EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 260 - April 04, 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.)


Re: PayPal Micropayments Can Save eBay and Online Sellers Money - Link

Hi Ina:
For those of us who sell on eBay, Paypal should make their "micropayments" automatic. Why should I have to open a new account for pete sake!? Why doesn't Paypal simply incorporate this into everyone's premier account????

Have not tried to set up the account, because frankly, eBay is not my primary venue any more, so I could care less and have no interest in playing their games. I can make more money selling at antique shows and flea insertion or final value fees......just a rent cost of under $30. I can make more in one weekend ($1,000) than I can in 6 months on eBay. John Donahoe has truly messed up big time Ina :)


Hello Ina
Regarding your article about the eBay Town Hall titled; "eBay Says It's Up to Google to Display Listings in Search Results", the article points out the kind of double speak that illustrates the typical eBay management mentality.

An eBay manager named Nick who was on hand to answer questions said eBay currently submits all fixed-price listings to Google on at least a daily basis. However, he said, "just because we get all of the information over to Google, doesn't mean that Google is required to surface that information when sellers search on Google. So it's really up to them (Google) at that point, and they make - who knows how they make their decisions of what surfaces and what doesn't. But that said, we have a team here that works very closely with Google, you know, weekly meetings, that are constantly looking to optimize those features for our sellers."

So, even though eBay has " a team here that works very closely with Google, you know, weekly meetings... " they profess to have no idea "how they make their decisions of what surfaces and what doesn't..."

The question for eBay: Why is eBay having weekly meetings with Google and yet after God knows how many weekly meetings there is still no idea how or why some items surface and some items don't?

One would think the outcome of all these weekly meetings with Google would be that eBay has a clear understanding what criteria causes some eBay items to surface on Google and others not. Is anyone at eBay asking questions of Google or even taking notes at the meetings?

If management is actually attending weekly meetings with the people from Google, and the best they can say is: they have no idea "how they make their decisions of what surfaces and what doesn't..." then there is a systemic failure in management that is not asking the right questions, or is failing to obtain relevant information as a result of these weekly meetings.

My bet is that optimizing listings to appear highest in Best Match does not result in successful placement in Google, that the two search methods are at odds with each other.

Further, I believe that eBay's inability to determine "how they make their decisions of what surfaces and what doesn't..." is rooted in eBay's self interest of maintaining the ability to manipulate seller visibility inside eBay at the expense of successful visibility in Google, thus the best SEO practices for Google are at odds with eBay's own goals.

In the meantime, we have ineffective eBay management conducting weekly meetings with Google yet they are unable to provide real answers to sellers questions and simply shrug their shoulders. At this stage of the game, " I dunno" coming from eBay management indicates an incredible disconnect which seems to be systemic across eBay's entire management team. They go to meetings and walk away with zero information to help sellers.

eBay sellers are entitled to better answers.
Regards, Ric


Dear Ina,
Here's a helpful tip that may be helpful to you and your readers.

When reviewing feedback comments on (the US site) it's often difficult to zero-in on negative and neutral comments. If those comments are not recent, you need to click through page after page of comments to find the ones you're most interested in.

Fortunately, there's an easier way. The Australian version of eBay provides its users with links display ONLY the negative feedback, or ONLY the neutral feedback.

Here's what to do:

1) When viewing the feedback page on the US eBay site, the URL (web address) will appear as shown below:

2) To view the same page on the Australian eBay site, just insert ".au" (dot AU) immediately after ".com" to the web address as shown.

Submit the modified link and... G'day! The Australian version of feedback is displayed. It's almost identical, except for one important addition. Look closely and you'll see that that the numbers indicating the total negative and neutral feedback are now clickable links.

Just click the one you're interested in, and you'll be able to view every negative or neutral comment grouped together on a single page. No more time-consuming searches through a seller's feedback history. Now you can easily get a better picture of what to expect from someone you're about to purchase from.

With a single click, you'll be able to determine if the seller has a chronic problem that's likely to affect your transaction. Perhaps you'll discover that the negative feedback comments only relate a specific low-quality item, and are NOT an indication of how the seller does business. Or, it could also be that the seller had the simple misfortune of dealing with an unreasonable and hard-to-please customer.

Unfortunately, the NUMBERS ALONE are not enough to tell the story. In order to see the entire picture and to get a better understanding of what to expect, it's helpful to see the actual comments and the seller's responses.
Kind regards,
A Loyal Reader


Also visit the Letters to the Editor Blog, here are links to letters published from March 21 to present:

eBay Response on Shipping DSRs Is Disingenuous (April 3, 2010) - Link

Experiences Show PayPal Not Protecting Sellers (March 30, 2010) - Link

eBay Allows Feedback Extortion (March 28, 2010) - Link

PayPal Verification Highlights Communication Issues (March 28, 2010) - Link

eBay Won't Change How Auctions Appear in Search (March 26, 2010) - Link

USPS Package Ping Pong (March 23, 2010) - Link

Caught in eBay Trust and Safety Net (March 22, 2010) - 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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