EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 254 - January 10, 2010 - ISSN 1528-6703     6 of 6

AuctionBytes Soundoff: Letters to the Editor

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In every issue, readers soundoff about issues important to them. From feedback to payment services, from fees to posting policies, AuctionBytes Soundoff gives you a chance to air your views.

Send your letter to the editor by emailing with "Letters to the Editor Blog" in the subject line. (Remember to include your name as you would like it to appear.)


"Bonanzle Rolls Out End-of-Year Improvements" - Link

Dear Ina,
Thanks for a great publication!

I want to remark on the Bonanzle features you wrote in Dec 31st news. Bonanzle appears to be doing everything to promote its sellers! Really refreshing to read this especially compared to eBay's constant seller kicks in the teeth! Bonanzle may never become another eBay, but it sure is moving in the right direction to become a real challenge to feeBay.


Hi Ina
I read your old interview with Amazon sales director Matt. I just wanted to update you with Amazon policies for sellers and their practice of holding funds and I want you to pls investigate and write an article on this.

Amazon has less than 1% defect requirement for sellers and similar requirement on negative feedbacks. In any industry there is always going to be returns and norm is 8-10%. There is no way any retailer can hv less than 1% return on 100 orders ship. There are instances of buyer remorse, buyers cancellations, buyers wanting to return and many such cases where you got to issue a refund to buyer and amazon treats it as a defect.

Amazon uses this 1% defect ratio whip to hold sellers monies on very regular basis. With close to 7-8 billion dollar sales coming from 3rd party sellers they constantly are holding funds for 2rd party sellers and it has become a pattern. They don't answer phone calls they do not respond to your requests but they just hold funds.
Pls write on this on


"eBay Confirms More 21-Day Holds from PayPal" - Link

Suggestion for a poll - Should eBay post a notice requiring acceptance of a notice re holding Paypal Balance before each individual new listing?

ie; "By listing this item Seller agrees and accepts terms that eBay / Paypal has, in their sole determination, the right to Hold all proceeds of this sale, and all Paypal account balances without explanation or recourse. It is the Sellers responsibility to check their account to determine the status of collected and available funds."


"eBay Rescinds Invitations to Top Rated Seller Program" - Link

Dear Editor:
RE: Rescinding of the congratulatory letter saying I was a Top Rated Seller

I also had been originally a Top Rated Seller when eBay rolled out the program, but due to health issues of my son who broke his neck, the sudden hospitalization of my daughter, and the final straw of my mother suddenly dying, I had to attend to dire and pressing family issues which made me cancel my listings that were going and not relist anything for a period of time. I did manage to keep my power seller status, but then got notice that due to lack of sales numbers (hard to sell when you don't have listings up!), that I was in danger of losing my Top Rated Seller status. eBay did remove my status and I was back to being just a lowly power seller. My sales though had been very good during the holiday season and my DSRs are perfect 5.0s in every area, so I wasn't surprised when I saw my congratulatory email saying that I was once again a Top Rated Seller. However�when I still didn't see anything noting my new status yesterday morning, I called eBay to ask if what I had gotten was just a spoof or phishing email and was told that no, I most certainly did qualify for the Top Rated Seller Program and that I would see my little badge show up soon but that it took 24 hours to appear.

By this morning, January 7, 2010, when I still didn't see anything appearing on my account to indicate that I was a Top Rated Seller, I called eBay once again. This time I was told that they had gone in and recalculated my sales totals and that due to that, they were sorry but I now no longer qualified as I missed their numbers by just one sale and that even though I had done more than double my previous sales volume and had perfect 5.0 DSRs in every area, sorry, I did not qualify now due to their recalculations�but that I should keep up the "great work" and maybe with a little more effort on my part, I would qualify next time! HA! Talk about the ever moving "dangling carrot"!!

However, unlike your other sellers who wrote in, eBay must not have even considered me important enough to send me an apology email telling me that no, I did not qualify now for their Top Rated Seller status! I got nothing at all�.with the exception that when I went back tonight to look at my "eBay Messages", I found that eBay had removed my congratulatory email�.as if it just never happened at all! If I didn't still have my personal email from eBay stating I'd qualified, I'd think this was all a product of my imagination!

Right about now? I think I can probably sum up how many of us sellers are feeling in just two words: eBay STINKS!


I thought you might find this interesting. The link takes you to the USA Today website feature "First Monday: New in business TV, movies, books, magazines" from Jan 3, 2010. Scroll down about half way to the section titled "5 Questions for John Donahoe".

Question # 5 "What can buyers on eBay do to protect themselves against counterfeits and fraud?". Seems a bit troubling to anyone who is not a "Top Rated Seller" - it insinuates that the only Trustworthy sellers on Ebay are the TRS's. Unfortunate thing for the captain of the ship to say. We all know that there are definite issues with some bad sellers - but not all NON-TRS's are bad.

Thanks again and keep up the good work!! Happy New Year~ Michael


Just in case you haven't noticed it yet, here is something you may find amusing. In your well written article on January 7, 2010 "Study Shows PayPal and Bill Me Later Help Drive Sales for Large Merchants" (link). I was amazed at the numbers being presented. At first I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I would have been ashamed to present such numbers. I haven't laughed so hard in years.

"Forrester Consulting interviewed eight merchants." Forrester Consulting could only find 8 merchants to study? Oh, my gosh.

"Jim Hunt said the results reaffirm the company's belief that adding PayPal and Bill Me Later to merchant sites helps drive sales." I almost fell out of my chair laughing. 8 merchants, (HeHe) reaffirms his belief adding paypal and bill me later helps drive sales.

The study "found that merchants generated new sales 1-2 weeks after integrating PayPal and Bill Me Later on their sites." Every payment service I integrated generated new sales in days.

*"Merchants believed"? That's one big disqualifying statement for a research study. Belief is not fact nor does it have to be based on fact or any supporting data. People can believe in "The Easter Bunny". Jim Hunt used the word "belief" also. I know 8 merchants. (HeHe), isn't much but there should be enough data to form conclusions not beliefs.

Breakdown the numbers and like all ebay paypal numbers recently they are awful. On the low end by adding paypal only 60 of 1,000 sales were a paypal sale and only 6 of those were new paypal sales. That's not very good. For 8 merchants. (HeHe)

*Bill me later figures are exactly on half of paypal figures that seems odd.

This all leaves one to wonder why paypal would release such embarrassing data and be proud of it if they had better numbers. Maybe paypal is not as big as everyone believes.

On a scale of 1 to a Billion compared to paypal I would probably be a 1 but if I did a study of myself I could come up with more than 8 merchants (HeHe).


Also visit the Letters to the Editor Blog, here are links to letters published from December 20 to present:

How Do You Check MSRP on eBay Daily Deals? (January 9, 2010) - Link

eBay Rescinds Invitations to Top Rated Seller Program (January 7, 2010) - Link

eBay Sellers: Don't Park Inventory on Alternative Venues (January 6, 2010) - Link

Death of the Impulse Buy on eBay (January 5, 2010) - Link

eBay Mobile App Numbers Not Impressive (December 30, 2009) - Link

eBay Feedback DSRs Unfair to High Volume Powersellers (December 27, 2009) - Link

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

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