AuctionBytes Interview: Dan Wilson Talks eBay
By Ina Steiner
Former eBay UK employee Dan Wilson talked to AuctionBytes by phone from the UK on Wednesday about eBay changes and his new company, Vzaar. Wilson thinks eBay's concentration on the buyer experience is "exactly right, and long overdue," as online buyers are becoming more demanding. He also likes the seller incentives, and pointed out that the FVF discounts are more generous in the UK than in the US.
He admitted he was slightly confused as to why eBay would ban sellers from leaving negative feedback for buyers. It won't affect a large majority of large sellers, he said, but, "it upset a lot of core, committed, old-school sellers," Wilson said, and it wouldn't be a battle he would have chosen, especially given the enormous amount of changes, including DSRs (Detailed Seller Ratings), which he thinks are okay.
Why is eBay decentralizing, with different policies and fees for different international sites? Wilson believes eBay learned a lot from their entry into China. "Local teams do understand their local markets," he said. "There is a secret sauce across eBay, but it needs to be tweaked" in different markets.
Wilson worked at eBay UK from 1999-2006 and has since written books about eBay. Last year, he joined Vzaar, which helps eBay sellers to add video to their listings (http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y08/m03/i12/s02).
Wilson said he sees the value of video in listings as buyers get more demanding and as the ecommerce landscape gets more fragmented - it's not just big players, he said. Since its launch in September, Vzaar has signed up 5,000 - 6,000 sellers in the UK.
Sellers can create an "about me" video to place in their listings. Some sellers talk about their operations, others create videos in which they explain their postage and packaging details - which feeds into DSRs, according to Wilson.
The biggest tip he has for sellers who are creating videos for their listings is to speak up. "Video is sound as well as vision. We have quite a few silent videos, which is disappointing," he said.
And similar to taking photos, it's important that the videos be well lit, with uncluttered backgrounds, and to remember to take 360 degree views of the item. Wilson said it's easy to take a good enough videos, whereas photos can be tricky. "Think of videos as a trust mechanism," he advised.
You can meet Dan Wilson in person at the eBay Live conference in Chicago in June where Vzaar will have a booth. Visit his LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/danwilson and visit Vzaar at http://www.vzaar.com.
And if a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth? Judge for yourself by viewing Dan Wilson's video on his eBay listing where he plugs his book: eBay UK Item # 150232447706 (User ID: direct-from-the-author).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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