Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Dec 19 2013 23:19:26

Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay created a new category on its marketplace for "digital comics," signaling a return to digital content, which it banned in 2008. However, eBay sellers should not get their hopes up of being approved to list digital content. Despite the new category, sellers are not allowed to sell digital comic books on the site.

eBay entered into a deal with comiXology to create the new category. And, as EcommerceBytes explains in Friday's Newsflash newsletter, you can't actually buy digital comics on eBay - you are taken to a third-party marketplace to make your purchase.



Here's how it works: if you drill down into the comics category on eBay (Collectibles & Arts - Comics), you'll see "Digital Comics" at the bottom of the genre list. Clicking that will take you to eBay.com/bit/comics. When you find something you like and click on it, eBay will redirect you to the comiXology website where you will have to create a comiXology account in order to make the purchase. (Digital titles do not show up in eBay search results at this time, by the way.)

When eBay banned digital content from its site in 2008 - a devastating move for many sellers, it explained: "Most items that require digital delivery, once created, can be very easily replicated. This ease of replication creates the opportunity for sellers to list thousands of the same item in an attempt to manipulate the Feedback system." Note that sellers can list digital content on eBay in the Classified Ad format (raise your hand if you knew - or remembered - that eBay had a classifieds format).

What a huge error this has turned out to be given the market for digital content today (it's hard to imagine eBay giving up this market because it couldn't identify sellers manipulating the feedback system).

eBay now says it's working toward offering digital comics on eBay. And if it's working on offering digital comics, could ebooks be far behind?

There are two major issues that are of concern to eBay sellers:

- Will sending shoppers away from the eBay comics category hurt sales of real-life comic books on the eBay marketplace?

- Will eBay shut out "regular" sellers from listing digital content as it expands this area?

Also of curiosity is eBay's  revenue model for the new category - see Brigid Alverson's take on GoodeReader.com.




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Perminate Link for Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat   Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Fri Dec 20 07:39:37 2013

----- ''What a huge error this has turned out to be given the market for digital content today (it's hard to imagine eBay giving up this market because it couldn't identify sellers manipulating the feedback system).''

I think this pretty much sums up the type of linear vision that eBay has. During JD's tenure, it has been a bit myopic (and wearing horse-blinkers).

In eBayworld, everything is black... or white. Nothing in-between.

But, this type of binary thinking---and binary problem-solving---usually ends up causing more problems down the road.

And, as we see in this case... eBay's inability (unwillingness) to consider other solutions has led them directly down the AVENUE OF MISSED OPPORTUNITIES.

Were some sellers using digital content to manipulate and inflate their feedback? --- This is almost CERTAIN to be the case! Of course they were! (And, even today, it appears that some are selling PAPER CLIPS to do the same thing. Should eBay now ban the sale of paper-clips?)

Fact is, if clear-thinking people had prevailed, eBay COULD HAVE come up with A DIFFERENT solution and a more RATIONAL response to that type of feedback manipulation.

Instead, eBay execs and policy-makers chose to solve the perceived problem with a stick of TNT when a fly-swatter would have been perfectly fine.

And now, as a result, we see that eBay is flirting with a concept that (at best) would only let eBay limp into a game of catch-up. It's eBay's way of saying ''HEY! ME TOO!'' (Or more accurately, ''Uh, hello? Me too? Maybe? Hey guys? Can I play? Hey, where ya going... I wanna play too!'')

Lack-of-vision and bull-headed arrogance are the signature characteristics of this eBay administration.

To me, this is non-news. It's the latest bit of window dressing that is intended to give the perception that eBay is a cutting-edge player in the world of digital content.

At this same time next year (or perhaps even by the Spring) this will have been forgotten and abandoned. Nothing will come of it.

Perminate Link for Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat   Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat

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

Fri Dec 20 08:11:26 2013

eBay put a lot of people out of business removing the sale of digital goods (e-books) from it's platform. It was a large mistake, but then again eBay loves making mistakes. They love placing their own head on the curb so it can be stepped on.

