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Wed May 21 2008 22:08:51

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay has decreed certain types of auctions no longer acceptable - magazine subscriptions, digital downloads and mystery auctions, for example. But unfortunately, the company has started enforcing policies before they go into effect - and in some cases, before they even announce the new policy.

Case in point: magazine subscriptions. I started receiving email from sellers about their listings being taken down before eBay even announced it was no longer allowing the sale of subscriptions on the site. And now the latest email from a reader:

"I have been seeing on the eBay blogs people reporting that their mystery auctions are being cancelled. We were under the impression that was not going to happen until June. Do you know anything about it?"

eBay only announced the banning of mystery auctions on Monday, and said the ban would go into effect "starting early June."

eBay has the right - and indeed, the responsibility - to limit what can be sold on its site. But it also has a responsibility to sellers who pay fees and comply with eBay policy. Someone at eBay better give the folks at Trust & Safety a ring to make sure everyone is on the same page.




Comments (51) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: Henrietta

Wed May 21 22:34:00 2008

Worse yet, feedback is being removed retroactively from digital sales dating back to October 2007.

One high GMV but low volume powerseller found his feedback for all digital sales between October 07 and March 08 when the policy changed were stripped. He stopped selling digital downloads the day before policy change came into effect.

His letter from eBay has a list of all items he sold 'recently' (from 10/07 -> 3/30/08) and said he was guilty of feedback manipulation.

He is now in the under 50 total FB category where PayPal will hold funds for 21 days.

Would you ship a $3K piece of jewelry if your money was on hold?

More to the point would you buy a $3K+ piece of jewelry from a seller with less than 50 FB?

Can you spell LAWSUIT?

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: gbayemporium

Wed May 21 23:08:31 2008

many mystery listings are violating other policies, such as the raffles and lotteries policies, and will be removed for those violations. It's the idiot sellers that create the illusion of giving away a high priced item that actually doesn't exist at all that have ''ruined'' the concept for the legit mystery sellers.

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: gbayemporium

Wed May 21 23:16:37 2008

Why is it worse that someone selling ebooks and crap for 1c BIN's has their feedback removed?
Would you buy an item from someone with over 1000FB if you knew that those were all from 1c BIN items? No.
the 1c BIN has been behind more fraud on eBay than even ol Vladuz has. It's long overdue that eBay got rid of them, it's a good decision, and anyone who doesn't like it can feel free to sell their crap on ioffer.
Oh wait, now that you don't get feedback for ebooks, it sure seems that no one actually wants them anymore, do they?

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: bite me

Thu May 22 00:19:38 2008

I think it's good that they're getting rid of mystery auctions and the like. Taking back the feedback however I think is a little lame. I've personally had some of my coke rewards auctions stopped by ebay because they said they were lottery tickets.

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: Shelly

Thu May 22 00:19:43 2008

It wasn't only 1 cent eBook crap that was scrapped.  There were a lot of sellers who had businesses making templates, logos, store designs that were kicked out - out of freaking no where.  Income gone- kids hungry, power turned off..... these are freaking people - you all want to lump them up as one, but they're not one person there were thousands of different people many of which depended on their business on eBay, and eBay pitched all of them out like trash.

eBay is just to damn lazy and heartless & to cheap to pay someone to analyze the data and evict the crap. Why when they can just dump entire categories (that they of course want listed in the classified for 20 bucks a month each).

I am so god damn sick of the narrow minded freaking idiots.  

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: bite me

Thu May 22 00:25:53 2008

@ shelly

I'll say it again. Anyone that depends on eBay as a primary income is an idiot, especially so if they have mouths to feed. Why risk everything when eBay has been shown to change policies almost daily. Although they have an ok service, they are without doubt the most fickle corporation I've dealt with.

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: Laura

Thu May 22 00:47:29 2008

I don't think eBay understands how these kinds of behaviors are ruining their brand.

It makes me also believe ebay's internal communication is just as bad as their external.

