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.
Tue July 7 2009 23:01:06

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Several analyst reports came out this week that looked favorably on eBay's recent progress. eBay will publish its second quarter earnings on July 22, 2009, and analysts were getting a jump start on predicting what the quarter looked like.

Sandeep Aggarwal, Senior Internet Research Analyst with Collins Stewart, liked the increasing adoption of free shipping and said eBay has shown progress on search and selection. He pointed out the new auction-style fees may make it easier to determine the total cost, which he approved, but said they don't necessarily make it less costly. "There is more room for improvement and it seems sometimes users might have reasonable grounds for their negative reaction to changes." (Link to report in PDF format.)

The Wall Street Journal reported on a second report from Jefferies & Co., quoting analyst Youssef Squali, "Our channel checks show that the pace of GMV decline in Marketplaces likely bottomed out in 1Q." As the Journal pointed out, the auctions business saw its worst period in the first quarter.

Number of listings is certainly a less useful metric these days for two reasons: the Large Merchant Services API and eBay's back-loaded fee structure, and it's not clear how much analysts are relying on that number as a guidepost.



A first glance at Nielsen traffic data for eBay reveals that the number of unique visitors is stabilizing while pageviews continue to slide. Time spent on site is at an all-time low for eBay, though it's a difficult number to interpret - does it mean shoppers are finding things more quickly.

We'll have more on Nielsen traffic data for both eBay and Amazon.com in AuctionBytes Newsflash later this week.




Comments (22) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

by: deb

Wed Jul 8 00:38:49 2009

When search results come up with a hugh selection of items entirely not related, people quit looking! It is entirely maddening to even consider leafing through all those "now" slow loading pages.

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

by: john

Wed Jul 8 00:39:39 2009

That's a stupid question. Are buyers just finding things more quickly? Maybe ask the 99% of sellers who aren't on Ebay anymore or who aren't making/selling anywhere near what they were 2 years ago.

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

by: GazLanNaThai

Wed Jul 8 01:07:28 2009

Ina

Back in the peak sales period of 2004 through to mid 2006, I used to open a browser window to eBay when I woke up, and would have at least one open until I went to bed.  As a seller I was online to eBay 16 hours a day, and as a buyer I used to love browsing the plethora of sub-categories page-by-page.

Nowadays, following all the changes and anti-seller policies, I might open windows to eBay for 10-15 minutes at a time, 3 or 4 times a day ... I don't even try to buy there anymore.

That swing in behaviour as a seller still listing there, reveals the major "time on site" issue that eBay is facing - the millions of sellers who used to push eBay traffic metrics into stellar levels are no longer doing so.  Many of the most active sellers are now off the site entirely or, like me, have relegated it to a sideline of their business.

If eBay cannot or will not redress such loss of faith and loyalty, restoring the incentive and the rewards for acting as we did 3 years ago, then they will continue to be reported as a site in freefall.

Analysis of our data also reveals some significant trends - Dec 2005 to Dec 2006 was most definitely the peak for traffic and number of items sold.  It was also the peak for our GMV but not our ASP.

With the stores in core experiment of 2006, our ASPs climbed steadily until they were chopped from eBay UK core visibility in the August of that year - this was due to selling far more of the cheaper-to-list but far higher priced products from our store.  At that time the ASP of our core items were around $5.00, but our store average price was $150.00

What then followed was the continual eroding of viability of stores, and the continual cost increase of using core until the advent of FP30.

FP30 has never worked for us in the same success rates that stores have done so - even today, on dot com, over 80% of our sales are from stores items, not core items in any format.

On UK, we stopped using store format in September 2008, when the youths in charge stabbed all their overseas sellers in the back and prohibited foreign store sellers from listing at the discounted insertion fees, whilst simultaneously hiking the store subscriptions to levels that are unaffordable in developing countries.

As a consequence, our listings are down around 90%, and our sales down around 99% on eBay globally.  But only on eBay.

They have not so much shot themselves in the foot regarding so many sellers doing the same as us, they have blasted their legs off with a battleship's main armament.

eBay is a dirty word here in Asia.  Their actions of the last 18 months are rated alongside the P.O.W. atrocities the Japanese inflicted during WW2, and coupled with the disastrous exchange rate swings and cross-border crippling effects of DSRs, they are wiping out huge swathes of people who relied on eBay to generate food for the table.

