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Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Sat June 21 2008 12:42:20

eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)

By: Greg Holden
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I got to the Town Hall session a few minutes late; the place was packed, and I got sent to some sort of overflow room where I was watching Griff and other eBay people on two big screens. I'm sort of removed from the controversy physically, but that's in keeping with the tone of the session, which is starting out as a love fest rather than the controversy we saw yesterday. eBay is prepared for hostile questions about feedback; they deflected the first attack expertly. Subsequent questions are more of the cream puff variety. Here is a first batch (not complete, and not a transcript):
 

Larry Phillips, Internet Merchant Assoc: I want to ask the same question yesterday: why is a 4 on a DSR a failure? Why not change the wording to reflect the ratings more accurately?

eBay rep David: We acknowledge we have heard from you and we will come up with a solution, no later than the holiday season. We will address the negative feedback during the UPI process. The third question was negatives and neutrals. We will address that too. I want to make that commitment t you all.

Burke: The average is something we are looking at.

Lorrie: the reason we do eBay live is to get input. Every night we talk about the feedback we are getting. We are here to make you successful. If you are successful and buyers are happy, we are all over that.

Question 2: Tracy Jannick (sic): I love Giving Works; the program is great but you haven't done enough to make it easier to find.

eBay: We love it, we'll do it.

Question 3: Kat (or Cat): My feelings are hurt. You guys sent all these announcements out while we were learning. Why?

Dinesh: We acknowledge we need to do a better job of it.

Question: Why when I have built up my business for a period of years, do you count my feedback percentage by looking at comments only for the past year?

eBay (David): buyers have a fear of leaving negative feedback One way to get around that was to leave a neutral. Instead, they would leave lower DSRs. In the new system, we didn't want to disadvantage them. We acknowledge that the rate of neutrals will probably go down over the time and over time, we will have a better option for how we account for neutrals in your feedback percentage. We felt 12 onths was more indicative of your recent performance.

Brian Burke: the percentage is based on the past five months, but you do get credit for all your scores.

Greg's comment: These guys must have spent the whole morning coming up with talking points on how to address seller hostility regarding feedback changes. [--break--]


Question: James, Internet Marketing Center: The new policy which takes place July 1; we are looking for more information. You can still link to your site but not market it. eBay still has Yahoo paid ads at the bottom of search pages; it seems contradictory to the new policy.

eBay: We recognize that advertising is taking business off the site and that takes people away from sellers. We got a lot of great feedback yesterday and today, and we are looking at how to allow sellers to grow their business, and at the same time, we are trying to limit fraud. We have seen people who use that (the links policy) in a negative way.

Brian Burke: We probably made the announcement a little prematurely; please wait until we have all the details outlined in the coming weeks.

Question: Joanne, the Queen's Treasures: Thank you for a great conference (applause). We are concerned about customer satisfaction. We work hard to get our customers buy more than one item from us at a time. We have more than 11000 feedbacks. We feel if you are taking the negatives from buyer who are unsatisfied, and not allowing any kind of mediation, and using neutrals, how do you keep the buyer really satisfied?

Burke: Is it really that you are not getting credit for all your feedback? (Yes). Earlier this year, we started providing credit, if you started interacting with someone in separate weeks. If sellers are interacting repeatedly with customers, they should get credit for that.

Question (Flyleaf Electronics): Neutral feedback: if you go to the feedback overview page, it doesn't count for anything, but it has the same ffect as a negative. Why is the word not out about that?

Burke: There is a bit of a nuance here. We need to be clearer on that. The text is accurate in that neutrals do not impact your feedback score, but we need to get text out that says it does impact your feedback percentage.

Griff: One of the places we need improvement is buyer education. (Applause)

Q. I have heard innuendos about where stores will be in the coming years.

eBay: Stores is not going anywhere, we love them as much as you do (Applause.)

