Tuesday, August 12, 2008

eBay Seller Exodus Continues!

And the beat goes on!

Inactive and NARU sellers accounts grew 3% since they were last measured on July 16th according to Seller Dome:

NARU: +3.1%
Inactive 1 month: +3.9%
Inactive 6 months: +1.1%
Inactive 12 months: +2.6%

These are just the numbers of sellers who have ceased selling on eBay, many other have diversified to their own websites or other marketplace sites. In Q2 Amazon announced that seller registrations there increased 18% Y/Y

This will be an interesting trend to follow, especially as we get close to the 4th Quarter.

Just my 12%


ms.pat said...

This doesn't take into account those of us who still try a listing now and then but are nowhere near our former listing levels. I used to keep 50 or more running all the time - most of my artist friends did too. Right now I have only one listing with no inclination to doing any more of them in the near future. There are lots of sellers just like me. Ebay is hurting - they won't admit it but they're leaking revenue faster than buy.com and the other big sellers can put it back!

Anonymous said...

We sold on ebay since 1998, but as of April, have ceased adding any new items to our store. Once the summer doldrums ends, we will have a sale to get rid of everything, and then we're outta here for good. Our handmade jewelry has found a new home on etsy, and our sales are getting better every month. At least we found a place where people value our talent, and aren't interested in groveling over a few pennies, or to haggle over a $2.95 shipping charge. Ebay - you're dead to us.

Steve L. said...

For the first time in years, I haven't sold anything on eBay in a month. Things have slowed so much that I haven't missed it. I closed my eBay Store too.

Amazon sales on the other hand - I would miss...

Randy, do you know what those percentages translate to in numbers of sellers?

roccodelucca said...

I have listed on ebay for over 5 years and to say they have shot themselves in the foot is putting it mildly, it started with the no neg' feedback rule for sellers, a bad move followed rapidly by their hike in fees, just not now viable for low cost items and their latest move, well thats just lunacy, time will tell.

I stopped listing altogether on ebay back in April and have not ventured back but now list on Ebid, iOffer and Tazbar not to forget Vivastreet, they are slow but keep checking Powersellersunite and it is obvious they are growing rapidly this has to be to the detriment of ebay especially as they are all FREE to list and have very reasonable FVF's.
I really believe they will replace ebay in the not too distant future, time will tell !!!

Ophelya Payne said...

Ebay has been on a slow downward death spiral for years. It started when they began raising fees well past the point that the market could bear. That didn't seem to matter to ebay mgmt, and they just kept raising them. That annoyed sellers, but most stayed with ebay because the buyers were still there. As time progressed, the buyers started disappearing because sellers had to keep raising their prices & shipping in order to turn a profit. Now, its at the point, where there aren't many buyers left for the large pool of merchandise on ebay. (Why buy on ebay when you can pick up the same thing at a store, and be assured of a return policy and ease of return). Ebay was great in its beginnings because you could find one of a kind items vintage and collectible items. That is no longer the case anymore. Ebay had a niche in this great world of ecommerce, and they threw that away. They've taken a large gamble with the decision they've taken. Perhaps Amazon will recognize that void move in for the kill SOON. There are a lot of sellers looking for a new home.

bonni said...

EBay recently suspended my buyer account (they didn't suspend my business account, though). They also suspended my brother-in-law and my father-in-law. Why? We all used the same IP address at some point (wireless networking while visiting, etc.) and one of us had a suspension from the eBay boards, and someone else posted to the eBay boards. In other words, they suspended THREE buyers because nobody broke any rules.

