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Sat Jan 23 2010 19:16:33

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

By: Ina Steiner

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In the January 10th issue of AuctionBytes Update, we invited readers to rate the ecommerce marketplaces on which they had experience selling. Over 1,400 online sellers took the survey. You pulled no punches - no site ranked higher than an 8.5 on a scale of 1 to 10, and you left a lot of comments explaining your ratings.

Merchants rated 15 ecommerce sites, including eBay, Amazon, Bonanzle, Craigslist, Etsy and more, on profitability, customer service, communication and ease of use. We included a selection of comments (the good, the bad, and the ugly). The full results are included in the January 24th issue of AuctionBytes Update (here's a link to the survey overview), and the articles will be remain on the AuctionBytes.com home page from January 24 through February 6th.

Thanks for taking the survey, and for helping to spread the word to your colleagues. My fervent hope is that sellers can benefit by thoughtfully reading all of the ratings and comments to learn what sellers think of these venues, and that the marketplaces themselves will take an honest look at their sites and listen to their customers' feedback.

We will do this survey again, so in addition to leaving your comments about the results, let us know what you think of the survey itself. (Some of you already have included your feedback in this blog post we ran when we first announced the survey.)

Now on to the results! Click here.




Comments (60) | Permalink

Readers Comments

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: Raia

Sat Jan 23 19:54:42 2010

This is such a great write-up, Ina, thank you so much for putting soooo much time and effort into this for us!

So very informative!

Some really surprising results mixed in with the not so surprising... goes to show how one site might work beautifully for one seller, while another works better for someone else.

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: Pat

Sat Jan 23 19:59:42 2010

Wow! Nice job, Ina & David! I'm going to have to check some of these site out! (and avoid others...)

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: WhoGoesWhere

Sat Jan 23 20:05:35 2010

I'm not suprised that Blujay finished as low as they did, but I am surprised that they received above a 1 in any category.

Communication and customer service between the owner and the sellers is non-existant.  Adam acts as though he can't be bothered to spend any time on the site.  Instead he has allowed several individuals who were named as Moderators to run rough-shod over the message boards, deleting any comments they don't like, yet allowing the "favored" few to make any comments they wish.

Ease of Use?  The listing form is easy enough to fill out, unless you make any kind of mistake, at which time, you have to start all over again.

Profitability?  Since Blujay is rarely in Google, there is no profitability.  The mods and cheerleaders are quick to point out that there are no fees there, so "any" money you make is better than eBay.

With Blujay being out of Google most of the time, since the owner only submits items once per month at best, it falls solely on the sellers to do almost all of their own marketing.  Sure they have several sellers / moderators who have lots of suggestions, most if not all coming with referral links to their accounts.

Would I suggest Blujay to anyone else?  I spent more than a year there, and listed more than 2000 items and managed to sell a whopping 36 of them.  I put in better than two hours each day marketing my webstore.  From search engines to web directories to traffic exchanges...if it was out there, I looked into it.

I'm sorry, but the only way I would recommend Blujay, might be to somebody I didn't like.

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: WhoGoesWhere

Sat Jan 23 20:20:57 2010

eCrater is an excellent place to list and sell your items.  They actually know what customer service is about.

There are only two areas that I feel could use some improvement.

1. Allow the use of HTML to make listings more readable.

2. Get rid of the stupid rule that pictures have to be square.  Not all of us use digital cameras to get our pictures.  I use a scanner and it's rather impossible to get a square DVD cover or a square Hardcover book.

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: norma baker

Sat Jan 23 20:27:27 2010

Ebay charges to much as dose pay pal, we get no benifit from postage, yet pay pal charges for it. Ebay also dose  NOT stand behind there seller ,on feedback..WHITCH IS WRONG,who do they think made ebay!!!!!

