Wednesday, August 20, 2008

eBay changes

Sigh. You just get used to one change, and they announce more. Their feedback calculation change literally happened yesterday (they backed off as neutrals retroactively being counted as negatives) and a lot of sellers still haven't figured out they changed search to not show all of your items unless you are careful to use different titles. As an example I have a competitor that's spending about $30/week and only one of his items is showing up.

So now they have...
  • They're eliminating checks and money orders! This is definitely going to drive some good customers off of eBay - hopefully they'll just contact me directly and we'll work something out, but still. They'll just let people take PayPal and if they have their own merchant account they can do credit cards.
  • They're doing some weird stuff with shipping charge limits that won't affect me, and offering some kickbacks if you offer free shipping. This actually might be worth it for some of the higher priced items but it doesn't take affect until October 1st so I'm not going to worry about it for a while.
  • They're adding a 30 day fixed price listing, costs 35 cents. It's kind of like a store item (5 cents) except it shows up in searches. It will probably be a nice way to get more exposure for some kinds of items, although it's not as good a deal as you might think in the sense that usually they're going to be way in the back of the search standings unless they're fiddling with that again. So mostly they'll kind of be buried. And they'll nail you on the fees when it sells (much like a store item). But this is part of eBay's move to be less of an auction place and more of a general merchant clearinghouse - which I think is a stupid move since Amazon does it much better. I'll probably do this for the more expensive items since it's flat rate and will make more sense for those items although the fee for selling a cyanotype over platinum this way is $30ish and at that point it might make more sense to do a featured auction. I'll have to run the numbers and really figure it all out.
I think I have a month or so to figure out the new strategy, and it will all get hashed out in the powerseller forum in lots of detail, but it once again shows if you want to sell on eBay more than casually you have to really keep an eye on this stuff.

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