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Wed May 19 2010 10:18:38

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

By: Ina Steiner

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Just a few years ago, Wall Street analysts told eBay it needed to make major improvements to the marketplaces business. eBay has rolled out new radical changes over the past 2 years, and this week we found out what analysts think about eBay's turnaround, in Monday's blog post and in today's Newsflash newsletter.

Yesterday I asked Deutsche Bank's Jeetil Patel what he was seeing with the latest Spring changes at eBay, rolled out at the end of March. He said he has spoken to large sellers, small sellers, auctions, fixed price and platform companies. "It's been pretty consistent that it appears that everyone seems to be feeling the pressure, feeling the impact of these changes on a negative basis."
  • April was tough - are you doing better in May? What percentage of your revenue comes from each channel, and what about the profitability of each?
  • What channel is growing the fastest? Slowest?
  • Are any slowdowns in your business marketplace-driven or economy-driven?
  • Is the eBay issue a traffic/buyer issue, interface issue, eBay perception/image issue?
  • Are analysts correct when they say eBay's new fee structure makes eBay a more compelling marketplace for merchants and offer higher selection for buyers? Or has supply outgrown demand?
I've always been impressed with sellers' ability to analyze how marketplace changes affect their business. Think of this post as your chance to tell marketplaces, analysts and industry observers what you're seeing, and explain it in terms that they can relate to - sales revenue, profitability, supply and demand and competitive factors. 

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Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: Competition is Good

Wed May 19 13:56:03 2010

When my direct competitors started to migrate away from eBay, I thought to myself ''Great! I'll have more of the pie for myself.''

My initial expectations did not match reality.

What I've come to realize is that customers will congregate where the sellers are. But when there's only ONE or TWO sellers, and just a handful of customers, then my grand thoughts of ''cornering the market'' did not materialize.

So, when my competition moved on... then the customers who used to come to eBay to browse, started to go *elsewhere* to browse (and BUY).

I don't have the market cornered, I'm sitting here ALONE... IN THE CORNER. Offering my wares to---NOBODY!

I can't lower my prices because eBay just RAISED MY FEES! For me to lower prices now would be idiotic!!

When I was competing with other sellers, I was able to hold-my-own and get my small slice of the pie. But fewer sellers mean fewer shoppers and fewer shoppers mean fewer sales.

As I said earlier, I just can't afford to lower my prices... it would be IDIOTIC. But now, I wonder, can I afford to STAY at eBay?

Am I being an IDIOT for not moving elsewhere?

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: Ebay's Changing Faces

Wed May 19 14:01:24 2010

Selling on Ebay is a bigger crap shoot than going to Vegas. I moved most of my store inventory off Ebay immediately before the change. The site diversity continues to drop and the cheap junk in massive quantities just continues to grow. Ebay does nothing about the dedupe policy. In fact they removed it which is something that buyers wanted. You need hipwaders and a harpoon to find something original buried on Ebay because it's drowning in thousands of duplicate listings by the same small core group of sellers.

Fraud continues to be a major problem. Second why doesn't Ebay do us all a favor and remove China from the dot com site? Let's give them all to Alibaba and the forty million thieves and let them sell on Alibaba's new site. The Chinese sellers do nothing to improve the dot com site. Same with the UK sellers. Take a big stick and shove them back across the pond. Same brands US sellers could be selling but being drowned out by UK competitors who have access to irregulars at the factory.

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: genejhsn

Wed May 19 14:07:35 2010

I have been selling regularly on eBay for about 4 years, with a basic store for the last three. Up until last month I was making enough sales to make it worth my while. I am a bronze powerseller and a TRS. BFD! My sales are circling the bowl.

