AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Sun Mar 24 2019 15:13:28

eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Sitting down at a kitchen table stacked with returns and a spreadsheet showing deteriorating profits, an eBay seller made a heartfelt plea for better conditions. Were all the years dedicated to building a business on eBay for naught, the seller asked rhetorically.

Among the challenges the clothing seller described in a post on the eBay discussion boards were shrinking margins, faulty search, constant change, and abusive returns.

"I find myself making so much less money than I did even one year ago - that I am literally appalled at the thought of how my time has been wasted. For what purpose did I devote all of those precious hours to eBay? So I could see my earnings plummet, my stress level go up - only now to have the dreadful realization that I should have been putting my best efforts elsewhere? Tell me that it is all just the imaginings of a tired seller's overworked mind - that this eBay, right now - is not what I wasted all these years on."

The seller estimates their costs rose dramatically over the past year after eBay removed the 20% Final Value Fee discount and due to higher postage and a higher rate of returns.

The seller said they had had to go through their over 1,200 listings many times to keep up with new eBay requirements, "And again - I sit down to do listings, and end up having to figure out how this GTC is going to work. I have read all the postings on this change, and I am still worried - and a little bit confused too. Just another thing to be wary of. Another reason not to trust this company - and another source of stress."

But what seemed to be the last straw for this very frustrated seller was a search they'd conducted just prior to posting. "I was looking for prom dresses for my daughter earlier today, and sure enough, I was only shown a small handful of choices." After describing in detail the experience of searching for the dress, the seller wrote, "no seller on eBay got a sale from me today, because after two hours of wasting time here, and after getting seriously frustrated, I did what tons of other buyers must be doing - I went somewhere else - and found what I wanted."

"It is absolutely criminal to hide our listings that we pay for - either with store fees, listing fees, or  final value fees - we pay several times over when one item sells, and sometimes we pay all THREE ways. BUT eBay isn't satisfied with that - they want us to also pay for Promoted Listing fees, and HIGH return fees - so we can then pay FIVE different ways to sell ONE item - the absolute greed is just sickening."

"And it won't stop, they have gotten far too comfortable with their big pay-offs from us. It won't stop unless we make it stop. So I will make my stand on April Fools's Day - and as I do, not only will I be hoping for the best April Fools Day prank ever, but I will also be thinking about the wise words of Abraham Lincoln, repeated by the brilliant Bob Marley - both heroes of men, and champions of the "little" people. "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time.""

While eBay sellers are often described as either "critics" or "cheerleaders," most tend to follow the money. If it's the case that this particular poster is not optimizing their listings effectively, it doesn't seem to be for want of trying. How can eBay improve the plight of sellers like this, aside from asking them to pony up more money to pay for Promoted Listings in the hopes of getting greater visibility? A difficult question, given the fact eBay itself is experiencing slow growth.

You can find the full post here along with comments from other sellers and buyers.

Comments (64) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 25 04:31:15 2019

''We think that the people that have all the complaints should maybe go somewhere else cause something that is so easy they make a major project out of it.''

Sometimes a simple sentence can be so rich in content and context as to stagger the mind.  Drama aside, it's a trigger to analysis.

The OP seller sells clothing.  Need to read the full post linked to learn that.  That's one very significant factor in the context that is the evolved eBay vs any seller's 'ability to flourish'.  

As applies to the 'sentence' quoted, that seller seems to have found product that doesn't incur the same challenges, especially in the competition realm, or need/desire to court repeat business.    

Different business models.  Thousands of different business models, actually.  Different 'sizes'.  Different 'fits'.

And for each - as it was always true through time - differing levels of complexity and interface with their demographic and patrons.  But those are also organic, endemic to each model. Their marketplace 'evolutions' differ too.

What still remains fact though, and common to all of eBay's 'patrons', even for those who can ignore, overlook, absorb, disregard, or otherwise tolerate each new, endless, many needless, and wholly INorganic eBleat, is that those endless eBay outrages still EXIST.  The 'unearned' remains so, and the 'take-creep' still seeks purse.

