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Fri May 29 2009 22:38:34

Auctiva CEO: eBay Changes Triggered Move to Pay Model

By: Ina Steiner

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In a webinar with several industry bloggers, Auctiva CEO Jeff Schlicht said changes to the eBay Partner Network program - as well as more eBay changes that have not yet been announced - led to his company's move from a free to paid model, news that AuctionBytes broke this week. According to Schlicht, Auctiva generated close to half of its revenue through the eBay affiliate program.

eBay acknowledged earlier this week that it had changed the program to stop payouts to seller tools. Schlicht said that was "the biggest contributing factor" to Auctiva's new business model. He said he had wanted to announce the change on May 1st, but had been waiting for eBay before moving forward.

With 20 percent of eBay listings using an Auctiva feature, there has been a big reaction in industry blogs and forums about the change, from the timing (30 days notice), to the rates - and to the reason for the switch from free to fee.

Sellers shocked that they must now pay for some services that were previously free posted that they were considering their alternatives, including using other listing tools or abandoning the eBay marketplace altogether. Some sellers are concerned that other tools that had also received revenue through eBay's affiliate program may have to raise their fees as a result of eBay's changes.

Auctiva said it is hosting a webinar on June 1st and made available a price calculator to aid sellers' understanding of the new fees.




Comments (46) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Auctiva CEO: eBay Changes Triggered Move to Pay Model   Auctiva CEO: eBay Changes Triggered Move to Pay Model

by: Adam Bertram

Fri May 29 23:23:56 2009

What others services exist out there besides Auctiva?

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by: Daisy

Sat May 30 05:40:20 2009

I use Seller Sourcebook at $4.95 @ a month with free pic hosting. Inkfrog is also reasonable. Both are really good.

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by: Drew14

Sat May 30 07:14:04 2009

What consultant dreamed up this idea to shed ''unprofitable'' customers? No serious ebay seller is going to pay auctiva FVF and listing fees! Never ever for what they are currently providing. This is a pathetic comedy. The only answer they is they don't want customers. 1 MB photo storage space? LOL!

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by: Frankie T

Sat May 30 10:20:22 2009

Adam - Channeladvisor is the best out there, but they aren't for small sellers and they charge a monthly fee plus revenue share.  If you are a real business then you should look into them.  They have a less expensive solution as well for sellers that only need ebay support.

I've been with them for over a year now and am constantly impressed by their software as well as support they offer.

Good luck!

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by: Just-an-Observation

Sat May 30 10:22:17 2009


I have to agree with Drew14. I was shocked at the 1MB (yippy) storage space as well - effectively forcing you to go into a more pricier plan.

I guess if you put all your eggs into one basket and depend on eBay for your revenue, (and they screw you), one begins to use their tactics?

For what it's worth, you can go to http://webpik.com/index.htm and get 5 MB of picture hosting for FREE, or 50 megs for $3 per month! I've been using the FREE 5 MB for a year or two.

~jmo

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by: Laura

Sat May 30 12:26:11 2009

I have been enjoying using Auctiva for all my listings and never once listed through eBay.

The features that I enjoyed the most were unlimited image hosting and scheduled listings. It was great to find an off season (Christmas or Halloween) item and know that I could create a listing mid-summer for it and it would be available for me to take it live in the winter.

I will really miss using Auctiva, it is a great product but too expensive for my needs now. I require MUCH more then 1mb of space. I guess I will just use photobucket for image hosting, and create a HTML template.

Good luck Auctiva.

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

Sat May 30 17:00:45 2009

The handwriting on the wall should have been PERFECTLY clear to all of ebay's "partners" and "affiliates" last year when ebafia began shafting their largest revenue source, the sellers.

Surely none of these third party businesses actually harbored any illusions that they would be spared from ebafia's inevitable perfidy.

If seller treatment is any indication of their tactics against "partners" and "affiliates," ebafia's squeeze play is in its early stages and more will follow.

Those who can offer attractive alternatives to sellers MAY succeed, those who can't or won't, will not succeed.

The guiding principle of anyone involved with ebafia in any capacity is that ebafia isn't satisfied with most of the pie.

They want it all and will do ANYTHING to
achieve their objectives. Ebafia doesn't care whether Auctiva lives or dies. In fact, ebafia would make more money if Auctiva fails, and the same is true for other third party providers.

