ebooks, though the description was so vague, I couldn’t be sure. Of course, eBay never has policed those kinds of things; that’s our job. :-)

Amber

2008-05-06 14:57:11 Reply

“if receiving good feedback is simply a matter of knowing the product and valuing customers, then the recent changes to feedback should be of no real concern.”

Nope, it simply means that those who truly know their niche have a greater probability of better feedback and fewer neg-happy buyers. There’s always going to be a few people who don’t understand the feedback process at all or simply can’t be pleased. And the larger volume sellers tend to have the volume to insulate them a bit.

And yes, ebay is responsibile in a great number of ways for the many jump-the-gun buyers out there. They’ve watched the trust erode on the site for years and done nothing. They encourage buyers to file disputes if they fail to leave feedback timely, then reward them with coupons for doing so. They use vague language and misuse the DSRs. Ebay is a large part of the problem–no doubt about that.

As for carrier pickup, I realize it’s not for everyone. But there are solutions for most sellers. I live in a rural area myself. Those without street delivery have to go to the post office anyway to collect their mail. If they can’t get there during the open hours, most people can use online postage and have someone else drop packages off for them.

I have to take 2 young children to the PO to mail my international packages–often during snowy conditions in winter. But I make arrangements to have my mom meet me there. I know of several disabled people who sell on ebay–they have others deliver their packages to the Post Office since they are not allowed/able to drive.

There are solutions to nearly every problem if you think creatively.

I just don’t buy most of the excuses some people come up with for late shipping.

Doctor-Deals

2008-05-06 15:59:44 Reply

The part of all of this besides the “Special Deal” for a big off eBay retailer that directly contradicts Pierre’s “Equal Opportunity” statements that bothers me the most is having Buy.com steal customers away from the eBay marketplace with their first purchase.

Buyers that would have returned to eBay for their next purchase will go to Buy.com instead because I am quite confident that Buy.com will include promotional marketing information both in the package as well as with follow up emails after the purchase under the guise of keeping the buyer up to date on the status of their order.

I have purchased directly from Buy.com in the past and the packaged contained returning buyer special offerings and the emails have never stopped since.

I see this as eBay whoring out its 200,000,000 user customer base to a rival marketplace. Many may not know, but Buy.com allows third parties to sell directly on their site, for a cut of course. Buy.com is a direct competitor with the eBay.com marketplace as well as the tens of thousands of eBay sellers that market the same products here on eBay.

EBay has invited the fox into the hen house to poach future customers away from all of us. All of that for a small cut of $750k in GMV a month??? How few buyers does Buy.com have to steal away from eBay to make this a loosing deal for everyone, eBay included? It costs eBay a ton of money to get and keep buyers, that is how they rationalized DSR’s right, and now eBay is selling them to a rival site, Buy.com, for a pittance???

Makes no sense at all to me….

DD

JewelrySeller

2008-05-06 20:41:41 Reply

Buy.com makes perfect sense if you look at it from the perspective of a key executive in a public stock company (like eBay).

As an exec, you are personally compensated more in stock and stock options than in cash. You are ‘incented’ to achieve certain ‘milestones’ such as raising the share price, increasing return on shareholder equity, etc.

As an exec, these incentives encourage short term thinking of 2-5 years – about how long the typical exec lasts at the top of a major corporation.

So, the Board of Directors incents the senior execs to make decisions which have short term goals – not to build or grow a successful business, if doing so requires risk or investment.

Execs, given these marching orders, make decisions that often are not in the best medium or long term interests of the company, its stockholders or customers.

They acquire businesses that are not a good match. They sell off assets that could be made to perform, but the risk is too high compared to the ease of divestiture. They make ‘deals’ that appear ‘sensible’ in the short term (buy.com).

And, in 2-5 years, the execs are gone. They took with them ‘golden’ or ‘platinum’ parachutes of millions to billions of dollars in shareholder value. And the company they were running is usually worse off, not better than it was before their brief tenure.

CrunchyPostingGoodness

2008-05-06 22:30:39 Reply

Amber, “I just don’t buy most of the excuses some people come up with for late shipping.”

Fair enough.

I suppose I just think differently on the matter. I do not think that selling on eBay should be demanding or difficult for those who choose to not operate as a business.

You and I make the sacrifices and arrangements we do because we are running businesses. I just do not feel that a hobby seller (using my definition) should be required to make the same sacrifices and arrangements just to sell some old household items or collectibles on eBay. eBay used to feel the same way about that too.

Either way, I think this is may just be one of those things that we will just need to agree to disagree on. :-)

Mechelle

2008-05-07 03:14:12 Reply

I got this from one of my customers today and I think it is a very good example of what makes trade on eBay different than everywhere else

Oh and she is from Turkey so I never would have known her- which is different than to have sold something and dropped it in the mail

Fragrances look so beautiful. Really they are very beautiful.
I really like the way you invest to your store. You always come up with a new idea and new stuff.
Looking through ECB makes my day, calms me, catches me! ;)
You should be proud of yourself
Do not ever lose your excitement and love that you feel for what you’re doing.
I am sure of that there are a lot of people who think the same way like I do about how you see the life.
I think what is present in front of me is pretty much related to how you see life, treat life, feel life and how you care yourself and the other human beings.