Griff: I understand the angst about this. We dropped the ball a couple years ago about stores. I think you'll see some great things in the coming years.

Q. Even the mom and pop stores?

Griff: We can't exist without the small sellers. You are the heart and soul of this company. We value you more than you know. (Applause.)

Greg's comment: Feel the love!

Lorrie: There are no small or large, there is only good to us. We are committed to the unique sellers who give us our character.

Q (Drew Perry): I teach folks how to sell houses on eBay. Most of these people are smart, but they have no knowledge about eBay. I send them to YouTube. Is there anyway we can have eBay video hosting so they don't have to go to another site so they don't have to figure out HTML to do learning? Even if eBay would charge $1 or $5 to host your video?

eBay: We do get a lot of requests for rich media and video, particularly with eBay Motors and houses. It's something we think we should do longer term. We don't have any immediate plans but we're looking into it.

Q. Silvia with Sports Bra Foundation: With DSRs, why does eBay feel it is not important to see which buyers are leaving ratings? It's like they can go behind a little curtain and say no no they did bad, when they said to us we did a good job selling to them. (Applause.)

Burke: The anonymity with DSRs—and they have only been out a year, and we are continuing to learn—was fear of retaliation. We did not want to introduce a system where the buyer was uncomfortable leaving comments. We will continue to look at it…

Greg's comment: eBay is going to have a lot to look at and consider after this eBay Live.

Dinesh: We are committed to getting more granularity about the DSRs.

Griff: I have been at seven eBay Lives, and this is the one at which I have learned the most.       

Greg's comment: Does that really mean, this is the conference at which there has been the most anger voiced?

Q (Mark from Australia): As you are aware, eBay Australia is instituting a PayPal only policy. Do you have any other plans to introduce a PayPal only policy on any other sites?

Monroe of PayPal: Thank you for the opportunity ut we are not going to announce anything today. Going to PayPal only in Australia was appropriate for that marketplace. Other marketplaces have different situations. In the U.S. we will definitely *not* go to a PayPal only situation (Applause.)

Q. (Rachel with DiversityBuilder.com): Is there a way to create subaccounts for people who sell on our behalf so people who sell for us don't have to log into account? And by the way, Lorrie rocks! (Applause)

Dinesh: No, there is not, but we have heard that as companies scale their businesses and involve more employees they need more user rights. Keep on us with that one.

Q (Gary Crawford): I have a 100% feedback rating. I was a PowerSeller. What is eBay doing nationally or internationally to drive traffic to eBay.com so people before they go to the mall go to eBay? eBay had a program before,( the It campaign): "It" sucked. What is now the national campaign going forward?

eBay (Stephanie): Thank you for the candid nature of your feedback. We know we have some work to do. We have coupons; starting in May we sent coupons out to our top buyers. We are rolling out royalty programs between now and the holidays. We will continue to develop our marketing engine. We also rolled out phone support.

Greg's comment: I can't capture this fully in the blog but for each semi-hostile question, eBay is falling over themselves to give two or three answers. And the answers go on and on.  Very competent damage control.

Q. That's all for people familiar with eBay.com. What aobut others?

Stephanie: Good point. We are focused on all buyers. You will see more media from us.

Q (Dee, PowerSeller, 7800 feedback rating): There are always exceptions to the rule. Why is it that with a buyer who has an unpaid item or who takes three weeks to pay me, why can't I leave great feedback.

Woman next to me: I have asked that so many times!

Brian Burke: One of the reasons we no longer allowed sellers to leave negative or neutral feedback, we looked at the cream of the crop buyers, and the receipt of neutral or negative feedback was one of the top drivers for them to leave the site and we couldn't allow that to continue. Undermined the whole marketplace. With regard to unpaid items, we have expand protections a bit, we know we have more work to do with unpaid items and improve the process. We want buyers to be accountable as much as sellers.

