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Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Oct 8 2013 17:13:51

eBay Seller Purge 2.0

By: Ina Steiner
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Some eBay users are reporting there is another seller crackdown taking place on this week. In August, eBay confirmed it had taken action on some seller accounts in response to our inquiry about rumors it had suspended 15,000 sellers. Sellers suspect there is another mass purging of accounts today.

A reader wrote this afternoon, "Judging from a lot of the posts in Seller Central this morning, there's a general consensus that a new purge of small sellers may have started at eBay."

While eBay sets out seller performance standards, sellers are not clear on the criteria eBay uses when it takes actions such as the August crackdown. "I think they are using bot algorithms and tweaking them on a regular basis," said one. "No one knows for sure the criteria. DSR, FB, violatons, name, race, take your pick."

A seller who was suspended today said he was told it was because he failed to refund buyers. "I had my listings removed today and received an email that my selling privileges are Indefinitely restricted...... which is nonsense because I have great feedback," he wrote. "When I called eBay they told me it was because there have been three instances in which I didn't refined buyers in cases and eBay had to. I wasn't aware that was problematic.....when I believed the buyer was engaging in fraud..t any rate....I asked the rep how I can appeal to be reinstated and she put me on hold twice and then finally said "my business is not right for eBay." What type of b.s. is this??? Seems like an odd way to treat someone who has been selling on there for 15 years. Can anyone help????"

Another replied, "If you don't willingly refund a buyer when they open a case and force eBay to take the money from you then you get a mark on your account."

In August, eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore told EcommerceBytes, "eBay regularly reviews seller performance and may limit or restrict selling activity for those sellers who do not meet our minimum requirements. Recently, we took action on certain seller accounts that were below performance standards based on a variety of criteria."

People and businesses who sell on eBay are often buyers as well. One seller said she'd never make another purchase on eBay again after learning today the company had suspended her account. "I to had the same thing happen to me today, and I am freaking out. 13 years I've been selling and now a few customers have brought me down. They don't want "our type" on here any longer, so I guess they don't want my money any longer either. I will NEVER buy anything off of this site again."

It's difficult to dissect the performance of a seller who has been suspended, some commentors said there may be other factors at play that are not visible to those posting on the discussion boards.

What makes sellers uneasy about hearing reports of eBay crackdowns is the fact eBay does not disclose all of the criteria it uses to decide whether to suspend a seller. In the recent August crackdown, a seller wrote, "Sellers need to ask themselves a question.... How many purges will it take before YOUR ratings put you at the bottom of the list and you are targeted for extermination under eBay's new secret purge criteria?"

What do you think of eBay's seller crackdowns - and is there enough transparency when it comes to seller suspensions?
Reading EcommerceBytes Blog: eBay Seller Purge 2.0
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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
by: Tia This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Thu Oct 10 12:37:16 2013
I saw what was coming five years ago and bailed from eBay.  Moved everything to ebid.net and started making money again.  The biggest problem eBid faces is not enough sellers, but it is growing.  Not exactly an ''also ran'' and I'm glad I found it.
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
This user has validated their user name. by: JusTrains
       Web Site
Thu Oct 10 12:59:38 2013
@Johnny Masada

Best explanation I've ever read on the woes sellers have at eBay...

"This is not your ebay, this is ebay's ebay."
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
by: luv2cruz52 This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Oct 10 13:06:03 2013
Ebay has screwed way to many people, I hope it gets what is coming to them. I started selling on Bonanza, it is so much better. You don't sell as much, but I think a lot more people will start selling there as another place to sell with out all the crap. Where does everyone think is a good place to sell? We should all ban together.
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Oct 10 13:08:59 2013
We can expect the PURGING to continue until ALL small and medium sellers are GONE.

ebays goal is to turn ebay into a CORPORATE MALL, where only large corporations and large manufacturers sell there.

They do not want to be Amazon, they think they are going to EAT Amazon by having nothing but corporate sellers.

