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Wed Jan 2 2019 20:25:10

eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay didn't have enough listings in key categories in the run-up to the holiday shopping season, a company executive said as he responded to one of the company's most ardent supporters who felt eBay had blindsided him in November and December.

To the seller's dismay, sales of his t-shirts plummeted after eBay helped his rival (a platform called Teespring) to "flood the marketplace" during the holidays.

eBay Vice President of Seller & Marketplace Operations Bob Kupbens defended the company's actions in a podcast on New Year's Day where he answered the seller's question along with those from 9 other sellers.

eBay summarized the seller's question as follows: "I've been selling on eBay for a long time. I've had a bunch of great years. Recently, eBay let a large T shirt seller onto eBay and they flooded the market. As a small seller, how can I compete with larger sellers who overwhelmed the market with lots of listings?"

Kupbens said eBay determined that its listings growth had not been not sufficient to meet all the inventory needs of buyers it was trying to drive to the marketplace over the holiday shopping period.

"We looked at key categories, fashion obviously is a key category and said, wow, there's just not enough listings here. So we went out on purpose to try to add listings to the marketplace. 

"Now, did we overdo it a little bit in the Tee shirt category? I'd say probably. And in fact we're going to look at how we back that down in the very, very near term, but that said, we're always going to be looking.

"In fact, we're going to use the data from this holiday to understand better what listings result in what sales growth. Because if you're not growing sales, listings just becomes pollution and confusion, and small sellers may or may not be able to then compete with large sellers." 

Huh?

Kupbens then appeared to insult the seller, who saw sales going to his rival, by stating, "The best inventory is going to win."

He then he added salt to the wound by advising the seller to give even more fees to eBay by participating in its Promoted Listings ad program. "If you're worried about the visibility of your listing, I think that's an opportunity to give more promoted listings a try. Increase the rates and just see what additional visibility you can get by leveraging promoted listings and put yourself ahead of any of those listings that you might believe are flooding the category."

But Kupbens also said that when eBay adds more inventory, it brings more traffic and benefits sellers - this despite the fact that the seller reported the Teespring listings "robbed him" of his Christmas sales. (And then why would the seller need to spend more to advertise his listings through Promoted Listings?)

"Having more traffic in Tee shirts is actually a good thing for all sellers in Tee shirts," Kupbens said. "We believe there's probably a balance there, but for sure as you bring more inventory and you have more vibrance, more listings, more ability for a buyer to come and feel for sure that in this category they're going to get what they want, then that should be good for everyone. And so we're trying to make sure that as we add listings, we balance that in a way that it is truly good for everyone who sells in that category."

So staunch a supporter was the longtime seller Danny Hone (Honeville1) that he had signed up for eBay's new managed payments program when it became available in 2018 and even provided an endorsement in an interview on the eBay corporate blog.

Before Kupbens addressed the seller's question during this week's podcast, the executive had talked to members of eBay's merchandising team who said eBay was working closely with certain sellers: 

"We're able to pivot quickly and understand what the buyer's needs are. Go out to our sellers, ask them to source the inventory so we can be nimble enough to meet the needs of the customers."

"I think one other thing that we started to do in 2018 and we can really get better at it in 2019, is the specificity and creativity of one-P (1st-party) ads on the platform. 

"I think for a lot of major sellers, we did advertising packages in partnership with them that really allowed them to get the right inventory in front of customers who were interested in it at the right time."

The t-shirt seller indicated in his original question that he suspected eBay was allowing Teespring to sell for far less than eBay's regular longtime sellers - "3 out of 4 shirts on eBay are now from the Teespring marketplace. Under our rules, if ANY of the rest of us tried their model we'd lose in excess of over $500,000 a month just in listing fees. They obviously aren't playing by our rules."

Kupbens did not address what incentives eBay was giving Teespring.

The seller also asked, "If you'll do this with the Teespring marketplace, what assurance does anyone have that you won't do this same agreement with other marketplaces, like Etsy, Walmart, Wish or Amazon" - another question that Kupbens left unanswered.

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Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

by: Grady This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 2 20:52:43 2019

What part of

"Ebay despises you" are you still confused about?

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

by: AngelaTC This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 2 21:16:54 2019

Giving big sellers discounts was always destined to end up this way.

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

by: ssusannss This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 2 22:22:03 2019

Not enough fashion listings? Why don't they give the listings that are out there some visibility?

Can't wait for the next idiotic idea.  

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

This user has validated their user name. by: Beanie

Thu Jan 3 03:10:32 2019

So not only small sellers "noise", now they are being called "pollution and confusion". What a nasty, vile and greedy company Ebay is!

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Jan 3 03:11:30 2019

This is just a hot mess.  One of the categories I sell in Ebay saturated with more listings than is normal for this time of year.  I got buried.  It was beyond bad for me.

In the other categories I sell in I did fine.  But one clearly Ebay got some of the big mega sellers to just bury the competition as if us small sellers could compete with them in the first place.

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

This user has validated their user name. by: DeathFromAbove

Thu Jan 3 03:18:30 2019

We obviously don't all play by the same rules.  How to gain these advantages is as mysterious as their search engine and preferential merchandise hiding algorithm.  The idea the common man can buy a "promoted listing" and compete with a volume seller that tramples your category is just a joke, Bob Kupbens.  Don't believe you can actually say this stuff with any sincerity or belief in the thinly veiled garbage that flies out of your mouth.

