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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: Gabby
       
Tue Nov 23 00:24:22 2010
Unfortunately The Media has made eBay. It has become a slangword like Coke. ''Put it on eBay''. We root for the uderdogs but unfortunately there isn't one right now. We wait for David to make his approach so he can destroy the Giant. We need an auction site that has ''Dynamic Bidding''. I.e., no more sniping. If a bid goes in within the last 1 minute, the auction gets extended another minute. And so on, till it's the Absolute High-bidder. Now, that's an auction.  
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Rick1313
       
Tue Nov 23 00:41:00 2010
And so the ''Dear, John'' issue is not being dropped to concentrate on what is the matter at hand, the OP's post.

People, you are entitled to your opinions but engaging with ''John'' is taking away from the OP's post.

We have all made our point about ''John''. Let the language of his first post speak for itself and the poster, as it looks like he will not apologize to the OP.

-----------

Now, as to eBay's Monopoly game and not announcing their changes...

I have recently discovered (actually noticed) that eBay has removed the policy violations count/maximum limit line items from the Power Seller Status page, accessed via the Seller Dashboard.

I cannot find any sight literature on the matter.

What was in place up to a few months ago, is no longer displayed or available on eBay.com's HELP pages.

I have brought this up over on the AB BLOG board and do not want to repeat all that text over hear.

I am long-winded enough as it is.

If any USA-based eBay seller can post the info here or there, it would be much appreciated on my end (and I imagine to other eBay sellers).
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Rick1313
       
Tue Nov 23 00:43:41 2010
Sigh.. over here, not ''over hear''.
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Judith Loebel
       
Tue Nov 23 00:44:33 2010
GREAT LETTER!!!!!   Thanks Betty!!!!    

The BIG issue here tho is---IF you are one of the "Noise" people like me who sell stuff we troll for at thrift shops,  church sales,  yard sales,  flea markets etc etc etc--WHERE ELSE DO WE GO TO SO WE CAN SELL THIS STUFF????   For me I AM selling on ebay---not EVERY item to be sure but then again I never DID sell EVERY item I ever listed.  And you have to be a little savvy to sell ANYWHERE--know your pricing,  season,  terminology etc.

So heres the QUESTION---Where do I GO NOW??????    Easy enough for someone to SAY--Oh Find another venue and get OVER yourself and Feebay----but I don't see/hear any REAL suggestions.  Not an AMazon sort of "thing".  Bonanza seems to have potential but as far as I can see is doing nothing; Etsy is great at what they DO but not ness what I do;   and so far that is pretty much IT.    I can't see trying to sell used sportswear and ski stuff and the odd jewelry and vintage stuff I sell nicely on Feebay on my own---I might just as well have a few yard sales.  And that after all it the PROBLEM---selling things that other people WANT who don't live ON MY BLOCK!!!!!!

Comments?????

Thanks again Betty---you should send this as a REGISTERED LETTER SIGNATURE REQUIRED straight to Donohohoho's office and home.  
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: rudeatroves
       
Tue Nov 23 08:50:42 2010
Thank you Betty Johnson. Very well written!! I quit selling on ebay in september of 09 due to  everything that you have stated.
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Nov 23 12:05:30 2010
@Judith Loebel - sell on Ebay and ebid and bonanza and boocoo and ecrater and etsy....get the drift?  You will find you'll begin to depend less and less on Ebay.  All the ones I just mentioned, except Etsy, are free to list...all it will cost you is your time.
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: sleepytime
       
Tue Nov 23 12:27:08 2010
Thank-you Betty for your letter.  There is nothing in there that I can disagree with - whether the letter was signed or unsigned - you told it straight.

I have to wonder what set John C off.  Could it be he is suddenly being threatened by the 'noise'?  Could Ebay be cutting into his profits, duping out his listings?  Something is going on other than another unsigned letter against Ebay.    

For those still selling on Ebay, my hat is off to you.  I couldn't (wouldn't) deal with all the changes and the strangle hold that Ebay now has on its sellers.  There is no way I could have predicted when I left in Feb 2008 that Ebay would get THIS bad!  I'm very glad I was in a position to quit when I did.

And 'Yes', I will sign my post.  SleepyTime - alias lebennington, Caretaker of the MOJO thread.
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Betty Johnson
       
Tue Nov 23 14:24:37 2010
Although I have much against Ebay, I did not believe that complaints in blogs, etc. would result in retialiation. I DID think they were too professional for that. Now, I am shocked to find out differently.

In the past couple of weeks, I have 'ranted' on PSU about slow sales and the fact that my visibility on Ebay search, is so low.
Then- quite suddenly, my 'As described' category in my DSR dropped (it was always at 4.9 in ALL categories...