For example;
They only want Sears, JCPennys,Brocs,Nike etc. NO mom and pops.

These corps can afford free shipping, already allow returns and can hire the staff for 1 day shipping.

Notice how Amazon has a 2 day shipping program so ebay went to a 1 day.  They know the average small-medium sellers cannot really do all of the things large corps can do and that is why they want them ALL GONE.

The only reason any are still there is because they do still need them UNTIL they get enough large corps to come in.  However, they have also stepped up the PRESSURE to get all small sellers to comply to free ship, 1 day ship and returns and those who do not get placed on the PRE-PURGE list just waiting for one false move.

Those of you who THINK you are safe because your scores are good at the MOMENT, better sleep with 1 eye open because these purges will continue and if your scores slip just before the purge and you do not accept returns, do not have free ship and 1 day ship, you WILL be PURGED!

What ebay cannot understand is that if we want to order online from sears, Pennys etc, we can and DO go directly to THEIR website, we do NOT need ebay to buy from these corps.

These companies can and do offer the same things at THEIR own websites and they do NOT need ebay either.

Why would they want to pay ebay fees for items I can buy from their site which costs them NO ebay fees.

I will NEVER EVER buy from ANY corporate store from ebay.

Just like I have never and will NEVER use the cashier-less checkouts because I know those are designed put put cashiers out of work.

If we buy from these corps on ebay we are HELPING ebay put mom and pops out of business which in turn causes MANY people who work for them to lose their jobs, whom by the way are buying our products.
If they have no job they have no money.

You know, we CAN put ebay on the DEFENSIVE and make their plan backfire!

If enough of us start sending all of these corps emails telling them that if they go to ebay we will STOP buying from them all together, and they will NOT go because they too care about the bottom line.

Seeing ebay looks at their small and medium sellers as THROW AWAY GARBAGE, then we need to take our voices, which JD IGNORES and calls NOISE, to the corps that ebay is throwing us away for.  THEY WILL LISTEN!
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Thu Oct 10 13:15:06 2013
Now I am just asking, so please don't verbally shoot me for asking.  Where does it say that only small sellers are being hurt by this?  Where are the stats that says that only small sellers are being booted?  I know this was said back in August too, but I never was able to find where the stats showed this to be true.  Or is this something we are just assuming?  Just askin!
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Oct 10 13:38:10 2013
Marie - its one of those UNwritten eBay things.

Its the same reason as why TRU can get lower DSR scores then u or I, and have worse feedback percentages with no consiquences.

People like Datavis - 1100 negatives in a month with continuing 20-40 a month after that - so ...  some guy or gal with a few small issues gets booted but they dont?

"its the FVFs" - you and I discussed this at lenth and seem to agree. Its a percentage game - not based on what your score REALLY is ... ie you can get away with being a bad seller and not get booted.

So if the Datavis's/TRU's of the world arent being booted - who is?

I dont know who was or wasnt - I can just see the people who have low numbers and wonder when "it will get fair" ...
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Oct 10 13:43:35 2013
@Marie,
I think your question is fair.

I say small and medium sellers.  To me this means anyone that is not a corporation or multi-million dollar company.

Has ebay kicked off any of these types,MAYBE but probably not.

I know I have personally seen companies liek Toys R us with FB scores of 98% and less if I remember right, negs and nuets on the THOUSANDS yet they had THOUSANDS of listings.

I also read many of the FBS & they were getting RETURNED junk products sold to them as NEW, which is the problem with accepting returns.  ALL companies who take them have every intention on reselling them and often as NEW.

They complained about late shipping,no communications, getting the wrong items and a whole host of issues, yet when you look at their DSRS good.

We all know that when people are complaining about slow and even no shipping, bad CS or bad Comm and getting broken or the wrong products these buyers ARE going to give them 1s on the DSRS.

