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Fri Oct 23 2009 21:50:14

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay sent a survey this week to find out how sellers felt about fees. The survey asked respondents a series of questions about insertion and final value fees, asking them to choose which format they would choose - auction or fixed price - under various scenarios. eBay routinely sends surveys to sellers before making policy changes and are often a very good indication of what the company may be planning.

The survey asked sellers how they would trade-off Insertion fees versus Final Value fees, asking them to allocate eleven points among each of the two types of fees based on which they were more inclined to pay. For example, if they preferred a higher final value fee and no insertion fee, respondents were instructed to allocate all eleven points to final value fee and zero to insertion fee.

It then asked sellers to participate in a set of "selling experiments," and presented 9 selling situations. For each scenario, respondents were asked to choose whether they would list in fixed-price format, auction format or not list their item on eBay. Each scenario presented an item's approximate worth and different listing duration and different fees for fixed-price and auction formats.

Respondents were asked why or why not they chose the answer they did for each scenario.

The survey also asked sellers to indicate how confusing they thought three fee structures were: Tranched, Flat Rate with Cap, and Flat rate with Fee - and then asked them which fee structure they preferred.

The survey asked for the respondent's latest 12-month sales on various online channels, and asked which criteria were most important to them in choosing an online channel to sell items. Included was a list of venues such as Amazon and Bonanzle. Respondents were asked to indicate their preferred listing duration and which duration they thought buyers preferred the most.

The last question was, "If there was one thing that eBay could do to get you to sell more on their website, what would that one thing be and why?"

A reader sent us screen captures of the survey, which we've put up on the site for you to peruse.

FVF Fees #1
FVF Fees #2
Reason for not listing
Fees Scenario #1
Fees Scenario #2
Fees Scenario #3
Fees Scenario #4
Fees Scenario #5
Fees Scenario #6
Fees Scenario #7
Fees Scenario #8
Fees Scenario #9

In February 2008, eBay lowered insertion fees and raised final value fees, believing that sellers would prefer to pay more in commission fees when items sold if they could pay less in upfront listing fees. The company also introduced category-based fees - making listing fees lower in the media category, and later introduced a five-free listing plan for auction listings targeted at consumers and casual sellers that had a higher commission fee, depending on the selling price.





Comments (104) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: Buck Efay.

Fri Oct 23 22:05:46 2009

Ina, I'm making more sales on Bonanzle & Ecrater then Ebay, for next to nothing. Ebay has only produced 3 sales out of 200 BIN items this past week, while Ecrater & Bonanzle both sold 5 or more. And the fees for selling those 3 items are all going to Ebay for fees for unsold goods. I am not putting anymore goods on Ebay after this batch & am importing them to Bonanzle as I type. So in answer to this survey, My response is I will pay 0 insterion, and about 5% FVF if they want to bring back this 10,000+ Pos former silver seller for 10 years until Jackahole came along. Listed 200 items a week there since 1998, not anymore. Now I'm bronze & will surely lost that within months because Ebay is like playing craps with loaded dice. NO Thanks.

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: Buck Efay.

Fri Oct 23 22:07:08 2009

PS went out to dinner, and came back to 9 new sales on Amazon, and 0 from Ebay. Sucks to be Ebay. They are yesterday's news.

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: Hardrock Rules

Fri Oct 23 22:57:13 2009

(((((((((  The last question was, "If there was one thing that eBay could do to get you to sell more on their website, what would that one thing be and why?" )))))))))

DUH ! My answer is simple eBay REPLACE DONAHOE and his Administration, because all the jumping through hoops since Donahoe took over has honestly decreased my sales, profits and income since before John took over thus hurting my family financially, and I obey his wishes and get all the so called benefits

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: Just a Seller

Fri Oct 23 23:31:17 2009

I think eBay is missing the point about sellers leaving. It has far less to do with Fees and more to do with Sales.

It simply come down to Value.

If the venue can produce more sales then sellers will migrate back. Without sales, it really doesn't matter what the fees are.

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

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

Fri Oct 23 23:35:21 2009

Ah yes, the other shoe that Caball Street loves is about to fall: more new fees.

Nevermind that every new policy change rollout has resulted in unannounced, defacto fee increases by stealing discounts away from sellers through a variety of convoluted rationales.

