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EcommerceBytes Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor
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Sun Nov 21 2010 22:50:07

The Game of eBay Monopoly

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
To the Editor:
Ebay, at one time, was a fun and profitable site for us to sell our items. We would pay Ebay a reasonable fee for listing our items, and they would run from 1 to 7 days - whatever we requested.

As soon as we would list an item, we would see it in ebay, in the order it was listed. Nearly everything we listed- sold. Nearly every item brought on bidding wars.

We hired Ebay for one thing, and one thing only - to advertise our items. We listed our item for up to 7 days - they would then be found among other like items that also had been listed for seven days - and in the order they were listed would determine where they were visible in the search.

Simple- Fun- Profitable.

We were making money hand over fist. I was paying Ebay $600 every month - and happy to do so! Soon, I attained Power-Seller status! THAT really made me proud to see that icon by my name. Being a Power-Seller didn't give me better visibility in search - nor did my 100% feedback.. but they were accomplishments to be proud of, and perhaps purchasing from a seller with those highly regarded statuses brought us more sales, and made a purchaser feel more secure. The sales rose even higher after that.

Of course Ebay had rules and policies, like any well-run company. There were certain items we were prohibited from selling, shill-bidding was against the rules, and many were suspended for this. Fees were occasionally hiked up - but these were all things that we expected, and could live with. The profits were still pouring in.

The profits were still pouring in because Ebay didn't mess with our search visibility- and THAT'S what sells our stuff - pure and simple.

Then... somewhere along the line (when Donohoe hit the scene, to be exact.) The "Brain-stormers" at Ebay decided to make Ebay a GAME.

New rules - sky-high fees. Bring in BEST MATCH - NOW your status and your feedback percentage decided the visibility of your items - Suddenly, our items were being swept on the back pages, below the items of the highest ranking Power-sellers. Now - as if that wasn't enough to put us in shock - They added they gave our buyers the right to anonymously score us on how well we describe items, how well we communicated with them, how FAST we shipped our items - and even (at that time) if they thought the shipping costs were fair?

Now.. those dsr scores also gave us better, or less visibility. Part of the GAME. Buyers could purposely and maliciously "ding" our scores - lowering our visibility - and there's nothing we can do about it. Ebay let us know that we COULD be suspended if we DARED to contacted a buyer, asking about the dsr score left. Buyers were leaving LOW SCORES in the shipping cost category - for sellers who had FREE SHIPPING! What does this prove? It PROVES that the buyers, indeed, could be malicious and unfair when rating the seller!

But the DSR system stayed.

Now, Ebay began pampering the buyers. NEW RULE! No longer could a seller leave a negative feedback for their dishonest, crooked buyer! They (the seller) was ONLY permitted to leave a buyer positive feedback! Keeping in line with the pampering...Ebay permitted the buyer to leave negative feedback for the seller - deserved or not! If the buyer was a non-payer... they were STILL permitted to leave the hapless seller a negative feedback! Lowering the seller's feedback percentage- as well as their visibility.

THEN - more NEW RULES in this game of Ebay. Sellers could no longer accept checks and money orders as payment, from their sellers. Ebay demanded Paypal payments only - We could no longer put in our descriptions, that we would accept checks and money orders. They DID give us a slightly grey area.. that IF the buyer actually EMAILED the seller, and ASKED if they would accept a check or money order, the seller could THEN tell the buyer "Yes, I will accept your check or money order" - but with our descriptions clearly stating "PAYPAL ONLY" - how many buyers - especially new buyers - would know this? This alone, took away 50% of my buyers.

Then, Ebay (or their Brain-stormers) took a look at ALL of the millions of dollars being paid in shipping fees. Apparently, they desperately wanted a percentage of THAT money too!

Suddenly, sellers were being encouraged to offer FREE SHIPPING! For this, Ebay would AWARD them with higher visibility !! Sellers began offering Free shipping - and of course, most were merely adding the shipping costs to the price of the item - Gaining Ebay even MORE MONEY in selling fees!

