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Wed Jan 27 2010 18:32:45

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is hosting a Town Hall meeting to discuss Tuesday's Seller Release announcement. I'll be live blogging the session. To listen to the event, taking place today from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm Pacific, visit this page. (You have to join the eBay Radio group to listen.) Like past events, you can call in to the show.

I'm was looking for a link to the broadcast (this is a new system for broadcasting eBay Town Hall) - you have to hit that big round button to access the broadcast.

Stay tuned for updates.

In attendance at the Town Hall meeting (excuse any spelling errors in people's names):
Dinesh Lathi
Todd Lutwak
Jamie Stark
Kristina Klausen
Kelly

Dinesh is explaining the rationale behind the SR1 announcements. Now an overview of the new pricing structure. Overview of other changes: Buyer Protection Program (moving disputes to eBay, increased onsite and offsite promotion about the program); changes to eBay Motors; expansion of multivariate listings.

Already taking questions at 6:41 pm (Eastern time).

Bernard in Washington - FP, multi-item listings, sells dog doors. Wondering if all fixed-price items will receive full search exposure. Jamie says yes, effective March 30th.

Jerrod in Los Angeles - Selling on eBay since 2004, he is seeing fees raised and is "being killed." He said the 9% Final Value Fee is going to kill him, is eBay trying to get rid of small sellers like him in favor of corporate sellers? Why no way to opt out of the 9%? Add in the Free Shipping eBay requests sellers offer, plus PayPal fees,....

Griff asked Jerrod about his business, he sells once or twice a month. He has 150 things in his garage to sell on eBay. Griff says eBay is looking for candidates to figure out a strategy - no change in fees, but he will help him utilize one of the options, he'll be able to reconfigure his strategy to increase sales.

An ironic moment: Jerrod said he called in with Skype and could only hear every third word from Griff.

Rob from Brooklyn. He echoes some of Jerrod's comments. Selling since 1998, he's a consignment seller of collectibles. eBay's new 9% commission combined with PayPal's 9% fees is not going to support his consignment model.

An unidentified eBay exec said to double-check his PayPal math, Rob said many of his items sell for under $10. Griff suggested he look into PayPal micro-payments. Rob said he hopes they can help him stay profitable so he can stay on eBay. Another eBay exec tried to talk, but Rob keeps talking!

Griff refutes Rob's claim that items won't get fair price on eBay. Griff tries to get things back on track - they will take questions about the changes, not about specific seller's selling strategies.

Connection died for me, I believe eBay Town Hall is experiencing Technical Difficulties.

Back online as if nothing happened???? Kristina now talking.

Mike from Trenton, New Jersey. It is a fee decrease for him, but is concerned about duplicate listings. (Referred to Stores in Core from a few years ago)

Todd said back then, Time Ending Soonest was default sort - now the logic ranks FP listings by quality.

Griff talks about the impressions metric that puts listings that don't get clicks and sends them to the bottom. Todd talks about quality measurement also punishing dupe listings.

The seller Mike said that feature was removed from collectibles and art, wasn't it? Griff said collectibles search is different. (This is getting a bit confusing - Ina.) The seller lists reproduction posters, and his concern is that his category might see a significant increase in listings.

eBay exec says they will keep an eye on this issue.

Wayne from Ontario, Calif. For collectibles, can you let people list more than one picture without charge? Top level category is sports cards and memorabilia.

eBay exec said they started a pilot in certain collectibles categories offering free pictures. Just recently, in new announcement, we announced free pics for all Stores subscribers.

No, Wayne does as a hobby (but has 3,000 feedback, wow!).

Kristina says look at the fee illustrator tool - it's possible a Basic Store with free photos may be worth his while.

Wayne said his cost was $9, it will be $16 under new price structure. eBay exec says - you are eligible for free listings for auctions for under $1 starting price. etc.

Wayne said you aren't helping small-time seller. Griff said depending on Average Selling Price. As Jamie said, Wayne might be better off with eBay Store - explore ALL options before drawing conclusions. Griff said sellers are not trying it out - use the Fee Illustrator tool.

Todd said it worked in the UK - this is already out there and works on other platforms.

Kim in Andover, Kansas. I don't understand new system. She has a Basic Store for $16/month. Jamie asks for more info....Kim says roughly 50-50 format.

Kim: Are all 3-cent listings going to turn into 20-cent listings?

