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eBay Takes Steps To Reinvigorate Its Auctions
engine




msg:3370920
 11:00 am on Jun 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

At eBay, subtle change is about to become a thing of the past. Under pressure from analysts and investors to jump-start growth in its core auctions business, eBay is making a series of upgrades intended to make the site more friendly to buyers. In so doing, it may have to endure a torrent of criticism from more than 700,000 sellers who rely on eBay for their livelihoods and who have firm ideas of their own about how best to serve buyers.

“We have to make sure our old users stay with us, but we’re going to be more bold around product changes than we’ve been in the past,” Ms. Whitman said in an interview last week in Boston at eBay Live, an annual conference for the site’s sellers. “I think people expect more from eBay.”

eBay Takes Steps To Reinvigorate Its Auctions [nytimes.com]

 

ccDan




msg:3373686
 4:57 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

As a seller to compete you had to start using unscrupulous tactics or not be able to compete and Selling fees increased to much

Depends on what you're selling.

But, as a former seller, I believe I may have been the victim of jealous sellers, but using Ebay's own rules.

I sold customized widgets, but what constitutes "custom" in Ebay's collective mind and what constitutes "custom" in reality were two different things.

As a buyer if I am looking for a Toyota Camry I expect to be able to find a car quickly not wade through tons of crap stuff like mats, cup holders, wheel trims etc. etc.

Maybe if Ebay figures out how to clean up that mess they can pass some pointers along to Google...

My own view is Ebay should have been brave enough to have cleaned up their act 2 years ago and seperated out the buy now / online shopping and online auctions , I suspect many would have been happy to have used both sections for different needs , but they thought they could make more money with quicker impact by using their core product Online Auctions to push people to buy now shopping

Auctions and Buy It Now listings are easily separable with the tabs at the top of the page.

JohnRoy




msg:3373796
 6:21 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

jcoronella wrote: eBay's problem is not too few sellers, it's not enough buyers.

That seems to be correct. They now send PRINT mailers to attract buyers.

andyll




msg:3373821
 6:39 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)


If you find that excessive, don't buy from that seller. Easy as that.

Something may cost $1 to mail, but what about the packaging materials? And, I'm not aware of any product that will package itself for shipping.

Most buyers have no clue if shipping is excessive until the item arrives and they see actual postage of $1 when they were charged $10.


It takes time and materials to prepare and package an item for shipping.

Most people do not complain about reasonable handling charges.


Whether the seller "hides" those charges in the price of the item or in the shipping, you are going to be paying for them either way.

The ones people complain about are not 'hiding' expenses in shipping but are 'hiding' profit in shipping. Different things.

If you can't claim it (correctly) as an shipping expense to the IRS then it shouldn't be charged as shipping.


So, read the terms beforehand, and if the final price of the item would be too high for you, don't bid.

Common cop out for Ebay sellers that have excessive shipping charges. Cheat the buyer... blame the buyer.

Andy

HRoth




msg:3374049
 11:03 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

"If you find [$28 shipping] that excessive, don't buy from that seller. Easy as that."

No, it's not as easy as that. Ebay has express rules against excessive shipping. That's why you can report people for it. I sell mailorder myself, so I know exactly what constitutes excessive shipping. We are not talking about normal costs for packing and the wages of the shipping person. We are talking about people who, having realized they are incompetent at selling, turn to cheating customers with bogus shipping and other charges. Such practices must not be tolerated, because they endanger the trust that makes retail possible.

[edited by: HRoth at 11:04 pm (utc) on June 20, 2007]

natural number




msg:3375457
 6:40 am on Jun 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have two ebay power seller accounts. I find my biggest irritation is not ebay but the US Post office. Why does the government own the postage system? The package system is so regulated and overly tedious that shipping is a pain and subject to red tape. Goverment mail is one of the biggest hidden costs of doing business on eBay and online in general. No one realisticly wants the government to make our meals, or make our clothes, because government service is awful. Why do we expect the government to run an efficient postage system?

andyll




msg:3375535
 8:50 am on Jun 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

natural number Said:

Government mail is one of the biggest hidden costs of doing business on eBay and online in general. No one realistically wants the government to make our meals, or make our clothes, because government service is awful. Why do we expect the government to run an efficient postage system?