She didn’t receive my package today and shoot me this email – she has been my customer since last July and is my friend- and for whatever reason she felt compelled to write me this today (well on the 6th). this doesn’t happen at large chain retailers, or other online shopping sites- this is exclusively an eBay experience- social networking- global social networking and trade. eBay is not just shopping-
there is emotional attachments on eBay and there is no other marketplace that reaches the world in both trade and most importantly allows for global socialization. Why would eBay want to exclude the social relationships that are in fact what has kept so many people here – those who only buy, and those that both buy and sell?

Patricia1

2008-05-07 07:34:48 Reply

@ Mechelle – I can second that. I’ve made some good friends from my customers. Some have even stopped here to visit. Others send me Christmas gifts and birthday cards. I wouldn’t have known any of them if not for ebay…the real ebay and not the plastic dollar sign ebay it is becoming. Perhaps, like your customer, I was conveying my gratitude to a seller when I finally found that corning teapot that I treasure. I sat down a week after giving her excellent feedback and wrote a note of gratitute at how she handled the sale and how she so carefully packaged my teapot. No…you don’t get that with big box stores…but then ebay doesn’t really care one whit about how we make our customers feel – they simply throw out “shape up or ship out”. Bottom line…revenue ONLY! I think we each need to face the fact that our ebay is dying and the new ebay that’s emerging sure doesn’t have a pretty face!

Amber

2008-05-07 09:07:13 Reply

” Others send me Christmas gifts and birthday cards”

Ditto! My favorite was a bookmark sent to me by one of my Aussie customers. I have many ebay friendships–people I’ve sold to or purchased from with whom I chat on a frequent basis. I’ll email them personally if I get something in stock I know they’ve been looking for. It’s a far different ecommerce experience than you get anywhere else–most of us operate like tiny neighborhood brick and mortar stores. That is what made this place so special and that is what is being slowly strangled off the site. It’s the difference between the service you get from Walmart and the service you get from your neighborhood independent bookstore. In one, you’re an anonymous face with a credit card. In the other, you’re a customer, a person, and sometimes a friend.

Crunchy, I guess we do have to agree to disagree on that one. I think hobby sellers should have to make a minimal effort–they are, after all, collecting someone else’s money for the items they sell. It’s sort of a buyer-empathy thing with me. What is the minimum effort I would expect from a seller if I were a buyer? Most buyers, even allowing for the seller’s hobby status, would expect their items to ship within 3-5 days. Most buyers purchasing from professional sellers expect same day or next day shipment. Ebay’s DSRs undermine those allowances, though, I’ll grant you that :)

Permacrisis

2008-05-07 09:22:18 Reply

@amber-

That’s what happens when you put people who do not buy or sell, in charge of the world’s largest buying and selling website. (Not the world’s largest for long, though… not the rate they’re going.)

The heads coming into ebay looked at ebay’s infrastructure and not at the activity taking place on the site. Remember, this was a place where you could put up a test auction entitled “What is this?” and sooner or later someone would tell you what you had. Ebay was a tool, a utility knife where one blade didn’t interfere with the others and you could use it for a bunch of different things. They are going to make it into a single purpose meat slicer.

Another thing they don’t realize or at the very least care about, is that ebay turned many cottage industries on their ear. A lot of brick and mortar shops turned into ghost towns because of ebay, and all that activity moved onto here. Now it is being told to leave, but the old locations are gone and cannot be returned to.

There are even whole cottage industries that were born on ebay, and subsequently killed by the recent Download Decision (which I understand, is also being silently enforced onto CD-R digital products, in an unannounced police action– Richard, check into this).

I had a HUGE new niche marketspace that was absolutely untapped, a business activity that died out in the 50’s when the cost of materials became cheaper than labor. In light of the recent U.S. price increases however, it’s now ready for a comeback. Just as I’d positioned myself to sell it on Yahoo however, ebay kicked off their backroom / antitrust-violating ad deal. Just 1 month later, Y Auctions died. We now know why.

Before I could launch the product on ebay, BLAMMO… JD cut loose with both barrels. In retrospect, I.m glad. I’m glad I waited. Now these crooks won’t share in the spoils. I will keep it under wraps until a strong venue emerges. It’s been around since the ’50’s a few more years won’t hurt. I can wait.

The question is, can ebay?

JJH

2008-05-07 10:43:52 Reply

The “Buyer Experience”…

I feel I must share with you an email I received from ebay Customer “support” about an item of mine that was pulled for “Keyword Spamming”. My crime was I used the phrase “like new” in the description. When I wrote to support I strongly protested the cancellation of the listing on those grounds, and reported that 6200 other listings existed on the site containing the phrase “Like New” in the title. Here is my reply.

I should also add it too 8 days to receive a reply (the reply has been edited slightly to remove redundant info, personal information, and links. No wording has been changed):

Dear J……,

Thank you for writing eBay in regard to your listing for “XXXXXXXXXXXX Lens Like New Beautiful” that was recently ended for being in violation of eBay’s Keyword Spamming policy.

I understand your listing was ended for containing the text “Like New” and that you’d like some clarification on this issue.

Sellers are not permitted to use comparison terms in the titles of their listings to compare the condition of their item.

For example, stating that the item is “like new,” “not new,” or any use of the words “new” if the item is used, is a violation of this policy. If the item is a new item, it may be described as such. However, if the
item is used, regardless of how little it may have been used, it may not be described as “new” in any way.

