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Thu Jan 31 2008 23:46:12

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

By: Ina Steiner

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A statement that could only be compared to that from the famously out-of-touch Empress Marie Antoinette comes this one from a Wall Street analyst talking to Computerworld about eBay sellers:

Tim Boyd, an analyst at American Technology Research Inc., is not sympathetic to the sellers' plight."These are the same sellers who have been whining for three years about wanting to pay only for performance," he said. "I am so sick of listening to these guys (complaining about this). That's all they do is (complain). Let them strike. Someone will step in and take their place. EBay did not raise its fees; it slashed its insertions fees and raised the final value fees, and for some sellers - some sellers - it amounts to a fee increase."

After all, eBay can source their own inventory and pack and ship it and deal with customers, they don't need sellers. Oh, wait a minute - eBay does need its sellers.

 




Comments (53) | Permalink

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Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

This user has validated their user name. by: David Steiner

Fri Feb 1 00:25:51 2008

There are some analysts that have a clear understanding of the eBay marketplace. I'm even familiar with one that was an eBay PowerSeller for several years and now covers eBay in-depth for his brokerage firm.

I seriously doubt that Mr. Boyd has ever sold on eBay. He seems to have the mistaken notion that the supply of eBay sellers is endless. What he overlooks is that many sellers who are threatening to leave or strike have already begun to sell multi-channel. This is not 2004, when it was  cost-prohibitive to set up an ecommerce website and drive traffic to it using Adwords. Amazon was not inviting 3rd Party merchants to sell on their venue three years ago. When a seller leaves eBay, they'll be competing directly with anyone who may have ''stepped in'' and taken their place and be taking market share with them.

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: Abe

Fri Feb 1 02:57:13 2008

I am among the many ''some sellers'' whose fees were severely increased.

Realize that Mr. Boyd looks at ebay sellers the same way he looks at consumers of fast food, soft drinks, and petroleum. Or Wal-Mart shoppers; ''Hey, all the Wal-Mart bashing in the world doesn't keep the peasants from spending their money there....they say they'll stay away, but in the end, they all keep on shopping here, and we stay very rich.....in the end, the peasants will always need us''....

Well, he may be right. But if we look at ebay as the McDonalds of ecommerce....well, hey! Maybe a Burger King will come along and be a little bit better deal for us peasants! Maybe a Wendys, or a Taco Bell. See my point: Eventually, ebay won't pretty much own ecommerce, as they do now, other practical alternatives will come along-but its gonna take alot more muscle to seriously challenge them. I hope I get to see it in my lifetime!

Aside from that, I've taken to describing ebay's business practices as kindrid to the credit card industry. That's the easiest way to explain to civilians how they operate and why they are a pariah on society.
''Hey Cletus, take us up on this new fee structure, its a really great deal! Don't read the fine print, just accept what we tell you!

Ina, David, Thanks for your hard work!
Sincerely,
Abe

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: Dick

Fri Feb 1 05:03:10 2008

Mr. Boyd is just another Natzi Right Wing calculator that works to protect the interests of investors.  Which leads me to the next question:  Why did eBay go public anyways?  It's not that eBay needed all that extra capital to begin with.  EBay is not a brick and mortar operation that requires funding to facilitate numerous retail buildings and massive amounts of expensive inventory for expansion.  Ebay from the start was a profitable entity that had a generous flow of cash coming into it's direction on a consistent basis.  I remember hearing that when Meg Whitman came on board eBay had a mere 30 employees.  Now eBay employs some 4000 plus people on it's payroll.  Now those of you who were around back in the beginning can surely attest to the fact that the level of service eBay provided to it's sellers never improved over the years, but in fact has actually gotten worse.  So what do all these 4000 plus employees do anyways?  Many sellers will agree that eBay has the worst customer service they have encountered in their life and eBay's traditional form of communication (automated responses) does not reflect the work of 4000 plus people working hard providing service.  How many times has anyone actually talked with a real live human being when dealing with a problem which I'm sure every seller has had his/her fare share of them over the years.  This current eBay operation is reminiscent of those notorious dotcom scam artists that intentionally propped up somewhat imaginary companies with a number of hired on talent to appear legitimate to wall street so they can obtain their IPO and bilk unsuspecting investors out of enormous amounts of cash.  Before I became an eBay seller I use to work as a sales rep for a major company in a large office complex.  During the dotcom hay day I recalled this one start up company that just received about 100 million from their IPO.  I would see daily deliveries of pallets full of drinks and other food items being delivered to this company which were headquartered right below my office.  I frequently peered into their office from time to time to see what was all the commotion about and it looked like they were having a party.  This kind of activity happened on a daily basis for months on end.  I often wondered to myself if this new tech company actually got any work done and what was the main function of this tech company since all they did is seem to party all day.  Sure enough within a few months that company had vanished into thin air.  I'm sure the execs of that company ran away with enough of their investors cash to retire on several times over.  The reference I'm making against eBay is simple.  Meg Whitman grew eBay into an enormous cash cow literally overnight by courting wall street and taking eBay public.  Even though eBay had a nice flow of cash before hand it can't compare to the amount of wall street cash that literally came overnight with eBay new status as a public company.  Meg had just recently retired taking with her hundreds of millions of wall streets dollars.  Ebay's new CEO is nothing more than a circus ringmaster.  His primary job is to convince wall street eBay is constantly growing by making unnecessary changes from it's original model to insure the end consumer great satisfaction.  I have read many posts from sellers stating that none of the eBay execs knows anything about the online auction business and I would have to agree 100%.  These execs however are very good at extracting large amounts of cash from both wall street and eBay's sellers.  Basically these execs are burning the candle from both ends so to speak and the sellers are smack dab in the middle of this candle.  Like all pyramid schemes the one on the top is rewarded the most(Meg) and those below her receive less and less respectively as the pyramid begins to implode.  If this theory seems crazy just remember the fact that the greed of a few comes at the expense of the many.  All of us sellers are on eBay to make money, but lets not forget the fact that eBay's execs are also on board to make money as well!  Nobody works for free.  

