Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Aug 22 2013 21:18:03

eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers are cynical over eBay's removal of a feature that helped them monitor their performance. The Policy Compliance feature disappeared from sellers' dashboards on August 19th with no warning. While some customer service reps told sellers it was due to a glitch, EcommerceBytes confirmed with a company spokesperson it was an intentional decision on eBay's part (see Friday's Newsflash story).

Some sellers writing about the disappearance suggested the removal would make it easier for eBay to crack down on sellers. Wrote one seller on the eBay boards, "Now when handed a policy violation you'll have to use a pencil and paper to write down the dates and eBay will just call everyone liars when they get suspended due to policy violations they were never aware of," saying it would be a "battle of he said she saids."

Another wrote, "Heard they are doing away with it so it will lessen Ebays liability when they make their wave of cutting sellers. Sellers wont know how many violations they have and when they are removed therefore Sellers will remain on their toes at all times and not have the luxury of knowing they can make a few violations before they are suspended and know when they can risk making them again."

Rumors circulated earlier this month of a massive crackdown impacting tens of thousands of sellers, and an eBay spokesperson confirmed it had taken action on certain seller accounts that were below performance standards "based on a variety of criteria."

Some believe the crackdown was part of eBay's secret internal program called "Guardrail," which they believe has its own criteria and different standards from those on the seller dashboard that can result in seller account restrictions and termination.

"There is a slide show on YouTube that appears to be screen shots of the internal eBay Guardrail and Quick Decline Program which is both worthwhile and very concerning," a reader wrote to EcommerceBytes. "It would appear that once eBay slams a seller into the "Guardrail" program, the system is such that no seller appeals will be considered and there is nothing a seller can do to restore their account."

eBay had confirmed the existence of guardrail to EcommerceBytes in 2011, explaining that the guardrail process was part of its seller standards program in which it identified sellers who were "creating poor buying experiences in a higher frequency, at higher rates or in a more recent timeframe than sellers who may be Below Standard."

The reader continued, "Perhaps an eBay representative would care to join the conversation and explain the convenient timing of the "glitch" while the "Guardrail" driven seller purge continues."

Here is a link to the accompanying Newsflash story - let us know what you think of eBay removing the policy compliance feature from seller dashboards. Was it helpful, and do you have tips on keeping track of your seller performance?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers   eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 22 22:04:26 2013

Why doesn't Ebay management stop acting like a bunch of mischievous  children and grow up!  I'm basically on the outside now looking in and it sure isn't a pretty picture.  I feel sorry for any seller still dependent on Ebay...they're getting pulled around by the nose!

Perminate Link for eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers   eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Aug 22 22:14:13 2013

Integrity and transparency at eBay has been slowly disappearing since John Donahoe assumed the role of CEO at eBay.

Donahoe promised sellers DSR's would be a "tool" to help sellers improve. Yet since sellers have never been allowed to see which transactions displeased buyers, it was impossible for sellers to utilize the "tool". Instead, DSR's became the tool with which eBay slowly exterminated sellers while claiming it was not eBay, but rather, buyers who caused effected sellers to fail.

Apparently, Donahoe was not satisfied with the pace of exterminations. To speed things up, he implemented "Guardrail" and is now utilizing it as a mass extermination process to allow greater numbers of sellers to be exterminated with no hope for an appeal.

Now, eBay is tearing away yet another layer of transparency with the removal of the Policy Compliance indicator on the seller dashboard. Sellers will still be cited with violations, however, like DSR's it will not be possible for sellers to see how their account is effected in the event they are cited.



In another example of sheer dishonesty, eBay customer Service has been flat out lying to sellers since the removal of the Policy Compliance indicator by saying it was just a "glitch". Now the truth comes out that eBay has deliberately removed the indicator and has yet to offer any explanation or justification for said removal, probably because there is none.

During my conversation with eBay customer service regarding the missing compliance indicator, not only was I told it was a "glitch" but the CSA matter of factly informed me that there is no work around sellers can utilize to see their policy compliance ranking.