Q (Dwayne Swinford): We sell online through a Web site and also through eBay. We do not have a PayPal account. We have our own merchant account. It seems with the new upgrades, you pretty much have to have PayPal. If we have problems and do things wrong, our merchant will pull our account as quick as you do. Don't forget about businesses that sell on eBay and have their own merchant accounts.

Monroe, PayPal: We do allow merchants to accept credit card payments on their own merchant accounts through eBay. As part of our effort to make the marketplace safer, we are looking for ways to integrate payment into checkout more tightly for those companies who have merchant accounts. I said earlier we don't have plans t make U.S. PayPal only, but we will continue to make payments a way to improve the experience for buyers and sellers.

Q. (Brian): I am the redheaded stepchild of eBay, who am I?

Griff: I think you're me.

Q. I'm a Half.com seller. On the eBay toolbar, motors, express…if you buy something from me on Half.com, you are sent back to the gaudy eBay toolbar. You have to type the address to get back to me on Half.com

eBay: We will work on this and integrate Hald.com more holistically into eBay, you will ee that before the holidays.

Q. Mother of three children, and I make a living on eBay. I worked at the U of Michigan and Merrill Lynch. I can appreciate all this corporate stuff. I personally don't have time for it. It feels to me like you want big sellers and people who are selling mostly new items. That's fine, but I want to make more money than I did in the corporate world. Can you make an eBay One (an eBay where only new items are sold) and bring back the old eBay (Much applause.)

Lorrie: We are finding that there is a need for buyers on the Internet to have all sorts of experiences. They may be looking for paper cups with lids. We are looking at how we take the incredible tradition we have at eBay and bridge that to buyers who are coming back to eBay and looking for it. We have buyers who come to eBay looking for items and they just aren't there. What we hear from buyers is that they want unique things to collect as well as things in their everyday lives. That one eBay has to meet buyer expectations and create success for sellers.
That's the end...



Comments (17) | Permalink
Readers Comments

eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)   eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)
by: M.C.
       
Sat Jun 21 13:05:08 2008
Greg so true when you write "These guys must have spent the whole morning coming up with talking points on how to address seller hostility regarding feedback changes."

The air must be thick with the seller backlash on the feedback issue in particular. Keep reporting on it. =-)

I think it would be interesting for AuctionBytes to report eBay's feedback system with that on eCrater, Etsy, RubyLane and Amazon to name a few.
eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)   eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)
by: DisgruntledPowerSeller
       
Sat Jun 21 13:43:26 2008
LOVE the LIVE blogging, keep it up.

I really wish someone would bring up the fact about buy.com and the FAKE padded listings & millions of FREE listings. If their millions of FREE listings, were taken out of the listing count, it would be a TRUE number and shareholders would be wondering what was going on with ebay.

Boycotters should have a fair playing field and ebay smokescreening the numbers, isn't fair. How do they expect to show any earnings from those millions of listings if they are bringing in NO revenue, from them.

Q2 earnings for ebay, ought to be a hoot, can't wait!

Stop by and check out the boycott!
http://forums.ebay.com/db2/forum.jspa?forumID=113
eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)   eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)
by: me
       
Sat Jun 21 13:45:16 2008
Burke: There is a bit of a nuance here. We need to be clearer on that. The text is accurate in that neutrals do not impact your feedback score, but we need to get text out that says it does impact your feedback percentage.


ok, but they are considered negs when calculating buyer disatisfaction rate which disadvatages you in search for more than 2% BDR. The calculation includes negs, netrals, 1 and 2 dsr's, snads, and INR's. they hide behind the answer that it only affects the fb% avoiding the real answer that yes, netrals kill you too and the buyer doesnt know this.
eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)   eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)
by: eBay: Fraud Central
       
Sat Jun 21 13:48:40 2008
Lorrie said "We are looking at how we take the incredible tradition we have at eBay and bridge that to buyers who are coming back to eBay and looking for it"

DUH, Lorrie. You have vintage categories filled with brand-new Chinese knock-offs and buyers looking for the REAL thing can't wade through all that crap because you don't police the categories so the listing rules are pointless.