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: Shelly

Thu May 22 01:58:49 2008

@Bite Me

you are unbelievable!  Why do you think so shallowly in mind that you can't see that some of these people have been doing this for years?  It is precisely those who have mouths to feed that don't just walk away.  Anyone whose responsibility is to only themselves can do as they please, but it just isn't that simple when there are children to think about.  How many adults that have children just up and quit their job because they didn't like it that day or the direction it was going?  They don't unless they are a selfish freaking idiot.

The only difference is that a person who works for another company has freaking rights in place to protect them from such outrageously abominable behavior.  They at least can maintain their responsibilities to their family under tenable conditions - a guaranteed paycheck is nice too.

Those who have put their lives into the business they have on eBay are paying for a service not to be kicked around.  Unfortunately, as much as any of them want to just say screw it and leave they can't, because they have children to feed and bills to pay.  It's called being a grown up.

It is you who are stupid!  You live in a make believe world where everyone is free to do whatever they want- it's not that damn simple. Grow up you stupid little idiot.  Go bite yourself

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: bite me

Thu May 22 02:08:52 2008

@ shelly

I'm sorry you're not open minded but  the sellers you're highlighting never heard of CONTINGENCY PLANNING or BUSINESS 101. You might also call it common sense. It's a dumb business model to rely on something for your business which you have absolutely no control over and depend on(like ebay). Ask UPS Store franchise owners if they like to compete with UPS, their franchisor. They, like many of these sellers which have all their eggs in an ebay basket are going down in flames and taking their retirement money and houses with them. If they were dumb enough to do it, I guess they'll have to learn the hard way. There are plenty of government loans for retraining, and classifieds to find new work. Don't blame eBay now because the s--t is hitting the fan, it was dumb to begin with.

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: si-chine

Thu May 22 02:46:42 2008

Bite Me says...

''Don't blame eBay now because the s--t is hitting the fan, it was dumb to begin with'' Over and over and over...
ad nauseum, contraian counter-negativity, blah blah blah.

Fair enough, I don't disagree with you on many points. But what is your motivation....why are you here posting all the time now?

We are all dumb and you are not dumb. OK. We hear you. You disagree with ebay selling bloggers at auctionbytes. Always. No matter what. End of argument. You win (something, I guess).

Many of us here are actually pragmatic business people, employing several people with our ebay based businesses and paying our taxes. Selling up to 2000 pieces per day. We aren't all as inexperienced in the ways of socio-economics and corporate business retail as you would suspect....

Why keep on posting here if we are all that worthless to you...what do you want?

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: bite me

Thu May 22 03:02:39 2008

I'm not anti-seller when it comes to everything eBay. This is a free country and two sides should be heard. In this forum if you aren't "pro-seller" (whatever that means) your automatically labeled an "ebay PR person"

I don't think everyone here is stupid, but many definitely don't have good business sense. If people are nasty with me, I'll call them out on it. Furthermore, maybe I'll open some eyes to the dangers of relying on eBay as a primary income. Doing this is one of the most ill-advised things you can do in life, especially if you have kids. If you're making a go of it and have good sales, then good for you. Just make sure you have a contingency plan and a fat rainy day fund.

People here seem to be about as reactionary as eBay is when it comes to these issues. I think having a forum like this can bring some good debate.

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: Henrietta

Thu May 22 06:15:03 2008

Did I write 1c BIN eBooks?
No
I wrote digital downloads. You ASSumed 1c eBooks. Not good.

FYI whether they were 1c eBooks or 49.99 eBooks or $8 crochet patterns, or 29.98 logo designs, at the time they were sold listing fees were paid, FVF were paid, PayPal fees were paid AND THEY WERE LEGITIMATE sales items.

The policy was changed March 31st. After March 31st selling them was a violation. Fair enough. If it was not a violation before that date on what grounds does it become one retroactively?

What is to stop eBay from deciding next week that $2 postcards, baseball cards or stamps are feedback manipulation and removing feedback from everyone that ever sold one or bought one in the last ten years?

