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From the Editor – December 8, 2019

EcommerceBytes Editor Ina Steiner
EcommerceBytes Editor Ina Steiner

Nominations are open for next month’s Sellers Choice Awards – this is the 11th year we’re giving sellers the opportunity to make their voices heard by rating the marketplaces on which they sell.

Please take a moment to select your top 5 marketplaces via SurveyMonkey.com. We’ll tally the votes, and in the next issue, we’ll provide a link that will allow you to rate and leave detailed comments for the top 10 nominated platforms – and we’ll publish the results in February. If you don’t see a marketplace on the list, write-ins are welcome.

We’re closing out an interesting year! 2019 started with a bang as activist investor Elliott Management wrote a critical letter to eBay on January 22nd and ultimately succeeded in making changes to the composition of the eBay Board and in getting it to “see the light” and ditch eBay’s ticket-resale marketplace StubHub. (See the EcommerceBytes Blog post where we ask sellers what they think eBay should do with the $4 billion it received from the sale of StubHub.)

eBay is facing some big changes in 2020 as it searches for a new CEO, transitions to Managed Payments, and is forced to consider selling eBay Classifieds.

Elliot Management also suggested in its January letter to the Board that eBay itself would make a nice catch for some suiter: “eBay’s unique buyer, seller and geographic breadth make Marketplace a highly attractive acquisition target for both financial and strategic buyers.”

“Particularly if separated from Classifieds and StubHub, a smaller, pure-play Marketplace would provide a unique and financially compelling opportunity for an acquirer to immediately establish a leading e-commerce foothold in many of the world’s largest markets,” it continued.

Readers should keep in mind that Elliott Management believes Promoted Listing Ads and Managed Payments represent “tremendous upside opportunities” for the company and its shareholders. Not welcome news for those readers who are less than enthusiastic about eBay looking to sellers for additional revenue streams.

What has been much more impactful for sellers in the short term, however, is eBay’s Good Til Cancelled mandate, in which it made all fixed-price listings renew automatically. And as sellers are forced into eBay Managed Payments, they face the potential of higher fees due to its pricing structure: eBay’s payment system now charges a “per listing” transaction fee, unlike processors like PayPal that charge a “per transaction” fee.

Another interesting development that came very late in the year: Craigslist launched a mobile app. And surprise, surprise, it got some good reviews. It faces fierce competition from Facebook, but at the least should help sellers find yard sales more easily!

This time last year, taxpayers were trying to assess the impact of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act that was set to go into effect on January 1, 2019. While there’s nothing as major on the books for 2020, there are some important changes online sellers should be aware of, especially those who are self-employed. In today’s issue, Barbara Weltman gives us a heads up on what online sellers should know.

We also talk to SellHound cofounder Suzanne Wouk about her company’s apps that are designed to serve as “virtual assistants” to help online sellers, and she shares some tips on optimizing listings for eBay and Google to have a better chance of showing high in search results.

Today’s Collectors Corner column looks at Russian nesting dolls, and we end with letters to the editor.

Thanks for reading, and please take a moment to submit your nominations for the 2020 Sellers Choice awards.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.