While package prices are very important to sellers -- especially to smaller sellers -- price shouldn't be the only criteria.

-- customer service/technical support performance

-- platform stability

-- quality, ease of use, and "glitch rate" of package components

So if Auctiva is no longer cost effective for you, then consider one of the less expensive ones like Inkfrog. On the other hand, some sellers may discover that Auctiva is still a good buy for services rendered.

DEATH to ebay corp. in 2009.
NEG MEG WHITMAN in 2010.

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by: Kristoffer

Sat May 30 23:10:48 2009

I have enjoyed using Auctiva for over 5 years. I am thankful that they have been able to offer what they have for free for this long. I figured it was only a matter of time before they had to start charging - but I don't find the pricing very competitive. I would have no problem paying 10 bucks a month. I would even be willing to pay for a full year up front if they could offer a slight discount... but it just doesn't make sense to pay over $30 bucks a month plus another cut in FVF's when profits are already slim. Would everyone be willing to pay 10 bucks a month? Probably not - but I bet 80-90 plus % of their customers would stay around at that price. Based on what I have read on their boards not many people are staying around at the prices they have set now. They have to realize jumping from free to the prices set now is a HUGE jump. It also leaves a very bad taste in peoples mouths when they are only giving 30 days notice to make whatever changes sellers need to make.

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by: Fruity

Sun May 31 01:46:03 2009

That's because ebay is kicking back market to certain service providers so they will do what ebay wants. THe rest of them, the ones they probably can't control, then they squeeze you to comply or to go where they want you to. Ebay sellers are used to it. Ebay does it every time. I can't say I totally feel bad for the bigger service providers that get cut out. Ebay lead you by lots of revenue so you wouldn't apply your expertise and create fixed priced venues  which we would of jumped at if u did it in 2006. Now ebay doesn't have any use for half of them, they're just disposable.

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by: Daisy

Sun May 31 12:29:02 2009

I can't believe how much they're raising their rates. They won't survive this. Either Seller Sourcebook or Inkfrog is much cheaper, or use Blackthorne which is a fantastic program. The basic plain for that is just $29.95 and well worth it!

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by: fruity

Sun May 31 12:49:36 2009

oh yeah and another thing. If Jeff was making that much revenue from affiliate stuff.. that means he was driving traffic that converted to sales for ebay sellers. So any time ebay kicks one of the existing affiliates that are a big 3rd party, they are also screwing sellers

Perminate Link for Auctiva CEO: eBay Changes Triggered Move to Pay Model   Auctiva CEO: eBay Changes Triggered Move to Pay Model

by: Average Joe

Mon Jun 1 00:29:17 2009

I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!!! (The Movie:Network)

SUCH A BIG PRICE HIKE!!! HELLO, EARTH TO PRICING REALITY???? DO YOU HAVE A CLUE???

Would've stayed or entertained supporting Auctiva, with a little better deal and warning.

Just voted with my wallet!

I just signed up for an alternative (''The Frog'') for ten bucks a month, which I don't mind paying.

Hope ''the frog'' stays true to their customers.

Another internet case study on how to piss off your customers with poor planning and communication.


Goodluck to all, sell and have fun!


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by: Jennifer

Mon Jun 1 07:11:29 2009

Fruity - eBay loves affilates who drive new traffic to their site. Problem is that Auctiva was taking traffic that was already on eBay's site, routing it to Auctiva's pages, then back to eBay again (through their gallery) and getting paid for it (it's kind of like a business paying for referalls but finding out they people they are paying are getting the names from the businesses existing client list). This was hurting sellers, in my opinion, because eBay was paying Auctiva (and others) LOTS of money but not really getting any new business. eBay pays it's affiliates 50-75% of revenue (ie the FVFs). Auctiva is probably in the 75% range. So on up to possibly 20% of eBay sold eBay lost 75% of the FVFs we paid (ie, eBay's revenue on the sale) by paying Auctiva these affiliate fees even though the buyer was already on eBay to begin with. That's 15% of FVFs possibly lost to Auctiva with no real benefit to eBay or sellers. This is not small change but possibly 10s of millions of dollars each year. I'm an eBay affilate and I like getting paid to drive traffic to eBay but as a seller, I'd rather have that money paid only to affilates who legitimately drive traffic to the site, not having eBay pay affilates who only pretend to.

