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Sun Jan 29 2017 19:49:36

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

By: Ina Steiner

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If you're doing well with auctions on eBay, congratulations, because the bidding format is fading fast. 

eBay announced Wednesday it will no longer report Fixed Price and Auction format growth when releasing its financial reports each quarter. eBay Chief Financial Officer Scott Schenkel said the company would continue to provide the format split on its Investor Relations website, though for how long isn't clear.

We took a look at the breakdown for the most recent quarter. For the last three months of 2016, the percentage of auction Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) was only 13%.

To put that in context, auctions made up 70% of eBay GMV in 2007, and had declined to 30% in 2013.

Former eBay CEO John Donahoe was delighted with that reversal, but by 2014, he expressed concern that he couldn't stop the decline in the auction format, and said: "we're making adjustments to make sure that we allow consumers - buyers and sellers - to choose the format they want." Many readers weighed in when we blogged about it in April 2014.

Perhaps to take Wall Street's minds off the problem of fading auctions, eBay management came up with a new metric it has begun reporting: C2C and B2C. 

eBay said it defines consumer sellers (that's the "C2C") as sellers doing less than $10,000 in annual sales on eBay. (B2C stands for Business-to-consumer).

During the 2016 fourth quarter, 80% of eBay GMV was through B2C sellers that do over $10,000, and 20% of eBay GMV was through C2C sellers, eBay revealed on Wednesday.

What do you think of the changes in how eBay discloses these metrics, and are declining auctions a problem for the health of the eBay marketplace? Did Donahoe help kill auctions, or was its decline inevitable?

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Readers Comments

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

This user has validated their user name. by: IDKwhoIare

Mon Jan 30 11:09:26 2017

Of course Donahoe killed auctions, starting with the changes he made in 2008.  Every stupid decision since by he or Wenig has resulted in the death (for me) of Auctions on eBay. No need to outline all of those changes - just go read the Archives here.  

I don't shop there at all anymore - cannot find much with their Search.  Most of the Sellers that I bought from left, or if they are still there I send a list of what I want and they bill me directly...we do not allow eBay into the transaction at all.  The Auction format was so fun back in the day -fun as a Buyer is not to be had on eBay in any shape or format now.  Certainly none available as a Seller, for far longer.  

When I get an email from an eBay Seller with their stuff on sale or new items, I will sometimes go to eBay and search for one of the items - to see about competitor pricing.  I cannot even get that specific item to show up anymore.  I know it is there because I can click on the link in the email and get to the listing. Arrrggghhhhh. eBay sucks, no doubt about it.  Of course Amazon & Etsy are becoming hard to find anything in as well and that sucks too.  I guess I am saving myself money!  Can't find it, can't spend it :)

Funny how they despise their 20% C2C transactions, but would send out a pat-on-the-back tweet and have a bloody party if they could figure out how to get 20% more GMV from anywhere!  Dumba$$es.  Always and forever short-sighted.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 30 11:43:00 2017


No matter how fleabay tries to spin things, the company is corrupt and their corruption is catching up.

I will not be sad when / if they pull the plug on the corpse.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Jan 30 13:02:41 2017

There are things on Ebay that work well at auctions and things that don't.  My son recently started selling on Ebay and at this point is only doing auctions.  He is doing very well for a beginner and he is having a bit of fun doing it.  

Auctions could be viable again if Ebay didn't treat auctions like a 3rd class citizen of the site.  Some people LOVE bidding and shopping for great bargains.  They do nothing to advertise them and nothing to support them, so what would you expect but for them to be less viable in many cases.

Sadly it could be a great thing for Ebay and sellers once again if Ebay wouldn't have such a short memory on how much buyer use to love shopping at auctions.

Certainly with time things change and BIN listings are an important way to sell on the internet.  There is no getting around that.  But auctions can be a good way to sell certain things too.  Ebay just choosing to make them them less viable.  It is a segment of the shopping public that is being ignored by most internet sites.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 30 13:04:22 2017

Auctions in the long run, never worked for me.  When eBay introduced fixed price listings with no additional charge to make an offer, I switched.  Starting a few years ago at 30 cents a month, I closed all my auctions and listed everything fixed price.  My monthly eBay bill dropped from $500 to 100 bucks. Plus not listing auctions at an optimal time, freed up my evenings.

The bright side of auctions was overhearing a hopeful buyer plan on staying up late to bid on an eBay auction.  For many buyers this was FUN!  A fun game to play in the privacy of one's home.  Just do not hear that anymore.

I also agree with what another blogger said about ''metrics''.  To know my ''metrics'' all I need do is check sales and the bank account.  Simple...