And now - not to leave ANY stone, with a dollar-sign on it, unturned - The Brain-stormers decided to jump in and grab a percentage of all that insurance money being spent on Ebay. NO LONGER could sellers offer the buyer the OPTION of paying for insurance! Now the seller had to fork it out of his own pocket or (you guessed it) tack that insurance fee onto the price of the item, along with the shipping fees.

WHAT'S NEXT? Will we be charged a fee for signing into Ebay? They're probably running out of OPTIONS, as far as things they can grab and make a profit on. Perhaps a dollar per minute to actually TALK to someone in customer service on the telephone? If we WANT it - and Ebay's GOT it - sooner or later...we'll be charged for it!

Ebay has beat the seller down - We're taking less and less for our items... our profits are disappearing, and it's nearly impossible to attain any search visibility - lowering our prices is all we have left... which, in turn, is what the pampered buyer is looking for in Ebay.

All of these rules, for the most part - won't affect the HONG-KONG seller, the huge drop-shipper, the DIAMOND Power-Sellers. or the Ebay sponsored large stores... But it's killing the smaller seller - you know- the ones who MADE EBAY?

No doubt.. Ebay is BIG! Their constantly changing ruled and policies have put BILLIONS upon BILLIONS into their pockets - but you know what they say... THE BIGGER THEY ARE - THE HARDER THEY FALL. I can't wait to see it.
(name withheld)

Editor's Update 8:30am ET:
Thanks so VERY much Ina- but I would have liked to have had my name added to my letter- Any way to do this? Thanks again, Betty Johnson
Reading EcommerceBytes Letters Blog: The Game of eBay Monopoly
Comments (107) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Donna Banks
       
Sun Nov 21 23:37:28 2010
BRAVO! This was finest summary and analysis of the ''new'' eBay that I've EVER read!

Nice work! Very well done! You're to be congratulated!

These are the reasons that I'm now doing 50% (and more) of my business AWAY from eBay. And I'm making more money in the process.

My customers LOVE my lower prices. I love not having to pay eBay's listing fees, final value fees, and paypal fees. I can take (lower fee) credit cards through my merchant account. I can accept check and money orders.

eBay is dead. Or dying.

eBay will go the way of AOL... just ''there'' but not the respected powerhouse of old.
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Nov 22 00:08:28 2010
Ebay will realize what it had just as soon as most of the sellers are gone and they see they still are not conquering or even coming close to Amazon's sales.  They also fail to realize that Walmart and even Google are breathing down their necks.  Soon it will be far too late.  I see paypal holding up Ebay until they can no longer cover Ebay's losses.  By the time they finally get around to cleaning house from Donahoe on down - Ebay will be a big dead elephant.  Maybe then, the buyers will finally turn to the other venues in full force.  I, for one, will be waiting for them ;-)
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: John
       
Mon Nov 22 00:32:37 2010
It's from : " (name withheld) " ... WTF? What kind of crap is that? Does anyone else find that a little hypocritical?

This person wants to know WHO is giving them bad DSR's, but will NOT sign their name to this rant? What a complete contradiction of the utmost audacity...OMG

Ok, maybe I am the only one that gets it?!? Come on, u got to be kidding me LMAO

You were too coward to sign the dang post?!? OMG that is hilarious. Ok, ok, sorry, but that is kinda funny to me.

John (ColderICE)
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: jeff
       
Mon Nov 22 00:48:59 2010
Nothing cowardice about it at all. OP is smart. OP forgot to add a sentence about all those who disagree with Ebay on their forums are pink slapped or suspended.

So they not only did all of this but also make sure you don't talk about it on their site.

Brilliant synopsis of Ebay now. John, by the way, maybe you shouldn't post your name.....not only can one do a Google search and see you have spoken at Ebay conferences (yeah, you are real unbiased) but your post made it sound like you were a 15 year old girl texting her boyfriend with "LOL, WTF" and all the punctuation.

