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Thu Sept 13 2007 12:21:00

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay has made 2007 the year of improving the Buyer Experience. Have they succeeded?

eBay has rolled out newly designed Home Page, My eBay, My Messages, Bid History page, a Bid Assistant feature, new Trust & Safety initiatives, as well as soon-to-be-implemented changes to Search and other features. 

I've talked to reporters from two major publications in the last week who are interested in knowing the answer to this question: Has the buying experience improved on eBay? 

What would you tell them? 

Comments (30) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: Randy Smythe

Thu Sep 13 12:35:55 2007

Wow, I would think it would be way to early to tell. Most of these changes really have only recently hit the site and Finding 2.0  is still not fully implemented.

It would be nice to hear some positive experiences though.

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: Randy T

Thu Sep 13 22:37:15 2007

I agree, it will be at least a year or more before there is any real data that would imply that the buying experience has improved....I think soon enough ebay will be reporting a lower number of ''item not received claims''-or a higher number of these claims being resolved for the buyer-than we saw before...

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: Lisa

Thu Sep 13 23:48:52 2007

The frauds are still there. Yes, eBay wants to present itself as a marketplace for high-value items, but who in their right mind would buy anything that's worth more than fifty dollars?

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: jsicolts

Fri Sep 14 04:45:05 2007

Improved? Are you insane.
Paypal fees are high to both buyer and seller, feedback is a joke since it is VOLUNTARY and NEUTRAL =NEgative in eBay's eyes.
Alibris, Biblio, and even ebay's ugly sister is much BETTER and safer than right wing tactivs of ebay.

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: Ina Steiner

Fri Sep 14 09:34:15 2007

The opinion of a Wall Street analyst (from today's AuctionBytes Newsflash:

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: Vincent

Fri Sep 14 09:58:17 2007

Absolutely.  From a buyer's point of view, it is easier to distinguish good sellers from bad and that is enough to improve the experience by reducing fraud.  But there is still much more to go in reducinf fraud so hopefully we will see even better feedback.

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: Suzanne

Fri Sep 14 10:07:37 2007

Are you kidding? EBay/Pay Pal doesn't protect large purchases which makes it imperative for you to use your credit card to insure you're covered for fraud. I would have lost $4,000 plus had my purchases not been covered by my credit card. EBay/Pay Pal's answer is sorry, their acct. is closed...blah, blah, blah...
We can't do anything for you!

The feedback system is a joke. Feedback is not mandatory, yet they use it to limit sellers and slap their hands for non-performance. When someone gives retaliatory feedback because you had to give negative feedback for nonpayment or something similar you are punished even though it's not your fault. They tell you they evaluate all aspects, but they don't. How can a canned response evaluate anything or anybody fairly?

The bottom line is they really don't care about the buyers or sellers. ALL they care about is the money they make from us all. ACTIONS speak louder than words and I've seen NO FAIR actions!

It is all automated, so you can't communicate with a REAL person who can understand and explain rules! They need to hire more people and give it the human touch.

The new programs coming out will have to be tested and proven which will take a minimum of a year I would think.

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: Withheld

Fri Sep 14 12:09:48 2007

NO. I feel the real problem is not the ''buyer experience'' but the way they are punishing sellers. Feedback 2.0 is the worst decision ever. It is so one-sided that there isn't even the slightest pretense of fairness. Make it so sellers can rate buyers too if you want to ''improve'' it. With the other buyer experience improvements, I don't see any real change, nor did there need to be. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The only really good thing for both buyers and sellers that I've seen eBay do this year is dropping the listing fees in September. It encourages sellers to list, which means a better mix for buyers and at better starting prices. That means a better Buyer Experience because there is more to choose from and at more competitive prices. It's better for sellers because they aren't being raped by high fees. If eBay really wants to improve the Buyer experience, they need to improve things for the sellers. New and more confusing SYI pages as they've announced are NOT the answer. Dropping fees is.

