A seller reached out and told us his sales had dropped precipitously and thought he knew why: eBay has been using his Global Region sales - a subset of his international sales - to evaluate his overall performance instead of using his total sales as it had been doing. (Let's call him John Smith, as he wishes to remain anonymous.)
If you sell online, you already know international sales are more likely to experience issues due to the added difficulty in proving delivery.
The problem has its roots in a change eBay made in August 2017 when it made changes to its geographic regions - including one called "Global" composed of a subset of a seller's international sales.
When eBay introduced changes to Global performance standards
, it didn't adjust how it evaluated sellers to account for the fact that Global now included only sales from countries EXCLUDING the US; UK and Ireland; and Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
We easily confirmed this by viewing how eBay was measuring Smith's PowerSeller level. eBay downgraded his level to Bronze, but it was *only* basing that evaluation on transactions in the "Global Region," which includes Canada, Australia, Russia, Mexico, Italy, Spain, and all countries, but not the countries named in the paragraph above.
Above: The chart shows eBay used the seller's 6,000-plus US transactions to evaluate his PowerSeller status, but used only the 400-plus transactions he had with buyers in the Global region, a subset of all international transactions, to determine his PowerSeller level.
Another astute reader had brought to our attention
an issue with PowerSeller evaluations in the Spring. An eBay customer service rep told the seller that eBay had downgraded their account to Bronze based on the sellers' Global transactions, excluding US sales.
The seller wrote, "If you now look at the criteria "Global sales" are the measure for Silver and above vs domestic sales for Bronze. I always thought that Global sales included everywhere, but I was informed that is not the case. Global Sales exclude domestic sales."
As the seller indicated, the eBay rep's logic didn't make sense and seemed unfair. But what we failed to realize at the time was that the rep was incorrect in another way - eBay was evaluating the seller's PowerSeller level based on a *subset* of her international sales, making it even more unfair and illogical.
Clearly having a region named Global that doesn't include all global sales is confusing to eBay and everyone else. Here's a link to eBay's help page defining the four regions
Our readers weren't the only ones who noticed the impact of the introduction of geographic regions, here's a thread on the eBay boards
from July with a screenshot that shows a seller being evaluated as a PowerSeller based on nearly 4,000 transactions, but being downgraded from Gold to Bronze level based on only 254 "global" transactions.
If that's where it stopped, it would be bad enough - frustrating sellers and hurting their morale, potentially harming them in Best Match search (if PowerSeller level matters, which we believe it still does), and quite embarrassing for eBay. However, the confusion over "Global sales" appears to have much more dire consequences for sellers.
We know that eBay employees (all the way up) failed to understand that the new definition of Global impacted PowerSeller level evaluations in a way eBay had not intended. (Didn't anyone at eBay notice that suddenly, many of their PowerSellers dropped to Bronze?)
So it's not hard to image eBay made the same mistake in sellers' overall evaluations
. Smith is certain that the "Global" region flaw harmed his overall performance standings, causing his visibility in search to plummet and his sales to drop in all regions.
He provided us with screenshots that showed the decline in sales in his biggest sub-category: A report he printed in July showed sales were up 17.9% compared to the prior 31 days. The same report printed this month showed sales had declined 9.7% compared to the prior 31 days.
Overall, Smith estimates the evaluation issues has caused a drop in sales of between 33% - 50%. "You simply can not evaluate 3-5% of your transaction pool the same way you evaluate 100%. Doesn't make sense," he said.
The PowerSeller who posted on the eBay boards shared screenshots with his colleagues showing a dramatic dropoff in impressions after his account was downgraded based on Global-only transactions.
Extremely concerning is the fact eBay will begin to impose a penalty fee
on sellers whom it determines have high rates of claims. An error in evaluating sellers in that scenario wouldn't just mean a drop in sales for those sellers impacted - it would mean a 40% increase in fees.
Is eBay up to the task? If it isn't, it would simply mean more money in its coffers from the penalty fees.