From the Editor
By Ina Steiner
After announcing in January it would change its fee structure (increasing Stores FVFs as well as BIN, Gallery and 10-day-duration upgrade fees), eBay dropped another bombshell: On Superbowl Sunday, it announced an immediate reduction in the insertion fees for auctions starting at 99 cents or less, and said it would improve customer service. You can read the announcement from eBay North America President Bill Cobb online (http://auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y205/m02/abu0137/s03), and our review of the reaction here: http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y05/m02/i07/s02.
When eBay makes its annual announcement concerning fee changes, it inevitably gets users looking around for new venues, this year more than ever. There are some established sites to choose from, as well as a slew of brand-new auction sites. The questions for new sites popping up are, how viable are they, where will the buyers come from, and what kind of infrastructure will these new sites provide?
As "out-of-the-box" auction software becomes more affordable, it becomes much easier for anyone with minimal technical skills to set up an auction site in a matter of hours. It's important to know whom you are dealing with if you intend to try out a new site. Check the Whois information on the site registrant (http://www.whois.sc). See how long the site has been in existence.
Personally, I don't feel comfortable giving information to a site that asks for my information, but keeps their domain information private. Do a Google Groups search on the domain name and see if people have commented on the site. Check our forums and other OAI forums to get a read on the site. Google the name of the person who registered the site domain.
Whenever you register with a new site, auction or otherwise, keep your credit card information as secure as possible. In this issue, I've written about a way to set up one-time use credit card numbers to limit your exposure to credit card theft.
Also in today's issue, David reveals the results of last week's survey on when is the best time to end an auction; this is the sixth year we've conducted this survey, and it's fascinating to look at the results over time.
Today, we'd like to know what you think about the use of private auctions on eBay. I invite you to participate in an online survey about whether you use private auctions and what you think of them http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=44335870901. We'll share the results in the next issue.
A reader wrote to me recently asking if I would consider expanding our coverage. "I humbly suggest that you put together either an Australia-specific issue or article, or one for Mac users of eBay ... as both I feel particularly isolated from the mainstream of eBay."
I don't have the expertise to personally write in depth about international issues, and Mac tools for eBayers are hard to find (and I can't evaluate them - I'm a PC user). This is where our forums show their strength! The forums exist for everyone to share their expertise.
We have readers from Australia, New Zealand and Europe in addition to North American readers. (Are there any readers from other parts of the world?) Sometimes the best information comes from letters from readers and from reading forum posts. And don't assume everyone knows what you know. Share what you know with the rest of us! Here is a link to the AuctionBytes forums: http://www.auctionbytes.com/forum/phpBB/index.php
There's lots of other good stuff in today's issue. Thanks for reading.
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 email@example.com.
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