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Sat Sept 6 2008 21:29:36

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay announced a Diamond-level PowerSeller tier in June, and as I blogged in mid-August, more companies will be joining Buy.com and be allowed to list on the site for free. Now I'm hearing that eBay is introducing a pilot program next month in which a number of manufacturer and big-box retailer catalogs will be launched to eBay. Third-party vendors will work with these sellers to get them onto the eBay platform - no small feat given the quantity of product SKUs in their catalogs.

These Diamond PowerSellers will be given special privileges. Commission (FVF) fees will be negotiated individually, and it's my understanding that participants in this pilot will not be charged listing fees, nor will they have to meet eBay's seller standards during the 90-day pilot program, which I've dubbed Operation Catalog.

The potential Gross Merchandise Volume of these sellers is enormous, and it fills out eBay's product line and helps it move toward providing a more uniform buying experience on the site, or so it hopes.

The flood of inventory onto the site in October could have a major impact on certain sellers in categories affected. As I write in tomorrow's editorial in AuctionBytes-Update, not only will some sellers find themselves competing with the manufacturer of the product they sell, but that competitor is getting free listings and better exposure.

If Operation Catalog does roll out in October as expected, sellers will find themselves going up against competition they never knew existed, with no time to adjust their selling strategy during the all-important holiday shopping season.




Comments (134) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: Randy Smythe

Sat Sep 6 22:25:14 2008

Hi Ina, we need to compare notes. :)

Yep there are more on the way, but I'm only hearing about two different categories being affected: Auto Parts and Consumer Electronics.

Are you hearing about additional categories?

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: Ruth

Sat Sep 6 22:58:21 2008

EBay is taking stupidity to a new level. What makes eBay unique are the small sellers offering hard to find antiques and collectibles, not garbage listings from Buy.com and other huge companies. And the obvious question is this: Why on earth would I go to eBay to find something from Buy or any other big company? If I want to purchase anything from Buy, I will go to THEIR website, get it for a lower price AND not have to deal with eBay's sleazy Paypal payment service. And does eBay really think that their "brainstorm" of getting rid of sellers who pay listing fees and bringing in sellers (like Buy)who refuse to pay listing fees is going to work? Brilliant idea, Donahoe!

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: John

Sat Sep 6 23:09:45 2008

It is not surprising. Most everyone new at some point this was going to happen. I guess for some it will be a welcome change but for myself I would NEVER buy a widget online. We buy widgets locally where we can see, touch, hold and try the widget. We save on S&H and shipping time. We take it home with us that very same day, and we plan the day ahead of time, and take in a movie and dinner, something you can't get on eBay. We only purchased from eBay hard to find items because that is what they were best known for. In fact we sold hard to find items for 10 years on eBay but have closed and will be moving to new sites soon. for the widget lovers you got what you wanted so have fun.

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: Patricia

Sat Sep 6 23:09:55 2008

I'll sit by and watch Donahoe's utterly stupid plan of flooding the site with all kinds of garbage and now manufactured junk that can be found in any neighborhood store - and they'll list for free.  Its laughable but I feel safe as a buyer as long as I can shop on AMAZON! Yes, Mr. Donahoe - your pitch to make ebay into a cheap cheesey amazon clone is never going to work and you sure won't dislodge ONE Amazon buyer.  I and the rest of the small sellers you stepped on will sit back and enjoy it when you finally come groveling to us!  Its coming Mr. Donahoe...your senior management leaving one by one...the rats deserting the sinking ship and yet you stupidly and stubbornly plod on.  My only hope is after you and your "disruptive innovation" team is finally ousted that you leave enough of a broken down ebay for us to come in and rebuild once again - if its even possible!

http://www.grannygoodpaint.blogspot.com/  

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: gARY

Sat Sep 6 23:15:41 2008

Third-party vendors will work with these sellers to get them onto the eBay platform.

20 million should help, now we know why what seemed like a hairbrained loan sailed right thru.

