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Mon Dec 12 2011 22:33:05

eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percent

By: Ina Steiner
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Dear Ina,
For me, the only reason I've been selling on eBay for years was their traffic. I always chalked up their huge fees, hostile seller policies, and the out of control buyer behavior (and the continual escalation of all of these things) as the costs of accessing that traffic to make a living. I am so grateful for your site's coverage of their new Cassini Project algorithm implementation 3 months ago. If it wasn't for that information I would never have been able to figure out what happened and what to do about it.

The other night I was up all night, upset by a particularly nasty & psychotic customer who's negative feedback will cost me my TRS discount, even though eBay ruled in my favor (only because I circumvented their automated pro-buyer ruling process by calling the Resolutions Department and dealing with an American human who manually ruled in my favor).

So while I was up, I went over the SMPro reports for my store over the last 6 months and ran numbers. Since September my sales have dropped to less than 50% of what they were, while at the same time since August I have doubled my amount of stock....which prior to September's algorithm change, always meant my sales would have increased greatly, nearly doubled, not cratered. (I sell single pieces of discount womens clothing.)

To me, this says that my traffic and exposure have dropped by approximately 75% since September (including regular blocks of usually 3 days at a time when I know my items go black, a few times every month). But this realization brought about a brand new frame of mind, once I calmed down. I have felt trapped and powerless dealing with the psychotic behavior of both eBay and their pet customers because I needed the traffic to make a living. But with the Cassini Project in place, that single benefit of selling on eBay is gone for good. This realization made me feel free, for the first time ever, to finally move on.

If I've permanently lost 75% of the traffic/exposure I used to get, then it doesn't matter if I move to a platform that only gets 25% of the traffic that eBay gets because I'll still be doing the same amount of business, especially if there less competition.....and I won't be paying hundreds of dollars every month for the privilege of being abused....so that's like built-in profit. The Cassini Project may have just leveled the playing fields somewhat for many of the other eCommerce platforms.

I know there are many people that have been saying to get the hell away from eBay and I've known for a fact that they were absolutely right. But as long as there was still that one single benefit holding me there, I just couldn't do it. Now that any hope of continuing to make a living there has been removed, I'm free.

Donahoe wanted the small sellers gone, but the fees and abuse weren't working on enough of us. In these economic times people will put up with almost anything if there's still money to be made. Well, the Cassini Project effectively turned off the money for small sellers. Donahoe finally found the trick to get rid of us.

I wonder how long it will take before other sellers (that don't read your newsletters and haven't learned about the Cassini Project algorithm changing everything) will stop wondering what they're doing wrong or what happened to their numbers, because they don't know that the traffic route has been permanently detoured around us, and walk away from their eBay abusers?

Thank you so much, Ina, for providing the information I needed in order to understand and make informed decisions accordingly.
The Cats' Personal Servant

Reading EcommerceBytes Letters Blog: eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percent
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eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow
Wed Dec 14 10:58:05 2011
I quit selling on eBay in February 2008 when the first of the massive changes (best match, no negative feedback for buyers) went into effect. At that point, my sales had already dropped significantly, and my listing fees were eating up the profit I was making from the few sales I made each month. Now I sell on eCrater, and though I don't sell a large number of items per week, because there are no fees on the site I get to keep more of the money, and I can set my own rules for what kind of payments to accept, etc.
eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: Pied Piper This user has validated their user name.
Wed Dec 14 11:46:22 2011
Marketplaces, as we previously knew them, are and have been going through huge changes, for years.

Mega Retailers who offer competive pricing and Free Shipping, will eat every small sellers lunch.

I don't care if you sell on eBay, Bonanza or any other, ''I never heard of you site,'' or better yet, ''promotion and advertising is up to the seller site''.

All small sellers, who can't be competitive and offer Free Shipping .... your days of selling are over. The demands of the Marketplace have changed.

BONANZA sellers, I only list when ebay auction listings are 50 free, for the month. I charge real-life shipping rates.

eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: auelox2
       Web Site
Wed Dec 14 11:55:40 2011
What's amazing is that I am a platinum powerseller and I do offer free shipping for the majority of my items and I'm still being thrown away.
eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: ex-eBay Gold Power Seller and TRS (left last July)
Wed Dec 14 19:49:59 2011
Thought ya'll would be interested in the PowerPoint that the inventor of Cassini presented about it at a recent confab.  Scary stuff....