There are other terms that you may use to state the condition of your item, such as “gently used” or “lightly used.”

Using these types of comparisons may affect members’ ability to effectively search for items, as they may be taken to a listing that offers something other than what they are searching for. This policy is designed to provide a better buying experience on eBay by reducing the number of irrelevant listings that members search results produce.

I realize it was not your intention to violate this eBay policy. Be that as it may, since we have no way of knowing a seller’s intent when they list their items in a certain manner, we must take all information in a listing at face value.

For more information about Keyword Spamming, please visit: [link removed]

We’d like to be able to communicate directly with our members before removing any listings from eBay. Unfortunately, due to the limited amount of time that listings are on the site and the varying schedules
of eBay sellers, we’re simply unable to do so.

When a listing goes against one or more eBay policies, we make every effort to reach the most appropriate decision based on the information that’s available to us at the time.

Also, we understand your concern that there are other listings that may be violating the same policy. Please report these listings to us. We rely on our members’ reports to ensure a safe and positive shopping experience on eBay. Rest assured that we will review the listings and take appropriate action.

To report a listing, please follow these steps:

[removed instructions on how I can report those 6200 other listings, and “It can take up to 72 hours for the Community Watch Team to investigate your report.”]

As you’ve been given a notice regarding policy violation, please don’t take it as a personal attack on you or your credibility. Our intention is to help educate and bring into compliance as many listings as
possible.

I understand your frustration regarding this matter and apologize for the inconvenience it caused you.

Sincerely,
XXXXXXX

eBay Customer Support

–Did anyone fall of their chair laughing?

Remember, it’s ALL “to provide a better buying experience on eBay”. Wouldn’t want to have people find something they might not want. Now maybe they can’t find something the DO want.

I don’t know about you, but I like to know if something is new, used, or like new.

So be it.

CrunchyPostingGoodness

2008-05-07 18:14:46 Reply

Amber, the specific expectations that you have outlined for hobby sellers here seem perfectly reasonable to me.

I completely agree that a hobby seller should be able to and expected to ship their items within 3 to 5 days. I just do not believe that they should be marked down if they do not ship like professional sellers (same or next day), especially if they clearly state the 3 to 5 day shipping time frame in their ad.

I would also expect a professional seller to ship the same day or next day. Plus I agree that eBay’s DSRs do not make room for those allowances between these different levels of sellers, but should.

So perhaps we really do not disagree after all… :-)

permacrisis

2008-05-07 19:10:16 Reply

“Using these types of comparisons may affect members’ ability to effectively search for items, as they may be taken to a listing that offers something other than what they are searching for.”

Uh, hello??? Were have I seen that before… oh yeah BEST MATCH???? Great, ebay. Now go in the corner, and punish yourself.

Buncha item hiders.

Well… at least ebay is (slowly) learning that having a buyer “taken to a listing that offers something other than what they are searching for” is bad.

Headbeater

2008-05-07 20:02:16 Reply

Last I heard, women make up 52% of the population. That leaves 48% of us guys. Here’s a clue – MEN DO NOT look to an “experience” when we buy ANYTHING!

We want in and out be it B&M or a website and WILL shop where that happens. NO fluff.

Ebay, and I can safely speak for MILLIONS of sellers, I am profoundly dissapointed in your corporate actions.

I am also over ANYTHING to do with your entity in ANY capacity in the future.You’ve made decisions – so have I.

Headbeater

2008-05-07 20:17:31 Reply

Paraphrased “No corporation cares of nothing but the money”

TRUE!But that works both ways. Smart business’s also placate the VERY people that enables their wealth – frustrating as that may be at times. Remember, IT’S all about the money – Have’nt we all established that point already?

EVERYDAY I do things I don’t want to do for business to keep that business. To do otherwise…….,well.

china714

2008-05-08 01:07:08 Reply

Michelle,
Just wanted to say I agree with most of all you have said on all these posts you’ve hit the nail on the head, I have been harmed by these Bold’ changes, emotionally and mentally, to change the script so drastically with no good sense, People have not changed that much from 5 years ago, 10 years ago, as far as wanting a different buyer experience, even Pierre seems less relaxed then from 1995 keeping up with these changes, haste makes waste didn’t their mama ever teach them this? I want the same experience, in buying that I had 5 years ago, I want that great flea market item, that great seller.

GAIL

2008-05-08 11:12:24 Reply

I am both a buyer and a small seller on eBay. From a buyer’s perspective, here’s what I see as eBay’s future in light of this deal with Buy.com. EBay will simply become a portal, like Shopping, Bizrate, NexTag, and a multitude of others. Of course, this is not eBay’s intention, but it’s what will happen if eBay continues to make deals with huge sellers that already have their own sites.

If I search on eBay for a certain item, and find that Buy.com is selling it, I’ll go directly to Buy.com to purchase….and Buy.com offers Google Checkout. So, why bother with eBay when a google search will give me all the pricing comparisons I need.

If eBay’s pricing structure, best match mess, and DSR nonsense make it prohibitive for small sellers of antique, one-of-a-kind, or bygone treasures to survive on its ‘venue’, then eBay will simply become redundant.

