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Tue Jan 19 2010 23:01:23

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is announcing earnings on Wednesday and will announce its next round of seller changes on Tuesday, January 26. Despite indications that eBay would change feedback this year, a spokesperson told me not to expect changes to feedback in 2010 - I'm awaiting an official statement.

Brian Burke, Director of eBay Seller Standards & Feedback, explained eBay's feedback testing in an interview with the company's corporate blogger Richard Brewer-Hay and shared some screenshots; testing was still going on in September and October. However, Brian has since moved on to become eBay's Director of Relationship Management, and Dawn Sullivan is now overseeing feedback.

We're still expecting eBay to make changes to Stores this year, possibly along the lines of what it did in Italy and the UK, where it kept Stores, eliminated Store Inventory Format, and introduced a 30-day Buy It Now (BIN) fixed-price format with special rates for Storeowners. Last year, eBay announced changes in April and July to take effect in June and September. This year, eBay may be planning announcements in January, April and July to take effect in March, June and September.



eBay will host a conference call with analysts on Wednesday at 5pm Eastern after announcing fourth quarter and full-year results for 2009. With Nielsen showing flat traffic in the fourth quarter, eBay's top executives may have some explaining to do, especially with Amazon's surge in unique visitors in the fall.

eBay will hold a Town Hall meeting with users on the 27th, the day after announcing its first seller release, and has set up a forum on the discussion boards to discuss the announcement (you must be logged in to see the forum).




Comments (39) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: RicRoe

Tue Jan 19 23:34:02 2010

As analysts continue to ignore eBay's declining traffic, while always trying to put forth positive recommendations on eBay stock, do not be surprised if the hard questions go unasked.

If they are asked, expect answers which are obfuscated from Donahoe & Co.

There will be no admission that eBay is sinking in reaction to the failing decisions made by Noise Donahoe & his management team.

There will be no admission that eBay continues to alienate buyers and sellers with unpopular system and policy changes.

Expect Noise Donahoe top stubbornly ignore facts and continue to assert that he has eBay on the right path to growth.

His smug "damn the torpedoes..." and "full steam ahead" attitude ignores the fact that the eBay ship is slowly and steadily sinking.

By the time he admits his errors, this ship will have sunk.

Amazon and a plethora of smaller sites are eating eBay's lunch. John Noise Donahoe is enabling the process with bad decisions and non existent leadership.

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

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

Wed Jan 20 00:24:25 2010

I'd like to know how "Turkey" Donahoes has managed to survive yet another Xmas?

Still, John's little song and dance routine this evening will be fun to see.

What a shame it is that these guys are so gidding from spinning that they can't make a logical decision about anything.

From an ex regular buyer’s point of view, an introduction to an introduction to the full sad/ugly story at
http://www.auctionbytes.com/forum/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=6503466

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: Who's on first

Wed Jan 20 00:25:16 2010

"Brian has since moved on to become eBay's Director of Relationship Management"
(aka "dropping the ball")

Whose relationships is he supposed to be managing? One thing for sure... he isn't managing any relationships between ebay and their customers, the sellers! lol

Didn't ebay just slam their poor sellers with a bucket of changes a minute ago? How on earth do you sellers keep up? Is anyone in traction yet, from doing all of those backflips, twists and cartwheels?

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: J.G.

Wed Jan 20 00:30:50 2010

@Ric -- I agree with you.  I for one am looking forward to seeing JD tapdance as he tries to 'splain the huge number of new listings (he said they tripled this year, I believe) with the flatness of the sales in the 4th quarter.  Am I mistaken?  Isn't the purpose of getting a boatload of new listings to sell more products?  And if you don't make a significant amount more of profit, isn't that called ''failure''? Was listing all those thousands of multiple products worth it? They not only turned the buyers off -- they caused a pre-Thanksgiving outage according to JD!
Please, analysts, stockholders, and board members, look past the smooth explanations to the real situation.  Dead auctions, dead sales, fleeing sellers and buyers.

It may not be too late to save eBay.

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: Rich

Wed Jan 20 01:36:13 2010

The business model of a growth company is to provide for growth; yet every 6 months Ebay makes a bunch of mostly unpopular changes, which forces tens of thousands of sellers to quit Ebay and either join Amazon or another Ebay competitor or to get their own website.  Driving away sellers and buyers and helping competitors is an awful business model and that's what Ebay's done since 2005.  If Ebay makes no changes they'll actually keep most customers and finally grow again as new people come aboard.  If Ebay "does away" with 30 day 3 cents a month store inventory format; they'll lose a huge number of sellers and millions of items listed for under $5 because low priced items can't be more more than 3 cents a month.  Sellers with large stores who have thousands of low priced items will be forced to join Amazon or a competitor who only charges commission on sales.  This will drive down competitors prices and more buyers will leave Ebay for lower prices elsewhere.  Besides Amazon and others, specific category sites, such as music only related sites like Gemm and Music Stack will also benefit. Millions of items will leave Ebay's site.  Ebay's best chance to grow would be to have confidence in the boatload of changes they've made the past 5 years; and to do nothing in 2010.  

