eBay will no longer host weekly chats where sellers and buyers can ask questions about site features, changes, or problems they encountered.
It's difficult to convey how significant a change this is, and what a loss it is as a resource to sellers in particular.
It's also a big loss to eBay. Any employee, manager, executive, Board member, could take a quick pulse of selling conditions by perusing the weekly chat, if they wanted to. I certainly found it helpful to see what was on sellers' minds and what new information I could glean from moderators that could prove helpful to readers.
eBay will host an entirely different kind of session once a month where sellers will be limited to asking questions on a certain topic - with no way to ask direct questions on any topic where they need help.
"We've decided to move to a monthly cadence with a theme" - a rather stilted explanation. "This new guided chat format will occur every second Wednesday of the month (starting June 8th) and we'll invite experts from various teams to participate. We'll also let you know in advance what the topic will be about so you can come prepared."
The irony of course is that sellers routinely begged eBay to have experts from various eBay teams be on hand at weekly chats, especially during the transition to managed payments, but themed chats were rare events.
So what about sellers who need answers or want to alert eBay to a particular issue? "Since Community members can tag us whenever they want and we've heard from you that you want themed chats, we've decided to go this route," eBay said. (We're curious if everyone knows how to tag a moderator.)
An eBay moderator suggested to participants in what turned out to be the last chat session: "if any questions pop up that you would have held on to for a weekly chat, you don't have to wait now. Just post them in the relevant board, making sure to tag us, and we'll be there to help just like we would have here."
It seems inefficient to expect sellers to create individual threads for issues that many other sellers are likely to have. (Searching eBay discussion boards for posts about an issue you're interested in is time-consuming and not always fruitful.)
There was a sense of community if you visited regularly, even though there were probably a lot more lurkers like me. But those who were regular posters had camaraderie, even sharing recipes with eBay staff during the holidays.
It's a sad day not just for the loss of the weekly chat as a useful resource for users, but for the message it sends to sellers. Agree? Disagree? Let me know.