EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 135 - January 23, 2005 - ISSN 1528-6703     7 of 7

AuctionBytes Soundoff: Letters from Readers


Hi,
I was hoping you could help me. I have been an ebay member for years. I have started an ebay business selling softgoods, mostly T-shirts. I opened the ebay store as well as listed auctions. My question is, I keep finding that my ebay listing fees (for the auctions) are costing me as much or more than my profits. Do you have any advice? I am a stay at home mom and really need to make this work. I found reliable wholesale product sources through trial and error, but I don't have a lot of extra money for these fees. What am I doing wrong? I do have a business license and tax id cert and am really trying to make a real business out of this. If you have any suggestions, or advice I would really appreciate it.
Thanks!
PS Love your site!

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Ina,
http://forums.ebay.com/db2/thread.jsp?forum=87&thread=410442935&message=419936605#419936605 How many other sellers are having this happen .....and DON'T know it ??

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Excellent article Ina! We need more like that It would be one thing if ebay was doing things to improve sell-through rates, which is all that matters to sellers. They have all kinds of rules which make it very hard to make stores successful and yet they raise the store fees through the roof?

They enforce a keyword spamming rule so you can't mention what you have in your stores on an auction page and yet their own "pre-filled" info violates the keyword spamming rules but that's ok? It's all about eBay gouging sellers for every penny they can to drive up the stock price and execute their stock options. They aren't concerned with the long term success of the site, which is directly tied to the success of sellers, only the short term-quarter to quarter goals of revenue gains to impress wall street and drive the stock to even more ridiculous heights.

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Thank you for notifying your subscribers about the online petition protesting eBay's fee increases. I think you may see a jump in the number of signatures because of your making us aware of the petition.

As a result of the fee increases, I have cancelled all of my eBay subscriptions, including: Store and SAPro. I have not yet decided what to do with my cottage-sized business, but I know that I cannot manage the substantial increase in overhead created by the new fee structure. Thanks for the good work!
dixie

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Hi Ina!
I am concerned about my business with the new increase, I will have to raise the prices, ebay will no longer be attractive for my buyers. I will sell less , ebay will charge me lees fees. Could you suggest any alternative auction page to sell gemstone beads?
Have a great day!
Frank.

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Higher listing fees - this is one of the many reasons I am leaving ebay and started to sell on other auction sites

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Hi Ina,
I am a faithful reader, but I must say that your coverage of eBay's price increase does not meet what I believe to be journalistic standards.

You've handled it with "soft gloves". When there is good news about eBay or a change at eBay, you are all over it in an instant. When there is bad news or news about bad things eBay is doing, you are slow to cover it and then give it a warm, fuzzy feeling.

I hope that you are not afraid of damaging your relationship with eBay - if you are, then you don't belong in a journalistic role.

We readers rely on you for the real deal, not soft stories that leave out hard information.

I believe that you know that you could give this much better, more honest, more transparent coverage, but you have chosen not to.

Please take a hard look at what business you are in and then tell us straight-out what that business is. If you are dependent upon eBay's good graces, then you need to provide a disclaimer to that fact.
Thanks for listening.
Jay

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Hello Ina
A very good evening from the UK.
You say in today's flash that eBay UK has increased the fees. In fact we are very lucky, there's indeed very few increases (motors mostly) and quite a few DECREASES (amazing I know), and the majority of the fees stayed exactly the same.
Cheers
Luis

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Hi Ina.
Did you see Meg on CNBC tonite ? She outright lied! She said the fee increases were only to the stores and that there were no fee increases to the auction side of the marketplace. What about the BIN an Gallery fee increases ? It's unbelievable how the CEO of a company can just lie like that and get away it. Of course, during the conference call she avoided questions related to the decrease in growth on the US site. She was asked about it twice and her response each time was totally evasive, as usual.
John

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Ebay is punishing the honest seller by hiking their fees. The US Postal service mail is also hiking their fees causing extreme hardships for ebay sellers to sell their items.

Ebay should go after the OBVIOUS!!! the sellers selling for 1 cent or less than $1 and having exorbitant shipping fees covering the cost of shipping AND their profit.

They are the ones cheating ebay out of their fees, yet ebay is punishing the honest seller by hiking up fees.
Cheri

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Hi Ina:
I can't say it's a surprise, but it amazes me that yet another business entity that is doing very well, dramatically increasing profits annually, is raising its fees once again. It would appear they want to rid themselves of small sellers who can't afford these increases. I pride myself in being able to offer items cheaper than the competition, but this is taking the fun out of it. Also, PayPal apparently will no longer allow a seller to deny credit card payments, something I've done to keep my costs down. Now I'll have to charge a fee to anyone using credit cards, which will probably decrease my business yet again.