BTW, if you use slideshare's search engine you'd be amazed at the number of internal eBay PowerPoints that are available on this website.  

Have fun with it!
eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: Y.D.D.D
Wed Dec 14 19:57:48 2011
@ PACE306

You said "'Despite all the problems dealing with Ebay in the past'' - this will only get worse next year when eBay starts in on thier new ''shtick''.

a) upc's will be manditory
b) 45 day returns mandated
c) much tougher seller standards
d) increased competition for sales with ebay handing the companies it distributes (when it bought GIS) first crack in every category.

and more!

Its gonna be a FUN year for small to mid sized sellers!"

Is this the truth ? Or is this your speculation of possible continued heavy handed policies to cripple small to medium sellers even more ?

Anyone out here, did you hear of mandatory 45 day returns, or UPC codes ?

Go back to what you were eBay, stop trying to be another Amazon, your not never will be, go back to flea market also, you will draw in millions of people looking for odd stuff, that will translate into them browsing other things

Nuff said
eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: Y.D.D.D
Wed Dec 14 20:24:43 2011
Well I did a little research, and have discovered that in early 2012, that for new listings and items being relisted, the refund methods we currently have available to us "Merchandise Credit" and "Exchange" will be retired so we cannot use them.

However most loving and kind ebay will allow us to be able to select from "Money back," "Money back or Exchange," or "No Returns Accepted". Geez isn't that nice fellow sellers ?

And also beginning early next year in 2012, for new listings and items being relisted, the 3 and 7-day options will be retired.

We will only be able to select from 14 days, 30 days, 60 days, or "No Returns accepted" ( How long they let us say no returns accepted, your guess is as good as mine, I say not to long, I would say gone for sure by 2013 )

Well I think I see where John Donahoe is going with this, I really have this strong feeling that those of us who say "No Returns Accepted" will be punished by Best Match, now way Lord Donahoe will give us the free agency to chose our own return policy without a consequence, that being I predict less exposure behind sellers who offer long return policies


Donahoe I am so sick of your reign of destruction over us sellers !

You are a control freak who wants to control every aspect of what you think we should do as a seller, with products we searched out and found, and sunk our life savings into

Then you want our customers to have FREE SHIPPING !

Then you want them to be able to BUY TO TRY when our profit margins SUCK SUCK SUCK !

Economy is very bad, people don't have money like they used to, you expect us sellers to give free ship, discount prices, buy to try, then get dinged anyhow cause buyer has PMS or in a bad mood no matter how hard we try

Dear Pierre, why have you let this Donahoe jerk do this to the people that built your site up and made it what it once was ?

I can't believe how hard it is to make a buck on ebay anymore and I am Top Rated

Lots of Blood ( Ulcer ) Sweat and Depressed Tears since 2008

Getting stomach pains now thinking of what Lord Donahoe is going to unload on on is Spring Seller update 2012

Also Cassini ? Or whatever it is your playing around with, this is the WORSE xmas season I ever had on your site !

I resent the fact that I was realistically a "Top Rated Seller" long before you came up with silly DSR's and Badges with almost impossible standards to meet and maintain, and since 2008 I have been punished with low sales, low traffic, extortion from unscrupulous nightmare buyers etc.

Now in the air I smell more torture coming in 2012 in the form of ridiculous abuse seller more policies

Donahoe I don't know about other sellers but I am damn sick of this, are you blind ? The site is horrible after your 3 year plan, you just about chased most sellers and buyers off with your constant change, you went overboard Donahoe !

Looks like in 2012 your gona keep pushing us sellers till we are all gone

Nuff said
eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: pace306
Thu Dec 15 10:13:35 2011

This summer eBay had a selective seller outreach program, aka they sent reps to large customers to talk about the ''future of eBay''. I dont qualify at all and I never would have known about it,  but by coincidence I was picking up merchandise at the company my brother works for - THEY got the visit from the eBAy goon squad.

The company he works for isnt Platinum yet - they were there to try and make it happen (they are close but sometimes run afoul of certain eBay rules so it hurts them). Sales wise they are ''spot on'' as they do 1m+ a year on eBay in car audio products.

I didnt sit in (its not my company or his) but got to listen from the next room.

eBay wants to be rid of the notion that it is the worlds largest garage sale. They want to compete and beat Amazon and will do ANYTHING & EVERYTHING to do so.

