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Sat July 18 2009 13:31:42

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is slated to make an announcement the last week in July that will reveal major changes coming to the site in September. eBay will give sellers more analytical tools and will impose restrictions to ensure users are following best practices when selling on the platform. The changes reflect CEO John Donahoe's focus on improving the buyer experience and transforming eBay into a more mainstream retail marketplace since he took the reins from Meg Whitman last year.

New Seller Responsibilities Policy
eBay will introduce a Seller Responsibilities policy that combines existing policies with new policies and best practices. Sources say the policy sets out some common-sense guidelines for sellers to follow when conducting all aspects of business on eBay, although some aspects of the policy are subjective.

Shifting Insurance Costs to the Seller
As part of the Seller Responsibilities policy, eBay will prohibit sellers from offering shipping insurance as an optional fee, but it will require sellers to make sure their item arrives as described. Sellers will be able to tack the cost of shipping insurance on to the item price, or they may incorporate any insurance fees into the handling charge.

Sellers will be required to charge actual shipping cost and actual handling cost, which can include the cost of packing material and insurance, but may not include any other costs.

Best Match Tool - More Data for eBay Sellers
Until fairly recently in eBay's history, shoppers conducting a search on eBay would see results sorted by "items ending soonest" as the default. They also had several ways to sort results, such as by item price. In recent years, as fixed-price listings have become more prevalent, eBay introduced a sort-order called "Best Match" that sorts results by relevancy, now the default order.

The Best Match algorithm has left many sellers scrambling to try to optimize their listings so they will appear at the top of the results pages. This is similar to webmasters who conduct search engine optimization (SEO) to get their websites to appear high on Google and Yahoo search results.

eBay is readying a tool for sellers to show them their product rankings and help them compare their results with competing listings by category and by keyword. But eBay will not expose details about how much weight is given to Best Match factors (such as free shipping and item cost), which vary by category and listing format.

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Comments (138) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: Time to Heave Ho

Sat Jul 18 13:53:53 2009

Can they ever DO ANYTHING at Ebay that Sellers will like?

Why is it that all these guys ever do is make it less and less appealing to be on Ebay?

We can clearly see why they canceled Ebay Live. It would wind up being called Donahue Dead. There's no way he'd survive or the morons that are helping him running Ebay into the ground.



eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: buriedbybooks

Sat Jul 18 14:08:33 2009

Nothing seems all that earth shattering here. Insurance has always been for the protection of the sellers. The big drawback I can see is those media sellers facing the shipping caps. No way to add the cost of insurance to the handling fee with flat rate shipping.

The main thing I see in this policy is supreme condescension on the part of eBay. We have to be told what to do so they're laying it out--and STILL not giving us the details behind the vague mess that is best match. Sellers can find their placement by running their own searches--they don't need eBay telling them where they appear. It's very easy to find out.

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: Mitzi

Sat Jul 18 14:15:43 2009

I don't get the part about insurance - I have all my listings with insurance as optional, will I now have to make it required, or not offered and build the insurance cost into the handling? I'm confused!

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: Hey Donkey

Sat Jul 18 14:21:30 2009

HEY DONKEY HOLE

When are you going to take my hand and show me how to kiss your feet????

Help I need to know how to do it.  According to you I'm just a stupid ignorant incompentent scamming seller on ebay.

On second thought how about you part with some of your paycheck and buy my business, being you are so smart you can list the items just the way you want.

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: Doug Rock

Sat Jul 18 14:38:09 2009

I'm really interested in seeing this tool for eBay sellers to see how they compare vs the competition in Best Match

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: Patricia

Sat Jul 18 14:53:21 2009

SSDD....wish Donahoe would find a different toy to play with - crushing small sellers is getting darned dull!

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: eBuyer Feedback

Sat Jul 18 14:54:15 2009

Seriously?  I can't allow my buyers to make a choice on paying for insurance because that makes me irresponsible?  So now it is insure everything or insure nothing.  Either way we were never off the hook for INR claims so why make this rule?

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Sat Jul 18 14:58:58 2009

The Insurance policy change is ponderous, but not surprising in that eBay wants to micro manage sellers and how they run their business.

With insurance not clearly identified as a separate line item, how will fraudulent sellers be prevented from profiting? How will buyers verify that insurance which was paid for but hidden was actually taken out on the shipment?

Since it is illegal to collect insurance and then not place it when shipping, eBay is opening the door to allow unscrupulous sellers to thrive and profit, and enabling fraudulent sellers to thrive.

From the eBay side, I can think of 2 reasons eBay is making this move.

First, when insurance is rolled into selling price, eBay profits by collecting higher Final Value Fees.

Second, sellers that roll insurance into handling costs will receive lower DSR scores from buyers.  This will enable eBay's Best Match to reduce visibility of sellers items and eventually, eBay can suspend sellers that take the hit for eBay's own ill conceived policy.