Treasures from an estate sale or someone’s attic are what draw people to eBay. IPods and cell phones with ‘authentic’ warranties are better purchased directly from reputable sellers who don’t live in China. One transaction is all it takes for a buyer to learn this, albeit the hard way. Want a 1950s Kitchenaid electic mixer, look on eBay. Want a new one that isn’t a return or a dropped box, go to Kitchenaid.com or your local Target.

Want terrific customer service, buy from a small seller. For the most part, eBay’s ‘preferred’ top tier Powersellers are too busy to even acknowledge an email. But, they’re making lots of money for eBay, and I guess that’s all that counts.

vlp

2008-05-09 05:43:08 Reply

Moderators are now pink slapping posters who talk about this partnership on the eBay boards. Be very careful and do not mention Buy.com by name nor link to it’s ebay store. This will get you pink slapped.

I suggest using ” b.c ” as an way of discussing the company without getting slapped and of linking only to the Inkblog page and telling users that it is the 7th red word in the article (as some old folks have trouble reading this typeface and color).

TheBrewsNews

2008-05-09 13:03:03 Reply

Quote from Usher Lieberman:

“eBay is aggressively using price as a lever to improve the value and selection on eBay.com. Consistent with our goals, we have entered into a partnership with Buy.com to bring their new-in-season merchandise onto eBay.com. We expect to learn a great deal from this partnership and we will build upon the results.”

***************
Interesting. eBay is aggressively using price as a lever? Okay, let’s put that to the test. I went to the Buy eBay store and looked around. I decided to do a price comparison on some items. In looking at Buy’s feedback, I noticed that there were several items that Buy was selling but then had to refund because they didn’t actually have the item in stock. So I decided to choose 3 items from the first feedback page where positive feedback was left for Buy. That way, I could safely assume that Buy was able to deliver these items and thus I could compare three items from Buy’s inventory to other competitors who state that the item is currently in stock. Okay, enough of how I chose the items to compare. Let’s see how great of a deal Buy eBay customers received:

First item:
eBay auction number 170214529031
Description: Sharp EL219RII Calculator w/ Tax Keys
Buy’s price on eBay – $47.99 + $0 shipping = $47.99
(Competitor) Keenzo.com – $37.97 + $8.95 shipping = $46.92

Second item:
eBay auction number 170215967523
Description: Navigon GPS Protective Hard Shell Case
Buy’s price on eBay – $19.24 + $4.49 shipping = $23.73
(Competitor) Amazon’s price – $19.99 + $0 shipping = $19.99

Third item:
eBay auction number 150242840961
Buy’s price on eBay – $21.99 + $4.40 shipping = $26.39
(Competitor) TigerDirect.com price $22.99 + $3.99 shipping = $26.98

I find the information rather interesting. Now, I am sure that I could have found these items significantly cheaper from other competitors but I wanted to stick with well-known internet mail-order companies who have a good reputation.

Value and Selection. Interesting choice of words by Lieberman. When I typed those words into my search engine, do you know what came up? What came up first for me was an article about Walmart dated April 2008 titled “Two Neighborhood Markets Bring Value and Selection to the Valley”. I guess Meg Whitman was correct when she said that the customers found in the aisles of Walmart are the typical eBay buyer; eBay stockholders and eBay management are not likely to be purchasing on eBay according to Meg. I have to wonder if she was right. But, unfortunately, I can’t validate her supposition because I really don’t know much about the Walmart customer; it has been more than 8 years since I have been through the front doors of a Walmart.

KD

2008-05-09 20:42:00 Reply

Cheap, downscale, no frill selling, (that means selling yourself short, to me), will be easy to do on future eBay. This kind of selling will involve very little effort on the sellers part to create a buyer experience of any kind, because there really will be no buyer experience, other than clicking to buy, clicking to pay and receiving packages from the USPS. Nothing more, nothing less.
With this kind of simple, non-personal, automated selling, why even rate with DSR’s? Why any feedback, positive or negative? Feelings about a transaction will be meaningless, so why ask?

Where there is excellent selling, you will find the following attributes: prompt shipping, safe packaging, clear, caring and friendly communications, detailed product descriptions, extra frills (holiday cards, packaging surprises, custom wrap, theme selling, creative sales ambiance built into buyer experience, custom service and niceties, etc.), the ability and time to work problems out on a personal seller to customer basis, and selling with an overall unique business identity that the customer can relate to.

The real “suck up” shops are on Rodeo Drive…not on future eBay, not on big retailer, like a mall eBay.

How can eBay be making all “The Changes”, telling everyone eBay’s only focus is on buyer’s experience and security, to justify the drastic changes? That’s such hot air.
It’s so obvious it’s the money gained by mass selling, subscribing and advertising to masses that motivates eBay. The buyer experience and security, if anything, will be much worse on the changed eBay.

If eBay were concerned about wonderful buyer experience, selling should have been left alone and up to the individual sellers (as they were) on eBay, just the way it used to be. What can be better than near one on one customer service that can be provided by individual sellers where they handle their own business?

Giant eBay made a Giant misTake.

So I say, eBay’s “buyer focus” reason to “change”, is hypocritical and phony. The way it was, provided a unique approach that had a unique ability to successfully achieve great buyer experience and security.

People like to be paid attention to, people like to emotional shop”. They don’t like stark, emotionless, generic, automated buying.