1) Clean up eBay and remove junky auctions. They bring in little in fees, they cause headaches, and clog up the computers. They also cause alot of customer issues as most auctions are NOT for new goods - but for used items (antiques, clothing etc). The defintitions of ''gently used'' and ''preworn'' cause customer issues. NIB is NIB - it either is or is NOT.
The culling of auctions has ''been in the wind'' for some time, and the complaints caused a HUGE backlash. Hense the 1 zillion free auction listings offers - ''you asked for em, you got em, now leave us alone with your complaints''. They cant totally divorce themselves from them - but are working to minimize them. Amazon and Buy.com dont have them - eBay doesnt need them either.

2) The catalog. Thats eBays big push for 2012. Already DVDs and stuff are in there. Toys are next, and electronics are on the march towards completion. There are a core group of electronics makers that will NOT consent to eBay using any information about thier products in thier catalog. They feel that eBay has become a defacto ''unauthorized distribution channel'' and they want it stopped. eBay will NOT however go to court with them - they should be allowed to use the info without permission - its allowed under the Lanham Act (which the Phoenix Univ lawyers at eBay dont know) but dont want to take on 1/2 the electronics industries. Sony, Clarion, Kenwood, Escort, Mitsubishi, Tanita, Tivoli, Skullcandy, Denon and more have threatened eBay - so eBay is going SLOWLY. As mentioned in my previous post - Skullcandy is ''sorta'' on board.

3) FBE. Fullfillment by eBay. GIS wasnt just bought for fun. You dont REALLY think eBay is fighting in DC on the taxes issue to protect us sellers do you?

4) UPC - at some point down the road, UPCs will become manditory for all NEW items. It helps distinguish items that have similar model #s and the database makes it easy for buyers to find items.

5) Protected categories. Not for 2012 exactly - but its something on the drawingboard to help manufactorers feel better about thier items going on eBay. Amazon does it. Amazon restricts items AND categories. As of now the negative backlash would be too great - but it will come (they were encouraged to do so after being told that Sears and Buy.com do it too). Only certain sellers at certain selling levels - who have perfect or near perfect records will be approved. As eBay will spin it ''it helps cut down fraud and disputes''.

6) Returns. The terms supposedly will change - as to what you can allow visa via customer returns. They didnt spell out details when they were there - but 45 days was mentioned - to compete with Buy.com and thier purchase of Rakuten.

Nothing eBay does is for the good of the seller. Ever. Its about squeezing sellers to pony up  ''the huge profits they make'' since we ''allow them'' to sell on eBay, but at the same time keeping enough around to make sure eBay stays interesting.

They want a high end mall with all the companies GIS distributes for - up front and personal when you log on - and the pages will guide you to their eBay stores. Thats why eBay has been pushing eBay stores for some time now. Its the format of the future.

VERO? Vero will continue to harass anyone that eBay commands them to. Through Trust & Safety, eBay will make sure that the manufactorers get the clear path they want, so that eBay can get them ''on board''. We all know theres no such thing as MC019 Unauthorized - its the catch all that they use when they want you to no longer carry that brand or product. eBay will never support you, and if you sue them (or try to) they will play ignorant on the matter.

Selling anywhere these days is tough enough - but eBay is now going out of its way to ''seperate the men from the boys''. I hope to escape the eBay reaper and continue to grow. If not, theres other places and my own site.

This is what I overheard when they were there in late summer.

BTW Donohoe is giving a PRIVATE speach during CES - if eBays doing so well, and theres nothing controversial in the speach - why is it closed door? What ELSE is he cooking up?
eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: TheCatsPersonalServant This user has validated their user name.
Thu Dec 15 12:33:01 2011

What's GIS? Is it somehow related to their aquisition of Magento?  Also, what's CES?

Remember that letter that was published by a former eBay employee from this summer (that eBay claimed was a hoax)?  I'm guessing a lot of what was in there is already coming to be....just as much of what was in the ''hoax'' letter from another ex-employee back in '08/'09? came to be.  What was in that letter from this summer is probably what's being discussed in the closed door meetings.

And don't forget the giant warehouses being built in Utah....To me, dead on proof of eBay planning their own Amazon FBA copycat program and more (possibly competing against their own sellers, too, ala Amazon).