The alienation of small sellers continues to gather steam with no end in sight.

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: eBuyer Feedback

Sat Jul 18 15:00:53 2009

Forgot to mention the best match tool.  Just thought I'd point out that on http://blog.auctionbytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2009/6/124567612
5.html
I said that would be available to all sellers, not just the Diamonds.

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: buck efay

Sat Jul 18 15:20:44 2009

Are they planning on requiring the buyers to help in insurance claims? If not, you are totally screwed again. Thanks, Ebay
Go jump off a bridge.

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: Gee Ebay

Sat Jul 18 15:26:03 2009

What's even more disturbing than this new inane policy is that Ebay keeps the rurmor mill going and they'll no doubt implement this. But these constant idiot changes keeps the community rumbling and grumbling. And how many more sellers will leave as this will be the last straw?

Is this really the kind of environment that Diamond sellers want to walk into? It's purely negative energy. And more importantly the buyers no doubt sense it.

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: Steve

Sat Jul 18 15:30:18 2009

This Best Match tool is a non-announcement. Did having the DSR analysis increase your profitablity?

Nope.

Neither will this. The cheapest price/recent sales earns you the top exposure on ebay and that's that. If you can't compete on scale, ebay is weeding you out.

But they want you to keep trying to sell there and take your fees, so, of course they won't reveal the so-called,
''Best Match sales alogrythm''.

It's all about scale, business 101.

Unfortunately, it's also all about deception, also business 101.

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: fruity

Sat Jul 18 15:31:30 2009

OMG I can just see it now. John Donahoe pull string doll. You pull the string and his right arm raises up 45 degrees. Coming soon, the John Donahue macho man I-mean-it-i-want-you-to-comply-doll. You pull the string and he brings out the belt ! fascist!

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: John

Sat Jul 18 15:34:22 2009

eBay's, We are bound and determined to make you a good seller even if it kills you philosophy will do just that. No handling charges allowed now. Will the buyer be responsible in assisting the seller with insurance claims. When filing a claim what about returning an item which is against USPS policy and could void any claims sent in by the seller. I believe there is also a time limit in filing claims.....What then

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: fruity

Sat Jul 18 15:34:49 2009

oh hey, how's this. Why don't you make it a responsibility for sellers to actually have merchandise to ship out to customers. That way when a buyer puts negative feedback on one of those diamond retailers that the product wasn't in stock but they kept the listing up, that you won't ruin their shopping experience. Plus, you won't have to erase feedback any longer.

It's a two-fer!

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: Flame o Chist

Sat Jul 18 15:50:27 2009

Since Ebay now wants to actively police your handling charges, everyone get your receipts handy for padded envelopes, bubble wrap, tape, boxes etc. and get em copied.
Then email copies to JD for everything on hand.
Then, start refunding all your buyers a penny via Paypal, so it'll get some attention with them too.


This policy is also going to affect sellers who offer nice chunky discounts for combined purchases at one swoop.
It sure will affect my flat rate charge, no matter how much you purchase.
Sheesh

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: Former Powerseller

Sat Jul 18 16:28:11 2009

This is nothing but another Paypal money grab. Higher total cost = more profits for PP. Unless everyone is going to eat the insurance fees each time.

Best match tool? Who cares? best Match is pure fraud by virtue of the fact it skews the playing field in favor of the diamonds by using "secret" algorithms.

When is ebay going to fulfill their responsibilities, like proper registration at the gate, disallow the ability for NPBs to leave (negative) feedback, limit the number of user accounts one person may hold, conduct REAL investigations for chargebacks? etc

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: eBuyer Feedback

Sat Jul 18 16:34:05 2009

Flame o Chist is right.  What are we supposed to do if we sell multiple quantities or multiple items and don't offer free shipping?  The shipping calculator doesn't work perfectly even for this.

Do I have to precompute every single possible combination of item purchases my buyers can make and list the total shipping for each?

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: Blackarrowbooks

Sat Jul 18 17:12:47 2009

Why all the concern about insurance claims.  Insurance protects the seller, not the buyer. So it should be the seller who pays for it, if it is deemed needed at all. It rarely is, unless the sale is for around $500 or above.

I rarely (virtually never) buy insurance on my eBay packages.  In over 10 years of selling online, including on eBay, I've never had to file an insurance claim.  Good packaging and use of delivery confirmation just eliminate that as a issue.

eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September   eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September

by: TekGems

Sat Jul 18 17:39:45 2009

I love this change. Too many times sellers are trying scam buyers with nickel and dime options. Simplify the buying process and more buyers will purchase from eBay. Its a good move on eBay's part. eBay may go towards flat rate shipping at a later time (and this is a good way to move that way), but now is not the time.

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