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Sun Jan 25 2009 16:42:46

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

By: Ina Steiner

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During eBay's Q4-2008 presentation to analysts last week, it showed on Slide #16 of its presentation three graphs that were evidence that changes made in 2008 were having a positive effect on three key areas: selection, value and trust. On the surface, however, the metrics eBay used did not appear to me to be good indicators of the three characteristics they are trying to measure.

The graph depicting Selection showed the increase in the number of listings on eBay. But 1 million listings of one item is different from 1 million of listings of 1 million different items. Therefore, an increase in the number of listings does not necessarily indicate an increase in "selection." A more accurate way to measure selection would be by SKU, something eBay is not good at counting.

I've heard sellers complain about the types of products Diamond-level PowerSellers have been listing on eBay since the fall, including Duracell batteries and Bounty paper towels. More SKUs, for sure, but as sellers have pointed out, is this kind of added selection that adds to eBay's success?

I'm also wondering why eBay closed down its Live Auctions platform on December 31, 2008, if it wanted greater selection. While some may applaud the closure, it reduces the selection of unique items on eBay (beginning in Q1-2009, of course).

Also found on Slide 16 was a graph measuring Value. This graph showed the increase in the percentage of listings offering free shipping. Since sellers are still required to pay shipping carriers, I would argue that many sellers increase the selling price to offset the free shipping offers. If anything, it might be "perceived value," but I'm not sure shoppers are so easily fooled.

eBay has unaccountably removed the Q4 earnings-call presentation from the Investors home page. If anyone has a copy of Slide 16, please send me a link, thanks!

Update: eBay had moved the presentation from the investor homepage to a different page. The Trust graph measures "% GMV of from Sellers w/ 4.8+ DSR's" - here's Slide 16.






Comments (32) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

by: just me

Sun Jan 25 17:09:08 2009

Just like some discussions on the boards.
POOF GONE

Why is anyone surprised it has disappeared.

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

by: MsFish213

Sun Jan 25 17:14:10 2009

The Diamond Sellers were dumping hundreds of thousands of items in a 2-3 day interval, most cheap cheesy items.  Sure. listings counts were way up, but on what? 2.00 items?

Ebay pushed the free shipping by offering all kinds of perks if you used it-free subtitle, double discounts to Power Sellers.  Of course, free shipping was up!

Its starting be pretty obvious that everytime Ebay runs some kind of promo, its usually to get some number up in their quarterly reports.

Ebay has become the masters of spin.  They should put that much effort into retaining what unique sellers they have left.

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

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

Sun Jan 25 18:03:11 2009

Ebay's spinmeisters make me literally sick to my stomach.

Here's what they do. They take carefully manipulated, largely bogus statistics, construct convenient if not less than honest measuring categories, and then spin them into something "positive" when, in fact, there are no positive trends unless The Ho thinks a $10.00 roll of paper towels is a positive.

It's like most of us learned in school:

Figures lie and liars figure.

And never more so than in San Hosed.

EBAY LIES. File SEC complaints! Public announcements (includes charts, webinars, slides, graphs, Powerpoints, etc.) intended to deceive investors are ILLEGAL.

Ebay is and has been in a bunker mentality. They'd rather die in their isolated ignorance than admit the "new" ebay is a disaster and retrench.

Death to ebay corp. in 2009.

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

by: o.c.d.collectibles

Sun Jan 25 19:24:48 2009

Whoaaa!! The disappearing page routine!!

It's like my father, "pop-pop" was what my children called him, rest his soul, always said: " If you always tell the truth, you won't get caught lying".

My Dad was a sage!

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

by: o.c.d.collectibles

Sun Jan 25 19:28:53 2009

Buy.com the way, LOL! has anyone ever seen the feedback for that company on "reseller ratings"? It's a site that gathers ratings  from customers all over he world. Here's their's in case you were wondering why buyers won't come to ebay any more.

With a record like this one, I can see why! They must think we are all like that!

http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Buy

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Sun Jan 25 19:51:02 2009

Post updated to add image of Slide 16 and link to page with presentation.

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

by: Kal

Sun Jan 25 20:04:01 2009

What a joke. You can't measure this stuff with statistics. This company will do ANYTHING (as Ming says) to make itself look better. Again, what a joke. And to think I used to love this company, and we made money together once in a perfect symbiotic relationship.

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

by: Kal

Sun Jan 25 20:06:05 2009

I just took the time to read those five bulleted points at the bottom of the chart...the one the big arrow points so prominently to. God, does that make me sick to my stomach. What lies, what fantasy. LIES LIES LIES

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

by: Veteran seller, not a Diamond!

Sun Jan 25 20:58:24 2009

Ebay stated that sales for their 4.8 dsr sellers was up in Q4 by 17%.

I am one of those large commodity sellers. Yes, my business was up but my net profits were down-due to the ebay/paypal fee structures and the fact that I am now forced to offer ''free'' shipping to get any best match exposure. Ebay/Paypal gets more FVFs, so I make less now than I did before all the changes this year.

I make more NET profits selling on Amazon and less NET profits selling on ebay. Ebay makes more from me, so, they are happy.

All that really matters in the business world is the NET; if your business is operating at a perpetual net loss (as most all ebay commodity sellers are), than you are in danger these days. That is the ebay reality.

