Monday, February 11, 2008

Hell, Just Froze Over!

Well, slap me upside the head and call me Susan, I never thought I would see the day that eBay would listen to sellers and in a short period (not years) make adjustments to their plan. What am I talking about you may ask?

Lorrie Norrington the new President, eBay Global Marketplace Operations, has just announced category based pricing for the media category. Here is her announcement. I normally only quote from announcements but here it is in its entirety.

"Hello...This is Lorrie Norrington, President of eBay Global Marketplace Operations. By now I hope you've had the chance to watch the Keynote and Executive Q&A webcasts from our annual eCommerce Forum held recently in Washington D.C. I can't think of a better way to start my new role than spending two and half days in discussions with many eBay sellers. I want you to know I'm committed to consistent communication, action and follow through. As a result, I'd like to let you know about our next steps:

1. To make immediate changes where we believe it benefits the health of our marketplace: We heard your comments about the need for media and category-specific pricing. Today, I am pleased to announce we are accelerating our plan to phase-in category-specific pricing for media. This fee cut will coincide with the site-wide pricing changes previously announced to take effect on February 20. In the Books, Music, Movies and Video Game software categories, we will be offering even lower insertion fees for the first three insertion tiers as follows:

  • $0.01 – 0.99 (auction-style only)Original Categories Insertion Fee: $ .20New Media fee: $ .10
  • $1.00 - 9.99 (auction-style and fixed price)Original Categories Insertion Fee: $ .40New Media fee: $ .25
  • $10.00 – 24.99 (auction-style and fixed price)Original Categories Insertion Fee: $ .60New Media fee: $ .35

2. To closely monitor the marketplace to ensure the changes we've made have the intended impact: We heard many of our sellers believe the shipping Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) needs to be re-examined. Also, we heard you when you said you wanted us to be transparent about participation in the PowerSeller discount program. Let me be clear: our goal is to improve the buyer experience so much that at least 50% of our PowerSellers qualify for discounts. We will run these changes as announced in Washington D.C., but we will closely monitor the data. If buyer trust in the marketplace is not improving as intended within the next six months, we will take action.

3. To stick with the changes we believe are right for the marketplace: We will proceed with our plans to evolve our feedback system and with the weighting of Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) in search, as announced. They are both central to our plans and will aid in providing a great buying experience from sellers buyers can trust.

Finally, I'd like to take this opportunity to share with you how excited and honored I am to be serving the eBay Community. You have helped us to build an incredible marketplace over the years. I passionately believe that great service will lead to great customer experiences in 2008. I'm very committed to helping the eBay marketplace to become even more successful for you in today's competitive environment.

We literally cannot do this without you. The changes we announced better align our shared interests. By rewarding and differentiating our best partners, we will together deliver more of the great shopping experiences found nowhere else but on eBay.

Lorrie Norrington
President, eBay Global Marketplace Operations

I didn't want to analyze the fee cuts in this post, just wanted to get it up on the blog as fast as possible. The key here is that this may be truly a new eBay, the former managers would never have made this change. I know I've been pretty negative, about eBay, over the past two years but I do see a glimmer of hope in this announcement. Again, the hope is not about the specifics but about the change in the way they are doing business. Could this mean eBay is turning over a new leaf? Only time will tell.


Vista said...

Oh my God, is this a joke?!

Now THAT is a fee reduction! None of this nickel savings BS they spat out at e-commerce. I literally CANNOT believe eBay actually, finally LISTENED to media sellers! Like Barack Obama, this gives me hope. A new leaf has turned today indeed.

I see this as absolutely a good thing, long overdue IMO but a wonderful step in the right direction!

I'm going to need a while to digest this new info... the same way I felt after the Patriots lost the Super Bowl..


Sue Bailey said...

I thought you might be quite happy about this one :-)

Randy Smythe said...

Vista, yeah it blew me away also. I spoke to eBay and they basically dsaid everything is on the table. Media is the first domino to fall but they will be looking at other categories as well.

Yes, I was happy for my Media Bretheran and Sisteran but more delight that management see the light. They've broken down many walls in the last few weeks. There is room for hope.

Vista said...

You said it - the fact that management is beginning to see the light is exactly why I am so delighted. As of right now all media that needs to be priced above $25 is still a problem, but the fact that they even made this simple step in the right direction is amazing to me. And out of the blue, too!

Randy Smythe said...

Hopefully other sellers will not look at this move as favoritism for high volume sellers but recognition by eBay that each vertical needs to be healthy and they will roll changes out as needed.

Cliff said...

Randy, this is awesome, I can't believe they acted so quickly.

I basically need to be pinched here: when they refer to Books, does that cover all sub-categories, specifically a large percentage of my stock goes in the Magazine Back Issues section--did eBay just hook me up, or is this one a tease for me?

Thanks for the post, this was the first place I saw this!

Cliff said...


I think those looking for the negative will say exactly that, plus they'll probably be further outraged that eBay actually made changes and didn't reinstate negative feedback for buyers. That's my prediction at least.

Randy Smythe said...


I think it affects all sub-categories under Books so yes you just got a nice present.

Cliff said...

Sweet, Randy, just needed to hear it from someone else, thanks --

Sue Bailey said...

Oh, and I should say - as a unceasing book buyer, I am very happy. Now if only USPS would drop *their* prices too, my life would be perfect ;-)