Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Nov 21 2017 21:33:34

eBay Rolls Out Features Not Ready for Prime Time

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay CEO Devin Wenig promised Wall Street they would be able to see the fruits of the company's Structured Data Initiative (SDI) by the holiday shopping season. Wenig has sold Wall Street on his vision of a catalog approach similar to Amazon for years, believing it provides both a better user experience and better SEO for search-engine traffic.

"You'll be able to see the new experiences in eBay from space by this holiday and we still believe that that will be the case," he said when updating analysts on the SDI initiative in July.

The holidays are here, and one thing is clear - sellers are seeing the impact of eBay's changes. When eBay's head of Seller Experience Bob Kupbens published a blog post on Thursday about the changes of 2017 (and alluding to more changes in 2018), sellers gave him an earful in the comments.

One seller said "eBay needs to stop launching products that aren't fit for purpose," telling Kupbens, "I know you don't run the product shop but you need to lead the gating process that decides whether stuff should be rolled out to the production platform."

As an example, he pointed to the rollout of a revamped Markdown Manager seller tool for running promotions that was not fully functional: 

"Replacement of Markdown Manager by Promotions Manager. Sorry but it just doesn't have any of the necessary functionality and migration should not have been made mandatory until you at least had feature parity. You can't add items to running sales, so it proliferates one item promos. Each promo is a separate campaign whereas with MM all sales were bundled together for the purposes of populating the promo box above the description section. If you have a 5% discount, you can't also have a 10% without creating a new promo. I could go on. Did you sign off on this launch? Or is stuff "escaping" from the labs with no checks or controls by your team?"

Another self-described large UK seller described a nightmare scenario. He had doubled his sales thanks to eBay's introduction of Product Reviews. But in September, eBay lost a thousand reviews from 55 of his best selling listings - the culprit: grouping of items for grouped search. 

Grouped search is one of those improved search experiences Wenig promised Wall Street.

The seller explained, "These are my own brand of products but the problem was caused by other sellers using my product identifiers incorrectly for unrelated products to hijack my reviews. It confused the Structured Data and they were lost. That has caused me about £25,000 GBP loss in sales. I have loads of stock still sitting there because without the reviews I do not stick out."

Devin Wenig took over from eBay CEO John Donahoe in July of 2015 and is feeling pressure to show Wall Street that his concept for improving eBay is working. But based on what sellers have written to eBay's head of Seller Experience Bob Kupbens over the past week, rushing out not-ready-for-prime-time tools and experiences is proving costly, for them.

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by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 21 21:57:04 2017

Wenig should handicap the horses and the NFL...it's all data, right?
Meanwhile, stock is down 7% over the last 7 weeks, and has been largely flat for the last month.
It's almost like some brokers have found the ebay discussion boards.

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by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 21 22:05:36 2017

eBay would have been better off if Devin was never hired in the first place, the marketplace was much better 6-8 years ago and the operation script interface and modules were much better than we have today.

So none of the changes have done any good for the eBay marketplace, in fact the search engine was much better 7 years ago than it is today.

With eBay removing over 50 posts from KupBust's blog post we will never know what those sellers posted Ina.

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by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 21 22:31:42 2017

@esb...
I made the comment on the 50 posts...they're actually still there.
That blog appeared to be just one continuous page, and took me to what I thought was the top of page 1. I had been into it several times, but I didn't recognize the 1st comment, and assumed it and others had been pulled...I had been taken to page 2, which is not usually automatic.
The 1st comment (and the others) are still there. It's a great synopsis of ebay's duplicity.
It should raise some eyebrows, but looks like that ship has sailed.

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by: 1st Armored Div. 1971-1973 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 21 23:14:50 2017

Sales are down 25% this month compared to this time last year. Of course, it did not help ebay arbitrarily taking down 4,500 of my listings earlier this year or about 30% of my listings.

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by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 21 23:18:26 2017

They took your listings down for what reason?

This is a major problem that the entire eBay selling team refused to answer on their own forums because they have no valid answer for this monumental disgrace.