This is obviously why eBay lowered guidance for the rest of the year. It's not the recession, not the economy, not increased pressure from competition, but instead, it is the advance knowledge that eBay would be purging vast numbers of sellers and sacrificing buyers in an ongoing process which will surely apply downward pressure on eBay sales.

The small seller extermination is turning into small seller genocide at the order of John Donahoe. Throughout the coming months tens of thousands more sellers will fall victim to Donahoe's genocide. There will be no notice, there will be no appeals.

Effected sellers will simply receive a notice from their former master telling them they may no longer list on eBay. Demonstrating how disconnected eBay executives have become from their own customers, the notice sellers receive will inform them that they will be allowed to continue to purchase on eBay, as if those who find their income reduced to zero would want to reward eBay with future purchases.

Sellers should expect that the next seller release from eBay is going to hold some unpleasant realities for small sellers who manage to survive the genocide. These changes will be on a take it or leave eBay basis. eBay executives do not care if sellers elect to leave.

Since eBay profits from returns, expect that the managed return process will become mandatory for all sellers with the next release. Also, since eBay will need to replace sales volume which will be lost as a result of the ongoing seller purge, expect that the Global Shipping program will become mandatory as well especially since eBay realizes substantial revenue when they mark up the international shipping costs to overseas buyers.



One wonders if eBay is preparing to sell off their marketplace and if the ongoing genocide against small sellers is occurring because the new owners want the ranks cleaned up before they assume control.

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by: vintagegoodness This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 22 22:24:12 2013

What's missing? I'm looking at my seller dashboard and it looks the same to me?

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by: bunnspec This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 22 22:25:22 2013

Ric- It appears they have a poison pill in place, to prevent a hostile takeover??? It's the damnedest thing I've ever seen anywhere but Bernie Madoffs scheme... What is in the water at San Jose???

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by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 22 22:27:00 2013

Has anyone ever seen it say anything except "high"?  I haven't, but it could just be me.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Aug 22 22:55:10 2013

What a twisted company it is.

And where are the analysts? Are they studying this and the impact that it will have on eBay's bottom line?

Donahoe's disdain for small sellers is so much bigger than I ever imagined.  It's quite sinister.

Ming has been right all along.  eBay lies.

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by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 22 23:03:37 2013

Jim Cramer says SELL ebay. That was on TV last night on CNBC and it's all over the financial parts of the Internet today. The stock is plunging.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Aug 22 23:20:09 2013

This whole thing is really baffling. If all the small sellers are removed, that leaves mostly the Diamonds and the Chinese. And if it's true that they get special deals on fees, how is that going to bring in enough revenue to pay JD and his henchmen, and keep the site running?

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by: Grandma_Fish This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 22 23:25:43 2013

Ina, the first thing I thought of after reading this was the letter you published yesterday from a guy named Matt. He was saying how he'd called Ebay 3 times to inquire about the appeals process that was mentioned by Ebay spokesperson Ryan Moore in your August 12 article about Ebay's crackdown on sellers. Matt said all 3 Ebay CS reps gave him the same answer, ''At this time, there is no appeals process.'' I wonder if that could also be part of Guardrail.

Perminate Link for eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers   eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers

by: blaumann2 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 22 23:40:57 2013

Another idiotic move. Dealing with ebay is like dealing with the secret police in some Cold War era Eastern European Communist country. You are denounced and have charges brought but never know what your crimes were.  

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

Fri Aug 23 01:04:17 2013

Simply incomprehensible …

“… an eBay spokesperson confirmed it had taken action on certain seller accounts that were below performance standards ‘based on a variety of criteria.’”

Clearly, shill bidding fraud was not one of the criteria; how silly of me to think that it ever could be; shill bidding improves eBay’s bottom line, whether the shilled “sales” are ultimately real or faux; why would they do other than at least tacitly, if not occasionally actively, aid and abet such criminal activity?

