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Sun June 29 2008 22:43:46

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers who have felt inundated by eBay's round of radical changes announced on January 29, and the subsequent changes announced since, may be forgiven for not fully absorbing the next wave of news that came on June 20, 2008. I've been covering eBay since 1999, and have never before seen Announcement Board posts overflowing with such significant changes.

Julia Wilkinson previewed some of the pending eBay changes after attending Adam Trachtenberg's Product Roadmap session at the recent eBay Developer's Conference on June 18.

But eBay presented it more fully in an Announcement Board post on June 20. The post linked to an overview page that laid out some of the more prominent news coming out of the eBay Live conference (a new DSR discount, Diamond Level PowerSeller tier, the previously announced "Trusted selling with identity verification, for example).

But there were also some significant announcements buried in the June 20th news avalanche, including the following:

Start including critical item information if you don't already: shipping cost and method, handling time, (expected delivery time is automatically calculated), item condition, and whether you have a return policy. The information will be required with the full launch of the redesigned item page targeted for later this year, so this is a great time to get started.

In addition, these nuggets: "Handling time and return policy will be required sometime in or near October," and "If you choose to accept returns, you'll need to specify the time period in which the item may be returned, how you'll give the refund, and who'll pay the return shipping cost." (eBay told developers it would add a new required field under return policy called "Who Pays for Return Shipping.") I recommend studying this announcement carefully, including a thorough review of the FAQs page.

We have asked eBay for clarification on certain points, such as the new Links policy, and we'll also be looking out for the fee announcement and feedback withdrawal change alluded to by Lorrie Norrington.

 




Comments (28) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: Ruth

Mon Jun 30 00:06:53 2008

Control freaks like Donahoe should never run ANY business. He is rolling out policy changes every week for no valid reason. He has ruined eBay and taken the fun out of using the site. He is blaming the decline of eBay on sellers instead of on the real culprit, which is eBay itself. The biggest problem is their forcing of Paypal has turned off many sellers (and buyers as well). Find another way to make more money, eBay! Hey, here's an idea. Make your website fun and easy to use and let buyers and sellers use whatever payment method THEY feel comfortable with. Now THAT would bring the buyers and sellers back in droves. Too bad you need to have that lousy 3% on every deal, Greedbay. You ruined your business pushing your unsafe Paypal payment service on everyone.

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: Patricia

Mon Jun 30 00:22:55 2008

Every time a new policy comes out all I hear is sellers saying they're leaving, they've closed their stores.  I see Ebay Live and its like a wake instead of a festive event - hardly any sellers are there.  Okay - will someone tell me how Ebay's listings are on the rise?  My business has dropped to the floor and I'm at a point where I just don't want to bother listing anymore.  So, what are all these listings?  fake? buy.com? what?  I seriously feel this company needs to be investigated.

www.ACEOart.net

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: RicRoe

Mon Jun 30 00:32:40 2008

"If you choose to accept returns, you'll need to specify the time period in which the item may be returned, how you'll give the refund, and who'll pay the return shipping cost."

Here we are with more double speak where eBay policy will say one thing, but PayPal policy will be quite different.

Currently, in the event of a dispute say, significantly different than described, PayPal can, will, and does award full refunds despite any terms stated in a sellers listing.

I personally know of one case where a buyer waited 23 days after receiving merchandise to file a proven to be false SNAD dispute. The listing had a clearly stated 7 day return policy which PayPal over ruled and awarded a full refund to the buyer.

So unless this marks a significant change in the way PayPal makes decisions, stating a policy for returns on eBay listings as a requirement is totally meaningless - since PayPal will continue to over rule any listing return policy.

Once again its all smoke and mirrors from eBay as they struggle to fix things that are not broken, and policies that are so broken they drive members off the site.

eBay executives continue to hit the bullseye, the problem is the target is still painted on their shoes.

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: Mr. Tim

Mon Jun 30 01:32:02 2008

EBay is padding their numbers once again to coincide with the end of another quarter. What they are doing is stock manipulation, IMO. They make it look like eBay is doing fine in order to dupe more fools into buying their overvalued stock.