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: fruity

Sat Jan 23 20:53:16 2010

That's so funny Ioffer beat ebay in communication and customer service.

oh I bet most sellers don't realize that ebay has an arrangement so they get discounts on paypal postage. It's like 30%  under retail I think, the corporate rate? It's deep! They charge you the full rate though. Paypal supervisor told me

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: sl

Sat Jan 23 22:03:14 2010

I sell on Ruby Lane & to see those comments about the fees being too high??

.30 to list & .30 a month maintenance after the 1st month. No final value fees. Several .10 & free listing days a month. I don't know where the fees being too high come from.

I'm glad to see they are the top pick. This will mean more customers to a better quality venue & more profability for the sellers.

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: tcc

Sat Jan 23 22:34:07 2010

As usual - great work from Auctionbytes.

I am a 5 year eBay TRS (PS) and my eBay sales provide most of my monthly income.

I am flexible (have to be to sell on eBay), intelligent (have to be to follow the frequent changes) and overall enjoy my online sales through EB.  

My wish list -
1) LESS changes (if it is not broke - don't change it)
2) Remove S&H charges BEFORE calculating FVF (eBay knows the numbers!)
3) Make sure all categories display the ITEM CONDITION (some listings display Item Condition:--- even though I add the info to the listing in the Item Condition Item Specific)
4) Fix the Good till Cancelled Fixed Price listing quantity when selling an Item with more than one ... eBay should use the relist quantity CALCULATION of (Starting Qty - Sold Qty = Relist Qty).  EB could fix that big time for Listings with VARIATIONS!

Oh - and I MISS the eBay Live events.  Great way to interface with the eBay personnel FACE to FACE.  

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: On Lies and Secrets

Sun Jan 24 01:33:24 2010

Outstanding work! This survey is wonderful and it should serve as a useful tool for sellers who are choosing among the various venues.  I am so pleased to  see a study of internet venues that was created with the best interests of consumers (sellers) in mind. Way to go in truly supporting small businesses!!!!  (Have you ever thought about running for governor in California?)

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: Love Reading AB

Sun Jan 24 03:06:24 2010

Excellent survey Ina.
I appreciate that you showed a fair amount of pro and con comments for each site.

It's easy to read between the lines and see if it's one seller with a personal grudge or if similar comments were made by several respondents regarding a particular site.

Best of luck to all the alternative sites and to the hard working sellers who support them.

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: Ed in Edinborough

Sun Jan 24 05:36:21 2010

First rate issue! It was great to see Ebid included. I'd love to see TradeME OZtion included in the next survey. But what a splendid "at-a-glance" feature. I hope you keep this accessible on the home page for a long time. I intend to reference it frequently.

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: Just One Seller

Sun Jan 24 06:18:34 2010

Great job Ina, this should work as a wake up call for the leadership at the marketplaces that rated lowest.

As an example eBay this past week outlined one of their primary ''Strategic Priorities'' for 2010 in the slide show accompanying their 2009 earning report as ''Becoming a more customer-focused'' company.

What better way for them to start than paying attention to this for the first time ever very public rating of their ''Communication'' and ''Customer Service'' from their paying customer, the eBay sellers.

It was great to see Ina use a similar Net Promoter Score type 1-10 scale that John Donahoe and his Seller Reputation system has been suggesting and testing for the future of rating eBay sellers by their customers, eBay buyers.

I hope that Ina will apply the NPS measurements to the results she obtained in the survey using this standard NPS principal:

''Companies obtain their Net Promoter Score by asking customers a single question on a 0 to 10 rating scale: ''How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?'' Based on their responses, customers can be categorized into one of three groups: Promoters (9-10 rating), Passives (7-8 rating), and Detractors (0-6 rating). The percentage of Detractors is then subtracted from the percentage of Promoters to obtain a Net Promoter Score.''

This gives the NPS scale a -100% to 100% range and from the 3.67 average eBay received on the ''Recommend Selling Venue'' chart I would estimate that to be about a -70% to -50% NPS.  I am sure Ina has all the data to provide the exact score based on percentage of (Promoters - Detractors).

