Monday, May 21, 2007

Reading The eBay Tea Leaves! eBay 2.0

I am starting to get a fix on the new eBay, eBay 2.0 if you will. Auctionbytes.com just posted about the changes coming to eBay in the coming months and I think this provides a glimpse of the future of eBay.

  • eBay to Serve Targeted Ads Based on Users' Information

    Well, it looks like my prediction of last Oct --
    The Real Future of Ebay; After Their Recent Agreements with Yahoo and Google! -- is coming to fruition. eBay is now becoming a Product Search Portal and marginalizing their sellers. eBay management wants to control the buyer experience and it looks like they are moving away from relying on their GMV based business. In fact eBay looks like it wants to become "Google for Shoppers". Tough sell, because in order to do this they need to alienate the core of their marketplace business. I see this as a very bold gamble. I'll have to ask my stock analyst buddies if this move would be cheered by Wall Street or not.

  • You Blog It, eBay Owns It (too), Says New User Agreement

    "eBay has always claimed rights to auction descriptions, and in fact, it grants its affiliates permission to republish them. Now, in addition to content areas such as seller listings, feedback comments, "About Me" profile pages and discussion boards, eBay has numerous Web 2.0 content areas, allowing buyers and sellers to write reviews and guides and publish blogs and wikis. Not to mention videos embedded in eBay listings."

    By being a member of eBay, users now grant eBay a content license that reads, "When you give us content, you grant us a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable (through multiple tiers) right to exercise the copyright, publicity, and database rights (but no other rights) you have in the content, in any media known now or in the future."

    So now even user's original content is free to eBay to do as they please. eBay uses that content to improve natural search and will soon be adding sponsored links to eBay, blogs, wikis, guides and My World pages. (This last statement is speculation on my part but is the logical conclusion to their current efforts)

  • Make money by directing traffic to eBay.com

    eBay has ramped up their efforts to get users to drive traffic to eBay by allowing sellers to get paid to drive buyers to their own listings. Note to Sellers: If you are going to drive traffic to anyone it should be your own WebStore not eBay. My suggestion, don't do eBay's work for them unless you want to stop selling actual product and just become an affiliate marketer. If you make money by selling a real product then take control of your business and move away from the control of eBay.

On the pure speculation front: I am beginning to see signs that eBay is considering changing their SIF format to a no listing fee higher FVF format with control over S&H. Their continuing troubles with the Media Category and their desire to control what buyers see makes this move a near certainty but I have no hard evidence to prove my point -- yet. The signposts are there, though. If eBay does not charge listing fees for SIF then they can control the product that buyers see ala Amazon and similar to what they are doing on eBay Express, therefore giving them more control over the marketplace. In fact SIF may just become EIF (Express Inventory Format) with Express listings being served up on the .com according to an algorithm of eBay's choosing. I don't see any signs that they will stop charging listing fees for Core items.


Note to Store sellers: If you have not begun to look for alternatives to eBay stores don't delay. You will still have access to the eBay marketplace through sponsored adds and core listings and Express (don't laugh) with EIF

3 comments:

Sue said...

One small note about affiliate links: I use them on my sites to send people back to eBay when I really don't have what they're looking for. It gives me a small measure of satisfaction to earn commission on things that would probably have been bought from my competitors anyway. :-D

WRT SIF fees... yes, I think you may be right, though it might be .com only as it would require some enormous changes on the European sites. eBay France doesn't even have Express, for example - instead we have a listing label "neuf et immediat" ("new and immediate"), which is like a combination of buy it now, on a guaranteed brand new item, get it fast, pay instantly from a business seller. Which if you ask me, is a lot more useful than a seperate site a la Express!!

Randy Smythe said...

Sue, I don't have a problem with using the affiliate link as you do. I just think sellers would be better off spending the time and effort to drive business to their own webstores.

If they only have an eBay shop/store then this is a way to help their eBay economics.

Sue said...

I just think sellers would be better off spending the time and effort to drive business to their own webstores.
Oh, totally agreed :-D What makes me laugh is the speech you get on the affiliates program at eBay University, when it's presented as this totally simple way to earn hundreds, if not thousands, a week. They forget to mention that if you want to make proper money as an affiliate, that in itself is full-time job, and a job that's very different to being a seller.