Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Jan 22 2013 09:54:06

eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is now hiding the selling price of any item that sold with a "Best Offer." The company has not notified buyers and sellers that it changed the display or the reason for the new practice. This leaves buyers and sellers on eBay unable to determine what certain items typically sell for on eBay, an important part of the buying and selling process, especially for unusual or collectible items.

On January 9th, we wrote about eBay's decision to display the listing price instead of the selling price for Best Offers in search results. But clicking through to the listing did allow visitors to see the actual selling price at that time. The example used was for a vase that showed a selling price of $1,400 in its Completed Item search results, but had actually sold for $850, which eBay displayed in the listing.

But now, eBay displays the listing price crossed out, and the actual selling price is invisible and completely inaccessible.



This is detrimental to both buyers and sellers doing research to find out what items sell for on eBay. And the new practice could also present a problem to consignors who list items on behalf of clients. The clients have no way of discretely verifying the selling price the consignor has reported to them for items that sell with Best Offer.

An eBay seller wrote on the discussion boards, "eBay eliminated the ability to see what a Best Offer item sold for ??? Why?"

An EcommerceBytes reader said an eBay customer service representative told her the new practice was a deliberate policy change. She said for now, the data remains available on Terapeak, a paid tool that licenses eBay data.

Some eBay users have wondered which selling price eBay includes in GMV numbers reported to shareholders - "I still would lay odds that the higher asking price now feeds into the GMV number they report to Wall Street," wrote one seller. (Best Offers are always lower than the listing price.)

Another eBay user wrote, "I just thought of one other reason: they may be short of bandwidth, and wish to free some up by no longer offering the ability to see Completed Listings. What ebay wishes to eliminate, they first make hidden and/or useless."




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

by: Brainiac jones This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 22 10:34:20 2013

Frankly, As a seller, I would prefer that the actual selling price NOT be shown for the simple reason that it shows truer market values...which often means an incentive for sellers to dicker more over given prices. Aagh. Of course, I as a seller want this info so I can price things correctly. Can't have it both ways.

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Jan 22 11:23:04 2013

Why on earth would buyers or sellers anticipate honesty and transparency from eBay?

Surely both have experienced at one time or another eBay's culture for obfuscation designed to improve their standing with Wall Street Analysts.

What other reason could there possibly be to intentionally conceal the actual price an item sold for other than to eliminate the ability to honestly and accurately estimate the market value?

Apparently, eBay does not want Wall Street Analysts digging into selling prices and finding eBay has been flat out lying and misrepresenting their Gross Merchandise Value (GMV)announced during their quarterly result reports.

This is a typical move out of the Bain playbook... Impose a system change with absolutely no notice or explanation what so ever in order to impose your will and conceal the facts. This kind of knee jerk action is always an indicator of eBay's dirty tricks either now or in the immediate future.

Unfortunately for investors, Wall Street Analysts are too ignorant to realize the truth, or too deep sold on the disingenuous culture that prevails at eBay. As a result, they are making recommendations about eBay stock based wholly on false quarterly report statements and books that have been cooked by the Bain system imposed by John Donahoe.  

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

by: macsbaby This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 22 11:53:02 2013

I actually think this is good, and I am a seller and buyer. As a seller it helps bring up values on rarer items. If you have something that there are 10 on ebay at any given time, wellllll its not hard to figure out. You can also subscribe to Terapeak and cough up another fee....probably what its really about.  

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 22 11:55:53 2013

Ric,

Not long ago this is how it was, we discussed here when ebay let it all hang out and disclosed accepted best offers.

I for one think this is how it should be, I have no interest in anyone knowing what offer I have accepted, it could be (and usually is) based on quantity or perhaps other factors.  

If I have hundreds of an item and someone wants one I am not going as low as I might if they want 50 of them, a $2000 order.

All the ridiculous ebay generalizations they make are confusing.  

Witness I often list cheaper business items in lots to make them worth selling.  Like a lot of 3 or even 10 or 20 business phones.  

