Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
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by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed June 3 2015 13:39:24

Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay has a few problems and, according to a blogger who follows eBay's stock, that includes what he calls "The Seller Problem." Adam Klein is a day trader, and in a blog post on SeekingAlpha, he compiled a list of problems, including "six major problems that began chipping away at their seller base."

The six seller problems are as follows, Klein says:

- eBay opened up widely to cheap generic overseas products.
- eBay's popularity led to seller overcrowding.
- eBay transformed product search.
- eBay's PayPal extended the return window to a mandatory 180 days for items "not as described."
- eBay seller success stories "do not match up with reality."
- eBay's "seller deception."

It's interesting what he says about Problem #6 - eBay search, including: "As eBay becomes more overcrowded with sellers, the Best Match has become perceived as a near-sinister tool loathed by sellers."

Internet Retailer said this week that Devin Wenig (head of eBay Marketplaces) wants to make it easier to find products. "We need to show the spectrum of products on eBay and be able to show groupings of products that fit together," Wenig said. "With better search and better merchandising we can drive people to browse and discover products on eBay."

How would you fix eBay search? Is there anything missing (such as eBay's feedback system?) And do you agree with Klein's assessment about eBay's "Seller Problem"?




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Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Jun 3 15:22:37 2015

This day trader obviously is or was an eBay seller and the issues they present are but the beginning of what eBay needs to address if they are to survive as a stand alone company.

Perhaps, eBay will take the easy way out and leave the problem solving to the potential new owners should eBay decide to sell itself to another platform.

If, on the other hand, eBay is serious about continuing business as a stand alone entity, then they must take steps to resolve each and every one of these issues.

About the only point the OP made which I disagree with is that there are too many sellers.  This would not be a problem if eBay fixed the broken search engine.  


I would postulate that the abundance of sellers is only a problem due to the multitude of changes the company implemented which resulted in a drastic thinning of the herd of buyers.  If eBay had not changed search, and if buyers were able to easily find what they are looking for, then the seller abundance issue would resolve itself as sales would increase.

As to " eBay seller success stories "do not match up with reality.".... eBay has never been honest or transparent with the information they release. In fact, eBay has been deceiving themselves as well as their buyers and sellers for the past decade or so. Every story, statement or defense of new policies is shrouded in self serving double speak to deflect from the real problems. Even the newest eBay buyer or seller can see through the smoke and mirrors without much effort.

Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

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

Wed Jun 3 15:54:37 2015

Currently 35 comments on this SeekingAlpha.com article about eBay, almost all negative of eBay; only the regular, and obviously poorly paid, eBay shill “MNSW” is still in there batting for eBay; then, that is all he ever does …

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid … http://bit.ly/11F2eas  

Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed Jun 3 16:23:24 2015

Interesting article - glad SOMEONE out there is aware of seller plight.  

I agree with the bullet points. It's a start. Rick is likely right on number of sellers. If the site works properly, the more at the party the merrier (except the deluge of imports mentioned in point#1).

Yes, I would include feedback - specifically ''defects'' the terminology used and counting neutral as a negative, basing some on USPS or shipper action, etc... That change seemed to knock a lot of sellers out.

I am not a tech person, so I cannot get into mechanics of search - all I know is it worked way better before Cassini and I had more sales. I remember back when eBay had a pop-up window to help people effectively create a search.


Internet Retailer article:   on the quote '' We need to show the spectrum of products on eBay and be able to show groupings of products that fit together''.

I'm getting lawnmowers while searching clothing.  

Intended message? - ''Accessorize with a nice self-propelled mulching mower to coordinate with that outfit.  Don't be seen without this cutting edge fashion on your arm!

They can start with that.

Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

by: moto-science This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 3 18:49:57 2015

Seasoned Ebay sellers know this :  don't waste your time trying to build a business on Ebay. Stick a fork in it...
Ebay is done. No future for pro sellers.

It's a waste of time...when you can easily lose ALL your listing work over a couple refunds or false SNAD cases.

Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

This user has validated their user name. by: laurengrace

Wed Jun 3 20:13:41 2015

Saw this article first thing this morning. It is nice to see someone on Seking Alpha not looking at ebay with rose colored glasses. Hope it gets tons of attention.This article is THE TRUTH ABOUT EBAY

Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Wed Jun 3 20:38:23 2015

"I am not a tech person, so I cannot get into mechanics of search - all I know is it worked way better before Cassini and I had more sales."

Well I am and, let me tell you, there is an awful lot of incompetence out there.  That's what happens when cheap and obedient take priority over everything else.

Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

by: JQ This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 3 20:46:11 2015

An excellent list.

I have had two friends in the last six months independently tell me pretty much the same thing. They used to shop quite a bit on Ebay. They now only go there as a second or third choice. Why? Same reason. They cannot find what they are shopping for through the search engine. They type in a product name and end up with a screen full of garbage.

They both blamed sellers for this problem. I explained the problem actually comes from the Cassini search engine and Devin Wenig's embrace of this concept that Ebay should become the place where shoppers buy things they did not even know they wanted when they visited the site.

The reality is that shoppers are abandoning the site because they have trouble finding what they came looking for because the site pushes products on them that they did not know they wanted because they did not want them.

Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Jun 3 21:08:11 2015

I agree with all the points except seller overcrowding. So long as all the Chinese sellers are not allowed to have 5,000 accounts all selling the same items with the same photos, overcrowding should not be a problem. (Addresses the point on cheap generic items.)

I'm glad the issue about the PayPal 180-day SNAD claim process was brought up and labeled as unfair.