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: Gaz

Fri Sep 14 12:39:28 2007

How can anything eBay has done in the last 18 months be said to improving things for buyers.

Every policy and focus shift has been designed to punish sellers or rape their coffers.  This has very publicly led to a huge migration of sellers away from eBay, and even those who didn't leave have been very vocal in announcing the shift of large chunks of inventory to their own websites (including a lot of eBay-competitor start-up sites).

This has caused reduced choice for buyers, reduced positive press about the site/marketplace leading to higher expectation of fraud and scam activity (reduced buyer confidence in eBay), higher churn of new seller accounts (harder to spot who is genuine and who is a fraud) etc.

Then there is the wholesale roll out of the much despised (amongst sellers) item specifics - which has totally destroyed the pleasure of browsing sub-categories line by line.  So much so that personally, I simply no longer buy on eBay unless the item name is so specific I can input it on the front page search box, and KNOW there will be only a page or two of results.

For a "world-leading" marketing-led company, eBay love to ignore their paying customers and Marketing 101.  And they seem to be doing so at an accelerating rate of deafness.


Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: Brent Crouch

Fri Sep 14 12:54:05 2007

eBay hasn't done anything to help buyers, they have only pissed off more sellers.  Obviously someone forgot, sellers are sometimes buyers too.

As a seller, I haven't been really effected by all the new rules eBay has implemented, but I have seen a lot of good sellers that have.  It leaves me with the feeling that I could be next.  I'll continue to sell on eBay, but I will never buy anything until new management recognizes sellers pay the bills and start to provide some value for the fees we are paying.

As a seller, I list less items now than I did three years ago.  With all the increased fees, it made it less profitable to list a lot of my items.  How can this be helpful to a buyer?  

eBay has become less known for finding hard to find items.  It is no longer profitable to list them.  They have ignored the problems with the seller base and satisfied Wall Street by increasing fees.  Now, the fees are so high that will not work anymore.

If you want to see this company grow, reward good sellers and let the marketplace take care of the bad sellers with little or no eBay internention.

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: Scot

Fri Sep 14 15:05:47 2007

No, nothing has changed in any way.  Ebay is simply dishing out more of the same; they blame all their problems on the very sellers they themselves vetted and allowed on the site.  

The problem with ebay is its own arrogance which becomes more obvious the longer you deal with them.  From the very top management down to the customer service level, they never admit a mistake, never apologize, never offer restitution to those wronged by their ill thought heavy handed actions.  

As such, you'll have a tough time finding a major seller (and not one the fictional sellers ebay has created...yes they exist) stepping up to defend ebay.    And until the ebay/seller relationship becomes something other than us-verses-them, sellers have no real motivation to effect change that buyers collectively notice...they're too busy looking for ways to move off ebay on their own.

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: t_e_v

Fri Sep 14 18:36:48 2007

Improving the Buyer Experience. Have they succeeded?
Newly designed Home Page, The one I recieve when logging in is basically okay, No link to the Want-It-Now (are they trying to eliminate this section?), and besides, I don't stay on the homepage long enough to even see it as a warranted change,
I guess the programmers needed something to do.

My eBay, I'm still getting the old look here. Can't comment on what I don't get to see.
I guess the programmers needed something to do.

My Messages, These seem to be working as before the change, Am seeing numerous reports on the discussion boards about sellers ad spamming and suspicious outside ebay links making it through the system.
Maybe the programmers could do something to reduce these.

 Bid History page, Needs to be reprogrammed to what it was last year. Not enough transparency to actually help ebay's ''Super Duper Shill Catcher Program'' High and low dollar items are still being shilled and although the Fake SCO's are still being sent and  recieved, board reports seem to be down a little.

