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Sat Feb 16 2008 19:47:54

Is eBay Boycott for Real?

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers are planning to boycott eBay beginning February 18, 2008, in protest of changes eBay announced January 29, 2008, around feedback, fees, seller standards and Best Match search - changes that, taken in total, many sellers believe will jeopardize their ability to sell successfully on eBay.

eBay took two actions last week that will hinder the ability for outsiders to analyze the impact of a boycott. eBay launched a listing promotion on Wednesday that carries over to the 20th, and it lowered listing fees for media sellers effective the 20th. (Lower insertion fees for all sellers also kick in on February 20th, but that was known before the boycott organizers set the date.) These two actions may make it difficult for outsiders to measure the effect of the boycott, but eBay itself will be able to analyze the full impact.

In the past, sellers considering a boycott worried about two things: non-boycotting sellers benefiting from less competition on eBay, and a desire not to hurt the marketplace on which they depend for a living. This year is different, however. eBay is making changes that cause many sellers to question whether they'll be able to depend on eBay for a living going forward. Many believe the boycott is their one chance to get the attention of eBay management before the changes roll out.

AuctionBytes surveyed readers about eBay's announced changes. 1,640 readers took the survey. 90% of respondents said that, overall, the changes to feedback are bad.

Buyers and sellers have always felt eBay's feedback policy could use improvement, but eBay seriously hurt the system when it introduced the Mutual Feedback Withdrawal (MFW) policy. Members - including subpar sellers - learned to exploit MFW, particularly when eBay rolled out its modified Seller Non Performance Policy in 2007. (eBay Trust & Safety addressed increased use of MFW in this interview.)

While 90 percent of sellers who took the AuctionBytes survey said they believed the changes eBay that will introduce in May are bad overall, it's clear that few are happy with the current system. But rather than take away sellers' ability to leave negative and neutral feedback for buyers, I believe eBay should fix the MFW policy and do more to vet buyers and sellers before allowing them to transact on the site.

Sellers have complained to eBay about their poorly performing colleagues for years and asked eBay to implement a system of seller verification. eBay's full Board of Directors, including eBay Founder and Chairperson of the Board Pierre Omidyar, heard those requests at eBay's 2006 annual meeting.

Now, eBay is finally acknowledging the problem of bad sellers on its site, but its solution throws the baby out with the bathwater, punishing good sellers as well as bad. As usual, good eBay sellers take the full brunt of the changes.

What I'm hearing from a sellers is not, can we afford to boycott eBay for a week, but rather, can we afford to continue selling on eBay once these changes roll out?

Comments (179) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: bill

Sat Feb 16 20:42:22 2008

My last listing day was 1/29/08, as soon as I heard about the one sided feedback fiasco. I sell mostly vinyl and I will be back to doing record fairs for awhile until I see how this new feedback affects sellers. Even with a bunch of sellers boycotting, I doubt very much that ebay will reconsider their May feedback implementation, but it is worth a try. Another thing that has me bothered is another postal hike coming in May. Yikes!!!!

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: Melissa

Sat Feb 16 21:01:17 2008

Honestly, eBay's just no fun anymore. Even if the boycott has no effect on eBay, I believe that there'll be a migration to other selling venues over the next year or so.  This whole episode has left such a bad taste.

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: Trish

Sat Feb 16 22:25:11 2008

Right now, I am just amazed at how they claim they ''protect'' sellers in all of this. I have been hit repeatedly just between Feb 1-12 with SEVERAL buyers creating bogus accounts to run up my fees and hold up my items. I wrote a ton of email reporting these accounts, plus called at least 5 times, and what was done?? NOTHING!! First of all, they did NOT answer emails (power sellers are supposed to get a reply within 24 hours!), on one call, the rep agreed to help and subsequent calls resulted in disconnections while on hold! One of the buyers account racked up 15 negatives and goodness knows how many strikes before the buyer finally was suspended.

I have weeded my listings from 900+ to 0 throughout this month, and now the whopping $64.24 that I currently owe to eBay, they have said must come out of my bank account and I have been told to not make my regular payment!! WTF??

I am going to be at the mercy of these types of buyers and not have the ability to warn other sellers??


Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: Kendra

Sat Feb 16 22:34:31 2008

Paypal holding funds for 21 days! Feedback gone wild!FVF through the roof! Everyone has a breaking point and I think ebay has stepped across that line for alot of sellers with these new changes. NO BUYING NO SELLING Feb.18-25  

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: Tim

Sat Feb 16 22:45:15 2008

I have been a seller and buyer on eBay since 2002.  I also have helped on the Answer Center since 2002.  I am very disappointed in eBay at this drastic feedback change.  I will support the boycott and I have not sold anything since Feb 14th.  I will not sell anything for a while, nor will I buy during the boycott.

Will I return to selling on eBay?  It is unclear at this point.  I have been slowly testing the waters.  I do know other sites like ioffer, onlineauction, ecarter are all growing.

I do know that this boycott will be one of the biggest eBay has seen.  I have talked to hundreds of sellers and buyers who are disgruntled.

I have also seen hundreds of posts in the Answer center, from people I have never seen there before.....who are angry.

Will this boycott impact eBay?  Will ebay sellers and buyers get their point across?

I pray we do.......but how much of an impact we will make....remains to be seen.

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sat Feb 16 23:14:37 2008

Wall Street analysts who haven't been hypnotized the ebay PR machine can only interpret ebay's intentional statistical obfuscation as signs of fear and weakness.

A truly healthy, "transparent" corporation would have nothing to hide. Of course, long time ebay sellers know ebay has PLENTY to hide from its customers, consumer advocates, the government, the courts, and most especially from its own stockholders and Wall Street.

But here's my broken record mantra: boycotts -- unless they're both widespread and permanent -- won't create the desired changes necessary to make ebay work.

Ebay management personifies one of the common definitions of dysfunctionality: they keep trying the same things over and over (screwing their customers, the sellers) expecting the results to change. This behavioral paradigm explains why ebay stock has plummeted more than 50% from it all time high, why Amazon had more hits during the holiday buying season, and why ebay is bleeding GOOD, HONEST sellers fed up with ebay's abusive cr*p.

The only thing that will make ebay develop an acceptable business model is a broad based, successful class action law suit complete with temporary followed by permanent restraining orders issued against ebay to prevent the feedback changes and then long term court supervision to ensure ebay obeys the court. Ebay has a proven track record of thumbing its nose as DoJ orders (e.g., regarding its PayPal acquisition earlier this decade) so I wouldn't expect ebay to demonstrate any compliance for court orders.

Ming the Merciless rates Ebay (NASDAQ: ebay) as a SELL NOW.

Ming the Merciless rates the Donna Hoe as a lame duck before he ever officially assumes the position, so to speak.

Ming the Merciless rates Wall Street analysts as superficial eunochs incapable of any real, beneath the surface analysis because it's just so much easier to go along to get along and swallow ebay PR pablum.

I'm laughing at you, ebay. You are just SO predictable.

And it won't be long before you're the laughingstock of the financial world when these crack 'analysts' wake up from their prolonged naps.

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: Nancy

Sat Feb 16 23:20:33 2008

There is a new site - an organization - to help sellers - The Online Bidder Blacklist.  There website should be functional by Monday   This organization has been designed to locate and warn good sellers about fraudulent buyers -buyers who use blackmail to get discounts and buyer who harrass sellers.  The service is free.

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: joyrae

Sat Feb 16 23:36:58 2008

I boycotted e-bay before Christmas and don't know if I will ever buy or sell through them again. If I just had the time and patience to tell you everything that has gone sour through them for eight years, AND always to their advantage with no refunds corrections, etc. They wouldn't let certain items show up in the search feature, because, I suppose,  it may have been because I didn't have the great e-Bay "P" on my listings Who wants to pay them a final fee twice and have a fee taken out of your postage? I predict a fall of "The Babylon The Great." Sooner or later it will happen. though I am a small seller, I join you in the boycott. Every penny means soooooo much to them.

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: Mark

Sun Feb 17 00:07:47 2008

Rather then boycott, Ebay members should call Ebay on the sellers they are allowing to break policy.

Currently there are sellers who have sparklers, brass knuckles, smoke bombs, smoke tubes, snap pops, used perfume, wire tapping devices, used underwear, Modern day playboys.

There are sellers who are charging fees for paypal.  Some sellers do not accept paypal, and by Ebay's own policy sellers are suppose.

There are charity auctions with no letters, or mission fish.

There are auctions that list 'no item details'.  Actual auctions, for $1000.00

If anything, people should be reporting these auctions.  Some of them not only break Ebay policy but the law.

Go after what is important.  We were all called bad sellers.  Most of us follow policy.  Start reporting the sellers who don't!!

