Sunday, June 15, 2008

Some Things to Look for at eBay Live.

I'm heading out to eBay Live on Weds and will be there until Friday and now that I have the new laptop, I should be able to keep you up-to-date on what's happening -- I may even try some video blogging.

This years event promises to be quite interesting, so I figured I would put together a list of things I can see happening or being announced - not in any particular order.
  • John Donahoe and Lorrie Norrington will get booed at the Keynote Speech. I know that sounds harsh, but they know this is coming, so I'm sure they are prepared for it. Change is difficult and doubly so, when the execution of that change is so uneven. I just hope everyone will be calm get it out of their system and move on without anything ugly happening.
  • Attendance will be down from past years. eBay said they are expecting 10,000, but that would be difficult to imagine with all the unrest in the community.
  • eBay will announce new listing option for stores. I'm not quite sure what the fees will be, but if the surveys they sent out last month are any indication, it will be low core insertion fees based on Store subscription. It is possible they will end the SIF format all together and allow Fixed Price core listings for 30-days in core. I think they feel they can control search with "Best Match". Basically this is SIS Part Deux.
  • The rumor of the day, is that eBay will prohibit 3rd Party checkout, which would certainly be a problem for vendors like ChannelAdvisor, Infopia, and the rest. 3rd Party checkout has always been a negative with buyers, but mostly because eBay requires software vendors to jump through so many hoops that the process is quite clunky. My guess is they will just require eBay checkout for all transactions.
  • The talk in the hallways and on the exhibit floor will be about where else to sell and many sellers will be sharing their experiences at the various marketplaces.

These are just some of the things that may happen at this years event. It is tough to read eBay management these days. It is clear they are moving toward total control over the marketplace and they are demanding excellence out of sellers or they won't get visibility on the site, but it is my opinion that they no-longer have any good-will with sellers and if they have any more missteps, it could be a very long summer.


David said...

When I first heard that this is the final eBay live my thoughts were that John Donahoe and Lorrie Norrington are too embarrassed to be booed. They don't have the guts to confront the sellers whose livelihoods are being destroyed.

The fact that this is the last eBay live tells me that they are planning in 2009 and 2010 lots of changes that are going to piss off sellers. (I believe these feedback changes have been planned since 06)

One other thing. I hear about this "product sourcing booth". The way to prosper on eBay (at least in the past) was/is to have something unique to sell. I don't see how sellers can be successful if they are all selling the same products.

permacrisis said...

At this year's "eBarely Alive" you can be certain management are going to drop a mega-bomb that will suck all the air out of the convention hall.

You are much too polite Randy- the talk in the halls and floor will likely be, "Eff This."

David, when I heard they canned any more of them my first thought was, "Cheapskates".(It would have been 'cheaper' in the long run to keep doing them for a few more years, as insurance against antitrust allegations. But you know ebay and shortsightedness... like PB&J.)

And you are absolutely right. In fact tonight, I just turned down a huge load of industrial automation surplus CHEAP-- because this category, once the most lucrative on ebay, has been DECIMATED by Best Match.

With the backlog BM has created, I'm plumb out of room.

Cliff said...


Is there ANY indication/rumor, anything at all, pointing towards a shopping cart for eBay Stores?

I really like the 3rd party carts and think they're a great part of eBay, be a shame to see them go, but I must say that part of the reason I don't use one as a seller is because they are annoying as a buyer. And in this year of the buyer, I absolutely agree, these could be going.

But I think it'd be foolhardy to do so without an alternative. What I want and so many others have been screaming for for a long time, is an eBay cart!

So, any word at all of this in the rumor mill?


Sue Bailey said...

My money's on getting rid of SIF as it stands, with a new 30 day BIN like they have in Italy. (And possibly a new "showcase" feature to replace featured plus, again as they have in Italy - basically allowing sellers to buy their way to the top of Best Match.)

But really, I'm with Cliff on the shopping cart. It's spectacularly stupid that there isn't one anywhere but eBay India.

Anonymous said...

Getting rid of third party checkout? Are you effing kidding me? That's absurd. I'm sorry but this has GOT to be a false rumor. CA would basically go out of business if that were the case... If there is ANY truth to this rumor please bring it to the forefront immediately.

Sue Bailey said...

Oh and re. David's point about the product sourcing booth: the benefit to sellers isn't the point; the real point is that vendors will pay eBay for a stand. Is that vastly over-cynical of me? :-D

Whatever we see from eBay live events in the future, I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't some kind of trade show element bringing suppliers and eBay sellers together. From eBay's point of view, that has to make masses of sense: it'd keep all those hobby sellers right on-side.