Some people.....schmoehawks.
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: ZZTopshlf
       
Mon Nov 22 01:04:24 2010
@ The Iceman (Colderice)

I gather ''name withheld'' is still selling on Ebay, so you'd have to be pretty stupid to list your full name here, in my humble opinion. (Thank you for your great site and all the info that you provide, it is appreciated.)

I think John Donahoe is a total waste of oxygen and if I could get could get away with it, I'd love to knock every one of his teeth out.

That being said, I truly hope somebody writes a book someday laying out what a destructive force this guy was. I'd like to offer up the title ''The Disruptive Fool: How to destroy a fortune 500 company for dummies by a dummy.''

To me, Ebay now resembles the political calamity of the state in which it resides. It has become similar to a bureaucratic nightmare, where you have to jump through a damn million hoops to get things done. The need to constantly micro manage every damn detail and slam you with fees for lowsy service is right out of that type of playbook.

Somebody needs to come up with a CEO DSR system so that we can permanently suspend the disruptive fool...
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Nov 22 01:04:39 2010
John Lawless - I thought you were fairer than that.  You disappoint me :-(
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Anonymous (Try To Find Me!)
       
Mon Nov 22 01:26:37 2010
I think it's very wise for the victims of eBay to take the safe route. There are all sorts of eBay defenders (employed, contracted, or just otherwise wacky) as well as eBay competitors and other nutcases who just LIVE for shit like this and any opportunity to make someone's life miserable.

It's tough enough as it is! Why would someone put themselves at risk of retaliation, harassment, and e-vandalism?
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Rick1313
       
Mon Nov 22 01:35:23 2010
John's post is much like you see on eBay discussion boards.

One or more posters come in and try to belittle the OP's concern or try and to take the post off topic and away from the issue at hand.

In this case it is eBay,inc.'s accountability and liability to the sellers that are paying to use their services and who have took time and expense in building a business on the basis of what eBay,inc. is still proclaiming themselves as being....just a selling venue that does not take part in the transaction between buyer and seller (look at the liability section in the site literature labeled ''Your User Agreement'').

It is up to each affected seller to decide how liable they want to make eBay,inc. accountable for in breaching the User Agreement.
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: listings removed for telling the truth
       
Mon Nov 22 02:41:42 2010
john has simply added another of ebays monopoly rules to the equation -"go to jail" if you criticise ebay you will not pass GO.i made some comments on ebays forums and soon had my best sellers removed for some reason unknown
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Mr. Obvious
       
Mon Nov 22 06:29:01 2010
John, you should be out charging new people $99.95 for their Intro to eBay lessons.

While AB readers sit and complain, John is bringing fresh meat to the feast, like Powersellout Mom and the rest. John brings us interviews with heros like Randy Smythe, a guy who doesn't have to follow the rules you ''little sellers'' follow.

Yeah John, you're real edgy - one day you put out a little video blasting eBay's lack of customer service and three days later you are telling us to use your code to get 50% off an eBay ProStore.

We are not impressed with your opinions John. Go back and hang out with your buddies Griff and John Donnahole.
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: AB Fan
       
Mon Nov 22 07:08:52 2010
Hard to take colderice seriously. As a previous poster wrote, his blog is like reading a teenage girl's texts.

John, I notice you have no problem trashing AB in the PESA forums, yet you still come here to post - supposedly for SEO. Still trying to get your Alexa stats out of the 300's?
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Debra
       
Mon Nov 22 08:32:18 2010
I for one could not agree more with the OP.
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Kelly
       
Mon Nov 22 08:45:57 2010
I think whether or not the poster included her name originally or not is irrelevant. The post reflects the sentiments of many sellers.
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Anonymous (Try To Find Me!)
       