They were pulling down listings for UPC and GTC that were not selling, millions of them with no answer to sellers.

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by: Cimfubar This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 22 00:24:04 2017

I did not see in the new Mark Down Manager a place where you could select,just newly listed ads. That made it easy to do on the old format. I had to search my pages for all of the new ads I just posted.   I continue to ad to my store, and then put those new ads up on sale...  Now it takes a lot more time to do that.   Searching thru 20 pages.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Wed Nov 22 00:28:07 2017

Listen WENIG : Stop promising Wall Street anything.
Ebay, Etsy, eCrater, Ruby Lane and others are UNLISTABLE as stocks.
They don't possess that which makes a stock listable.
WENIG : you have no idea what a company needs to be made of to Be a listable Stock.
Ebay is merely a venue. Nothing Else. Ebay makes NO TANGIBLE PRODUCT.
Ebay is UNLISTABLE. Get that through your head, dunce.
ANYHOW : Back in the day, Prime Time would arrive with Great Fanfare. Push back the supper dishes and high tail it to the computer to see the latest development on the item you're stalking to bid on (that's before stupid sniping software), or the item you're selling.
Free flow of communication was fabulous. Friends were made. Connections were made.
The anticipation of the money order or check showing up in the mailbox was incomparable.
The moment you won the bid, even if it was 3 in the morning, was worth it.
If you were lucky enough to become a business, celebration was in order.
Running your new business your way.
Trusted customers, coveted sales.
It was quite the time.

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This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Wed Nov 22 00:29:55 2017

I make the sign of the cross every time I see "eBay rolls out..."

Please, reel it back in!

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Wed Nov 22 00:58:04 2017

Ebay = DotCom bubble = Enron = pump and dump = Capstone Therapeutics = Green Innovations.
Ebay is A SCAM as long as it's listed on Wall Street.

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by: Studiolines This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 22 01:00:54 2017

@LasVagueness........my laugh for the night-Ebay rolls out

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by: bb6 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 22 01:49:35 2017

Why does no one ask this question. Ebay why do you wait until prime time Christmas shopping time to roll out all your new crap? February would be a much better time, not 4th Quarter!!!! You do it every year and every year there are issues. Why stunt the growth of your sellers at every turn. Instead of having them ramp up for the holidays to grow business you make them change backgrounds, remove links, remove borders, remove text, (by the way Chinese sellers don't abide by these rules and some how their listings are everywhere on ebay. God for bid I have 1 up and you take it down) add code for Https and code to make your listing fit on the mobile screen, add code to fix the viewport meta tag and remove all active content, most that you or the 3rd parties you recommended for years added to the bottoms of all the listings. These are things your coders should be doing behind the scenes. I and most if not all sellers are tired of jumping all of those hoops revising thousands upon thousands of listings eatting up hours of the day and in some cases paying employees to help get it all done, to have you come out with another Spring, Summer, or  Fall update to tell us to update something else!!!  You are a multi billion dollar company, it's about time you start acting like it.

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by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 22 03:22:55 2017

The problem is that Ebay is paying substandard help substandard wages to try and get their coding done correctly and they are not able to do it.  So Ebay forces us to make all these changes because they are so cheap and stupid that they make all their changes on our live data rather than on a backup version to see what is going to happen.  After that happens their pathetic programmers have no idea how to fix anything so it is left broken and they start working on the next part of the program to break.

Cheapness or should I say lack of the ability to know when to invest in additional hardware instead of their bonuses or some quick fix to try and keep the stock price up, is also the reason that Ebay has to eliminate listings that they deem to be a waste of space as the listings have far exceeded the capacity of their servers.  That is why so many are not shown at any given time or just plain deleted.  If they would take some of that money and invest in the future it would eventually pay off, but they know they would be long gone before those results come to fruition so that will never happen..  

The real problem is that Donohoe, and now Wenig, only know how to operate a company with short term goals which have crippled Ebay's ability to ever have a long term financial plan in effect that Wenig or any of his upper management will be around to see if it is successful.  This is because the stock price would take such a hit in the interim that he would be out the door and/or hung in effigy by the shareholders.   Every fix that is now put into place is to try and shore up the bottom line results for the current quarter with absolutely no design or look at the future.