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: dimes

Fri Feb 1 09:56:55 2008

He sounds like a kid who let his emotion get the better of him.   Oh, wait.
http://seekingalpha.com/author/tim-boyd

This isn't exactly his first howler -

“We view eBay’s [third quarter] results and outlook as very solid and believe the bears’ selective focus on a few well-known challenges continues to obfuscate the many positive trends that have developed over the last year.”
Barron’s
10/26/2007

Sure, kid.  Whatever you say.  (Poor thing should have paid closer attention to his mentor, Mark Mahaney.)

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: Drake

Fri Feb 1 11:02:31 2008

Unfortunately, Tim Boyd has, once again, gotten his facts wrong.  First, the prices have not been slashed, they have been dramatically increased over the years.  Second, it isn't just the sellers who are upset about the price increase, it is the buyers who ultimately have to pay for it.  EBay makes it more expensive for buyers to do business with them and they get less value for their money.  My suggestion to Mr. Boyd is that before he "gets sick" over this issue, he should read up on the subject matter and learn the facts.

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

This user has validated their user name. by: David Steiner

Fri Feb 1 11:24:38 2008

I was curious what ATR valued eBay's stock at. In a January 22nd Reuter's article, (http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=ebay-ceo-whitman-preparin ) the following quote is attributed to Mr. Boyd:

[snip]The buyside is sick of Meg,'' Tim Boyd of American Technology Research said of how some institutional investors' have wearied of waiting for turnaround measures to take hold. He advises investors buy the stock, which he says is worth $40 a share.[/snip]

$40 is well on the high side of most brokerage firms' valuations of eBay. If that is what he has advised his clients, it makes more sense that seller unrest would make him a bit edgy.

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: dimes

Fri Feb 1 12:11:19 2008

What he fails to understand (and what eBay knows well) is that ANY kind of user reaction is far preferable to the alternative - customer indifference.  

The day its users no longer care is the day eBay becomes irrelevant.

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: deb

Fri Feb 1 12:32:23 2008

wow it is obvious the author of this article has NEVER been an ebay seller and does not have a clue!  
Ebay is strangling (raping) its mainstay store sellers.  WE JUST HAD MAJOR FEE INCREASES LAST YEAR!  Now this?
I will be leaving, so will others.

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: Laura

Fri Feb 1 12:36:30 2008

It’s obvious to me that he has never read a single complaint from sellers!!!  How someone could publish such a strong opinion before actually looking into it is amazing!  

If he had he looked into it  he would have known that the majority of complaints are about FEEDBACK, not fees. It’s about the fact the sellers feel that Ebay needs better (make that ANY) policies that protect them  (the good seller). What they have now are policies that support the dishonest buyer. What they will have after the change is a policy that breeds them.

What store can I go into buy whatever I want then tell the owner that they have to refund my money or I will paint on their front door a slander against their character and they can’t erase it but will have to keep it up for all customers to see?

Why does Ebay market its sellers so poorly, then wonder why buyers feel the way they do?  Are not the sellers your greatest assets?

In all these years, where has Ebay been? Have they only just been taking our fees? How long can Ebay just  turn its head and pretend like buyers aren’t scamming us?  Kind of makes them a party to all their schemes.  Because Ebay knows we get taken advantage of and yet does nothing but protect their dishonesty and now they are making it even easier.

These current and past policies are leading to us ALL (EBAY + PowerLESS Sellers) collectively breeding dishonest buyers. Is this really the path Ebay wants to take?  With Sellers unable to leave feedback it is just going to get worse.

This will be, just as destructive, (if not more) to ebay  then it is for us! We can go somewhere else, we (unlike Ebay) have good customer service and our buyers will follow. After all they are our buyers they aren’t Ebay’s. We can find another middleman. Ebay on the other hand will have alienated too many Sellers. Do They not hear how the  sellers have silently been holding resentment towards them  for so long, for years even? Do you not hear us, its not just “noise”? Are you REALLY listening?

Come on Ebay! Step up and put in some real policies that protect us too!!! You have OUR money to do it with!  

