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Wed Aug 15 2007 08:55:56

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

By: Ina Steiner

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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.




Comments (34) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: Jeff

Wed Aug 15 10:09:54 2007

New sellers during this 'FLD' see it as a gift from the eBay Gods.  Those who have been around the block know this game all too well..

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: pat pitcher

Wed Aug 15 10:17:40 2007

I certainly agree that a 10 cent or even a FLD (remember those) would be lovely, something is better than nothing.

I certainly resent having to pay for a gallery pic - it is absolutely necessary to have for the things that I sell - mostly pottery, glass, china and antiques/collectables. I have run auctions for identical items in the past - one with gallery, one without and know that the items with gallery always get more hits and usually sell first and often for higher amounts. Not using gallery is not an option for me. Sellers of books, dvd's electronics or other items that have dozens of identical ones available can save by not using gallery, but sellers in my area are hostage to using it.

I'm never surprised that listings fall off over the summer - it has been that way every year since about 2000 or 2001 after the early fever for ebay passed.

I have always found that from the 3rd week of June to the 2nd week of September, sales are below average - both in sell through rates and end price.I list very little over that period and I know many, many sellers who also basically take the summer off. It is just common sense that the numbers will reflect this....don't need some number cruncher to point out the obvious.

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: ccharned

Wed Aug 15 12:50:21 2007

Didn't Meg say (not too long ago), that she wanted to see the _quality_ of listings improve and that she wanted to see an average sale price of at least $25?  Flooding the site with cheap stuff listed at $9.99 (most sellers I know with good-quality merchandise are not going to chance a starting price of $9.99 because many items on eBay now receive only one bid) would seem to be counter to what she said earlier.  

As usual, it appears that eBay cannot decide what it wants or what it wants to be, and has applied this "quick fix" Band-Aid approach to sooth analysts, while doing nothing for its real customers...the sellers.  We would have leapt at a 0.10 fixed-price or auction listing sale, but we'll pass on this - a seller runs the risk of giving their stuff away, at a saving of only a _nickel_ per listing.  

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: Randy Smythe

Wed Aug 15 13:34:09 2007

I would imagine sellers that already use gallery and start items under $9.99 are pleased they got a break but I can't imagine anyone else getting excited about this promo.

Maybe some store sellers will send a few listings over to core but I can't imagine this increasing the listing numbers substantially.

The reduced FVF sale they announced at eBay live didn't increase listings either.

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: eBay Habit

Wed Aug 15 17:24:45 2007

Who doesn't list with gallery anymore?  Very few professional listers fail to add it.  And in my testing, the returns on selling with gallery far outweigh the the risk of that .35 and especially would be worth it if the listing fee was gone.

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: Randy Smythe

Wed Aug 15 20:02:53 2007

ebay habit - Most Media sellers don't use Gallery, Postcard sellers don't use Gallery. It is way too expensive to add to low ASP items.

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: sleazeBay

Thu Aug 16 00:58:51 2007

A couple of things I never see mentioned about these sleazeBay promotions. I have 2 main seller IDs used a lot and 3 rarely used IDs. Checking my email, I always get the free/10cent listing day notices in my small accounts, but am NEVER notified by email to my busy accounts.
And they always arrive at 2AM the day of the promotion. Can't a mega-billion dollar company even have the courtesy to give the people who made it that way a 48 hour notice so then can prepare and actually take advantage of the ''bargain''.

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: Squeezeplaycards

Thu Aug 16 12:26:29 2007

I was excited until I read the fine print. I then chose to not list anything at all. I will wait till Sunday or maybe even later.

Bad Promotion Idea

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: Bob H.

Thu Aug 16 12:49:58 2007

YES! Thanks, eBay!

I've been waiting a LONG time for a listing sale that I can use. I always use the gallery photo AND 90% of my items are fixed price items under $10. WHAM, I just saved at least $120 in listing fees after listing with the sale.

You can list fast if you have a third-party listing program OR you have your items listed in STORE format and just MOVE them to fixed format. I moved almost 200 items very quickly. And, when the sale dates are over, I will quickly most of the items BACK to the store listings.

Making money on eBay requires you to think about minimizing your costs through inventory management and listing options. If you are a serious seller, I believe that a STORE on eBay is mandatory as long as you have enough fixed price items to list (so buyers can actually see your items). Once your items are searched and viewed, customers will be more likely to see your store items. Otherwise, store items are hard to find by buyers unless it is a unique item and shows up in searches because only a small number of sellers have that item for sale.

I manage my listings between fixed price and store listings depending on the quantity of each item. I don't panic about the total listing fees per item, but average it out per item. For example, if I have one $9.95 item, it costs $0.75 with gallery to list it. But, if I have FIVE of that same item, it costs $1.55 total ($0.31 per item). It's even better with quantity 20 -- $0.14 each). The large quantity items make the fixed price listings and the smaller quantity items start off in store listings. The store listings get moved to fixed price listing occasionally or when eBay has a listing sale.

I agree, though, that more notice from eBay about listing sales would be nice to have. But, eBay knows that people would just wait a couple of days to list under the sale.

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: Cathy

Thu Aug 16 13:56:54 2007

Not for me either.....Stuff just doesn't sell in the summer and fall so sellers get discouraged by giving all their hard earned money to ebay listing fees.  Save your money!!!!

