From the Editor
By Ina Steiner
eBay's March 2010 traffic numbers are down 13% compared to March 2008, according to Nielsen, while Amazon.com's traffic rose 17% in the same period - see the AuctionBytes Blog ("Donahoe's 2-Year eBay Legacy: More Listings, Less Traffic") for details and reader comments.
With eBay set to announce first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, Wall Street analysts are also talking about traffic to the sites in their pre-earnings reports published on Thursday and Friday. Analysts continue to cite concern over eBay's marketplaces business. In fact, an investment advisory firm who saw our report emailed me on Friday asking, "Do you think that these traffic numbers indicate that eBay is losing its business to Amazon?"
The short answer is yes. The long answer is eBay has more to worry about than just Amazon. Citigroup data shows Comscore traffic numbers for eBay and Amazon that closely mirror the Nielsen data we published last week - with one twist: the Comscore data shows Craigslist's traffic has grown at an even greater rate than Amazon's since 2006, while eBay has been steadily trending downward over the same period.
You can view charts and read my summary of the analysts' reports on the AuctionBytes Blog.
Analysts are also taking a close look at the changes eBay rolled out on March 30, when it converted all Store listings into fixed-price listings, making them accessible in the main ("core") search results. They do not view the move as a panacea, and they believe there will be a transition period as sellers adapt to the changes.
We'd like to find out how the March 30 changes have affected your sales. Please take a few moments to complete the survey on SurveyMonkey, and we'll publish the results in a future newsletter.
I'm intrigued when small third-party developers create compelling sites based on large marketplaces - GetItNext.com, a search engine for eBay, is one example. In today's issue, Greg Holden takes a look at another such site, Flippity.com, that started as a search engine for Craigslist but became a "local" search engine for eBay instead. You may not think of eBay as a place to search for furniture, but Greg shows that with Flippity, looking for a sofa bed locally on eBay is now a lot easier.
Lissa McGrath, meanwhile, takes a look at TurnTo, a site to help buyers ask friends for advice when shopping online. TurnTo charges fees to website owners (based on volume), but lets them try it out on a trial basis to see if it really helps turn their visitors into buyers. Social shopping is still feeling its way around, but one thing's for sure - all the kids are doing it.
On Tuesday, antiques-and-collectibles marketplace Ruby Lane will be announcing a new site that has been gearing up in stealth mode. We've got the scoop, look for the news in tomorrow's Newsflash newsletter. It's an interesting move, and it's certain to broaden the site's appeal to both buyers and sellers.
I've received several requests lately from readers who want to know if the AuctionBytes Blog has an RSS feed so they can add it to Google Reader, BlogLines or other feed readers. The URL for the feed is http://blog.auctionbytes.com/blog/feed.xml - and here's a live link to the AuctionBytes Blog RSS feed.
The AuctionBytes Blog, which debuted in 2005, is a great way to get breaking news as it happens and to weigh in on the subject of the day. (We also include links to AuctionBytes Blog posts in the Newsflash email newsletter.)
Thanks for reading, and please remember to take the survey if you are an active seller on eBay.com to let us know how eBay's latest changes have affected your sales.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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