Yesterday I got a survey that asked ''Why do you choose to sell on eBay? What do you enjoy most about selling on eBay? Please be as specific as possible.'' This is my reply (censored here, not censored in my reply to eBay):

-begin quote-

Oh, you can be certain I will be specific. And remember, YOU asked me. Never ask a question to which you do not want an honest answer. I list on eBay because eBay used to have the traffic. I don't enjoy anything about selling on eBay anymore. It used to be a fun place to sell but corporate total bull**** micromanagement has turned selling on eBay into the death of a thousand cuts. I am listing on other venues and as soon as I can quit eBay's present seller hostile system I am gone. Each purchase made on eBay contains directions to my other online venues and directs the buyer away from my eBay store And, like much of the other stuff eBay does to ''control'' us sellers, there isn't anything eBay can do to stop me. I have the email of every buyer that I have ever sold to and am using them for my own marketing. There are thousands of small sellers who feel the same. We small sellers feel we are being purposefully squeezed out by eBay. We small sellers are being dumped on. The recent change regarding store inventory listings & fixed price listings has been the death of my eBay business. Mind you, I'm willing to pay the freight if I get the sales. I don't know what the hell you people are doing that you are not telling us about but my sales have plummeted to less than 10% of what was once normal. Last week I sold one item at 7.95. My inventory hasn't changed. My listings haven't changed. Obviously the change is eBay. Trying to work within the present eBay system is a mind****. I decided to spend more money on a featured listing, my plans was to add one each month, so I pony up my $75 for the permanent featured listing and eBay takes my money then tell me this feature is being discontinued. That is f****** fraudulent! I feel a$$ raped, thank you. The DSRs are bull****. Not being able to leave negative feedback for insane buyers is bull****.

Bonanzle, eCrater , Auctiva Commerce and Webstore are going to kick eBay's ass. eBay management is a bunch of greedy ignorant rotten-ass SOBs bent on destroying the golden goose. I look forward to seeing ebay management go to prison for fraud. Maybe they will share a cell with my former employer, Mr. John Rigas of the now defunct Adelphia Communications.

-end quote-

The corporate beancounting dweebs have ruined eBay. It has been my lifeline for several years. I live in the middle atlantic rustbelt - an economically depressed area in the best of times - and after Adelphia went bust I found myself unemployable due to age (I was 55). I am drawing social security now and that takes up the slack the my ebay sales used to. It was a great venue and easy to deal with, I made a reasonable
amount of money for a reasonable effort in a niche market with a basic store.

As to eBay management intentions, there is a quote attributed to Napoleon: ''Never attribute to malice that which can be properly ascribed to incompetence.''

I think the basic issue is that someone has completely screwed up the search algorithms. These dumbasses may not even be aware of it! Intentional or not, it has had a devastating effect. What I can't fathom is are these people so damned stupid that they can't see some sort of negative impact to eBay's bottom line? There has to be one. My fees were $175-$200 a month. If eBay loses ten thousand sellers who were paying similar fees, that's a loss of $1,750,000 - $2,000,000 a month. And I know there are many sellers who pay far greater fees than I who are taking a bath right now. Is eBay really making so much from the Chinese sellers who flood eBay with cheap crap that we are expendable? Gott in Himmel! It's like trying to get congress to be responsive.

The corporatizing of an enterprise usually means that management is so far removed from any actions that actually generate income that they have no clue whatsoever. Zero. Zilch. Nada. In the corporate situations I have worked in, all the work was done by the people on the two bottom rungs of the corporate ladder, and in most instances in spite of what the [mis]management was doing to them.

Yeah. eBay's ''turning around'' all right.

New sellers' motto: Welcome to eBay where we bend over backwards for our customers and forwards for the management!

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: su
Web Site

Wed May 19 14:47:19 2010

My experience with the ebay "turnaround" has been enough to convince me to stop all this nonsense by the end of the year...and I have been selling since 2-99, have 10,000 or so positive feedbacks and have been a power seller since the program first began. The lack of sales and the higher fees are bad enough. But the final nail in the coffin for me is the prevailing "buyer is always right, screw the seller" mentality.

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: LastGirl

Wed May 19 15:45:59 2010

“They can refuse to pay yet still leave negative feedback”

Not if you file an unpaid item dispute and they get a strike. Once a dispute has been filed (you can file after only 4 days then close it 4 days later) and closed, any negative feedback left would be removed. In all the garbage that has come about in the new ebay, this is the only bright spot so far.