And such outrages shouldn't exist.  Just as they all didn't exist - back when so many - no matter HOW dispirate a model - also found it to be ''so easy''.

And through no fault, no small effort, even through organic change adaptation, now find the best advice they CAN find to be myway or highway.

Bottom line then.  If you still have gas and crumbling eBay Ave runs where you want to go, better install stronger shock absorbers for a smoother ride.  Or take the next exit.  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

by: lancecorp This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 25 05:00:14 2019

This is in response to the poster who is doing well and I'm happy you are but many sellers in other categories aren't. I've been an Ebay cheerleader for years - even through the rough times as you'll encounter problems no matter what venue you use. The difference is how many problems and the complexity of those problems.

In many categories - Ebay has lost buyers because of their one size fits all mentality. Clothing sellers are doing well on new venues like Mercari, Tradesy, and Poshmark along with Etsy if they sell vintage. Each of these sites have a return policy that favors a seller, putting the burden of proof on the buyer. Many of these sites charge much more in shipping to the buyer and yet - the buyers don't mind. Most of the sites do not give the amount of item specifics that Ebay requires and yet sales flourish on these sites. The question is why buyers would prefer sites that give less information, make it harder to return an item and costs them more in the long run due to the increased ship costs? The answer is it's easier to find the item and you have responsible buyers who know to read a listing to gain all the available information so as not to return an item.

Sellers are also buyers and when they leave they will seldom return to purchase.

One size doesn't fit all and just because these new changes don't affect your sales or business policies does not mean it doesn't affect someone elses.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 25 06:28:12 2019

If you sellers are closing your EB store, where are you going?  The pickings are slim.  Me?  I'm doing fairly well on  AMZ.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

by: ssusannss This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 25 09:06:54 2019

I do clothing, so I'm transitioning to Poshmark. For a beginner, I'm doing better than I thought I would. No crazy TOS, they take a straight 20% of the sale, at the time. No monthly bill, they discourage returns. Buyer pays shipping all of the time, although you can discount it. No punishments, no VERO yet, although I've been well trained on eBay and will not push my luck. No hassles so far. I'm going to keep some stuff on ebay and point buyers to poshmark. It's all I can do right now.  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

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

Mon Mar 25 09:13:25 2019

I been told the Programming/technical team was outsourced to India. Another rumor is eBay stupidly laid off those who new what problem solving technical issues with the web site,  OFF! The search system was updated with AI , algorithms written in India. The net result is the search system is so bad, no=one but you,  can find your listings! Meanwhile Facebook is a better and far cheaper place to sell? Now I loved eBay a very long time 1998, but my sales are pitiful compared to what they were in the year 2000. I like to help save eBay, but NO one in corporate is actually listening to the soldiers in the field. How can the stock holders be so blind? They got a dividend this last quarter, but the money comes from ebay,s other 100 business, layoffs, and sales of its holdings. Not from great sale profits at eBay.! So the empire is selling its parts off off, instead of fixing its back bone business!  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 25 09:46:14 2019

