eBay – A Billboard in the Desert?

Hi gang,

So I’ve had a week to digest all the new changes that eBay rolled out.  Here’s my opinion of the main changes:

1.  On eliminating checks and money orders –  this will upset people, and eBay will lose a tiny fraction of buyers, but as a seller, I am happy about it.  They are a pain to process for a large seller.  eBay is a digital marketplace, and it needs to take digital payments.

2.  On capping the shipping that sellers can charge in some categories –  This will probably surprise you, but I am for it.    We have been forced to play the high shipping game for too long – eBay doesn’t get this, but they CREATED the high shipping issue for media sellers when they sorted search results by price only and not by total price – in the media categories at least,  nobodys trying to avoid fees, we are just trying to get our listings seen.   Capping shipping wipes out this stupid game that we all have to play.   Yes, we will all have to raise prices, not only to compensate for the reduced shipping fee, but we will have to raise the total price as well because we will all now be paying eBay a Final Value Fee on the higher price.  So in the media categories,  the overall total price of goods will rise.   That’s good for eBay – they will make more (again) on us – we’ll see what the buyer thinks about it.

3.  On the hard 4.3 DSR anywhere makes you a bad seller and you’re gone –  that sounds about right –  4.3 is fairly low.   Don’t get me started on the 2 shipping DSR’s –  my Canadian buyers give me a 3.4 on shipping time on average!   Yeah, that’s my fault.  Oops,  I got started….

4.  On the biggie – the new Fore listing (damn right I’m copyrighting that).  A Fore listing is the new 30 day Fixed Price listing.   It’s a Store listing on the Core site.   Fixed Price + Store = Fore!    As always,  it kind of depends on what kind of seller you are as to how this affects you.   There’s no doubt that a lot of Auction sellers will switch to the Fore listing.   In Media,  the Fore listing is .05 –  that sounds cheap,  and for an auction seller it is.   For a big media seller with a lot of items in the Store,  it’s actually a huge increase.  We go from .03 insertion and 12% FVF  to  .05 insertion and 15% FVF.  Multiply that times 350,000 listings a month, and you might see my problem.  Fore!   In Media,  the Fore listing is a Store killer because lots of people will switch to it, which will in turn make Store listings nearly invisible, so my 2 choices are to kill the item forever, or to list with Fore.  I’m undecided, as are a lot of my competitors right now.  There’s no question that in the media categories,  total inventory will increase.   We won’t see a total flooding though, unless maybe down the road eBay just goes ahead and makes listings free.

The Fore listing for the rest of the site is .35 for a 30 day listing.    That will be good for most sellers.


So, I’ve still got 2 big questions with all of this:

1.  How will search work?   Nobody has seen what the new search results pages will be like.   Until we can all figure out where we fall in search if we do an auction vs. a Fore listing vs. a Store listing,  all of this is just crazy talk.

2.  The changes will probably bring more inventory to the site,  but WHAT IS EBAY DOING TO BRING IN MORE BUYERS?   A matchmaker needs 2 people to join together, right?  If you put this nice new eBay billboard in the desert,  who’s going to see it or care?   We have heard nada about eBay’s plans to drive new/more customers to the site.   I’d advise that eBay gets its’ game face on and make 4th quarter worth all these changes from the demand side.   Otherwise we’re just putting Max Factor on a pig.





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