AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Sun Oct 18 2009 23:00:21

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

In the past 12 months, Amazon.com has managed to give eBay a run for the money when it comes to traffic. The number of unique visitors to Amazon.com surpassed eBay in November and December 2008, January 2009, but this year's run-up to the holiday shopping season sees Amazon beating eBay in unique visitors earlier this year - in the month of September.

In fact, as I note in Monday's Newsflash news article, eBay is having its worst September in 5 years in terms of traffic, both in unique visitors to the site and number of page views.



So what is causing eBay's drop in visitors? Certainly, Google may be a contributing factor to eBay's traffic decline, with users noting eBay pages not showing as high in natural Google search as they once did. In addition, eBay sellers have been complaining about the Google Base feeds since the search engine company imposed new Item Condition attributes, a problem eBay acknowledged last month. 



In a research note published this weekend, Citigroup's Mark Mahaney noted several areas of concern, including a "flat to declining U.S. user base" and " increased high-end, lowend competition from Amazon, Craigslist, etc…" (He called the third quarter "mixed," see his report online in PDF format.)

In addition to hosting ecommerce, eBay used to be a community site where buyers and sellers gathered to talk about fashion, collecting, and more. These days, Amazon, Craigslist, Etsy, Bonanzle, storefronts, and social media sites may all be siphoning traffic away from eBay, which laid off most of its staff in charge of community.

And despite today's AdAge article that talks about eBay's fix to customer service, sellers continue to complain about frustrating experiences dealing with support. After eBay laid off 10 percent of its global workforce late last year, it laid off 700 customer service reps in Canada and another 400 in Germany, while only replacing a fraction of them.

eBay itself has made some radical changes beginning in 2008 to combat slowing growth. It is arguable as to whether some of those changes, particularly to the feedback system and search algorithm - and the sheer number of changes users have to adapt to - are contributing to traffic declines. It is an understatement to say eBay is much more complicated than in the past.

eBay's top management and Wall Street analysts seem convinced that auctions are a liability (AdAge says eBay is "riddled" with auctions, while Citigroup refers to auctions as an anchor). It seems they have forgotten eBay's innate strength - a perfect marketplace where sellers list what buyers want, and supply-and-demand works organically. It seems the more eBay dictates what sellers "should" be selling, the more they get away from the model that made eBay such a success.






Comments (91) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: General disorder

Sun Oct 18 23:07:06 2009

Good, Job, John Donahoe! You deserve a medal.

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: kristoffer

Sun Oct 18 23:34:02 2009

I don't think this would surprise anyone that sells on ebay. My sales have never been this low in the 10 plus years I have been selling. You would think ebay would get a clue and see that the changes they are making are not helping anyone.

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: kw

Sun Oct 18 23:35:17 2009

John Donahoe is the only one who is surprised.  Anyone whoever bought or sold on ebay could have predicted this.  In fact, several readers of AuctionBytes have made this prediction.

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: ebay Nonsense

Sun Oct 18 23:37:00 2009

"AdAge says eBay is "riddled" with auctions"

Another bunch of idiots who know nothing and I suppose JD is listening to that kind of BS!
If ebay got rid of auctions they'd become an instant ghost town.

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: kw

Sun Oct 18 23:37:49 2009

And it should be added that Bonanzle, eCrater, ArtFire, Etsy, and others are up in traffic and sales.

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: Joyful Alternative

Sun Oct 18 23:41:29 2009

Bravo, Ina, for your last paragraph. It seems you're the highest-ranking person connected with eBay who knows what's going on. Shall we suggest to the board that she should run the company?

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: kimbers

Sun Oct 18 23:43:29 2009

As a buyer, it is impossible to find anything anymore that isn't something I can buy with a lot less hassle damn near anywhere else.

Donahoe, in creating his idea of the ultimate buyer's paradise, has created such a hostile enviornment for anyone who uses the site, it's just not worth the aggravation.

It should never be so hard to spend money IMHO.

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: Franci

Sun Oct 18 23:52:23 2009

When you consider that the number of listings per day average on eBay was around 12 million back in 2005 and now it is nearly four times that amount,
the radically fewer viewes are spread out over a much bigger arena....the chances of my listings being see is even worse.  

Even a year ago there were half as many listings as now and I knew there were fewer and fewer viewers of my listings...but now the site is swamped with c**pola form all over and now we now have even fewer folks looking....not hard to figure out why...eBay's a mess...and don't see any way that they can make a correction, do you?  I think this holiday season is in very dire straights.

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: Fred A. Stare

Mon Oct 19 00:12:47 2009

I used to love buying on eBay with money I obtained from selling.

But now, I cant sell to much and I dont enjoy the experience. Too much stress trying to please spoiled bidders who think they are shopping at walmart, while watching my stars dwindle.

And other folks like me that used to offer neat stuff for sale have disappeared, so even if I had money in my PalPal account to buy, it is hard to find stuff now.

Dont get me started on the insane PayPal only policy.

