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EBay Sellers Seek Management Change

ScuttleMonkey posted about 8 years ago | from the off-with-her-head dept.

386

BlueCup writes to tell us that even though some seem willing to let eBay's Chief Executive Meg Whitman slide on recent problems, many eBay sellers are calling for a change. From the article: "'EBay's core (auction) performance is suffering tremendously,' says Steve Grossberg, a longtime videogame seller on eBay. He says he now lists an item four times on average in order to sell it, up from two listings two years ago. Adds Andy Mowery, an eBay seller of home and garden gear: 'It is time for new leadership at eBay.'"

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First! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15953827)

HEHE GEEKS!

Re:First! (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | about 8 years ago | (#15953976)

A+++++ Good first poster, highly recommended.

Re:First! (4, Funny)

56ker (566853) | about 8 years ago | (#15954321)

I prefer reading the negative feedback of sellers on ebay such as:-

WON AUCTION, SELLER NEVER COMMUNIC> NO ITEM RECIEVED // PAYPAL DISPUTE, DISGUSTI
Reply by :For the fifth time, you are in the USA, it takes around a week for the post

item not received
Reply by: We are funny like that, we dont send things out until they have been paid for

I AM WAITING THIS SCALE 30 DAYS! WHEN I GET IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Reply by: When you pay for it!, WITHOUT FRAUDULENT FUNDS.

wrong lead (got plug to socket & 2m), AND slow delivery (11 days!)
Reply And so you thought you would rather neg than ask for a replacement???????

The Product is awful, shaved one side and it looked the same as non-shaved side!
Reply by : Perhaps you would get better results if you removed the safety cover?
Follow-up by ratboyab: o hilarious! perhaps you'd get better results if youd sell better items!

Paid instantly with PayPal, 9 days later but no goods.
Reply by: Its actually 5 working days, and it states 2nd class post in the listing

Paid instantly with PayPal, 9 days later but no goods.
Reply by: 2nd class post takes 2-5 WORKING DAYS, what is wrong with you people?

While I agree, it's for other reasons. (5, Insightful)

Pitr (33016) | about 8 years ago | (#15953832)

Ebay's management is in serious need of a kick in the pants. More for customer service, support, and the way it deals with fraud (which is all part of the same thing really).

Just because it's more difficult to sell on Ebay does NOT mean the problem is management, it means there's more traffic (buyers and sellers), so you have more competition. It may take twice as long to sell a game as 2 years ago, but I'm willing to bet there's well more than twice as many video games on Ebay now, as there were then.

Re:While I agree, it's for other reasons. (3, Insightful)

DoorFrame (22108) | about 8 years ago | (#15953846)

You are contending that there are twice as many sellers but the same number of buyers? That doesn't seem likely.

Re:While I agree, it's for other reasons. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15953967)

You are contending that there are twice as many sellers but the same number of buyers? That doesn't seem likely.
You are contending that if it takes twice as long to sell an item that means the ratio of sellers to buyers must have doubled? It doesn't seem likely that you have a good understanding of markets.

Yes, look at auctions (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 8 years ago | (#15954019)

Obviously seller growth has outpaced buyer growth. I've seen that in some items I sell as well.

Furthermore there are other alternatives to eBay now, especially for video games. When they guy started on eBay I'll bet a lot of people were not picking up used games at the EB, since they didn't stock them as they do today. eBay made that happen.

Re:While I agree, it's for other reasons. (3, Insightful)

Alioth (221270) | about 8 years ago | (#15954301)

Why ever not? It's clear that supply has increased significantly, but demand hasn't kept pace.

That's how a market works - the fact that sellers need to list something multiple times now on average is a bloody good signal that there's massive oversupply in that market, and the seller should try flogging something else. It's how a market works, and sellers kvetching about it won't change the fact that there's massive oversupply.

mod underrated, SERIOUSLY underrated (1)

Travoltus (110240) | about 8 years ago | (#15953924)

I'd say Ebay sellers are definitely more a victim of market dynamics than Ebay management problems. (Yes, I do support the market, except when it is taken to a "profits over humanity" extreme.)

Re:mod underrated, SERIOUSLY underrated (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15954056)

Don't listen to parent! Parent has bad ratings and doesn't pay for auctions! Seller beware!

Grandparent is A+++++ first poster. Will recommend to all. Will read grandparent's post again

Supply and Demand Andy... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15953834)

it's not our fault that nobody wants to buy your mint copy of Superman 64 that "you found"

If ebay wants me back as a buyer (5, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 8 years ago | (#15953848)

They are going to have to get rid of fraudelent auctions. The last time I bought anything off ebay was a year ago, and the only reason I did that is because it was an uncommon item(English-Chinese electronic dictionary) that is hard to find elsewhere. If I search for anything that isn't eclectic, at least half of the items are fraud, if not more. I have to do a lot of slogging through(usually by sorting by highest price first and then trying to find the items I want) just to get to legit auctions. No, I don't want a "free xbox 360, powerbook and more!!!!!!!!!!" which just turns into a bid for "information that is 110% legit on how to find free items online!". I end up having to do a lot of work just to find the item I want. If you can't be bothered to get rid of fraudelent auctions, then I can't be bothered to bid.

Re:If ebay wants me back as a buyer (4, Interesting)

raehl (609729) | about 8 years ago | (#15953872)

Ebay needs a 'list auctions by seller rating' or some such. Or any other method to make it easier to find what you're actually looking for. Maybe even add a UPC field to auction listings - so if you find one auction for an item you want, you can search by UPC for *ALL* of the auctions for EXACTLY that item.

Amazon is good because it's easy to find exactly what you want, and lots of things similar to exactly what you want. You can really drill down categories.

Ebay is tough to find what you want, but, cheaper to buy it and cheaper to sell it. EBay doesn't rape you on shipping charges (to BOTH buyer and seller) like Amazon does, and the % of price that goes to EBay is much lower than the % of price that goes to Amazon.

The biggest reason I rarely buy off of eBay anymore, though, is that I rarely find anything on there that is priced low enough to make the risk/hassle of doing an auction purchase worth it. Usually costs the same or only a little bit more to buy directly from a specialized online retailer, which is easy enough to find with google (or froogle).

Re:If ebay wants me back as a buyer (5, Insightful)

dfn_deux (535506) | about 8 years ago | (#15953923)

Ebay needs a 'list auctions by seller rating' or some such.
This is a terrible idea. The core seller rating and reputation system of ebay is greatly flawed. Sellers will not give buyers a positive feedback until after they themselves have received one, seems in cases where the purchaser uses paypal to complete the transaction that ebay should automatically positive feedback/reputation points as they have successfully confirmed that the buyers has fulfilled their part of the transaction. Instead sellers hold the positive feedback out as a carrot to buyers whom are forced to leave positive or no feedback in order to protect their own rating. In the end you get sellers with artificially high feedback scores.

Furthermore ebay gives no additional weight to people who complete high dollar transactions with positive feedback; such that a seller can do 1000 transactions for a dollar each and have a crazy high rating for when they decide to run a scam and screw someone out of several grand for a car or a piece of real estate.

