AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Mon Dec 31 2012 12:17:21

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

By: Julia Wilkinson

Sponsored Link

2012: We laughed. We cried. We struggled to bring two cardboard flaps neatly together and secure them with packaging tape, over and over again. But besides all that, looking back at the year, what were some of the best and worst developments for people who sell online?

I modestly propose a list; these are just what jumped out at me. I'm not saying you're going to agree with my picks...and so I'd really like to hear yours. Post a comment here or on the ECB Forums.

Best

- Amazon's growth, specifically its FBA program and opening new warehouses. According to Jeff Moore in May 2012, in a survey, 57% of sellers saw their sales increase 20%; and 91% said their sales increased in general since joining FBA.

- eBay making more of an effort to protect sellers, per this post by Ina. It may just be a start, but in acknowledging there has been buyer abuse of the feedback system, and eBay's Director of Seller Protections Rich Matsuura saying eBay is "moving to a world where we are going to require buyers to contact sellers prior to making a claim," you have to give them some credit. (Particularly egregious? "...reports from sellers that they're getting a brick in the box as a return.").

- Etsy's growth, and paying for product feeds in Google Shopping. "With the exception of December 2011 (a holiday bump), more sellers made a sale in July 2012 than any other month in Etsy’s history," said CEO Chad Dickerson in this Notes from Chad post from August. Etsy has become a viable selling platform for me; I think I just need to devote more time to making more items!

- eBay's faster checkout. Color me impatient, but I really like it. It ain't Amazon's 1-click checkout for the truly Short of Attention Span, but it's an improvement for buyers in this go-go-go age.

- Ruby Lane moving to #2 in EcommerceBytes' Sellers Choice Awards of 2012. (Speaking of which, vote for the 2013 Awards now!). Their home page has a fun new look with scrolling images (just about everything went to image-based interfaces in 2012, which brings me to...)

- Pinterest's rise. Everybody and their brother, including eBay, seemed to move to a Pinterest-like image-based feed, at least somewhere on their site if not the home page. And many sellers report making sales from the views they get on this visually-oirented site.

Worst

- eBay putting ads in sellers' paid listings.

- Google moving to a paid product feed model with Google Shopping. Google giveth, and Google taketh its pay.

- The looming threat of the Supreme Court's potential decision in reviewing the "First-Sale Doctrine," which permits buyers who purchase copyrighted works in a legitimate transaction to resell them without obtaining permission.

- eBay Monkeying with search results.

- Ecce Homo (speaking of monkeys): the botched restoration of the Ecce Homo fresco just has to be mentioned, because it is one of the most jarring alterations in the world of art and antiques this year. But in online commerce, it may actually qualify for the "best" list, as both the artist herself found a way to profit off it (selling another painting on eBay for $1400), and performance artist Amanda Palmer used the incident to sell t-shirts via Twitter's Chirpify service. Although, I'm not sure...what do you think?

Post your thoughts on the "Best and Worst of 2012" in the world of online selling as a comment here!




Comments (18) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Dec 31 16:01:14 2012

A great list
I do not feel qualified to add anything.
Aside from commenting on the continued increase in postage charges!

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 31 18:49:55 2012

Best:

eBay still behind Amazon
eBay gross sales not up to par
eBays partial copyright loss in France
ebays strategy of authorized dealers went over like a lead balloon
Even with 3 ads per listing eBay still cant get enough funding to operate
Amazon still kicking ebays ass
Buy.com stealin Rakuten and now listing 2x the amount of items on eBay while stealing thier customers
ebay not at this years CES in Vegas
eBay forcing Paypal to try and stand on its own and failing

Worst

eBay adding 3 ads to every dealers listings
eBay lieing to Ina about seller protection
eBay & PB cooking up a international shiping scam
eBay breaking the law by manipulating the search the seller pays for
eBay still trying to do ''FBE''
eBay hiring morons in weird countries for what ever little CS there actually is on eBay

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Mon Dec 31 22:46:09 2012

Hey Julia,

Worst: Reading all the 2012 dramatika reviews.

Good: That in less than an hour, it will all be ''history'' with a new ''Hair-Do'' tomorrow.

Happy New Year to you Julia and also everyone here!

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww

Mon Dec 31 23:53:50 2012

Thx dig! Oh yeah, postage...I just couldn't pick on the poor us postal service, ESP after so many people sung its praises in the survey.
Pace..good lists!
Sandy: haha..true..but of course I could not resist making lists!
Happy New Year!

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Jan 1 11:02:02 2013

To the list of eBay's worst improvements I would add:

eBay's insertions of "average selling prices" into seller listings which utilized eBay's catalog. This asinine move set back eBay's efforts to persuade sellers into using catalog details and convinced many sellers to stop entirely where possible.

eBay's decision to test/change/monkey with search result and listing pages during the holidays. This move directly contradicts CEO John Donahoe's promise to sellers about no 4th quarter changes and proved that this CEO has zero credibility with sellers because he obviously has no intention of keeping his word.

eBay's decision to eliminate Wild Card search functionality - (again in the 4th quarter) making eBay's search engine the only search engine on the planet that is unable to manage wild card searches.

