EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 138 - March 06, 2005 - ISSN 1528-6703     8 of 8

AuctionBytes Soundoff: Letters from Readers


Ina,
I've been selling on eBay since 1999. My account was recently suspended from eBay for 30 days because I listed something violating eBay policy. eBay sent me several email warnings about the issue in late December 2004. I subsequently removed the item from Turbo Lister and felt the issue was resolved

The item was not re-listed during the month of January. When Bill Cobb announced his 5 cent listing day February 14th, the item was mistakenly re-listed (along with about 1000 other items) leading to the suspension.

I have Turbo Lister on more than one machine, and the item was not removed from inventory on one of the machines. While I believe eBay' listing software should do more to prevent this mistake, I accept full responsibility and wanted to share it with you and other users (in a way that does not violate any eBay policy) to help them avoid a similar situation. After all, I know that eBay is a part of the livelihood of a lot of users. No listing violation is worth suspension.

When there is a promotion I tend to list as much as possible and in this case the listings got ahead of me. eBay has had more promotions in the past 90 days than I can ever remember. I truly am in awe of sellers that can list thousands of items, keep mostly positive feedback and not violate any of eBay's voluminous policies. I am an experienced seller and was so concerned about increasing volume to absorb the new fees while maintaining high customer satisfaction that I made an error. I do wish eBay would empathize more with larger sellers. They denied my request to reinstate my account.

In any event, I read on the boards about some other sellers being NARU'd for various reasons such as VERO etc. While I read the messages, they didn't sink in enough. So I wanted to share my story with you.

Again, if you pass along this communication to others, please do it in a general way that will not violate any policy. Thank you.

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Hey Ina,
Just a heads up about eBay's modified check out process. It isn't working correctly. I really do prefer PayPal (okay it's really a love/hate thing, not a preference) but with the new modified checkout system it IS NOT offering the opportunity to pay with PayPal to some but not all customers.

There must be some setting somewhere that is different on those listings but I can't figure out what it is. They only payment option these customers are shown is "other". It doesn't specify what "other" is, it just says "other".

In their confusion over the matter my customers have started sending personal checks because they don't know what else to do. This just started to occur in the past few days to maybe a week. I'd write to eBay about it but that would be a useless waste of my time. That's all contacting them for any reason is anymore, a totally useless waste of time. I realize that sounds awfully cynical but it is just a fact. I think I can honestly say that contacting eBay for any reason by any method (Power Seller email or telephone support) has NEVER resolved or even remotely addressed my problem.

The people in eBay's customer service department, while frequently very nice people, are not empowered to solve problems in any way what-so-ever, so all they can really do is recite eBay policies, rules and regulations none of which are designed to solve problems.
Thanks for listening!
Charles

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Re: Best time to end an auction http://auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y205/m02/abu0137/s03

The following paragraph gave me pause:

"For the sixth consecutive time since we've run our "Best Day to End an Auction" survey, Sunday is the runaway favorite. Not only has Sunday been at least three times more popular than the second choice, but respondents have chosen the same TIME on Sunday in each of the last six surveys as well. "

What do you think the odds are that your survey has become a self-fulfilling prophecy? If your survey points to the same day and time every year, that's when people will list the most, that's when more items will be closing, and that's when people will make money - thereby causing them to list again at that time on that day. Which is cause, and which is effect? Just a thought,
Lisa

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Hi David,
I found your results most interesting. But, in the end, this is input from ebay sellers and is just their opinion, not factual scientific data, right? I was wondering if anyone had ever taken actual data from ebay's closed auctions and compared successful and unsuccessful auctions by ending day and/or time and come up with a percentage rate. As an exaggerated example, if 10% of all auctions end on Tuesday and half of those end with bids on them, then Tuesday would have a 50% successful rate. Now if the other 90% of all auctions ended on Sunday and only a quarter of those end with bids, then Sunday would have a 25% successful rate. At first glance, it would seem that Sunday is a better day to end auctions because so many end on that date.... but are they successful or unsuccessful? In this case, I would rather have my auctions end on Tuesday.

Just food for thought. Thanks for your newsletter. It's very informative.
Susan

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Re Wagglepop's Demise http://auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y05/m02/i23/s01

Dear Ina,
I wasn't surprised in the slightest when I read your newsletter today and saw that Wagglepop has disappeared. First of all, the name was ridiculous and something I just couldn't take seriously. Secondly, so many newbie sellers on Spare Dollar were praising it with no proven history. And Third - there was no advertising, no media coverage, no nothing - what seller in their right mind could possibly have thought that anyone was going to flock to WP instead of eBay.