A serious revamping of ebay is needed to increase buyer seller relations. My first recommendation would be to introduce a meta-moderation and abitration system whereby in cases of transactions gone bad both sides would have an opportunity to write a short summary of their view of the events (maybe 500 words or so) and then those stories would be available to be viewed side by side by random third parties who could declare fault and/or present an abitration suggestion which could then be presented back to the original parties, if the parties are able to resolve their issues through the arbitration suggestion the suggesting party might be given some additional positive feedback... In this way there is a benefit to all involved parties to act above board and behave responsibly, and even in cases which do not end with positive feedback the damaging effect of wrongly issued negative feedback could be minimized.

any how that's just my .02 I suppose their are others out there with more/better suggestions. In the meantime I'll stick to my mix of Brick & Mortar/Craigslist/Amazon shopping and only veer to ebay for items for which I have historically experienced little drama, such as used car parts with significant value and very low price (read 1972 pinto hatchback hubcaps)...

Re:If ebay wants me back as a buyer (1)

BitchKapoor (732880) | about 8 years ago | (#15953959)

I like your analysis. I'd appreciate it if you'd take a look at mine [slashdot.org] .

Re:If ebay wants me back as a buyer (5, Interesting)

NMerriam (15122) | about 8 years ago | (#15954014)

I agree completely that one of the biggest, most fundamental and most easily fixed problems is the feedback machanism.

The sellers should be required, without exception, to leave feedback prior to the buyer leaving feedback. Sellers don't do anything until the buyer upholds their end of the deal (payment), and while issues can still arise (bad addresses, fraudlent claims of loss), the vast majority of issues come from sellers not upholding their end of the bargain, or providing lousy service and communication.

This solution is so obvious and so easy, and I've seen it suggested so many times over the years that I've come to the conclusion eBay actually prefers to be a den of thieves allowing sellers to threaten retribution on any buyer who dares complain about bad service. The one time I honestly had a problem with a seller and reported it (should it take 5 weeks to ship something that was paid for within 45 minutes of auction close?), I instantly got a negative feedback accusing me of all sorts of horrible behavior. What a bunch of con artists.

Re:If ebay wants me back as a buyer (2, Insightful)

muftak (636261) | about 8 years ago | (#15954102)

Sellers have more to lose by getting bad feedback, so with your system buyers could blackmail sellers into giving them refunds or whatever when they are not due. A lot of buyers treat ebay like a shop and bitch when it takes you a week to post an item or doesn't fit them, etc. What they should do is keep the feedback private untill both sides have left it, and feedback from newbies with 0 feedback is worth less than feedback from someone with 200 feedback.

Re:If ebay wants me back as a buyer (3, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | about 8 years ago | (#15954182)

Absolutely, a blind system is better than my idea and eBay's current system.

They do need a Google pagerank-ish weighting system of feedback value -- a $1,000 purchase from a guy who has been on eBay 5 years is worth more than a thousand purchases of sharpie markers from a brand new seller.

Re:If ebay wants me back as a buyer (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 8 years ago | (#15954107)

There's a more obvious solution. Require both to leave feedback before anyone can see it. If one doesn't leave feedback after n days, then the other's feedback becomes public. This would make it completely impossible for either party to force the other to leave good feedback.

It is completely broken though, I agree. There's someone selling about 30 MacBooks on ebay.co.uk at the moment. He has 10 feedback, all for items that sold for about £1 to other accounts with 0 feedback. If he had just waited until eBay stopped archiving the auctions before starting the scam, it might have been more credible. This brings me onto the next thing that is wrong with eBay. I get the same feedback whether the item is a laptop or a pen lid. There is no record of the value of each item kept. This makes it very easy for someone to buy a reasonable amount of feedback.

Re:If ebay wants me back as a buyer (3, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | about 8 years ago | (#15954186)

You're correct on both counts!

A blind feedback system would be vastly preferable to both the current one and my suggestion of seller-first feedback. I'd even heard the blind system suggested before and somehow forgot!

And yes, there should be some account of monetary value and buyer's reputation when a seller gets a feedback score. I've sold several thousand dollars of expensive electronics and photo gear on eBay to other eBayers who've been there for years, yet have a feedback rating in the double-digits. Scammers can come on with new accounts and sell bubble gum to each other for high feedback in a single day. Similarly, the buyer should get more credit for a good high-value transaction with a longtime seller.

Re:If ebay wants me back as a buyer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15954319)

You're absolutely right about the problem of retaliatory negative feedback, but requiring sellers to issue their feedback before buyers still wouldn't change the fact that the eBay feedback system is one huge mutual masturbation session. The comments contain no useful information, just ejaculatory squeals of joy loaded with "AAAA+++++!!!!!" and testimonials that the seller wants to carry the child of the buyer, all because the buyer (wait for it)... paid for his merchandise.

Re:If ebay wants me back as a buyer (3, Insightful)

Sircus (16869) | about 8 years ago | (#15954070)

The feedback system is definitely flawed. My solution to this: neither side sees the other side's feedback until both sides have left feedback. Nobody will currently leave negative feedback for a seller because the seller will then leave negative feedback for them. If the seller doesn't see what you've left before he leaves his feedback, a more honest feedback climate should prevail.

One potential disadvantage I could see to this system: sellers might find it convenient not to leave feedback if they fear that the buyer's feedback could be negative. This could easily be worked around by automatically turning "no feedback left by seller within 30 days" into "seller left positive feedback", with no comment (and vice-versa if the buyer's not left feedback).

A system for both sides to leave their view of a failed transaction might also be useful.

Re:If ebay wants me back as a buyer (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | about 8 years ago | (#15954206)

One thing they could do is that if a buyer pays by paypal, the buyer's feedback is automatically increased, as the buyer has perfromed thier part of the deal. If you read eBay's rules, the seller is supposed to leave feedback as soon as payment is recieved and cleared - this would just enforce it for some of the transactions.

Another couple of things (1)

edxwelch (600979) | about 8 years ago | (#15954308)

A seller is given a rating according to both what he sold and what he bought. So, you could have a seller with 99% positive votes, but when you look into the details you see that the rating was actually 99 bought items with positive feedback and only one thing that he sold with a negative rating. This is extreemly misleading. There should really be 2 ratings, a buyer rating and a seller rating.

There is a transaction history available, but it is deleted after a very short time (only 3 months). So if the seller hasn't been very active in the last few months you have now way of knowing what sort of itmes he was selling to get such a rating.

Re:If ebay wants me back as a buyer (2, Insightful)

reflector (62643) | about 8 years ago | (#15954312)

Sellers will not give buyers a positive feedback until after they themselves have received one, seems in cases where the purchaser uses paypal to complete the transaction that ebay should automatically positive feedback/reputation points as they have successfully confirmed that the buyers has fulfilled their part of the transaction.

this is a terrible idea.

if a buyer has received a feedback from a seller, and it can't be changed, a buyer will feel free to leave negative feedback for any reason they feel like.
if a buyer knows a seller hasn't left feedback for them, they are more likely to be civil and try to resolve any issue they have.

an arbitration system like you suggest, on the other hand, is a great idea, but the arbitrator's decision should be binding to be of value.
right now there is an arbitration system in place, via square trade, it is not effective because it is non-binding.

Re:If ebay wants me back as a buyer (1)

mgblst (80109) | about 8 years ago | (#15954110)

The feedback system is a great idea, and one of the reasons for ebays success, but needs improvement.

