EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 267 - July 25, 2010 - ISSN 1528-6703     1 of 8

From the Editor

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When my sisters, brother and I were kids in the 1960s, my mother fed us a constant diet of comic books to encourage us to read. She would sneak in some of those Classics Illustrated adaptations of literary classics along with Richie Rich and Archie and Jughead. It worked, and we all became avid readers.

Until I read John Wall's blog post today, I really hadn't thought about much about comic books being published digitally. As John writes, yes, there's an app for that: "last Wednesday was the first time that a comic I was going to buy in the store was also available via the Comixology Application for iPad. Instead of driving to the local shop to buy it, I just clicked and had it instantly."

Of course, comic books stores have been competing with sites like eBay for over a decade, but digital versions seem certain to impact stores as well, just as bookstores have been impacted by ecommerce and then by digital books. Nothing can replace the feel of a book (or comic book) in your hands, but there's no denying the convenience of digital content. Everywhere I go, I see parents handing their iPhones and iPod Touches to their toddlers loaded with age-appropriate videos and apps to keep them entertained.

Mobile is big business, and when eBay and announced earnings on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, they both bragged about the growing sales through mobile devices.

eBay said it was well on its way to delivering $1.5 billion of mobile GMV this year, more than 2.5 times its volume in 2009. said that in the last twelve months, "customers around the world have ordered more than $1 billion of products from Amazon using a mobile device."

But the two companies delivered very different news about their second quarter performance.'s second quarter net sales increased 41% to $6.57 billion, and sales in North America (U.S. and Canada) were up 46% year-over-year to $3.59 billion. eBay reported 13% growth in total GMV for its Marketplaces business, and 2% growth in GMV in the U.S. Marketplace.

eBay also made a significant announcement during the call to Wall Street that it never mentioned to users: eBay will be tweaking its Best Match search algorithm. CEO John Donahoe told analysts, "We're going to be increasing fixed price exposure gently, and ensuring high ASP items are getting appropriate visibility." You can see more about his messaging in Thursday's Newsflash article.

eBay again gets a poor grade for communication, violating its commitment to give users 60 days notice of significant changes impacting sellers. Just one week earlier, on July 13, eBay announced its third round of changes for sellers for 2010, and nowhere was a change to Best Match mentioned.

You can read our coverage of Seller Release 3 along with comments on the AuctionBytes Blog. And remember, new rules about Item Condition go into effect on Tuesday, and the new Open Cases policy goes into effect in September.

There isn't a lot of major news from the eBay-alternative marketplaces, but many are busy working on new features and improvements. Bonanzle's two new employees are working on improvements to the site after the company recently received funding, Etsy continues its international expansion efforts, and Artfire continues to work on marketing features for merchants. I'm always looking for updates, thanks to readers who send news my way.

I'm also interested in running more guest blog posts such as this one about eBay's Best Match, especially from sellers who have tips to share on successful selling on other marketplaces and on their own websites.

Have you ever thought about the value of your online business, or wondered if you could get anything for the business you've built up over the years? If so, you'll want to read today's article, "Think Ahead before Selling Your eBay Business." We've also got an article on studying trends to increase your sales from Lisa Suttora, and Greg Holden continues his series on shopping cart software for helping marketplace sellers set up their own ecommerce sites on the Internet.

Today's EveryPlaceISell Merchant Profile takes a look at Foxtrot Printing, which has gone "multi channel," and there are some interesting resources in today's AuctionBytes Ecommerce Resource Roundup. Michele Alice covers hooked rugs in Collector's Corner, and don't miss Letters from Readers.

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

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