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Wed Jan 13 2010 13:28:55

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

By: Ina Steiner

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Last year was a tough one for retail, and it will be interesting to see just how well ecommerce marketplaces performed. January earnings season is upon us, that time of year when publicly traded companies, including eBay, Amazon.com, and Overstock.com, reveal how well they performed in the last quarter and full-year 2009.

eBay will release fourth quarter and full-year 2009 earnings on January 20, 2010, and will host its earnings call with Wall Street analysts at 2 pm PST. Amazon has not yet announced when it will release Q4 earnings, but it usually reports around the same date as eBay.

Overstock.com did not announce its earnings release date either. Overstock.com's President Patrick Byrne apparently let it slip in an interview that it would be reporting a profitable year. According to an article in the New York Observer, Shooting the Naked Messengers, Mr. Byrne told the author that Overstock was about to report its first annual profit.

Overstock had run into a snag with its Q3 2009 filing after a falling out with its auditors and must file its Form 10-Q for the period ended September 30, 2009 by May 17, 2010. It has since engaged KPMG as its new auditor.

Enable Holdings, which operates the uBid auction site, has been experiencing financing issues - there's been an ongoing discussion by sellers on the AuctionBytes Blog. The CEO stepped down in December, and this week, Enable Holdings filed an SEC report stating it had repaid investors a $500,000 loan it had taken in October. The company filed its third-quarter results on November 20th, there's no indication when it will report Q4 earnings.

As for eBay, if recent history is any guide, during its quarterly conference call with analysts it will talk about being on the road to recovery after making changes to fix the fundamentals, and the CEO and CFO will probably continue to sell them on the potential of PayPal. The company has taken to citing PayPal's growing penetration on eBay, but of course adoption is rising because eBay persuades (coerces) members into using its payment system.

Liquidity Services Inc., an online auction marketplace for surplus and salvage assets, will report its first-quarter results on February 4, 2010 at 5:00 pm Eastern.

Google will hold its quarterly conference call to discuss fourth quarter 2009 financial results on January 21, at 1:30 pm Pacific.




Comments (22) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: my name is earl

Wed Jan 13 16:57:45 2010

The ebay discussion boards/posters are almost unrecognizable lately. Most of the ''regular'' posters that post there have zero feedbacks, yet one poster in particular actually has a total of 116 selling feedbacks on their selling account, all the while claiming they know everything about selling on ebay. They have never even been a TRS nor ever reached PowerSeller status.

116 selling feedbacks.

This is who the new sellers are getting advice from?

Good for ebay! Talk about the blind leading the blind.

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: On Lies and Secrets

Wed Jan 13 17:29:56 2010

@my name is earl

Which ebay forums are you reading?  

Many people who post on ebay forums used posting IDs - regular ebay accounts created for the specific purpose of posting.  If nearly everyone on the particular forum has zero feedback, then there are probably a lot of folks using posting IDs.  You can have as many ebay IDs as you like (I think only the email addresses have to be unique).  You never know who is posting or what their experience really is.  Some people use a low feedback ebay IDs to post because (back when I used to visit those forums) you need  a minimum of 10 feedbacks to make unlimited posts (less than 10 and there is a 10 post a day limit).

The reason people use posting IDs is because other people were deliberately messing up posters' accounts (buying and not paying and then leaving negative feedback with the intention to tie up a seller's inventory or to get them suspended completely) when they posted something someone didn't like.  It can be very nasty on ebay forums.  If you post there, I personally suggest that you don't post with your selling account ID unless you don't mind risking losing it.

I no longer visit or post on ebay forums.  

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: my name is earl

Wed Jan 13 17:48:28 2010

@ On Lies and Secrets

The point is that this particular zero feedback poster has no idea what they are writing about as far as selling on ebay as they have almost no experience and are giving incorrect information in regards to ebay. ebay used to be able to get "free" customer service out of the posters, now it is a disservice to the boards.

Therefore ebay is essentially allowing the blind to lead the blind. It will only deteriorate further.

Ming was right to quit posting. Waste of time.

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: summer in the city

Wed Jan 13 18:18:59 2010


If Donahoe's slash-and-burn ''destructive immolation'' campaign is such a success, why the sudden Paypal holds? Why are the struggling single moms on Etsy, trying to eke out some extra grocery money by knitting potholders, now subjected to 21-day holds on the twelve bucks in their Paypal account?

Could it be that Donahoe is trying to squeeze out every possible penny before bolting (after the CA gubernatorial election, of course) so he can say Ebay was ''on the upswing'' when he left?

