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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.
Sat Mar 3 2007 18:21:55

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

By: Ina Steiner

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AuctionBytes is surveying online sellers to take a snapshot of the state of the online-auction industry. The results will be published in a future issue of AuctionBytes-Update. We first conducted this survey in September of 2006 and we want to see if things have changed, and if so, in what ways things have changed.

If you are an online-auction seller and haven't yet taken the survey (in March 2007), please do so now.

If you have taken the survey, please feel free to add additional comments here. Thank you!






Comments (52) | Permalink

Readers Comments

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: Nancy

Sun Mar 4 00:01:08 2007

The vast majority of online sellers are probably like me ... people selling online on a very small scale, but who put serious time and effort into it. I've been very successful on ebay but am disenchanted with recent ebay policy changes, and my sales have slowed, it just doesn't seem like the buyers are there. I would love to learn some alternative ways to ''drive'' business to a personal web site, and would also like to know if sellers do well with Ruby Lane and similar selling sites. I would also LOVE to join an effort to develop an alternative to ebay, if any are building out there in cyberspace!

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: Ruby

Sun Mar 4 01:36:03 2007

INA, Please Add in your Survey the Following Sites QUICKLY.  These are ALL in the TOP 12 Sites according to PSU Auction Site Count.

eCrater  
Tazbar    
bluejay  
wagglepop
HiBidder  

If you do not you Could SKEW your Online Survey Results because a lot of people will not do the survey if you do not have one of their Sites.

Note also Overstock and whaBAM are no longer in the Top 12 sites.

http://www.powersellersunite.com/auctionsitewatch.php

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: Billoment

Sun Mar 4 01:45:02 2007

Unfortunately eBay does not understand the process of selling. That is fine if that is what they want to do. For me it is just another process of getting buyers. As a company they do not have a clue at all as to what their business is and where they make their money from. eBay was originally a grass roots enterprise. It has matured and we have matured but we do not forget ours roots like eBay has. All they care about is lining the pockets of investors which lines the pockets of the people that manage it. It is a shame but they have lost track of the driving force behind the whole operation. At one time eBay was the force behind our part time business. Now it is just a venue. Being a 7+ year veteran we now only list 40% of what we used to and that percentage is falling. I am sure that it is the same with many other sellers also. In my 40 odd years of business I have seen many companies come and go. I have seen what has been extremely hot turn dead cold. I do not believe that with the present thinking of the management that eBay will survive. I am very sure that they do just as all of the other dinosaurs in the waste land did. Does it bother us, not at all. We are the survivors because we can change.

Bill

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: Joyce H Sowell

Sun Mar 4 08:05:58 2007

I agree with others that all ebay wants is more and more money. They are making profits and the sellers are struggling. Why can't they drop some of the listing fees and make the gallery picture free? They want more and more money, there has to be an end. They were the goose that laid the golden egg and now they are trying to kill it by charging more and more.

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: Fooey

Sun Mar 4 09:23:41 2007

I get really tired of reading how greedy eBay is.  They ARE in business to make money.  They do have investors to satisfy.  If they didn't have those investors we would be back in the dark ages of the internet. Prices rise everywhere - gasoline, shipping, food, medical...  Why not eBay?

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: Linda

Sun Mar 4 11:02:35 2007

Please promote other auction sites

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: rainbowseeker

Sun Mar 4 11:19:28 2007

EBay has moved away from Pierre's mission statement for whatever reason.  I believe the current management has no clue what a retail business needs to do to be successful.  They do not understand buying and selling via auction on the internet.  This was their strength at one time.  They  also will not listen to those who try to help....sellers or buyers.  The site needs to step up it's "coming in the door security" and figure out a way to kick the fraudsters out the door forever.  Their current muzzling of sellers(deleting posts from forums) and distruction of transparency(with SMI) only adds to the appearance of their support of fraud.  One can only conclude it supports their bottom line better than honest sellers....this is sad.  This WAS a great community and fun to be part of.  After 9 years I find it just the opposite today.

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: Diana

Sun Mar 4 11:34:38 2007

I agree that ebay is in business to make money but at the same time they are doing better than the average seller. They now own Paypal which gets a percentage of your sales, they get a percentage of you sales by final value, extra fees for gallery pictures and then up again the auction fees. I do think they are being greedy by us paying more and getting less. Now they want to change the feedback and monitor those that charge to much for shipping. On my auction the shipping is up front and if the customer does want to figure that in to their final cost that is their problem not ebays. Why don't they go after the non payers and deadbeats that bid and don't pay. All you have is getting your value fee back. That person that doesn't pay should be banned after the first non-payment. If they were stronger on that part I would be backing their higher fees but I feel they are more concerned about protecting the buyer rather than the seller. After all if it wasn't for the sellers there wouldn't be any buyers. The sellers pay all the fees!

