eBay focused on one statement to issue a denial, while essentially pleading the Fifth on the rest of the article: 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.
Yes, eBay has standards in place for Diamond level PowerSellers. I expect that those sellers will eventually be held to the standards that eBay has put in place for them. However, during the ramp-up, these sellers will not be subjected to DSR standards.
You often have to look past what eBay says, and look at what they don't say to get a clearer picture of what's in store for your future. eBay did not deny the existence of the pilot program, or that these catalogs are coming. eBay did not deny free listing fees for these top-level sellers (in fact, it confirmed that fees for Diamond level PowerSellers are negotiable). eBay did not adequately address the fact that while these Diamond Sellers will fill out the breadth eBay's product offerings, many Powersellers who sell the same inventory will likely suffer.
In defense of larger sellers coming aboard next month, eBay stated, "In fact, big sellers have been a part of eBay since nearly the beginning; Sears, Disney, IBM, Dell, HP, etc to name a few. Some remain. But some found they couldn't compete with existing sellers on eBay who by dint of their smaller size of operations, tend to operate much more efficiently than a bigger business."
What eBay doesn't mention is that many of these large corporations were not able to compete on the eBay platform because they were paying listing fees just like smaller merchants - which is why eBay has changed the fee structure for these Diamond-Level sellers.
Sellers who receive free listings can put their entire inventory on eBay, as opposed to sellers who pay 35 cents per listing per month. In addition, eBay rewards high-volume commodity sellers under its new Recent Sales policy. Indeed, sellers told the New York Times in July they found it difficult to compete with Buy.com.