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: Craig

Wed Jan 20 02:35:55 2010

It would be good if you could give us UK sellers news on what may affect us. There are few, if any, sites and newsletters like this for UK Ebayers.

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: shipping out

Wed Jan 20 02:56:31 2010

However, Brian has since moved on to become eBay's Director of Relationship Management

hmmm ebay is moving into marriage guidance  or starting an online dating agency maybe ?

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: maren kate

Wed Jan 20 04:26:05 2010

Well hope this bodes good thing for us Powersellers.. oh well I guess there will always be change when you sell on a platform you don't totally control. That is why I suggest also having an ecommerce site hosted separately.

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: Kendall P.

Wed Jan 20 08:15:55 2010

I think eBay has also been testing putting stores back into core search again. For the past three weeks sales to my store inventory have been soaring! I hope they don't pull the plug on this like they did in 2006!

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: g

Wed Jan 20 08:22:38 2010

As a small store seller, I am very interested to see what changes may be coming that will affect stores. I can accept change, it's just a question of how much $ impact it may have on my business AND how much time/effort I need to expend in adapting to the changes.

I am concerned over the possible shift away from store inventory. Many of my items are in the slow-moving class. They do sell, but there is a larger "waiting" period while they are held in inventory. If eBay moves to a 30-cent 30 day format instead of a 3 cent monthly format, I have no doubt that it will force me to immediately reduce my store listings by 50-80%. I am not willing to pay such a large increase up front to eBay (or anyone else for that matter) without strong evidence that my sales will jump accordingly. I would be better off shifting the inventory to other venues who do not have a high up-front cost and only charge a fee when the item sells (usually also far less than what eBay takes). And yes, there are sales there and they are growing for me -- faster than with eBay.

A statistic I would like to see is how much of eBay's sales come from store items that have been in inventory for more than 30-60 days. I expect it would be a fairly low percent, but how much of this revenue would be lost if store owners react to a change by removing the inventory and moving it elsewhere? Lost revenue is lost revenue in any economic environment, but something I would try to avoid in this particular downturn. Maybe eBay just assumes that they can continue to reduce product variety for the short term money grab. Not a sustainable business plan in my opinion.

Bottom line, I know the changes will be more hoops for sellers to jump through. It's just a question of how much $ and time will be needed to continue selling on eBay. And how it compares to alternate venues.

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: Rob

Wed Jan 20 08:26:14 2010

@Kendall,

Hopefully, sales on ALL your store inventory is soaring. It's apparent store inventory will remain in core, but be prepared for serious price hikes on store inventory listing fees and monthly store fees (similar to the price hikes instituted at .au and .uk site) which can quickly erode all your profits if only some of your inventory are "hot sellers".

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: Alilbirdy2

Wed Jan 20 08:32:11 2010

I was smart, when ebay started it's changes, and I saw what they had done to the small seller I stopped buying and selling on ebay. I love the site   Bonanzle    which only has a FVF and no listing fees. And the FVF is much smaller than on ebay. Why give your money to a site that abuses it's sellers.

We are getting ready for the flood of new sellers to join what Thousands of sellers have already done. They will be coming on over to Bonanzle and finding a nice friendly non policy changing site that actually cares about it's sellers.

Ebay has become the Titantic of online market places, and Donahoe is that poor Captain that refused to heed the warnings.

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: Carl Stoller

Wed Jan 20 09:09:10 2010

As a 12-year seller on eBay, I can finally (yes, FINALLY) see that the future for my business lies in diversification. I'm not ready to burn eBay at the cross, however, I've spent the last 12 months building my biz on various other platforms, and spent a sizeable investment in time and money developing my own site. I'll use eBay to acquire new customers, and push them onto my other channels (where the margins are much higher) and add them to my constantly-growing email list. My ROI has been amazing by sending occasional email blasts to my list (they're opt-in). This is the year I make my customers MINE!

Thanks btw, for a great forum and a great newsletter! I've learned more here than anyplace I can think of.

Carl

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: Hardrock Rules

Wed Jan 20 09:48:24 2010

@Alilbirdy2, you said: "I love the site   Bonanzle    which only has a FVF and no listing fees. And the FVF is much smaller than on ebay. Why give your money to a site that abuses it's sellers."

BECAUSE eBay is still a popular name, sales suck, traffic down, sell through rate horrible since John Donahoe, but keeping it real there is no buyers for me on Bonanzle, WHY ?