One day soon all the shill bidding merchants are going to do their sums and realise that that they are paying the “master fraud facilitator” more in selling commissions than they are themselves making on any real sales, and about that time the “penny will drop” and they will be forced to dump eBay, as eBay long ago started dumping on them, and the eBay marketplace “house of cards” will then start to implode even more quickly, with a long slow “fizzzzzzzzzzzzz”. Indeed, if you listen closely now, you can probably hear the hissing sound of all the hot air starting to escape from the eBay Dept of Spin …

By the way, the word just in from Jim Cramer is SELL EBAY! What’s going on? Is eBay late paying the invoice again?

Regardless, once you all come to terms with the reality that you are dealing with the most unscrupulous and incompetent commercial entity on the planet, there should be no more surprises …

Perminate Link for eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers   eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 23 01:29:41 2013

Perhaps ebay is about to "flip" and CEO Donahoe and his cronies are going to parachute out?

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 23 01:37:19 2013

@BLAUMANN--

Yes they should rename it GULAGBAY instead.

And--ARE there analysts other than Cramer?  Now don't get me wrong I find Cramer highly entertaining and sometimes spot on but----

I have YET to see another financial columnist etc say word ONE about ebay pro or con.  

So either ebay's reach is far far greater than even us cynics thought or---they just don't notice ebay as ebay is now---noise.

Wadja LEARN from that, Ho?  

Perminate Link for eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers   eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Aug 23 03:19:35 2013

Boy much more of this kind of stuff and ebay is just going to imblode.

Perminate Link for eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers   eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: eBankrupted

Fri Aug 23 03:43:48 2013

ping www.ebay.com

Pinging www.g.ebay.com [66.135.210.61] with 32 bytes of data:

Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.

Ping statistics for 66.135.210.61:
   Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 0, Lost = 4 (100% loss),

Well ain't karma a bitch.

Perminate Link for eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers   eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers

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

Fri Aug 23 04:08:01 2013

The rusting old scow is down worldwide at the moment, Australia and UK also ...

Maybe it's gone submarine, at last?

“Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool”—Anon ...
Demonstrated in spades in the eBay executive suite ... http://bit.ly/YvxFEg

Perminate Link for eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers   eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers

by: wonderswhy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 23 04:29:25 2013

I cannot even express what I'd want to say about ebay. Monday was my scheduled call from ebay seller outreach re holiday sales. Tuesday I logged on to edit a listing only to get the security screen to verify my account and that they have tried previous attempts to call me. What ^&*, instead of clicking on my phone# to call & verify who I am, I just seen red! I called them, I said  your seller outreach just called me last night apparently I answered the phone & had a 20 min conversation. The CSC proceeded to tell me to change my email address every month, What? I'm supposed to remember that every month? I like how my account is set up,  one for sales & one for their junk mail. Now what? they are going to start to dictate to me how to run my account. It's way overkill there and I told them that, ebay wants better pictures, ebay wants this, wants that, why don't they clean their own house. Don't know if the CSC will forward that to the Gods there or not. I was just working on some shipping info and their site went down on that page that was around 3:00 AM in a Northeast area, I still cannot load myebay page 1 hr and 23 min later, it reads try and access from homepage, nothing, nothing, this site is loading fine along with other sites. The CEO there got to go, the new techs & everyone else who put their needs before the sellers & buyers who made that company. Any small amount of integrity they had left is gone.  

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

Fri Aug 23 04:52:15 2013

Well THAT'S ALL FOLKS !
Ebay just slammed the door on me !
I can not sign in to my account.
I'm a BUYER. NOT a seller. I ALWAYS pay by Postal Money Order. My PayPal account had been disconnected for over 6 years.
I had MANY purchases at various stages. Now I can't communicate with the sellers, or leave my usual excellent feedback.
ALL DONE.

Perminate Link for eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers   eBay Removes Transparency as It Cracks Down on Sellers

by: tbyr This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 23 05:44:51 2013

seems like ebay has removed the seller dicount of the top rated seller off my account for it says with all infomation removed that does not show any discount of 20% any more.  

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by: salesrep1 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 23 06:00:15 2013

Looks like i can't log in either i think they are working on the site still it said it would be down
for an hour here it is 5 hors later.

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