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Tue Jan 23 2007 10:49:50

Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders

By: Ina Steiner

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Today's article on eBay's ban of extender tools has raised some questions from readers. They want to know why eBay considers changing auction duration "fee avoidance." Here's what one reader had to say:

"I'm trying to figure out how it's "fee avoidance" if the price for 1-7 day auctions is the same, and if you extend to 10 days, eBay bills you for that."

Another reader said, "The only way you can come up with a fee avoidance by using an extender is if eBay is saying that by using an extender you are increasing your success rate (sellthrough) and therefore having to relist less often and therefore depriving eBay of fees. But even that greed-based concept is flawed since increased sellthrough means more FVF fees for eBay. Again, I hope you can get eBay to clearly explain how an extender constitutes fee avoidance."

In speaking to Hani Durzy yesterday, I had asked him that question. He said an auction whose duration is extended multiple times appears at the top of eBay's search results, which are sorted by "ending soonest," as many as five times. That means sellers are getting as many as five benefits for the price of one, and it is not fair to other sellers.

The same reader also asked, "Also, on the revise page there is the option to revise the duration. If revising the duration is not allowed then why is the option present on the revise page?"

I had asked Hani if during the revision process, eBay would make it impossible to revise the duration. He said, "I am loath to talk about hypothetical." So it's possible eBay will change it.




Comments (10) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders   Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders

by: louisa

Tue Jan 23 11:43:43 2007

eBay needs to be on the seller's side, but they seem to forget about him. Is it the only-horse-in-town theory? If a buyer wants to prohibit the seller's changing the length of the auction, he needs to BID, not just watch. I don't think the buyer should even KNOW when the auction will end.

Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders   Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders

by: Randy Smythe

Tue Jan 23 12:42:04 2007

Hanni's quote regarding fee avoidance is accurate. "That means sellers are getting as many as five benefits for the price of one, and it is not fair to other sellers." Jeez! Shouldn't eBay be a marketplace where creative sellers can benefit from being inventive. Where did this market socialism come from. And you wonder why big sellers hit a ceiling on eBay. eBay's protectionism (no outside links) and socialism (level playing field) are part of the eBay's Market Utopia that has hit a wall.

Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders   Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders

by: Tracy Burlison

Tue Jan 23 14:04:16 2007

I have never used this practice, but kudos to the sellers who have leveraged this technology. If it means MORE sales, then maybe Ebay should adopt the methodology. What Ebay seems to forget in this situation is that when I pay for a 7-day auction and it fails to show up for several hours in the search system, I am not getting what I am paying for.

Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders   Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders

by: Frank Ross

Tue Jan 23 19:03:05 2007

If there is a loophole that allows sellers to get a longer auction than they pay for, then I suppose it's within eBay's right to stop this. However, this illustrates once again we see that eBay's only apparent source of revenue is its seller base and the fees they pay.

Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders   Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders

by: Holloway

Tue Jan 23 22:12:04 2007

I'm with the others on this issue.  As a Powerseller, I feel being able to change the auction duration is a fair practice that can help increase the chances of selling you item. If a person is interested in an item, they should bid on it.  Then a change in duration is no longer an issue. Are there not bigger issues to tackle?

Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders   Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders

by: sunk818

Wed Jan 24 02:06:35 2007

> But even that greed-based concept is
> flawed since increased sellthrough means
> more FVF fees for eBay.

It really depends on what you list and what your sell through rate is. If you sell a lot of low-dollar items, eBay may be able to collect more in listing fees than FVF.

I think fee avoidance is a reasonable argument. But a stronger argument is the manipulation of the eBay search engine. If you are able to make your item appear on desirable pages (let's say the first two pages of the search results) more often without paying additional fees I would consider that "gaming" the search engine.

I think eBay should include search results based on conversion rate. The higher your sell-through rate the better your rankings. Higher sell-through rate means that buyers are purchasing a product that people want.  Of course, items under a certain price (like eBooks), sellers under a certain feedback, and sellers that do not accept paypal would be excluded from the calculations.

Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders   Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders

by: Chris

Thu Jan 25 10:36:37 2007

Do the powers that be at ebay just sit around and think up ways to piss sellers off? Is it really a big deal that a seller changes the duration of their listing several times?  Ebay has forgotten who makes the money.  Focus on HELPING us instead of always finding ways to make things harder for us.

Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders   Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders

by: jamie

Thu Jan 25 11:42:19 2007

This wouldn't be that bad IF they would enforce ALL the rules on ALL the sellers, eg the 15 item limit per person (not per id), the fee avoidance rule that somehow escapes the largest sellers with 10,000 .01 listings, etc.  I can see the extenders being gone for auction format as that could frustrate buyers, but fixed price?  Its a fee grab to go along with the changes to the relist credit.

Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders   Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders

by: louisa

Thu Jan 25 12:22:09 2007

I still don't understand the fee avoidance issue.  

I also liked the comment about losing time whenan auctionis listed. Take note that when you list an item for 7 days, it shows up as 6 days 23 hours.

When I list, I sometimes state that the price is good only until [whenever], making sure I have over 12 hours left, and that if there are no bids, the price will change.

That "watching an item" is no indication that the buyer will bid.  I myself watch anitem only to be able to find the seller again.


There are other alternatives.  Not that I've thought through this, but as an example:
If eBay raised the final value fee a tad and eliminated the listing fee, they would make out more when an item sold, and wouldn't be so nit-picky about savvy sellers who are on top of their auctions.  

Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders   Questions about eBay's Ban on Auction Extenders

by: Allison Hartsoe

Thu Jan 25 17:47:50 2007

We did use auto-extender for our sellers and in most cases, it didn't make much of a difference to success rate. Durzy's comment has to do with visibility. Most sellers run multiple auctions of the same product hoping to be found.

When you run auto-extender, each time you approach closing, you come up higher in search results. The catch is - and here's where I think the policy is flawed - you must autoextend before the final 12 hours of the listing. In busy categories, your product is still buried on page 5, hardly findable. You might as well run individual closes that will appear at the top.  



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