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: Gaz

Mon Oct 19 00:17:00 2009

I've said it many times before, and I'll say it many times more ...

If eBay want to fix eBay, then they need to take a snapshot of all that eBay was (fees, policies, tools, technology, environment, attitude and so on) in the Q4-2005 and Q1-2006 period and roll back to that.

Dec 2005 and Jan 2006 were my highest ever GMV months in almost a decade on the site, and it's all been downhill since then.

Roll it back eBay - all the fiddling, and testing, and trying to reinvent yourself has failed, and you're cutting your own throats.  The disquiet and upset you've caused to both sides of your customer base has forced competitors to enter the marketplace because the opportunity you caused was just too good to ignore.

Roll the entire site back to the state it was in during the winter of 05/06 and boot out the site-flooding, neg-magnets you call diamond powersellers.  eBay was never designed for that style of selling (huge volume listers with no experience of how the eBay marketplace works).

Bring back Bill & Rajiv to run the two flagship subsidiaries, and quit trying to diversify into classifieds - leave that to the guys who know how to do it properly.

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: Steve L.

Mon Oct 19 00:17:15 2009

Millions of words will be written about this. But it can be summed up in four.

eBay screwed up eBay.

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: speckles

Mon Oct 19 00:32:27 2009

Who knew there would come a day that bringing back Bill Cobb would seem like a welcome change? What a mess this company is.

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: Jane Lee

Mon Oct 19 00:47:02 2009

I think many people have overlooked the fact that eBay has huge changes on the affiliate program where the front door barrier is much higher than it used to be. Many affiliates has lost accounts in late 2007 and 2008 respectively. It is a huge shame that eBay has reverse the network effect of the affiliate program. It seek for quality traffic measure YET it did not open the affiliate program to all interested people like Amazon affiliate. Either eBay at this point of time cannot effectively track or differentiate the good or bad traffic which keeps the front door barrier high. Better to stick with Commission junction when they cannot manage in house.

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: Chazz

Mon Oct 19 00:56:39 2009

After eBay Parnert Network launched his new QPC Program for their affiliate, many of them decided to stop working for eBay Partnet Network. Bear in mind that most of the eBay traffic come through their affiliates.

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: love reading AB

Mon Oct 19 01:17:32 2009

@ Jane Lee

Good point about them killing their affiliates off.  They severely restricted them and now they're in the dark just like sellers with the mystery DSR's.
Ebay won't show them much of anything anymore. They give them vague stats now and if you're not one of the big guys, they cut you off at the knees and showed you the door.

Ebay is going backwards quarter by quarter while sites like Bonanzle have opened up an Affilate program and possibly within the month will open API access for 3rd party developers for things like Iphone apps.

Open your eyes JD. Even your employees are wagering that ebay will be all but history within 2 years.

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: mindelec

Mon Oct 19 01:34:35 2009

"eBay used to be a community site where buyers and sellers gathered to talk about fashion, collecting, and more"

i think the "USED" says it all right there.  ebay never understood the value of the community aspect of the site, probably because it couldn't be measured.

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: Marvin

Mon Oct 19 01:40:16 2009

I rarely visit forums or eBay where I used to spend a couple of hours/day. It is actually kind of funny that the only time I think of that site is when AuctionBytes or another of the four ebay blogs comes into my RSS feed (and no, I don't subscribe to the ebay propaganda blog.)

And to think that Meg is running for Governor of California is just plain funny. Especially the ads saying how many small businesses she helped grow through ebay.

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: Ebay Nonsense

Mon Oct 19 02:59:40 2009

to quote Marvin

"And to think that Meg is running for Governor of California is just plain funny. Especially the ads saying how many small businesses she helped grow through ebay."

She killed them off when she picked her buddy from Bain to take over.  
She might be rich now but money doesn't make you leadership material.  God help California if they allow her in.

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

by: PickerBrad

Mon Oct 19 03:06:39 2009

Fixed Price Drop Shipping,Large retail outlets selling the cheapest Chinese imports possible, is what Ebay wants as a Seller Base. Once they sell stock, it becomes a quarter by quarter gain, or loss and Stock Holders ( Wall St, Traders ) put pressure on by selling the stock.
Ebay has to go this route or face a faster demise.
Forget ebay as an Auction Venue. There are plenty of good alternatives now.
Leave Ebay to the bottom feeders.
PickerBrad

Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September   Amazon.com Traffic Exceeds eBay in September

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

Mon Oct 19 04:33:44 2009

Things that screwed up ebay:

1. MBA b-school arrogant pseudo omniscience

2. The Bain pea Brain's incestuous relationship with Caball Street

3. Caball Street's fundamental ignorance of the marketplace dynamics

4. Refusal to listen to customers

5. Shifting fraudulent transactions from sellers to buyers

6. Disruptive innovation for the sake of seller disruption and extermination. There was nothing innovative about it.

DEATH, DEATH, DEATH to ebay corp. in 2009.

Click to view more comments
1 2 3 4 5  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.