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Mon June 23 2014 08:29:18

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
Last evening my husband listed several items for auction on eBay, and when I logged in this morning, there was a message saying that they had price recommendations for 2 of the 11 items. When I clicked over to see what they suggested, I was surprised to see what prices they deemed appropriate.

For an ancient Roman silver coin, they suggested a starting bid of $1.00 instead of the $55.00 we used for the listing (which, by the way, is a very reasonable price for that coin), and for another heavy (20th century) silver coin, they suggested $9.50 instead of the $27.00 we used.

We do not have reserves on our auction, so if we followed their recommendations we would lose a lot of money if the coins sold.

Does anyone have any idea what criteria eBay uses to select items for their recommendations & what possible rationale they have for the prices they suggest? I know they need sales, but the fee they would get for a $1 sales is negligible, so wouldn't they be happier if the coin sold for $55?

I know that there are sellers on eBay who have dubious pricing strategies, either because they are clueless about the item's worth, or perhaps they have delusions of grandeur, but he has been in the business for many years and prices the items based on the knowledge gained over a long period of time.

I currently sell my jewelry on Etsy and Bonanza and was thinking of giving eBay another try, but these tactics are yet another reason I have not jumped back into the eBay waters. I'd love to hear from you and your readers on this perplexing topic.
Holly




Comments (28) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

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

Mon Jun 23 08:58:12 2014

Ebay is not concerned that YOU might lose a lot of money on your coins.

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Jun 23 10:25:28 2014

eBay is desperate for sales at any price.  As such, management has no compunction about sacrificing YOUR inventory and your PROFITABILITY in their quest to drive sales regardless of price.

Management is so disconnected from their buyers and sellers, they believe that simply lowering prices will attract more buyers. In their disconnect, management fails to comprehend is that in order for the low price scheme to work, there have to be people shopping here in the first place.

Since the purges of sellers, since the hack, since eBay got demoted in Google search, eBay traffic is down significantly.

The eBay strategy of driving sellers to lower prices in order to hope that more sales are transacted by fewer buyers is the same defective thinking that gave us fee increases so eBay can increase revenue despite having fewer active sellers.

These management "defects" need to end, and the only way to accomplish that will be a purge of management from the CEO on down.

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 23 12:15:24 2014

Ric is %1000 correct.

eBays formulas mean nothing, your sales mean nothing - as long as buyers are happy. And of course they certainly will be if they can get your $100 item for $5.

eBay doesnt have an original idea in its head. That being the case they copy EVERYTHING that Amazon does, the good the bad, the ugly.

Amazon has ITS own issues - one of the negatives is that sellers have no specific value. Sellers are used to bring buyers into Amazon and pricing (because of the buy box formula) has become whats known as "the race to the bottom".

eBay, not knowing good from bad (DUH) is copying that too (see RICs reply).

Put it this way - if Amazon mailed every person in the USA a hand grenade, eBay would send out an urgent email asking sellers to do the same - they don't ever THINK, ever.

Use your own common sense and ignore eBays advise - you'll get further in life.

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Jun 23 12:54:43 2014

God help Nike.

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 23 13:10:17 2014

The suggested retail prices also appear on BIN listings during the revision process. They suggest prices for costly items that clearly demonstrate  (1) eBay is too intrusive/invasive of seller business and (2) knows next to NOTHING when it comes to the business of selling. Some of us scrape out a living despite the oppressive interference, but it's always a wake-up call to SEE how brainless the management is.

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 23 13:15:27 2014

PS they probably have stats on coins that start low and sell high, and turned them into an algorithm that mirrors their thinking. The suggested prices couldn't possibly be based on any objective criteria...like gold content or antiquity...