You often get see the more sophisticated fraud attempt, were people build up their feedback with cheap crappy items, and from mates, then try to sell 5 or 6 top of the line IBM laptops when they hit 50 positives.

The feedback system should also have the sale price of the item (or at least the option to let you have it) Then you can better judge the value of that positive feedback.

Fraud needs to stop (3, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 8 years ago | (#15954251)

As a hobby, I sell some selfmade software through my website. On EBay, people are selling my software on compilation CD's (they even advertise it as such) and I have tried contacting EBay on this multiple times, ranging from simple e-mail complaints to registering as a vendor and followinging the official complaint channels explicitely setup by EBay for this very purpose. Not ONCE have I even so much as had a reply, even though I included all kinds of clear evidence and not ONCE did they ever take any action.
As long as EBay keeps willingly and knowingly cooperating with these fraudulent sellers, EBay can count on my "F**k y**!" anytime. If I could help destroy EBay, I would.

Re:Fraud needs to stop (1)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | about 8 years ago | (#15954328)

you should just buy one of their compilaton CD's, pirate it in high volume, then resell making sure to undercut those bastards while you're at it!

I agree...far too much fraud (1)

Ogemaniac (841129) | about 8 years ago | (#15954309)

Just go look up any anime series you like. You will be lucky to find an entry that is NOT obviously a pirate copy.

The "factory-sealed import region-free version" with English and Chinese subtitles selling for a quarter of retail? Yeah right.

I can't figure out why anyone would buy this stuff. If you are gonna steal, just download it off torrents.

Two words... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15953850)

Craigslist. Wait, that's one word.

Seriously, CL has taken me from a loyal eBayer to someone who sells there once a year. I can put my item on Craigslist for free and 1 hour later have cash in hand for it. Plus, since the economics of scale are smaller, prices remain higher.

I worry that Ebay's investment in Craigslist will cause them to change things there. In the mean time, however, CL is the way to go if you're in a big city.

Re:Two words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15953866)

E-bay invested in CraigsList? Somewhat worrisome. I never heard about that..Anyone have a link?

what's the problem? (2, Interesting)

klaiber (117439) | about 8 years ago | (#15953856)

The article was pretty scant on detail, especially exactly *what* the merchants are complaining about. Has the system gotten inefficient? Are buyers having a hard time finding items? Basically, what faults do the merchants feel can be fixed by a new CEO? Anyone here at Slashdot have any educated guesses?

Re:what's the problem? (1)

coolcold (805170) | about 8 years ago | (#15954017)

It may not be that the new ceo can definitely change diection, but possibly the new one would lead the company in a different direction that may be good for the company.

Re:what's the problem? (3, Interesting)

Jetson (176002) | about 8 years ago | (#15954037)

The article was pretty scant on detail, especially exactly *what* the merchants are complaining about.

Judging from their online town-hall type meetings, most of the vendors are complaining because EBay is reducing the number of storefront advertisements and paid placements shown when people search. Of course, as a potential buyer I'm really not interested in the store's retail products. The reason I'm shopping on EBay is because I want to get used stuff dirt cheap. If I wanted retail I'd go to the mall...

Whiners (2, Insightful)

GomezAdams (679726) | about 8 years ago | (#15953859)

Looks to me like these losers need to learn new marketing techniques, not whine about ebay. If you have a product that used to sell in two listings and now it takes four you need to ask yourself is there more competition? Better copy writers for the same products? Better prices from other sellers? Fewer buyers for the product?

These people need to put more effort into selling rather than blame someone else for their shortcomings.

Re:Whiners (1)

Fred Porry (993637) | about 8 years ago | (#15953904)

You cant deny that ebay has become much more known and well-established within the last two years, and that automatically means more competition for sellers (and buyers)- every buyer of course tries to make the best deal, so you have to advertise your stuff more often, or sell it for no money, or keep it. On this account I say: Lets whine! And blame eBay.

Fierce Competition & a developed market (3, Informative)

dfenstrate (202098) | about 8 years ago | (#15953861)

Ebay has been around long enough that everyone knows about it, both buyers and would-be sellers.

Competition is fierce between sellers, especially any twits who bought a 'how to make money on Ebay kit' and are trying to do it full time- and buyers will jump sellers to save a buck or two- there is absolutely no loyalty on ebay.

I'm an occasional seller and very occasional buyer on ebay, and I like to be sure to be able to sell my stuff. Since I'm not trying to turn a profit on new items, just unload stuff I have and don't need for a few bucks I can be pretty cheap.

What do I do?
Put the starting bid waay under the going price (but at a price I'm willing to sell it at), and the buyout slightly under the going rate for an item. Usually it gets bid up close to the buyout/going rate, I sell my item, and everyone is happy.

I cannot imagine trying to run a normal business this way.

That being said, Ebay is soaking their sellers for more fees lately and this cut in profit margins isn't helping them at all.

Re:Fierce Competition & a developed market (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | about 8 years ago | (#15953875)

Your scheme constantly lowers the "going price" until everything is free.

You should be ashamed of yourself =)

Re:Fierce Competition & a developed market (1)

dfenstrate (202098) | about 8 years ago | (#15953887)

I'm only looking out for myself, like any seller on Ebay. =)

Re:Fierce Competition & a developed market (1)

eclectro (227083) | about 8 years ago | (#15953891)

Your scheme constantly lowers the "going price" until everything is free.

As someone who primarily buys on ebay, I can say that really sucks. Kinda.

Remove Whitman (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15953867)

Meg Whitman needs to be removed. Not only do I as an eBay sell find that I often have to relist items to sell to a paying buyer, but I also was upset to learn that eBay has been sending out emails trying to convince its users to support the evil that is net neutrality. Communications doesn't need more regulation, eBay does. eBay should be forced to act like a real auction place. Ebay is paradise for creeps (the captcha).

Re:Remove Whitman (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 8 years ago | (#15953973)

EBay supports net neutrality to prevent ISPs from "regulating" the access to websites unwilling to pay for "higher tier service" while claiming they are just unclogging the tubes. Sure, removing access to Google is going to reduce traffic...

Re:Remove Whitman (2, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | about 8 years ago | (#15954172)

Net neutrality is 'evil'? You don't think the fact that YOU'RE paying for your internet access is sufficient and that the other end should have to pay too?

Re:Remove Whitman (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | about 8 years ago | (#15954329)

Not only do I as an eBay sell find that I often have to relist items to sell to a paying buyer, but I also was upset to learn that eBay has been sending out emails trying to convince its users to support the evil that is net neutrality.

1. this is irrelevant to the issue
2. you may want to get a clue about what net neutrality means instead of reading the absurd claims from extremists

What ebay needs. (5, Insightful)

Frogbert (589961) | about 8 years ago | (#15953868)

What ebay needs is for people to stop selling stuff on it as if it was their own store. I go to ebay to pick up a bargain not to pay RRP for something I could get from the store for the same price. ebay needs to get back to what it used to be, a place to pick up rare items for a premium or second hand items for cheap.

Try searching for mobile phones on ebay, it's become a joke. There are people trying to sell new phones with plans included. Why bother, there is a shop near by that can do that and not charge me for postage.

