Thursday, July 17, 2008

eBay tidbits

eBay just released their earnings info, and there's a couple of interesting tidbits. I'd mentioned one of the changes they made was to lower listing fees and to raise the final value fees - which encourages you to list lots of stuff even if it doesn't sell, and they make it up on the ones that actually sell. Well, listings are up 19% even though the number of active users is only up 1%. That means you have a pretty good glut of extra items that probably aren't selling. How exactly does that improve the user experience?

They've made a ton of changes this year on the selling end, most of them stupid. Even they are admitting some of it and they're actually rolling at least one of those changes back in August (why they couldn't do it immediatley I don't know). But a lot of the really stupid stuff is staying. I just had a guy buy quite a lot of stuff and not pay - in his feedback there are multiple positive feedbacks saying something like "NOT A POSITIVE - buyer didn't pay" because you can't leave negative feedback for buyers anymore. So many of them feel like there's no reason not to pay. It's a real mess.

eBay's trying to push people to have cheap/free shipping because they don't get fees on shipping and they have this whole DSR - detailed star ratings I think it stands for. I'm running mostly 4.9's out of 5 which is really solid but the one that trips up most people is the shipping cost. Mine's a 4.8 which is still really high - top 10%. It's hard because most buyers don't realize how expensive it is to ship stuff, and that it's not just postage, it's the cost of the packaging and all that. Most of why I stopped selling ACEOs, at least for now, is that the bubble envelope was $1 and I was getting seriously dinged on shipping because they weren't factoring that in. But what's hilarious is that among people who exclusively offer free shipping they average a 4.8 - same as me. And the reason is that some people who see this, instead of thinking "It was free! Nothing's better than free!" and giving it a 5.0 - they make it a 3 because they think it doesn't apply so they just pick the middle one. Well, the way they have their scale set up, you lose your powerseller status if you average less than 4.5 so a 3's a major hit. So people actually find it better to have shipping where they take a loss versus making it totally free - they actually get better ratings. Makes your head spin.

You should see the powerseller forum - everybody thinks the new CEO is a moron. That can't be good when all of the big sellers are figuring out how to move things offsite. I need to get a bit more aggressive about that myself - making sure customers know that they can buy direct.

As I type this their stock is down 14.41% since yesterday, and down quite a lot from their 52 week high.

And I doubt if eBay will let this stay up very long, but there's an auction for the actual stick eBay stuck up their sellers butts...


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