Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue May 16 2017 13:52:07

Is eBay Testing Zero Listing Fee Model?

By: Ina Steiner

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It is now free to list your items in the Guitars and Basses category on eBay, and the Final Value Fee has been reduced to 3.5% with a cap of $350 for non-store sellers and $250 for Store subscribers.

eBay already provides sellers with a certain number of free listings on eBay. It isn't clear why it would pick one sub-category to completely do away with listing fees - thus the speculation on our part. (Is there something we're missing?)

You can read eBay's announcement and its interview with Michael Mosser, general manager of Musical Instruments & Gear at eBay.

Not everyone believes free listings are a good idea - some sellers believe it makes the site too cluttered and provides sellers with no incentive to delete aging listings.

Let us know what you think of the zero-listing fee model in guitars (and why guitars?), and if you think such a move would play well across all eBay categories.

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Readers Comments

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by: drumnguy This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 16 14:14:24 2017

I bet eBay is loosing to Reverb.com on guitars and musical instruments so they are dropping their drawers to get sellers back.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue May 16 15:03:10 2017

There are too many listings as it is, with too few buyers. Those few buyers are mostly steered to the large enterprise sellers via "can't see me search".  Free listings site wide would mean that sellers' items become even more "invisible".

Interesting article, but I doubt very seriously that eBay will ever let go of those listing fees.  Those are a guaranteed revenue stream.

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This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Tue May 16 15:40:47 2017

If eBay went to zero listing fees sitewide, they would recoup these fees somewhere else. This would be certain.

And, as Ina mentioned, the site would be cluttered with constant relists. The backlog in completed listings would clog up eBay's servers when researching past sales, since sellers would relist their items every 7 or 10 days, rather than having them on Good 'Til Cancelled 30 day cycles.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 16 16:22:13 2017

1) eBays cokmputer software must think that they need help in that area. (Amazon does ti too from time to time on select categories and items)

2) does it matter what it is, if eBay will autorelist those listings 30 days from now without permission and THEN charge you the 30 cents?

3) NEVER trust eBay, anything they do has a silver lining for them and a lead lining for you. Silver and lead look alot alike but arent.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue May 16 17:54:06 2017

I could fall in love all over again!

Please bring 3.5% to Business & Industrial. . .

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by: JQ This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 16 19:09:29 2017

Personally, I would much prefer eBay adopted the industry standard and went to zero or very small listing fees and increased their final value fees to 15 to 20%

People who believe that too many listings are a bad thing - I understand the concerns, but Amazon has used the free listing high FVF model since it opened and obviously it has not hurt that site.

I would have several hundred more listings active on eBay (that are always active on Bonanza and Amazon) if they had this policy. The items are slow selling low price items that simply are not worth listing on eBay given the current structure. For book and comic sellers like myself eBay is a rather unattractive site for many reasons, but primarily due to their listing fees.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue May 16 21:38:37 2017

Hardly my idea of a level playing field when the FVF is artificially manipulated from category to category.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue May 16 21:40:01 2017

"Stale" listings?

Think again. When ebafia hides listings from buyers, most listings become "stale" very quickly.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue May 16 21:41:34 2017

@JQ

15%-20% FVFs might work for lower priced items in lieu of listing fees but such an exorbitant percentage would put of us who sell higher priced, quality items under.

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This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Tue May 16 22:02:47 2017

@JQ

If eBay could have a catalog (and they have tried) in which an listing can show EVERY seller and buying option of a certain item, it maybe can work.

They could get more on the back end, and charge optional membership fees like Amazon. But eBay will have to show ALL listings of an item, priced highest to lowest. And the shipping costs may have to be standardized like Amazon.

Seems like eBay would not go this route, since then they could not play their hidden listing games. A seller could easily call them out if their item is not included with the others. And it would have to be always available in case the price needs to be adjusted.

Amazon's catalog is a hot mess- if you look up an item, many different listings show up for the same thing. So the free to list model is not perfect by any means.

I personally do not care for the Amazon Marketplace ''reverse auction'' format, in which the mega sellers can use software to manipulate pricing. The powers that be at eBay may also not like the penny seller mentality that exists on Amazon.

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by: Frank Abagnale This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 16 22:11:16 2017

''I bet eBay is loosing to Reverb.com ''.