I sent in the paperwork they required and copies of my drivers license and a promise not to do it again (though they never did tell me what not to do, only that I was "associated" with some account I'd never even heard of). My father-in-law has gotten nowhere and is preparing a case with the Fair Trade Commission. My brother-in-law simply deleted all his eBay cookies and got a new account with a different email address.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is how eBay treats YOUR buyers, and this is their idea of "improving the buyer experience". They're so paranoid that someone might say something they don't like on one of their discussion boards that they'll prevent excellent buyers with perfect records and longtime standing from buying anything on eBay. (Note that I haven't heard anything from eBay on this matter yet, and it's been a couple of weeks or more. I may well be spending my Christmas dollars elsewhere, and eBay's shameful treatment makes me think that I really don't WANT to do business through them, anyway...)

Ms. Jewelry-Maker said...

Ms. Pat...I too have cut back on my jewelry sales at ebay. We used to have over 600 items in our store and at auction at any given time. We now have about 60 items, and once those sell out, we're not going to be listing on ebay anymore. Etsy is a great place for handmade/artisan items. They have opened us with welcome arms, and are very friendly with good customer service. There are lots of various sites that are nipping at ebay's heals just waiting for the chance to jump ahead of them.

Anonymous said...

Bonni....I am sorry you were suspended from ebay. That's typical of ebay. Suspend first, then let buyers ask questions second. The worst part of a suspension is that you cannot get a customer service rep to talk to you. You can only send notes to them, and then you wait for days or weeks for a canned response.

This is another reason ebay is going down the tubes. The buyer experience stinks!

timagainstbay said...

It should be clear, I am a wholesaler and not a good writer or a stock expert, but I have a first hand inside look having been a powerseller almost from e bay start, for over 10 years, 1.7 million per year sales and account for $156,000 paid to e bay per year for seller fees, this is the bases in which e bay shows profit or loss in a great way for there core business, this does not account for paypal fees charged, seller manager pro, e bay stores. Buyers and sellers are leaving e bay, this can be proved by http://www.sellerdome.com/
It is interesting how the 1500 employee lay off received so much attention, however, OVER 10% of total powersellers were laid off/suspended because of flawed aggressive policy poorly implemented has not had a placement. This is proved by http://blog.sellerdome.com/?p=16 between 15k-30K e bay powersellers who account for $3000-$20,000 in seller fees paid each month for each of those sellers. This seems a larger story than a simple layoff of e bay employees. Ebay saves money by laying off paid employees, but e bays profit takes a hit by getting rid of partners who contribute to e bay profit. For example: 20,000 powersellers/partners laid off/suspended that account for an average of $5,000 per month seller fees = $100,000,000 each month in seller fees not received by e bay. That is $1,200,000,000 per year in revenue given up for aggressively flawed policy by current management. The idea current ebay management had was by getting rid of 10% of its selling partners was going drive back 32% of its buyers, however, that has clearly not been the case, because the policy change was flawed and implemented with such aggression over a short period of time, 6 months total, 3 months aggressively. Ebay seems to have driven away buyers by this and the new search method that sellers or buyers don't like with no concern of management. The company has managed to drive its investors away in the same motion as stock prices show a drop since new management put in place 6 months ago, before market crash. Ebay management charged its sellers/partners for decline in its core business and seems not to have taken into account the increased competition of walmart, best buy, circuit city and many others putting marketing dollars into the online sector of business. Ebay pushing away its partners, sellers and buyers, is only going to make profit softer and push away investors. With 70% more competitors in the market e bay only dropped 30% seems a strong market hold for e bay and a reason to support its partners in a currently working policy rather than place blame partners and will prove to decline its future market share which is pointed out by many market analysis.