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: Al

Sun Mar 4 12:28:35 2007

GREED is the best word for ebay YES  Ebay has lost the reason Pierre started it. To HXXX with the small seller they are only intrested in the big sellers that  are indifferent to the  buyer.  I am also a stock holder and they DO NOT SHARE IN THERE PROFIT  and the sotck is doing Nothing   There fees are to high and they need compition =  

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: Lee

Sun Mar 4 12:32:17 2007

I spend a lot of time (a LOT OF TIME) taking pictures and listing my items to sell on eBay.  

It now costs me an average of 95-cents listing fee for each.  Then, I pay another provider an additional monthly fee to host my photos so I can place several in my listings.  

I sell mostly collectibles...jewelry, pottery, etc. and most items are not high-end.  So, by the time I try to start my listings at 9.99, consider the cost of the item that I had to buy, pay the final value fees, and then, usually, PayPal fees...much of the time, I am lucky to break even!

Everyone may say "then get out of the business."  I do have that option, but having sold on eBay for about 7 years, I am writing mostly to let you know that I do think all the fee increases have hurt the sellers.  

Postal rates also have risen...along with gas prices...and the seller ends up eating most of these additional costs with gambling on trying to make a profit from their sales.  

I keep my shipping as low as possible to try to encourage buyers, but even that doesn't always help.  

I think one thing eBay IS trying to do with their higher fees is to reduce junk auctions.  So many people jumped on the "easy eBay bandwagon" to dump their trash that  many of us are paying the price for these disreputable sellers.  Hopefully the price increases will work weed them out!  

I will continue to try to sell and make a little income to supplement my retirement.  But, I can't continue to lose money by paying high selling fees, so the time may come that I will have to retire from eBay also.

I know we all need to make a profit...eBay, Inc. included.  But eBay must realize they are beginning to cut out the little guy...maybe that is their intention?

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: DizziPinz

Sun Mar 4 12:38:16 2007

I agree with the poster above who says that eBay is in business to make money.  We are ALL in business to make money.  But IMHO the problem is that eBay doesn't seem to be making the right decisions these days.  Indeed eBay needs to be a site where Buyers need to be satisfied all around.  But how is that going to happen when eBay's policy changes and fee increases chase the Sellers away?  I've worked hard over two years to develop great feedback and built a client base - which I was successful at.  Unfortunately, the type of product that I list is just the sort that eBay says now they don't want.  So, I am leaving eBay.  Fully half of the listings I had about a month ago are now gone and I hope to have most of the rest gone before the end of March and going forward I will have a very limited presence on eBay - mostly auctions for certain items and only a few of those at a time.  I've gone from paying nearly $500 per month in fees to what I believe will be less than $200 this month.  And it will continue to get lower.  My point is that in changing policies and higher fee environment I will actually be paying less to eBay and I'm probably only one of hundreds.  So, how is that going to net eBay more revenue?  The e-marketplace is rapidly changing and the success of many online e-tailers and e-malls are definite signposts to the future.  Instead of reading the signposts, eBay is opting for the nostalgic view and wants to go back to it's roots as primarily an auction site.  I just don't think that was the best business decision they could have made.  So, bravo for their desire to increase shareholder value - but were raising fees and changing policies really the way to go about it?  I think not.  Time will tell.

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: Sharon

Sun Mar 4 13:05:58 2007

I think you should add etsy.com to your storefront site.  A lot of craft sellers have gone there.

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: Peter

Sun Mar 4 13:23:37 2007

I would like to see more discussion of what the real reason was for the intial success of Ebay and why it is failing now.

My personal view is that Ebay intially, purely by accident, created the best possible laissez-faire capitalist marketplace, without barriers for buyers and sellers, with mutual win/win for all. Then it started gradually abandoning the laissez-faire attitude moving towards a greatly regulated 'big brother watches you' state where buyers and sellers have become adversaries instead of mutually winning traders, where both buyers and sellers often disrespect that both have to win on transactions.

