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Fri Nov 21 2008 09:15:23

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

By: Ina Steiner

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The economy has been a drag for all retailers in October, and eBay's traffic took a big hit. Unique audience in October was down 9.7% year-over-year, according to Nielsen Online data, and page views were down a whopping 32.6%. But the numbers show a downward trend in page views for the year. Page views for the third quarter (July, August, September) 2008 were down 16.58% year-over-year.

The unique audience for the third quarter 2008 was down 8.2% compared to the same quarter in 2007, and was down 9.7% in October 08 year-over-year.

We've got more on this in today's Newsflash newsletter. Let us know what you think - how much is the economy, and how much is this related to problems with eBay?

 

 




Comments (130) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: Kids Coats

Fri Nov 21 09:23:52 2008

Hi Ina,

As an eBay powerseller, we've been following this trend closely, but just recently we switched to tracking year over year visits.  There have been too many changes to search and finding to be able to do comparative y/y comparisons for page views.  The search initiatives make finding a whole lot easier for buyers and therefore results in less page views.  The 8% decline in visits in October y/y is the metric we're focused on.  It won't be until May 2009 when we'll get to compare y/y page views and infer anything of value.  

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: Dannon

Fri Nov 21 09:52:38 2008

As a PS who left eBay like many others, I am no longer searching eBay to do pricing research. That has to be a huge number of page views lost on the site as sellers have left for other sites.

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: ebay is scum

Fri Nov 21 10:00:55 2008

OF COURSE it is going to be much less views with thousands leaving everyday both sellers and buyers had enough of this nonse of changing rules daily, the look of the page is never the same, glitches that are pro-ebay and anti-seller.
I'm surprised it's this high. And just waiting for it go belly up.

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: Nice try

Fri Nov 21 10:08:02 2008

[quote]The search initiatives make finding a whole lot easier for buyers and therefore results in less page views.[/quote]

Well that's certainly a positive spin on an obviously bad situation. According to Medved, eBay had over 25 million listings by the end of this October, compared to approximately 15 million listings last October. Now you'd certainly think that the extra 10 million listings would generate SOME page views, would you?

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: Todd Barkes

Fri Nov 21 10:09:47 2008

Yes, the economy certainly has something to do with the drop off on Ebay, BUT....I feel a strong conviction that doesn't have everything to do with it.  Ebay's policy changes, view page changes, etc. have a lot to do with it also.  Ebay's Paypal and electronic payment only policy has REALLY offended users...even buyers.  I have MORE buyers now asking me if I'll accept a check or money order than before this policy change.  They do not want to be told how they can pay for an item!   As a 12 year ''veteran'' on Ebay, I am rapidly approaching the place where I am wondering if it is worth it anymore.  What a sad thing to have happen, as Ebay was once a wonderful and user friendly site to do business.

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: bye bye ebay

Fri Nov 21 10:22:06 2008

ebay is a sinking ship... we all know this... one of the sad parts is yahoo is still clinging to them for dear life, completely blind to that fact...

you're only as good/competent/successful as the crowd you associate yourself with and after yahoo's continued failure and now new management, I would've hoped they would've realized this by now and that no amount of new ebay apps they put on their homepage will change the fact that ebay is a has-been... a loser that their following straight to the trash heap....

too bad yahoo won't fling back the sheets, get out of bed with ebay and re-open their auction site... but that would be FAR too smart a business move for them... and smart is not something yahoo (or ebay) is known for these days.

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: BC

Fri Nov 21 10:23:49 2008

Gee I wonder why the drop continues.  I don't think you can blame the economy as much as you can blame ebay's management.  I have completely stopped using ebay for selling, buying, even just browsing.  Even my 12 year son complains about ebay search and gave up on ebay.  Normally I would have done some Xmas shopping on ebay this year it all went to Amazon.

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: Duh!

Fri Nov 21 10:23:58 2008

PR Spin Releases vs. Facts & Data.  I'm betting on Facts & Data.  

If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, no amount of Ebay Press Releases can make it a swan.

I repeat; Ebay's demise will show up in future marketing and management textbooks under the chapter, "How Greed Can Screw Up A Really Good Company".

And McCain was considering Whitman for a high position in government.  On second thought, she'd be a good fit.

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: former ebay shopper

Fri Nov 21 10:24:04 2008

[quote]The search initiatives make finding a whole lot easier for buyers and therefore results in less page views.[/quote]
I disagree completely with this statement. Very rarely do I shop ebay these days.  Why?  Because I can never find what I'm looking for due to poor "best match" search results.  Most of my favorite sellers also have their own web sites, so I've migrated to those, as well as I find myself doing a Google search or shopping at Amazon.  Sellers I'm unfamiliar with are lost in the chaos of search results.  Ebay used to be a fun place to shop.  Not anymore.

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: Susan Lerner

Fri Nov 21 10:24:45 2008

I am in complete agreement with Todd Barkes.
Policy changes, particularly those that adversely effect the small sellers, has driven away a lot of business. Profit margins are so slim that they are almost imperceptible.
When people ask me if it is worth selling on Ebay, I advise them against it.
Management has taken a very successful business model and ruined it.Such a shame!