Don't even get me started on items that are clearly in the wrong category. I don't want to sift through 18 pages of leather cases for PDA's before I find the cheapest listed actual PDA.

Re:What ebay needs. (3, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 8 years ago | (#15953977)

That last bit is what really annoys me. Ebay needs to introduce a policy that gets people banned for listing in the wrong category twice.

Re:What ebay needs. (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 8 years ago | (#15954138)

What they also need to do is ban those people who list items for $1 with $30 postage 'shipped from HK'. I wouldn't mind so much, but for some categories - like USB pendrives - you can't see any normal listed items anymore. Apparently ebay already disapproves of this practice, but obviously doesn't do anything about it.

Re:What ebay needs. (1)

jtara (133429) | about 8 years ago | (#15954119)

That's a trivial example.

I did a search for "vintage posters". What I got was listing after listing of REPRODUCTION vintage posters. Nobody searching for a vintage poster wants a reproduction of a vintage poster. The listings all say "vintage poster" in the heading, though they typically disclose the fact that they are reproductions somewhere in the text. If you're looking for vintage posters, there's no point in searching eBay - it's like finding a needle in a haystack.

I filed a complaint. Nada.

Re:What ebay needs. (1)

muftak (636261) | about 8 years ago | (#15954183)

then search for ""vintage posters" -reproduction"

Re:What ebay needs. (3, Informative)

reflector (62643) | about 8 years ago | (#15954286)

Don't even get me started on items that are clearly in the wrong category. I don't want to sift through 18 pages of leather cases for PDA's before I find the cheapest listed actual PDA.

sounds like you're not using your search filters, on the left side of the search results page.
they are very effective.

for pda, make sure youre browsing the HANDHELD UNITS category, not ACCESSORIES, and not PDAs which includes both of these other 2 categories.

also, put in a minimum price, say $20, that will cut out almost all the crap like leather cases that you're not looking for.

Not her the problem (3, Interesting)

4D6963 (933028) | about 8 years ago | (#15953877)

I have the feeling that it's not her the problem, the reason for that is that it was her who scaled eBay from a company of 30 lazy workers to the eBay we know today with its 200 million eBayers. I don't know the problem very well but I'm sure that one could hardly find a replacement for her as she knows and has managed eBay so well so far, and fix the problem at the same time.

The biggest problem with eBay is this: (4, Informative)

loomis (141922) | about 8 years ago | (#15953878)

I have been selling on ebay for 9 years now, since the beginning. Anyhow, what I see as the problem with ebay is this: eBay created, and then refused to truly govern this glut of "power sellers" who, more often than not, majorily illustrate exactly what is wrong with eBay.

Shoppers are tired of trying to buy, oh say a used or NOS laptop hard drive, only to be bludgeoned with auctions that consist of nothing but shipping overcharges after shipping overcharges after scams and more scams. Just trying to find a working computer or computer part sold by an average honest Joe at a decent price is nearly impossible. It's nothing but NYC camera store-style scam power sellers (now with used items too), if you know what I mean, and ebay turns the other cheek.

In fact, ebay continues to turn the other cheek even though they are losing money in these fee-circumventing, high-shipping auctions. It's strange. I guess they only care about insertion fees, and care little about maintaining happy buyers.

However, the system falls apart without the buyers, so therein lies the problem that I see.

Mod parent up (1)

comrade k (787383) | about 8 years ago | (#15953925)

...only to be bludgeoned with auctions that consist of nothing but shipping overcharges after shipping overcharges after scams and more scams. Just trying to find a working computer or computer part sold by an average honest Joe at a decent price is nearly impossible.
I completely agree. IIRC, Ebay charges a fee based on the price of the item. So what do folks do? They simply make the item $2.99 and jack the shipping up to $35. I don't sell on ebay, but what they should do is require the dimensions/weight of the item so that they can place a shipping estimate on the auction. If Joeblow is going to try to sell me a stick of PC133 RAM for $0.99, I'd like to have some idea as to what it's really going to cost him before I hand over $25 in shipping.

Re:The biggest problem with eBay is this: (4, Insightful)

dbc (135354) | about 8 years ago | (#15953945)

Damn straight. I don't frequent E-Bay anymore. Too hard to find what I want. Way too much fraud. The feedback system is a joke.

E-Bay has had this crazy idea that their customer is the seller. Well, their direct customer is the seller, but the seller's customer is the buyer, so E-Bay needs to start focusing on making buyers happy. If the buyer is not happy, the buyer will not come back. The whole system then colapses in a smoldering heap.

E-Bay keeps trying to police the buyers, and gives the sellers a free pass when ever they can. Thus, they have created the first planet-wide den of theives.

It's pretty damn simple. Follow the money. The buyers are the only ones feeding money into the system. How can E-Bay be so blind to that?

My formula for turning E-Bay around:
1. Stop treating buyers like thieves, treat them like valued customers.
2. Stop treating sellers like customers, treat them like sub-contract employees.

Re:The biggest problem with eBay is this: (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 8 years ago | (#15954213)

Thus, they have created the first planet-wide den of theives.

Actually, I think Washington DC has over a century on Ebay. ;)

Err. wait, I misread... thought you meant that it was the planet-wide first. Parser error. Disregard. (But I'm leaving the dig against DC up there because I can. Nyeh!)

Re:The biggest problem with eBay is this: (1)

reflector (62643) | about 8 years ago | (#15954240)

sorry to say, you have no clue what you're talking about.

fraud is a problem, for sure, but mainly for clueless newbs.
their feedback system has flaws, yes, but it also works.
i've bought over $100k of electronics on ebay this year, haven't gotten scammed at all.

the rest of your posting just degenerates from there, seems like a self-important rant from someone who doesn't know what they are talking about.

Re:The biggest problem with eBay is this: (3, Insightful)

reflector (62643) | about 8 years ago | (#15954208)

these fee-circumventing, high-shipping auctions. It's strange.

it's not strange at all, ebay themselves created the situation, by trying to squeeze every penny they can from sellers, and by only charging the sale cost, not the shipping fee.

consider, if ebay final value fee is 5% (for the sake of argument), then would you rather have a seller charge $0.01 and $10 shipping, for a total of $10.01? or charge $10.50 for the item and $0.01 shipping, for a total of $10.51?

the seller makes the same amount of money in both cases, but i would guess (call it a hunch) that buyers would prefer to pay $10.01 rather than $10.51.

the seller who moves as much of the cost over to the shipping side as possible, is able to sell the item for the lowest total price.

sadly, many ebayers are not very bright and dont understand this basic concept.

eBay needs to commoditize (1)

BitchKapoor (732880) | about 8 years ago | (#15953879)

The scaling problem which eBay is encountering is not limited to sellers. The core problem here is that a smaller fraction of the auctions are coming to a successful completion. If we assume that the ratio of sellers to buyers has remained fairly constant (an assumption which must be confirmed), then that means that more buyers are bidding on auctions but losing--or not bidding at all, fearing they will lose. In terms of products, there are two different categories: specialties, which are rare and specifically sought after; and commodities, which are common and substitutable. Hence the problem for both buyers and sellers is how to get more buyers to bid on more of the items for sale. The problem for a buyer of specialties is how to find them in the mass of other items for sale on eBay, particularly repeated instances of the same commodity. The problem for a buyer of commodities is which particular instance to bid on. eBay could solve this problem by implementing commodity auctions, where multiple different sellers' auctions are lumped together, and the highest bidder gets his pick of which seller to buy from, on down the line. This is similar to eBay's own half.com, but in a more time-limited auction setting; indeed, there is a continuum between these approaches, and eBay could offer their sellers more controller over the point which they occupy along the continuum. Grouping commodity auctions (even just in the search results, if not in the actual bidding) will also make it easier to find specialty items. There are many details to making this strategy work, but I believe it provides a sold start to a solution for eBay's current dilemma.