I just will never understand why Donahoe accepted the CEO position at a company he hated and is embarrassed by.  At that level of the stratosphere, those people play corporate ring-around-the-rosy, so why not wait a bit and head up a company you like?  They're not like the rest of us, where if we don't have a job or income for 3 weeks we lose our homes, so we have to take what's immediately available no matter if we like it or not.  They have the luxury of waiting and choosing what to run, so why take a position heading a company you hate?

Emotional cripples should not be allowed to run things that affect the lives, businesses, and incomes of millions....but here in the US, that seems to be all we have running everything.
eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: Mindy
Thu Dec 15 13:24:39 2011
I totally agree with so many on here.  It's downright disheartening.  I used to be proud to say I made a living selling on ebay and that was even with 90% of my sales being as a trading assistant, selling for other people and making a measly wage some of the time!  Now just trying to get rid of odds and ends and barely breaking even.  Seems I sell a few items under $50, free shipping, yadayada, and my fees are instantly $90+.  I'm done, sad to say.  Ebay's loss.  Us ''small'' sellers made ebay what it is (was).
eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: Mindy
Thu Dec 15 13:27:13 2011
I forgot to mention, lost my TRS because of buyers who were NON PAY and were able to still leave feedback (1s and 2s). Thanks ebay!
eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: MR ME
Thu Dec 15 16:28:29 2011
Move on !

Help build other venues by both buying and selling.

ebay is a lost cause .

Walmart makes a lot of money , but would you like to work there!
eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: SusanT This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Thu Dec 15 18:09:13 2011
@Mindy yes it is very disheartening to see what eBay has become. But a lot of us have moved on. Especially since there are other venues that are actually cheaper, and get you higher placement on Google. I sell on Bonanza, haven't sold a lot there but the items I have sold I have gotten to keep most all of my profit since fees are so low.

A lot of us old time eBay sellers have moved on and "let go of our successful past". Lower stress, happier happier buyers and sellers, more profit and lower fees. At least at Bonanza the management works with you and listens to your concerns and suggestions.

Yesterday I checked a couple of my listings and they were on the middle of page 1 for one of them and another was at the top of page 2. This is a lot better placement than I ever got on my 13+ years at eBay.

The most important thing to remember is that these alternates do produce sales but you have to advertise and promote. I personally would rather have it that way than constantly have my listings buried so far the views are almost none existent (as they were constantly on eBay). My views on Bonanza have been much better than eBay views ever were.
eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: Mary
       Web Site
Fri Dec 16 05:02:46 2011
eBay cut its throat when it sent the small sellers packing. The small sellers are what started eBay and made it great. Nothing like biting the hand that feeds you. Most of us left eBay years ago, due to all the drama & fee changes. I have looked high & low for a new home. Then I found Addoway. They are great low fees, great owners who are personally involved and helpful. It uses the social graph of Facebook & Twitter to help you sell through trust & transparency. Come take a look, I think you will like it: http://www.addoway.com/ref/da02c9be551256c1c138fd1721e429da

There's a related article that Auctionbytes.com wrote just yesterday about them here: http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y11/m12/i16/s03

Hope to see you soon :)

p.s. We have a sellers group on Facebook too that is very helpful, which Fred & Anthony, the owners participate in here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/AddowaySellers/
eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: pace306
Fri Dec 16 08:58:20 2011

I dont know about emails published by anyone .. I received my info from listening to eBays own reps - the owrds comming out of thier mouths. Now it doesnt mean it will all come to pass - but its an indication of where its heading - and sellers (who get the stuffing kicked out of them on a daily basis)(how many Freebays have you had to endure this year?) have a right to know.

CES = Consumer Electronics Show. Its the yearly electronics show in Vegas every January. EVERY company you know and some no ones ever hear of is there. That our boy is giving a PRIVATE speach makes me nervous.

GIS=GSI Commerce - my appologies for the typo.

eBay has just announced that it has agreed to buy GSI Commerce, a provider of ecommerce and interactive marketing services, for $29.25 a share, or total consideration of approximately $2.4 billion. The acquisition, which will be financed with cash and debt, is expected to close in Q3 2011.

With more than 180 customers across 14 merchandise categories, GSI has long-term commerce services relationships with a wealth of retailers and brands. eBay says it expects GSI clients to benefit from eBay’s Marketplaces and PayPal services, particularly

Ebay doesnt need any mid level sellers anymore - thats why we are getting ''the treatment''. GSI is the web platform and back end to MAJOR store brands like Toys R US, Disck Sporting Goods, Calvin Klien, Ralph Lauren and more.