Maybe being that Meg Whitman was a woman helped to keep eBay more fun until now. Most men generally hate shopping and can’t understand the whole concept of loving to spend money. So, maybe the new leader should have been a woman again.

eBay messed around where no man/woman should go after realizing such a successful and excellent concept to meet buyer expectations, while at the same time fulfilling their own gains and profitability extremely successfully.
eBay can’t do this now. Buy.com can’t do this ever.
Only the conglomerate of individual, small seller businesses could do this.

eBay’s is saying, “we are laser focusing on buyer experience”. That just doesn’t go along with the Kmart/Walmart mentality, which eBay says it wants to emulate as expounded in their new plans to create a mall-like “retail selling environment”.

Mr Usher needs to see reality and what a fool he is making of himself. Bigger businesses do not add up to great buyer experience, in fact buyers become more obscure in the commonality of the big retail experience. Plus fraudulent transactions will get so lost in the vast number of transactions, they’ll be written off, while the buyer loses. That is unless the buyer wants to try filling out countless online forms, provide receipts, go through investigations, file more forms and waste a lot of time.

Big numbers, big business, big satellite business, big partner business all means growing profitability. Period.
Mr Usher, please stop telling everyone that you want buyers to have a better, safer experience on eBay, when you really want to get so big, so rich and so powerful.
==================================================
I always believe that God is protecting me and for all of my life it’s been proven to me over and over again, with countless testaments, that God’s love is ever present. My faith, hope and trust in God tell me that everything is really okay, no matter what~

And God is protecting me right now and I need it. So do all the individual sellers that once made up eBay. The eBay that Donahoe, Usher Lieberman and the likes are blowing up to gain for themselves has cost many innocent people their businesses.

Mr. Donahoe tells everyone that the small sellers can go and “good luck on moving” they say, after they made sure the sellers would fail via changes in DSR’s, search, high fees, taking control of selling away, making users invisible to each other, getting sellers and buyers to turn ugly on each other, getting sellers in an uproar and destroying little businesses, hundreds and thousands of innocent little businesses that could not possibly defend themselves against eBay management and three years of their planning every move they’ve made and will continue to relentlessly make for three more years, until they are done taking the old eBay apart, despite that the old individual sellers had no way of knowing eBay was making all the moves to wreck their businesses.

It’s shocking and unbelieveable that anyone can get away with this.
==========================================================================

Usher Lieberman will acquire, “”the smug look of a toad breakfasting on fat marsh flies” (William Pearson).” smile~

Mr Usher…humble yourself. And that’s from the Holy Bible~

“Those who humble themselves will be exalted, and those who exalt themselves will be humbled”
============================================================================
Too many good people have been hurt or devastated by drastic changes, unilaterally made on eBay by new eBay management.
The changes were made to free eBay to change the way the management thought eBay should be to grow bigger.
That would be fine as long as thousands of small businesses didn’t get ruined.
Not one eBay executive, manager or employee thought the fate of thousands of small business sellers, that made eBay and make up eBay, was even worth thinking about, at all.
They all made a concerted effort to just blow sellers apart and not look back.

John over at 3rd Power Outlet

2008-05-10 07:58:32 Reply

Hey Usher (or Ursher in Atlanta speak :-) ),

I met you for a sec. in New Orleans and said I was a straight shooter and would give you my unbiased opinion on “thangs”, from my unique perspective. So here it is as one powersellers thought…

My problem has been more with the supposed “secrecy” of how this was revealed more so than the deal itself. I think they (eBay execs.) are genuine in there search for a solution to what ails the site.

Having said that, Buy.com or any other large retailer has got the same issues to deal with as us small sellers when it comes to doing business on eBay. This marketplace is NOT like anything else and buyers here are extremely unique in what they require as a good “buyer experience”. We have all seen the crash and burn of many big retailers and large independent sellers on the site due to factors like, poor customer service, intense competition, low feedback ratings, etc.

If Buy.com is able to navigate the mind fields of customer satisfaction, where others (both retailer and independents) have failed, so be it. If eBay finds a good mix and then is able to pass some of the creative financing “love” for store/core listing fees downhill? Even better.

As long as Buy.com and eBay are playing by the rules when it comes to feedback and DSR’s then I do not feel that eBay has suddenly did some nefarious dealings with us, the small guys.

BUT eBay, next time when you get caught with your pants down, at least appologize for showing us your nudity :shock: You guys know that part was WRONG and it demeans the trust between us all.

john

“thats my 2 cents and it is really overpriced”

Davey

2008-05-11 18:22:44 Reply

I’m a bit late on this thread, but I find it extremely interesting that BUY.COM is the partner chosen to represent a good buyer experience. This just happens to be the only online commerce company that I will NOT do business with anymore as they may have the only customer service organization that is worse than eBay’s, and the most pathetically slow shipping of all the major players (although budget shipping is free). Need help or have questions to ask about the merchandise? Forget it, unlike smaller sellers on eBay who take pride in their wares.

It will be interesting to find how the feedback and DSR numbers get massaged and if there is any side “deal” to adjust those numbers that we general users don’t know about. Of course, my guess is that their contract fees are quite a bit less than us unwashed masses.

I also wonder why anyone would come to get buy.com’s stuff at eBay rather than BUY.COM’s site itself?