"Seller deception" covers just about every seller policy on eBay.

I would fix the search problem by dumping Can't-See-Me. I don't remember the constant complaints about search until eBay implemented Cassini. And as I, and others, have said before, go back to Ending Soonest as the default search criteria, or at least allow every eBayer to set their favorite search parameter, which would then become the default once they signed into the site.

As far as "seller success stories," I honestly can't remember the last time I heard of any seller being successful (toolguy not withstanding). All I hear is how sales are down from previous years, and how they tell their friends to avoid eBay like the plague.

I don't know anything about the Seeking Alpha site, but I hope this article brings more negative attention to eBay. If the problems sellers are facing gets more publicity, that can only be a good thing.

Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

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

Wed Jun 3 21:46:06 2015

KLEIN > Go Run Ebay.
KLEIN = Rolaids of eCommrce on Ebay.
KLEIN > Drop what your doing and head for Ebay !

Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

by: Ebay Seller-Ebay Buyer This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 3 23:04:50 2015

I agree with Kleins points, but Klein completely missed the main problem, which is FEES. This includes listing fees, which Amazon and most other sites do not have.  Also, final value fees have tripled the past 10 years. Also Ebay has a maximum shipping they force in many categories and despite yearly increases in postage from all shipping carriers; ebay has not changed any of the maximum shipping they allow since 2009. Also the completely pathetic fee increase of Ebay taking 10% of the seller's shipping money.  ALL of these FEES have combined to drive away 100's of 1,000's of great sellers.

I buy a lot and NEVER have an issue with the search engine. No idea what anyone is ever talking about in regard to search. I do the keywords I need and use either low to high for buy it nows or ending soonest for auctions and I buy whatever I want. The only downside to buying are all the sellers who have left.

Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed Jun 3 23:08:31 2015

@RKToys - Speaking of tech knowledge (or lack of) - did eBay, with their thousands of lower level layoffs go the route  that other companies like Disney, Fossil, Southern California Ed and others have gone?  Contracting with foreign-owned companies that supply the new replacement immigrant lower wage tech employees attached to H-1B visas?

In many cases the laid off American employees have to train the H-1B card holders before hitting the streets to look for a job.  

I've been trying to keep track of which companies are doing this - I don't have to understand tech to know a raw deal when I see one.

A bit off subject, but just wondering if it happened at eBay, too. Might explain a few things under discussion here.  

Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

by: DZT This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 3 23:26:23 2015

Every time a subject about eBay comes up here..... I wish I could dream up something positive to say but, after 15 years of selling on eBay I have become so disillusioned & eBay has deteriorated to the point where I have absolutely nothing positive to say about them.

Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

by: moto-science This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 4 00:16:02 2015

DZT....there's the billion dollar question.
How does Ebay escape the bad reputation they have well earned in the last 5 years.
Pro sellers who have winning product lines
actively shun Ebay, listing only their closeouts and cheaper items.

Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

by: f4f This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 4 00:23:09 2015

@Ebay Seller-Ebay Buyer: The trouble I have with searching, which you probably have had and just not known it, is in not having all the items that fit my search appear in the results. For example, I noticed yesterday that several items I have in my Watch list, which are definitely still active, did not appear in the same simple keyword search I had used the previous day to find those same items.

Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

by: tango This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 4 00:55:24 2015

pfft - a guy who writes this and does not do due diligence research on the Taxes - that has been well known for anyone associated in any way with eBay - as a seller or as a trader or just plain reading commerce news, should go home and not post data he obviously has not clue about - and i am an eBay seller, just in case anyone wonders.

Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

by: drewmark This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 4 01:08:06 2015

lol Oh well ebay is gonna be the thing of the past. I'm noticing other sellers are leaving the eBay platform when I search on Google shopping for items that once showed up on eBay. Donahue really screwed up a thriving community in a fluid ecommerce market and he's off to really screw up another one...  Paypal!! LOL oh well thank God for stripe and good riddance to Paypal. :)

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by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 4 01:37:02 2015

How would you fix eBay search?

i'd go back the straight keyword searches.  i don't want to be "driven" to something, i want to find it.

Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 4 02:07:11 2015

I dont think they can ever fix it. Its done ! Too much money being bribed around. Suicide of small sellers , purged to make room for a sad new ebay act.

Perminate Link for Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'   Stock Day-Trader Describes eBay's 'Seller Problem'

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 4 03:13:08 2015

Four points. The more sellers the more buyers. That is the way it goes.
Nobody can sell if their wares are not visible (sometimes even for them without they have the item number).
Present search engine should be scrapped and Ebay go back to the beginning. That worked and everyone had equal exposure, more or less.
Last but not least: Devin Wenig (head of eBay Marketplaces) wants to make it easier to find products. "We need to show the spectrum of products on eBay and be able to show groupings of products that fit together," Wenig said. "With better search and better merchandising we can drive people to browse and discover products on eBay."
I think this echoes what Donahoe has stated since he took over with the intention to implode Ebay. If I am understanding it correctly; Mr. Wenig is already running his new office and American, UK, Australia, Germany, etc., sellers are out and scimpy sex related  Asian (underage?) model ads are in. What's up with that?  

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 4 05:43:59 2015

I was more intrigued with this statement: - eBay opened up widely to cheap generic overseas products.
Yep, a lot of Asians selling no-name knockoffs, shipping timelines up to a month.  Ebay cracks the whip on those of us in the States who don't ship immediately and if the package doesn't get to the buyer immediately.  But what about the Asians whose items take 2-4 weeks to arrive?

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