They will never be trusted or popular again, in this corner of the planet.  Their "emerging markets" growth relies on the ignorance of their prior actions that cause them to have extensive herds of new suckers to try their luck on eBay, whilst the established business people know already to not touch the site with a sampan punting pole.

It's also interesting to note that another rat left their sinking ship this month - Richard Ambrose, former Head, then Director, of Truss & Safety Pins in the UK, has left the ship.  His reputation as an aggressive, arrogant, anti-seller, bully, has led many to believe he was pushed out despite his promotion 8 months ago.  Certainly, after JD, he was probably the most complained about public face of eBay.

Gaz

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

by: Just Pete

Wed Jul 8 02:47:30 2009

GazLanNaThai
Excellent one of the best reads I have seen on AB for a while.

You say:

As a consequence, our listings are down around 90%, and our sales down around 99% on eBay globally.  But only on eBay

Would you like to give some info as to what channels are working for you...I often read your input on Buildaskill.

I am also a TH seller well and trully sick of the eBay SE Asia donkeys

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

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

Wed Jul 8 02:51:42 2009

These analysts get their 'information' directly from off the record conversations they have with ebay executives who already know what Q2 will show. These executives spin and spin, and the analysts just can't get enough apparently because once again they fail to examine or measure the metrics that really determine the health of lack thereof of the ebay marketplace.

These quasi ebafia employees cum unabashed cheerleaders become part of the ebafia spin machine, and I for one wonder just what incentives some of them might be receiving to play ball with ebafia. We know from the shabby treatment the Steiners received that ebafia is perfectly capable of offering incentives for 'good' reporting and punishments for 'bad' reporting.

Too many analysts and business media are just as corrupt as the executive criminal class who run American corporations, and Americans should have learned the hard way in the last couple of years that anything Caball Street says cannot be trusted.

No one should EVER forget that it was 'advice' like this from the same shallow pool of charlatans, con artists, and thieves whose three decade long record of voracious greed, lies, and likely illegal machinations and manipulations of the markets, market reports, and financial instruments that has caused the DOW to lose one-third of its value, the housing bubble and the subequent mess that's caused, and millions of Americans to lose their life savings and retirement funds.

If this is the best these geniuses can do, we're headed for even worse problems with Caball Street firms and the banks.

They just don't get it. They think it's always going to be business as usual with their sacrosanct bonuses, government bail outs, reports of dubious truthfulness or accuracy, golden parachutes, and obscene salaries.

In the end, however, no amount of spin, homeboy analysts, and in their pocket media can put ebay back together again.

Best Match will continue to both continually malfunction or continue to be a wholly inappropriate search system for some categories, ebay management will remain as stubborn, narcissistic, and sociopathic as it's been for the last several years.

Ebafia will continue to rely on consultants, spreadsheets, and the opinions of those who don't have any retail or sales experience instead of LISTENING anf ACTING ON what their customers -- those who do have in the aggregate centuries of sales and retail experience -- tell them.

It would make a fascinating master's thesis or even doctoral dissertation for someone to determine the impact The Ho induced ebafia decline has had on the economy -- from USPS/UPS losses to increases in unemployment benefits, welfare applications, college dropouts, home and car repossessions, bankruptcies, and so on.

Yet The Ho and his $28 MILLION annual salary and excessive stock option package march on like the sociopath he is unaffected by the destruction of lives, families, and businesses his cute little pet two word business plans have caused.

DEATH to ebay corp. in 2009.




eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

by: denise

Wed Jul 8 03:50:08 2009

eBay should hire 5 or 10 long-term sellers (successful prior to The Ho's assumption to power) to tell them what's really wrong.  They just keep pulling the wool over their eyes.

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

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

Wed Jul 8 07:49:21 2009

Clearly, Sandeep Aggarwal has been "bought" by eBay; the Q209 figures on 22nd inst will tell the real story; just keep a sharp knife handy so that you can peel off the spin.