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

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

Mon Jun 23 13:20:39 2014

Given that these “suggestions” are generated by an eBay designed computer algorithm, you can take them with a grain of salt; even if suggested by a “human”, I doubt they would have a clue; certainly, there is no apparent rationale for anything that eBay does; they can’t even get spaghetti to stick on the office wall; so they just flail about, like a drowning man …

The fact is auctions on eBay do appear to be dying, if they are not already dead—much to the advantage of the few buyers that are still around to pick up a bargain; so, of course, eBay would suggest starting your auctions at the lowest possible price (10% of a sale for $5 is better than 10% of nothing—for eBay. But don’t be fooled by those merchants that start their auctions low and then have flocks of bidders bidding early and often; they are most likely shills (eg, eBay 380930222730); the only one making anything out of most of those auctions is eBay …

Regardless, these days, the price you set should be the lowest you are prepared to accept because, on an honest auction, you may only get one bid—if you are lucky …

eBay Inc, where the incompetent mingle with the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 23 14:10:30 2014

Do what most seasoned sellers do - ignore the ''recommendations'' - you're the expert, not eBay. It's not based on any conspiracy to rob sellers or anything else. It's just another rinky-dink piece of software. If the recommendations mean anything, take them. If your expert knowledge says no, then ignore them.

They did this a while back with shipping charges, with really some ludicrous results At that time I was selling a lot of large, heavy lumpy objects and it kept trying to tell me that $25 shipping for a heavy car-top bike rack, for instance, was excessive, or that $5 for a box of hardbound books sent media mail was excessive, etc. I had done my research - the prices were right in line with USPS/UPS charges. My buyers were happy. Grain of salt.  

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Mon Jun 23 14:47:36 2014

Whenever I've tried the various price suggestion gizmos that eBay has offered through the ages, I never agreed with what they suggested based on my selling and buying  experience.

AND

As a buyer I've ended up with many bargains due to a low starting price and no bids against me.

SO....

As a seller, if I do auction format my starting bid is the minimum I'm willing to take on the item. It may as well be Fixed Price.

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

This user has validated their user name. by: LDS Brother

Mon Jun 23 16:50:25 2014

Sure lets start our items out at $1.00  Free S/H/I of course !

And lets go 30 to 90 Days for returns

Can someone say "ICEBERG STRAIGHT AHEAD ?????? "

Oh wait they did in 2008

When Captain JD plotted out course

Now eBay is sinking, and like in the movie, I am afraid it is a mathmatical certainty now.

Never ever ever, have I had such a decline ever ever ever !

This hack and SEO Google thing is like the Titanic just broke into 2 pieces on it's way to the ocean floor !

I am really worried this time, I believe this is the end of eBay short, and longterm !

And the good captain it apparently walk around as we are sinking and act as though nothing has happened, all is well !

Mr. Donahoe you had 6 to 7 years, NOTHING you have done has helped me or others !

I remember when Lorrie Norrington proclaimed, that if you more or less jumped through all the hoops you would do very good on eBay !

THAT WAS A LIE !

This Hack of eBay, and Google punishment is the straw that broke the camels back !

11main ust salivating ! eBay is ready to tank, sellers are tanking, I do not know how on this earth that stock is up at $49.00 ?

As horrible as I am doing since JD and this hack, google I ask who is getting sales ?

I seem to recall a few years ago, JD said let the NOISE go to other sites, there is no buyers on those sites !

Well JD I got news for you, there are no buyers on eBay either ! And it appears the hack and Google SEO punishment has ensured that !

How is this man still running this company ? I am totally in awe that this guy still is the CEO, it is more mind boggling than anything I have ever tried to reason or comprehend !

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

by: used2luv2sell This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 23 21:56:37 2014

Ebay management doesn't use their own product but then pretend to know more than sellers. The recommended prices do not always show the same exact product for comparison.  

Funny how Paypal employees got told to use it or go to work elsewhere.  Perhaps that hit too close to home for those ''in charge'' at Ebay.  Wouldn't want people outside knowing we're too uppity to buy at our own yard sale!

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

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

Mon Jun 23 23:03:01 2014

Lorrie Norrington was wrong.

As anyone would be who followed any of ebay's desperate and lunatic pricing suggestions.

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

by: GypsyWitch This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 24 08:17:00 2014

If there were "bidding wars" like there used to be on Feebay, I'm sure sellers wouldn't mind listing stuff for 99 cents and see how far the price goes up.

And who the hell does Feebay think they are to suggest a starting bid........and a low one at that!!!!

Glad I'm done selling there. You've got to be a real idiot or desparate to continue selling there.

Look out - here come the fake Nikes now that Donahoe has his greedy hands in the company!!!

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

by: Done This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 24 08:24:23 2014

Pity the poor seller who recently sold an item for 99 cents with free shipping.  Hope they didn't follow eBay's recommendations.