There is only one way their DSRS can be so high even when their FB is low, and that is if ebay SHUT OFF their DSRS just as it has been reported they did.  Why would ebay do this?  Simple, because DSRS are the KILLER.

Find me even 1 mom & pop who had their DSRS shut off or ramped up so high where thousands of 1s caused them no harm.

The proof is in what ebay is actually doing and actually allowing to happen.
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Thu Oct 10 13:48:28 2013
@pace

What is an unwritten rule on Ebay?  That only small sellers get booted?  To know that to be a fact, you'd have to know the true stats.  Or is it an assumption it is an unwritten rule on Ebay and in turn for the purge?

I'm not trying to be confrontational.  It is just a common thing to be stated and I'm curious to know why?  Where is the proof this only happens to small sellers?  A handful of threads on Ebay is just that, a handful.  

Only a very small percentage of Ebay sellers post here or even on the Ebay threads.  It is only a fraction as compared to the millions of sellers.  So the fraction here nor on the threads can speak for the majority accurately.  It certainly a great way to get information and discuss things.  But it can't give you a full picture.
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Oct 10 13:59:21 2013
Marie - you are correct that theres no hard evidence - but the facts - the outcome of the purges DO provide details of what is going in eBays mind.

NO major corporation or manufactorer is getting kicked off eBay - never, ever.

Not even people like Skullcandy who lied to VERO about thier accusations concerning non dealers listlings and whether or not they were counterfeit or not. Is lying to VERO not enough? NO - cause of the funds (FVFs).

When I read through eBays own boards and people talk about being kicked off, suspended, VEROd .. its NEVER anyone large ... why? Its always small mom and pop people.

Yes there are alot of bad sellers, yes those sellers are mostly smaller people (toys r us provides a lousy shopping experience but doesnt sell fakes etc) so the people actually being removed are small sellers.

My original point is that theres no appeal process, no one to talk to about it if you are just abit shy in your feedbacks or DSRs (real life does sometimes get in the way of eBay).

The purges have become eBays revenge for not doing everything as they want it ... "even though they are just a venue".

If you sell fakes - you deserve to be kicked.

If you collect money but dont ship then u deserve it to.

How about the guy that just shipped a few late? Or became at the mercy of 2 or 3 people that didnt think that the shirt was red enogh (maroon vs fire engine red)?

I cant tell u - nor will I swear that its "only" the small sellers - but the anecdotal evidence seems to bear it out. (at least to me)  
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Thu Oct 10 14:10:21 2013
@pace

"but the facts - the outcome of the purges DO provide details of what is going in eBays mind."  What facts?  That is my question.

"NO major corporation or manufactorer is getting kicked off eBay - never, ever."  How do you know this?  Do you have access to information that the rest of us do not?  It may be true, I don't know, which is why I'm asking for direction to some real proof as to what the heck they are doing.

I don't know the particulars on SkullCandy.  I don't know if or how they were reprimanded or the full scoop on what happened.  I know some of what was reported, but that's it.  So really I can't factually comment on that.

"When I read through eBays own boards and people talk about being kicked off, suspended, VEROd .. its NEVER anyone large ... why? Its always small mom and pop people."  That was my earlier point.  This handful of sellers that come to the thread is a fraction of a fraction of the sellers involved.  Because you get some small sellers coming to the threads with concerns or complaints does not make them the majority or the only ones affected.  It only means they came to the threads.  There are very few if any large sellers that come to the threads.  The threads are mostly made up of small sellers.  But again that doesn't make them the majority of the affected sellers.


"The purges have become eBays revenge for not doing everything as they want it ... "even though they are just a venue"."  I don't know this to be accurate either.  I trust this is your opinion and I respect that, but your opinion, no matter how valid, does not make it a foregone conclusion.
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly
       
Thu Oct 10 14:32:31 2013
PayPal is to eBay as
Soylent Green is to people.
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Oct 10 14:38:21 2013
Marie :)

Like in police work or science .. when you dont have all the facts going into a situation, you look at the outcome(s) and work backwards.