As you know ebay then ignores the lots and thinks I sold that item for however much the lot was and then below the picture what does it say?

''Have one to sell, average price $200''.  When that was a lot of 3 or 5 that I sold. Ridiculous.

I consider a price I accepted from one buyer a private matter where best offers are concerned.  I never answer those emails from buyers, ''how much would you accept''.

FWIW, I have best offer on most of our items but rarely do I accept an offer of more than $5-$10 less.  If I think something is worth $50 I might list it at $60.  I think listing it at $200 and then accepting $50 would be nuts, and I never do that.

Not that I don't get offers all the time. I do.    

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

by: Susan Averello This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Jan 22 17:35:12 2013

It doesn't seem so odd. special offers may be truly represent the going rate. I've gotten great deals that way becasue of the sellers circumstances and done the same as a seller once or twice.  

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

by: AgendaSwallowsAll This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 22 20:08:43 2013

Completed item search had been a valuable tool over the years allowing us to readily and near immediately see what's hot for the day or in some instances a 2-3 hour window but as ebay increasingly took away the utilization of martketing skills from its sellers through the ever changing Best Match algorithm, it's not only near worthless now but irritating in most instances as ebay has chased or buried all entrepeneurs, replacing them with they who have no concept of business making all product worthless as soon as it hits the market.

We're over search in general, you go to look item now and thousands upon thousands of items having nothing to do with your entered search appear.

 

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

by: sickandtired This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 22 23:27:50 2013

I agree that ebay must have some hidden agenda when hiding actual selling prices.....can you smell their pants burning :)

As a seller of antiques, china, collectables etc, it is critical for me to know what the market is for specific items or certain types of items in general.  I research sold prices before I go to auctions and check things out when people answer my ads and have items they want me to buy. Most of my dealer friends do the same thing when they intend  to list the items on ebay.  Regardless of how much we are badgered to just shut up and move on, there is still a sizable number of sellers for whom the best venue is still ebay.

This latest blow is just one more in a never ending rain of hits that we have to try and roll with.

I also occasionally sell items on consignment and the easiest way to establish trust with the consignor is simply to print out the invoice or Paypal payment notice and include it with the paperwork.

The more secretive, deceptive and downright squirrelly ebay becomes the more stressful and depressing it is to be struggling along on this sinking ship.

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Jan 22 23:54:39 2013

Since this causes research to take longer, fewer items are going to be listed on ebay. Ebay is missing the boat with this one by having sellers research their items on other sites and then listing on other sites as well. Keeping sellers on ebay's site, you would think, should be key to ebay making money. Oh, I just remembered ''We don't need the money'' Devin Wenig

Guess this is true since ebay has made it clear they don't want small or medium sellers either. Only on ebay does the term working smart actually mean stupid. Much easier disassembling a successful past.

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: askalice59

Wed Jan 23 00:38:16 2013

sickandtired I loved the pants on fire comment. I noticed this new thing today and thought, to quote Dorothy Parker, ''what fresh hell is this?'' and it got me thinking about how I hear sellers say 'it's like eBay threw a switch and my page hits and sales took a dive'. Maybe it all does have to do with bandwidth. I know nothing about how their servers work but what if they are trying to cut costs by putting segments of the system to sleep? I don't know? Does anyone know if this is a possibility? Like all of the sudden I am flooded with Feedback comments. People I sold to 6 months ago are giving me feedback. I've wondered why I was getting so few comments all this time and them wham.

Anyway, I usually set my offer acceptance to 10% to 20% off of my BIN price. I don't really want buyers to figure that out but it's really more important for me to see what an item actually sold for so I can determine a reasonable price. Who knows?

But, in spite of my rage, I'm still just a rat in a cage...

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
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Wed Jan 23 01:51:08 2013

@sickandtired,

It’s simple, lower prices, less revenue for ebafia …

Regrettably, “deception” has always been a given with ebafia; the same way you can always tell that an eBay/PayPal spokesperson is lying—their lips are moving!

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Jan 23 03:07:05 2013

I find the entire concept of Best Offer a huge pita for many reasons.