There are several non-Government shipping options... why are you not taking advantage of those companies?

Andy

Realbrisk




msg:3375902
 4:11 pm on Jun 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you find [$28 shipping] that excessive, don't buy from that seller. Easy as that."
No, it's not as easy as that. Ebay has express rules against excessive shipping. That's why you can report people for it. I sell mailorder myself, so I know exactly what constitutes excessive shipping. We are not talking about normal costs for packing and the wages of the shipping person. We are talking about people who, having realized they are incompetent at selling, turn to cheating customers with bogus shipping and other charges. Such practices must not be tolerated, because they endanger the trust that makes retail possible.

how about buying an mp3 player for $1 and charging shipping $150
I have reported it to Ebay and thew the response was that since the shipping price is listed than the listing is legal
excessive?
deceptive?

do your your own math, that was my farewell party for Ebay and no I did not bid on the item due to high shipping

sun818




msg:3375961
 5:16 pm on Jun 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

eBay created the environment for high shipping since no commission is charged for the shipping. You can hardly fault sellers for wanting to maximize their dollars. What many buyers do not realize is their overall purchase cost is lower when the business incurs less eBay fees. Buyers can complain about high shipping prices and pay more for stuff out the door. Sellers are not paying the additional eBay fees, buyers are!

HRoth




msg:3376001
 5:46 pm on Jun 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

"You can hardly fault sellers for wanting to maximize their dollars."

There's a difference between maximizing profits and ripping customers off. If a merchant can't make a profit without ripping customers off on shipping, maybe that merchant needs to find another line of work, because as a merchant, they have proven themselves to be incompetent. The proof? Look at all the merchants out there, on ebay and off, who manage to make a living without ripping customers off on shipping. If they can do it, so can everyone else.

sun818




msg:3376102
 6:59 pm on Jun 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

> If they can do it, so can everyone else.

You obviously don't sell in computers, electronics, nor video games. ;)

Its hard to apply your specific business context on eBay as the selling environment varies greatly from category to category.

I don't defend anyone that sells an iPOD for $1 with $150 shipping. I do think the "grey" area where the "excessive" shipping is only a few dollars above actual costs is justifiable.

HRoth




msg:3376164
 8:08 pm on Jun 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

The excessive shipping I have seen on ebay was not in those categories, though.

I agree with you that a couple dollars to pay your worker (even if it's you) is perfectly okay. Most customers understand that, although I have had a few who have gone ballistic when I wouldn't agree to send them their purchase in a letter envelope with no delivery confirmation for $1 shipping.

sun818




msg:3376230
 9:22 pm on Jun 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

You should see how much Victoria's Secret charges to ship bras. They must be incompetent too. As long you have complete information before you can make the purchase, it seems like the buyer needs to take some responsibility for supporting business practices s/he may not agree with.

simey




msg:3376249
 10:00 pm on Jun 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

I check shipping costs before I buy anything, ebay, merchant site, whatever. I think any competant shopper would.

If you (somehow?) get charged an excessive amount, reverse your transaction. If sellers are charging ridiculously low prices and ridiculously high shipping (to avoid) fees, then ebay needs to police that themselves.

jsinger




msg:3376354
 1:21 am on Jun 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

You should see how much Victoria's Secret charges to ship bras.

Twisted my arm to look at that site.

$60 in mdse costs $10.95.
$110 costs $15.95. Very high.

Wasn't easy to find shipping costs.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3376593
 10:17 am on Jun 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

If sellers are charging ridiculously low prices and ridiculously high shipping (to avoid) fees, then ebay needs to police that themselves.

I think the problem is that eBay does not police anything until they are forced to.

Essex_boy




msg:3376691
 12:56 pm on Jun 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

You should see how much Victoria's Secret charges to ship bras - Cant say ive ever bought one....

jsinger




msg:3376816
 3:49 pm on Jun 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'd bet that sellers with high shipping rates are more profitable than those that are always waiving "free shipping" around.

Most old line mail order companies have high shipping rates whereas every web newbie is quick to give shipping away. You think those profitable multi million dollar firms haven't tested it both ways? Remains to be seen how Zappos and other shoe biz loonies will do longterm.

Shipping is the hard part of ecommerce and it 'ain't' cheap!

yosmc




msg:3377256
 9:02 am on Jun 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Shipping is the hard part of ecommerce and it 'ain't' cheap!