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

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

Wed Jul 8 08:01:23 2009

Actually, eBay are probably presently making more money out of listing fees than FVFs; I have never seen so much stuff not selling; one item I followed was listed 12 times before it finally sold for what had always been a reasonable price; no wonder they are having to hike the FVF to compensate. If, as suggested, Q209 is an improvement over Q109, I'll eat my hat ...

And for any eBay “buyers” that are interested I have done a major update to my detailed case study of shill bidding on eBay and the abuse of eBay’s proxy bidding system—all exacerbated by eBay’s introduction of “hidden bidders”—and a detailed comment on eBay’s apparent attitude thereto, still at

http://www.auctionbytes.com/forum/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=24033

Also now included is a postscript containing a response from eBay to an investigating journalist who put the matter of these cases of shill bidding to eBay. Apparently, whereas they will not tell a reporting eBay user anything, they will give an investigative journalist a response—even if it is disingenuous.

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

This user has validated their user name. by: Mercy the Mingless

Wed Jul 8 08:24:58 2009

There's something about Sandeep...

He seems to be always the first ''analyst'' reporting, no, shouting out, his belief that ebay is on the right track ''this time''.  His predictions of ebay's resurgence ''this time'' are seldom based on hard relevant facts and seldom are correct.

Yet it seems that each quarter, like clockwork, Mr. Aggarwal is Johnny on the spot, heralding that ebay has got it right ''this time''.

I wonder if he is related to Jérôme Kerviel.

There's something about Sandeep...

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

by: summer in the city

Wed Jul 8 10:15:12 2009

@ Ming:

''It would make a fascinating master's thesis or even doctoral dissertation for someone to determine the impact The Ho induced ebafia decline has had on the economy -- from USPS/UPS losses to increases in unemployment benefits, welfare applications, college dropouts, home and car repossessions, bankruptcies, and so on.''

Yes it would, wouldn't it? (grin)
I'm sure we'll see a number of them.

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

by: Patricia

Wed Jul 8 11:49:07 2009

Great post Gaz!  Its the same way here and sellers feel the same way about Ebay here.  I call it "the most hated company on the internet"!

It will be interesting to see how Ebay tries to hide its failure in this quarterly report!  The only thing they are masters at is crunching the numbers to make them look semi-successful!  Its enough to fool their brainless board of directors!

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

by: On Lies and Secrets

Wed Jul 8 11:55:29 2009

I took a quick look at Aggarwal's report and found it troubling in many respects.  IMO, the way that Aggarwal uses language is misleading, his methodologies seem highly suspect and the way that he has interpreted data also has me concerned.  I think the ''buy'' rating s/he gave the stock is poor advice to investors because the analysis is profoundly flawed.  

The first ironic part is that right under the Collins Steward logo is the tagline ''independent thinking''.  This just made me laugh.  

In the report, Aggarwal lists four general areas (or concepts or variables) that he uses to assess the health of the company and I took a look at the first three (the fourth was ''other'').  On the face of it, the labels that he uses seem reasonable. Reason goes right out the window when you look at how he has actually defined these areas and the proof he offers for ebay's ''improvement.''

The first issue that he mentions is ''trust and safety'' and ''buyer trust.'' I think trust is a key area where the ebay corporation needs dramatic improvement, but I don't define ''trust'' the way that he has. In his discussion, he starts out by indicating that ''shipping charges'' were the root cause of the trust problems at ebay among buyers and sellers. He goes on to argue that the company is improving on ''trust and safety'' because they are promoting more free shipping.  IMO, more free shipping is not the most appropriate or useful way to assess the very real problems with consumer trust and the ebay corporation.

''Search'' was the second variable or issue and I agree that search is a problem with ebay.  However, Aggarwal discusses search with respect to the DSR score (that a default 'best match' sort order results in items by sellers with higher DSRs than having a default 'ending soonest' sort order).  In his methodology he is using DSR scores to measure search effectiveness rather than measures such as the ''relevance'' or ''pertinence'' of items retrieved from a buyer's query. IMO, the DSR scores are deeply flawed and have very little do with whether the search algorithm returns listings that correspond to what a buyer is looking for.  The way that Aggarwal is measuring the effectiveness of search is not consistent with how experts in searching actually measure search effectiveness.