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: Denise

Wed May 19 15:48:06 2010

*April was tough - are you doing better in May?

I didn't think it was possible to get any worse than April-but it did. I had to check my settings- I thought I accidentaly put myself on vacation.



Are any slowdowns in your business marketplace-driven or economy-driven?
Is the eBay issue a traffic/buyer issue, interface issue, eBay perception/image issue?

The problem is I can't afford to list more inventory just so it can sit on page 100. This is not an economic issue-it is an ebay issue. IF I can't list- I can't sell. If I have to list 300 items so I can sell 3 items, it's cost prohibitive. I have been letting all of my listings expire. I may keep my account open for an occasional high ticket item, but no more regular inventory.


Are analysts correct when they say eBay's new fee structure makes eBay a more compelling marketplace for merchants and offer higher selection for buyers? Or has supply outgrown demand? "

More compelling? Higher selections? Have they ever even tried to find something on ebay? They should be required to use a company / product before pushing the stocks to clients.
Are they so stupid they do not realize that all the "increase" in product is from Diamond sellers selling refurb items at a cost of 3 cents or less per listing?

Supply has not outgrown demand for items that are unique, or quality collectibles, or one of kind vintage items. But I can find the "Amazing Bra Strap Holder" in the local dollar store, I do not need to have it shipped from china myself!

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: Lone

Wed May 19 15:51:10 2010

Dear eBay

20,000,000 Million items in core 2 months ago to.
112,000,000 Million 5 times more items in core listings now. Call Wall Street this might make you the largest store on Planet Earth. Maybe they will sale more stock for you. Not even the Worlds largest big box stores have that many items.

I have been on eBay for 10 years now and sit here watching it die a slow death.

My sales dropped:
March 15 by 20%
April 1 by 50%
May 1 to today 70% this is the worst month ever.
I have over 1000 items listed.

I listed 40 items 5.18.10 and the views are from 0 to 7  most are 0 views in one day where before they would be 10 + views per day.

I have been on the phone with eBay Customer Service reps. Every day for 2 months for about a hour to two and always the same answer there is nothing going on or wrong. Then if you call crying some  rep will say we have too may items in core, sometimes they will blame it on not enough servers and then they will tell me what I'm doing wrong and I should improve my sales ads. I have done everything by the eBay book and still get knocked down. We are the eBay Customer but never right ever.

Also eBay lets any kind of person off the street become a buyer from you and then if that person is a bad seed guess who pays I do. Your local mall does not let skates, bikes or even no shoes/shirt people in so why does eBay. They even punish us sellers if the bad buyer leaves us a negative mark with no recourse.

There are days now 3 or 4 in a row where I don't see any sales or request for info and  no emails nothing. I used to sale and ship around 6 to10 items a day now maybe 1 a day on average.

If only eBay had enough guts to come out and at least tell the us how great or bad things are I might understand but they are doing nothing.

I'm not sure theres any turning back the clock now for it's like jumping from the plane and wanting to get back in. The damage has been done and the Sellers as well as Buyers are the ones paying the price not eBay cause the think it's all good.

I'm getting to the point where it might be nice to round up a bunch of eBay sellers/buyers and put a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal to air our thoughts.

Good Day to you all and wish you the best.

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: I was robbed

Wed May 19 16:35:25 2010

@lone

How much is a full page add in the WSJ?

It might not be a bad idea. Certainly enough sellers could pitch in for it.

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: virginia
Web Site

Wed May 19 16:40:44 2010

Log into ebay and go to the forums. There is one called Seller Central. Go to the thread called "5 Straight Days....Not 1 Sale". There are over 3000 postings about this very subject. I think people are upset.

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: sellers were buyers.

Wed May 19 17:02:13 2010

Sellers were buyers. OOPS!!