Bid Assistant feature, doesn't seem to be really worth the time or electrons, unless you can find a lot of the same items from different sellers, (The new finding experience has killed this though, more about ''finding'' later).
New Trust & Safety initiatives,
1) enforcing the ''Seller Non-Performance Intiative'', while a great idea, just not thought out enough to allow for false accusations, plus basing the restrictions/suspenions on ''Opinions'' over too short a time needs to be re-thought.    
2) soon-to-be-implemented changes to Search, WOW!! where to start with this one? Screwed up Holiday sales part 2 ? This looks like a way to increase to ebay's bottom line by introducing this during the peak listing/buying time. Re-listing fees will certainly increase substantually. From reading the thread on the ''Search DB'', started by Jeff King and now being answered/passing the info on to the appropriate team??  by MarnieSue. She does by the way, seem to be placating some members, (she deserves the ebay title equivalent of ''Miss Congeniality''). This will be disasterous to new sellers and those with simple listings once implemented. All sellers are going to have to write novels about their items or purchase several ''listing upgrades'' if they want them to be seen.
I will say something positive for them though, the ''playground'' site is a good way to get the bugs and glitches out first, IF they will only use it like it should be. All members should be ''invited'' at least once a month to go there and check it out. Then give the ''playground'' honest input as to what they like and don't like. Be specific with your input if you like, I would be more general though. I don't get compensated for my work like the programmers do. Make them earn their pay.

In closing, Hope all find want they want even if IT isn't on ebay. Google and the X-project wants a robot on the Moon in a couple of years, I have already moved my stuff and selling account there. It is growing fast and no fees for right now. Once they get there, who knows?

Have a nice weekend all,

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: Ina Steiner

Fri Sep 14 23:38:58 2007

Scot Wingo of ChannelAdvisor, who is well known in the industry, is concerned that some readers may think a previous post by Scot was him, due to the fact that they both spell their name with one t instead of the more common two ts. I can confirm that the previous poster was not Scot Wingo, but another person who also happens to spell his name S-C-O-T.

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: bonni

Sat Sep 15 00:32:48 2007

The frauds are definitely out there still. I got stung by one (my fault for taking a chance on a low FB seller!). They're selling "solid gold" jewellery that is not only plated, the stones are fake, as well. Some of the stones are so fake they're pretty obviously resin (they're not even coloured cubic zirconia, which is at least attractive!). They've got a ton of bad FB from unhappy buyers and I've reported them as selling fakes, but do eBay care? Nope! These people are still happily flogging their fake jewellery onto an unsuspecting public.

So much for eBay paying attention...

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: Alex

Sat Sep 15 09:05:32 2007

The Scot that wasn't the other Scot pretty well covered it.

Remember the old diary commercial ?  Borden's I think... ''You get the best milk from contented cows''

Well, the ''cows'' here ain't too happy. Continuing the present course is not going to improve the ''milk'' (Products & Service.)

When everything including your ability to even sell, is based on a system of punishment - It tends not to bring out the best in people...

Also, I saw the new eBay commercial today ''Dog Race''

maybe they could make one for the sellers: ''Rat Race''


Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: JW

Sat Sep 15 10:01:47 2007

I am still amazed that eBay genuinely thinks that what sellers (and buyers) really want is a perpetually changing playing field.  We really have no way of knowing how their endless changes are going to affect us and our profits.  The nose dive in selling prices of two years ago was caused by eBay changes.  And I, for one (and apparently most other sellers), haven't recovered. The Grey Suited Ones at eBay never seem to address this.

The idea that seller might even need a stable selling platform so they can concentrate on selling rather than on adjusting to change after change after change after change after change after change (and which never seem to improve profits), no, the idea that this might be detrimental to sellers does not seem to occur to the eBay suits.

I sell antiquarian books but have scaled back my eBay listings.  I intend to close my eBay store as I migrate most of my business to ABE Books.  Right now, it looks as though I will maintain a small eBay auction presence but I simply have to go where the fees are less and the profit potential is higher.

And even if the profits aren't higher (small chance of that, but even if), at least I won't be worried about going out of business because some Wonder Girl at eBay had a "bright" idea.