The word "greed" is no longer adequate to define the mindset of entities like ebay and others. I've got a bunch of stuff to sell but I think when it's gone, so am I. As I say, this isn't fun anymore.
Jon

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Disclosure: the following letter is from a company that advertises with AuctionBytes.

Dear Ina,
As an eBay business owner, I will be the first to say that I like to keep the money I make. Cost of business increases are never a pleasant thing for my bottom line profit. (And whether you have a full-time eBay business, are a part-time seller or an eBay hobbyist, these increases affect all of us.)

However, now that the fee increases have been announced, what is important to me as an eBay seller is how I can fully take advantage of the tools and strategies available to me that will increase my profits and grow my business.

I want to keep selling on eBay and I want to keep making money. In order to do that, I need to adapt my sales to these changes and make them work for me.

The first thing I did after the fee increase announcement on Wednesday was to look at the numbers to see how they would affect my bottom line. Then I sat down and came up with some strategies that will not only offset the fee increases, but will also increase sales and profits.

I have compiled those techniques into a Free 19 page Special Report titled: "Becoming a Savvy eBay Seller...How to Turn Fee Increases Directly Into Profits".

It can be downloaded for free at: http://www.online-auction-articles.com/feesintoprofits.htm

The purpose of this Special Report isn't to discuss whether fee increases are good or bad, but rather to provide techniques and strategies that sellers can use to grow their eBay sales and increase profit margins.

I wanted to write to you about this because I feel very strongly that having a plan of action and implementing it between now and February 18th is critical for people in order to position their eBay sales for the rest of 2005.

Sincerely,
Lisa

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Hi Ina,
Just wanted to chime in on what I am sure will be many letters to you regarding the fee increases that ebay announced on January 12th.

Within an hour of reading the announcement I emailed Michael Dearing, VP of Marketing for ebay. I had dealt with him previously during the Item Specifics fiasco in June 2004 and found him to be reasonable and willing to really listen to what myself and others had to say. He even went so far as to call a few of us to discuss it more so I felt he might be my best first line contact. In my email I stated that I knew that Sellers would love to speak with him or whomever, inclusive of Meg, would be the appropriate person regarding this latest assault on the sellers.

I will say he responded quickly to me, though it was definitely the "company line." He told me that people can email him at md@ebay.com and he will ensure that it is read and reviewed by the right people. But of course he said that the long standing tradition is that ebay lets its announcement and FAQs speak for the company. He then stated that the entire team there would be interested in feedback from myself and others.

I of course posted this info on the PGP Board and let the Sellers Board know to email him also. Knowing how wide read Auctionbytes is I felt you could do more to reach the ebay seller than I can by going to each board (plus I don't want to "spam" the boards), so please let your other readers know that they should contact Michael Dearing about this. I think emailing him as well as voicing our opinions on the Boards may help.

I know the fatalists will say that no matter what they do ebay will have its way. Not necessarily true! Last June quite a few of us on the Pottery, Glass and Porcelain Board along with fellow ebayers from other Boards, got together and fought against the implementation of Item Specifics. In the PGP categories we won, they reversed the decision until it can be more thoroughly investigated and REAL input received from those of us who sell in those categories is received. This did not work as well for all the categories, Books and Art were both affected drastically by IS, and there are more category changes in the works. But it shows that if we all work together we CAN make ebay listen. The question for your readers is, do they want to? Why not invest time to help other sites give ebay a run for their money?

Also, UniteEbay@yahoogroups.com was formed as a place for sellers to discuss ebay and the alternatives. This is a great group of people who have already "been there, done that" and have great info available to those who want it.

There are many discussions and petitions going on at the community boards on ebay:

http://forums.ebay.com/db2/thread.jsp?forum=75&thread=410428837&modified=1105569051751

http://forums.ebay.com/db2/thread.jsp?forum=21&thread=410428720&modified=1105569030832

http://forums.ebay.com/db2/thread.jsp?forum=9&thread=410428977&modified=1105569253288

http://forums.ebay.com/db1/thread.jsp?forum=20&thread=410428966&modified=1105567855988

http://forums.ebay.com/db1/thread.jsp?forum=92&thread=410428775&modified=1105569505883

For more visit all of the discussion boards here: http://pages.ebay.com/community/boards/index.html Thanks Ina and have a great New Year!
Karen



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