Well those fees show their ugly face when you happen to be in the area, and you ask if you can come by to pick up the widget. Then if they tell you the handling fee still does apply, then you know that it's what has been stated before, a hidden reserve to jack up the true price. And I've certainly complained to eBay about these things before (you bet the result was staggering ;) ).

@ccDan: Like it or not, consumer rights these days are much more sophisticated than that. I'm sure you're aware that there are a ton of phrases that are void if you put them in a contract, simply because they are deceptive or violate business ethics. Again, you may appreciate that or not - all I'm saying is that eBay is fairly lawless by comparison, and the contrast is quite striking.

Btw. under European law you can return pretty much *any* internet purchase within 14 days after receiving it and claim full cash refund, no questions asked (with a few obvious exceptions, like CDs or custom-made stuff). And surprise, surprise - this law also applies to commercial sellers via eBay. Now of course, if the seller is allowed to stick all the actual costs into shipping and handling, that pretty much flushes consumer legislation down the toilet because then you really have nothing to claim refund for. Just another perspective why these tactics are as fishy as the company running the system.

(Oh and needless to say that you'd get a negative rating on eBay just for exerting your legal rights, and there's no way in hell that eBay would revert it.)

HRoth




msg:3377580
 9:25 pm on Jun 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sure, as a customer you are responsible to notice how much the shipping is, but as a merchant you are bound not to consider your customers prey. I think people on ebay who are overcharging on shipping are hoping their customers won't notice the shipping until the auction is over. In other words, they are relying on trickery to make a profit. Some selling practices come close to trickery, like sizzle, but there is a difference between sizzle and fraud. If you wouldn't like it done to you, don't do it to other people. It's not complicated.

gpilling




msg:3377766
 4:06 am on Jun 25, 2007 (gmt 0)


I'd bet that sellers with high shipping rates are more profitable than those that are always waiving "free shipping" around.

Most old line mail order companies have high shipping rates whereas every web newbie is quick to give shipping away. You think those profitable multi million dollar firms haven't tested it both ways? Remains to be seen how Zappos and other shoe biz loonies will do longterm.

Shipping is the hard part of ecommerce and it 'ain't' cheap!

I have tried it both ways. In the beginning, with low feedback, the only way to make a sale was to start the auction with a .01 and put the profit in the shipping and handling. Once the feedback got to several hundred positive, the 1 penny buyers were too annoying to deal with so I switched to the free shipping model. Now with more feedback, the more cautious buyers will actually buy, so my listing fees as a percentage of sales is much lower. In the beginning it was almost 50%, now it is down to about 10%.

The feedback system is the culprit. Several buyers have tried to blackmail me, trying to get me to sell for a penny with free shipping, or to set the terms to what they want. All of the blackmailers have threatened to buy product and give me negative feedback if I didn't comply, one even told me he had a 'network' of buyers that could ruin me. I responded by reporting them to eBay (nothing appeared to happen) and by blocking them. On eBay, the feedback is everything.

Now with higher feedback, I can charge higher prices and give the shipping away. The net spend on the consumers end is actually higher, and eBay is now taking a bigger cut. Without the feedback, I was getting nowhere.

In the end, I have spent about $100,000 with UPS so far this year and they were kind enough to buy me lunch and a new PC as a thank you. Shipping is definitely not cheap.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3377848
 6:31 am on Jun 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Several buyers have tried to blackmail me, trying to get me to sell for a penny with free shipping

Blackmail?

If they won the auction as the highest bidder and you had offered free shipping then they were not blackmailing you. They were only trying to claim their entitlement as the winner of the auction under the terms listed.

If I won something with a penny bid and the seller refused to deliver it I would most definitely be submitting negative feedback.

If you don't like the game don't play.

gpilling




msg:3378242
 2:41 pm on Jun 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Blackmail?

If they won the auction as the highest bidder and you had offered free shipping then they were not blackmailing you. They were only trying to claim their entitlement as the winner of the auction under the terms listed.

I was not speaking of the free shipping auctions. I was speaking of the 1 penny auctions. I have stopped the 1 penny auctions because of the lower class of buyer. The fixed price, free shipping customers seem to be far more normal - having the same expectations as other ecommerce customers.

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