Re:eBay needs to commoditize (1)

BitchKapoor (732880) | about 8 years ago | (#15953920)

Reading other peoples' comments, it seems that eBay's biggest technical problem in implementing this strategy is learning more about the items being auctioned: how do their capabilities and qualities differ? are there hidden fees? is it likely to be delivered in tact? do they include features which the buyer doesn't want (hence driving up cost)? While better clustering and search algorithms can help, richer user feedback and (cheat-resistant) collaborative filtering is also important. A completely different way in which eBay can increase their knowledge about a transaction is by acting as a more prominent intermediary. Just as PayPal allows eBay to confirm the amount of money paid for an item after the fact, eBay, or trusted partner organizations, could offer, for a fee, to examine and hold in escrow items to be sold. Obviously this does not apply to all items, but it is particularly relevant to commodities or classes of items with similar characteristics, such as books. That said, a proper cost-benefit analysis is necessary.

Too Much Fraud (5, Informative)

chromozone (847904) | about 8 years ago | (#15953888)

I find more and more sellers are phony. They can even have a high "positive" rating and they burn you. There are so many bogus electronic sales its amazing. Laptop auctions come with emails inviting people to make end around offer. A Google search shows email addy on long list of phonies kept by private groups concerned with ebay fraud. You can find lots of interesting items with no bidders even in the last minutes. Why? Because people know they are phony. I got burned twice on ebay for cheap DVD's for sale by sellers with high positive ratings. Then I get notices from ebay warning me about seller. Oh it seems people, can hack/fake accounts. Haha too late for me. Getting burned gets almost no action from ebay, Paypal etc. Ebay went from interesting auction to flea market full of high prices, phony hustlers and junk. A friend bought big collection of all Buffy DVD sets. They were meant to be in excellent condtion. Then big box of broken plastic arrives and seller listing is gone. Lots of people figured out the deal and ebay. Amazon is much better. "How Amazon and Google are taking eBay's Business" http://slashdot.org/articles/05/06/22/2154201.shtm l [slashdot.org]

Re:Too Much Fraud (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | about 8 years ago | (#15954230)

Amazon better? Don't be so sure - I once got a pirate DVD from an Amazon seller. I think Caveat Emptor applies at pretty much every online (and to a lesser extent offline) market.

Easy way to fix fradulent auctions (4, Interesting)

John Miles (108215) | about 8 years ago | (#15953890)

One of the popular refrains from eBay's management is that they don't have the resources needed to police auctions on a proactive basis. They can only respond to complaints from users.

From personal experience, it takes eBay anywhere from three to eight hours to kill a series of bogus scripted auction postings created with a phished account. That's more than enough time for the phisher to reel in multiple victims, all the while making the whole eBay marketplace look like a Romanian gypsy fair.

eBay needs to do two things to combat fraud. First, add a prominent, one-click "Report this auction" button to all listings. Right now the report link is buried at the bottom of the page. It leads you through the typical maze of customer-support options before dropping you at a page where you have to click yet another link to bring the auction to eBay's attention.

Second, when a user clicks "Report this auction," the notification message it creates should be transmitted, simultaneously, to several participants in a large network of trusted volunteers. These users would be recruited based on factors such as experience, feedback, and a history of accurate fraud reports. They would not have the ability to terminate auctions unilaterally -- they wouldn't be quite that "trusted" -- but they would have the ability to vet the violation report for legitimacy and forward it via a private channel to eBay, where an employee would be able to terminate the offending user's auctions immediately without a lot of additional reviewing overhead.

Formalizing the concept of community policing is the only way I can see for eBay to maintain credibility, in light of the undiminished volume of idiots who keep turning their accounts over to phishers on a daily basis. I agree with eBay management when they claim they can't police the site on their own. It's time they harnessed some of the outrage that's out there in the community, and put it to good use.

Re:Easy way to fix fradulent auctions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15953921)

I agree with your ideas but disagree that volunteers should be the solution. If eBay can't afford/doesn't want to pay for sufficient staff to vet auctions for fraud, then they don't deserve to be in business. They are responsible for the auctions placed on their site, since they make money off of those auctions. No exceptions, no mercy. Corporations need to own up to their actions.

Re:Easy way to fix fradulent auctions (1)

John Miles (108215) | about 8 years ago | (#15953941)

I see where you're coming from, but I think it's more like, "if you don't want to pay for the staff."

eBay is not a charity or a government agency, so I don't expect them to eat the costs incurred by playing whack-a-mole with 50,000 Nigerian crooks. Those costs would be passed on to you and me... and it's dumb for them to spend money when volunteeers would do the work for free.

Re:Easy way to fix fradulent auctions (2, Interesting)

Greventls (624360) | about 8 years ago | (#15954227)

Make the powersellers be the ones who have to do it. Offer a discount on the percentage ebay skims off their auctions if they check x number of auctions that were reported as scams.

Meg Whitman has nothing to fear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15953893)

She's developed a sophisticated market and has beens are turning into also rans. What do these disguntled ebayers want? New management to market their items for them? Come on guys, it's up to you to grow your own businesses. You have to forecast your own markets for growth and competition. You can't blame your own bad business on ebay's management.

Hmm (1)

also-rr (980579) | about 8 years ago | (#15953916)

He says he now lists an item four times on average in order to sell it, up from two listings two years ago.

This could have as much to do with the number of sellers going up as it could be about the number of buyers dropping due to being put off by being scammed by either a seller or, more likley, eBay/Paypal.

The number of duplicate items listed for just about anything you care to name is staggering nowadays, so it's rare to get into a bidding situation over anything even slightly common. There were, for example, about 30 Aiptek 12000U graphics tablets on there when I was looking for one (and all of them were more expensive than buying one efrom scan - they work with Linux too fwiw [revis.co.uk] ).

Re:Hmm (1)

bstone (145356) | about 8 years ago | (#15953999)

Actually, I think the sellers are under the impression that it's "their" store, and they're driving away the buyers by trying to make the rules in their favor. eBay listens to the sellers too much, and actions like this will only make it worse. You have sellers trying every trick in the book to pull one over on the buyers ($0.99 items with $87.50 shipping, allowing feedback to be hidden, things buyers want like "eBay Negs" not being adopted because they upset the sellers, etc.). The sellers want to make an easy buck and it shows. It used to be that the playing field was far more level. Now the sellers are wondering why the buyers are fading away, and they want to take ~more~ control over the environment to "fix it"?

Part of the problem is market saturation, part of it is that some of the novelty has worn off, another part is other sellers (Amazon, Newegg, Tiger Direct to name a few that I know of) getting better at what they do and adapting to the market as it is.