Make Ebay do their job!!

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: Tikitacky

Sun Feb 17 00:10:53 2008

A temporary boycott is not going to unduly upset eBay's management.

I haven't listed since the announcement of the upcoming changes was made. From what I read neither have thousands of other sellers. And yet if I browse categories that I am intimately acquainted with in order to judge the impact we may be having I don't see a significant drop in the number of items that come up.

With that in mind I doubt ebay takes this week-long boycott too seriously. There will certainly be an impact during that boycott week no matter how ebay attempts to disguise it. But how many of us are permanently pulling out? Will ebay only be required to exercise patience for a week? Because unless we all leave and don't come back, ebay will not suffer for our display.

I am not sure that ebay cares if most of us pull out and never come back at all frankly. The big bucks don't lie with those of us that sell antiques and collectibles. (Although I am enormously happy that some of the big guns are joining the boycott. Thank you.) I sell mid-century antiques and collectibles. I don't have a huge store generating a 100K a year. I am no great loss to eBay. I am a gnat buzzing around a giants head trying to communicate my anger.

I've been a member since 2000. I am a Powerseller with excellent feedback (only one neg in the nearly 8 years) and I have a great star rating. All of that is very nice. But temporary. Because that will change once sellers are entirely and completely at the mercy of buyers. It seems clear to most of us that there needs to be some system of balance. When you put all power in the hands of one group, disaster will follow. Oh! And look, we're seeing that in action right now!

Only an en mass and permanent desertion of ebay will have any effect to their long term finances.

I would like to see the thousands of us that are disgruntled throw our support to another auction site. We may suffer for a while, but the buyers will follow the sellers eventually.

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: Paul

Sun Feb 17 00:26:38 2008

Boycott?  NO.  I doubt that the FB changes will cause me any great problems and will continue as before unless or until I am proved wrong.

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: Juliette Kontor

Sun Feb 17 00:29:16 2008

As a collector, I shall join the eBay Boycott, as a buyer and seller. Does not e-Bay feel ashamed at the ABSENCE OF DEMOCRACY in this no negative or neutral feedback from sellers policy? I sell infrequently, only to manage my collections, and I have feedback that reflects the time and sincere effort I put into my listings and shipping. I am currently looking for  other ways, FAIR ways, to continue my hobby of collecting. WHY e-Bay, WHY are you doing this???

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: rollrjigs

Sun Feb 17 00:45:04 2008

These feedback changes are the biggest corp. blunder since getting rid of Classic Coke! A good eBay feedback in two years will be about 80%, just like Amazon. We are a family of sellers and buyers. Now it's gone.

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: debipier

Sun Feb 17 01:01:19 2008

I am leaving Ebay forever due to the lies and greed. Have dealt with them since 1998 and I can no longer support them... This last decision to change feedback to damage the seller and the lies about a fee decrease which was actually an increase of up to 67% was the straw that broke the camels back...
The boycott is REAL!!

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: Fruit Helmet Cat

Sun Feb 17 01:22:58 2008

All my friends are stopping their posts on the boards out of fear, it is no fun anymore I cant keep up with where they are going. I am so upset, our online family has been broken up over there. Everybody is invited into my spaceship, I set up an area we can hang out in private in peace with no grief. All you have to do is ask for Fruity's spaceship! Shields up!

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: Damian

Sun Feb 17 02:00:25 2008

I have had it with ebay and paypal's monopoly over me. I pay $1.81 for selling a $5.99 BIN item to ebay and paypal. Ebay and paypal taking a 1/3 cut for a low priced item of 5.99... ABSURD and RIDICULOUS. Not anymore they're not. BOYCOTT