Jamie: Answers question - equals yes. However, she says Kim may be better off upgrading her Store level.

Kim: FVF question - in Store it's 12%, and 8.75 for auction listings.
Jamie: For auctions - continue to be on Auction rate card. Fixed price - vary depending on category item is listing in.

Sayde in Canada: Sells camera lens, some old, some antique. He sells in auction format, 20/month. He must pay an extra 3.5 percent fee for PayPal, and his bank charges him another 3.5 percent, because of currency issues. He does not think auction format will work for him. He's disappointed that he must remove the PowerSeller icon. On Canada, TRS icon not active yet. In U.S., TRS must sell 100/month. His items are $1500, sells $100,000 annually, but doesn't qualify for TRS in U.S. (Hope I captured the sense of what he was saying, and sorry for the spelling.)

Griff: we hear you. Donna heads TRS program. There is no TRS program in Canada. Yes, you need 100 transactions. (Sounds like he's out of luck.) Sayde says he sells all over the world - very difficult to get 100 U.S. customers. He doesn't want to sell low-priced items just to qualify for the program, his items are very expensive.

Griff says this is an edge case. (Ina's editorial: great inventory - unique items that buyers will want, but he may not be able to continue to list on eBay.com, that's too bad.)

Todd from Tennessee: Buyer Protection Policy - will eBay allow paper payments? Kelly says eBay is expanding coverage to approved electronic payments, but not paper payments.

Dan in New Jersey: Seller on eBay for 10 years. Lists 1,000 in Basic eBay Store. Concern is possibility that I could be paying more money instead of less money as you have been promoting this. I've been paying $15.95/month and 3-cent listings. If I want to continue, I must go to Premium account, but it costs me $50/month and 5-cents per listing. How is that a cost savings?

Griff: what's your average sell-through rate?

Dan: price was low enough that it didn't have to sell this month. There's a percentage of listings (20%) that have been there more than a year. But for 1,000 listings, it creates a cycle.

Jamie: Some Store items would sell more frequently with increased exposure. She repeats that the 35-cent fixed price listing is going down to 20 cents for Basic Store owners.

Dan: Long-time concern: I don't have a problem paying to get items sold, and I expect fees to go up over time. But bigger concern is that there are sellers like myself - I have a positive feedback rating above 98% - automated system where if there is an issue - buyer satisfaction - if it dips below a certain amount - seller is automatically slapped on the wrist. I go through the trouble of beefing up this Premium Store and time in putting auctions together - my goal is that I can increase to several thousand items in the Store. (Lee cut him off.)

Jamie: sounds like based on your reputation, you should have no problem meeting the standards of the Premium Store, which is Above Standard.

Kristina: How to find Fee Illustrator: www.ebay.com/feeillustrator You can enter your category, etc. and you'll see different scenarios and get a sense of how it will impact you.

Maryanne from (Washington?): Re fee increase or decrease.... Been on eBay since 1997, had eBay Store for last 3.5 years. Glad about visibility of Store listings, but shocked at fees. To continue - must have 227 fixed price items in Store. I would like customer service - I want to give my customers the best customer service.

- What are you going to do to increase traffic, now that there is a large influx of equal items.

- Will the traffic be high enough (I'd rather quit doing auction style listings) will traffic be enough?

Todd: Auctions are an excellent way to get visibility, and we're not advising you to move away from that. We want people to come on to eBay and select best format for them and get best visibility.We're expecting moving Stores to core will make it easier to sell those items. Ina paraphrase: If you are paying higher for a listing in 1 month, but you have it listed for fewer months because it sells faster, then that could be better. Look at the visibility issue.

Griff: non-performing inventory is a drag on your business.

Larry from Wilmington DE: TRS, will benefit from changes, will save 2/3 of my listing fees. Thank you for the changes, they work for my biz model. My question: may I have 2 User IDs, one for auctions, one for Fixed Price?

Jamie (I think): we don't limit number of User IDs you can have.

Al from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: on eBay since 1998. Sells vintage drums and few other items. Is there a possibility that sellers can get stock options, even a point zero five for every 20 items we sell? Are you negotiating with UPS and USPS for better rates for us?

Griff: No. SEC would not allow that (re stock options)

Mike from eBay: Are you a PowerSeller? (yes) Take advantage of PowerSeller discount with UPS. Go to PowerSeller pages.

Ten minutes left.

Phone board completely lit up.