The third issue that Aggarwal lists as an issue is ''Selection''.  I agree that site selection is an important issue.  However, the way Aggarwal is measuring ''selection'' is suspect, IMO. Aggarwal picks 25 individual key words and counts the number of items retrieved using each keyword on ebay and amazon and sees which site has the most items listed with that word.  I am not sure why this is a good measure of ''selection''.  IMO, this is a highly particularistic measure and I don't think that 25 terms are enough of a sample to generalize about selection sitewide in hundreds of categories.  IMO, this is an irrepsonsible methodology.

I think the ''buy'' rating is irresponsible advice given the poor quality of the methodology used by this analyst as evidence of ebay site performace.  Too many measures were inconsistent with how scientific experts in information retrieval actually measure things.

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

by: Ebay Pays My Minimum Monthly Payment

Wed Jul 8 12:18:48 2009


"the most hated company on the internet"!

Not true. It's the most hated company on the planet.

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

by: in no time

Wed Jul 8 13:01:14 2009

Aggarwal is a blood sucker. He has to rah rah ebay to keep all the money coming in for the stockbrokers. He is probably paided off by both ebay and the stockbrokers.

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

by: Patricia

Wed Jul 8 13:47:42 2009

""the most hated company on the internet"!

Not true. It's the most hated company on the planet. "

Correct....I was just being modest about it. LOL

Stockholders?  They've been out on a limb for 1 1/2 years now - ever since Donahoe took over and the stock fell like a ton of bricks!  No....anybody who is still buying or keeping Ebay stock is an outright fool!

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

by: fruity

Wed Jul 8 15:24:48 2009

I really love it when analysts speak up. Its the things they dont talk about that makes it very easy to file complaints against THEM with the SEC. It'll just be a matter of time to find out what kind of license they have so I can file against them for that too. Keep up the good work analysts! Absolutely no one will question why you dont inform investors about paypal. wink!

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

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

Wed Jul 8 19:26:16 2009

Sandeep's metrics come directly from ebay management who learned at MBA school how twist and spin unpleasant numbers until the truth is no longer recognizable.

No honest analyst with even a small dollop of comprehension about how the ebafia marketplace really works would invent such off target metrics.

I believe what really happens is the ebafia management gives highly suspect analysts bits and pieces of data that fall far short of the big picture. They then INVENT categories for this largely irrelevant data intended for public dissemination that reach conclusions that do not accurately reflect the health of the corporation or much else.

The reason ebafia does this covertly is that intentionally releasing information designed to deceive present or future investors is an imprisonable federal offense.

So they do it through convenient little sock puppets like Sandeep.

Buy or sell -- it makes no difference to Caball Street. Brokerage firms make money both ways.

Analysts willing to sell their sorry souls to perpetuate this ethically bankrupt and legally questionable system MUST GO and their (and those of the laughable business media) relationships with corporations MUST BE investigated in depth.

Bernie Madoff needs roommates.

DEATH to ebay corp. in 2009.

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

by: GazLanNaThai

Wed Jul 8 22:26:33 2009

@ Just Pete
- (you know where and how to contact me if you need to discuss venues in depth)
- For now, let's just say that of all the other venues I use, none of them have seen the traffic and sales drops that eBay have yielded.  They might not have increased sales per venue, but they've held steady, and I've been gradually increasing the number of venues.  

The only other one that has not worked for me is the one that has the most vocal supporters on this, and every other, public arena - no names to avoid a flame war, but you'll know who I mean.  As they were a new venue for me (and everyone else) last year, the two sales I've had there are insignificant statistically.

I've seen the most significant growth via my various self-built websites - the DIY trend is gathering momentum and I hear from lots of former eBay stalwarts saying that their own website is now their best venue.  This emphasises that eBay have completely broken search and browse (by any name) which is reinforced with the time on site numbers.  

Google and others are finding items from sellers' own websites and presenting them higher in search than the same items from eBay, even when it's the same seller.  My suspicion is that the search engines, recognising the favouritism and secret  manipulation of Best Match, are penalising eBay product URLs and demoting them in favour of independent websites.