Buyers may "come back" momentarily looking for unique vintage and collectible items but once they see the humongous GLUT of pure CRAP that is listed on eBay these days, they go looking ELSEWHERE. No wonder the stuff they are looking for ISN'T THERE!! They couldn't find it even if it WAS there! Who wants to wade through pages and pages and PAGES of stuff that is listed in the WRONG CATEGORY as eBay blindly stands by?

The vintage clothing category is a prime example. The majority of vintage clothing items listed in the vintage categories is BRAND NEW CHEAP CRAP MADE IN ASIA. It's against the rules to list that junk there, but eBay just stands back and watches, ignoring the HUNDREDS of complaints about it.

eBay is such a JOKE. Are these executives REALLY as clueless as they sound?

I simply cannot believe this.
eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)   eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)
by: eBay: Fraud Central
       
Sat Jun 21 14:13:50 2008
And I didn't even mention the fiasco that is BEST MATCH. I'll use my brother as an example:

He "came back" to eBay searching for a widget. He was so utterly confused and disgusted by what he "found" with Best Match that he logged off of eBay and vowed to never go back.

He couldn't BELIEVE the mess that eBay has made of a once-wonderful site.

THAT is what people are "finding" when they "come back" to eBay.
eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)   eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)
by: Misty
       
Sat Jun 21 17:11:10 2008
Griff: We can't exist without the small sellers. You are the heart and soul of this company. We value you more than you know. (Applause.)

Greg's comment: Feel the love!

Lorrie: There are no small or large, there is only good to us. We are committed to the unique sellers who give us our character.


No Greg, I most certainly do NOT feel the love.

In my rebuttal to Griff and Lorrie and what I would like to see asked of them is:
If what Griff and Lorrie are saying is truly meant then why are they not giving  the Unique Small Sellers the perks they are instead giving the high volume Power Sellers?

Actions speak louder than words!
eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)   eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)
by: Patrick Alexander
       
Sat Jun 21 19:24:16 2008
Why can't ANY of these so-called geniuses see the feedback system worked fine before they allowed the Square Trade withdrawals & the Mutual Withdrawals.

THAT'S when they broke the damn feedback system. There was a balance in the system & a feeling and image of trust. It's what built & grew eBay.

Put it back the way it was in 2004 & you're troubles will all be over....

Oh, I forgot. No reverse in the eBay bus.

Idiots......
eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)   eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)
by: drew11
       
Sun Jun 22 01:09:47 2008
I agree with ebay: Fraud central . Ebay is buried in a sea of knock-offs and mislabeled "collectibles".

Lorrie, Take out your own trash and don't expect your honest sellers to pay you to do it with increased fees. Ebay made this mess due to greed and arrogance. Now  it is the time to clean it up.

The crux of the problem is Ebay expects it's good sellers to pay for EBAY'S past mistakes. Ebay needs to feel some of it's own pain now.  
eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)   eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)
by: The Graduate
       
Sun Jun 22 06:53:58 2008
Griff: We can't exist without the small sellers. You are the heart and soul of this company. We value you more than you know. (Applause.)

Translation: ₩£ €an't £xi$t ₩ithout th£ $mall $£ll£r$. ¥ou are th£ h£art and $oul of thi$ €ompany. ₩£ valu£ ¥ou mor£ than ¥ou know.  ($$$.)
eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)   eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)
by: Lynn D
       
Sun Jun 22 10:18:19 2008
Greg thank you for the reporting on this! Very interesting read.

What I am hearing is this:

We are working on that!

We hear you!

We are working on that!

We hear you.

We are working on that.

Do I believe this? NO they are trying to appease the crowds and will continue to do what they want.

