Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Sept 18 2012 20:15:37

eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop

By: Ina Steiner

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As any webmaster will tell you, reading your traffic stats is like taking the pulse of your website. eBay Store owners rely on traffic reports provided by eBay and powered by Omniture. When sales go down, sellers go directly to their reports to see if traffic has also gone down, or if visitors are just simply not buying.

We're receiving a number of reports from eBay store owners that their traffic plummeted around the end of August. Some are sure it's a decline in traffic, others are wondering if it's a glitch with the traffic reports themselves.

Last week a seller sent me some screenshots of his traffic reports, and this week he wrote again: "There is little doubt in my mind that the problems at eBay are quite serious, I am generally not an alarmist but this has been 19 days of dismal and getting worse traffic. As of 1:22pm today I am sitting at 40 views.... my normal for the day at this time of the year is in excess of 900. I'll be lucky to hit 90 for the day. I did call eBay today, expecting little to no help, basically rep agreed that the pattern is not quite right and that he is passing it along to an IT person to examine."



"The question - which is broke... eBay or the report generator at Omniture," he asked. "I know of another active seller that has mirrored my downturn, we have compared notes and it began at the same time in the same manner."

In an email titled, "Ebay traffic plunge or data issues?" another eBay seller wrote, "I noticed that at the start of this month my daily traffic reports are showing 30-50% LOWER on a daily basis for page views. Sales are down as well but I don't think they are down as much that those numbers would reflect. At the beginning of the year, I showed up to 1500 page views a day. That has slowly come down and over the past few months, I've averaged a little over 1000. This month however is showing 300-600 page views per day. I tried contacting Omniture but they never responded. Has anyone else experienced this I wonder?"

Given the increasing number of anecdotal reports about slow sales on eBay, it's not easy to determine or even guesstimate whether it's a traffic problem or a glitch. Today's Letters to the Editor blog, for example, is from a seller who said her sales have not yet rebounded from the summer slump.

Clearly just because some sellers are experiencing a problem doesn't mean everyone is, particularly now that eBay is running frequent experiments on its site to test new features and is testing its Cassini search engine, so we turned to eBay itself on Monday morning, and we're waiting for eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore to tell us if eBay is aware of any problems with the traffic reports.

If it is a problem with the traffic reports themselves, let's hope eBay gets them fixed fast so sellers won't be flying blind. In the meantime, here are some links to some of the threads on the eBay boards where sellers are discussing these issues.

Omniture Not working????

Traffic cut in half, literally.

Omniture report showing unusually low page views.

traffic reports down 80% Why ???

Comments (56) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop   eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 19 19:38:39 2012

The entire ''traffic'' issue is simple as always......

This topic comes up here every other month - and the answers here will NEVER change.

eBay is going NOWHERE fast. The industry knows it, the manufactorers (except for the ones here who got the VERO deal) hate eBay, but still eBay must obey its master - Wall Street.

Thats why eBay constantly juices the numbers. They have become McDonalds ''Millions and Billions Served''. Its all hog wash. Its the same lies that Noah repeated in the current issue of CEA magazine - the semi private magazine that is industry only for the electronics biz. ''Yeh we do millions and millions of mobile sales''.  What lies!

Wall street wants growth so eBay offers free listings, promotions - anything but sanity and logic to get more gross revenue. BUT when you have too many listings and not enough eyeballs - what happens? Rotation.

eBay gets ''X'' in traffic and it gets divided by the number of sellers. Your listing are there - they are just on a server that the majority of eBay users dont see - UNLESS THEY WANT YOU TO BE SEEN.

Thats why they come in bunches - those times are when you get sales - are when you are being seen!

Its really that simple. Its also why most sellers can never get beyond XXX in monthly sales (in my case its ~ 40k.

No matter what I sell, what category I sell in, whether its cheap or expensive stuff - the numbers (going back 2-3 yrs) are almost the same (each month year over year).

Why doesnt it ever change? why are the number of invoices that I process in eBay almost identical ? Why cant I become a Platinum? (besides VERO of course).

Its not me  I have better items now then ever, Im direct with more people then ever, I have better listings then ever .... so why? Its like everyone else here - ''slow sales'' ... its more like ''not being seen''.