Perminate Link for Auctiva CEO: eBay Changes Triggered Move to Pay Model   Auctiva CEO: eBay Changes Triggered Move to Pay Model

by: Marc Simon

Mon Jun 1 07:59:22 2009

Just the final in in the coffin as I leave ebay.  Jennifer, I understand your point on the FVF, but, ebay is not going to pass that revenue saving to sellers, and I used about 8 pictures per listing, and auctiva was really the only providor that worked for or with me.  So, as a mid to small seller, about 1000 listings a month, auctiva allowed me to save about $500 a month in ebay listing fees.  Oh well, time to move onto happier trails with both of my ebay stores.  Ebay loses another seller, and more importantly, another buyer.

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by: bigdoug

Mon Jun 1 08:17:29 2009

I just closed my account at auctiva.with the high prices charged by ebay i could not add to the cost of doing business.i think auctiva will lose more than the 30 percent they think they will lose..they might want to reconsider lowering the fees..

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by: Daisy

Mon Jun 1 10:56:22 2009

"Another internet case study on how to piss off your customers with poor planning and communication"

Exactly! Except sellers have affordable alternatives to turn to other than Auctiva. I bet Vendio, InkFrog and Sellers Sources are just about loving this with their eyeballs going KA-CHING.

Dumb move on Auctiva's part.

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by: longtimeseller

Mon Jun 1 11:24:35 2009

Don't think Auctiva will survive this if they continue on their planned rate increase and even if they do reduce rates the damage has been done.  This is almost the exact same thing Channel Advisor pulled on their members in Jan 2008 except they did give us about three months notice.  I was with Channel Advisor for years when it was free, they started charging basically $10 a month, had pay a year in advance, promised all those who supported them this lifelong rate.

Then they changed the plan and started to charge for closed listings over 500 and decreased the amount of stored photos.  Then about five years later they dumped all their grandfathered customers and came up basically the same rate plan as Auctiva.  Only difference with them was they already offered an expensive plan for large business and had customers, about $500 a month average.

Given Auctiva's CEO's answers and bashing of other sites on discussion boards, no way would I stay with them, very low class, those that do may find themselves left out in the cold after all the sellers move to other listing services.  

When Channel Advisor pulled this same stunt it gave me the push I needed to move to two other large antique and collectible sites.  Took me a month and a half to cut and paste all my listings, lost a lot of information I would have liked to have saved.  In short don't put all your eggs in one basket and have a backup on photos and ad information.  I list very little on ebay now, my sales on the other sites are good and picking up, stress free selling and great customer service!

Perminate Link for Auctiva CEO: eBay Changes Triggered Move to Pay Model   Auctiva CEO: eBay Changes Triggered Move to Pay Model

by: Just-an-Observation

Mon Jun 1 12:23:32 2009


In case anyone may have missed Ina's NewsFlash:

''Vendio Makes Platform Free for Auctiva's eBay Sellers''

Link: http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y09/m06/i01/s01

Take advantage of this FREE service!

Thank you Ina and Vendio!

Perminate Link for Auctiva CEO: eBay Changes Triggered Move to Pay Model   Auctiva CEO: eBay Changes Triggered Move to Pay Model

by: Steve

Mon Jun 1 14:06:05 2009

What I am wondering is how long will eBay allow ANY seller to use a 3rd party for templates and services.

Ming is right, eBay LOVE the whole pie.  If they can figure out a way to get the business for themselves they will.  The only thing that doesn't convince me that they will do this is that they are in the process of getting rid of picture manager.  This of course could be their plan to package a photo manager service into a totally new service of templates with photo hosting that sellers would of course have to pay for.
 We currently use Seller Source Book, but due to eBay's controlling micro-managing ways this makes me very nervous.  They could pull the plug on all third party services at anytime and they would not give a second thought to the hardship this causes their sellers.

Exactly WHEN are they going to run eBay's CEO out of town?  What a greedy company they are.  Geesh!

Perminate Link for Auctiva CEO: eBay Changes Triggered Move to Pay Model   Auctiva CEO: eBay Changes Triggered Move to Pay Model

by: Brad

Mon Jun 1 15:32:00 2009

Auctiva will be loosing my 4 accounts-  this is crazy.. I would pay $20/month.. but 2% WTF???  

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