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Sat May 10 2008 17:32:24

eBay Wants Small Sellers!

By: Ina Steiner

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After telling a gathering of high-volume sellers that eBay is becoming a more retail-like site, eBay executives Lorrie Norrington wrote a special post on the eBay Ink blog to tell the community that eBay does indeed want to retain small sellers. Here are some actions that speak louder than words.

- eBay cancelled next year's annual eBay Live user conference, an event at which many small sellers have traditionally attended, saying it would attend smaller meetings next year instead. I can't think of a "Small Meeting" in this industry that is not composed of "Large Sellers," (okay one, but it's out of the price range of many small sellers who enthusiastically attended eBay Live each and every year).

- Shipping costs are rising, and eBay is forcing sellers to reduce shipping charges. This favors high-volume sellers who get volume discounts from shipping services. This, combined with the shipping DSRs, puts the squeeze on small sellers.

- Low-volume sellers are disproportionately affected by negative DSR ratings, leading to a vicious cycle of less exposure, fewer sales, lower volume.

- eBay is giving special deals to (and others?) it is not giving to small sellers.

The timing of Lorrie Norrington's post, meant to reassure small sellers, could indicate eBay is worried that small sellers may leave and/or list less. While eBay is headed in a direction where that might not matter to them, for right now, it appears to be of concern.

Comments (89) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: Ric Roe

Sat May 10 19:19:08 2008

Norrington's poorly timed comments reflect the current disconnect between eBay executive's statements and corporate actions.

Besides closing the gate after the horses have left the barn, Norringtons remarks come too little too late for many eBay small sellers, as the damage has already been done.

eBay introduced DSR's several months ago leaving buyers to believe that a 4 star rating (out of a possible 5)reflected a good rating of a transaction.

When DSR's were introduced, it was never indicated that the ratings would later be used in an algorithm which is the basis of the default Best Match search. With buyers believing that 4 stars was a good rating, many small sellers found themselves instantly behind the eight ball when DSR's were suddenly used in a formula that ranks item listing visibility in the default search method imposed by eBay..

The result is default Best Match search has dealt a severe blow to small sellers listing visibility causing sales to drop significantly. The sales drop was instantaneous when Best Match was imposed.

Another example of talking out of both sides of their mouth, recently I communicated with Jim 'Griff" Griffith, who stated: "...we are seeing that the majority of experienced buyers are relying on their old favorite searches like Highest First, Lowest First and especially those based on time – newly listed and ending soonest). "

Now,  given that Jim admits experienced buyers are relying on their old search methods, exactly how does Best Match with results presented to buyers in a discriminatory order offer a better experience to new buyers?

Small sellers are reacting to the reality of the imposed changes, and are rejecting the eBay executives public relations remarks that claim one thing yet turn out to be something else as when eBay PR heralded fee reductions that in reality ended up costing small sellers more when the final value increase is figured.

Small sellers are doing exactly what they need to do as they move listings to other sites, where listings appear on a level playing field and fees are non existent. and/or significantly lower than eBay.

When if ever, will eBay executives figure out that it is impossible to unring a bell?

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: MsFish

Sat May 10 20:02:38 2008

That sums it up nicely.  Ebay has made it almost impossible for small sellers to conduct business on their site.  I dont believe for one minute they were not aware of the outcome of their changes either.  They didnt realize how fast it would happen.  The worst possible change is the one to feedback.  For small sellers who sell maybe 20-25 items a month, one negative, given by a buyer who had a bad day, will totally have you suspended from listing for 30 days. I dont know what they were thinking when they rolled out these changes, but they have made EBAY a four letter word.

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: Tanner

Sat May 10 22:44:26 2008

Interesting timing on Ms. Norrington's comments. It's hard to find a positive headline about eBay. The "vocal minority" seems to constantly be in the press - in fact, reporters are seeking them out to comment on the Australian PayPal fiasco, the feedback changes, DSRs. So why not throw those sellers a bone and make them feel wanted.