For example, they recently offered five free listings to many sellers in order to raise total listings for the end of June. They are also giving Buy.com over 500,000 FREE listings to pad the numbers even more. By doing this, they have negated listing numbers as a way to see how eBay is doing. Listing numbers mean squat when you are giving millions of listings away for free...

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: Tony

Mon Jun 30 01:52:40 2008

They are padding the listings with buy.com and apparently Aus was padded with shopping.com.
I got a email for a invite to the Top sellers club for PS in USA and im told that the Australian site bang4bucks.com.au is setting up a special category for us to list which is great as I make quite a few sales to Australia and I can also get my local buyers to buy from there.
ebay arent going to stop until they get rid of all small to medium sellers.

Hey Ina why dont you see if you can find out what gives with the site would be great for sellers to pull together.

Maybe the USA powersellers who started the group will form a big enough group to fight back a bit or even save their business.
We checked the other night and between test listings, buy.com and some other strange figures the whole thing looked wrong

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: UNBELIEVABLE

Mon Jun 30 02:04:05 2008

Mr. Tim,
You hit the nail on the head!

Everyone can say that ALL stocks are down or it's the economy and that ebay is in the same boat as all of them. But, had ebay NOT made these idiotic changes and ALL the sellers that have left, were still there, ebay would be one of the only stock to be going up, rather than down and would only be thriving.

Those Q2 earnings are due to come out shortly and stockholders are going to wonder what's up. They will say "But, I thought the listing count, showed that everyone was LIKING the new changes." Sorry guys, we tried to tell everyone, OVER AND OVER. This is why ebay is doing everything in their power to up the Q2 earnings. Free coupons, charging people for Skype, that never ordered it, paypal charging sellers for subscriptions, that they DIDN'T order. Who know what else they are doing, behind closed doors.

ALL WILL BE UNCOVERED, REAL SOON! UNFORTUNATLEY IT WILL BE AFTER HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS HAVE BEEN LOST.

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

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

Mon Jun 30 02:24:55 2008

I'll tell you what ebay is doing behind closed doors to jack up revenues.

Five to ten percent of medium to large seller listings (that is those sellers ebay collects fees from) are being DOUBLE LISTED generally within 24 hours.

This is a well known ebay scam that no one seems to want to talk and expose. If you sell one of a kind items, you may not even know the ebay's "glitchy" software relisted it again until someone buys it, you can't fill the order, and the buyer negs you all thanks to one of ebay's revenue generating scams!

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: evilchuckie

Mon Jun 30 04:52:53 2008

The sad part about  this latest mess, is that not only are they re-arranging the deck chairs on the TITANIC, they are still charging the passengers for drinks??? And taking bookings for the next cruise!!! It is really sad but if they had done NOTHING, then ebay would have been a much better and safer place to trade?
As it stands now all you need to do is bid, win, pay, report to paypal and get your money back, and leave NEG feedback!!  I guess the sellers who are left are lucky that most buyers are honest, or every sale would be refunded, at full cost to the seller! When will the stock holders wake up? although its probably already too late!!

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: Roy

Mon Jun 30 05:07:01 2008

One of ebays new features to entice members to stay keen on ebay is the offering of FREE listings of items up to $9.99.  Not sure why they didn't make this amount higher as plenty of items exist from $10-$50.  They should have made it up to $100 FREE.  I guess they would have thought that out carefully though of course.

My site, which has been in soft launch since June, and is in official launch tomorrow (1st July 2008) allows for unlimited FREE listings up to any starting price, plus you can relist up to 10 times FREE if it does not sell, avoiding and relist fees.

Rgs
Roy
www.auctionzone.com.au

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: bite me

Mon Jun 30 08:32:41 2008

How many times do I need to tell you guys that no one cares about ebay stock. Smart people don't own their stock. 4 years ago it was $60 now it's $27. Why? Because of the games they play. Every analyst knows it, and most savvy investors avoid ebay like the plague. Furthermore, the SEC won't investigate them. In SoCal they are way too busy investigating options backdating by Apple, Broadcom and others. What's illegal about giving someone else listings like buy.com? It's making revenue for ebay. That's all that investors care about. Their P/E ratio right now is 88.97 you'd have to be an idiot to buy that. Most stocks right now are around 15.