By and large, change is good.  It is the way the Universe works.  Change is inevitable and is to be embraced.  But making changes for the sake of making changes is, simply, not good business.

The eBay Wonder Suits may kiss my ass as I walk out the door.

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: Brent Crouch

Sat Sep 15 10:52:47 2007

Aren't there some buyers that just can't be pleased?  Here is a very good example.

I auctioned off 30 leather jackets a few weeks ago with a starting price of 99 cents.  It turned out to be a mistake. A lot of them ended with bids less than $10.  

This one ended with a $3 bid.  Buyer left me a neutral because it was to big for him.  He never contacted me and guess what his score is.....5.  It will be a 4 before you can say negative.

Neutral feedback rating Jacket too large, has to do with sizing chart Buyer:

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: Elaine

Sun Sep 16 08:28:38 2007

I am a prolific longtime eBay buyer (since 1999).  The method and content of the Finding 2.0 changes being rolled out has been terrible for the practiced e-Bay buyer.

eBay is involuntarily 'enrolling users' in its Playground beta tests, an action that has prompted thousands of complaints on its Search Discussion Board. (According to eBay's staff, the figure of users pulled without warning into beta is at 1% in all categories and 20% in select categories -- these percentages are never further explained in Search Discussion Board announcements).  

The practice of soliciting guinea pigs for beta testing with absolutely no warning is astonishingly user-unfriendly and terribly bad business practice.  The link to opt out of the beta was originally placed at the bottom of select pages in small type until overwhelming user protest forced its more visible display.  Given that the Playground is, 2 months later, still far from finished with many features inoperative, this is unconscionable.

Worse: in addition to changes made in the Playground, the efficacy of which can be debated, eBay has also been instituting changes in its current LIVE search.  Besides the Completed Item glitches you mention, there have been other unannounced changes that seriously impact the current buyer experience on eBay:

*The design of search return pages has changed.  The new starkly white, undelineated item lists are so visually painful for anything more than 5-minute use that many users are resorting to home-baked browser widgets to return to earlier page formatting. Those with less techie bents are resorting to Google or giving up altogether. Does eBay presume its buyers are all under 30 with perfect eyesight?

*Invisible keywords have been set up that discard portions of user search terms forcing users to begin searching all over again.  This is infuriating beyond words for any but the most simplistic buyer searching for a single name-brand commodity.

*Saved searches no longer work correctly, as certain advanced search algorhythms have been rendered ineffective. These saved searches often represent many hours of buyer time spent refining them.

It is online business suicide to make such rapid and untested code changes on a LIVE production site, and even worse to continually monkey with them. Unfathomable why eBay has chosen to proceed in this way.

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: Peter Leeflang - THE LEEFLANG ARCHIVES

Sun Sep 16 13:57:38 2007

The newest Snapshot View option for buyers can now be seen at

It is the newest disaster for sellers, rendering many now virtually invisible.

Enter a search and click on the Snapshotview icon.

What will happen then is that buyer will only see thumbnails of all items, no text.

Anyone seller who has not paid the considerable extra fee for a thumbnail will be rendered invisible.

This is especially problematic with auction and fixed price listings, where the fee for gallery thumbnails is expensive.

So sellers who auction items are forced to pay another additional fee or become invisible.

For us this new Snapshotview means, that we woudl have to pay extra PER WEEK:

500 (auctions and fixed price listings) x $0.35= $175 per week extra!!!!!

Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?   Has the Buying Experience Improved on eBay?

by: Frank Ross

Sun Sep 16 14:03:05 2007

What about the little text ads for the Credit Bureau below the hit counter? That just appeared recently. It's advertising that is not relevant to the auction (unless the person is selling something credit related).  Does that have any business being on my auctions when I sell kitchen stuff?  How does that enhance the buyer experience when they come to my auction for kitchen stuff and see the Credit Bureau ad?  If anything, it detracts from the buyer experience.  The buyer experience thing is lip service for the most part.

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