- eBay sellers don't like the fact that Buy got a deal not available to anybody else, so eBay created the Diamond Power Seller to give the "impression" that any eBay seller could earn that status.
- eBay Users began reporting Buy.com listings for violations that would have suspended every other seller. Their motivations varied from trying to damage Buy's business to testing how eBay would respond.
- Users started to complain about padded listings, Buy's "fantasy" DSR ratings, restrictive TOS, violations of eBay/PayPal rules about accepting e-checks and they are still looking for more violations.
- I'm assuming Buy's NPB rate was initially very high because of those eBay users who bought something to test out Buy's system; never intending to pay. If regular sellers are occasionally attacked by their competitors, there is no doubt Buy has been attacked.
Speculation abounds that eBay is protecting Buy from all of this, perhaps not counting bad ratings from non-paying bidders and overlooking the number of 1 and 2 DSRs in order to keep the ratings high. Perhaps this is the case; once the fee discount wall came down all the other walls could come down. I don't believe that Buy has any power over this, but do believe eBay would protect this seller from many of these issues because they are the test case for the "New eBay".
Buy is the first of the big retailers to come on board, so they are going to get the brunt of the abuse, but those retailers waiting in the wings need to tread lightly in their preparations for the move onto eBay. Some things for them to consider:
- They should be aware of the additional customer service demands of eBay's high maintenance buyers.
- eBay is unlike any other ecommerce business, so they better have the right talent in place.
- The changes in the marketplace are on-going; probably not the best time, in the scheme of things, to commit to eBay, at least in a big way. Nobody really knows what the marketplace will be like a year from now.
- Selling on eBay may put your brand at risk, is that potential worth the incremental sales?
- eBay is a discount marketplace and some brands just won't work for example: Zappos is a premium brand not a discount brand? eBay customers are conditioned to get "the deal".
Many of the these large retailers will start small on eBay; to get a feel for the site, possibly with a secondary brand. I doubt any of them will jump in with 500K listings right off the bat. There is plenty of eBay talent out there, it would be wise for them to hire the right people. Wow, suddenly many eBay seller's resumes have some value.
Another option would be to buy an existing eBay business. Perhaps this is the time when eBay sellers, that are leaders in their categories, begin looking at their exit plans. Imagine your sales and eBay knowledge being part of a larger, more efficient and resource rich company. Nobody is going to get rich with any of these deals, but they might be a stepping stone to a brighter future.
When I was considering shutting down Glacier Bay, I looked into selling my business. I wasn't looking to get rich, but I was looking to continue the Glacier Bay brand and get access to additional resources. In Jan of 2006, I even had an agreement to sell Glacier Bay to a large media retailer but the deal ended up falling through, for reasons I won't go into, except to say; had I negotiated that deal in this current environment, the Glacier Bay brand would still be alive and kicking.
Glacier Bay had few assets, but was still generating $400K a month in revenue and the Glacier Bay brand was still valuable on eBay. The idea was to add my $4 million in annual revenue to this other companies cost structure without adding any of the overhead, except that I would have become an employee of the company.
Buying an existing eBay business would help these large retailers to transition onto eBay without hurting their brand and without having to learn all the eBay lessons from scratch, they could negotiate with eBay at the same time as they negotiate with the eBay seller, striking a listing deal at the same time.
The big online retailers are coming, but you may not know it.Just my 12%