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: Kelly

Mon Jun 30 08:58:50 2008

Looks like I am going to have ro hire a personal assistant to keep up with all of eBay's petty frequent changes. Kelly

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: Frank Provasek

Mon Jun 30 09:09:24 2008

We had a buyer claim he did not receive an item, so we handled the Post office insurance paperwork, and immediately shipped a replacement.  Guess what, the post office showed it had been delivered, so the claim was denied...then the guy made a SNAD claim to Paypal which was automatically approved with no chance for us to present our evidence that the guy was a crook.  He got TWO $100+ items AND his money back!  All we got was a $10 chargeback fee...

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: Another submerged seller

Mon Jun 30 09:22:01 2008

Submerged.  The perfect word to describe me.  I have been just hanging on, waiting for the end of all the changes (or at least a short break) so I could make the necessary changes to my listings. I am not all that computer literate so it takes me a while to make changes.  Right about the time I implement the new changes here comes something else.

Add to that the fact that I am a jewelry seller and there are more changes on the way.  I don't know what to do first.  I will probably be waiting the dust to settle after Christmas.

Ebay killed my last Christmas season by announcing new item specifics so late that I didn't have time to change all my listings.  I am trying to make all the changes at one time.  But I don't think I will EVER be done with change.

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: anna

Mon Jun 30 10:46:02 2008

as for making changes to your listings, if you use turbo lister, it has a feature - click "edit", search and replace - where you can bulk edit all of your items at one time with a few clicks. takes a little to figure it out but, what a time saver!

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: Mitzi

Mon Jun 30 10:55:49 2008

This whole thing is driving me nuts, I have to revise my store listings to remove my email address, I would like to make any other required revisions at the same time, but they aren't giving enough details or timeframes! Especially the new/used rule - is that in item specifics?

Also I use Auctiva for my listings, do I have to revise each one to remove their checkout feature? By when?

It's enough to drive a person crazy, I don't have time to revise all my listings over and over...

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: merry-go-round

Mon Jun 30 11:20:14 2008

That's a very good point made above....

''Ebay killed my last Christmas season by announcing new item specifics so late that I didn't have time to change all my listings.  I am trying to make all the changes at one time.  But I don't think I will EVER be done with change.''

I personally believe after reflecting on ebay's changes over the years that ebay has purposely kept a % percentage of the sellers in a state of constant flux ''intentionally''.

#1 How can you possibly grow your business on ebay?

#2 Who benefits most from keeping sellers small?

#3 ''level the playing field'' or should it read ''unfair business practices''

#4 Submerged is a good term for it, drowning in ''redundant'' workload.

#5 Who benefits the most?

#6 Do all sellers compete on the same level? Same pricing? Or, are some specific sellers advantaged?

I am an experienced seller of 9 years, almost 20,000 feedbacks. Ebay has done some things the past 2 years that I am only coming to realize were planned & done intentionally  for the lop-sided benefit of ebay, at the expense of the small sellers. Which to me is very, very close to being corporate fraud.

I'm not talking about the obvious policy changes they've made, that eveybody is aware of. I'm talking about search manipulation on a major scale. I'm talking about recruitment of excessive amounts of sellers, only to now dump them off the search so that ebay can much better survive this transition period.

I mean some really low, dirty moves.

For me the ebay search the last few years has been a long agonizing drought, but now it's been the pot of gold, and sales are really good.

Now how can that be?? And how long will it last for ''me''? While it's true my feedback is excellent, it's always been that way! Ming I've got to use your tag line...

Ebay is the most dispicable corporation in the world

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: bite me

Mon Jun 30 11:24:13 2008

@merry-go-round

Yes, I think ebay has an axe to grind with big sellers. Why? Because pro sellers who depend on it for their income, need to have good profit margins. That means higher prices. If I'm looking for a mass market item that's new I go to amazon, not ebay. The deals aren't there anymore. By having small sellers who do it as a hobby, buyers get better deals.

