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eBay Restructures Fees and Increases Seller Limits

eBay is giving most of its sellers a boost in the number of listings they can post with no upfront fees and is also giving sellers the ability to list more items by increasing listing limits on their accounts. The moves are clearly designed to boost the number of listings available to holiday shoppers, with changes going into effect on October 15th.

The head of eBay Marketplaces North America has a retail background – Hal Lawton joined eBay in May from The Home Depot, a chain of retail stores where he headed merchandising. His background could be a major force behind Monday’s announcement – many retailers do a significant percentage of their sales during the holidays, and eBay has been criticized by some for not having leadership with a retail background.

Sellers without an eBay Stores subscription are the biggest beneficiaries: “You’ll get an increased monthly allotment from 20 to 50 zero insertion fee listings for auction-style, or fixed price listings, in nearly all categories,” eBay explained. “This increased allotment also replaces the 20 zero insertion fee listings dedicated to auction-style listings in Collectibles categories.”

Sellers with a Basic Store subscription will get an increased allotment from 150 to 200 zero-insertion fee fixed-price listings per month.

eBay is extending the free listings that all eBay Store subscribers receive in the auction format, which are currently restricted to Collectibles, to Fashion categories as well.

Note that eBay defines Fashion categories as: Clothing, Shoes & Accessories, Health & Beauty, and Jewelry & Watches.

eBay also wrote, “to help make the most of the Holiday selling season, we’ve increased the listing limits for tens of thousands of eBay sellers,” though it didn’t share any specifics.

One reader told EcommerceBytes he believed eBay was losing sellers to Amazon where all listings are free, “so this might be an attempt to lure some back.”

But there was debate on the EcommerceBytes Blog about whether free listings were good for the marketplace.

“eBay should have ALL FREE listings,” wrote one seller. “That is what Amazon does and that is why Amazon has completely crushed eBay the past 10 years.”

But another reader wrote, “It’s the free listings that is killing eBay, and they are so obtuse that they don’t even understand that, because they DON’T USE EBAY the way we buyers do!” He said collectors must wade through thousands of relists. “The same overpriced or uninteresting items get relisted over and over and over. For hardcore collectors of unique or rare items it has become a nightmare. Constantly seeing the same unsalable items in our searches is driving us crazy. And it is killing auctions.”

eBay is also running a promotion to encourage sellers to open a Basic Store.

Monday’s full announcement is published on the eBay announcement board.

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.