I know as a buyer, my buying has changed. I used to spend lots of time searching for bargains, and would usually find them. Now, the sellers are way more sophisticated at keeping their prices up (and more willing to list an item a few more times before it sells), looking at masses of data collected to try to "maximize" their profits. Now, my buying generally comes down to a decision of how soon do I want the item, and do I want to spend the time to go to a brick and mortar store searching, or just order from my desk, If it;s not all that important, I'll buy frim a seller who looks good, and might pay a few bucks fir the convenience of not having to waste gas and deal with stores, but I;m sure not going to expect to find a "great" deal any more. (In the oast, I found lots of things mis-listed where others missed them, and I could get a deal, that doesn;t happen any more as the sellers are getting more sophisteced with their software and "marketing programs". When I find the item I want, it's $3.00 less than Amazon, and it;s a no-rainer spending the $3.00 on a known solid company. It's no surprize to me that, as sellers hae become more scientufic about extracting the last dime out of buyersk it's beggomg harder to find buyers.

Having the sellers :take over teh store" will just make it worse for teh buyers, and the sellers will wonder even more :what happened to the "good old days", while the buyers wikk wander in other directions,

uhm... (1)

AntiTuX (202333) | about 8 years ago | (#15953922)

Did anyone else notice that the guy who sells garden gear's last name was mowery?

vendors getting greedy? (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 8 years ago | (#15953930)

So it takes too many listings to sell goods on eBay?
Maybe your stuff simply costs too much.

When once eBay used to be the place to go for bargains, nowadays I frequently find items priced on B.I.N. or with reserves higher than it's available from non-eBay online stores.

I don't know if they're cashing in on the (now rather inaccurate) idea that if it's for sale on eBay it must be a bargain, or just exploiting people's unwillingness to shop around. Oh yes, don't get me started on the increasingly popular practice of charging a low headline price and then an extortionate shipping cost.

It's time.... (0)

Spedge (834310) | about 8 years ago | (#15953952)

And I for one welcome our new Google overlords. Oh, come on. It's got to happen here eventually.

Help, no one wanted to buy my unwashed underwear! (1)

espenss (409753) | about 8 years ago | (#15953957)

It's too many sellers, selling too much shit on eBay -- and of course, there are too few buyers, wanting the bull.

So, in other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15953961)

I should get working on a better eBay.

*opens emacs, orders pizza, and checks caffeine supply*

Lets rock.

And this is bad how? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 8 years ago | (#15953974)

"'EBay's core (auction) performance is suffering tremendously,' says Steve Grossberg, a longtime videogame seller on eBay. He says he now lists an item four times on average in order to sell it, up from two listings two years ago.

And four years before that, it was only once if you had something of actual value to sell. Why the change? Because eBay is constantly flooded with new sellers who are ever willing to undercut the existing sellers - which brings buyers to eBay and keeps them coming back. So long as this supply of new sellers persists, eBay has no reason to change it's policies. (And there are no real policy changes they can make that will force people to buy anyhow.) eBay doesn't owe you a living Mr Grossberg.

Re:And this is bad how? (1)

reflector (62643) | about 8 years ago | (#15954161)

try thinking before you write.

ebay is offering a service to sellers, and one that they charge substantial fees for.

if ebay is being mismanaged, and is driving away buyers through stupid policy decisions, sellers have every right, perhaps even an obligation, to let ebay know that they are screwing up.

ebay DOES have a reason to change its ("its" not "it's") policies - buyers are fleeing, and ebay has no one to blame but themselves.

Re:And this is bad how? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 8 years ago | (#15954228)

if ebay is being mismanaged, and is driving away buyers through stupid policy decisions, sellers have every right, perhaps even an obligation, to let ebay know that they are screwing up.

ebay DOES have a reason to change its ("its" not "it's") policies - buyers are fleeing, and ebay has no one to blame but themselves.


How about said sellers? THEY are the ones doing an end-run around what few policies eBay DOES use to try to keep them in check and get what they are due. The sellers are cheating ebay with $.05 sale prices and multi-sawbuck shipping costs, exploiting the feedback system with "revenge feedback," hiding behind tiny print ("this is a picture of an xbox") although that one is partly the buyers fault too.

So how about putting part of the blame on the sellers where it belongs, too.

Re:And this is bad how? (1)

reflector (62643) | about 8 years ago | (#15954271)


the high shipping costs are 90+% due to ebay policies and fee scales, if ebay fixed their broken policies and/or charged more reasonable fees, this would go away.

"revenge feedback" is specific to neither seller or buyer, both do it.

oh, and i see you've thrown in an anecdotal story about how ONE seller on ebay tried to rip people off by selling a photo of an xbox, and clearly, if one seller did this, that means all sellers are bad and deserving of blame.

nice logic.

eBay is committing suicide by auction fees (5, Interesting)

AriaStar (964558) | about 8 years ago | (#15953991)

He says the company is taking "aggressive steps," such as a fee increase for store listings to "reinvigorate" the auction marketplace.

Increasing fees to the sellers results in sellers charging more for shipping, on which eBay does not charge fees, in order to recoup the costs. If a seller is charged a couple dollars in listing and selling fees on a low-priced item, why bother lisisting? eBay has lost its reputation as being a place for buyers to find bargain and sellers to get the highest price. Bargains are few and far between these days. No longer is it feesible to buy a book or new keyboard on eBay when the fees charged are so high that buyers are deterred due to the "shipping" fees and sellers are hesitant to list without a near guarantee of a sale.

Lower the fees and the market will have a new breath of life. Better to make $1 in fees on 10 auctions than to make $1.50 on five.

Also, acquiring Paypal hurt eBay in a way. They outright forbid vertain other payment services, such as Google's payment system, and by trying to force payment down a certain channel (for which they make more in fees), eBay is gaining more of a feel of someone standing over us beating us into submission rather than a comfortable play to spend time browsing and breathing easy and having options.

Not to mention both buyers AND sellers are being ripped off left and right these days and eBay seems to lack the inclination to do anything about it. If they're making their fees either way, why not let it continue?

Re:eBay is committing suicide by auction fees (1)

reflector (62643) | about 8 years ago | (#15954142)

eBay is gaining more of a feel of someone standing over us beating us into submission rather than a comfortable play to spend time browsing and breathing easy and having options.

while i agree with you 100% here, the typical moron AOLer using ebay doesn't want or need options, what they need is someone to do their thinking for them, they are sheep and just want to follow the herd, to do what everyone else is doing.

try selling an item on ebay and don't allow paypal as a payment option, and you'll see what i mean.

and let's face it, there's a lot more idiots around than thinking people.

Re:eBay is committing suicide by auction fees (1)

stewjw (997014) | about 8 years ago | (#15954314)

I agree, simply put Ebay is too expensive, and if you use PAYPAL you get hit twice with high charges. Sadly I still use it on occasion if no alernative can be found. Fraud is a problem particularly for expensive items and Ebay is not doing enough to remove fraudalent adverts which are usually pretty obvious in many cases--I've noticed one trick by fraudsters is to buy crap at say £1 or less a time to get a good feedback rating before selling that high end laptop at a knock down price.

