Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What's up with eBay?

from DenverDirect correspondent Christian Anderson

eBay Killing Small Businesses

eBbay is doing its very best to kill eBay as we know it. Sales have completely died for almost all long term sellers. On March 30, 2010 eBay put into place many changes that were supposed to make eBay better. For whom? The actual fees sellers pay when something sells went up. Sales disappeared. Rolling blackouts, where you cannot find your item for days at a time, unless you are logged in on your account, began to be commonplace.

eBay Listings 102,342,757. Listings removed in 24 hours -678,793 -0.66% April 19, 2010 1:06 am

Long term sellers are leaving eBay in a mass exodus, fleeing a sinking ship.

eBay is trying to kill off their small sellers in favor of their Diamond Sellers, which list 100,000+ items a month. They would much rather give Buy.com a cut rate deal and let the rest of us subsidize their listings. Buy.com deals with their customer problems internally.

At a point where the US needs all the jobs it can get, this is killing off many small eBay businesses that employ 1-10+ people. Many other people make some extra income that makes all the difference between making it and not.

The Lies
"March 30, 2010 will bring eBay's lowest fees ever. Sellers of all sizes will have a range of options for easy selling and maximum profitability. For the vast majority of sellers, the new fee options will bring significant savings with dramatically reduced upfront cost."

While listing fees are lower, eBay's final cut of a sale is far larger. Most sellers will pay around 20-50% more in total fees. For example, the cost of a $200 sale was $8.20 but is now $18.00.
Other problems include the many calls to eBay support and having someone in India read a cue card "smile everything is OK" and then totally deny that there is a problem.

Shipping is way down for UPS, USPS and FedEx. All 3 have just barely survived, and this may well kill them. How badly will the economy crash without shipping?

Small eBay businesses that had 4-5 employees have laid them all off. Message thread of hundreds of posts concerning the death of sales on eBay. (You will need to log into eBay to read them.)

Forcing sellers to collect sales tax has not helped either. eBay itself could collect and remit the sales tax far easier. Instead sellers are often being forced to eat the sales tax too, when a buyer refuses to pay it.

For sellers who had store inventory items, eBay converted to fixed price listings on March 30th. Some sellers got hammered with much higher subtitle fees of $1.50 per listing as listings set to auto renew did so.

Those who failed to convert to the correct store level and had many listings got hammered by much higher fixed price listings that they got dumped into from store inventory.

After March 30th, if you had a 1000 fixed price items and didn't upgrade to a store you could get hit with $500 in listing fees.

While Goodwill is doing well with its auctions, many other thrift stores will die, causing further unemployment. The pickers that raid them for things to sell on ebay are drying up. See http://www.shopgoodwill.com

If you are a seller and decide to stop selling on eBay, call early in the morning 866-643-1588. If you call very early you may actually get someone in the US. Then you stand a chance to get a refund of your current fees if you argue your case well.

eBay's greed may well destroy what little is working in the US economy. The number of people this hurts is greater than if Walmart laid off all of its 1.4 million US employees.

Some other options to sell on include:

http://www.bonanzle.com - no fees unless you sell something, low fees, fixed price or best offer only. Nice friendly community. Supports live chat between Buyer and Seller. Good search engine support.
http://www.ecrater.com - totally free
http://www.ebid.net - far lower fees than ebay
http://www.amazon.com fixed price only $.99 an item or $40 a month unlimited with a Prostore + they take a fairly hefty average 15% in fees.
http://www.craigslist.org - Local free classifieds


  1. Thanks so much for your informative article. So many do NOT understand Ebay or what is happening to it and merely reprint Ebay's spin. You have nailed several of the problems and this is still but the tip of the iceberg. As I write there there is a thread with over 1,000 posts - all sellers - all complaining of no sales - no traffic. Ebay is dying and Wall Street is oblivious!

  2. Anonymous1:34 PM

    What is your background in business?