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

This user has validated their user name. by: DeathFromAbove

Thu Jan 3 03:20:41 2019

Oh, and I'm sure since he was questioned with "tough" questions, he's going to go back into hiding for another 4 or 5 months - before ebay decides to do another filtered "podcast" or "webinar" where he only answers questions given to him by his office mates and OK'd by the ebay lawyer team.

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 3 03:56:10 2019

How much is ebay paying the watchdogs at the FTC?

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 3 04:11:38 2019

"But Kupbens also said that when eBay adds more inventory, it brings more traffic and benefits sellers..."

HUH? Could he be more asinine? If everybody tripled their listings, buyers would magically appear?
By what force of nature?

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 3 05:55:18 2019

Greedbay IS NOT YOUR PARTNER ITS YOUR RIVAL. Anyone who doesn't understand that needs to find someplace else to sell.

Greedbay cares only about one thing, their bottom line. And they will step on anyone who interferes with it.

Greedbay has no morals and the idiots in the Ivory Tower hate you.

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

by: ThebigR This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 3 06:07:53 2019

Guy is whining about someone has to many listings and doesn't feel its fair,but he has 2.4 million listings up and running on ebay maybe he could put up another million listings..

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

by: notfunanymore This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 3 06:59:04 2019

Flood the marketplace? Teespring has 80 plus million listings and shows 15k plus pos feedbacks for a month, has been a seller since 2017... the other guy has 2  million listings and shows 200 pos feedback for the same period, oh, and has been a seller since 2003.  How can that seller make money with 2 million listings and only 200 positives for the month??  They still use the same practices just re-branded. Deperate measures by a desperate company

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

by: hawk This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 3 07:12:03 2019

just more reasons to never trust anything ebay says. these big greedy companies gets big by destroying small hard working business's. corruption always wins.  

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jan 3 07:24:52 2019

And this is who you want for your business partner?  Do as I have done, with great satisfaction and a whole lot less stress--BUILD ELSEWHERE.

It's a rigged card game folks.

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

by: WhatsUp2656 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 3 09:46:26 2019

This only brushes for ONE seller. I’ve had living (bleep) hell going back to about March, April, 2018. The abusive platform has put me under the bus. I had an account with nearly 3K perfect scores and then all of a sudden after a subtle threat by an Anchor Store seller to ruin me (which the message has been deleted from my account) for asking her a question. My sales went down to nearly nothing! I recall on a Saturday when a rep actually cared enough (from the U.S.) and all my listings were found in another country. After already months of trying to boost my account, I was forced to remove all of my listings and start over using my buyer’s account. Everything went great for nearly two months, based upon the volume of sales and the holidays coming, I bought enough stock to succeed at the Christmas rush. In November, 2018, they dropped me again.

As far as the promoted listings is b.s. I recall in November I made a sale to a lady who loved the curtains she received and sent me a message and wanted to know if she could get more of them and I let her know I was out, but could order from the distributor. Following eBay rules, I told her I would do a couple generic listings and if she would just grab those with a wonderful discount on the items she wanted.

I listed those items she wanted, BUT as soon as she grabbed them and I tried to get the sale down, the algorithm flipped out!! I was given one after another statements of “unable to process” but I kept trying and finally I was able to make the sale. ALL of the Christmas season I barely sold ANYTHING!! I’m talking about high-end very popular items.

As far as the promotions, I’ve done that to no avail. I give free shipping, free returns, and I built my account up to where I was once again TRS level, power seller, excellent feedback, and 3 sales in a month! The other products were expensive movies I bought to “promote” my own listings!

Strange though, I also have a Shopify store that is slow sales, but that’s okay. I’m getting out there. If you google Shopify setting up with eBay it talks about how you have a different team to assist you.

They can’t handle the sellers they have now!! It makes no sense why they would even try. If you go to the Shopify reviews of the eBay plug in, 63% gave a 1 star.

I realize I went way beyond this issue, but I want to share that this is NOT the only problem they have. It is so dysfunctional. When I call eBay, my dog hides under the bed!  

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

by: NHOTDEALS This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jan 3 09:54:07 2019

Back in the day, eBay talked about creating balance in the marketplace because fashion during the holiday had low listing growth the partner up with Tee-spring which now has created a massive imbalance in the market. It is just another example of how eBay's leadership is failing the small seller.    In this world of big data what eBay should have done is lowered the fees in fashion and said to the community that fashion is going to be big sellers this holiday season.    

Regarding promoted listings, I say to every seller if you have an optimized listing priced correctly why would give up your profit margin for eBay's benefit.  A user is going to look for the lowest price a majority of the time.  

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

by: buffalochick This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 3 10:18:50 2019

That seller has been in bed with ebay, stroking them, swallowing everything they say for long enough to know and see, first hand, how ebay treats its sellers, even the loyal ones. Shame on any seller who trusts anything ebay says, especially the brass.  The best thing to happen to ebay would be a big flush.

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Jan 3 12:42:04 2019

eBay is the epitome of pollution and confusion.

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Thu Jan 3 13:12:21 2019

The same ole playbook. Filtered lawyer speak. In a few paragraphs this disingenuous, condescending clown used these words. No kidding. Every one of them.

key
leveraging
balance
vibrance
pivot
nimble
specificity
creativity
pollut
ion

After
20 some odd years of this crap, how on earth can small sellers still be participating in these farce Q&A sessions???? At what point does it hit home that ebay hates your guts!

Perminate Link for eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter   eBay Defends Practices after Blindsiding Ardent Supporter

by: Frank Abagnale This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 3 13:21:39 2019

Bringing in sellers like Teespring with their 80 million listings is a way that ebay has disguised the exodus of many of it's sellers.

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