It's not that eBay wants small sellers. They want small sellers to SHUT UP!

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

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

Sun May 11 01:02:18 2008

The Lorrie DonnaHo will soon need radical rhinoplasty if she doesn't already. One wonders how many people she trips just walking down the hallowed halls of the most despicable company in America.

These overpaid chumps couldn't tell the truth if their lives depended on it. They literally don't know what the truth is anymore -- they're just spinning themselves into corporate irrelevance and taking the livelihoods of a good people with them.

Lorrie had better keep her shiny little resume all nice and polished so she can click on the Monster ads that clutter up the search pages ebay sellers pay for.

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: Patricia

Sun May 11 02:44:24 2008

''The timing of Lorrie Norrington's post, meant to reassure small sellers, could indicate eBay is worried that small sellers may leave and/or list less. ''

How naive is ebay management to think sellers are that stupid!  I think we're all so sick of the ebay rhetoric that's been spewing from their management since Jan. 2008.  Any small seller who isn't scoping out and listing on other venues is an outright fool.  Don't just list on other venues, get your repeat buyers to follow you.  If they don't know what's going on - explain it to them!  Mine are doing just that!  I have no real idea where ebay wants to go - whether they want small sellers or allegiance to them broke for good in Jan and my buyers are NOT their buyers!  Lots of other sellers feel the same way...some are even big sellers.  Just check the listings on other sites - they are going up and up while ebay now needs gimmicks to keep their listings from nosediving.  Ebay doesn't have to worry about getting rid of small sellers - they DO need to worry about keeping the buyers who frequent small sellers.  When buyers understand what's happening they just don't want to be associated with ebay anymore...the people in power there are not nice people!  Can't put it any plainer than that!  I sure hope they all get exactly what they deserve for putting sellers thru the wringer this year!  They really showed the stuff they're made of!

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: hans garcia

Sun May 11 02:44:54 2008

sorry I just start selling on amazon I'm small but if ebay does not want my bussines somebody will take it before all this changes I never look other siter now I'm looking other place to sell good bye ebay

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: Michael S

Sun May 11 03:20:02 2008

Dear Lorrie,

Is it getting a little less noisy there?  John Donahoe should love it as things quiet down.

At 10% for FVF fees on eBay stores we were moving merchandise there.
At 12% we're just moving.

We've reduced many of our small, noisy, little listings on eBay in favor of and eCrater.
And we've taken several of our small, noisy, little customers with us.

Though I really shouldn't complain too much about that greedy 12% cut (which will likely go up soon enough).  Since you've brought us several non-paying idiots in the last few weeks, we should be getting that 12% back.

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: tj

Sun May 11 03:41:08 2008

eBay your time is chose the direction & you will pay for the stupid  & idiotic leadership you have ...people are just plain bored with the eBay name , spin & hype...

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: sargi

Sun May 11 09:33:42 2008

OK- we all know what ebay is trying to do to the small seller (myself included.) So what are the good alternative websites? Where are sellers finding new business? I have been scammed twiced this week by buyers on ebay and lost close to a $100. Nothing is done about it and it will get worse as time goes by. We now need to support one another as we start over on other sites. I have not made the move yet because I am not sure what direction to go in. If anybody has any good suggestions please post. Let's bring back a positve community that sellers of any size can grow in. Ina (we love you) can you help us with that? Thank you for reading.

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: Les Smith

Sun May 11 10:06:20 2008

Was it 'You can fool some of the people for most of the time...........'

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: Boycott Ebay

Sun May 11 10:19:02 2008

Of course Ebay values its small sellers. They want you to keep paying their bills until they are ready to shove you all out the door and lock it behind you.

The current spin is because they don't want small sellers to leave too soon. They need to finish using you up and milking you dry.

But they only need you for a little while so.

Sargi, go to if you want to know what other sites are out there. Check out the forum and you can see what sites other sellers are using and pros and cons for each of them.