In my opinion, it contributes to the overall buyer/seller tension and mistrust that exists on ebafia courtesy of management whose shortage of bandwidth is between their ears.

Like another poster, I think ebafia's principal motivation is to further muck up the GMV numbers.

Frankly I hope they eliminate Best Offer altogether. As far as I'm concerned, it's the biggest single waste of my time, and I'm sick and tired of getting offers when I don't accept them.

Accepting Best Offers decreases seller profitability unless the listed price is inflated to start with.

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
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Wed Jan 23 03:33:31 2013

"eBay eliminated the ability to see what a Best Offer item sold for ??? Why?"

I would have thought that the reason was obvious. They don’t want anyone, including Wall Street, to see how pathetic the prices obtained are becoming …

Ebafia already does not indicate a “no sale” in Completed Items for BIN items that roll over and over, and over, and over, ad infinitum …

Certainly, as Ming says, any “shortage of bandwidth is between their ears” … With respect to the bandwidth of the eBay site, I have only on the very rare occasions had anything but an instantaneous response therefrom … The problem is indeed, all in the heads, or the lack thereof, of the headless turkeys running around in circles in the eBay executive suite …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 23 07:19:49 2013

"O, what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive" - Often attributed to Shakespeare, but was actually written by Sir Walter Scott.

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

by: nsc This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Jan 23 09:16:41 2013

@sickandtired, I hear you. I'm in the exact same boat as you.

@Ming, Best Offer is traditional in the art, collectible and antiques markets. It makes sense there. As always, ebay is trying to run Sotheby's and Walmart by the same set of rules.

@Philip, there isn't a Wall Street analyst on earth who knows or cares what sort of prices things go for on ebay. They only want to know how it affects the bottom line, and that means GMV growth and profit margins.

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

by: VJ This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 23 09:55:04 2013

I think that the reason they are no longer showing the price is that there have been lots of complaints by sellers that the entire Best Offer concept cheapens the site into a flea market type venue. Think about it, you cannot go into a department store and haggle about an items price with the manager.

More importantly AMazon does not allow it either and this is probably the reason why there average selling price is much higher than ebays.  

As far as the research aspect goes: I can see why it is a hassle for some sellers but there are so many sales data sites out there that there already exists a plethora of data. The costs of joining these sites has come down substantially.  

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

by: nsc This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Jan 23 10:46:48 2013

@VJ, this is a case where different markets simply have different traditions. You are expected to haggle in an antiques store, and that goes for the expensive stores as well as the flea markets. In other parts of the world, haggling is the norm for everything.

ebay never understood the opportunity they had when they were the best place on earth to check the price of antiques and collectibles. They threw that opportunity away, not understanding what it was worth.

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Jan 23 10:58:32 2013

I like it.  I never liked the fact that on BO's you could see the history.  I felt it gave the buyers an unfair advantage against the seller.  They could clearly see what prices the seller would accept.  So in some cases the seller may make less money than they otherwise could have if the values weren't displayed.  So to me, this seems like a great change to me.

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

by: Duke This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 23 11:12:50 2013

I don't think they're getting rid of completed listings yet, I think they're beta testing.  In the past few months, Completed Listings have shown up several different ways for me.  

In the past couple of weeks, Completed Listings have now been moved to the top of the item view, next to the Sort and View options.  Now I can click on Active Listings, Completed Listings, or Sold Listings.

It's pretty easy to use and I like being able to compare the completed listings with the sold listings with one click.

My fear is that eBay will start to hide the unsold listings and only show the sold ones.  Which would be bad.

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Jan 23 11:21:14 2013

@Duke

This isn't about "completed listings", it's about whatever price the seller accepted a Best Offer for.  The transaction still shows, just not what it sold for.  

Perminate Link for eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales   eBay Hides Selling Prices of Some Completed Sales

by: ruthie This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 23 11:51:09 2013

''The transaction still shows, just not what it sold for.''

I wouldn't be surprised if within the next couple of seller updates they apply this to ALL sales.  

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