No problem (1)

Threni (635302) | about 8 years ago | (#15953992)

As an ebay buyer, those people can go somewhere else. I'm happy with things the way they are. Shops are boring - if I want to buy something online I know how to find it. I go to ebay to waste a little time on an auction and get something cheap from someone who doesn't really want it.

Craigslist (4, Interesting)

abscissa (136568) | about 8 years ago | (#15953993)

I use craigslist now. You don't have to register your fake details and remember useless passwords, you can sell locally and get cash instantly, usually within a day. Unless you're selling obscure shit, it's the way to go. AND IT'S FREE, GODDAMNIT!! Just like the good old days of the Internet. When I was a boy, the internet was a free place and playboy.com had free porn... and the girls had nice titties and they were all respectable looking. But I digress. USE CRAIGSLIST! You'd be surprised how many people want to buy your totally weird shit ... and how many of those nutty people live in your city. Doesn't work well if you live in the middle of nowhere, though, I guess.. :-(

Re:Craigslist (1)

Mr. Hankey (95668) | about 8 years ago | (#15954221)

Absolutely! Having been ripped off through PayPal with no action taken on their part, I've decided against using eBay and PayPal going forward. Craigslist has proven just as useful as eBay in finding most things I want, while not finding too many unrelated things. When selling, I'm not forced into a bad deal just because the week's up. Being paid in cash is convenient enough for me, no worrying about whether that person was using a fraudulent PayPal account or if that credit card payment is going to be reversed. I really get the feeling there are people who know what they're doing behind the scenes when I use Craigslist. As long as it doesn't turn into the same fraud cesspool as eBay, I'll have no need to use anything else.

Re:Craigslist (1)

fbjon (692006) | about 8 years ago | (#15954270)

.. and the girls had nice titties and they were all respectable looking. But I digress.
Digress? You were just getting to the main point!

Sell somewhere else (2, Insightful)

tod_miller (792541) | about 8 years ago | (#15954008)

Oh you think I am being tetchy?

If you think about it, stop whining about wanting new management, if all you do is keep adding auctions to sell something, and complain about new management, why should anyone change anything?

If you do sell somewhere else, and they get less wodge, then they may listen.

Vote with your money. Not with your whining.

Community policing and honest selling (4, Interesting)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | about 8 years ago | (#15954026)

I second some of the more well thought out community policing ideas brought up here. Ebay cannot employ paid staff to adequately monitor the zillions of auctions that get listed every day, that does not compute as any kind of business plan. But overseeing an army of community volunteers...that's the way to go, as long as abuse can be curtailed. (people falsely reporting their competitors) some of the suggestions above seemed to mitigate that problem.

I've been selling on Ebay since almost the beginning - but I haven't bought anything ordinary in a long time for precisely the reasons people have mentioned here. The one time I tried to buy a piece of electronics, it turned out to be stolen. (A laptop, I returned it to the rightful owners) The lesson I learned was never buy any sort of portable electronics or anything that's easily fenced, because that's where it ends up.

I've had great success as a seller of unique items. The most interesting and high value was a 1963 Corvette Stingray Convertible. We got a far, far higher price than what locals were offering us. Ebay is almost always a better option than anything else.

On Ebay, the entire world of internet connected citizens really IS your marketplace, if you have anything of value to sell. this is the best thing Ebay has going for it right now. Everybody checks ebay by default to see if the thing they want is on there, even if they don't plan on initially buying from there, just price shopping. Many change their mind along the way.

My selling tips are:

* Sell something unique or at least semi-rare

* Be completely honest and up front about everything, and you will have perfect feedback, unless you run into a total nutjob buyer. (I've had some close calls, so now I put more disclaimers on the auctions about things like "customs duties and tariffs are not included" etc.) Include LOTS of documentation for something that could be suspected of being stolen.

* Go way out of your way to make people happy after the auction is complete. A good business transaction is a voluntary transaction between two people who are both satisfied with the outcome. If they get the item and it's damaged, fixed the situation as quickly as possible.

* Start your bidding at $1 (or $100 for high priced items) with no reserve, no matter what the item is. If you don't believe you'll get market value or what you want from the item then you should ask yourself if you should really be putting it on ebay, or if you really want to let go of it just yet. Do your homework and research completed auctions. Low start bids drive large numbers of bidders, which will increase the chances your item will become a 'hot item' and will get people to notice it in general. The Corvette started at $100 no reserve and ended at $27,000.

* make liberal use of the bold/highlight features for any item that costs over $100. it's the cost of advertising / doing business on ebay...no big deal. If your margins are that bad, don't sell on ebay. If you don't like their fees, don't sell on ebay. They are a lot cheaper than running a brick and mortar store or selling on consignment.

* your excellent feedback will increase bidding confidence in your buyers, it works. Work hard to keep it perfect. Don't sell anything you yourself wouldn't buy at the price you are expecting for it. BE HONEST.

* despite accusations to the contrary, Ebay is still a SELLER'S MARKET. The audience you reach by listing your item on there is INSANE. Now that everybody knows that, the competition for commodity items is also INSANE. I see nothing unpredictable about their current situation - the market is finally saturated with sellers to meet the demand of the buyers. Natural forces balancing out. It was very skewed in the beginning, almost comical. Unfortunately now the sellers include all of the scum of the earth, particularly folks who make a steady living scamming people. Buyer beware. Ebay needs to take steps to keep up with this situation, or they will quickly find themselves underwater...they appear to be slightly sinking at the moment from all the negative buyer experience. If they falter, someone else will jump right up and take their place as the #1 internet auctioneer. (most likely Google at some point, if Google remains the super power that it is)

--M

Re:Community policing and honest selling (1)

reflector (62643) | about 8 years ago | (#15954126)

i don't think that the moral of your stolen laptop story is dont buy laptops on ebay.
rather, it's be careful of whom you buy from.
i've bought hundreds of laptops on ebay (for local resale), mainly from asset management companies, and i've never had that issue.
i don't buy from anyone with less than 99% feedback, and the more expensive the item, the better i look for the seller's feedback to be.

i don't recommend liberal use of bold and highlight features on ebay ($1 and $5 listing upgrade cost), especially not for something valued at $100. those fees really add up, especially if you run a lot of auctions, and their effect on attracting buyers to your auction is dubious (side note: ebay dishonestly makes a note to sellers listing an item that, for example, auctions that are listed in BOLD finish at 27% (or whatever percentage it is) higher, on average - of course the cause and effect are backwards, it's really more that when you're listing a more expensive item you're more willing to pay the $1 BOLD listing upgrade fee).
the 2 listing upgrades that are a good buy are gallery (for anything over $20), and gallery featured (generally i'd use this on items $1000 and up), in my opinion.

feedback is a tough one, there are a lot more idiots, irresponsible people, crooks, and AOL users on ebay these days.
my last 2 negative feedback came from: 1 guy who refused to pay for an item he bought and left negative feedback when he got an unpaid item strike. and then 1 other guy who wanted to return an item 3 weeks after the warranty ended.
there's a lot of irresponsible jerks out there.
yes you can keep your 100% feedback by always doing what the buyer demands (although even that doesn't guarantee you not to get a negative), but i believe sometimes you just have to stand up for yourself when someone makes an unreasonable demand.

selling commodity items is perfectly fine, just know what stuff sells for before you buy it in bulk, and keep in mind that there's only so many units you can sell a week without flooding the market and driving down the price.