Wenig felt that China was Ebays future and has run the company into the ground trying to show that he was right.  Eventually that is all that will remain on Ebay because all the megasellers will have already stolen all the buyers they wanted from EBay at the cheapest customer acquisition cost in history.  Ebay gives them unlimited FREE listings each month (there goes all that extra space that Ebay keeps clearing up by deleting our listings that were paid for) and lower FVF than the rest of us have and then sits there punishing us for taking business off of EBay while these sellers include discount coupons to be used on their website next time rather than pay the extra money on Ebay.  So in effect Ebay is almost paying them to take our customers away from Ebay and move them to their websites then charges us FVF for sales that we dont even make because they have to show Wall Street that they are cracking down on the sellers stealing their buyers...  What a joke, but Wenig and his team continue to push for this type of business and deals with the Chinese who continually sell counterfeit, defective or dangerous goods to Ebays buyers and then they wonder why the buyers don't come back to Ebay.

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This user has validated their user name. by: lupo-store

Wed Nov 22 05:26:23 2017

Hi,
Yes I am the 'self-described large UK seller'.  I am fairly large by UK standards with 314,000 FB.  
The nightmare is still happening.  eBay started losing these reviews at the start of September.  In all I lost around 1000 reviews on 55 listings.  Of those 39 have regained reviews 3 weeks ago and are back at the top of search.
It has been the worst issue I have faced on eBay in 17 years.  I have managed to get David Wenig's team involved but nobody seems to be able to solve these last few listings.  The issue eBay concierge have had in Ireland is that the Structured Data Team and Reviews team are based in Israel so the only way Concierge can contact them is via email and most have been ignored.  Structurally eBay has fallen down on this point.

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

Wed Nov 22 06:13:12 2017

Why anyone who falls between being a small seller and ebays big box chinese sellers stays on ebay is beyond me. Why be messed about by them and pay fees on every sale just to attract an audience that is declining and that ebay will back to the hilt when they decide to return goods,not pay or slate with bad feed back?. I closed my 'store' on ebay years ago and sell my tools worldwide from my own web site and have not regretted it. Stop pandering to their whims and half baked ideas,be your own boss not ebays lackey.

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This user has validated their user name. by: VV

Wed Nov 22 09:26:07 2017

Ebay is the only company I know of that tests beta code in a live environment.

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by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 22 09:33:42 2017

Excellent comments- most of them could be said about Etsy as well.

It's become a race to the bottom:  lower your prices to nothing and give free shipping.

No American seller can compete with the Chinese who have 10 cents an hour  labor and free shipping thanks to Uncle Sam.

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by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 22 11:14:45 2017

Poor Wenig...he can't raise the stock price without lowering seller confidence.
The things you care about are the things you get done.

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by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 22 11:24:22 2017

For those who missed it, here is a link to Bob Kupbens' blog post:

https://community.ebay.com/t5/eBay-for-Business/Bob-s-Blog-201
7-Retrospective-Looking-Back-While-Continuing-to/ba-p/27751878

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by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 22 11:27:46 2017

 http://www.nasdaq.com/article/hp-enterprise-ceo-meg-whitman-to-s
tep-down-20171121-01186

Devin
hearing footsteps..........

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by: dans parts This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 22 12:02:06 2017

Don't forget, it's not just the new roll-outs that are causing us problems.

I bought a couple items from a Seller the other day, and tried to add one more in the Cart, and it wouldn't combine them.  It just wanted me to pay for the additional item by itself (with the additional shipping fee).  So, just let it sit.

Tried it again today, and this time Cart worked like it was supposed to - added the new item in with the others and let me Request New Total.

And, did they ever fix the International Labels shipping problem?  I haven't had an International order to ship in the last two weeks, so don't know if they've fixed this month-old problem.

Baling wire, chewing gum and spit - that's all that's holding this old barge together.  And they keep adding more tonnage to have to float in their contraption.

Ugh.

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