I also suspect that Google are catching onto the multi-venue stock duplication that sellers of non-unique items are using.  The multi-channel products from sellers are being spotted and the search engines are demoting public venues (eBay, Amazon Marketplace etc) in favour of single seller venues such as their own websites.  

This could be a time to start changing the habit of using a single identity across all venues, and also reserving ranges for single venues, if you want sales on those venues to recover.

BTW - My experience of the eBay SE Asia staff is that they are genuine and very hard working and still have the "spirit of eBay" that existed in the Euro and American staff 4-5 years ago.  Unfortunately, they are simply enactors for edicts from California, but they will fight vigorously in your corner when a problem occurs, and they are a joy to deal with, which is why I moved all my accounts to Singapore.

Gaz

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

by: GazLanNaThai

Wed Jul 8 22:26:38 2009

@ Just Pete
- (you know where and how to contact me if you need to discuss venues in depth)
- For now, let's just say that of all the other venues I use, none of them have seen the traffic and sales drops that eBay have yielded.  They might not have increased sales per venue, but they've held steady, and I've been gradually increasing the number of venues.  

The only other one that has not worked for me is the one that has the most vocal supporters on this, and every other, public arena - no names to avoid a flame war, but you'll know who I mean.  As they were a new venue for me (and everyone else) last year, the two sales I've had there are insignificant statistically.

I've seen the most significant growth via my various self-built websites - the DIY trend is gathering momentum and I hear from lots of former eBay stalwarts saying that their own website is now their best venue.  This emphasises that eBay have completely broken search and browse (by any name) which is reinforced with the time on site numbers.  

Google and others are finding items from sellers' own websites and presenting them higher in search than the same items from eBay, even when it's the same seller.  My suspicion is that the search engines, recognising the favouritism and secret  manipulation of Best Match, are penalising eBay product URLs and demoting them in favour of independent websites.

I also suspect that Google are catching onto the multi-venue stock duplication that sellers of non-unique items are using.  The multi-channel products from sellers are being spotted and the search engines are demoting public venues (eBay, Amazon Marketplace etc) in favour of single seller venues such as their own websites.  

This could be a time to start changing the habit of using a single identity across all venues, and also reserving ranges for single venues, if you want sales on those venues to recover.

BTW - My experience of the eBay SE Asia staff is that they are genuine and very hard working and still have the "spirit of eBay" that existed in the Euro and American staff 4-5 years ago.  Unfortunately, they are simply enactors for edicts from California, but they will fight vigorously in your corner when a problem occurs, and they are a joy to deal with, which is why I moved all my accounts to Singapore.

Gaz

eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data   eBay Performance - Analyst Reports and Traffic Data

by: o.c.d.collectibles

Thu Jul 16 19:00:55 2009

Last night I tried searching for a cookbook on Google, that is relatively hard to find, but, in earlier years, would have been something that would pop up at least a few times a month on ebay. So, there it was..on ebay (per google!). I logged in, and waited to see it appear, much to my chagrin, it was not there...

So I tried again, maybe I missed something in the translation of the title?? did I miss a word, a typo? what?

I retyped, searched, used the title and description box, over and over again..nothing....

"nothing matches your search"

I added even more search terms, I went to the more basic book categories, until FINALLY in broad category of BOOKS there it was, all by itself. IN COOKBOOKS, where I originally looked!!!
In a collectibles seller's store. Someone who has been selling since the year 2000. Just like myself. Only a power seller! How could that be? well.. that selller has been laborously selling items between $5-$50 non-stop way below market value (in my opinion)...obviously..because no one can see their listings!!!

It took me around 10-15 tries to find this one cookbook with the PROPER TITLE! They titled it exactly how I searched it from the very beginning.

The only hitch I could see, was that the offered several different methods of shipping so that there was no one shipping price promised in the listing! There was an offer to take "the best offer" though...those poor sellers....

I felt so sorry for them...

Buried with such great stuff!
They so clearly wanted to please their customers, and had good feedback, but hardly any hits on their pages..obviously, very few..thanks to ebay's "improved" searches...HA!

Click to view more comments
1 2  [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.