ALL these people with have channels, front page access, branding, and back end support from eBay.

How will a seller of jeans compete with these people? especially when they get eBay preferential treatment?! THEY wont get magic invisible DSRs and all the other garbage we get.

Ebay BOUGHT ITSELF sellers. If you look at eBays from page ... some of them are already there .....
eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: TheCatsPersonalServant This user has validated their user name.
Fri Dec 16 11:32:42 2011

Holy Moly!! I just took a look at GSI's client list!  Yep, Donahoe's bought himself the upscale mall he always wanted (probably w/ that $3B line of credit he just got).  No wonder they've gotten so aggressive with running us off.

The text of the letter by the former eBay employee was published here last August:  http://blog.auctionbytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2011/8/131
  and can be found in the second comment entry down.  It's a very interesting thread.

Now the end of auctions didn't happen in Oct when the said they would, due to enormous upheaval and outcry, but I think their strategy may be going something like this:  flood the market with millions free auction listings for several months (which bury & run off small sellers), and then with all that no-sell-through data for all those auctions, end auctions by stating the extemely high no-sell-through rate proves that auctions are not what people want.

As for the update for Feb, in light of the GSI info yo've provided, it's entirely possible that this may come to be in 2012.

I'm in the process of moving everything over to both Bonanza & eCrater, which have the 2 highest Alexa rankings for traffic after eBay.

eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: SusanT This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Fri Dec 16 14:35:07 2011
@The Cats Personal Servant
Very smart move to start moving away from feebay. They are not your friend. Just look at how many emails you get from them about all the great deals. These deals are not from us 3rd-party seller ''noise'' it is from the big boys.

At least on Bonanza it is more like a community. You will also have other sellers promoting your items just to help you out. Which is amazing.
eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Fri Dec 16 15:54:57 2011
Ah, the new year, 2012 ...

Thankfully, Visa is to launch its new “V.me” online payments gateway next year. The idea is similar to that offered by PayPal: you upload details of your payment cards to Visa—even if they're not Visa-branded—and Visa will process the payment without revealing your card details to the merchant.

At least off-eBay online merchants will at last be able to free themselves from the unprofessional, unscrupulous and “clunky” PreyPal. And, undoubtedly, PreyPal will then atrophy back to only it’s mandated use on the eBafia marketplace, from whence, without its mandated use thereon, PreyPal would never have had the success that it has had.

But, be in no doubt, except for its mandated use on whatever will be by then left of the Donahoe-stagnated eBay Marketplace, the clunky PreyPal will elsewhere be quickly buried by Visa’s professional offering, “V.me”, once it is up and running in 2012. No more underpinning of eBay’s sagging bottom line by PreyPal.

What will the “eBafia Don” do then? Maybe, if Mittless Romney wins the GOP nomination he will pick his fellow “Pain from Bain”, Donahoe, as his running mate …

PayPal claims PayPal Is Not a Payments Processor!

And, don't ever forget Ming's Law: eBay lies, always has, always will.

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking.

eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: Chris
Sat Dec 17 10:42:39 2011
You all talking about this Cassini thing, what is it and how can I find out about it. getting info on that is appreciated. My sales on ebay has dropped almost to a stand still need some help here
eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: sayonara ebay
Sat Dec 17 14:34:39 2011
First try searching on ecommercebytes search with Cassini. That should get you to the recent articles. Then try general search.
eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen   eBay Seller Moves on after Traffic Drops 75 Percen
by: Y.D.D.D
Sat Dec 17 18:13:46 2011
Lord Donahoe, hey 2012 brings in 14 day minimum return policy to improve consumer confidence !

That is fine, but if you want me to offer minimum of 2 weeks to let people use my items then return them, then the least you could do is giver us sellers the FVF and listing, and Pay Pal fee's back when one of the buyers decides after 14 days they want a refund

Donahoe in the name of fairness and mercy, please grant us sellers the FVF, listing and Pay Pal fee's back on returns becuase that is not fair if you don't buyer wins, ebay wins, pay pal wins sellers lose once more that are not huge manufacturers

Your an unjust, unrighteous man in my opinion Donahoe, you treat us sellers like cruelty to animals ( the eBay sellers like me and others are your animals )


Nuff said

Nuff said
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