Only somebody with an ego like Donahoe's could expect the Medal of Honor for ''fixing'' something he personally wrecked. Face it, JD: you're not getting away clean from this one.

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: On Lies and Secrets

Wed Jan 13 18:48:18 2010

@my name is earl

There is a particular poster who is giving out bad advice? That does happen on ebay forums.  There is poor advice or incomplete advice posted there.  Back when I was more active on the forums, if someone posted questionable advice, other posters would give their perspectives or even directly challenge the quality of the advice.  There used to be a discussion among several posters and typically some sort of consensus would be reached.  I think it is dangerous if a single poster is giving advice that isn't commented on by others.  IMO, the best advice came as a result of discussion where many different people looked at the issue from many different sides and shared their perspectives.  There are so many contingencies built into selling on ebay that good advice is very difficult to offer because so much depends on the particular situation and the state of the particular parties involved.  

If you have a different perspective and you care about new sellers and want to help them, then you can post your own perspective even if it differs from the poster who gives bad advice.  If you are seeking advice, you can try and pose your question to elicit multiple responses and simply ignore the bad advice.  

I no longer post or lurk on ebay's boards, so I don't know about the recent quality of advice.  It used to be pretty good and I learned a lot from Seller Central when I was a new seller.  As I recall, a lot of traffic dropped off when they went to the new board format.  I don't know what  the boards are like now - they could be less useful than they were formerly.

On Seller Central Griff used to have a thread (''Ask Griff'') where people could ask questions (they weren't all answered, but you could ask if you could catch the thread when it was open for posts).  I think this was an attempt by the ebay corporation to improve the quality of the advice, but I think Griff's advice was off target on some issues, so who knows if there is any good advice to be had on ebay from any source.  The rules for selling on ebay seem to change every week so it may be nearly impossible for best practices to emerge when the rules are always changing.

I used to be a recreational seller on ebay, but I don't sell there anymore.  I used to post on ebay forums regularly and I don't do that anymore either.  Ebay used to be fun and interesting.

I agree with you when you indicate that the ebay corporation doesn't seem to be very concerned about helping new sellers.  I don't see much evidence of any kind of authentic concern on the part of the ebay corporation for any small sellers (old or new) on the site.  

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: Marvin

Wed Jan 13 18:55:50 2010

Last year was a tough one for retail? Maybe for ebay an ebay sellers!

I predict two things:

1. ebays performance will be so bad their spin will be a duzy. ebay will be the only one trying to explain why they didn't do better. They sold off skype and paypal seized enough funds to make them look good to stockholders so they might be able to pull it off without to much deception.

2.Increased government actions, lawsuits and bad publicity worldwide against ebay and paypal will increase faster than ebay is going down the tubes. The news media will not be so kind and tolerant to ebay in 2010.

In short ebay is running out of options. Fast. 2010 will be interesting. Don't be surprised if paypal goes up for sale and you lose every cent you have in paypal.

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: On Lies and Secrets

Wed Jan 13 19:18:38 2010

@summer in the city

I agree with your speculation - I think the ebay corporation is trying to squeeze every little cent that they can using *any* means available in order to make it seem like the company is doing well and is in good shape.  I also agree that their recent performance may be window dressing to prop up the appearance and appeal of a certain gubernatorial candidate associated with the company.  In my opinion, the ebay corporation isn't situated to do well in the long term, IMO, the short term results are volatile and the fundamentals have not been improved with all of the recent changes.

And since Ming isn't here to say it, I will add this:

NEG MEG WHITMAN In 2010

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: ebay Nonsense

Thu Jan 14 00:46:27 2010

@ summer in the city

"Why are the struggling single moms on Etsy, trying to eke out some extra grocery money by knitting potholders, now subjected to 21-day holds on the twelve bucks in their Paypal account?'

IMHO Paypal has crossed that thin line between legal and illegal.
Everyone who had this done to them needs to check and see if Paypal filed a Money Transmitter license in their particular state.  Some states required it, some didn't.
If they do have such a license in their states have them file complaints with their states.  

If sellers don't speak up and keep letting them get away with these illegal activities they will get even greedier and who knows what new BS they'll try next.

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: Patricia

Thu Jan 14 01:44:03 2010

"As for eBay, if recent history is any guide, during its quarterly conference call with analysts it will talk about being on the road to recovery after making changes to fix the fundamentals, and the CEO and CFO will probably continue to sell them on the potential of PayPal. The company has taken to citing PayPal's growing penetration on eBay, but of course adoption is rising because eBay persuades (coerces) members into using its payment system. "

Yeahhhh....and I bet their include the revenue from the float on all those 21 days holds BUT they won't say where it came from!  How do these people sleep at night?