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: eBuyer Feedback

Sat Sep 6 23:25:29 2008

''nor will they have to meet eBay's seller standards during the 90-day pilot program''

Why not?  If you don't require them to meet these very basic guidelines how can they possibly be expected to give the buyer a uniform buying experience?

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: Henrietta

Sat Sep 6 23:41:18 2008

Pat I would never EVER go back to eBay. Not to buy or sell. If you are a seller on eBay you have lost any opportunity for my $$.

If eBay reversed course tomorrow I would not leave the site I am listing and selling on now. Yes I have had sales.

When a site bends over backwards to give sellers what they want and is friendly to boot what more could you want. No IF, you got it. Fair FVF, yup. Import listings and FB from eBay with ease and speed. No problem. Community values? You betcha. Google Checkout? Sure PayPal? If you must LOL. No auctions, all FP and make an offer.

Traffic is increasing by leaps and bounds. It will not be eBay tomorrow but neither was eBay and I am betting the store this one will get there a lot faster than eBay did and stay honest while doing it.

You know what else? I am finding things I collect there which I can't on eBay any more. Guess the good sellers of collectibles are there.

Wanna know where? email me thru link.

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: un-friggin-believable

Sat Sep 6 23:41:48 2008

I wonder how Pierre will be able to spin this new program as part of the "level playing field".

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: Patricia

Sun Sep 7 00:13:06 2008

Henrietta, I know the site you're speaking of.  Like a lot of other sites it is a good one but has no traffic.  I have tried in vain to get my buyers to shop other sites.  If it weren't for them, ebay would die the shameful death it deserves.  I keep telling sellers to work on their buyers - that's the key - get the buyers over to your new site.  It will be years before we can accomplish that - old habits are hard to break.  I'm retired now...don't have all the time in the world so I totally resent what Donahoe and his clan have done to Ebay.

You're wrong about Ebay in the early days.  It took off almost immediately with very high sell-thru rates.  I only started selling there in 1998 but everything I put up sold with multiple bids.  At that time there were less than 300 items in the arts category and arts was tied to antiques.  I could not paint fast enough to meet the demand.  The tatted lace category - soiled old tattings from people's basements were selling for outrageous prices.  I, myself, fought for and paid 40.00 for a 10 cent tatting pattern book!  I still have hopes that before ebay goes down for the count we will have an opportunity to go in and make it viable once more.  Make it as unique as the way it was born. It sure can't hurt!

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: Just a Seller

Sun Sep 7 00:59:18 2008

Ebay is taking yet another step to part from the sellers' community. Our status had changed dramatically from "members" to "unwanted guests" and we are pushed aggresivly out of the site and out of sight. We are no longer part of ebay's equation which now has space only for big timers and for shoppers. It might work for ebay or it might not, but in any case it's not going to work for us.

CAPITALISM AT ITS WORSE!!!

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: tj

Sun Sep 7 01:04:26 2008

Yet again we are approaching the most important time of year for most sellers…and as regular as clockwork eBay start major changes to sellers listing conditions & policy’s…EXCEPT if you’re a select seller with NO fees to pay

It is very clear to most sellers that eBay as a sales avenue is not even close to what it was…the buyers HAVE NOT COME BACK JOHN & you are loosing the sellers that BOUGHT

Massive amounts of listings never receive 1 bid….STR is a Joke, buyer extortion & fraud is rampant, fees are totally ridicules in fact anyone still listing on eBay must be outright crazy

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: bransonD

Sun Sep 7 01:06:51 2008

EVEN if ebay offered me, a small seller (and buyer), the same FREE, deals ebay is apparently offering the Diamond sellers, I will NEVER go back to buying OR selling on the ebay site with it's DEMEANING AND APPALLING 2008 changes (brought to fruition by Meg Whitman AND John Donahoe).

I have some things that ebay/Paypal DO NOT have...
HONESTY, SELF RESPECT AND the RESPECT of my trading partners!  