Doctor-Deals

2008-05-15 16:26:54 Reply

Buy.com “BUY” now has over 424,000 active listings on eBay right now. Over the past 90 days or so they have listed over 110 MILLION items in over 1 MILLION individual listings. Almost all of which were 1 or 3 day Fixed Price Multi-Item CORE listings. Listings that would have cost every other seller on the marketplace between $3,000,000.00 to $4,000,000.00 to run in CORE. An amount far less than even Buy.com’s total sales in this period were.

So unless Buy.com is in the business of spending more money on eBay listings than it generates in total sales, Buy.com is listing TENS OF MILLIONS of items in eBay CORE each month for basically FREE. A “Special Deal” no other seller gets and a distinct marketing advantage over ALL other sellers. The facts and figures DO NOT LIE, at most, Buy.com is paying a penny or two per item listed while the rest of us pay dollars per item to list in CORE.

787 of Buy.com’s active listings compete directly with me in one single category, External Hard Drives. My hundred or so active listings in this category that I spend thousands of dollars a month to list up against 787 FREE or nearly FREE active listings from an internet retailer handpicked by eBay to drive me out of business. Buy.com gets to save over $30,000.00 a month in listing fees to keep just these 787 items running in the category. Because of FREE listings in the CORE search from Buy.com my sales in the category have dropped and Buy.com’s have increased. How am I supposed to compete with a $30,000.00 monthly listing subsidy from eBay to Buy.com?

Let Buy.com compete with me fairly head to head and pay for their listings as I have to. Or eBay, let me list in core for a penny or two per item. Either way works for me, but in a category like this where margins are razor thin, don’t give my competitor a $30,000 a month subsidy so they can run nearly FREE listings at any outrageous volume they want to smother my listings. In fact in the subcategory Buy.com lists in there are only 2179 active listings so their 787 listing represent about 36% of the offerings. It looks a lot like an overwhelmingly disproportionate share of the market for a single seller to have. What about the “Finding Experience” when buyers only have one major seller taking up so much of the category?

EBay, I implore you, make the terms of your “Secret Back Room Deal” with Buy.com public. Rebalance the playing field so Buy.com does not keep sucking business away from 99.9% FB sellers like myself because of their unfair advantage. This is not the type of “Reward” a long time Top Seller like myself deserves.

Thank you,

Doctor-Deals

Mechelle

2008-05-15 18:10:43 Reply

I’m sorry eBay is treating you so terribly- what a slap in the face. Some people just lack basic ethics and any integrity. I am personally an atheist, but if I’m wrong I know where these people are headed, and I find pleasure in the thought.

How can some people be so terribly cruel- I cannot imagine what could be inside these people that makes them feel it is ok to treat people this way.

Of course, the hypocrisy in expectations of customer service is rich in their actions

eBay- you people are rotten to the core- you really should not be allowed to impose your poison on the rest of society. Really you all should be locked up with the other social deviants.

Richard I know your going to take this out, and that’s fine. However, I think you are a good person and it saddens me to know that you will wear eBay’s putrid reputation from here on out in your career. eBay Inc. is no longer a positive perception to the general public or the eBay marketplace.

You should seriously consider if you want to be a party to such inhumane actions toward other people who clearly deserve so much better. Only a cold B****** would read that and not see he is being treated so wrong.

I know some unethical- immoral- inhumane people couch everything in the “it’s a business yada yada crap”, but the truth is eBay is a business, but it’s management act like demons. There is a difference between being a business and being successful- eBay had the success before, but some how the culture of the company, the humanity- just got taken over or was replaced with the ugliest people I have ever seen, heard of, or imagined possible.

My point – consider who it is you associate with, because they shape your public appearance, and I don’t think you want to be viewed the same as eBay. For eBay management it really doesn’t matter as far as they are concerned, but your job is public and if eBay erodes your credibility where will you go when it’s over. No one is going to pay a blogger the big bucks if the public has a sever distaste of the individual.

Doctor-Deals

2008-05-18 10:39:05 Reply

@Richard

A little bit of an update:

The latest data, Week of May 6th – May 12th, has Buy.com listing over 83 MILLION items in eBay CORE in just 7 days for FREE or nearly FREE.

And while their sell through rate on those items dropped to about 0.02%, that is still almost 16,000 transactions where the former active eBay buyer is now going to be incessantly bombarded to become a direct Buy.com customer.

If you have ever bought from Buy.com you know that they send constant, almost daily emails, as well as direct mail offerings once they have a buyer “hooked”.

EBay is basically selling hard earned eBay active buyers off to a competing web site, Buy.com, for a pittance, what eBay might be getting as a FVF on the sale.

I imagine it cost eBay 5-20 times as much to have gained those customers in the first place compared to what Buy.com has acquired them for poaching them on eBay.

I am quite confused why eBay would want to sell off 16,000 active eBay buyers a week, as many as 800,000 a year, to a competing online marketplace like Buy.com.

And at this pace it looks like eBay is giving Buy.com about a $170,000.000.00 listings subsidy annually to flood eBay with items that do not sell 99.98% of the time.

That looks exactly like the “Disaster” in the making that Pierre told John Donahoe would happen if eBay went down this path of “Secret Back Room Special Deals”.

http://blog.ebay.com/2008/04/29/john-donahoe-interviews-pierre-omidyar/

“Level Play Field” – “Equal Access”….ONLY if you are a competing online marketplace with a few hundred million dollars in annual sales….NOT for long time trusted eBay sellers!!!

