Many of the reversals have been accompanied by the phrase: "We heard you" in reference to user complaints regarding the changes and I would like to believe it is that simple, but honestly there is such a lack of trust in eBay management these days, that most sellers doubt the motivation for these changes.
Some of these changes certainly needed to be rolled back and for that many sellers are grateful, but I can't help but think much of this could have been avoided, had they just "heard" sellers before the changes were made.
Here is a list of some of the recent reversals:
- View Item Page - The most recent reversal was a note to developers and sellers regarding the "View Item" page. "Good news! As a result of your feedback, we have decided to stay with the existing "flex" design and not constrain the description area to 710 pixels. You can continue to make your template as wide as you want, and the page will resize to fit it." This reversal had more to do with developers I beleive than it did sellers.
- eBay Links Policy - Back in April , eBay announced a new links policy that would basically restrict the use of outside links from About Me pages and listings. Many sellers spent numerous hours revising their listings in order to comply. Just recently eBay announced that the new Links Policy was being rolled back to the previous version.
"Hello everyone…Back in May, I announced a number of important policy changes for sellers. One of the policies I mentioned was an update to our Links Policy which governs the types of links that can be included in a listing. Our Links Policy is intended to increase safety and preserve the buying experience.
After my announcement, we received questions and concerns from sellers about this change. At eBay Live!, our staff made it clear we would be going back to reconsider some aspects of the policy around how third-party links would be treated.
As promised, we’ve been reviewing all the different types of situations that our sellers have brought to our attention, and we’ve been meeting with additional stakeholders to understand how our policy update would impact them. After this additional research and discussion, we’ve decided to leave our Links Policy as is. There will be no Links Policy updates at this time." This is a huge win for sellers and either signals that eBay is listening, or there were bigger issues than thought regrading the policy.
- Feedback Policy - When eBay launched the new Feedback policy earlier this year, they recalculated feedback to include neutrals as "examples of a negative buying experience", which basically made neutral feedback the same as negative feedback. Many sellers that qualified for "Power Seller" status, prior to the change, were suddenly no longer qualified.
Well, you can imagine the uproar that caused and following eBay Live in June eBay announced that they would be revising the feedback policy. eBay Marketplaces President Lorrie Norrington said "Recalculating Feedback percentages without neutrals: Effective in late August, neutrals will no longer be counted as part of the Feedback percentage. This means we will be recalculating Feedback percentages retroactively for users worldwide. In the interim, no one will lose their PowerSeller status as a result of neutrals being included in their Feedback percentage." in addition she announced that a new revised Feedback Withdrawal system would be launched in Oct. in direct response to complaints from sellers.
She went on to explain the motivation for these reversals; "Finally, we're working to resolve other important issues that eBay sellers have raised over the past several months. I hope what I've shared with you today demonstrates our commitment to listening and responding quickly with solutions. We want to make eBay a great place for you to do business, but it's going to take all of us -- together -- to get it right for the collective good. I want to thank you for your patience, your business and your continued commitment to eBay."
Many of these changes should never have seen the light of day in the first place, so if eBay is truly listening, I would suggest a change in the way they communicate with sellers.
Perhaps the "Voices" program has run it course and a new program needs to takes its place. A program with some teeth to it, where Sellers not only voice their opinions but they actually negotiate changes.
I know this is a radical idea and there isn't a simple solution but if eBay wants to turn this ship around they need to partner with sellers, give them some "skin in the game" and really work together.
Perhaps a Seller Policy Board that includes representatives from each of eBay's different constituencies (Vendors, Auction Sellers, Small Sellers, Store Sellers, Seller Organizations, Large Sellers, etc.) and actually has some ability to negotiate with eBay regarding changes. I know this idea is difficult to implement and has many positives and negatives, but something needs to be done to bridge the huge gap between sellers and management. I'm just throwing this idea out there to see if there are any viable options.
Special thanks to John at 3rd Power Outlet for the title for this post.
Just my 12%