Sunday, March 04, 2007

Delays in Listings Showing in eBay Search!

It looks like the new fraud prevention initiatives and search engine “improvements” that eBay is working on are having an effect on when sellers items are indexed for search. I came across a thread on the Stores Discussion board that discusses the problems sellers are facing.

Here is the disclaimer sellers are reading when posting their items.

“Attention Seller:
You are about to have your listing placed on the eBay site. Your listing will be searchable by item number and available in My eBay. Your listing however may not be immediately searchable by using keyword or category search until a number of hours later. For this reason, eBay cannot guarantee exact listing durations with respect to availability of keyword or category search. By clicking the Submit button, you accept these conditions.

We sincerely value you as a member of our trading Community and look forward to a continued successful relationship with you.”

I’ve highlighted the area of most concern, and here is the problem: Sellers are being charged a listing fee to provide exposure for their item. If a seller lists an item for a 7-day duration then they expect 7 full days of exposure. The eBay duration clock begins the moment an item is listed on eBay but since according to eBay the item may not be searchable for an open ended amount of time, in some cases 6 hours or more, then the seller is not getting full value for their listing fee. Sure eBay has protected itself legally with the disclaimer above and I’m sure accurate timing of the actual duration may be a technical nightmare but that is not the responsibility of the seller. Sellers, pay eBay for a service they should get what they pay for. Buyers expect what they pay for from Sellers should Sellers not expect the same from eBay.

I’m not debating the fact that most items are purchased in the last 12 hours of a listing or that the impact of 6 fewer hours of exposure will mean that the item won’t sell. It is a matter of principle. Everyone should get what he or she paid for. Conversion rates are on the decline, reduced hours of exposure will just add to that problem. Fees are raised every year to appease Wall Street but service continues to decline.

What is the solution? I don’t have a solution and to be honest that is not my responsibility; eBay is the vendor here. EBay is sitting on $3 Billion in cash and buying back another $2 Billion in stock, how about throwing some of that money at fixing the problems on the site instead of hiding behind a legal disclaimer? Jeez! When is someone at eBay going to give a damn about sellers!

Everyone says if you don’t like the venue then leave and of course this is true but where will they go? eBay has done a great job monopolizing the Auctions market where else can they go? eBay certainly will not make changes because a few sellers complain. The only things that will force change at eBay are real competition, government regulation, or a drastic exodus of sellers. The sad part – if they just threw sellers a bone every once in awhile they would have their loyalty for life.

I think it is appropriate that eBay is holding their eBay Live Conference in Boston this year. Maybe it is time for another Tea Party.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At this very moment (16 April 2008, 20H09 CET) I'm still waitinf for my listing, posted yesterday at 20H22, item nr.160230500937, to show up in the eBay listings - this is a 24 hours delay, not a 6 hours one. I would live happily with a 6 hours delay. Hence, if anyhting, the problem is much, much worse than some people may think.