EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1511 - April 06, 2007     3 of 5

Turbo-Lister Transition Demonstrates Some eBay Challenges

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Some sellers who use one of eBay's basic listing tools give the company's replacement version a thumbs down. eBay retired "Turbo Lister 1" on April 4, replacing it with Turbo Lister 2, or TL2 as it's also called. Some have been struggling since last year to get the new system to work on their computers, others have had trouble importing listings from version 1 to version 2 without having to manually update each listing.

eBay spokesperson Nichola Sharpe said the new version is not compatible with Microsoft Windows 95 or 98 because Microsoft no longer supports those operating systems. But she said the new version does work with Microsoft's new Vista operating system. The compatibility with Vista took longer to roll out than initially promised, however.

It's not unusual for sellers to resist change, nor is it unusual for eBay to force change on sellers. Many of those posting on threads devoted to the issue say they've built their eBay operations around Turbo Lister 1. The problems with upgrading to the new version have caused extreme frustration for some.

Sharpe said eBay developed the new version in collaboration with the community. Sellers say eBay should not abandon a tool that works for them and replace it with one that does not.

The problem demonstrates the challenge of designing features and tools for millions of users with computers that range from high-bandwidth, state-of-the-art systems to dial-up dinosaurs - and even Web TV units. It also demonstrates the frustration sellers have in dealing with a service to whom they pay fees but that provides customer service that ranges from telephone access for top sellers to what some describe as canned email responses and Live Chat reps who are challenged to solve complex problems.

Sellers are grateful for improvements - one reported on Thursday that a bulk edit from within TL2 across categories was now available, calling it a "very important change that will help."

Asked for an update on the transition on Thursday, Sharpe said Gui Bastos, who is part of eBay's Seller Experience Team, is confident the transition is going well and has spoken to 3,000 sellers.

Information about upgrading to the new version of Turbo Lister is available on eBay's website:
http://pages.ebay.com/turbolister/upgrade

And seller reaction can be monitored on the eBay discussion board devoted to Turbo Lister:
http://forums.ebay.com/db1/forum.jspa?forumID=34


About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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