Have you EVER heard of a large company (lets say ANYONE with an employee count of over 100 lets say) get kicked off eBay? Ive heard of them leaving due to poor expectations but not kicked off.

I've been here since 1998 and I haven't. I read most of the industry magazines (TWICE, Dealerscope etc) that cover eCommerce and they have never mentioned it either).

I was at Datavis when they promised 1200 people (sales) HP tablets at $99 and then didnt deliver. I was there during the conference call - and the answer was "if you suspend us or kick us off, you will miss the revenue from our 20K plus listings - and eBay relented.

Am I now at TRU headquarters in OH, no? but I can see the evidence - the DSR scores, the amount of listings, the feedbacks and make an educated guess (like that policeman or scientist) as to whats happening. Its not rocket science - not at all. It doesnt require "hard evidence", this isnt CSI.

Couple all that with eBay's own words about the value of large companies over small sellers (noise - their own words) ...

Put it all together and what do you get?

Is it possible that somewhere there was/is/were 1 or 2 companies with that many employees that ripped off buyers on eBay and were kicked - yes. Possible but not probable.

I doubt you or I will ever be able to get hard facts - just information from the small sellers here and on ebays own site that say the same thing over and over.

We may again have to agree to disagree :)
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Oct 10 15:22:29 2013
@Marie,
I get that we cannot say with "hard evidence" only small sellers are being purged but there is enough circumstantial evidence to make an assumption and come to a conclusion.  Even the law allows for circumstantial evidence.

As for the small fraction of sellers complaining verses the number of actual sellers, well surveys, polls, focus groups etc are only taken by small samplings of people but they are considered an accurate measure plus or minus a few points.

ebay does not seem to need FACTS or TRUTH when they decide to punish or kick off sellers for a very SMALL sampling of unhappy buyers.

How accurate can .05% of people be to the overall performance of a seller? Especially when TRUTH is not required. Yet ebay uses this.

You seem to want the type of "evidence" you know perfectly well is not available.  This type of proof could only come from ebay documents, which will not surface unless someone from inside let it out.
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Thu Oct 10 16:01:49 2013
It would be great to know how many small and medium sellers are still selling on ebay.

So many get kicked off or leave and go to an alt and then return to ebay.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Thu Oct 10 16:06:32 2013
It seems logical to me that if eBay had given the old heave-ho to a major player (ie: corporate seller, big-box seller, national chain, brand-name manufacturer, etc) then we would DEFINITELY have heard about it.

Without a doubt, if this were to happen, it would truly be newsworthy and it would not go unnoticed.

Lacking such a thing, I think it's safe for us to assume that the major purges of late are in all likelihood restricted to the ordinary-everyday, rank-and-file sellers.

It's true that we have no independent confirmation that Purge 2.0 was strictly limited to rank-and-file sellers... but we only need to think logically about what we *do* know... and give mindful consideration of the LACK of any evidence (that would surely be present) if a corporate seller had been thrown overboard.

It's BIG NEWS when a corporate seller VOLUNTARILY leaves eBay... am I alone in believing that it would be EVEN BIGGER news if one of them had been forced out?  
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
by: FurryFriend702 This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Oct 10 16:18:15 2013
The notion that Ebay should keep undesirable sellers just because they may also be buyers is silly.  That's like Walmart not firing a bad employee because that employee may also be a customer.

Clearly, Ebay did a calculus and found a bad seller is more of a liability than an asset.

As for people predicting the demise of Ebay, that's like people predicting the return of Jesus.  Always predicting, but never happening.  The fact is, Ebay stock has done extremely well over the last several years.  This is a five year chart:

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=EBAY+Basic+Chart&t=5y>
All
of you should wish you owned this stock during this period.