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: Carol

Sun Mar 4 13:29:47 2007

I too am growing weary over all the talk of eBay's greed.  We all have had to pay additional for basic services and eBay is no different.  I would like to know where all the buyers have gone, what's brewing in the industry, are the sellers who took their business elsewhere selling anything?

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: Dick

Mon Mar 5 12:01:43 2007

eBay's decision to hide bidder's identities on items over $200 is the worst decision it has ever made. Shill bidding is a vastly more serious problem on eBay than people realize. EBay says that their software can catch shill bidders...WRONG. They never caught the antiquities dealer in England who was a VERY HEAVY shill bidder. He was caught only after an undercover reporter got him to admit it and did a story on him. EBay makes money off of shill bidding, so hiding identities sends a message to buyers that shill bidding is both acceptable and profitable. EBay will live to regret this stupid decision. As a 10+ year eBayer, I have never been more disgusted with the bozos who are running that once marvelous company.

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: Owen

Mon Mar 5 12:19:08 2007

My major concern is the number of counterfeit/misrepresented items being sold online.

eBay is one of the larger companies that apparently is unable and/or unwilling to correct the situation.

Considering this whole issue and the latest scheduled ''improvements''
(SYI3, Feedback2.0, ''Smart Search'' and God knows what else) I have decided to take a vacation until the dust settles.

So, for the first time in my 20 months selling on eBay. I do not have any active listings and my store is ''on vacation''.

Fortunately selling on eBay has been a hobby for me.

I for the life of me do not understand how folks who need the income will prosper in this constant state of chaos.

Whether or not I ever sell on eBay again depends very much on how eBay addresses the continuing erosion of buyer confidence.

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: Jon

Mon Mar 5 12:49:08 2007

Like many others, I'm a small time seller simply trying to reduce my ridiculous stash of records, CDs, etc.  I sometimes sell for friends, as well.  It takes an incredible amount of time to do it right, however, and keep Buyers satisfied.  I've been able to do this so far, with little help from eBay.  Why no viable alternative to eBay has yet surfaced, amazes me.  The ratio of Ebay's service to its community and the money they make for same doesn't add up.  While I don't know what it takes to establish a presence like eBay has, I do know that eBay does not facilitate its clientele and that usually means, sooner or later, that that clientele will diminish.

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: Gabby

Mon Mar 5 13:28:39 2007

Ebay not only cares about one thing and thats the Bottom line. The new bidder policy absoutley stinks and is riff with shill bidding. When a fraud listing is put up, it's gone less than 20% of the time before auction completed. Thats security? I think there are a whole lot of sellers like myself that are really waiting for them to take a tumble be it legalwise or for another kid on the block to come along.

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: ie-junk

Mon Mar 5 13:57:00 2007

Just wait until the new auction format is mandatory. I found many issues that I'm not happy with. I use my own template and find using the new format difficult to add the photo to it directly from the e-bay photo I uploaded. Now I'm going to have to pay to have photos loaded to an outside site and then try and link them up to my template. This adds yet one more cost to selling and a few more steps to my listing process. Just wait until Ebay bans people using their own templates and links to outside photos. Besides this just try and discussing a problem you're having on the Ebay discussion boards. I was banned for life for dicussing real issues I had with Eaby.

AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers   AuctionBytes Survey of eBay, Online-Auction Sellers

by: MARGARET

Mon Mar 5 14:35:02 2007

I have all the usual criticisms of Ebay(greedby, gestapo tactics with discussion boards the Paypal monoply etc)
but I would like to address the Feedback policies Ie: retaliatory feedback. I have received it from a seller ( because I objected to receiving a rental dvd that was supposed to be in original package) and I am now relunctant to leave a negative to a power seller who 1. NEVER ANSWERS EMAILS. DOES NOT LET  YOU KNOW WHEN HE SHIPPED AND APPARENTLY LEAVES HUNDREDS OF NEGATIVES and I am having serious doubts about ever receiving the items. Since I am a seller, I can't affored to get a negative from this guy. I wonder how many of these patoots get away without getting the feedback they richly deserve because people don't want retaliatory negs. So buyers are over and over again taken to the cleaners or treated like dog doo doo. Who knows how many buyers have stopped making purchases on ebay because of these sorts of bad experiences
 I think the percentage of negs a seller leaves should also be posted  up front so people have a better idea of what they are dealing with.
And if someone can prove that the feedback is indeed retaliatory, ie can show prompt payment, submit negative emails ETC. it should be removable without having to 29 dollars to Square Deal ( an Ebay owned company)

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