THEN- I was notified that I had lost my Top-rated-seller status.

Nest- they took away my Power-Seller status.

After posting my letter here on Auctionbytes, my seller performance (which has ALWAYS been 'Above Standard' dropped to 'Below Standard' ?? I've done nothing to deserve this. My performance has NEVER been below standard.

Today- I received an email from Ebay- telling me that since my selling performance is 'below standard' I do not qualify to have MY STORE!

They will evaluate my record in another 60 days, to see if I have brought my performance up.

My feedback percentage dropped to 99.2.

I AM UNDER ATTACK!

There is absolutely NOTHING more I can possibly
do, to bring my performance standards up. Ebay, (or someone associated with Ebay,) is in control of this.

I called Ebay yesterday. The lady looked at my records, and said SHE did not understand- that she could see that my performance is great. She said she was restoring my Power-Seller status (I have not looked today, to see if it is still restored) But THIS tells me that ANY Ebay worker has the power to 'control' our records.. and WILL!

I had NO idea that they could actually take away my STORE?

I guess the 'next' card I draw- in this stupid game of Ebay monoply, will be "Do not pass GO- do not collect ANY money!"  Betty
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Mercy the Mingless
       
Tue Nov 23 15:20:24 2010
Sorry this has happened to you, Betty. I think there are a couple lessons one can draw from this blog. First, is that you can learn just about all you want to know about Colderice right here. Talk about hypocrite - bash someone for anonymous posting, then we find out he does the same thing.

Second, there is VALUE in posting anonymously. It doesn't diminish what you're saying, and it PROTECTS you from the eBay police, which I suspect a certain eBay Certified Instructor is part of.
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: summer in the city
       
Tue Nov 23 15:57:52 2010

I detect a bit of displaced holiday stress in this thread :-)

JD's plan was to drive small sellers off Ebay, hoping they would take Paypal with them, and replace them with chinese garbage sellers. Win-win for Ebay: Paypal becomes an even more valuable prize, and Ebay grows.

But something happened along the way...every little merchant I see on the other sites now offers Google Checkout. The forums are full of their posts saying that at first, they were hesitant to eliminate Paypal and worried that their customers wouldn't accept Google Checkout. Turns out buyers love Google Checkout and many sellers are reporting increased sales! Who knew?

Some sellers report that buyers have told them it's nice not to have to use Paypal.

On an unrelated note, it's been reported in Bay Area and international papers that Google is on a hiring spree, looking for over two thousand new employees, mostly engineers and product specialists.
Oh wait, maybe that's not unrelated...

The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Nov 23 17:42:40 2010
Hey Betty - sorry to hear about all your problems....you've learned a hard lesson.  In spite of someone saying "own it"....never ever put your real name down on anything concerning Ebay!  
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Tue Nov 23 18:01:04 2010
''In spite of someone saying ''own it''....never ever put your real name down on anything concerning Ebay!''

Looking back, I wonder if Colderice was ''challenging'' or DARING Betty to reveal her identity... for the purpose of being able to exact the kind of retaliation that many here already KNOW is happening.

He wasn't merely being critical... he was trying to anger (or embarrass) Betty into giving up information that he (or others) could use against her.

eBay's pattern of behavior has proved conclusively... without a shadow of doubt... that it, its employees and it's paid shills cannot be trusted.

The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: bob
       
Tue Nov 23 20:09:44 2010
OMG is "John Colderice" peeing his pants again? Somebody get him his adult diaper!
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Chuck
       
Tue Nov 23 20:11:38 2010
Betty's experiences prove once again what kind of Nazis are behind Ebay these days.
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: FedUp
       Web Site
Tue Nov 23 21:16:25 2010
So heres the QUESTION---Where do I GO NOW??????    Easy enough for someone to SAY--Oh Find another venue and get OVER yourself and Feebay----but I don't see/hear any REAL suggestions.  Not an AMazon sort of ''thing''.  Bonanza seems to have potential but as far as I can see is doing nothing; Etsy is great at what they DO but not ness what I do;   and so far that is pretty much IT.    I can't see trying to sell used sportswear and ski stuff and the odd jewelry and vintage stuff I sell nicely on Feebay on my own---I might just as well have a few yard sales.  And that after all it the PROBLEM---selling things that other people WANT who don't live ON MY BLOCK!!!!!!

Comments?????


Did you read my post on page 3? Start your own site to sell. Be your own boss unless you want to stay trapped with eBay. You will never know how good it feels to not having anyone tell me what I can sell, how I can sell it, what type of pmt I can accept, etc!
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Tue Nov 23 23:25:50 2010
''Start your own site to sell.''

You know... three years ago, I would have never considered having my own web store. eBay was just fine.

