Monday, March 10, 2008

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

eBay has done it again; surprised the heck out of me. For those keeping score:
  • eBay announced that they would begin category specific pricing in the Media Category, something that had been requested for several years: "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."
  • eBay, compensated sellers for a glitch preventing buyers from leaving anything higher than a 3 for a DSR rating. They gave all affected sellers 5's instead. "Feedback issues over the weekend may have impacted how and whether some buyers left Detailed Seller Ratings. To ensure that sellers are not negatively affected by this site issue, eBay will be automatically updating any Detailed Seller Ratings left during the period of the issue to the highest score of 5. As noted previously, the original issue was resolved on Saturday 2/23.
  • eBay is compensating sellers who were affected by a S&H glitch that undercharged buyers for S&H. " For a few hours on Thursday, 3/6/08, listings using the shipping calculator to determine United States Postal Service (USPS) Parcel Post and Priority Mail costs were calculating incorrect amounts. This may have resulted in some buyers being undercharged for shipping between 4:30pm and 7:45pm PST. The issue was caused by a bug which has been corrected.

    This issue impacted a very small number of listings and sellers. Sellers who were impacted will automatically receive a credit from eBay for the missing postage. The credit will be issued to sellers’ eBay accounts in the next few days.

  • eBay Australia, announced today that they would be setting up a special one-off fund to compensate buyers who were scammed when they purchased Vacation Packages to Australia "eBay is currently in the process of establishing a special one-off fund in order to make payments to the buyers who purchased accommodation packages from “beachesaustralia” and/or “sunlizardholidays” and who have had their accommodation vouchers rejected or refused redemption by the hotel/accommodation provider, or who have not received the vouchers. eBay is creating this one-off fund in acknowledgement of the unique nature of this particular incident.

    We will be contacting affected buyers in the coming days with details on the steps they will need to take to access the fund.

    We are also working closely with Victorian police to identify victims. If you believe you have been impacted and have not already contacted Victorian police, please do so promptly. Victorian Police have asked that reports be made through the Queensland Police Service website at:

    We realise that those impacted have been waiting and asking for a formal communication from eBay on this matter and while we would have liked to provide information sooner, eBay needed time to investigate the situation thoroughly.

    Again, we regret any loss and inconvenience that those of you affected have experienced. Once established we hope this fund will help ease any stress that impacted buyers have felt."

Now, before you start poo pooing this post for being easy on eBay managers, let me say a few things: eBay is not making these moves out of the goodness of their hearts, they are doing it to re-establish eBay as a trusted marketplace. These changes and many more are necessary to bring back buyers and keep sellers from leaving and they are just small steps toward those goals.

I'm writing about these events because they signal a change in the way management does business, nothing more. eBay management has never before reacted so quickly and decisively and though many of you may say it is "a day late and a dollar short" these changes were needed to turn this ship around.

They still have a long way to go, to win back buyers and sellers, but these are all steps in the right direction. After all, isn't a healthy eBay marketplace good for everybody?

Just my 12%


Tony P. said...

Randy, that 'voucher affair' is something, isn't it? The other actions by ebay towards the sellers have the capacity to overlook *some* of the sellers affected, due to the 'fixes' being dependant upon ebay's perception of the glitches' duration, but the travel vouchers are for any buyer with a proper claim.

That was me agreeing with you, in case it didn't come across like that. Yes, I do have a pessimistic nature, in regards to ebay, but I prefer to think of it more as Pragmatic. I can see where ebay has changed; it just isn't an absolutely clear vision of the underlying reason(s).

Some quotes (not mine) from various discussion boards, blogs, etc:

"Everybody is just so damned pissed. They are SO pissed that ebay can read all about their Dirty Laundry on blogs all over the net - personal, business, financial - you name it, and a multitude of blogs has the latest ebay glitch, followed by hundreds of pissed-off responses. That's why ebay decided to give the sellers 5-Stars."

"If it weren't for the boycott and all of the hoopla that it has generated, ebay wouldn't have posted about the shipping glitch. There were postings about the glitch in a half-dozen blogs within a few hours, with links to those blogs going into all the financial blogs. That's why ebay made good on the loss to sellers."

"Ebay isn't listening to one damn person! The only reason they lowered the fees for media was to stem the tide headed to Amazon. Yeppers, ebay actually thought their "insert fee reduction" was worth a dang when they first announced it. Then they witnessed an INCREASE of sellers headed to Amazon, so those sellers got lower fees. NOT because anyone asked. Hell, we asked that the shipping calculator be fixed and that hasn't happened!"

I have to say that the above comments do merit some consideration, but they still don't totally eliminate the possibility that ebay has Changed. I can't see it as a Sea Change, but I'd be willing to call it a Bay Change. (groan)

Anonymous said...

eBay is so Passe...

Can somebody tell me how to make one of those accent dealies? I am in my "continental" mode today...

There will be a time and better place when it may be possible to never read or hear the word "eBay" ever again.

Poor Randy, having to write about it on a regular basis. [wouldn't a blog about Golf be more fun?]

Anonymous said...

When I hear or see the word "eBay" I now get the same gut feeling as when I see or hear the term "waterboarding."

It has gone well beyond not being "fun"...

Randy Smythe said...

Tony P,

I just see this as a singal that they may be changing and hope that it will continue and I do agree wioth those commentors that the motivation for this change is external to eBay.

I still think we will need to see quite a few more changes before I will be convinced.

Anony #1 Isn't that thing called an umlaut :)? I would much rather be playing golf then writing about it and I prefer writing about eBay than using it.

Nonymous #2 - Ouch!

Anonymous said...

"e" with accute accent [passé].

[Using the numbers pad on the right with a windows pc. Turn num lock on. Press alt plus 130 using numb pad.]


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