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: Hardrock Rules

Wed May 19 17:19:55 2010

The Month of April was my worst ever after the changes sine when I first started on ebay in the 1990's, the 1 week I made $60 Gross Net Profit

May is a little better, but last week $129 Gross Net Profit, Keep in mind before Donahoes Disruptive onnovation I consistently made $500 to $800 a week, at XMAS some times over $1,000 a week for a month straight, those days are long gone

I can Honest to God declare with truthfulness that Since 2008 and ESPECIALLY after the store to core, I am making the lowest amount ever since the 1990's, and had to apply and get on Food Stamps, and my ebay fee's are small each month and so are my profits, and I am Top Rated Power Seller

Way to go Donahoe, hope you enjoy the $40,000,000 you earned killing our livlihoods

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: Harriet This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 19 17:22:40 2010

How is anyone going to recognize the eBay turnaround? I don't see any inklings that it has started, not even close.

Improved sales?
Not happening.

Improved search?
Not happening.

Happy sellers?
Not happening.

Great customer service?
Not happening.

Help for new sellers?
Not happening. The only help they get if within the seller's forum from other sellers.

More buyers?
Not happening.

Higher stock prices?
Not happening.

Improved eBay image?
Not happening.

Excellent press articles with glowing reports?
Not happening.

End result, the turnaround is not happening.

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: Denise

Wed May 19 17:44:37 2010

"How is anyone going to recognize the eBay turnaround?"

OMG I finally get it! It's ebayspeak
This IS the turnaround...Johnny Boy never said WHICH WAY we were TURNING!

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: Tim

Wed May 19 18:00:00 2010

**April was tough - are you doing better in May? What percentage of your revenue comes from each channel, and what about the profitability of each?

--> Sales were down in March.  Sales were down in April.  Sales are in free fall in May.

** Are any slowdowns in your business marketplace-driven or economy-driven?

--> Marketplace driven.  As my Amazon sales are Up, up, up.  eBay FAILS.

** Is the eBay issue a traffic/buyer issue, interface issue, eBay perception/image issue?

--> eBay buyer traffic is way down.  The interface is so 1999 (No shopping cart?  Really?  Not even for stores?)  The eBay image is of fraud and a difficult interface. It is a technology and T&S FAIL.

** Are analysts correct when they say eBay's new fee structure makes eBay a more compelling marketplace for merchants and offer higher selection for buyers? Or has supply outgrown demand?

--> Supply has outgrown demand.  But, analysts are right that the fee structure is now better - FOR those FEW SELLERS that eBay now WANTS.  We'll see if, when eBay is left with only diamonds and last season sellers, if they can survive on that base.

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: aggressive buyer

Wed May 19 18:05:59 2010

Back when they first started the changes with feedback and DSR ratings. I was a silver powerseller. I lit up the powerseller discussion boards saying how bad it would be. All the other powersellers flamed me and said what i bad seller I must have been.

2 years later I couldn't have been more right. I stopped selling. I bet half of those guys are now out of business or suspended.

I am now a very aggressive buyer on ebay who has the opportunity to take advantage of the poor souls items lost in best match. I can find some good deals.

Nothing good lasts forever though unfortunately. The buy it now listings increased. The reason is not because ebay had success by any means. They failed miserably. The simple truth is sellers got sick of listing auctions no one would ever see.

AUCTIONS IF DISPLAYED TIME ENDING SOONEST CREATE A SENSE OF URGENCY THAT IS UNLIKE AMAZON OR ANYWHERE ELSE ON THE NET. EBAY IS TRYING TO KILL THAT. I CAN THINK OF NO REASON TO KILL A GOOD THING!!

Sure no every auction will sell for the sellers intended price, but just as long as it sells ebay gets a cut and the final price still means ebay gets paid.

LOW PRICED ITEMS ON A TIMER WILL SELL. THE SELLER CAN HAVE A 33% FEEDBACK SCORE AND SOMEONE WILL STILL BUY AN ITEM IF ITS PRICED WELL!

So donahoe here is some free advice let the customer be smart enough to decide what they want to buy. We aren't stupid!