Richard, can you get any comments from Pierre, John Donahoe and Lorrie Norrington about the “Level Playing Field” – “Equal Access” & “Losing 16,000 Active eBay Buyers Per Week to a Competing Online Marketplace Like Buy.com” aspects of this “Special Deal”? I would like to know if they share any of the eBay seller’s concerns on this.

Thank you,

Doctor-Deals

PS: Oh, and if I could get that $170 MILLION a year eBay listings subsidy as well, that would be cool to! ;-)

Biggfredd

2008-05-19 00:01:34 Reply

EbAy is trying to be like Amazon.

Amazon learned their lesson when they got into bed with Toys-R-Us.

Some people learn by watching others, some have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

Biggfredd

2008-05-19 04:32:39 Reply

“What Pierre is really referring to, in the above quote, are the special privileges, discounts, and search rankings awarded to Power Sellers over other everyday sellers. He believes that eBay allows everyone the opportunity to become a Power Seller”

The only way to become a parfulseller is to sell a bunch of stuff and keep customers happy.

If you’re not a parfulseller, there’s a man standing outside your store telling potential customers the store down the street has what they want, and that you might not be reputable. The store down the street also gets a better deal on the rent.

I don’t see anything level about that, nor do I see where it’s anything like Amazon, the company that many are saying ebaY is trying to imitate.

On Amazon, whoever has the best deal gets the best placement. I have even been given top placement over Amazon itself. Amazon posts FB, too, but instead of warning people that a 4 out of 5 indicates a bad seller, it lets people know that they can order in confidence, because the transaction is guaranteed BY AMAZON, regardless.

Biggfredd

2008-05-19 23:16:54 Reply

“[removed instructions on how I can report those 6200 other listings, and “It can take up to 72 hours for the Community Watch Team to investigate your report.”]”

I don’t understand why ebaY has to rely on complaints from users. Don’t they have anyone there smart enough to type “like new” in the search box and find the offenders themselves?

Davey

2008-05-23 07:43:51 Reply

I find it interesting with all of eBay’s harping on cross-border selling (including the new fee for international exposure), that Buy doesn’t even ship to Alaska or Hawaii, let alone international, on all the items I checked. Great partner, eh?

Patricia1

2008-05-23 09:37:59 Reply

“On Amazon, whoever has the best deal gets the best placement. I have even been given top placement over Amazon itself. Amazon posts FB, too, but instead of warning people that a 4 out of 5 indicates a bad seller, it lets people know that they can order in confidence, because the transaction is guaranteed BY AMAZON, regardless.”

As a buyer on Amazon I can vouch for the fact that the best prices are given priority – the seller himself doesn’t count in that placement….also that they stand behind the transaction. The one problem I had with a transaction prompted a call FROM Amazon (withing 5 minutes of me leaving a complaint and my phone number) and the first words were “don’t worry, we back everything 100 percent and if you don’t get your item you’ll receive a refund within two weeks”. Thems powerful words to a buyer – words that you just do NOT hear from ebay in spite of all their fancy footwork and their fancy ratings system!

Alan Welch

2008-05-27 04:14:17 Reply

Someone PLEASE…Give me the alternative to selling on eBay! We all want, need, desire the ability to make a “living” outside of the JOB we have, eBay was the vehicle to make the change and from what I gather it will no longer be that vehicle.
So… where is the bus to the new “eBay” that we want! I need a ride!
I sit here with shelves full of inventory (No, I am not a large eBay store with thousands of dollars invested)that I need to move to recoup my small (yet still important to me) investment!
Mr. Wizard!! I don’t want to be an eBay statistic anymore…..!

tom

2008-05-27 10:50:05 Reply

The “level playing field” ended the day ebay took away a seller’s right to leave neutral or negative feedback to buyers. A buyer’s feedback now has no meaning, so I predict a sort of wild west atmosphere from now on where anything goes. I saw one buyer in the ebay Communities forum that left 12 negatives for sellers the day this policy started in response to the negatives he had received in the past. And regarding ebay’s decision to stop digital download sales (except for a $9.95 month “classified ad”), the Information Age we live in took a giant step backwards.

tom

2008-05-27 21:19:40 Reply

There are many alternatives to Ebay. You could try an auction site where many auction sites are networked or partnered together like Bidlynx.com. If a few thousand people would just post their used items lying around the house, it could get a site like this off the ground.

Patricia1

2008-05-27 21:56:59 Reply

Tom – I don’t know what you sell but I believe your best bet is to spread your stock around. There are plenty of up and coming sites that don’t even charge a listing fee. I’m not allowed to list them here but ask around – others know them well. ;-) Remember the economy is taking a hit now…this was the absolute worse time ebay could have made these changes. Its made matters a lot worse. I’ve got 3 listings left on ebay and when they’re done…I’ll turn my attention to my own website. I never believed I’d see the day when my website got more hits then my ebay listings! So, look around – don’t stay and keep wasting fee money.

Mechelle

2008-05-27 22:11:25 Reply

@Alan

go to the powersellers unite look at the different auction venues and pick the one with the most listings (not ioffer). You get traffic with keywords- that is why there is traffic on eBay- it is only because we list our stuff creating the keywords for search engines to find us. So if you add your stuff to the most populated of the alternatives you will benefit from all the listings (keywords) that the other sellers have provided, and they from yours.