Simple, sellers are not buyers, all us buyers flock to these sites but buyers don't, I doubt there is any shoppers in real life that are registered with Bonanzle, to long and complicated of a name, no advertising.

I mean we are all sick of eBay folks, but I am sick and tired of hearing about Bonanzle, no sales in year for me, no sales on iofer in a year, no sales in a year on OLA, a few on eCrater in a whole year.

YES those sites have the sellers, but it is not profitable for us, as there is no buyers ! FOR PETE'S SAKE ! EBAY HAS NO BUYERS ! SO I AM TIRED OF HEARING HOW WELL YOU ALL DO ON BONANZLE AND OTHER SITES ! They do not advertise for buyers to come to, the average person walking in a mall I doubt ever heards of those sites, just us sellers who flocked to them, that is why JOHNNY ROTTEN laughs at us

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: My Own Website Not Quite Paying My Bills Yet

Wed Jan 20 10:09:27 2010


Not all venues will work for all people.

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: J.G.

Wed Jan 20 10:27:07 2010

Chapter 2. I would like to see the Fabulous Cyber Monday Lite-Brite Kiddie Map reconfigured to show all of the cities in the US where eBay lost sellers and buyers this year and how many of each.  Or how about how many ebay businesses in each city whose sales have been adversely affected by the Grand Change Experiments of 2008 and 2009.  That'll make a nice dog and pony show for the stockholders.

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: On Lies and Secrets

Wed Jan 20 12:12:28 2010

''I am concerned over the possible shift away from store inventory. Many of my items are in the slow-moving class. ... If eBay moves to a 30-cent 30 day format instead of a 3 cent monthly format, I have no doubt that it will force me to immediately reduce my store listings by 50-80%.''

This is an interesting observation.  Although I understand that changes to stores or store inventory listings are still speculative at this point, think about who benefits (and who loses) from such a decision should this actually happen.  

Small sellers with inexpensive store inventory format listings will not be able to keep many low priced goods on the site and if they do, they will have to raise prices to realize any kind of profit.  Diamond sellers who negotiate their terms and fees, who probably pay little or nothing to list anyway will have less competition and the price of their goods will not be impacted.   If only Diamonds have low priced goods for sale on the site, then buyers of these goods have no other choices of sellers on ebay and many low priced goods are only sold by small sellers will vanish so whole categories of goods may become unavailable to buyers.  

In this scenario, buyers lose (lack of choice and less diversity of inventory on the site), small sellers lose (their goods are priced out of the market) and mega-sellers win (they get all of the buyers for low cost goods and if store listings are put in core, then they get increased exposure).   This is yet another example of the ebay corporation subsidizing large, offshore companies at the expense of the small, local seller.  This is not how free markets are supposed to work.  

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: ex silver powerseller

Wed Jan 20 12:22:41 2010

Congratulations, John Donaho. You managed to turn this one time Ebay cheerleader & silver powerseller paying $2000 a month in fees into a small fry bronze seller (and that's gomne soon too) paying Ebay less than $100 a month. Why? Because you are an unfeeling moron who knows nothing about business.I know silver spoon brats like you have no idea what it's like to have to pay bills. Punk.

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: gotta love it

Wed Jan 20 12:23:58 2010

Actually this comment is in reference to article that Ina just posted in regards to eBay's anticipated earnings report. I am still laughing hysterically about how eBay is claiming to now be able to handle the large high volume seller. Was that supposed to be a joke because I didn't happen to see a punch line? I think what eBay meant to say was that we have now polluted the site with all the same china made knock-offs and below quality goods. It's no wonder why the larger high-volume sellers are seeing better conversion rates since a buyer will find page after page of the same exact item. I personally cannot even stand to search for anything on eBay any longer. And isn't it ironic that China, Japan, and Hong Kong sellers always seem to receive better placement with the magic potion best match.

And I know you how all you folks are hoping for a change in leadership with this company. But as much I hate to admit it to, it's going to be more of the same. There is no management of any company that ever admits wrong doing. These people are educated to nauseum and firmly believe that their ideas will work and should be working. And besides they are collecting paychecks that justify their performance. They will continue trekking forward with their vision and hope. I personally do not share in that vision as I once was an annual 30k a month seller that is now on the brink of collapse. I have tried other venues including selling from our own platform but nothing is working. I honestly believe it's over and will be getting a real job here real shortly. All I ask is that the last person to leave to please turn off the lights! Thanks!

eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week   eBay's First Round of Changes Coming Next Week

by: Patricia

Wed Jan 20 12:37:23 2010

Ahhhhh.....4th quarter report day.  Put your seat belts on everyone.  We are about to see professional spin wizards at work!

It will take days before the analysts come down from the clouds and realize they've been duped LOL

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