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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1451 - January 12, 2007 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 4

Overstock.com Eliminates More Auction Features

By Ina Steiner
January 12, 2007

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Shoppers viewing Overstock.com Auction listings will no longer be able to see other items being offered by a seller in a gallery showcase, and sellers will no longer be able to view how much traffic is coming to their listings. This is because Overstock.com Auctions has removed these features from its site, the latest in a series of changes to features and policies on the auction platform.

Overstock.com Auctions told its sellers on Thursday it had eliminated O-Tracker, O-Gallery, and the Most Popular Gallery, giving them no advance notice. Overstock.com Auctions Director Meghan Tuohig told AuctionBytes, "The features weren't as effective as we hoped they would be. We want to dedicate the resources in a more effective way."

As for the timing of the announcement, she said the features were just for "look and feel." "We are constantly making changes to the functionality and appearance to the site with no advance notice." Tuohig said only a small fraction of users logged in to use O-Tracker. Sellers on a thread on the Overstock discussion board seemed most concerned about the loss of the counter feature of O-Tracker (http://digbig.com/4qrcr). "We do plan to bring back a counter," Tuohig said.

In a board posting on Thursday, an Overstock moderator told users, "Please understand, we had no control over the sale of Sellathon to Auctiva, nor were we given much notice of it happening." Auctiva acquired Sellathon, which powers the O-Tracker and O-Gallery features, in late December. Tuohig said on Friday morning that she was unaware of the board post, and said the decision to eliminate the features was not due to the sale of Sellathon, though she said it was true they hadn't been aware of the sale until it was publicly announced.

Sellathon's former owner said Overstock.com had made the decision to discontinue the O-Gallery feature in early December. Overstock announced the changes to sellers on Thursday, coinciding with the last day of Overstock.com's auction subscription plans that allowed sellers to pay a flat monthly fee for listings.

Tuohig contacted AuctionBytes on Friday to say a correction had been made to the discussion board post, and the moderator had apologized to users for his original miscommunication.


About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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