Perminate Link for Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat   Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat

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

Fri Dec 20 08:56:25 2013

“… This ease of replication creates the opportunity for sellers to list thousands of the same item in an attempt to manipulate the Feedback system.”

How curious, eBay claims to be concerned about sellers manipulating feedback (and indeed they do discount feedback numbers where a particular buyer buys two or more items in a week), yet they are not concerned about the demonstrable, endemic, shill bidding fraud on nominal-start auctions by professional sellers. Now why would they be concerned about such a minor infringement such as feedback manipulation and yet not be concerned about blatant criminal activity? Oh, hang on, there’s no FVF on feedback …

And they have not yet gotten round to banning the sale of single paper clips, et al … What a bunch of disingenuous shysters these people are …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat   Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat

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

Fri Dec 20 09:12:46 2013

Off topic but … Interesting video of the Senate Judiciary Committee examining the consequences of the SCOTUS decision to uphold the American Express mandatory binding arbitration provision. It seems likely from a viewing of this video that hopefully the Congress will legislate to nullify this obnoxious decision. An interesting viewing, particularly watching the disingenuous shyster Prof. Rutledge squirm near the end …

http://consumerist.com/2013/12/19/watch-al-franken-shred-a-pro-arb
itration-professor-for-trying-to-gloss-over-the-problem/


Perminate Link for Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat   Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 20 09:29:19 2013

I'll stay out of the "digital items for resale" issue (not because I dont have an opinion (purchasing vs license) but because that isnt the focus here (really).

Ina wonders why you cant sell digital comics on eBay, yet eBay pushes it themselves.... and by extention sends you to another site to do the purchase?

Simple Answer: (the same answer I gave yesterday about Parallel Imports and Arbitage.

eBay is ONLY interested in 1 thing and 1 thing only (besides stealing money from their sellers) NOT being sued by companies larger then they are.

People think eBays "so big" ... no they arent. Vitton, Denon, Skullcandy, Sony and all the other players/manufactorers out there (who HATE eBay) would GLADLY sue eBay in a heartbeat and eBay knows it.

After all, wy go to all the trouble stealing money from your sellers (charging for listings then never showing them, charging for listings then switching the customers to thier own specific large sellers, stealing via fraud, deception, forced returns etc - then have to sepnd that hard gotten loot in court defending yourself.

That money is for JD and Wenigs golden parachute. You cant expect Wenig and Griff to retire ona mere few million - and with out a carribean island to go to.

eBay fears that one thing - being sued - they dont fear bad press, they dont fear state or local regulators or even the cc companies - they fear being dragged into court by Burberry or similar and being put through the ringer by being accused of copyright and tradfemark infringment.

Thats why theres an MC099 Parallel Iport violation. VERO admits they dont know the laws but if company X says you violated thier rights - right or wrong - eBay pulls your listing. "Screw you and the horse you came in on - we arent taking up for you or your rights as a seller, we arnt here to defend you".

Thats your "trading parter" eBay in 2014 - always looking out for themselves and never you (or me).

Every Amazon sale I make that could have made on eBay THRILLS me to no end - if I can deny them even a penny - it makes my day.

Selling digital anything on eBay opens them up to that kind of litigation - the one thing they are afraid of (JD - no brains, no balls, no experience).

Perminate Link for Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat   Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat

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

Fri Dec 20 19:06:08 2013

I think there's some revisionist history at work here.

As I recall, ebafia banned digital content principally because they couldn't figure out a way to sufficiently monetize it on the back end.

At least that's what I remember, but I could be suffering from holiday eggnog confabulation.

Perminate Link for Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat   Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 20 23:31:02 2013

Ming, your memory is usually spot on. But who would accuse ebay of such blatant greed?

Perminate Link for Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat   Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat

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

Sat Dec 21 02:24:52 2013

NetWatch asks:

But who would accuse ebay of such blatant greed?

Sheldon Adelson maybe?

The Pope?

The Walton heirs?

Jack Welch?

Jesus?

Captain Nemo?

OK, I give up. Who would say such a thing?