A typical NPS is in the 30% to 40% range and a quite high score would be a 75%.  If eBay is earning a -70% to -50% rating from this sampling of 800 or so paying customers Ina surveyed then their business has a long way to go to get to even a typical score let alone the lofty heights of customer satisfaction  it demands of its sellers.

Lets all hope that Kellie Cobaugh, Aman Verjee, Adam Aikens and Brad Briscoe at eBay are paying attention to these numbers as they are some of the key players in eBay's own NPS and NPE (Net Promoter Economics) initiatives.  Studying things like is it more important to the company's bottom line to convert Detractors to Neutral or Neutrals to Promoters.  And which efforts product the greatest economic return on investment.

And while Ina's survey may not be completely scientific or exactly representative of what a broader sample size of eBay users may produce.  It does however give a very clear indication that there are serious issues within eBay's customer base for the company to receive so many very low ratings and an overall NPS that will end up well below even a 0% rating.

One more very important thing to keep in mind here when comparing the AuctionBytes survey of eBay ''Sellers'' vs. overall eBay ''Users''.  Only the ''Sellers'' pay eBay fees and thus are the true ''Customers'' of eBay.  While users need to have an overall good expereince and the NPS ratings of users on eBay may come up somewhat or even much higher than this survey's results.  This survey is representative of the NPS ratings that eBay's PAYING customers are providing.  And ONLY the paying customers directly contribute to eBay's bottom line so these are the ones eBay Executive and Shareholders really need to start paying far more attention to.  

It requires a balance of both buyer and seller satisfaction, becuase a ''marketplace'' must have both to thrive or even survive.  And this survey makes it quite clear that the pendulum has swung quite heavily in just one direction, which is not sustainable.  Especially with the already alarming migration of eBay sellers over the past few years, along with their products, to more favorable marketplaces like Amazon.com.

Thanks,

JOS

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: too fat to fish

Sun Jan 24 06:43:16 2010

Surprised eBay showed so well- they are not average in anything i see. Perhaps sellers are simply afraid to state the truth how awful ebay is & anti-seller it has become. eBay has a history of revenge on sellers that complain, so I don't blame the frighten sellers. but we will make more noise and are growing elsewhere ie Biblio, Alibris, iOffer, etc.

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: hello Ruby tuesday

Sun Jan 24 06:58:15 2010

I never heard of Ruby Lane, but went there, looks like fun and just signed up!

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: Marvin

Sun Jan 24 07:16:46 2010

In recent ebay study only 13 powersellers were polled and in a recent paypal study only 8 paypal merchants were included. Auctionbytes poll included 1,400 that's 107 times more than ebay and 175 time more than paypal.

Shows if you want to know what people really think listen to Auctionbytes, not ebay, not paypal.

If you need a simple list by ranking and average rating to print out for future reference like I did here is a copy of mine.

1.   Ruby Lane (7.97)
2.   Bonanzle  (6.92)
3.   Atomic Mall (6.79)
4.   Amazon (6.70)
5.   Estsy (6.47)
6.   eBid (6.35)
7.   TIAS (5.86)
8.   eCrater (5.85)
9.   Craigslist (5.51)
10. GoAntiques (4.48)
11. CQout (4.46)
12. Bluejay (4.28)
13. eBay (4.11)
14. OnlineAuction (3.92)
14. iOffer (3.75)

P.S. Hey, JD, buddy, You need better data sets. I am sure you want all your “Children” to have accurate honest information. If you ask nice Auctionbytes might let you use theirs until you get some.

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: Baba-booey

Sun Jan 24 07:29:29 2010

I'm happy to see atomic mall score as high as they did. I have been with this  since 2009 early and I believe they do deserve the high scores! Way-to-go AM. Maybe more people will start paying attention to them now. It was a bit surprised to see that ecrater didn't finish up higher, I sell there also and have similar good results.