I will NOT ALLOW ebay/Paypal to strip me of those WHILE ebay DESTROYS what's left of it's sorry site.

The Ongoing Global Ebay Boycott Continues!!!

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: buy.com-watcher and more on the way

Sun Sep 7 02:33:40 2008

Media sellers better update their resumes for 2009-that's what I've been hearing...

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: nosellerbuyer

Sun Sep 7 06:43:16 2008

Three worst catagories on ebay are Electronics and Motors for FRAUD and Media for OVERCHARGING SHIPPING. I never have sold on Ebay. Used to be a buyer but no more. Seems some catagories just figured they could bilk the buyers and now maybe Ebay will clean them up.

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: Robert

Sun Sep 7 08:44:06 2008

I have been selling on ebay for 10 years.  I have been OK with many changes over the years, however, the changes over the last several months, as well as those coming on board in October will finally end my ebay days.  Forcing shipping caps on me, when the cost to ship keeps increasing, along with fuel, and forcing me to take it up the rectum with paypal only payment system has finally forced me to end my 10 year fun run.  Ebay is on life support.  Yes it looks like they are still going like gangbusters on nice colorful charts, but all it is turning into is a storefront for busineses.  The small sellers who skyrocketed ebay into the stratosphere are leaving, just like me.  I am listing on a couple other sites, that use Mr. Grabber to migrate all of my listings oand feedbback to its site.  I think many are doing the same.  It is too bad Google won't take on the ebay experience, I think it could compete, and who knows, ebay would finally be toppled.

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: Lisa

Sun Sep 7 08:49:43 2008

The average buyer doesn't know the behind the scenes changes Ebay is making. As soon as Ebay makes the transition into a cheap imitation of Amazon, then they'll know. And when the buyer can't find the unique items they had come to expect, then they'll seek  elsewhere.

Because of the betrayal Ebay displayed to it's honest, loyal sellers, I cannot wait until the day their stock hits $10 and John Donahoe is run off into oblivion. But, like many greedy, deceitful moron CEOs before him, he'll have plenty of money and possessions to comfort him.

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: Susan

Sun Sep 7 10:20:53 2008

What a bunch of morons the powers-that-be at Ebay are! Apparently they do not listen to their smaller sellers.I guess it's like almost anything in life-the smaller you are, the less important you are.I wouldnt buy any of that cheap Chinese-made garbage manufactured by slave workers that those big stores are going to be dumping on Ebay! Like many others, I am taking my store independent of Ebay where no one is going to gouge me on all those fees.

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: MG

Sun Sep 7 10:22:11 2008

Hate to get political but Met Whitman has said eBay is a Republican model. She and Donahue worked for Romney at Bain where they sent thousands of jobs overseas, looking out only for Wall St, not caring at all about Main St.

Please understand, they do not care about you. They say they do, but they don't. They belive in market forces and stock markets, and you are a cog in their wheel to be thrown out when they are done with you.

I do not say this emotionally, I make enough on eBay to actually benifit from the Bush tax cuts. I just know how they operate. The writing is on the wall.

We are all to become Griff's -- little spokes-models of how eBay still "connects" to the liitle guy. But it is a marketing gimmick and will keep the bits on Leno coming.

They care about you as much as they care about the people that clean their homes and cut their lawns. They wish you no ill-will, they just do not respect you and if you wander off, you will not be missed.


eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: MG

Sun Sep 7 10:24:16 2008

...forgot to mention: A DSR grace period for the largerst, new sellers gives you an idea of just how committed eBay is to customer service. When it is good for them (controling the sellers discounts) it matters, when it is an obstacle to new Diamond Sellers, it is not.

eBay, it was fun!

eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar   eBay's Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar

by: Tina

Sun Sep 7 10:25:52 2008

to Robert:

yes, if Google would only set up an auction site.....

99% of sellers would leave ebay, myself included.

Does anyone know why Google isn't "doing it"?

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