I totally agree. Probably the same reason why ebay lowered the FVF on postcards--to compete with delcampe.

Speaking of delcampe, it seems like Stefano Neis who was ebay biggest seller of postcards and had left ebay years ago and also commented here on how great it was, is now back on ebay with his regular selling name (scview). Interesting.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue May 16 23:57:29 2017

Amazon charges listing fees to non store owners.  They do it a bit differently than Ebay, but they do charge one.  It happens at the time of the sale and it costs 99cents.  On top of that they have what they call the Closing Fee and that is 1.35 at the time of sale.  On top of that they charge a percentage of the sale as the FVF, whoops they call it a referral fee.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed May 17 07:20:13 2017

Marie says " They do it a bit differently than Ebay, but they do charge one."

That is not a listing fee. Call it what you will, but it is not a listing fee.  A listing fee would be charged on every item "listed". A fee placed on an item after the sale is not a listing fee, regardless of who says that it is.

An Amazon seller could list 1000 items that will never sell.  He is not charged a listing fee on any of those items.  Even if Amazon calls it that, it is not technically a listing fee.

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by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 17 10:53:50 2017

If Ebay dropped listing fees site wide we would cancel all of our anchor stores.....That would be 1500.00 lost to Fleecebay. If hundreds of other Anchor store owners did the same thing the lost to fleecebay would be tremendous.

Ebay may be stupid but they just aren't dumb. So dream on.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed May 17 13:28:09 2017

@rexford

We are both right.  Amazon calls it a listing fee in some areas of their rules and it others it is called a fee for each item sold or a high volume listing fee.  So if this is an issue for you, you will need to contact Amazon for clarification.

BTW, I did state that they charge it after a sale, I said NOTHING about them charging it as a seller lists things.

I know it is important to you to disagree with anything and everything that I say, but stop trying to portray what I've said as something clearly not intended.

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Wed May 17 13:30:14 2017

@JQ is nuts.  A 20% FVF would put many sellers who aren't crawling yard sales for used junk to flip under.

eBay would have considerably less load on their servers if they showed all listings to bidders so that they could actually sell and thus be removed from endless relisting cycles.

That's really the root of their problem.  Hiding listings doesn't get the inventory off of our books.  As long as the inventory is on our books, we have to keep listing it.

Actually, when you think about it, eBay's hiding goes even further.  When eBay started hiding listings, I started putting the same items for sale on 3-4 other venues.  For people that shop around, that creates the illusion of excess inventory.  That illusion, in turn, makes eBay bidders cheaper than ever.  So on the magical day that the stars align and eBay decides to show a listing to a buyer, after months of suppression, the lower selling price results in less money for eBay.

IF the item hasn't already sold elsewhere and cut eBay out entirely.  Just something for them to think about during their next (un)thinking day.

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Wed May 17 13:55:57 2017

I can't even say free listings or lower FVFs would really help me.

1.  I don't have _that_ much inventory left that I can't cope with 50 free per month until it's gone.  Had eBay (and Hasbro and Entertainment Earth) allowed me to grow my business, circumstances may have been different.

2.  Hidden listings may as well not even count.  I already won't pay a listing fee because of visibility problems.  Making the listings free doesn't make relisting hidden stuff any less of a waste of time.

3.  eBay is poverty stricken.  Although my last eBay sale terms were already generous, I offered even better terms off eBay.  There were no takers.  Just a handful of paupers making the same lowball offers multiple times per day.

"Stale" is really a misnomer here.  How would stuff sell at local shows if it were really stale?  It wouldn't.  This concept of "stale" is just cover for venues to manipulate visibility and the parsimony of its clientele.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed May 17 14:31:10 2017

Marie says "So if this is an issue for you, you will need to contact Amazon for clarification."

LOL   Not an issue for me Marie. I know what a listing fee is and what it is not.

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by: ebayisscrewed This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 17 22:01:46 2017

eBay is getting their ass handed to them by reverb.com. Another category killed on eBay by chinese duplicate listings and junk. You just keep losing eBay.

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by: handmedownheaven This user has validated their user name.
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Thu May 18 01:14:14 2017

What few items I have left that have little to no views would have no views if they went to this.  I agree reverb.com is handing the greedy ebay management their asses.  eBay is dying a slow death, one department at a time.

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