And re. the third party checkouts, it wouldn't put CA out of business; their product is SO much more than a checkout. In fact, I'd argue it'd do them a favour: as a buyer, I don't like their checkout (they know this!!) so as a seller, that alone would put me off using them. And I know I'm not the only one who thinks like that.

Randy Smythe said...

David, the sourcing pavilion is just a way to get more more product on the marketplace. They still want the unique stuff but they also want a large Fixed Price marketplace.

Permacrisis, you are correct sir, I am too polite.

Clif, they've been talking about a shopping cart for years but I', not hearing anything about it coming out soon. If they don't get a shopping cart then they can kiss their "Retail Experience" goodbye.


I think you are right on about SIF. See you in a few days.

Randy Smythe said...


The 3rd-Party checkout ban is just a rumor, but we will find out this week. It would be announced during the developer's conference which begins today or tomorrow.

I'll post as soon as I know something.

ms.pat said...

All the fluff and nonsense aside...will somebody please tell me what in all this will bring one new buyer onto the site?.... or persuade one old buyer to return? Ebay has run over sellers/buyers like a steamroller - how is all of this iron-fisted crap going to end in a pleasant environment that is conducive to sales? Nobody I know (and none of them are ebay sellers) buy a thing on Ebay. My neighbor buys on Amazon faithfully and when I asked her about Ebay she said they aren't trustworthy!!! How is Ebay going to overcome this with more obstacles thrown at sellers and more friction between sellers and buyers? That's the question I want answered!

Anita said...

The ebay checkout rumor is looking more likely. Check out this comment from the eBay Product Roadmap developer post ( where there's a list of upcoming eBay features:

"4. Payments: Provide buyers with a consistent, safe checkout experience every time they shop to increase buyer confidence and decrease online fraud"

Sounds to me like they're planning to move away from third-party checkout.

Randy Smythe said...

Thanks for the link Anita. I think it is pretty clear this is the direction they are headed.

David said...

Randy here is the problem.

Terapeak always brags about "hot items" like the XBox 360, the iPhone, etc...

You aren't going to find any of these products at a sourcing booth. Instead you are going to find a bunch of generic products, that are extremely difficult to sell.

I think eBay wants to rid itself of being a flea market, and become a shopping mall, so it's funny that they do this.

Randy Smythe said...


There are a number of reasons they do this and most probably wouldn't make sense to sellers.

You are correct about the product. I think that the best eBay sellers know how to source product without any help. This is for newbies asnd they will be dissapointed.

Anonymous said...

Checkout may not be CA's only product offering, but you better believe it will affect them, and for a company that is looking to go public, you better believe they will severely negatively affected if this were to happen (not to mention their thousands of users who rely on streamlined checkout that CA provides).

I personally would have zero use for CA myself if they didn't process my checkout orders. If CA didn't process checkout, they would be of no use to myself of many other sellers. There goes my $1800 a month in CA fees. Multiply my case by hundreds and hundreds of others, and you are talking serious business. I'll say it again - this has GOT to be a rumor.

eBay may tweak the 3rd party checkout, but they will absolutely not get rid of it.

Randy Smythe said...


Yes, it is a rumor but if you look at the many moves they have been making it certainly looks to have some legs.

eBay wants control of the entire transaction. 3P checkout is out of their control.

eBay has setup a new version of 3P checkout with so if they allow software vendors to do something similar this won't be a problem. there own version of eBay checkout.

Tony P. said...

"I just hope everyone will be calm get it out of their system and move on without anything ugly happening."

Maybe the 'barely disgruntled' can work out their anger with Boo's and catcalls, but some sellers have blood in their eyes.

'UGLY' may not even begin to cover it. A seat in the back, next to the exits, may not provide a good listening position, but...


For years now my fellow store sellers have asked/begged for a shopping cart. For years I have warned that such a thing will be the final act to removing all of our personal Branding.

I consider the ability of the buyer to purchase multi-items and have ebay's checkout do a Combine, to be the same as a simple cart.

Anything else, like the ability to add other seller's items to my customer's items, will simply reduce us all to faceless Suppliers. For ebay, for (their) customers.

No rumor on this is needed - it is on the way. Ebay believes buyers come to ebay, because it is ebay, not because of the products we offer. Ebay will simply push our faces out of view, while putting theirs (and yahoo sponsored ads) everywhere.

Watch for the New Look to the listing pages to further reduce your branding to an easily overlooked link. The gallery of Other Seller's Items on your listing page will help dilute your branding, even farther.

Randy Smythe said...

Tony, they want total control over the marketplace without having any real exposure (product).

We will just have to wait until next year to see what the New,New eBay will be

Tim said...

Good Job! :)