Shameless (though unaffiliated) plug. (3, Interesting)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 8 years ago | (#15954032)

He says he now lists an item four times on average in order to sell it, up from two listings two years ago.

Google Froogle anyone? You can list there for free. As customer I in fact use it quite often.

Sticking exclusively with eBay was guarantied to screw you someday. It seems that day is nearing. And as customer I find it pretty stupid for vendor being eBay-only anyway. Now PayPal have eased most of the problems, but I just feel myself uncomfortable being so much in eBay's land.

Get real people. eBay provided you with the "shelfs". But it still owns the shelfs and can do pretty much anything with the shelfs. (Just like ordinary public market.) eBay after all has to make money too. With many crackers' attacks, tightened security and audit, eBay I expect has pretty high operational costs. What I'm getting too: you have to pay for better security higher price.

Switch to a competitor (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 8 years ago | (#15954036)

There are several. (Yeah, that'd be no sympathy) It's ebay's job to make the shareholders rich.

 

Ebay Upgrade (2, Interesting)

ryty (527886) | about 8 years ago | (#15954044)

I have inside information that Ebay is adding a multi-million dollar location in the upper Sacramento area. Perhaps along with this they may be making some other changes.

yeah.. (1)

ImTheDarkcyde (759406) | about 8 years ago | (#15954077)

I don't spose people are too upset about google purchase being outlawed either.

Just like any other marketplace (1)

boyfaceddog (788041) | about 8 years ago | (#15954082)

Wow, eBay is showing its age. Go figure. And no one saw this coming?

Let's say eBay is a mall. In a traditional mall, the owners redecorate twice a decade, throw out the tennants, do all sorts of things to try and keep the place vital. After a while the mall goes beyond the point of cosmetic or tennant-change repair. When the mall failes to be vital and the owners no longer care, you have the dirt-mall. The dirt-mall is the place where you can get a tatoo and a pair of used sneakers right next to the dollar store and the discount liquor shop. Sounds like eBay to me.

eBay is a real marketplace. It is subject to the exact same pressures as a real marketplace - just like a mall. The question seems to be - is eBay still vital, or is it time to set up shop elswhere?

You know you have a problem when... (4, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 8 years ago | (#15954165)

You know you have a problem when you're self-employed and you seek a management change.

FIX PAYPAL. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15954173)

I need not say more.

Sue ebay for unfair competition (1)

mrshowtime (562809) | about 8 years ago | (#15954187)

Well, not really ten, but here goes: THE CHINESE WHO ARE SELLING ILLEGAL/BOOTLEG ITEMS SELL FOR FREE. I understand eBay wanted to jump into the burgeoning Chinese market, but they did it at the expense of their sellers. Not only do Chinese sellers get to sell for free, 99.9% of the Chinese sellers sell bootleg/counterfeit items and list a SHIT LOAD of them on ebay. Ebay totally screwed their bread and butter, the paying sellers, both ways. Not only do sellers have their auction listings artificially obscured by fake Chinese crap, the legit sellers can't compete in prices. Why buy a "Scrubs" one season dvd set when you can buy all of the seasons for the same price? Also since the Chinese now make high quality bootlegs of everything, ebay is very hesistant to pull an auction unless the VERO owner complains directly. If somehow the Chinese seller gets suspended, bam, he's back up instantly using one of his other countless HIGH FEEDBACK account. Ebay will NEVER penetrate China. Different culture, different everything. If I were in charge of Ebay right now I would shut off China entirely, except for buyers and USA and other worldwide sellers should sue ebay for unfair competition.

I stopped buying on Ebay because... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15954255)

1) Fraudulent auctions. While I've never suffered from them, they are too easy to spot (for us humans) and they make doing business on Ebay risky. I've never seen EBay do anything positive about these (nor take enough care regarding them), which to me is a signal that EBay does not care about "us", just their profit. In that case, I don't care to use EBay any more.

2) EBay shops. Create a new web site or something. Whatever, get rid of them. In the beginning, Ebay was for random people to sell random stuff they no longer wanted, not shops in Hong Kong or some place you've never heard of trying to push their wares. EBay shops are at odds to the original EBay experience.

I'm not sure if the EBay shops or auction fraud causes more "noise" on EBay, these days.

But maybe I've just grown up and realise what I want isn't on EBay any more: goods with a warranty/guarantee that can be easily returned if defective.

It's been years now since I last bought something on EBay and I rarely go back there to look for things to buy now.

So can EBay do it?
Cut down on fraud *and* find a way to seperate EBay shops from people like you and me?

What went wrong. (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 8 years ago | (#15954269)

1. Far too much fraud. If you get stung, even if you pay by Paypal, you pretty much lose and eBay really don't much care or want to get involved. I got caught out over a lens (overseas seller, great and huge rating but decided to shut shop) and while I got some money back, eBay's response was 'we got back what was left in his Paypal account so that's all you're getting'. Quite how they get away with abdicating their financial responsability in these days of strict corporate financial controls etc, is a mystery.
2. System encourages loads of duplicates. A tricky one. people tend to only pay attention to the first or second page of results so sellers with duplicates tend to put up new identical ads every 24 hours to ensure they always have something near the top.
3. The changes to shops. Ebay have promoted shops and many people have built their livelyhoods around them. Suddenly the costs go up and the results get stuffed at the bottom of each search. Great way to alienate a huge portion of your userbase overnight.
4. Poor policing of dodgy items. Whether it's pirate software/DVDs or people who sell a CD for 1 buck with ten dollars postage, there needs to be a much slicker and *obvious* way for buyers to report bad items.
5. Just too complicated. I've used eBay for years so know it and can grok new features and why they're there. Pretty much every new user I've introduced has found it hugely complex and overwhelming with features, links and all sorts of options that make no sense to a newbie.

eBay is not your mama (1)

dfuller (304852) | about 8 years ago | (#15954276)

Caveat emptor. eBay is not your mama.

I think a most recent Dilbert pretty much said it all (your research required.)

I've had great luck on eBay and for all the reasons stated.

- 1 pair perfect Magnepan loudspeakers. Delivered as represented by a credible seller, serials verifiable.
- A Crown IC-150 power amp that I needed to spice up a dull system. A rare bird, hard to fake.
- A perfect Bryston 4B amp that's real darned hard to fake and covered by a transferrable, 20 year warranty, no questions asked. Darned hard to find, locally. Serials verifiable. Fairly priced.
- Various unique underground comix that would be hard to misrepresent.
- A "Goofy" backwards-clocking watch. I knew what it hadda look like. Easy to verify.

If the seller seems unclear about the thing they're selling, BEWARE. (Well, it's a Rools-Royce, seems to run good, looks pretty good, found it in granny's 'grage, I dunno, what do you think it's worth...)

Bid on items that are rare and provably unique; worth selling and transporting, uniquely. It takes actual work to represent these items and the bullshitters pop to the surface pretty quickly.

If you're bidding on a sunflower seed when you can get one at the local store, consider.

Cripes.

Multiple Listings? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 8 years ago | (#15954310)

Isnt that against the rules, and one of the problems Ebay is having with its users anyway?
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