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From the Editor – April 11, 2021

EcommerceBytes Editor Ina Steiner
EcommerceBytes Editor Ina Steiner

Small versus large – when it comes to commerce, big brands and chainstores seem to have the advantage over small businesses, so it’s worth noting two initiatives designed to help level the playing field.

The first initiative may come as a surprise: ecommerce platforms eBay, Etsy, Mercari, Poshmark, and OfferUp (but not Amazon) joined forces to fight what they see as dire threats to their base of small sellers. The five companies formed the Coalition to Protect America’s Small Sellers (PASS Coalition) to lobby lawmakers on regulations they believe will deter casual sellers and micro businesses from selling on their sites.

Among the PASS Coalition’s goals is to fight the effort to pass Marketplace Verification Requirements that would require online marketplaces to vet and disclose the personal information of third-party sellers.

The second initiative is called “Small Business Rising,” a new group consisting of over 20 independent-business organizations including the American Booksellers Association. Last week, it called out Amazon by name in a press announcement, and among its goals: “Stop tech monopolies, such as Amazon, from cornering the online market by breaking them up and regulating them.”

In the early days of ecommerce, sellers would often try to similarly band together especially when fighting unpopular policies of online marketplaces, but those efforts struggled in the dog-eat-dog world of online selling. Ironically it appears Amazon may now be an unwitting unifier of small businesses.

Speaking of Amazon, its Prime Day shopping event is usually held in July (except in 2020 when the date was changed to October because of the pandemic). There is an unconfirmed report that the sale will take place in June this year.

eBay is reversing its decision to hide shipping options from buyers and said it would now show all shipping services sellers offer in their listings, as we reported Wednesday.

Now for the bad news: sellers have not been getting emails from buyers through eBay’s messaging system, and vice versa. We first heard about the problem on Ecommerce EKG. Thanks to everyone who uses the global systems announcement board to report technical issues they experience online.

You may have heard of NFTs because of the great sums of money some people have paid for intangible items. It’s a difficult concept to wrap one’s head around, because you can’t hold NFTs (non-fungible tokens) in your hands – they are digital.

After Christie’s auction house sold a non-fungible token of a piece of digital artwork for nearly $70 million last month, we wondered about their impact on ecommerce – would NFTs soon become mainstream on sites like Amazon or eBay? In today’s issue, Kenneth Corbin takes a look at NFTs from a practical point of view, and Michele Alice devotes her column to the collectible aspects of NFTs (find out what William Shatner and CryptoKitties have in common).

The Auction Professor tackles a more down-to-earth topic, pitting Craigslist against Facebook Marketplace as platforms for resellers. And we wrap up with the always popular letters from readers.

Thanks for reading.

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.

One thought on “From the Editor – April 11, 2021”

  1. Small sellers don’t need CPASS or Small Business Rising.
    We need Congress to pass a law prohibiting ALL American selling venues from collecting any more than 3% on a transaction.
    K.I.S.s.

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