Perminate Link for Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat   Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat

This user has validated their user name. by: Captain Nemo

Sat Dec 21 10:48:46 2013

Ming - your memory really is short.

The way digital media was being sold on ebay was rife with fraud.  It was a part of the cesspool of garbage being sold on ebay during the Meg years.  All those .01 cent auctions in every category selling TV's and electronics that turned out to be those old recycled ''wholesale lists'' instead of actual products.  It was a factor in ebays declining market.

Ina says ''What a huge error this has turned out to be given the market for digital content today'' - that's a bad analysis because no major market is selling digital goods the way ebay had been doing it.  That free-for-all circus of unlimited ''resale rights'' junk promising everything from ''millions on ebay'' to ''cure cancer with herbs''.  That was not the digital revolution - and is not the digital revolution we see today.

What Amazon (and Apple) have built is a dependable and reputable digital marketplace of real books and music offered by real publishers.  

I have no idea if ebay's ''corporate greed'' or fear of ''feedback manipulation'' had anything to do with it.  I do know that the peer-to-peer model - at least in 2008 - was NOT working and was hurting the site from a buyers perspective.  

Ebay was a cesspool of ebook crap that seeped into every category. As a seller, I hated that I was having to compete with ''fake'' digital products in tangible product areas.

So yeah, all your memories are a bit cloudy, Ming and Ina included.

Could ebay somehow create a an actual peer-to-peer digital marketplace in 2013?  They could, but I doubt they will even try.

I see this comic book thing (which  seems poorly implemented at this point) as simply an extension of ebay's move to bringing in ''big'' sellers.  I can see them doing something similar with existing digital publishers, like Audible.

But it's just like this new brick and mortal, local inventory thing.  I think ebay believes it will work like Amazon's fulfillment - but without them having to do anything.  Buy it on ebay, pick it up locally - or have it locally delivered.  I think it's so far outside of their business model - and Amazon is doing it right already - that it's destined to fail.

I sell all over the place, including ebay, and I agree with most on here that think ebay needs to stop looking for the next-great-ecommerce-innovation and start thinking about what they can do to make things work best for their EXISTING sellers.  You know, us guys that actually keep the lights on.

Stop making the P2P marketplace a ''Peer vs Peer'' place - selling is not an adversarial event.

Stop making every little mistake a seller does into a suspension moment.

Start realizing that every Neg and every ''1'' DSR does not mean the seller is bad - maybe the buyer is the problem.

Stop treating every seller as if we are all doing the same thing in the same way.

And most importantly, stop treating sellers like the enemy.  It's exactly the same thing cynical sellers do with their buyers.  They may not all be perfect, but they are not all out to get you either.

So sayeth the Captain...

Perminate Link for Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat   Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat

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

Sat Dec 21 18:58:10 2013

Lames response,  Nemo. Lame.

Perminate Link for Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat   Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat

This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Sat Dec 21 19:10:42 2013

"So sayeth the Captain..."

Wasn't that one of Reverend Bubba Flavel's lines in Porky's II: The Next Day?

Perminate Link for Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat   Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 22 01:21:50 2013

''ebay was rife with fraud.'' Was?

Perminate Link for Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat   Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat

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

Sun Dec 22 04:11:57 2013

Yes, it’s quite comical to use the past tense in any reference to fraud on eBay, particularly the ongoing endemic shill bidding auction fraud on nominal-start auctions by professional sellers that demonstrably eBay calculatedly facilitates and aids and abets before and after the fact ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Then, the bureaucracy appears to be so corrupted by such large corporations that the likes of eBay can participate in such criminal activity with impunity, apparently. The hypocrisy is mind-boggling! The master fraud facilitator, the cretinous Johnny Ho, has even been recently appointed to another government advisory position!

“Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.”—Franklin D. Roosevelt

Obviously, both of these corrupting influences are well reflected in eBay Inc.

Perminate Link for Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat   Comics Signal a Return of Digital Content to eBay, with Caveat

by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 23 00:02:18 2013

In ''Comics'' on eBay there are 2,482 listings for digital comics right now.  So, yes, you can actually buy digital comics on eBay, banned content or not.



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