Nevermind that ebay continues to provide its customers with less and less while wanting to steal more and more.

Nevermind that ebay generated millions in fraudulent obtained revenue this last quarter by double listing the same item and relisting already sold items without the seller's knowledge or approval.

Nevermind the ebay is already the most expensive venue for 3P sellers and has simply dreadfuol sell through rate.

Hello???? The mental pygmies who run ebay have a short memory span. They seem to harbor the illusion that they're still the only game in town.

Yo Ho!  You raise fees in any manner, and you'll have nothing left but an echo chamber in your marketplace, another tsunami of nightmare PR, and there may be hundreds of very angry former sellers on your doorstep.

Wanna be "disruptive, Ho?" Then disrupt the lousy advice you're getting from Caball Street and LOWER fees not raise them.

And quit playing math games with sellers. Some of us have college degrees and beyond as well and can actually figure out what you're doing.

Ho, you're a clinical sociopath and not a very smart one at that.

DEATH to ebay corp. in 2009.

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: RicRoe

Sat Oct 24 00:16:37 2009

eBay recently canned a slew of affiliates and restructured fees paid to the few that remained. The fees were restructured and targeted to "quality" referrals.

eBay needs to revise the fees they charge sellers downward, based on the model they hit affiliates with....quality of traffic.

Based on the manner in which eBay believes it is fair in dealing with their affiliates, it is only logical that the same principles should be applied to sellers.

Good for the goose, good for the gander. Lower traffic, lower sales, lower fees.

Perhaps it is time for Donahoe & Co to look at the fees paid by his precious Diamond Sellers.

They place millions of listings, consume massive amounts of eBay bandwith, and pay nothing or next to nothing to list.

Time for JD to disruptively innovate some form of listing fees across the board for the Diamonds.

It is time Diamond Sellers had some skin in this game, and eBay recovered some of the costs that they have been forcing smaller sellers to subsidize.

Grab some dough from the Diamonds before they are the only ones left listing on eBay.


Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: Tim

Sat Oct 24 00:20:43 2009

Interesting choices: Auction or Fixed Price.  No mention of stores inventory format (SIF).

With the open ended stores-in-core test now going on, and the junking of SIF in three of eBay's largest markets, I suspect they may be getting ready to dump SIF.

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: Harriet

Sat Oct 24 00:22:51 2009

When they do surveys like this it isn't to lower the fees.

Just what everyone needs, higher fees for sellers. Yippee!

What a bunch of clunkheads driven by one enormous clunkhead.

People can't afford it as it is. Plus things are definitely not selling like they used to.

And why should we, the small sellers be paying the way for the giant sellers who get a free ride?

Does this man ever have a peaceful moment in his life? He generates change after change after change, just for the sake of change. Can't imagine what he's like to live with. It must be Holy H--- in his house.

All this disruption is just ridiculous.

A clear thinker would have an orderly plan and go straight ahead with it.

This is all total experimentation with no clear goals in sight.

Glad I diversified.

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: x_powerseller

Sat Oct 24 00:25:44 2009

''If there was one thing that eBay could do to get you to sell more on their website, what would that one thing be and why?''

The problem in answering this question is that there isn’t only ONE thing!

1) Get rid of John Donuthole, Norrington and the fat useless & liar Griff
2) Scrap the one sided feedback extortion system
3) Bring back search by ending soonest as the default for a fair playing field
4) Allow all payment methods as chosen by the seller “YOUR CUSTOMER”
5) Limit the Chinese crap that has taken over this miserable place

When you are done with all the above, you can then contact us again and we just might consider listing again on eBay!
Until then, we wish eBay continued failure under the management of the maniac J.D.

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: buck efay

Sat Oct 24 00:36:52 2009

Why even bother with Ebay? Bonanzle & Ecrater are generating more sales & qualified traffic for my goods, and cost next to nothing to list. Ebay screwed up bigtime last year, and nothing can fix that. If I ciould only pick one thing to get me to sell on Ebay again, it would be a system reset to 5 or so years ago, back before Neg Meg started doing her genius press conferences trashing Ebay sellers & before she hired Dunderho & Cobb.