I gave up on doing spreadsheets.
I work 7 days a week, 12-16 hour days.
I have not had a vacation since 1993.
I could and did survive only on eBay.
Not any more.
I have had to rent a live venue, spread to 4 other sites.
It is not my ooak items. They are not out of favor.
They sell when I take them off eBay.
IF I list on eBay, & promote on social media, I get 20-45 views right away.
If I then let eBay take over, I am lucky to pick up 5 more views a month.
IF I just list on eBay, no self promote, I get 1-2 views. That's it.
I closed my Store March 1.
When I had it, the only time I got a sales spurt is IF I did a Markdown in price AND a pay to play Promoted.
My fees were getting to be 25% of the item AND postage. The 'free' shipping, and eBay/PayPal fees was approaching 55% of the 'sale'.
That 55% when eBay buyers have become such cheapskates, is not sufficient to cover the COST of sourcing items, cleaning, researching, taking photos, describing, answering questions, packing, shipping, driving to PO, and all materials, plus internet.
It is less than $5.00 an hour for all those hours.
No benefits. No vacations.
Wenig makes over $47,000. a DAY, each of 365 days. WHY ?
He does not work as hard, as many days, as we do. Maybe we should cut HIS income.
Let him see the economy is NOT good for 80% of the US population.
The CEO of Chase Bank said 60% of the population makes minimum wage & has no savings.
A bank can see this info., they run credit checks when you do business with them.
The liars on TV tell people the economy is booming.
FOR THEM.
eBay is squeezing us little people just like Congress did w/ their 'Tax Cuts'.
Emptying our pockets so the rich can live the good life.
How does Wenig SLEEP at night ?
You make $47,000. a DAY ?
I haven't made that in a YEAR.
Shame on you.
I closed my Store.
I use my 'free' listings as I down size.
Donate or dump at a flea market.
I will sell my house & move to a cheap state.
No more toiling for the rich. I'm too old. Too tired.
Take your millions.
See if you can  buy your way into Heaven.
You are not fooling us ALL... anymore.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

by: wilburnet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 25 09:51:56 2019

I used to sell on Ebay and gave up last September and moved over to Etsy and have never looked back.

Ebay UK have a £5 off offer going on at moment when you spend £20, it is enticing but sorry its not enough ( not in monetary terms) to make me go back and purchase something.

One of my best friends still sells on Ebay, and he told me out of 200 items he sold since November 2018, he only received 30 feedbacks out of the 200, and gives the theory that those buyers are never coming back to Ebay so havent bothered to leave seller feedback.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

by: Mark4 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 25 09:53:03 2019

We have had the same experience. ebay is not showing the listings we are paying for time and time again, all while watching out sales decline. We have since moved on, Amazon is a much better selling venue as are Bonanza.com and a whole host of others. We also took the liberty to report ebay to the FTC in regards to paying for listings that they are not showing. the FTC person we spoke with said they are flooded with complaints about this very thing.  If you have listings that are not showing and you are paying for them, make the complaints.  The class actions are on the way.  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

by: foreilly This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 25 09:59:12 2019

I really wish someone would develop a selling platform for used goods that didn't take ebay and amazon's search and fee structure into account. Etsy was sort of like that when it first got popular.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

by: geoffreymason This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 25 10:12:57 2019

Sasikat: Where will you place your goods when ebay goes out of business? The end is near; maybe within a year.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Mar 25 11:41:23 2019

@foreilly

It's called: Craigslist.org

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

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

Mon Mar 25 11:42:38 2019

@kazaly

"Did anyone in eBay management even notice the iceberg?"

Yes, they did notice but they were the first ones to get into the lifeboats.  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 25 11:55:00 2019

I remember Donahoe beaming while talking about their new search engine and how customers do not kno what they always want so the search engine will show them things they thought they didn't want. How the new search will show items closest to them for fast shipping, how it will "filter" all the "noise" so that search isnt overwhelming.

That was the moment Ebay died. Thats the day search was changed to better suit china and their big box retailers.

I remember the google programmer who helped with Cassini being horrified with what he created for Ebay.

Search was now just a way to manipulate the marketplace based on what Ebay wants, not what the buyer wants.

Ebay are idiots, Wenig is blind not to have rid itself of such a demonic search engine.







Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

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

Mon Mar 25 12:09:21 2019

This is how bad the hidden listing scenario is. My friend and I went to Florida in January. He went to his selling category on ebay. Not only did he not see one of his listings (about 1000) but he had seen listings from 5 other sellers that he has NEVER seen before. They actually have the same items and the other seller's were more expensive than his. This is the question we asked ourselves, if ebay's first priority is to make as much money for it's shareholders as possible, do they show the higher priced item to get more commission??? are they doing a disservice to their shareholders if they show the lower priced item?? It's possible that they would show both items but the fact that my friend's listings were invisible in Florida, confirms that not all listings are shown.