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: Lynnie

Fri Feb 1 13:03:01 2008

Better hurry and sell your stock Mr. Boyd, while you and those who believe and trust your well planned smoke screen still have enough $ to buy cake. Basic economics 101 - no sellers=no buyers=no eBay.

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: Ann

Fri Feb 1 14:57:05 2008

Ina,
I find it very interesting that for someone who has a newsletter existing solely because eBay is around, it's kind of obnoxious that you spend your entire day bad mouthing eBay and getting your readers all up in arms.  Last I looked sellers sold $16 billion worth of stuff on eBay last quarter.  A bit of advise- don't cut your nose off inspite of your face.  Good luck with your newsletter...and another cliche that is invaluable and something you should remember- What comes around goes around!  See you around.  

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: laura

Fri Feb 1 15:13:56 2008

Ann,
As someone who enjoys reading Ina Blog’s all I can say to you is this “Uh humm”.
You are the like the toddler in the room that you just say “uh humm” to  but you are actually ignoring them because what they say is nonsense.

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: Dane

Fri Feb 1 15:49:25 2008

Ina,
Ann has an extremely good and accurate point, I saw you hob-knobbing with Meg in Boston. All you have done since then is gripe about sellers fees and site gliches.
Hmm... how much are you making off Ebay?  
 

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: tula

Fri Feb 1 16:19:51 2008

Geez, guys.  Give Ina a break.  No matter what she says in an editorial, someone is likely to be cheesed off.  In one of the other blog topics, people were whining that Ina is just a mouthpiece for eBay.  

Reporting about eBay and other auction sites and editorializing about them is what good blogging is all about.  There's plenty of unbiased news as well as editorial content here, so read and make up your own mind.

Personally I enjoy hearing the opinion of someone who is immersed in the daily goings-on of the online auction and ecommerce worlds.  She has opinions that I value because they're based upon experience and fact.  I may not always agree, but I appreciate the point of view.

FYI, Ann got both of her cliches wrong :-)  It's "cut off one's nose to spite one's face" and "what goes around, comes around."  I'll take Ina's accuracy any day.

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: dane

Fri Feb 1 16:49:53 2008

Tula,

Clichés and typos aside you seem to be focusing on the peripherals not the matter at hand, which is -Ina is still making money off eBay, as we all are?

Why don't you pony up and address the real issue, not someone's typing skills?

I find it quite interesting that Ina will bite the hand that feeds her. Meaning, she will get people stirred up over a lot of nothing.  Let's think about this- after listening to the webcast and realizing I won't make as much money, even when I consider the alternatives eBay still wins out.  Here is some hard truth, you can bitch about it all you want, but what is that going to accomplish?  I've learned that if you are able to adapt in life, things are a lot easier.  Why don't we take the high road and ask ourselves what positive things can come out of this?

I can't stand it when people will be kind and gracious to someone's face only to turn around and besmirch them for the purpose of advancing their own agenda.  

here is a question for you.. If eBay did not exist, what would you all being doing?  Hey this is a free market system, if you don't like the way thing operate with eBay go somewhere else, beat it... get lost!!!

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: Usayinpa

Fri Feb 1 17:40:20 2008

Yes the analyst has a few wires crossed. I am a Pennsylvania based auctioneer and  it seems that eBay could have done a number of things to make it easier for sellers. Once again they chose not to do so.  While I understand their need to manage revenue, I think they could do so much to really assist all sellers  not just powersellers. I also believe not being able to leave feedback for buyers is nuts as there are good buyers and bad buyers

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: Ann

Fri Feb 1 17:42:53 2008

Dane,
Kudos....  
Really, what would we be doing if ebay didn't exist?  The best question asked thus far is how much is Ina making off ebay???  Is she willing to get into that debate?

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: Ann

Fri Feb 1 17:45:23 2008

Laura,
''Uh humm''

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: Dan Burke

Fri Feb 1 18:39:51 2008

I'm glad Ebay is finally socking it to the crybaby sellers.  Indeed, let them eat $H1T and die.  For far too long these fat and happy cats got rich off the model.  It's finally the shareholders turn to reap some benefits.  As well, the buyers will finally be able to NEG these prima donnas without having to worry about retaliation.  SHOP VICTORIOUSLY !!!!  Semper Fi !

Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake   Analyst on eBay Sellers: Let Them Eat Cake

by: Justine

Fri Feb 1 18:40:00 2008

 "Some sellers" will have increases? 40 percent by ebay's own admission- that's quite a few- almost half!
  To repeat what most of us are saying- we're not happy about the fee increases, but we're LIVID about the feedback issue. These analyst guys are clueless.
  I would go so far as to say the feedback thing was so guaranteed to enrage the Sellers that it has to be a red herring. Ebay must have thrown the feedback thing in there so we would get so riled up that we would overlook or not focus on the fee increases.  Then after a few weeks, they'll pretend they listened to us and rescind the feedback thing and we'll all be so grateful that we'll forget all about the fee increase, which was their real goal all along.  It's the only logical explanation, other than that the Ebay suits are just idiots.

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