Ultimately, the company will do whatever it pleases the shareholders, as all corporations are designed to do.  As a seller, your job is to align your interest with Ebay's interests.  If you don't like a rule, you should follow it anyway.  If they have DSR standards, you exceed them – and not thither on the border and trying to get away with it.

People should read the posts on Seller Center of those who got banned.  If you read their listings and how they respond to feedback, it's obvious most of them are utterly lacking in professional standards.  You commonly read things like "0 FEEDBACK BIDDERS WILL HAVE THEIR BIDS CANCELED!!!".  Can anyone imagine corporate advertising using such tone?

I for one am glad Ebay is now expecting more professional standards.  Just because it was once a free-for-all where slackers could sell doesn’t mean it’s a long-term healthy thing for the marketplace.
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Thu Oct 10 16:19:53 2013
Maybe yes, maybe no.  I don't know, which is why I asked.  Many of us complain that Ebay doesn't tell the truth frequently, and I am in that group.  So why when Ebay announces why a particular large company is leaving Ebay do we depend that the reason they give is the truth.  

I am honestly NOT trying to say that small sellers are not getting hurt.  I know that they are, that is VERY clear to me as I know it is clear to many others.

But I'm unsure as to why we should think that a company known for not being forthcoming would be forthcoming when it pertains to a large company.  Possibly a reason for Ebay to cover the real reasons would be confidentiality and/or potential or pending law suits.  There could be many reasons why we don't hear what really happened.  

Now I'm also NOT saying that any large company left Ebay for bad behavior.  I am simply saying we really don't know.

It is just always assumed that it is small sellers being damaged and some dismiss even the thought that a medium or large seller may be hurt also.  I'm just trying to get some to look at it a little more broadly.  Not everything is always about only the small seller.

Again, try not to beat me with your words.  I'm not trying to disagree with anyone nor am I trying to defend anyone.  I am only trying to get some to see that it isn't always just the little guy that gets hurts.  Don't read more into it than I mean.
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Thu Oct 10 16:46:17 2013
--- ''It is just always assumed that it is small sellers being damaged and some dismiss even the thought that a medium or large seller may be hurt also.''

--- ''I am only trying to get some to see that it isn't always just the little guy that gets hurts.''

Perhaps... but the question then becomes'' ''who is harmed MORE?'' And: ''to whom does this happen more often?'' And: ''who is more vulnerable to eBay's shotgun?'' And: ''which size seller can more easily recover?''

The answer is pretty obvious.

The fact that rank-and-file ''small sellers'' are (seemingly) obsessed with the collective fate of ''small sellers''---at the exclusion of all other categories of sellers---makes perfect sense to me.

I'm not one to hold their feet to the fire for being a little biased, or for lacking razor-sharp precision when tossing their darts at eBay. I'm perfectly willing to give those folks a pass if their quickly-penned words---emotional and from the heart---are less articulate, and less accurate, than what we'd expect from a professional reporter.

Such hair-splitting exercises only serve to marginalize their fears, and to cast doubt on the validity of their concerns. Ultimately, the end result, from their perspective, is almost always the same... and it's always devastating.
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Oct 10 17:31:15 2013
There were no media reports of medium or big box high volume such as Toys R Us being purged back in August nor is there any announcements of that kind during this purge. We'd being hearing about it all over the place if it WEREN'T JUST SMALL SELLERS.
Perminate Link for eBay Seller Purge 2.0   eBay Seller Purge 2.0
This user has validated their user name. by: The End
       
Thu Oct 10 17:40:27 2013
OBSERVATION :
Over on iStockanalyst.com is the statement :
"eBay Inc. provides online platforms, tools, and services to HELP individuals and merchants in online and mobile commerce and payments...".
Clearly, this is NOT the case.
Ebay is prohibiting the free flow of economy via its smothering, anti-commerce actions.
PUT Ebay OUT OF BUSINESS.
(http://www.istockanalyst.com/finance/story/6601628/ebay-
inc-ebay-q3-earnings-preview-a-shaky-quarter-coming)
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