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww

Tue Jan 1 12:08:51 2013

Good points, Ric! Forgot about ''average selling prices.'' :/

I thought about the wildcard elimination too..fortunately, it's mitigated by the new tools replacing it, including the eBay Power Search (shameless plug): http://www.ecommercebytes.com/C/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2012/12/1354673792.ht
ml.

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Jan 1 20:03:23 2013

@ Julia - The new tool is great, however, the average eBay shopper is unaware of the existence of the tool so all they see is the flagged warning at the top of their search result which states "Search using the wildcard symbol (*) is no longer supported."

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 1 23:32:00 2013

WORST! tacking FVF out of shipping.

Screwing sellers like me out of TRS and my FVF discount because of not being able to offer i day shipping.

still pounding on small sellers in every way

Donohoe not leaving.

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Jan 1 23:35:36 2013

The absolute worse was Google changing its algorithm and charging to show listings in shopping. It has affected MANY sellers from MANY venues. Over the last three years as Google made changes, I saw my sales go down with no other changes happening at the time. BOO Google.

the best for me was knowing I no longer have to deal with ebay!
I started selling at amazon again after a hiatus and have been more than pleased with the results.

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

by: WhoKnewIt This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 1 23:41:24 2013

Worst for me was Google changing it's method of search on Google Shopping.  "Paying to play" took my vibrant Etsy business and tanked it by 90% this year.  Google has essentially put me out of business.

Best?  .....I got nothing...

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jan 2 08:49:36 2013

Per Rich Matsuura saying eBay is "moving to a world where we are going to require buyers to contact sellers prior to making a claim".....

This is protecting sellers?  So we get a email from a buyer and it says "if you don't do this we are going to file a claim" is protecting sellers?  Geesh!

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 2 14:03:38 2013

It has to be eBay's search and google's changes to google shopping which is going to come back and bite both of these companies. Shoppers will adapt and will give up on eBay's no results SCAM that is folloed by paid for ads that ebay is profiting frm, the heck with the sellers it is all about the ads.

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 2 14:55:14 2013

Julie,
You forgot about all the CONSTANT, CONSTANT GLITCHS on the ebay site.
Also, we were PROMISED that ''changes would roll out only 2-3 times per year, with plenty of advance notice to sellers''.
- Also forgot to mention that stores to CORE supports the ebay stock price/listing counts for another YEAR.
Thanks,
Mass Howler
''DSR's are just a TOOL to HELP sellers, they will NEVER be used AGAINST them''. J. Donahoe 2009.

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 2 14:56:41 2013

The photo raoises an interesting point......
Do AMAZON sellers have to worry about getting back a ROCKINABOX or is that PLEASURE reserved for we sorry sap sellers on ebay?
Mass Howler

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 2 19:21:05 2013

Dear ebay how dost we hate thee let me count the ways---

Forcing sellers to be TAXED on EVERY sale by the rolling of POSTAGE into the SALE PRICE and charging a HUGE fee on the ENTIRE transaction.

Failure of ebay to ALLOW honest feedback to be left by SELLERS

Deliberate attacks aimed at small sellers by the Ho

Failure of ebay to PROTECT sellers from DEADBEAT BIDDERS altho surely some programmer somewhere could make a program to SHOW that a bidder did NOT PAY.  OH wait that would mean ebay would have to PAY that programmer----

Taking away thousands of TRS discounts to "boost" ebays saggy baggy bottom as sellers REFUSED to accept returns on items like UNDERWEAR and time sensitive items and were PUNISHED for this.  Ditto the "One day shipping".

Ebay for failing to SUPPORT the backbone of their company ie SELLERS by hiring people who SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE.

Ebay for FAILING TO SUPPORT their sellers by requiring those non-English speakers to KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT.  

ebay's arrogance and greed as evidenced by trying to nickle and dime small sellers and brow beat them into jumping every higher and ever faster with more shots being fired at their kneecaps.

ebay for failing to protect their sellers from the people who SENT that "brick in a box" and who DEMANDED that a VIOLIN be DESTROYED because the buyer claimed it was "Not as described".  

ebay and Preypal for pretending to be a BANK when it suits them--and "Just a venue" when it does NOT.

ebay for failing to correct the HOLDS on funds that can be triggered by---well--just about anything it seems.  Phase of the moon flutter of butterfly wings in the Amazon--that sorta thing. Oh and LYING about it.  That too.

Ebay for FAILING TO FIRE THE HO

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

by: TheresaKP This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 2 21:05:08 2013

One of the worst for me was eBay taking a cut of the postage fee along with their cut of the cost of the item. How fair is that?  

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 5 22:22:13 2013

Great post comet!
1. The preferential search.
2. Taking a % of shipping.
3. Trying to make an HONEST living on a site that LIES and DECIEVES.
Mass Howler (these are my top 2, not to mention FORCED PP).

Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012   Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 5 22:23:39 2013

Also,
Evidently, ebay does not want to pay Google for our items to be in their SEARCH.
HUGE problem, and we are all felling this now.
Mass Howler



Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.