And even if I *had* tried to run a web store three years ago, it would have interfered with my eBay success. Or... I wouldn't have had time to do it properly, because eBay was keeping me busy.

Now? Things are much different.

When my items couldn't be found in eBay search results, my business started to wither away. This (along with idiotic eBay policies) left me frustrated, worried and angry. But it ALSO left me with much more time on my hands

It left me with time to research what I needed to do to open my own web store. How to run it properly, how to make it successful, etc etc etc.

Now, I have my own web store and it's SUCH A RELIEF.

I haven't completely quit ebay, but I can tell you that my own store is making nearly as much as my ebay sales.

I can also tell you that my own store is MORE than making up for the amount of business that eBay has FALLEN.

In general... I'm AHEAD OF THE GAME. Granted, I'm running two stores... but I can tell you that MY OWN STORE will continue to grow... and I'm equally confident that my eBay sales will continue to decline.

It would be a GREAT burden for me to quit eBay outright, and even though I absolutely LOATHE eBay, I have no plans to up and quit. Ebay wouldn't care one way or the other, and my family's budget would suffer because of it.

So my plan remains the same. Continue to grow my own store. Continue to use eBay to make contacts and introduce EVERY ebay customer to my store.

For me (and I suppose MANY MANY MANY others) there just isn't an ''instant'' solution... I think it's nearly impossible for most to simply ''switch'' from eBay to something else (the same way you can seamlessly switch from Verizon to ATT... or from Comcast to DirecTV) right now there is no equivalent eBay-like venue that will meet my needs.

eBay is still the (aging and faltering) kind of the hill. But this won't last long. Especially if they continue to implement policies that suffocate small sellers and benefit criminals.

The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Smitty This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Nov 24 00:06:57 2010
My Dear Betty,

I am most sorry to hear about your situation but once you revealed your real name, I fully expected the same.

John has to be one of the most clueless of ebayers, when he enticed you to sign your name. Everyone should know that Liveworld's contract requires them to monitor boards like this looking for any posts critical of ebay.

Anytime they can identify the poster, you see what happens.

Every poster to AB, or any site like this, should be very careful about any info regarding their ebay activities. Number of feedback, type of items sold, location, years on ebay, price range of items, number of listings etc, should be kept under your hat.

Liveworld employees can use that info to identify your ebay ID. Be very careful when criticizing ebay.

Phillip Cohen's and Ming's descriptions of them as a company, are quite on target.

Smitty
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Rick1313
       
Wed Nov 24 00:43:28 2010
As an example of eBay,inc.'s manipulation of a seller's listing...

About a year ago, on eBay's discussion board (before my ban by Mr. Griffith/eBay), I was talking about search results for sellers who have very high 30-day DSR numbers (that counted back then, big time) but did not have a TRS designation (and all the nice eBay-supplied verbiage that goes with it).

I was not a TRS seller, but some of my items were showing at the top of the basic search results, above TRS sellers.

I posted one on my item numbers as an example.

The next day, using the same search, my item was now dead last. Even made follow-up comment on the forum thread.

My items are on 30-day cycle. When I would relist this item, after a 30-day cycle has ended, it always showed at the bottom of the search result. eBay had put some attribute(s) to make sure it stayed there after reading my post (making a mockery of the TRS program).

With all store items being converted to fixed price format this past spring, looks like the attribute(s) were removed as my item started showing near the top of the search results.
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Wilma
       
Wed Nov 24 10:25:36 2010
As others have said, do NOT give up your name regardless how some will try and goat you into it. There are many ebay shills that come here and report right back to their ebay home base for a few brownie points and free passes.

These people are called rats, snitches, informants, Judas goats, shills, spies etc.

They THINK ebay likes them but the truth is, ebay just USES them. Nobody actually LIKES these people even those who gain the information from them because they know that they would SELL OUT their own MOTHER for "advantage" so they themselves are NOT actually TRUSTED.  They are just paid their 30 pieces of silver.

The difference with them and Judas is that at least Judas felt guilty for what he did and HUNG himself.  These people have NO conscience and love themselves too much to hang themselves.

When you actually peek into the real lives of these people 9 our of 10 times you will find chaos in every direction, which is why they seek to find FAVOR for being a RAT, this makes them feel better about their own miserable lives.  But what they cannot understand is that it is their own cowardice and evil actions to others is what is causing their roller coaster life.

The old, "what comes around goes around" is what is causing it.  Some even call this Karma.

So remember, RATS always end up living in the SEWERS where they belong.
The Game of eBay Monopoly   The Game of eBay Monopoly
by: Scotty
       
Wed Nov 24 14:33:52 2010
Aside from all the rumblings pro or con.....my question is a simple one:
Can anyone state what is good about ebay now?
I have tried to come up with an answer, but cannot.
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