To be a true business person, you must be able to assess and analyze new entities that seem to "pop up" (no pun intended) daily to take on eBay the Giant. Although possible, everyone has heard of eBay and no one EVER heard of WP and who would admit it if they did. For the sellers who foolishly spent hours upon hours of time setting up stores, listings and the like, shame on them for not doing their homework and possessing even a small modicum of business acumen where Wagglepop was concerned. While eBay will never be a seller's dream, in reality, it is where America goes to shop.

There may be a few who stray over to Overstock and Wagglepop, but in reality, eBay is well known, has media coverage for recognizability and they are the unsurpassed top of the list of auction venues in the US and internationally..period. It's a fact and that can't be changed.

Just my humble opinion and I am one who realized eBay's strength in the industry, regardless of pricing changes, you merely assess how it affects your business, revamp your fees to clients and move along. No other auction venue has given a seller more exposure than eBay via the media. A positive approach would be for disgruntled sellers to flood eBay with requests for more media advertising - they do owe the sellers that and on a regular basis.
Mindy

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Hi Ina,
Re: Wagglepop - interesting report. I ran a whois inquiry and saw that the guy just bought the domain name at the end of November. Clearly, he was a dreamer who launched too quickly without sufficient expertise or research. I can't feel sorry for anybody who is crying about devoting hours to sell on this poorly-conceived new venture if they didn't do their own investigation into the credibility of the company.

The guy's been complaining on eBay boards too. Those little startup eBay copycats are never going to succeed unless they create something NEW as eBay was at one time.
Donna

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Dear Ina Steiner,
I just want to thank you for you bites. I also appreciated you reminding us about the free day listing after Christmas, but of course Ebay put it on a Monday when many folks were back at work and it was not free. But I was already with photos and items typed in with auction assistance and it was a great sales week for me. Perhaps you could persuade Ebay that they way to make friends and influence people on Ebay would be to do a free day and for once let sellers know in advance so they can be as ready as I was.

I also want to give my perspective on the hullabaloo about the price increase. Percentage-wise, Ebay is still tops for me. Shows which for me are generally out of Arizona where I live:

A show in Yuma in January (a real dead show, people, but no one spending ) cost me 38% of gross; a Longbeach monthly antique market cost me 29%; an excellent show for American art pottery in Pasadena (the promoters really bring in the buyers) cost me 22%; and Ebay averages between 14% and 20%.

It has actually saved me over the Christmas period from possibly losing a building that I owed back taxes. For those who complain, they should see the cost of running a retail store. Unfortunately, few have a comparison to go by. The percentage can be as high as 50%. They moan and groan and yet they do not know how lucky we are to have Ebay as a medium to make a living. For me in the winter (when normally I have great class registration, but I was down $30.000 last year from 2003), it has been a matter of survival, and I think its time that Ebay hear something positive from a seller. I love Ebay, I thank the Lord for Ebay because it has saved my rear ends so many times.

So please would you send my message to Ebay that one seller appreciates them and hopes they can just do a few extras (like a free day) to quieten those unhappy ones and give us positive sellers something more to crow about.

Many recent sellers to Ebay are often new business owners and do not know the rigors of a market that can down as well as up. My small retail shop, which is a combination of ice cream parlor with some light food and antique store, costs me over $2000 just to open the door. They should appreciate the fact that to be able to run a business at home and not have the overhead like any regular store is a plus. They need to be more realistic about the business world and how it works. Regards and again thank for your bites,
Shirley

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Dear Ina,
Thanks for your super work that you do everyday. I am an ebay seller very disappointed with the increase of the rates for selling. Ebay does a lot of publicity trying to cover themselves about the increase. I think they haven't done the Math. Let's say you sell items around $ 4.00. How much do you pay in fees? Is it worth selling on ebay? They double gallery fee, increase almost 100% the fee in stores, seller also has to pay paypal fees, insertion fee, final value fee, try to be competitive with shipping rates and so on.

I don't think ebay is aware of this. This will work for ebay only if ebay becames a FLEA MARKET, for a serious market the fees are too high. Besides paying the high commission, seller has to do a lot of work. Ebay has forgotten that selling online involves more work in designing the page that selling in a regular store.

Another concern is the customer service. Is ebay trying to persecute all the WELL ORGANIZED people that using ebay name try to get passwords from users and then commit fraud? Are they fighting about this? I personally receive everyday at least 10 emails supposed to be from ebay asking for my password?

There are some people out there playing with ebay name, are they doing anything?

eBay was a great idea for the founder, but I think now is abusing from the sellers.
Best Regards,
Francisco

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Re: Article on BidPay http://auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y205/m02/abu0137/s05

Thank you for a great informative newsletter. I just wanted to let you know that Bidpay no longer accepts Mastercard so there must be lots of other upset users who can no longer use that facility (which I agree is a great alternative to Paypal) because the only credit cards I have are all Mastercard! I find this very frustrating indeed. I did write and complain to Bidpay but got a response that more or less said "bad luck" - they didn't seem to care at all!
Thanks,
Wendy



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