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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

This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Thu Jan 3 13:29:34 2019

I was looking for 'the' China connection with Teespring. And sure enough. With ebay's strong relationships with Chinese counterfeit manufacturers, this is a match made in heaven for them.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/teespring-looks-
to-asia-for-the-next-phase-of-growth-300608408.html

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 13:30:09 2019

And what happened to "reconnecting" with small sellers? Wasn't that the mantra for 2018?

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 13:34:53 2019

@iheartjacksparrow

Yeah. And the new fabrication du jour for 2019 is seller protections.  

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

by: val2525 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 3 14:13:15 2019

This article just cemented my decision to stop selling clothes after this year. When the plus size market tanks, it's a clear sign the marketplace is also tanking.  And this explains why my sales tanked the past 6 weeks.  

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

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 3 15:15:41 2019

We can do two things to help American sellers. First Keep the heat up on your Legislators to make Chinese sellers pay the same postage as we pay. Secondly, do not buy anything  from China. By that, I mean do not order it online. Go buy what you need from your local stores, including T-shirts if they are being shipped from China.  

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

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 3 15:48:28 2019

"Something smells rotten in Denmark".

Teesprings ISNT (according to their website) an actual seller.

"Teespring allows users to create unique campaigns in order to sell custom apparel. Users choose the color and type of item they would like to sell, and add a design. Designs can be uploaded from outside of the platform, or be created using the variety of fonts and clip art provided by Teespring. After creating the design, users set a price for their item(s) and choose a sales goal. No orders are processed, manufactured, or shipped, until the campaign has "tipped," meaning that the sales goal was reached or surpassed.

Teespring handles the production and distribution of the shirts, as well as the customer service associated with any order placed on their site."

So whos items are they "selling"?

"In November 2014, the company announced closing its Series B funding round at $35 million from Khosla Ventures to continue to fuel its growth and expansion, which includes the addition of a new facility in Kentucky that's expected to create hundreds of jobs next year. Andreessen also participated in the round."

$35 MILLION ?????? for t-shirts????? who would give ANYONE that kinda money - for basically being Shutterfly for t-shirts?

More digging is needed.

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: CanBrit

Thu Jan 3 16:48:16 2019

"when eBay adds more inventory" ????
Exactly what inventory does eBay possess. They still don't get it. What is on your platform is mine not yours!!!

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

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 3 17:24:50 2019

Teespring in, Honevile out

Nothing new here, just ebay business as usual,

You would have to be a total idiot to think you can reliably do business on ebay,

sorry Honeville, No sympathy for (stupidity)

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

by: gramophone-georg This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 3 19:50:06 2019

I have a hard time trying to feel sorry for Hone. I mean, here is someone who likes to portray himself as a savvy businessman who, nearly 10 years after Donahoe began the dismantling of eBay, STILL did not want to see that building a business on eBay alone is building your business on quicksand.

Refusing to realize this is right up there with refusing to admit the world ain't flat.

Bruce Hershenson got the memo right off the bat in 2008. I finally acted on it in 2010. Danni Ackerman got hers via earthquake in 2014. Bruce and Danni were both celebrated as role models by eBay one minute, and were taken out with the trash the next. Who in their right mind can expect ''loyalty'' from eBay?

If you refuse to recognize eBay for what it is after 10 years of abuse and don't have time to pay attention to what's going on around you then, regretfully, you are getting what you deserve.

I like Danny personally but I've never understood his slavish public devotion to eBay. In fact, I am trying to recall even ONE ''rah-rah eBay'' story- ever-  that had a happy ending- but I can't.

Sometimes the truth sucks... but it's still the truth.

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

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 4 01:46:01 2019

I don't particularly care for Honevilles constant cheer-leading but to each their own.  But I have to give him some credit in that at least from the feedback standpoint he appears to satisfy his customers which is a lot more than i can say for Teespring.  I know that in comparison to the overall number of sales the feedback is not out of line, but almost every negative is for poor quality and their attempts to not have to refund the buyers.  So this is the type of seller Ebay prefers now?  

They did the same thing in the sportscard category a couple of years ago when they brought in COMC with their 5+ million listings and gave them TRS+ status after 1 month even though they had horrible reviews and feedback.  Ebay goes through and cleanses the negatives for them every so often but buyers have finally caught on to the issues they have.  They also poached a lot of buyers to their own websites with cheaper shipping prices and sending out discount coupons with the ebay orders if they purchase from the website instead.  So now they are down to 3+ million listings (I am sure they also get free listings as most of the mega sellers do along with lower FVF's) but all that has happened is Ebay continues to lose buyers due to the poor customer service or to their website and then just cannot figure out why they cannot show growth.  