Mon Nov 22 09:13:24 2010
**********************************************
Hey Colderice... did you see the update?
**********************************************

Does the OP meet with your approval NOW? Or will you invent some other irrelevant excuse to be dismissive in an effort to marginalize Ms. Johnson's experiences and analysis?
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
This user has validated their user name. by: silent anarchy
       
Mon Nov 22 09:30:41 2010
So is it John (donaho)?? coldlice , All you ebay employees or paid defenders know full well ebay retaliates against members that speak badly or should i say the TRUTH about ebays unfair practices. That was a most excellent and inspiring post. As for me i have no fear of ebays threats. Ebay is an extortionist company period. The few people i know that still (try to ) sell on ebay are very unhappy with the way it has come but that is all ebays fault. The Others have left ebay for amazon (ebays bain) & bonanza.  As for me i left ebay when paypal was forced upon us illegally and i found other venues. My selling name on ebay was RUPERTUSDD851 , so john do want to reveal your employee id oh i mean sellers id?? , All the lies in the world cannot protect ebay anymore, the truth is out there.
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: My Own Website Not Quite Paying My Bills Yet
       
Mon Nov 22 09:47:34 2010

I said to myself, who the f*ck is John ColderIce? So I googled his name and the results I got back from google was "who the f*ck is John ColderIce".
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: ebay seller
       
Mon Nov 22 09:47:41 2010
I think anyone of the thousands of small sellers on ebay could have written this post.I used to average around 3 to 4 thousand a month in sales without fail and this is before free shipping,then I had to give free shipping and sales dropped to 2 to 3 thousand a month,then last march that dropped to a average of 1500 a month,this month it looks like I won't even break 1000 mind you this total does not include the free shipping that is not really free that I have to pay and ebay fees which in the end I end up making less than a resturant worker without tips !!! This is the first year in my 10+ years on ebay where my sales have gone DOWN instead of up in september october and november.If anyone had any doubts that ebay is broken it is certainly now official!!!!
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Mercy the Mingless
       
Mon Nov 22 10:07:11 2010
"I said to myself, who the f*ck is John ColderIce? So I googled his name and the results I got back from google was "who the f*ck is John ColderIce"."

Look in the dictionary under "self-promoting Ebay shill"
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
This user has validated their user name. by:
       
Mon Nov 22 10:14:13 2010
Things like what I see here are why I do whatever I can to persuade others to never user ever use ebay or paypal. IRL is the way I like to do it most though, having been a victim of ebay's crews of stalking frutcake and fanatics.

Want to keep folks away from ebay? Just tell everyone you can in overt or subtle ways that the site is crawling with spyware, trojans, virus and a haven for ID theft and hacking. It will ruin your computer at the very least, your entire life if you're not very lucky.(all true facts I might add)

Keep on trolling and harassing your victims sleazebay... hahahaha

The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: John
       
Mon Nov 22 10:56:42 2010
I am VERY fair and OPEN and I speak my mind and I sign ALL OF my posts!I have spoken good and bad about eBay and I pull no punches... But I always sign my name and I am a seller on eBay!

But look I was almost ready to post this letter myself on the site...they had me almost in agreeance with the concept of the letter until I got to the end. When I saw the signature line, I was floored and disappointed that there was no back bone. I call eBay out all the time and I sign it! I am not a hypocrite, I own what I say good or bad, right or wrong. You got to stand behind your comments or you will get no respect, that is what my daddy taught me.

You can NOT be annonomoulsly courageous. You can not stand up and be counted annoumously. If you want eBay to change you must begin to speak with authority and stop being scared, just STOP IT!

STOP being in the corner and cowering down, if you want to be heard you need to have a voice that is unafraid. When some is  ready to stand up and be counted, I am always open to that, but "unsigned" gets no love, sorry that is just cheap.

John (ColderICE)

I sign my stuff, others should too IMHO. That is all I am saying on this topic, if you said it...OWN IT!
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