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

by: Patricia

Sun Jan 25 21:23:02 2009

Hiding pages and manipulating figures is nothing new.  Did we all really think those free listing days of the past were perks for us because we were such good customers?  NO they were to manipulate the quarterly figures and no other reason.  They've done this all along...only by the end of THIS quarter they're gonna need to dig up Houdini and breathe life into him because that's what its going to take to look successful....and investors who fall for Donahoe's line that its the economy will deserve what they get!  He chose to surround himself with diamond sellers that have miserable sell-thru rates - now let him think up how he's going to account for all the lost sales.  Sit back everyone...get out the popcorn and duck when the explosion happens :-)

www.bonanzle, free shop, free to list, small fee on sales only.

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

by: dan

Sun Jan 25 22:43:41 2009

I am no dog but my nose recognizes when something stinks

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen

Mon Jan 26 00:29:03 2009

As usual, more spin than a small child’s top. Undoubtedly, if they did not have PayPal manning the bilge pumps, the good ship ''eBay'' would be even lower in the water. I have to wonder if Captain Donahoe intends to stay at the wheel and eventually go down with the ship or will he soon be forced to hand over to a more competent officer and allow the ship to be towed back to port for urgently needed repairs? (The old classic Fonda/Cagney movie “Mr Roberts” comes to mind.) See a detailed critique at: http://www.auctionbytes.com/forum/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=23585

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

by: vintagepostcards.org

Mon Jan 26 01:28:44 2009

don't people go to Club Fed for this kind of behavior?

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

This user has validated their user name. by: Bob

Mon Jan 26 01:37:58 2009

They left out at least one graph that would have showed a marked increase in 2008.....Buyer feedback percentage.

They could have had the graph show 97-100% on the left and time, and the graph would shoot up...due of course, to the feedback changes.

This is smoke and mirrors without using mirrors.  Does anyone even buy into this stuff, really?

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

by: eBay is scum

Mon Jan 26 06:20:16 2009

2.6 out of 10 for buy.com how awful. Corrupt and dishonest is eBay's motto. Remember their FIRST lie...everyone is basically good.... EXCEPT THEM !

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

by: Nothing New

Mon Jan 26 09:04:46 2009

As a recent story indicated, Ebay is now milking cash out of the corporation. It is not in a growth or innovation mode.

Ebay's last real innovation was to show the industry how to drive away the good sellers that helped build Ebay.

Hey Donahoe, I have another innovative idea.  To make buying "perfectly safe" why not eliminate 100% of all the sellers.  Then no buyer could ever have a bad buying experience on Ebay.

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

by: Peter Leeflang/CEO Leeflang Archives Corporation

Mon Jan 26 09:21:27 2009

What happened to the principle of using 'objective facts' to run a business instead of 'subjective non-fact based ideas'?

I guess desperation makes these overpaid execs 'inventive'.

Unfortunately neither buyers nor sellers are fooled and the exodus from Ebay continues.

Bets real metrics: Other competing web sites are amassing new users, buyers and sellers alinke, cannibalizing Ebay. No, the total market is not growing and it is not that every e-commerec site is profiting from that growth.

Online retail volume is decreasing due to the recession, but Madoff-like Ebay is suggesting that it is doing well, despite its bad positioning in teh market. Like the real Madoff's customers, Ebay will eventually be 'found out'.

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

by: gail

Mon Jan 26 09:52:12 2009

My only hope is that ebay doesn't crash and burn completely until I've tracked down an item I want to buy that no one else seems to be selling on the other sites--YET. After that I don't care what happens to them. Anybody caught selling there now has had plenty of warning to get out and sell elsewhere--just their sales figures alone should tell them that something is rotten in San Jose. Ebay has to put a spin on those reports for their shareholders who don't buy or sell on ebay, so they can sleep peacefully at night. When ebay crashes and burns completely lots of shareholders are going to be truly dismayed, but the problem doesn't lay with the ebay sellers. It lies with ebay that forgot it was just supposed to be a venue to make buying and selling on line easier and instead turned into BIG BROTHER.

www.ecrater.com--NO Listing FEES, NO FVF, Profits (remember profits?) for the seller with a good product, excellent presentations with reasonable prices and S&H!!!

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

by: Another Wronged Seller

Mon Jan 26 10:06:50 2009

Spin Metrics...

Is donahoe reaaly that good at BS'ing the board and investors? Are any of them sharp enough to see the spin doctering going on?

The fact is people ARE pinching pennies right now because of the economy. So where should they be shopping to save a few bucks? Ebay for sure and amazon to a lesser degree. So why is amazon up and ebay down?

Blaming ebays bad numbers on the economy is ridiculous. In my opinion, ebay ought to have record growth in this economy. Look at amazons performance. Aren't they performing in the same economy as ebay??????

Hey Ebay, it's time to ''man-up'' and ADMIT that the changes are not working. I'd think more of them if they just admitted they screwed up. This blind adherance by management that all the changes are working shows either stupidity or arrogance.  

Perhaps both!

eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics   eBay Defines Selection, Value and Trust Metrics

by: Et tu, Brute!

Mon Jan 26 11:37:41 2009

I really think Wall Street has caught on to Donahoe.  He is only painting himself up more each time to reveal the clown he is.  Taken in that light, it IS pathetically amusing.

What reasoning adult can't figure that if you invite a buy.com entity it will bring with it millions of duplicate items going nowhere.

What reasoning adult can't figure that if you force free shipping for visibility the item cost will rise to absorb the loss, including the added fees to boot.

I genuinely believe Wall Street is on to Donahoe.  Not much to do but sit back and await events.  

That paint is getting thicker, and ridiculous.

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