Cindy from ?: I don't think eBay is pushing us to succeed? New pricing for auctions - to get everyone to list under $1 or sell in Fixed Price. There's a push for Free Shipping. If I list for 99 cents, I'll lose money - it's casino gambling. How is this helping me? How can I get profit - all I see is the fees.

Jamie: We know 99-cent auctions doesn't work for everyone. We have reduced insertion fees for up to 50%. Your insertion fees are going down. (Ina: FVF are going up)

Griff: FVF are fees you only pay if you sell. It's imporant to understand the difference between the two (insertion fees and Final Value Fees). (Sounds like Griff is reading a script about the rebalancing of fees.)

Cindy: I'd list more but people are confused in directions eBay ultimately wnats to go because our impression is that eBay wants to turn into a store. But this is our auctions, and once we understand something, it changes. I encourage everyone to look at. I spend 13 hours on the boards every day to stay on top of this game. (Lee cuts her off for the second time.)

Griff gives pep talk - "I know you can do it!"

Lee Mirabal is wrapping up.

Griff wraps up. eBay is hosting a webinar tomorrow (Thursday).

You can listen to the Audio archive of the Town Hall meeting. ebay.com/townhall

The Town Hall meeting is over. There were some technical troubles in the beginning, but they were resolved. Some excellent calls from sellers, many of whom have been selling for a really long time on eBay. Signing off....

Note from Ina: In looking over these notes, I realize I was likely identifying Dinesh as Todd by mistake in some cases - I apologize if I misidentified eBay executives.




Comments (58) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

by: Kathryn S.

Wed Jan 27 19:00:12 2010

OMG - Thanks for doing this Ina! I couldn't log into the Town Hall!!!

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

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

Wed Jan 27 19:09:31 2010

"Send me an email at griff@ebay..."

"We will continue to monitor..."

Here we go.

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Wed Jan 27 19:11:50 2010

Bad Skype connections with 2 callers, major audio distortion with eBay off the air and the caller still there. eBay comes back and acts like nothing happens, lest they have to pay out 13 cent refunds.

eBay sure does have their finger on the pulse of technology.

Lots of complaints - where's the cheerleaders? Aren't these calls screened?

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

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

Wed Jan 27 19:35:43 2010

Sounds like they are reading from a script over and over designed to sell Stores subscription, especially the whiny voiced one.

She just told Dan in New Jersey that he would benefit from a Premium Store because he would have ''the full search exposure experience''.

WTF?

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

by: Uck Feebay

Wed Jan 27 19:45:53 2010

If FeeBay wants to be Amazon, and get higher FVF fees, they should at least let sellers charge ACTUAL shipping, instead of this morbidly stupid DSR 5 Star  'reasonable' to 'unreasonable' subjective rating.  LET US CHARGE ACTUAL SHIPPING FEEBAY!

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

by: Wow!

Wed Jan 27 19:52:01 2010

Griff: "non-performing inventory is a drag on your business."

My gosh, is this man a pure genius or what! I mean truly a brainiac!

Wow, what would sellers do without griff and his infinite wisdom!

lol

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

by: Wow!

Wed Jan 27 19:58:44 2010

Griff: "FVF are fees you only pay if you sell."

(as he tries to smooth over the FACT that FVFs are going UP)

His brilliance knows no bounds, truly dazzling I tell you!

Oh, wait a minute, isn't the whole idea of this gig to SELL the things you PAY ebay to list?

oopsie! lol

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

by: fruity

Wed Jan 27 20:01:54 2010

Wow that pulled up the 2006 audio files for this one. lol.

I brought popcorn everybody!

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

by: ZZTopshlf

Wed Jan 27 20:05:35 2010

Hey now guys, don't go making a monkey out of Griff. Show some respect.

He doesn't need your help.

;)

Yeah, let me list an auction for 99 cents and offer free shipping. With Ebay's clearly reduced traffic, they are setting you up to take a bath when buyers get your items for 99 cents.

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

by: taxula@gmail.com

Wed Jan 27 20:09:16 2010

Ebay obviously believes its sellers have a 4 year old's mentality and believe they are just trying to help us.  Who else feels extremely INSULTED at their latest CON GAME?

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

by: Ebay's Slow Death

Wed Jan 27 20:09:24 2010

I listed to about the last 45 minutes. What a happy group!  (The whinny lady, who ended every sentence on an up tone, drove me nuts!)

