|Thu Feb 16 2012 11:23:50|
eBay to Offer Free Image Hosting, Other Changes on the Way
By: Ina Steiner
Three years ago, eBay made image-hosting free in four categories: Collectibles, Art, Pottery & Glass, and Antiques, and continued to charge for images in other categories (the first picture is free, each additional picture costs 15 cents). eBay will reportedly begin offering free image-hosting in most categories as part of its seller updates this year, just one of the changes rumored to be coming in the May release.
One indication of why eBay would be willing to make the cost of listing less expensive for sellers came this month when it confirmed it was running tests in which it is placing ads directly on sellers' listings for which sellers pay insertion fees. Back when Yahoo had an auction platform, it did away with all listing and commission fees when it decided to monetize the site through advertising.
eBay is unlikely to do anything quite as drastic since its ad revenue is a fraction of its seller fees. However, eBay already offers casual sellers a certain amount of free listings, and it has begun placing advertisements in the 30 free listings it provides to casual sellers in Australia. (See the EcommerceBytes Blog for more information about the two types of ads eBay is currently testing on eBay.com.)
Other changes eBay is working on include additional shipping features (Fedex label printing and shipping profiles) and changes to its internal communication system known as My Messages.
An announcement from eBay about restrictions on the return policies sellers can offer has been expected for some time. Soon, sellers will no longer be able to offer "Merchandise credit" and "Exchange" as refund methods (the only options will be "Money back," "Money back or exchange," or "no returns accepted"). And sellers will no longer be able to offer 3- and 7-day return options (the only options will be 14 days, 30 days, 60 days, or "no returns accepted").
Of course, even if sellers specify "no returns accepted," buyers will still be able to return items if they don't match the item description and the buyer files an eBay Buyer Protection case.
Word has it that sellers can expect to be underwhelmed by Seller Release 1 - stay tuned as more information becomes available.