Ebay's management all have short term goals.  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Mar 25 12:17:14 2019

In the beginning:

Few sellers, many buyers!

Present time:

Many sellers and a few buyers.

That's what happened on eBay. . . .

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 25 13:05:09 2019

Wenigs salary (like everyone else at the top in eBay) is by contract - and performanced based.

What that performance level is - is guesswork - which is why Elliot wants Stub Hub separated out of the group of companies.

Elliot knows like we do - that Stub Hubs performance covers/obscures what eBays marketplaces are REALLY doing.

Id ask eBay - but when I saw them at Toy Fair, sitting there so alone and sad - my wife elbowed me and said "please dont start in with them, it wont get you anywhere" and so I left (after making a few good contacts).

eBays games have nothing to do with Trump, or the idiot running the State of CA or NY etc. Its purely %100 based on the lawyers that run the company - whos one and ONLY goal is to suck it dry - pump & dump.

As long as people sell on eBay (and there will always be people - not everyone can sell or do well on Amazon and Posh) they vultures at the top are guaranteed the big perks and salaries.

Theres not a one of them (Griff included) who actually care what goes on, on the site.

Its sloppy, its clumsy, search is "broken", plus the whole hosts of problems that sellers are faced with everyday.

Sellers are simply trash. They are an expendable resource that has to be dealt with, in order for the board to get paid.

While its true that ecommerce in general is much more difficult then it was yrs ago - eBay seems to try to go out of its way to always do the wrong thing.

I cant speak for anyone else - but for me - I "know" that eBay has become La Cosa Nostra - since theft, racketeering, and deception seem to be all that they do.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 25 13:25:08 2019

well this is a depressing list of sellers who have now departed or are going to depart. My specific problem with ebay is I have nowhere to go. My items are gated on Amazon or I'da been there long ago. Bonanza sucks - hell would freeze over before I sell something there. Etsy - well I keep dabbling there with no success and I hate their pay to play accounting system plus their management keeps pushing to be Ebay (gezz big mistake) ecrater? I'd take a stab at it but can never get any c/s when I ask anything. Factor the ever declining US economy and our peasant/privileged no typical 2 tier system what's a person to do? Ever notice how the posters here that keep crowing about how well their doing NEVER tell where this great site is? I don't think there is a progressive site. I think we are headed for the real Great Depression. Real estate should be crashing any day now. Jobless rate keeps blowing up - don't listen to the propaganda put out by the idiot leader - retail stores are closing at a record pace impacting the unemployment rate ever further. At this point in time I have reinvented myself so many times I have no new plan. Just want to stop fighting the battle. Counting on ebay even for a meager income is over.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

by: GreenEye This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 25 13:48:58 2019

Aside for the never ending Ebay challenges, there are just too many clothing resale options and resellers in the market. Prices have plummeted, the market is generally swamped except of unique, brands, sizes and styles. More and more chain thrift stores are opening. Poshmark has exploded with Ebay sellers flocking in desperation with prices falling there too. Just wait till selling on Instagram becomes an common option, already ramping up with many big box sellers getting in the IP selling game with a buy box now. Selling online has become common place . The reseller hustlers who have staff and space are pushing out clothing sales for a mere $5 profit. Folks, the resale game has changed

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Mon Mar 25 14:32:21 2019

These are the same idiots who removed watchers count from inside the listings. Thereby reducing sales.

Everything this company has done has hurt sellers and by proxy has hurt ebay.

ebay is still around in spite of ebay not because of it.  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits   eBay Seller Paints Grim Picture of Diminishing Profits

by: papergoy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 25 15:27:23 2019

Minimum wage is heading toward $15 in New York State.  Years ago, I did decently on eBay. Nowadays the time would have been better spent at a minimum wage job.  Though then I'd have to show up when they wanted etc so it's not exactly the same thing.

Click to view more comments
1 2 3 4  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.