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: Mere

Mon Jun 30 11:30:31 2008

When enough sellers get tired of all the changes that ebay is throwing out faster than a speeding bullet, things will change. Sellers will leave and help build up other auction and fixed price sites.

Buyers for the most part are not thrilled with all the changes either. Scammers love it but scammers are what they are..whether it be on ebay or another site.

Sellers need to quit accepting the big cash cow PayPal on any web site for payment. There are other card processors that are much cheaper and don't try to hold your money for any lame brain reason that suits them.

It seems a lot of energy is being expended by ebay sellers when whatever they do to try and appease the ebay gods is just NOT working for most.

Use your time more wisely and leave ebay. Set up your own site or move your wares to any site that lets you be in control of your business. Thats why we are all online sellers. Trying to offer customers the best in products, customer service and good value for the money. Really hard to make money when the deck is stacked against you with some suits hiding behind a corporate logo that starts with e and ends with y and offers no honesty or integrity.

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: steve

Mon Jun 30 11:58:25 2008

When eBay is in a law suit they are, in their own words, "just a venue".

As it applies to everything else, they are micro-managing control freaks.  If they are just a venue why do they CONSTANTLY hover over us with change after change and rule after rule.

Enjoy the control while you have it eBay.  A good thing doesn't last forever.

eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged   eBay's Latest Wave of Changes Keeps Sellers Submerged

by: Beth M.

Mon Jun 30 12:26:43 2008

Well, I know that eBay continues to bite the hands that have fed it for all these many years - the sellers.

I don't sell on eBay nearly as much as I used to, but do still occasionally list. I found out the hard way about one of the feedback changes tucked in among other news - the little gem about a neutral now being counted as a negative! I was happy when I saw that the negs from NARU'd buyers would be dropped off, but really did not see the neutral status change.

I went to bed one night with 100% feedback, and woke up to 99.0% feedback. The reason? One neutral, and that was from someone I didn't even end up doing business with! We were moving last month, and an item I had listed ended up getting packed up early. Rather than try to unpack boxes to find it, I promptly notified her of the situation, and refunded her money in full. (She ended up paying me again a few days later, which I again promptly refunded in full.) I thought we were done. Nope - she ended up later leaving me a neutral on the trx, even though I had communicated every step of the way and fully refunded, because she didn't know what else to do.

There was nothing to explain to newer buyers about the feedback changes - they only hype the freedom of not being able to get any bad feedback back from the seller.  So, she thought a neutral would be good, since (in her words) she never got the item to see if it was ''as described''!  Oye!  

So, I took a FB hit that will be on my account for a full YEAR, because I handled the matter immediately and professionally.  

(Note that she asked eBay to remove it when she realized what the neutral did. They would not. She said I should write as well, which I did. I got the reply that they could not remove it, even though it was obvious she had left the wrong rating, because it would ''compromise the integrity of the feedback system''.  Okay - I'll bite - WHAT integrity?

eBay continually drops the ball on BUYER EDUCATION! That is a big part of the problem - unrealistic expectations and not understanding the processes.

Okay, that all being said, I moved my main store off eBay in 2006, and have no regrets. I still buy there as well, but a LOT of my favorite sellers have left the building, and there are more to come!

Something else strange that eBay is doing -
I am working on a store for someone who is a current power seller. They wanted the icon taken down, as they felt (and I agree!) that it would now be a bullseye for the folks who just want to cause trouble. I've taken it down at LEAST three times now, and it ''miraculously'' keeps re-appearing without either of us going in and re-checking the box to show it again.

I think all of this mess is just priming the pump to get the things they really want - big sellers, big businesses, and no little guys. Also, I predict that we'll see the feedback be phased out entirely, and go to just their star system at some point. After all, they can better control the discounts with the stars than they can with comments alone!
;  )

eBay, you could have been so great for so many! You just keep on making short-term choices that offend your long term customer base!

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