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed May 19 18:53:21 2010

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon's_razor

A practical observation on the risks of stupidity was made by the German General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord in “Truppenführung”, 1933: “I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!”

Surely, our idiot child, “Noise” Donahoe, falls into this last group, and should be removed immediately …

eBay/PayPal/Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: Tony P.

Wed May 19 19:04:01 2010

"I think those are areas that they could create a better buying experience - standardization on categorization." ~ Patel

And when they've standardized the site to hell, every bit of fun will be rung from IT. That may be okay for MM FP, but will kill off any remaining auction/collectible items.

Look, how many different ways must we say it? Using how many different analogies? It really ain't rocket science, but it's outta reach of comprehension for some folks. I'll try. Again.

Auctions and FP don't mix. Bidding and Buying are two different MO. Browsing and Searching. Hot and Cold. JD and common sense.

What has decreased? FP? No, they've increased. Mass produced everyday goods? Increased. Auctions decreased? Yes. Collectibles? Decreased. Simple site navigation? Decreased. Reliability of site "stability"? Decreased.

How about buyer traffic? Oh, YES, it's decreased. GMV? Decreased. STR? Decreased.

Well golly gee whiz batman, whatever in the world could be the answer?

Absolute %$@!* idiots!

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: Paine Military Antiques
Web Site

Wed May 19 19:43:53 2010

We were BOWCHIEF on their site for 10 yrs.selling hunting, ceramic and then military antiques. Ebay has been messing with sellers since the blackthorne sotfware they sold us outright became "subscription" based and nobody was grandfathered in who had already purchased it. eBay went from a sales vehicle with no intervention to a tyranny where the first amendment was only afforded the buyer. We managed to stay top rated but stopped all sales after this Aprils horrid lack of access affected our bottom line. We started self promoting and merchant service for our own website when they required newly acquired paypal as the only form of advertised payment and eliminated the ability to refuse a return and severely limited allowable merchandise in some areas but not others based on their political affiliations. Their search feature always directed sales traffic to certain regions at certain times. Now its not on Google so its pretty useless to bother and list eBay. We've had to vacillate between shows sales and web sales and another auction site to maintain our level of income. We still stalk the boards and online auction venues in case something new pops up. Some one will open a comparable site for collectibles eventually. Hopefully it will be the giant Google!
To the future and the past ---Cheers!

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: sandyprurient

Wed May 19 20:01:22 2010

All of these changes have been undertaken for the good of sellers.

A happy seller is a good seller and the majority of GOOD sellers are well pleased with the changes beginning in 2008 to date.

The PayPal 21 day holds are a Godsend for buyers and sellers and most of us are pulling for them to begin holds and rolling reserves on ALL sellers by the end of the year.

I would hope that they make the Diamonds exempt from the DSR requirements that they are forced to place on the more unethical small sellers.

I mean what would eBay be without Buy and the other giants that keep buyers coming back again and again???

Hundreds of negatives a month don't put me off from buying from these eBay behemoths!

We should quit complaining an say a prayer for Mr. Donahoe to give him the strength and support to stay the course and lead us all into the bright new day of eBay 2011!

Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround   Sellers - What Is Your Experience with eBay Turnaround

by: LastGirl

Wed May 19 20:10:28 2010

I'm sure ebay would like to blame the economy for the downturn in sales but those of us who have been members for years all know the downturn started when JD took over.

Since the economy started going south, there may have been an increase in the number of people trying to sell because they needed money for food and pay their bills but unfortunately for them, JD and his master plan decided years ago that these types (short term, low volume, mom and pop sellers) were not welcomed on ebay.

Many people, myself included, would sell when a few extra bucks were needed, like during Christmastime. One year I made $200 just before Christmas which is great for a sometime seller like me. Those days are over.

The real meaning of ebay's turnaround is that once someone goes to ebay and see how horrible it has become, they will turnaround and go somewhere else.

On another note, wouldn't it be great if ebay founder Pierre started a new auction site based on the way ebay used to be and called it Pierresplace? Ebay would die practically overnight.

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