AuctionBytes Soundoff: Letters to the Editor
By Ina Steiner
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 email@example.com with "Letters to the Editor Blog" in the subject line. (Remember to include your name as you would like it to appear.)
Visit the Letters to the Editor Blog, here are links to letters published from July 12 to present:
eBay Makes Me Laugh, Sometimes (July 23, 2010) - Link to letter
eBay Flat Rate Undercharges Shipping on Multiple Quantities (July 21, 2010) - Link to letter
Don't Buy or Sell eBay Accounts (July 20, 2010) - Link to letter
eBay Changed Preferences for Photo Permissions (July 19, 2010) - Link to letter
eBay Selling During the Holidays a Risky Business (July 14, 2010) - Link to letter
Striking eBay (July 12, 2010) - Link to letter
1) Thank you for including the links in AuctionBytes to blogs and articles about ebay topics, I continue to believe, based on what I've read, that some newspapers around the country have published scathing reviews of ebay's policies, based on the comments and stories those newspapers have received from their readership population. I hope that when someone who writes to AuctionBytes refers to a "newspaper article," that you will consider also adding the link to that article.
2) I find it very curious and weird that the California Better Business Bureau homepage does not produce any search or database Results about ebay, when the Consumer option to "check out a business" re: ebay" is entered. I got zero results.
Usually, the Better Business bureau in the home state of the corporation is responsible to accept Consumer Complaints from around the entire country, about that company, and, to post a general info statement on the complaint and its "resolution."
3) The Attorney General page of California is rather difficult to use, as I discovered. I went to it to see if the AG in California had taken any positive or negative actions against ebay's policies and practices in the past 3 to 12 months, toward ebay's predatory treatment of its Store sellers, fee issues, rolling blackouts, etc. I couldn't find too much, but then, I found it difficult to use.
But, ........I did see...that a person can sign up for a newsletter from the AG Office in CA, as AG News. This opportunity to sign up might be a valuable "point" for AuctionBytes to include in an article sometime, because, thousands of ebay sellers are losing so much money since 3/31/2010, losing money on the fees monthly and the crash in selling items from stores.
It is virtually impossible to "know" when, how, or "if" any class action suits have successfully been approved by an Court in any State because that information seems impossible to locate. I was hoping that the Attorney General page of California would have been a more productive resource. Similarly, the FTC Federal Trade Commission site is dreadful to use as a resource.
I've decided to post you than answer the various blogs & letters-to-the-editor.
It seems to me that your forum is trying to address may eBay issues via vox popular. That is a worthwhile endeavour & I appreciate the comments posted by most respondents.
It would seem logical, however, that certain problems occur in particular venues. I deal specifically in collectibles and have not had the "bad buyer syndrome"/"return syndrome" that others have. I have had my share of DSR issues, eBay changing-the-rules, fee increases, etc which does make me look & try other venues, but all in all, I am satisfied with my association with eBay in the sense that it provides me with income, so long as I have materiel that will sell.
To me, the buyer base on eBay is stable and my problems are finding alternate venues which will provide me a better return, i.e. cheaper to list & sell especially avoiding PayPal, which, many of my buyers (maybe 10-25%) would rather not deal with. But that is a function of my clientele. So for me the issue is of identification of "where you are coming from".
Just reading about the rants and raves about eBay management is entertaining, but hardly informational. The few people who post with a background of their particular area of expertise/selling have the most value for me and most likely have value for other readers here.
I honestly feel that you and I are not going to see any diamond/platinum or neutronium (sorry for the Star Trek reference, but it is appropriate IMHO) sellers visit here and certainly not address/vent any issues important to them.
So, would it be possible to have a field or fields to describe when a person responds what and where they sell or buy. At least that way, your readers can have the added value when reading a comment of seeing how relevant it is to their situation.
I also realize that there are issues in the veracity of just clicking on a drop-down-list or a text field you just fill in, but other than some long time posters with whom you can get a "track record", it is difficult to ascertain why this person made the particular comment.
Hating eBay is OK by me, I was in the corporate world for 35 years & most corporations are clueless/venal/greedy because of the structure of the organization, but that is my perception. The goal should be how to educate the readers of your site in ways to increase the value of the information being presented to them. And to that, I offer the suggestion mentioned two paragraphs above.
Transportation collectibles seller/buyer Mostly on eBay
I'm no expert, but I have been selling on eBay for 6+ years now, and have lived through all their changes. The one biggest complaint I have is the "best match" filter. When you look at listings under "best match," I know there is an eBay algorithm making the decisions, but there seems to be no discernable rationale for the listing placements.
If I had the power, I would use 3 main criteria (4 for auctions): Best "Price+Shipping" (lowest first), plus best Feedback Rating, plus lowest policy violations, plus (for auctions, lowest time remaining). Simplistic, I know, but when I am searching for an item to purchase, that's what I look at. I may not choose to purchase from the top listed seller, but it puts the listings on an equal footing as a starting point. Just my opinion.
Keep up the good work with your newsletters and blogs.
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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