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: fruity

Sat Oct 24 00:59:51 2009

Umm hello. Ebay HAS to downsize the selling community. If they dont do that then they can't become Amz. Sellers dont get this. Once ebay snuffs out the majority, then they will start being nice and service oriented to the sellers.

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: fruity

Sat Oct 24 01:03:04 2009

oh and how's this. I'll pay more in insertions and final value fee if you deliver John Donahoe to us where we can have a go at him

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: Scenario 4

Sat Oct 24 01:52:15 2009

If I could pick a scenario, I'd pick scenario 4. At least if the sell through rates stink like they do now with auctions, at least I'd be paying a lot less money. It would also encourage me to list more.

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: Marvin

Sat Oct 24 02:03:42 2009

Interesting survey questions. As a small seller of unique items, I quit selling on eBay over a year ago, and it would take a full year of few changes for me to even consider selling there again. eBay would also have to do away with the "screw the seller in favor of the buyer" mentality and totally take over the risk of selling on the site.

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: Whew! Sally! That Girl!

Sat Oct 24 02:19:46 2009

I like the idea of Ebay only charging fees if something sells but then that would flood listings. Ebay needs to understand that after you list an item, charge FVF and then Paypal fees, the seller has scraps.

Ebay needs to turn into a high volume seller venue again where every vendor has equal opportunity regardless of size or clout.

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: Lars

Sat Oct 24 02:25:03 2009

After looking at all the scenerios, it is NOT looking good going forward for sellers.

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: Ebay's Slow Death

Sat Oct 24 04:00:49 2009

Looks to me like they want to raise the 30 day, fixed price format to $.75, and make low priced auction insertions free.

Are they starting to realize that they should encourage auctions?

But, $.75 for 30 days fixed price seems awfully steep when you can list on eCrater and Bonanzle for free, indefinitely.

I agree about, where are the questions about stores?  I suspect stores are going bye-bye, so they can get rid of those low-priced store insertion fees.

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: Marvin

Sat Oct 24 04:21:42 2009

If ebay eliminated all fees, Listing, final value, paypal and went 100% free it would still be way to costly to sell. Fees are only part of the problem. ebay runs your business not you. They tell you how you must sell, impose outrageous requirements for you to meet and their dispute process which is a "give you an opportunity to refund 100% of buyers money or we will do it" is nothing short of ebay sanctioned cyber shoplifting. It's a waste of time.

The time and effort you spend keeping up and complying with constant policy changes can be better used listing on other sites.

You can solve computer problems by using system restore to roll your computer back to an earlier state. If ebay management were competent they would do the same thing. Look at their beloved charts and graphs and restore ebay to an earlier working state. Just make sure you have the charts right side up when you do it!

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: Flush Dingy-Hole Down The Drain

Sat Oct 24 06:12:50 2009

I know a lot of people will disagree on this, but I think charging higher fees to list and lower fees for commission of sale could actually benefit the community a great deal for people who sell lower (under $20.00) priced items - provided that Ending Soonest goes back to default which of course will never happen under the current management.

To make a long story short, raising insertion fees will lower the flood of existing merchandise that has currently destroyed the value of much inventory.

Before all the Dingy-Hole changes I had about 10 to 15 sellers in competition with more than 50% in auction format in core search with all the rest in stores underneath.  It was 7 day listings with ending soonest the default search for most people.  It was a competitive market but very doable for most of us to sell at various prices and you knew towards the end you would see a spike in volume for sales.  The cost of insertion was high but you made up for it in sale volume, it was the cost of doing business.

These same items today have at least 60 to 125 competitors in core search.

When you have that much competition, most people feel they have to play the lowest price game - in large part thanks to Dingy-Hole's "Best Deal" strategy.  Well it may sell but congradulations, you just cut your profit margin in the process.  Cut it too low and for full-time sellers, there's no flip potential - and no reason to do business on this platform.

Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?   Survey a Harbinger of eBay Fee Changes to Come?

by: Ebay Pays My Minimum Monthly Payment

Sat Oct 24 08:28:12 2009


Wow, when EBay has to have a survey on suggestions and ideas on how to improve their their business, the answer is quite simple--get rid of the top management. It seems that everybody knows what the problems are except Ebay. It must be the most mismanaged company right now.

Death to Ebay Marketplace in 2009.

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