|Wed Aug 15 2007 08:55:56|
eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints
By: Ina Steiner
What does eBay do when Wall Street analysts complain about a decline in the number of listings? Hold a listing promotion for sellers, of course. But today's promotion has a twist that has some sellers disappointed.
According to a thread on the eBay Stores discussion board, a few sellers thought it was a "free listing day" for items listed with a starting price of $9.99 or less. But the insertion fees are only waived if sellers purchase the optional Gallery feature for 35 cents.
Said one, "Is this some kind of a cruel joke?"
Another seller emailed me, "pretty cheap shot, imho."
Gallery allows buyers to see a thumbnail photo of an item when browsing search results, and I've never understood why eBay chose to charge sellers for it. It hurts the "buyer experience" when you browse listings and don't see thumbnails.
Analyst reports came out yesterday showing listings are down, no doubt the reason for the promotion. Mark Mahaney of Citigroup Investment Research says in part:
"Through the week ended August 14th, we tracked QTD Y/Y Core listings growth of 4.4% Y/Y, modestly lower than last week's 4.7% and down vs. the 7.3% Core growth we tracked in Q2. We've logged 245MM total Core listings QTD."
and, "U.S. Core down 11.0% Y/Y QTD (due in part to tough promotion comps in Q3 last year), a slight improvement vs. down 11.8% Y/Y last week, but remains slower than Q2 at down 6% Y/Y;..."
(For important disclosures regarding Citigroup Investment Research, including with respect to any issuers mentioned herein, please refer to the Citigroup Investment Research disclosure website at https://www.citigroupgeo.com/geopublic/Disclosures/disclosure.html ).
SeekingAlpha reported yesterday that, according to JPMorgan listings data, "both total and core absolute listings have deteriorated consistently over the course of 6 weeks and are now down 11.7% and 9.2% respectively over where the QTD total was in 2006."
A straight-out 10-cent listing day would have been better than the promotion offered, according to a seller on the eBay boards.