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: Darth Buyer

Thu May 22 07:10:22 2008

@ Shelly

OK, Enough with playing the ''kid card''. What, you want free listings because you're a breeder? Bite Me is right for a change. People who sit around, profiting from garage sales and making clip art don't have anything to cry about because the Gravy Train is passing you by.

eBay isn't a real job - do something more meaningful than wiping noses and drawing clip art. SAHM means get a REAL JOB. When the going gets tough the weak fall aside quickly. Mystery auctions and printing candy bar wrappers - this is online commerce?

If your power is turned off, how do you use the computer? Time to teach your kids to be chimney-sweeps instead of eBayers. The eBay cafeteria has free crackers and ketchup, bring the kids for lunch! Griff will buy you a water.   :)

Darth Buyer

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Thu May 22 09:15:38 2008

Does anyone have constructive suggestions on how designers and template makers can adapt to the new environment? Does it make sense to advertise your services on classifieds sites like Craigslist? How about posting comments on discussion boards and blogs with a signature line that includes your business name and URL?

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: Elisa

Thu May 22 10:58:12 2008

Bite me - I sell on Ebay because I am disabled and cannot hold a "traditional" job.  I wish I could.  It has been my main source of income (or was, before my sales plummeted over the last year), and I have been trying to work on a Plan B.  However, most of my former freelance resources have dried up in the recession.  I have to stay on Ebay for now, but believe me, I am looking for alternatives, and I am in no way dumb.  Please do not condemn vast numbers of people you don't know.

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: Elisa

Thu May 22 11:01:04 2008

Ina - there are many, many websites out there and private groups reacting to these changes.  It would make sense for designers to advertise on those sites and groups, and maybe create a collective website.  Also, MySpace is an excellent networking tool.

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: bite me

Thu May 22 11:38:04 2008

@ Elisa

I'm not condemning people or saying they're dumb. Just that many of these selling avenues are unsustainable, as you have found out. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: eBayCheerleederInTraining

Thu May 22 11:58:23 2008

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't eBay allow the selling of these penny eBooks, crochet patterns, and other digital widgets in the Classified format? Have any of the complainers tried this for a long enough period of time to reasonbly conclude it doesn't work at all? I thought that might be the way for some digital goods sellers to save significantly on fees.

My attitude is, If you want to keep selling on eBay, stop complaining and figure out how to make the changes work for you. You may not be able to sell the same item, for the same price, in the same volume, the same way, under the same terms, with the same buyers, etc etc etc anymore. Change your product, change your method of sales, or change your venue -- but complaining is not going to put food in mouths of your kids. If someone knocks you on your tail, you better stand up and pay attention before they hit you again.

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: Lisa Suttora

Thu May 22 12:36:10 2008

Hi Ina,
There are several ways that digital product creators can sell their products.  You can create a Wordpress Blog store (which is pretty quick and easy), you can sell on Clickbank.com, you can use eBay Classifieds, you can burn your digital products to CD/DVD (which actually increases the value to the customer), and as you mentioned, you can frequent discussion forums for your target market and participate where those buyers are and use your signature file to drive traffic to your store/site.  Building a mailing list is also important.  You can also use Google Adwords to drive traffic to your stores/sites. You can also use article marketing to promote your products/services.  You can integrate the automated delivery of these products with Payloadz.com.  These are just a few thoughts.  There are a lot of other options. If anyone is interested, we have a newsletter that provides free information and assistance on other places for eBay sellers to sell digital products - http://www.digitalproductnews.com

eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy   eBay Practices Enforcement Before Policy

by: the debater

Thu May 22 12:40:59 2008

Bite me, Darth,
I don’t understand your animosity towards people with an entrepreneurial spirit. Are you mad at them for speaking their mind or for not listing on your site?   We don’t all have the same worldview and or the same business model. You seem to have an ulterior motive. What gives? Why do you just want to tear down people with a different viewpoint? It has no value but to be nasty. You have more to offer then that.

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