They acted like we ''Children'' Sellers have no clue about how to run our businesses. They felt they needed to clue us in on what we were doing wrong, and help us out in order to ''Succeed''.

I doubt if any one of them has ever tried to run a business by Selling on Ebay.

I just got disgusted!  We are being told we don't appreciate what they are doing for us.

Griff ended telling the listeners that they don't want any Sellers to leave, because that would be business insanity. Ya right!

Gads, I'm depressed!

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

by: fruity

Wed Jan 27 20:10:00 2010

Who would of thought, all we needed to do was replace Chris T. with Dinesh. and thats that

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

by: fruity

Wed Jan 27 20:12:49 2010

Ebays not telling you that your fp listings exposure is directly tied to the amount of auctions in your category. so too much auctions, poof, less exposure for FP. When I talked w/search guy he called me last year and explained it.

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

by: Wow!

Wed Jan 27 20:34:07 2010

"Griff ended telling the listeners that they don't want any Sellers to leave, because that would be business insanity."
(via "Ebay's Slow Death" above, TY)

This just made me laugh out loud! :D

"Insanity" o...m...g... they're not quite finished screwing you yet, you still have that lucky penny you keep in your shoe and they want it, dammmmit! LOL :D

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

by: Do the math for yourselves & Beware Best Match

Wed Jan 27 20:40:36 2010

Sellers, it is important to remember that your fees pay Griff's bills.

He is an eBay employee whose job is to sell YOU ebay. He is a salesman. His job is to drum up business for ebay by convincing sellers to keep attempting to sell. He is not your buddy and he never was. He is a salesman representing a company you pay for a service.

Again, your fees pay his bills. This goes for all ebay employees, so keep this in mind as they ''help'' you make your business decision.

Sellers, please think for yourselves and do the math for yourselves.

And most important of all, be realistic about how well your formely store inventory listings are going to fare in Best Match sorting? Most of these changes to core are going to occur during the spring/summer slowdown anyway!

Save your fees, it's like throwing money into the street and setting it on fire. Be realistic, small and middle class sellers....

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

by: ebay's fine print

Wed Jan 27 23:12:32 2010

WHY ISN'T ANYONE ADDRESSING THE NEW REQUIREMENTS TO EVEN HAVE A STORE SUBSCRIPTION???? OR TO EVEN SELL ON EBAY???

It's not just listing fees, the standards to DSR are changing, and if you fall below you can't even sell on eBay. Get a few 1s or 2's and you are out! See new requirement for April DSR.

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

by: john

Thu Jan 28 00:33:53 2010

Most of you guys really don't get it.

Ebay is already flooded with so many results when you do a search....that is why everyone's sales are down.

This will make it even worse. If you are a buyer and are casually browsing, are you going to look through 2,000 results when you do a search? No. You likely won't go through more than 10% of that....especially if that 10% is all Chinese crap and trinkets.

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

by: Patricia

Thu Jan 28 00:46:46 2010

I couldn't log onto the town hall.  Ina, thanks so much for doing that.  I can't imagine that it didn't turn your stomach....the plastic answers from the same plastic smiling Ebay robots.  What a bunch of rot.  It all amounts to "hooray for me and to h*ll with you."  That's the "new ebay".  I spent the time listing in my eCrater store!  Not many sales there but certainly more traffic than I'm getting on feebay.

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

by: fruity

Thu Jan 28 01:01:01 2010

I'm glad I didn't listen to the audio, I think I would I'd grind my teeth down to the nerves.

Since I dont expect ebay will ever do anything of providing service for my lil business to grow, I am looking at this as I'm going to make it on my own and when this door closes, i wont look back. I've seen the devil and 1 eyeball is jd, 1 crooked lip is meg whitman and an ear is griff. Its like a mr potato head. lol

Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release   Live Blogging eBay's Town Hall Meeting on Seller Release

by: another side of the coin

Thu Jan 28 01:01:10 2010

Believe me I got it and my stomach has been churning ever since I first heard of Best Match over three years ago. Then to make it the default(barf!) So now add in the zillion 100 free listings and ALL stores, buyers will have better luck finding that needle in the haystack. If that isn't enough wait for the new TRS, DSR & PS requirements in April. Add all the increase in fees (but we are calling it a decrease spin). Wake-up everyone! - this is an out right money grab, the MBA equivalent of robbing a bank .. oh they have already done that, didn't they?

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