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: lalaland This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 30 14:07:29 2017

  Seems to me Donahoe killed everything.  I need auctions as I sell things that are vintage or antique.
  Used to be, loads of watchers and many bids.  Now, very few, if any watchers, and 1 or 2 bids.  Seems once it gets a bid, it is invisible to others.
   

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 30 17:50:07 2017

"Did Donahoe help kill auctions, or was its decline inevitable?"

Donahoe killed eBay....period.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Jan 30 17:55:52 2017

Personally I thing that auctions with or with Donahoe would have declined over the years, but no where near as much as they did.  I feel there are categories that auctions are very viable and customers like them and there are other categories that have moved on to the customers preferring BIN listings.

I feel there is a market for auctions but again Ebay is painting things with a wide brush to make it appear one size fits all and that is just the wrong approach.

One size fits all isn't something that works at this level.  The site has great diversity between sellers and items as well.  But Ebay has ignored this fact for years.  Their myopic view of the sellers is what continues to create problems for Ebay and IMHO is what keeps them from [and us] from larger profits.  They just insist that a square peg should fit in that round whole.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Jan 30 17:56:06 2017

Whoops, hole not whole!!!

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: 27tcle This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 30 19:43:00 2017

I used to list stuff at auction at 10 bucks and let it ride. I had a 95% chance of at least getting my money back and more often than not getting far more than i ever hoped for. This all ended when ebay made buyers invisible to each other. At this point auctions are a waste of time unless you start at the true minimum you are willing to take.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

This user has validated their user name. by: Siobhan

Mon Jan 30 20:01:10 2017

I once ordered something off eBay only for it to be shipped in a NEW box via Walmart.com Sheesh!

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: Jim Y This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Jan 30 22:47:42 2017

Ebay should be a fun place to buy and sell.  If sellers want to list in auction format, so what's the beef?  Let them do it.  Should they be thrown into fixed priced prison?  For what?  It makes little sense.  Amazon is the winner because they are not dumb.  They constantly sell new products while eBay constantly attacks their sellers.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Mon Jan 30 23:19:11 2017

Agree lalaland. I have always suspected the same about auctions getting one bid and then eBay shuts them off to become invisible. Unfortunately we can't prove it even though from my own experience I would say this is 100% fact.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Tue Jan 31 06:34:39 2017

DEVELOPERS : Ebay has officially abandoned auctions. You are now free to create a Brand New auction site that will BOOM instantly upon the first day of its introduction. Name it "American Fortune". Use the Old Ebay blue print. Stay off the stock market, bon appetit.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Jan 31 10:55:05 2017

I was thinking of making a site called z50.com

Listings are 50 days for .50 cents or 5 day auctions for .50 cents

NO FINAL VALUATION FEE

Only 50 cents per listing!

If it's legal it sells. . .The wild west all over again!

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Jan 31 12:44:33 2017

The key advantage eBay had that singled them out from Amazon and all other ecommerce and was the true money maker was ''time ending soon''. Yes, it is still there but eBay made the default Best Match. We all know by now with years and years of many topics of discussion what Best Match is all about.
With ''time ending soon'' eBay possessed a sense of urgency to get buyers excited, to have fun and to actually bid, bid, bid and buy, buy, buy. Now eBay isn't even relevant and really just ''put on the shelf'' so to speak, to gather dust in the back of everyone's mind.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Jan 31 14:14:26 2017

I think too many sellers hold Best Match as being far more important than it really is.  Searches only automatically default to BM IF the person does not change the Sort By options to be one of the other options.

New members may not realize they can change the order in which a search is returned, but I think that most know how to change it.  

I don't hold BM as being as big of a problem as others do.  That doesn't mean I like how Ebay determines BM because I absolutely do not, I just don't think it warrants all the attention it gets from sellers as a serious issue.  I know others may not agree with me, I'm just sharing how I see this issue, nothing more.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Wed Feb 1 04:47:58 2017

You can't create a sense of urgency unless it is consistent. Sure buyers can manually change to Time Ending Soon from Best Match but the idea is to get a lot of people seeing and knowing it will end soon and they may miss out. Obviously some here just don't get it.  

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Feb 1 12:53:39 2017

@bitbybit

I get it.  I think I just see by customer in a different light.  Once a buyer changes their preferred way of seeing their search returns, it does not revert back to BM just because they close the program or shut down their computer.  When they come back, it will be in the same order they previously selected, so they do not have to change it every time they come back.

So if a buyer prefers to see it in the ending soonest order, they can and they can continue to see them that way until they choose to change the search return line up.

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