But don't look for another Ebay. There isn't one and  why would you want one anyway? If you want success, you must change your thinking. Set up shop elsewhere and learn from those who are already successful just what it takes to make the venue work.

Yes, it will take work but so does Ebay. Don't expect immediate miracles. It will also take time but getting the ugly Ebay monkey off your back will make it well worth it.

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: Patricia

Sun May 11 13:02:25 2008

I'm finding some business on OLA and  I think the one to watch will be - I suggest everyone go take a look at it because they are openly stating they're taking on ebay.  I think the most important thing - wherever you go to sell is to try to take most of your buyers along with you.  If they ask...let them know why you are leaving and where you are going.  Put a card in with any purchases and let them know where else you are and maybe give them a discount if they buy there from you.  Market yourself!  Ebay may not want small sellers much longer - BUT they definitely want to hang onto YOUR buyers!

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: LLP

Sun May 11 13:14:16 2008

So how do you take buyers along with you when you have no repeat buyers? Every buyer of mine is one I've never dealt with before and will never deal with again. That doesn't exactly make picking up and going elsewhere easy.

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: Boycott Ebay

Sun May 11 14:19:31 2008

LLP, you need to learn SEO (search engine optimization.) Learn how to get new buyers from Google and the other search engines. Register on a site where they feed your listings to Google Base/Google Products.

No, it's not easy but neither is Ebay anymore. And you will find almost any place else a cheaper place to do business.

Take back your business and your dignity. Boycott Ebay permanently.

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: Just a seller

Sun May 11 14:21:52 2008

If Lorrie Norrington wants small sellers to sell on ebay she should do more than talking. I have a small stamp and stamp albums business. While keeping my high end inventory on ebay (items ranging between $25-$400) I have pulled out all my lower priced items and moved them to a smaller site. I don't mind the lesser traffic and sales. I pay no listing fees there and things will catch up eventually.
So ebay lost me partially as a small seller but also as a buyer. When looking to buy I try FIRST on  other sites, THEN on ebay.
So Lorrie, my conclusion from your behind the scenes deals with high volume sellers and your "we wnat the small timers" talk is that you are too clever for me. I'll just keep on being active on places which are run in a straightforward manner - a one I can understand.

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: Jack

Sun May 11 15:53:20 2008

Looks like Lorrie's message isn't getting through to her former and departing customers.

Quick, Lorrie! UseTheYellowButton.

Hahaha.  Ebay's ''the seller needs us = we can screw them'' equation just doesn't hold true anymore.

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: James J

Sun May 11 16:18:17 2008

eBye eBaby!

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: Patricia

Sun May 11 16:49:22 2008

LL - one of the best marketing tools is word of mouth.  I'm sure you give your customers good service and even if they only buy your product once, there are others they know or meet who may be looking for that product.  So, spread the word about yourself.  Put a card in with all purchases that points to where you'll be.

At this point folks the name of the game is moving those buyers elsewhere.  Whether or not ebay wants us is not nearly as important as how much they want OUR buyers - don't let them take your buyers - you work hard to keep them!!!

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: wanda

Sun May 11 18:54:20 2008

Ebay needs to stop acting like the New World Order has already taken place... google:  esoteric agenda  -for some eye-opening info on this all too true elitist crap.

Given that the US is, for now, still a democracy... why not behave like you're a part of it and go back to your roots.  You may find it a bitter pill, but it just might serve you better.  You, like many, many others, underestimate the intelligence, individuality and resolve of the populace.  If your current plans blow up in your face, pat yourselves on the back... you deserve it.

eBay Wants Small Sellers!   eBay Wants Small Sellers!

by: Henrietta

Sun May 11 19:02:26 2008

You are ALL missing a great merchandising opportunity, Ina & David graciously allow you to promote your trading venue in your signature. Fill in the web site box. You would be surprised how many  sales it generates.

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