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: Joan

Thu Aug 16 15:32:05 2007

I, myself, have about 30% of my items under 10.00 and I welcomed the chance to save money. I always use gallery, regardless of the cost of the item. For me this was a good promotion. I wish they had more 10 or 20 cent days on fixed auctions too.

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: pax

Thu Aug 16 18:52:02 2007

I thought at first it was a spoof email!! I listed a few things but wasn't too exited over it-- slow season and after the nonsense with the whole seller star ratings implement and thinking on how much money the heads  wasted in meetings with this idea  instead of giving it to the sellers for fee breaks etc....
I  wonder how long it is going to take for another auction site to come into age and give ebay a real run for their money. Ebay, after Pierre, has   been a  greedy company and it is  so sad to see this happen. I  often wonder what he thinks.  It  seems to be  getting worse and worse and they are slowly giving themselves gangrene by shooting themselves in the foot with the bullets of greed.

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: gb-in-uk

Fri Aug 17 07:18:58 2007

I dont know if any of you care, but this is for ebay.com in the USA only. Spare a thought for us UK sellers, and I hope you all still remember us since ebay.com removed our listings from your website. HUH! SOME GLOBAL MARKETPLACE!

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: Art

Fri Aug 17 08:04:14 2007

eBay should not charge for gallery listing  ever. You would think they would want items to sell for more. They would make more on the final value fee and more in their paypal pocket. Many items would be sold instead of sold offsite if they would offer completely free gallery listing. its a no brainer.

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: GOOGLE AUCTIONS

Fri Aug 17 09:37:14 2007

WHERE


ARE


YOU


GOOGLE


AUCTI
ONS


SAVE




US



WAKE UP

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: Tracy Pastiva

Fri Aug 17 11:12:55 2007

Now ebay, sighting through the scope as though you were going to shoot to kill... you will see the crosshairs.. center it on your goose that laid the golden egg and once again pull your profit trigger.
As a seasoned seller, I more and more feel like I'm constantly in the crosshairs of ebay. I'm not dead yet but I'm wounded. Quick reload ebay.  

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: Kirk

Fri Aug 17 12:04:11 2007

Gallery should be FREE for ALL Listing ALL the Time !  I use it less and less often now.   Kirk

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: OBSERVER/SELLER

Fri Aug 17 12:27:56 2007

YES! Save us, lets help us help ourselves, > google auctions.com , craigslist.com , olx,com , and why not > ubid.com , overstock.com , they all have either free or better fees than ebay.
Watch your final value fees on e-bay also, look at it! I did some calc's and found they had charge me .20 more that they should haveon 6 items, then go figure it they get a double fee (listing I believe), scrutinize your monthly invoices!!
I do believe we should ban together to make ebay buckle in to the sellers.
ALSO>" SINCE WHEN CAN EBAY CHARGE US A NEG FEED BACK FOR A NEUTRAL OR NO FEED BACK LEFT, JUST BECAUSE OF A BUYERS ""LAZYNESS"", I DO'NT GIVE A **** ATTITUDE" B.S.
THIS IS ALL CRAP IN MY BOOK, how about every one else, you all know if we all stuck together, we could bring EBAY to it's knees, think the stock and listings are down now, the more us folks get discussed the less listings are going to be made, "IT IS NOT JUST SLOW SEASON, IT IS FED UP SEASON" look this is back to school and college season, where are the sales, go to your corner thrift store and find them!
also the only reason that some folks shop ebay is because EBAY has set a mantallity out there that we are nothing but less than thrift store pricing, and what happened to the usps "PREFERRED SHIPPER OF EBAY SELLERS DEAL", now usps since the last rate hike has only "2 BOXES" for us to use, the rest of the bulk rate boxes have dis-appearred, I shipped an item out 3 days ago, should have cost me only $8/9 but ended up costing me $17.00 to ship out, come on people, they think they have us buy the hair of he head and just keep on dragg-in us along> time to get our heads straight, we and many others have helped them to get where they are to day and we are being treated like dirt, and they are playing dictator, almost like the "USSR-EBAY"!!!

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: LC

Fri Aug 17 12:28:55 2007

This listing day promo sounded great, but delivered very little value to me.  I sell higher-end items and there is no way I am going to risk starting an item at $9.99 that cost me ten times that much, especially since it is very rarely that there is more than one bid on an item in the last couple of years.  

And again, why they charge for gallery is beyond me, although I guess if they deleted that fee, it would just be compensated for by increased FVF or listing fees.

Like other sellers, I find that July through September are very slow months and I usually only list on a cheap listing day unless I see that I have something that is momentarily hot on eBay and then I will list it anyway.  Otherwise, everything stays in my store until I see sales improving in my category.  After 4 years on eBay, I have learned that this is the only way I can make any kind of profit.  

I used to sell full time in 2003, but now I just do it part time and am not interested in trying to make a living at it anymore.  I just do it as a side line to my main income now.

eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints   eBay's Listing Promotion Disappoints

by: prying1

Sat Aug 18 01:13:23 2007

I have one advantage since I deal mostly in books. I can move over to Alibris and Abe Books. Those with higher end pottery, jewelry and knick-knacks need to pray for Google to move into the auction business.

Although as one friend said, "...Google probably makes enough without the headaches."

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