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: catso

Thu Jan 14 07:58:45 2010

Yeahhhh....and I bet their include the revenue from the float on all those 21 days holds BUT they won't say where it came from!  How do these people sleep at night?

Psychopaths have NO trouble sleeping at night...ever!

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: buck efay

Thu Jan 14 16:12:11 2010

What are you people talking about? Ebay still says they are right on track:)Seriously, this is gonna be ugly. Will Ebay wake up? Unlikely. Ina, please check out the new story coming on Ebays boards, Paymate listings are showing up as "Free Shipping" and say there is no buyer protection, even though they are an Ebay approved payment option.

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: Tony

Thu Jan 14 18:48:57 2010

Ebay's business model is old and it needs a more creative revenue model.

iOnlineAuction.com just launched...I like it.

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: Marvin

Thu Jan 14 18:58:47 2010

I think you mean ''ebay'' offers no buyer protection when paymate is used.

When there is no profit in it for ebay or paypal all of a sudden they don't give a rats butt about protecing anybody, now do they. Wonder why?

I would feel far safer paying with paymate or accepting payament through paymate than payal any day.

Now if you want to rip someone off,I say paypal is the way to go!!!

As word gets out ebay can't force you to accept or use paypal anymore look for other options payment options to start showing up.

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: Patricia

Thu Jan 14 20:52:10 2010

Of course JD is going to say he's right on track.  What do you expect him to say...oops, I made a big boo-boo?  How long do you think he could hang onto his job by admitting he's pulled one of the world's biggest fiascos?  He'll hang on until he's kicked out...a smart CEO would have his feelers out for another position so before he's kicked out he can say he was offered a position he just couldn't refuse and must leave to pursue other interests!

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: piese auto

Fri Jan 15 11:05:42 2010

Ecommerce will be an increase but not as it should have. The other trade is down

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: buck efay

Fri Jan 15 11:20:43 2010

Marvin, what I meant was Ebay has added a statement that this "item is not eligible for Ebay buyer protection" to Paymate listings. FRAUD!
Ebay buyer protection includes Paymate. Ebay is morally bankrupt & unfair. Paypal only protects paypal, and Ebay is NOT SERIOUS about combatting fraud & Counterfeits, they make too much PROFIT from bootleggers. Why do you think JD is on Intel board? Safety fallback after he gets the boot.

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: Digmen1

Fri Jan 15 13:26:42 2010

I hope ebays sales are way down this quarter, that may force them to take some action.
But I notice that their listings are gong up all the time on powersellers unite, so while people talk about leaving ebay, they keep listing on it "till the other sites get established"
I hope ebay tell the truth and separate their paypal figures from their ebay sales.

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: buck efay

Fri Jan 15 15:48:25 2010

Digmen, the listings are going up in numbers from Chinese junk sellers. The Sell Thru Rate is the important metric. Most sellers were doing 50% or better pre Donaho,. now 10% STR is  high! Lots of sellers forget to add in all the unsold item listing fees & think they are making money on ebay.

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: My Own Website Not Quite Paying My Bills Yet

Fri Jan 15 20:59:19 2010


Expect Ebay'e revenue to be up about 12% for the 4th quarter. The marketplace numbers will be flat at best and of course the Paypal numbers will be great(they've been great ever since you were forced to use Paypal on Ebay sales). Expect the usual spin and tonality for their marketplace excuses.  

Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season   Catching Up before Ecommerce Earnings Season

by: Helga

Mon Jan 18 01:41:39 2010

I have to say my eBay sales have been amazing and my etsy sales have tanked.  I sell in the craft industry.  I sell on both sites and with etsy's listeing fee of per item it kills in the end when you are selling 100 balls of yarn with a listing of 35 cents on eBay and a listing fee of 20 dollars or more on etsy.   My yarn gets seen  by a gigantic percentage of people more on eBay. A fiend of mine selling on ets has holds on her potholder saleson paupal because she did Not go through and do the proper verifications to get her money quicker.  Her sister also is a brand new seller.  Of. Course there will be a hold on her money. How do we not know she is in Nigeria selling pot holders that don't exist and just wants the money.  She received her Money when dc showed delivered.   I am not a fan of paypal.  They take to much oft money but I do like having payments fast.  Something to be said for that

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