Small sellers are the heart and soul of ebay. Well they have done a great job of transplanting the heart and soul to other sites. Wonder how long before they code red and flat line.

eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)   eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)
by: Patricia
       
Sun Jun 22 16:28:34 2008
"Lorrie: We are finding that there is a need for buyers on the Internet to have all sorts of experiences. They may be looking for paper cups with lids. We are looking at how we take the incredible tradition we have at eBay and bridge that to buyers who are coming back to eBay and looking for it. We have buyers who come to eBay looking for items and they just aren't there. What we hear from buyers is that they want unique things to collect as well as things in their everyday lives. That one eBay has to meet buyer expectations and create success for sellers."

Yeah?  So?  Where was her answer?  Most of these questions were answered as though coming from altzheimer patients...a question was asked...and answered mostly with something else or not at all.  Weird....

Don't anybody get their hopes up that anything good will come out of this Ebay Live.  These people still don't get it...they won't unless it computes to declining revenue - then watch all the new policies go right out the window!

www.ACEOart.net
eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)   eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)
by: Al
       
Mon Jun 23 01:37:17 2008
I liked the   one  that said Bring Back the Old Ebay. HOW TRUE ebay  said they like the small sellers  but that is a JOKE.  eBay has pushed the small seller aside to  promote the big sellers with new items and  make  the changes to appease them for getting  those of us who sell one of a kind item why is it no one has brought up the postage problem thay want to stick us with.  Forcing us to cheet the customer with inflated postage rates. How can you give  correct postage when an item is NOT packed. Ebay is in the problem they are in now because as one person put it GREED
eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)   eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)
by: Peter Leeflang/CEO of Leeflang Archives Corporatio
       
Mon Jun 23 09:41:07 2008
Ebay Live is oen big 'pretense'.

Ebay managers pretend there towards the sellers that the sellers are 'visible' to them.

They know that humans need an acknowledgment of their existence and their needs, so visibility, to remain open to communicate and trade with others. If another party is not visible, the communication stops.

However, what Ebay managers do not understand is that, if another party fraudulently pretends that his partner in communication is visible, in order to acquire a value from that other, this partner will eventually discover his fraud and reject him forever.

Pretending visibility is a form of fraud, an attempt to steal from  us sellers.

What do the Ebay managers want to steal from us sellers with their fraud? They want to steal our sanction for their plans. They want us to validate their false view of teh world, as they cannot validate iit themselves with objective facts in reality. They want you, the seller, to tell them 'all is allright' while it is not.
eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)   eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)
by: Drew
       
Mon Jun 23 11:25:24 2008
Why is it that a question never seems to get answered? Hmmmmm... maybe because it doesn't. The people at ebay are great at talking in a big circle, never answering the question that's really at hand. In most cases we have seen, they say one thing and do another. I personally can't help but feel that all this is just more of the same. This is the reason ebay sellers no longer trust anything that comes out of their mouths. Why can't they just give a straight-forward answer for once.
eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)   eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)
by: AC_in_Mich
       
Mon Jun 23 12:10:48 2008
Patricia

Lorrie was talking about how she had to go and buy 80 cups and lids (spent $40.00 on them) and then had to get her painted dogs and buy a pair of $150 shoes, so she sees herself as being the average eBayer, that there needs to be a large range of various items for a person to buy.
eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)   eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)
by: Tired
       
Tue Jun 24 06:52:05 2008
Well with her big mouth (Lorrie) about the dog paintings and who she buys them from it wasn't hard to figure out her ID
westie0721 (146Feedback) So let's all make her a favorite seller and maybe she will think that there are tons of buyers out there.  Can't wait for her to list something...lol!
eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)   eBay Live Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging (Greg)
by: Ralph
       
Wed Jun 25 00:59:13 2008
"Griff: We can't exist without the small sellers. You are the heart and soul of this company. We value you more than you know. (Applause.)"

Jeez, even my cat yakked up a hairball reading that.



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