Noah said it in January - those eBay loves will prosper, those they hate .... wont.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop   eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop

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

Wed Sep 19 20:03:27 2012

It always whets my interest when someone comes in to defend a seller when it is mentioned that a seller’s Bidding History stats appear somewhat abnormal …

So, I’ve prepared a small spreadsheet (with 30-Day Summary stats) analyzing six of the highest value items from Bruneau Antiques “bkcranston” completed listings, and readers can draw their own conclusions as to whether or not there is any suggestion of shill bidding on this seller’s auctions …

I can only wonder if the same pattern of so many regular bidders could also be found in the completed listings of the other three antiques dealers that eBay is promoting. And, don’t you just wish that you had so many regular customers bidding for your stuff too?

The "antiquepromo" spreadsheet directly accessible from above link or:
http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohen/eBay/eBay%20Shill%20Bidding%
20101%20(antiquespromo).xls

eBay
/ PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop   eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop

by: nsc This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 19 21:19:09 2012

They look like real sales to me, Philip. Remember, Bruneau is a) selling good quality items in a hot market, and b) he doesn't just have visibility right now, he has klieg lights illuminating him. He's on a TV show as an expert antique dealer! His buyers can drop his name and say, you see that guy? I bought this from him.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop   eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Wed Sep 19 22:45:52 2012

Phillip both your links are not working. Not sure if they were working for nsc but they are not working now.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop   eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Wed Sep 19 22:49:13 2012

Correction: Links are not working for me in Firefox but able to access through IE.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop   eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop

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

Wed Sep 19 23:11:48 2012

Firefox does have some problems, so I hear ...

Interested to hear your conclusions ...

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop   eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Sep 20 09:35:04 2012

Do the Wall Street analysts read this blog? They should.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop   eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop

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

Thu Sep 20 18:19:40 2012

@nsc,

"They look like real sales to me ..."

I never said that they weren't "real" sales, all I draw attention to is the great number of regular bidders, some with abnormal statistics, and ask the same question, about such patterns of bidding, as I have asked about eDropOff’s auctions ...

I don’t care how much publicity or high a profile, or whatever, any dealer has; I have been a partner in an auction business and I know what some people will do at auction if given the opportunity ... and  I have little doubt that, at times, shill bidding goes on in the most prominent of auction houses … anyone who believes otherwise is simply naïve … Unfortunately, many unscrupulous auctioneers see shill bidding not as criminal activity but as simply the way of doing business with sale by auction …

eBay is riddled with shill bidding activity by professional dealers and, until I am satisfied otherwise, I always presume that any professional dealer that starts auctions at 99c is probably going to have a mechanism (tacitly approved by eBay) to obtain the price that he wants; that, unfortunately, is the fact of the auction business … eBay cannot but be aware of all this criminal activity, as they must be of eDropOff’s activities, and yet eBay does nothing about it, because it is not in the interests of its bottom line to do otherwise. eBay is, at the very least, a knowing and calculated facilitator of such massive fraud on its consumers.

In the meantime I have sampled about half dozen auctions from each of these eBay-promoted antique dealers. Bloom Antiques’ auctions look honest to me. I’ll let readers draw their own conclusions from the data as to whether any of the others are getting some artificial assistance.

The "antiquepromo" spreadsheet is directly accessible from above “Web Site” link.

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop   eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop

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

Fri Sep 21 01:17:42 2012

Philip, I have been to hundreds of auctions over the years and am well aware of what it means to "bid against the wall". Or against the guy in the corner who is quietly "buying back" the auctioneer's goods if the price isn't high enough. It's very common.