Wenig needs to get his head out of the sand and realize that Ebay was not built on a few megasellers who also have their own websites and are just using Ebay to cultivate customers for their own websites at a much lower customer acquisition cost than any other method out there.  Again, not understanding the retail or ecommerce markets is coming around to haunt Ebay, yet Wenig continues to hire useless yes men who also have no experience in retail sales.  

Ebay can defend their practices all they want, but how many other companies actually have to come out to defend their selling policies?  The only one i have ever seen do it is Ebay and its because they know they screwed the pooch again and are trying to make it appear to Wall Street that they actually know what they are doing.

I can't wait to see what the 4th quarter numbers come out as even with all of the overcharges that Ebay has committed at the end of December that won't be corrected until January.  Ebay should according to GAAP make accruals for all of these overcharges so that their revenues and income are not overstated, but I am sure they will say that in the overall scheme of things the amount is immaterial and not do it.  Of course they are also hoping that a large share of Sellers will not notice that they were billed for Design Lister during the last week or were billed for listings when they still had many available for free.  This is how they operate now, accidentally overcharge the sellers and rather than investigate and fix it, only fix those that complain so they pick up a few million here and there to help pay for Wenigs Bonus which should be nothing this year at all based on his accomplishments and completing the tasks that he promised Shareholders would be completed by the Holiday Season.  

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

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 4 03:04:05 2019


@Silver Ice King
"''cultivate customers for their own websites at a much lower customer acquisition cost"''

yes, so true, that's Exactly what we do,,,,,

Honeville will never recover, until he realizes ebay is not his partner, but only an evil competitor (spy) that knows everything about his business,

only a fool would put their trust in this company for their livelihood

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

Fri Jan 4 06:07:48 2019

Bob Kupbens' solution is to pay eBay more money (promoted listings--promoted listings that don't work). This should tell you all that Kupbens is concerned about and all that you need to know about Bob Kupbens..  M-O-N-E-Y

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

by: Jono77 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 4 08:02:45 2019

The clothing category is probably the best category for eBay to manipulate. Just one T Shirt in 6 sizes S,M,L,XL,XXL,XXXL counts as 6 items. I downgraded my eBay listings and opened 4 eBay accounts. That way when one account is doing bad I can rely on the others but it's still impossible to make the sales I used to make 5-6 years ago. eBay created seller hub which shows how bad I'm doing compared to last year. I'm 48% - 56% down on all accounts. eBay never was a "level playing field" and they have never been "a middle man" They meddle with your livelihood and manipulate the figures for wall st. Nothing new there.....they are just more arrogant about it.

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: Don Wagner

Fri Jan 4 11:23:04 2019

Rudy Giuliani as official eBay spokesman couldn't have said it better.

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: toolguy

Fri Jan 4 11:35:57 2019

Ask yourself this question:

Do I buy items shipped from china?

Do I buy items from eBay mega sellers?

My answer to both questions is NO

And yours should be too. . . .

If you and I are NOT buying from these 2 sources, WHO IS?

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

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 4 12:08:26 2019

But Don, Wenig would have to pass (institute) the new practices before telling anyone about them .... (like Obamacare) right?

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

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 4 12:11:23 2019

Karma finally caught up to honeville

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

by: Laurie This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 4 12:37:58 2019

Whoa!  Everyone is missing a big red flag here.  eBay, in my opinion, is continuing to commit major illegal activities.  They are collecting big fees from sellers thinking that our listings are going to be "seen" and yet they are purposefully and maliciously hiding them from view; therefore collecting fees for stores and listings for providing NO SERVICE in return.  In my book, that is highly illegal.  I just don't understand why they continue to get away with abusive and questionable practices without SEC and FTC slams.  They are not that important. Somebody please slam some executives in jail!!

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.

Fri Jan 4 12:46:25 2019

Looks like eBay's C-Level is blindsiding it's stockholders as well...Goldman Sacs is the latest to "sack" ebay stock.
ebay's BS reminds me of selling encyclopedias 50 years ago...it was a 20+ volume set with minimal color pictures in each volume. BUT>>>we showed a representative volume that had virtually every color picture from the whole set.
ebay is all illusion...the stock price has caught up with the illusion.
Why can't Alibaba buy 'em and put us out of our misery?

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

Fri Jan 4 13:35:33 2019

"I downgraded my eBay listings and opened 4 eBay accounts."

I am 99% sure that despite the fact that you have multiple accounts eBay throttles you as if they are one.

I have multiple accounts and the combined sales are about the same every month.  They know.  If your wife or a family member used an different ip address, home address, phone address, etc. they likely would not make the connection but otherwise, they are "linked".

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