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: Lyn

Fri Nov 21 10:31:00 2008

Surprise, surprise! With Best Match searching, eBay only shows most buyers what they want them to see (most don't know how to opt out or use other types of searches). So that is way fewer page views right there. Then there is the factor of paperless payments...in my category (vintage and contemporary jewelry), about 1/3rd of my *regular* customers no longer come to visit me on eBay after 8 years, but they are visiting me on another site where I cross-list everthing and they can pay with money orders or checks. How many more page views are going to other sites now instead of eBay, I would like to know? In all those years, I have had 2 bounced checks, but now I have all kinds of scammers reversing their PayPal payments, waaay more nonpaying bidders (newbies and relative newbies), and other forms of extortion. The buyer and the buyer mentality has changed so radically over the past 12 to 18 months that it is less safe than ever to sell or buy on eBay. People just don't come there because no matter now hard eBay tries to sell the "safer than ever" reputation, the public isn't buying the line. Also, I used to buy most of my inventory on eBay from small sellers with lower prices, and with my markup and regular loyal customers, I could count on making money...now I no longer buy anything on eBay, I get it from other websites at reasonable prices and mark it through the roof. So that accounts for probably 20 to 25 thousand page views that I no longer contribute to eBay, and I am not the only seller who is following that trend. There aren't that many buyers with deep pockets these days, so are we surprised that the page views are down on eBay, when people have discovered (thank you, Google Base) that they can buy the same stuff cheaper elsewhere? Oh, and there is that element called FUN that has gone completely out of eBay. The buyers don't like to and won't read a lot of terms and conditions and sellers don't like having to include them in their listings, but it is necessary now, where it was once a lot of fun and we made friendships and so forth. Now it's all business and whatever the buyer wants, the buyer gets (but not really, if you see what I mean about Best Match, etc). Even the dodo newbie doesn't have to buy too many things to start figuring that out. Surprise, surprise! Well, Donohoe said that it was a phased, purposeful 3 year plan to become a fixed price, free shipping, buyer-driven site. He is getting what he wants, but in that process, the pool of buyers that might have been there is being driven away.

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: Dave

Fri Nov 21 10:32:02 2008

eBay is indeed a sinking ship. Yet as a 9+ year veteran of the site, I have NO sympathy for them. They did it to themselves. When ''Mr. D'' took over in Meg Whitman's wake, the ship started sinking at that moment. One would think he would see by now the damage that's been done to the company by these almost weekly changes. Instead, he just keeps implementing them. The state of the economy is going to be the final blow that finishes eBay off.

It's not a question of IF eBay will shut its doors ...only a question of when.

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: John Bennett

Fri Nov 21 10:32:57 2008

As a seller, I echo many of the comments here, especially the aggravation over constantly shifting policies. Markets DO abhor uncertainty! I have smaller and smaller margins because of competition, fee increases, etc., but nothing causes me more concern than the shifting sands of eBay policies. How can ANYONE make long term plans and spend money on product when eBay is always making changes that have a big impact on profitability. All the tinkering to ''improve the buyer experience'' has NOT brought more buyers in, but it certainly has diminished the seller experience and reduced profitability for me. I am seriously looking at whether it's worth it to continue.

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: susan

Fri Nov 21 10:37:21 2008

i'm not at all surprised.  maybe if ebay had kept to their original model as an AUCTION site, business would still be the same.  people love auctions.  

now ebay is just like any other retail site.  so why bother...

also their ridiculous search engine strategies are a killer to anyone who may even try to offer unique material.

this time last year i sold several videos a week.  now i've sold 2 in 2 months.  these are original "how to" videos  not available anywhere else.  they don't even show up in the search engines.

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: meme

Fri Nov 21 10:40:38 2008

Yep..."in order to make eBay a better buying experience"===

They have chased buyers/sellers away.  The grass IS GREENER on Bonanzle.com!

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: RicRoe

Fri Nov 21 10:44:38 2008

Everyone is quick to point to the current economy when discussing recent declines in Internet Sales Volume, especially the dramatic decline at eBay.

eBay however, has no excuse to hide behind the economy declining curtain, except for the fact the CEO is unwilling to admit he had led the marketplace down the wrong path.

Draconian policies and failing infrastructure combined with search that returns irrelevant results, and the worlds worst customer service has been slowly bringing eBay down for years.

Enter Mr Donahoe and his "new coke - green ketchup - disruptive innovation' plan for eBay, and the skids of failure received a new layer of grease.

Ebay has historically out performed the brick and mortar retail segment as well as the stock market during past recessions.

When times got tough, buyers used to flock to eBay in search of incredible deals on unique items as well as scoop up second hand goods to help stretch their dollar.

Then came John Donahoe, the killer of small sellers, the eBay suicide king, leader of the gang that could not shoot straight.

Under Mr Donahoe's leadership, eBay is being converted into a high priced shopping mall at the very time that retailers of new merchandise are filing for bankruptcy in numbers never seen before.