The Colonel

2008-05-30 23:20:16 Reply

Quick question on the buy deal here.

How come there is no mention of it in the 10 K?

LegendsOfBatman

2008-06-06 11:17:51 Reply

Usher;

First, I want to let you know, despite you being paid to spin for ebay, the interview I had conducted with you, I felt you were a relatively decent person.
I say this, because you were polite, and courteous. Much more than I can say about myself.
But, I say “relatively”, because I could not spin for ebay, as I dont believe a word coming from the execs.

But that aside. I’d like to know how you are spinning the numbers with regards to Buy.

Here are the numbers. You can verify them yourself. The source is Terapeak.com:

These numbers were taken from Terapeak and are based on a 90 day history (March 2, 2008-May 31, 2008).
The most current info I have:
Seller: Buy
Total Items Listed: 2,708,987
Total sales: $3,924,907
Successful listings: 64,638
Total Items Offered: 249,431,285
SELL THRU RATE: 2.39%
Average Sale: $44.43
MINIMUM listing fee would be: $270,898.70 (based on the minimum 10 cent listing fee, AND does not include dutch auctions, or Final Value Fees).
Minimum fee, including dutch auctions: $24,943,128.5 Does not include Final Value Fees).

It does NOT take a rocket scientist to see what is going on here.
Ebay is offering Buy.com free listings to pad the numbers to demonstrate our boycott is ineffective. You yourself was quoted as saying how ineffective the boycott was. Based on numbers I saw, ebay lost a minimum of $2.4 million per day, just on listing fees alone. When we add in extras that were lost, FVFs, and store closures, it looks closer to $5, maybe even $10m.
I realize ebay generates a ton of money; which is why I am so perplexed by the greed, and the need to push out sellers.
There is no doubt that ebay’s owned shopping.com (and, yes, Buy IS an SDC company) is padding numbers and pushing sellers out.
Earlier this week, Buy had 44% of ALL items listed in Books.
What was even MORE puzzling is the fact that Buy cancelled MANY auctions at 1am, and many were “dutch” auctions, “because they were no longer available”.
I’d love to hear ebay’s spin on this.
Tim
[Comment edited: see Comment Policy]

Sandi

2008-06-06 11:32:25 Reply

and the need to push out sellers.

ebay has a problem they do not discuss for whatever reason. Counterfeits. They lost another lawsuit yesterday.

They are in deep dodo in Europe simply because of the way the court system is (so some of their actions are bizarre in relationship to US sellers).

They are losing alot of money in these court battles and European law holds a higher standard to ebay on this issue than other courts – and european nations have a centralized legal system.

ebay has seen the problem growing, losing more and more suits in European, being find, paying out cash.

Now the counterfeit issue falls onto ebay’s lap – they should have stopped the practice years ago when they were minor. Now it is a monster.

They have two choices that I can think of (maybe there are more but 2 are all my feeble mind could come up with).

1. Expend monetary resources and eliminate counterfeits on the site.

2. Remove private small sellers and replace them with major retailers who are less likely to sell counterfeits.

Which do you think ebay opted for?

Davey

2008-06-26 10:07:23 Reply

This great partnership with Buy is producing several pornographic listings. Apparently Buy also gets a bye on observing eBay policies that would get a normal sellers’ listings pulled so fast the T&S bots would break the sound barrier:

Here are the item numbers:
180258161717
150263326627

This abuse of the marketplace and double-standards are so against what Pierre said last month in his video interviews, it is clear that the videos were simply window dressing and like Pierre’s Values Statement, are being cast aside.

dimes

2008-06-26 10:20:10 Reply

Speaking of buy.com, I saw one of its Howie Mandel TV spots last night and was amused to hear the VO “Buy.com accepts google checkout.”

Guess it doesn’t want to put all of its eggs in the paypal basket.

Davey

2008-06-26 11:14:39 Reply

Yes, I have reported, as have many others–so far no action. It will be interesting what happens on the enforcement front. Why Buy does not consider eBay’s policies up-front, I don’t know. Many of their listings have multitides of policy violations that would get any of the rest of us sanctioned, but I haven’t heard of any of them being pulled yet. For those of us who have had listings pulled when they didn’t violate anything, because some bot had no syntactical intepretation abilities, only adds to the burn.

I’m curious how many policy violations Buy would be allowed before being restricted?

If your kids were shopping for comic books on eBay, who would want them seeing this stuff? That’s about the time ebay.com would get into my firewall’s blocking filter.

pearsaab

2008-07-15 11:03:23 Reply

i am a seller on ebay and i compete with buy..they will end up putting me out of business…a business i have spent extensive hours to build relationships and to make people happy..have you read a buy listing…if you want service x it costs — and so on..i offer the best service and fast shipment for nothing because i am nothing without it…you’re right when someone wants something they want it immediately and i have been able to make people happy by shipping things out same day for no extra cost…buy is just another big company who doesn’t care anything about you but they can beat me in price because i don’t buy 1000s of each item…what is going to happen when all us little guys go away…buy will have no competition and their prices will go up and their service will get worse..ebay has done nothing for me from day one except take my money on a monthly basis and now they just told me i am not good enough for them…there are honest, reliable and commited sellers on ebay who care about every order that is placed and i am one of those sellers….buy and ebay couldn’t care less about the individual buyer or seller so i hope ebay and buy get flushed with the rest of us small companies……….

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