But what I was trying to tell you is that I think Bruneau is in the enviable position of not having to bother to protect his items. He knows they will do fine by themselves.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop   eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop

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

Fri Sep 21 02:08:29 2012

@nsc, So we both know what can happen at an off-line auction. Have you perused the spreadsheet? If not, could I suggest that you do so, particularly the 30-Day Summary statistics on the right hand side; compare the patterns of regular bidders on all four dealers and then give me your opinion of all four, if you like …

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop   eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop

by: snowfeet2009 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Sat Sep 22 18:08:46 2012

I have been in the retail field for over 20 years..(pre-ebay) store manager/ regional manager, and this is one thing I know! If a stores traffic was down by 80% - sales down 80% - I would have sent my troops in to figure out what the hell was going on and investigate the problem and fix it!! Not to mention my CEO on my ass. Just because some stores are doing great and have no complaints, that only magnifies the issues of a PROBLEM. It only takes one genius here to know THERE IS A PROBLEM...and a million MORONS to ignore it. So just because “your store” is not having a problem...doesn’t mean there is a problem - I would have FIRED if I ignored an issue like this. Its called retail 101.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop   eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop

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

Sat Sep 22 18:39:01 2012

@snowfeet2009, eBay is not in the retail business. eBay is in the 'increase eBay revenues' business. They hope to double to 300 million listings, and give ever lister only that minimum of business which will keep him on the site.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop   eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop

by: snowfeet2009 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 22 19:08:54 2012

@nsc, Well, I guess if Im understanding your comment, wouldn’t they make more money from selling fees than from listing fees? - especially considering they give 50 free listings per month for “new users” - just does not make sense to me to sacrifice more $ for less $. BTW; "retail (as in "selling") n. : the selling of goods to consumers; usually in small quantities and not for resale"
The bottom line is I know they are out to make $$ - we all are, but how is that logic making them more $$ - I think someone at headquarters f’d up something...but they sure need to fix it ASAP!

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop   eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop

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

Sun Sep 23 17:46:11 2012

You think the traffic drop now is drastic ??  Just wait until all the metaphysical/psychic area is wiped out....stragglers with ads already out there is all that's left! They 'banned and/or drop-kicked this category to the curb' as of late August. Even sales non-related to the metaphysical area are  W A Y  down.  eBay needs to have their heads examined by some good marketers, before they lose it ALL. The blame-game only goes so far for so long.      

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop   eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop

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

Sun Sep 23 18:48:42 2012

@nsc, Still waiting for your opinion on the patterns of bidding of the “regular” bidders on those four antiques dealers, particularly on Bruneau’s auctions …

Still, if you don’t feel able to offer an opinion, maybe some others will …

eBay sure is in the business of making money and the more listings they have the more desperate sellers become and many of them, like eDropOff, will resort to rampant shill bidding and risk buying a lot of their own stuff; but eBay does not care, indeed, they are happy to facilitate such fraud, as it increases the FVF that eBay receives, and eBay takes that FVF on all “sales”, real or faux, and soon on auction cancellations too …

Not even the US Criminal Code gets in the way of eBay’s bottom line …

Then, who know what ultimately eBay’s business plan is? It certainly is not a long-term plan …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop   eBay Sellers Stores Reports Show Traffic Drop

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Sun Sep 23 18:57:47 2012

@snowfeet2009 - crack dealers learned in the 1980's that if they give people free samples they could turn unsuspecting people into junkies who would buy their product daily.

My theory with eBay's 50 free listings is they are hoping to get new junkies hooked to the point they will go out spend money on inventory, open an eBay store and pay for more listings. At that point, they're trapped just like millions of small to mid-sized sellers with 500+ items paying $50 a month for a premium store and .05 per listing.

Of course, eBay will make sure the people using 50 free listings get greater exposure because they're hoping to get them hooked.

Any proof to this?

Before I quit selling on eBay a few months ago, I was TRS/Powerseller with a premium store. Sales and traffic were slowing down month after month so I decided to signup a second account for the 50 free listings and dump some of my slowest moving merchandise via auction.

You guessed it, the 50 free account had a much better completed auction rate AND for items that just wouldn't move on my TRS/PS account.

It's not just that little experiment but other factors with eBay's deceptive business practices were the tipping point causing me to move my business away. I simply will not do business with an unethical company no matter whatever the cost to me, it's bad karma and will eventually come back to bit you in the arse.

Anyone wonder why they've changed the TOS to limit class action suits?

An honest company does not take measures of that nature.

Mark my words, eBay's collapse will be bigger than Enron's and it's coming sooner than you think so eBay sellers better get on the ball and find someplace else to conduct business.

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