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

by: Small Guy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 24 08:24:40 2014

For years I kept saying I was going to quit listing and selling on Ebay.  Finally, I did quit.

I have followed friends who still ''try'' to sell on Ebay.  Wishful thinkers we all were I guess.

Like all your posters say... it truly is mind boggling how Ebay has driven sellers down and ruined what we thought was a good thing.

What is that insect (a cockroach ?)  that they say can live for 6-7 days after you cut off its head.

Maybe Ebay is dead, but just still moving.

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 24 09:45:36 2014

It's just computer-generated; I ignore those ''recommendations.''

That's not to say that I don't have a good idea where the ''recommendations'' are coming from: in the case of some really-obscure items for which I am often the only seller in the recent past, eBay ends up referencing my own past opening prices or final sale prices in their various ''helpful'' notes. Gee, thanks.

In the case of comments I occasionally see where they're recommending that I lower my opening price, again I have a pretty good idea where they're coming from: their system is finding similar items from certain other sellers I know of who routinely dump cheaper, similar items on the market, and eBay wants me to lower my opening price to match theirs. Again: ''Gee, thanks.''

No, I'm just going to carry on with what works for me. In the case of items for which I have genuine competition, the way to be successful is to be a better seller than the other guys, not just have a lower opening price.

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 24 10:38:05 2014

Several lifetimes ago on eBay when auctions where the only venue, reserve prices were free or next to it.  I reserve just about anything.  Some worked and some did not.

Then eBay started to charge hefty sums for reserved auctions.  This did not make economic sense, and I stopped using reserves.  My opening price now had to take the place of the reserve.

Over the years, there seemed to be less and less upside to listing auctions, and when eBay offered a fixed price listing for 30 days with a price of 30 cents, I said goodbye to auctions.

Now I receive a 150 fixed price listings a month “FREE” if I pony up the monthly subscription to a small store.  

Now and then I list an auction with the starting price at the minimum that I would accept for an item.  Who wants to lose a juicy item for a buck?  

Starting an auction at a below market price with the chance for minimal upside is a win-win for eBay and a lose-lose for the seller.

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 24 12:02:51 2014

They also have a little notice if your AUTO RENEW item doesn't sell to LOWER THE PRICE--

No!

Unless the item really is something that should be lower--and in which case I would NOT be listing it!!!---the price is the price I KNOW it should sell for.

I am NOT going to list a $500.00 Coach briefcase for $1.00.  Or for $50.00 for that matter.  If you set the price TOO low people tend to wonder---IS it a fake?  

I like auctions and sometimes have more than one bidder but I set my bottom end (opening) price at what I deem acceptable--and then that 30% kicks in for a Buy it Now---  THAT is the single WORST idea to come out of ebay in a loooong time!!!!---and destroys most of the BIN traffic I used to get.

If ebay really WANTED to sell items they would REMOVE the whole %30 difference and let US decide what price WE will accept.  

To go back and forth on Auction vs Fixed price---who has the TIME for this!!!!   And I depend on the FREE listings as ebay has made it untenable for me to PAY to list---even at that $15 "store" level. When we used to have to pay to list AND I had actual bona fide SALES---I was happy to pay a few cents to list.  Now?  No freakin' way!  

No wonder I try and "lead" these sales OFF of ebay huh.  

Almost ALL of my international sales are taken OFF of ebay with their absurd delivery requirements---charging MORE for "Registered International Mail" that the item COSTS--AND it still does NOT track----is abuse of the buyer.  I sell the stuff off ebay and send it for a fraction of what ebay wanted to charge and I have NEVER had an issue with items not getting delivered.  The one exception is Russia---because of THEIR mail system.  

And stock up on NIKE now---they will be dead in the water soon.  

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

by: Cassie This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 24 12:28:22 2014

Ignore suggestion their concern is some hype stories are items sold a few dollars but worth more draws publicity and buyer traffic. Unless they offer a campaign/advertising contract agreement a suggestion without solid return it's meaningless.  

eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low   eBay Recommends Sellers Start the Bidding Low

This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Tue Jun 24 12:34:39 2014

''I remember when Lorrie Norrington proclaimed, that if you more or less jumped through all the hoops you would do very good on eBay !''

Lorrie ''resigned'' to spend more time with her family.

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