joined:May 13, 2004
After glancing through all of the forums available on WebmasterWorld, I note that there appears to be no eBay forum, nor a forum dedicated to those kind of webmaster issues (i.e. eBay, Half.com, Craigslist, Amazon, and any of a plethora of sell-your-stuff sites).
After having dabbled in eBay for half a year now, I can say definitively that it's quite tough, especially with eBay's hit-or-miss support and tight-lipped responses to policy questions. To name a few items: Selectively-enforced and vague rules for listings.
You can put anything up, until either they catch you or your competitor reports you. More to the point, you can have items on your listing which you don't know break eBay's specific interpretation of their vague rules. When eBay de-lists your items, there's no explanation as to what rule was broken, or how. Is a phone # allowed? A link to your site? Within-the-page links to various sections of your description? Is AIM/MSN/Skype allowed? All of these questions came up, after 800 listings were taken down, with the only recourse being to try re-listing a hundred or so, and see if they're taken down again (which happened many times until we got it "right"). Hidden limits for listings.
You can have up to a certain threshold of items up for sale, based on various criteria (how long you've been selling, your reputation in eBay's eyes, etc). Trouble is this limit is known only to eBay, and it's based on things (# of items as well as sum of quantities, dollar-value of full inventory) that eBay doesn't discuss openly, leaving sellers to guess how many items they can put up. For example, one eBay rep we talked to on the phone accidentally mentioned to us that paying our fees more often would allow us to list more items. It seems there's a threshold for how high your due fees can get before eBay won't let you list more ... but their reps aren't allowed to tell you what the threshold is, and this particular rep only accidentally let us know that there was such a threshold AT ALL! Difficulty in dealing with large inventory.
Using TurboLister to create 1200 listings takes days of work, and that's when we've got all of the info (including dynamically-generated HTML code for the description) ready-to-go. Selling Manager Pro offers the ability to import a CSV file with 450 listings at a time; this file can be generated in a matter of seconds by us. But getting all of the fields matched up with the right data and with no errors is a royal headache, and eBay's forums have few answered questions for making this work. Base-64 encrypted XML data for your detailed shipping policies? With no how-to other than "try TurboLister to make this and see if that works"?! Or, there's this gem: their CSV specifications say that certain fields need "Yes/No" type of data in them. But the file is rejected if you put "Yes" or "yes" ... eBay expects "Y", "N", "1", or "0" ... yet the CSV specifications make zero mention of this.
These are the major issues that have come up for us; there have been more. Again, eBay's forums lead to few good answers, and phone support has not been impressive.
I would say, then, that there's an untapped market for a good forum for discussing eBay issues (Google sure hasn't found any forums with the answers I've needed). So, why not host such a forum here at WebmasterWorld? Would it be too tough to police? Or to find many people that would interact in it? Or, is there a forum here, and I've overlooked it? A bit of research [google.com] shows me the Ecommerce and General forums are frequent haunts for eBay issues, but I believe there's enough need for a forum all by itself.
What do y'all think?