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: Shary

Sun Feb 17 02:07:27 2008

I have been selling on eBay since 1998 and a power seller since 2001 due to an auto accident and desperate financial needs.
I have seen this coming for a long time and with the new postage increase in the near future, everyone wants to price themselves out of the market.
Even ALL of my suppliers are telling me that China is increasing their prices of their items a minimum of 25% to over 100% in some cases. I believe that will help our jobless rate in the US but will definitely have a great impact on our businesses.
Since our dollar's value has dropped so drastically, nearly 30% of my sales are International. They are so much more understanding than the US buyers and I am definitely going to check into what Gaz has to say. I have had an online store for about 3 years, but never have actually put any inventory in it. About 3 months ago I found this site for other Bayer’s that were spreading their eggs around and from reports I have heard, the sales are picking up on this site and their fees are great and even provide superb customer (store owner) service. As I know the value of most of my items, I am definitely going to be putting more inventory in there starting now.
You all may want to check out:
Steve is either going to love me or hate me, but it is definitely a quality site where most of the income is reinvested into advertising and driving customers to the site.
If you do a google search for any of my names, I am first on the search engine. Those are eBays dollars at work and I am going to use them to my advantage when posting on this site.
I do not plan to pull out immediately from ebay, but my listings are definitely going to be more geared to their special days and store only.
I have invested thousands of dollars on a new program to encode and embed videos into auctions (it was ready to be released and then ebay changed the rules and they now are so strict and confining the code to do this easily has been a work in progress for almost 4 years, my stocks have already plummeted and now they are digging deeper into the small and medium sized businesses. I have been trying to expand my business and even finally hired some part time workers to claim a few hours of the day back to myself, but unless the bottom dollar doesn't cover the extra cost, they will be out of work. Ebay is an intregal part of the working force of America today and it is definitely going to affect the economy even more than anyone can imagine. Especially those that rely on these sales for their only income. The buyers do not understand the consequences of buying and not paying and ebay does nothing to protect those that are paying the fees. WOW,, if we go through all the work, we get our FVF's back, what about the time effort and work that that auction took. I have yet to find a buyer permanently barred. All they need is a new ID; new email and new credit card and they are back in business. Ebay needs to take their part and educate the sellers more about the "contract" they are entering into and that there are consequences in not completing a contract. I do realize that some sellers should be more monitored. I bought two things in the past week and have had problems with both sellers contacting me with issues I have found. One was my fault for not reading more closely and I will honor my bid, but he refuses to answer my questions on how to rectify (parts were needed) and get the parts (manual and driver) that are needed. He put the link on his auction but it does not work. I expect a lot from sellers AND buyers as I feel I provide excellent service and personally do not believe I have deserved ANY of my negatives and fortunately never received any that I should have gotten for shipping the wrong item or such, but I work hard to make amends quickly and do not ignore my customers with problems. I could go on and on, but without us, eBay would not be eBay and if we can unite, we can create an alternative site and we CAN make it work without having as many rules and regulations. I do not mind paying fees. A company does not hire workers if they are not making the company money, but the bottom line is when the company keeps reducing the paycheck it is time to find another employer. The post office is pricing themselves out of the market with the excuse that everyone else charges this way, so are we, then why not offer the same services? They do not offer refunds on shipping on damaged items and do not guarantee delivery dates. I have 10 years of college and 3 degrees. When you have to make a pass or stop at every house regardless of delivery or not, they should be decreasing their costs and thus increase their volume, but that is another issue that we will be facing shortly. We can go with the flow or fight back,,, me I am fighting with both fists. I have never posted on a forum before but this has touched my heart. It is not the fees, as I really believe that when the figures are finalized, the higher quantity sellers will actually see a drop in fees if the negatives do not get uncontrollable. However, the right to leave honest feedback is a right that one sided. I do not leave negative feedback lightly and it takes 2 months, at least six emails and no contact from the buyer before I leave it. Only buyers that do not plan on paying should be concerned and they should not be there in the first place.
I hope that not all of this is a bunch of hot air and we can pull this off.
Good luck and God bless you all.

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: Pat

Sun Feb 17 02:17:15 2008

I stopped selling on ebay in September. I won't be selling in the near future and I won't buy during the boycott.  Ebay stopped being fun in 2001. I now say in a loud voice..."EBAY SUCKS"


Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: Mike

Sun Feb 17 02:39:02 2008

All I can say is when you lose trust in a company , you can no longer do business with them , they will stab you in the back again given the chance . As a long time seller and buyer {almost from day one} I have never been so insulted !!!

They can ban me if they want to , my stores are closed , You are right,
This whole episode has left such a bad taste. Mike

Is eBay Boycott for Real?   Is eBay Boycott for Real?

by: gandolina

Sun Feb 17 02:51:19 2008

It is what it is.
And this being the land of opportunity, wha tit is would be the best of allpossibl etimes for Google to step in . They already hav ethe search engine superioroty and paymnt system in place.

Google is like Marco Polo in that they've learned form watching the good things in other cultures and the pitfalls of bad experiences.
It's way pasrt time for it to happen.
And when it does, there will be a stampede .

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