Mr Donahoe's choice to eviscerate the core of eBay by purging small sellers could not have come at a worse time.

eBay's quarterly reports are dismal and it's stock price which has seen its value drop by 2/3 since Donahoe assumed control, sinks to a new low almost every week.

This decline at eBay started to set in long before the economy displayed signs of recession, and runs completely contrary to eBay's historical success during tough economic times.

Ebay has always offered the worlds worst customer service, recent staffing cuts have served to exacerbate this problem.

Ebay has alienated buyers with forced search methods that do not return what buyers want to see.

The failed Best Match does not allow buyers to search, but instead shows buyers what eBay has determined they want buyers to see.

Sellers that pay to place listings see those paid listings deliberately disadvantaged in placement in favor of a class of sellers that pay nothing to list items. These Diamond sellers flood the core and drown the small sellers that pay to list.

eBay has further alienated sellers with a draconian DSR policy which is not the tool promised to sellers. Instead, it turns out that DSR's are really a weapon pointed at sellers heads that only delivers suspensions not information to foster improvement.

Sellers are frustrated by eBay's failure to address the increasing frequency of non paying bidders. NPB activity has increased since implementation of the one way feedback policy. The issue continues to be ignored as eBay profits from re listing of unpaid merchandise.

EBay further alienates both buyers and sellers with a crumbling IT infrastructure that is subject to rolling 'glitches' on an almost daily basis. Glitches that effect payments, shipping, searching, access to funds, correct payment information, delayed revenue transfers and others cause buyers and sellers alike to give up on the company that suddenly can't get anything right anymore.

As eBay continues to deteriorate, they have become less of a venue as they now want to dictate every facet of a sellers business from retail pricing and fixed shipping costs to what kind of feedback sellers are permitted to leave buyers. They cannot get anything right, yet they dictate what sellers must do. So much for the claim of being a venue.

Mr Donahoe and the rest of his executive leadership team keep their heads buried firmly in the sand. They only pull them out for the occasional press release to parrot Donahoe's claims that "all is well" and "everything is proceeding according to plan", while ignoring the roof that is obviously falling in around them.

Add the fact that as the marketplace crumbles, eBay continues to steadily increase fees and it is no wonder why so many sellers have opted to migrate to other marketplaces and open their own web sites.

This company is failing on every level. Emperor Donahoe continues to fiddle as eBay burns.

Will shareholders step in and call for the removal of eBay's current leadership or is John Donahoe the next poster child for failed CEO's?

We have a ringside seat, so time will tell.





eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: rainbowseeker

Fri Nov 21 10:52:46 2008

The page views are up every where else that I sell....in particular on MilBid where they conduct actual auctions and have multiple payment methods available the pages views are up over 100% from 3 weeks ago.  eBid is also experiencing an uptick in views and listings.  And if there are 10 million more listings wouldn't it be logical then there should be more viewing of all these new items?  Or perhaps the straw finally broke the camels back and maybe people just will not tolerate being manipulated in the search and told they have to pay only with a credit card?? Duhhhhhhh.........I don't know what to think.....but it isn't that the search is more efficient, that's for sure!!!

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: Leslinka9

Fri Nov 21 10:56:19 2008

I have to agree with ricroe, the poster above.  The incredible uncertainty trying to manage day to day business on a site filled with glitches, irrational policies, and an  idiotic customer service plan has cause me to finally make the move to another site.  
I'm taking my over 10,000 feedback, 100% positive ratings with me!

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: Kristoffer

Fri Nov 21 10:57:23 2008

I am sure the economy does have something to do with searches dropping but I think it is because of best match and all the other changes they have done to hurt sellers. I disagree with the person that said 'the search initiatives make finding a whole lot easier for buyers and therefore results in less page views.'  I always find the opposite is true and I know what I am doing. People at work know I sell on ebay so they are always coming to me with questions on finding something. Most of them can't even search anymore and have no clue how to opt out of any beta stuff.

I still have a store and worry about how much stuff I have sitting around in stock with sales down over 50% compared to the last few years. I used to spend $1000 bucks a month in new inventory. Granted compared to some sellers thats probably not alot.. but I haven't bought new stuff in a year. Once I can get rid of what I have that will probably be it for me. The way ebay has treated sellers over the past few years has left a bad taste in my mouth and I get no enjoyment from selling like I used to. It feels like I have a real job now with a boss that has no clue how to do anything yet wants to micromanage everything I do.

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008   eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

by: Dannon

Fri Nov 21 11:06:21 2008

Thanks Ina, for allowing us all the support group/grief counseling on your site. Ebay died. Actually, it committed suicide. We have been lamenting it's demise, in many ways, for many many months now. It's time to move on.

Perhaps you would give us a thread where we could write our final goodbyes to ebay on a helium balloon and release it into space. Maybe then we can get to some constructive e-commerce happenings and shake off this depression we have all been in.

Now, let's start by repeating after me; It wasn't my fault, I loved ebay...I paid a lot of attention to eBay and spent a lot of money on it...it wasn't my fault...eBay killed itself...goodbye eBay R.I.P

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