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: Victoria's Curio

Sun Jan 24 09:02:08 2010

As an exclusive seller on Ruby Lane it was not surprising to see such high marks for this site.  I would like to address a few negative comments that were made about RL to add a bit of perspective.

I started out selling on eBay and realized very soon that I was not getting the customers I really wished to target.  I looked into many venues prior to signing up with Ruby Lane and going exclusive almost three years ago.  I have never looked back.

To start any venture is time consuming and somewhat costly but as mentioned above, Ruby Lane's fees are very straight forward and you pay for them up front.  Thus, any sales you make during the month is money in your pocket not into Ruby Lane's. Once an item is put into your inventory you pay 20 cents a month on it as maintenance until it sells.  Once you hit the 1000 item threshold, anything over that is free!  

Which brings me to my next point - to sell anywhere successfully you need to offer a lot of merchandise.  A serious seller needs some serious inventory.  If you are adding inventory constantly to Ruby Lane your search clicks and exposure benefit as well as  your sales.  This is a key issue for many other sites from what I have experienced.

I have been exclusive with RL since the beginning because they do offer more exposure for those merchants that are loyal to the site and that is how it should be.  The fees you pay include multiple avenues of advertising and prompt service for questions or concerns.

Anything worth having is worth investing it.  If you are able to keep your costs at under 20% no matter where you sell you are ahead of the game.  The more you list on Ruby Lane the less it costs you.  

With their strict standards of inventory control and lane requirements Ruby Lane has succeeded in making it's site a safe, secure, fun, and clutter free place for folks to come and shop.

We as sellers could not ask for more!

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: Fred

Sun Jan 24 10:24:58 2010

These types of polls and surveys really don't impress me much.  Mostly, they diverge quite a bit from actual results.

For example, a survey last year asked several thousand neilsen homes about what they preferred to watch on TV.  Their stated preferences did NOT match - at all - their actual viewing habits.  So they ''said'' they didn't like violent shows - but they actually watched more of them than anything else.

That's how I feel about this ''poll''.  For example, people ''like'' Bonanzle, but very few people actually make a living selling there.  Everyone ''hates'' ebay, but ebay probably accounts for most of their actual income.

So I value a poll like the only way I can - it's about people's ''feelings'' and wants and desires.  All sellers want friendly and competent support - a pleasant working environment - easy to use software.  It feels so good.

Personally, I want buyers.  I want to pay my electric bill.  I want to send my kids to college.  I want money in the bank.  That feels good to me.

So I want to see sell through rates, gross merchandise volume sold, ROI.  You know, the kind of hard numbers that most of these wannabe sites fail to provide.

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: Carl

Sun Jan 24 11:05:34 2010

I'm generally a skeptic of surveys such as these, but overall I have to agree with most of the rankings (eBay @ #13 might be a bit low - as much of a PITA as it is to sell there, it still butters my bread).

1,400 is an impressive number of respondents. Most surveys are based on 500 or 1,000. Heck, presidential election projections are usually based on fewer respondents! Anyway, thanks for the provocative survey - I'm sure it will give people a lot to chew on for a while.

1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces   1,400 Merchants Rate eBay, Amazon and 13 Other Marketplaces

by: Marvin

Sun Jan 24 11:12:02 2010

First of all, thank you for the survey but I have to agree, they do not impress me either. Most of these are another avenue for sellers to come in and bash or trash other sites.

I like this one, you like that one, she hates the other one, he is angry at ( I could go on and on )

These sites are still in business for a reason, because they are being supported by sellers that ARE happy.

Stop the bashing and trashing, if you don't like a venue, leave quietly and go someplace where you will be happy.

Your angry words follow you around the net; google a sellers name and see what pops up. Sure, you can try to hide that built up anger behind another ID, but the truth will show.

Sell thru rates and volumes sold is the key; your site may have ranked high in this survey for popularity, but are the sales happening on that site.

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