Ebay, through the wild west style new management, took a look at itself and realized it had a drop in the number of sellers buying on its site. It decided it was because of bad "buyer experience" and immediately, it seems without full thought of backfire, decided it was the sellers fault. In some cases, this may be true, but it is most likely because of the additions to online retailers such as walmart, bestbuy, circuit city and the lis t goes on that were not competitors before and had not sunk the marketing dollars into the Internet sector of there business plan before. The more big sellers the less customers for ebay. It is widely known that e bay has blamed sellers rather than external forces for the slow in sales. Instead of working within the community, that once believed that people are basically good, took on a policy that made its community fell like criminals and strong feelings of dislike for the symbol that was once regarded. Ebay has aggressively pushed away its partners will prove to decline its future market share and a relationship that may go un repaired when new management is called upon.
Ebay has withstood the .com storm because of a superior system and its ability to hold steady to the working core business policy. Its customers fell that is no longer the case and many companies like bonanzle.com and OLA.COM (onlineauction.com) are rushing to try to meet seller and buyer demands that ebay seems unwilling to meet. Many small auction sites have tried to compete in the past but been successful in driving traffic. Now a once complacent audience of e bay buyers and sellers are seeing the changes and the likely hood they are being driven away through aggressive, unfair, flawed policy changes and are taking note to change to someone with the old values that made ebay a community that worked. You can see from the chart below the demand that is being driven to for example.
This is a small amount of buyers and sellers compared to e bay, but it does show a market who is hungry to meet the demand of current buyers and sellers, and what is maybe most important that buyers and sellers are finding the ability for change.

When e bay was a "venue", now it is felt by many of its sellers that it acts as an employer or landlord by design of new policy, it was profitable for sellers and a great value for buyers. Sellers drove traffic to the site because buyers knew they could get many of the items for a large percentage below retail, at or below wholesale. E bay is a follower now and is trying to make itself like Amazon and other .com retailers. Ebay sellers who use Amazon report little to no sales. E bay has a niche (wholesale products) and Amazon has a niche (books, CDs with unmatched distribution etc) and both worked independently of each other, this is why Ebay sellers are not successful on Amazon and Amazon sellers are not successful using ebay. New ebay management has had a hard time realizing Amazon is a different market plan. Many e bay sellers are leaving to do Amazon but it is feared this will not prove successful for them. The e bay system worked and most were satisfied, buyers and sellers could realize other bad buyers or sellers.
Buyers and sellers are not happy anymore and the numbers will continue to show as long as this management stays. Economy will play a roll, that is why ebay can't afford to gamble with management that has proven to drive its partners, sellers and buyers, away. The company is large enough it will be around for a long time, maybe not in the online auction sector effectively as it was before, but it is still a mystery to many who use or used to use the site why this management has been allowed to make this aggressive of a change. If this is where they wanted to go, it would takes years to change a company this size effectively, it can't be done in 6 months times and certainty not given a slow in the economy.
Things are not happy under new management/John Donahoe management has made no one happy, sellers or buyers or its investors. It has been a 6 month meltdown since new management fumbled a working system.
I talked to the owner of onlineauction.com 1-800-900-2828, Rowen Grisham, a previous e bay powerseller who seen improper change coming long before many sellers and buyers realized. He said he had seen a flood of sellers and buyers calling to learn about the site in the last 4 months. Rowen Grishamw says they are about to roll out a goggle search program that will make it more visible. This is just one example of where e bay buyer and seller base is going. Grisham seems to want to supply its sellers and buyers with a fair service, as when the ebay site was born and acted as a venue rather than an employer. Small companies that are hungry and taking advantage of a situation where ebay is not satisfying its demand.
Anyone considering investing or putting time into future sales may want to take a look at the aggressive, flawed policy’s they have put in place, there are little to no direct policy as there has been. Sellers, buyers and investors wouldn't be leaving if there was any good reason to stay.
E bay has done a poor job or emplaning the new changes to its buyers, sellers only after a few months of effect, some loosing there e bay business because of improper, unmonitored data, is still learning and it seems no one knows the answers even at the top account managers level. Its buyers do not realize that the DSR DETAILED SELLER RATING, the 5 stars under the feedback rating is not based on a 100 point scale like every other system in the free world. For example, from 1 to 5, 1 is poor, 3 is average and 5 is excellent. With e bay, 4,5 is average and 5 is good, I am glad they didn't have my math teachers in Collage. So many times buyers rate a 3 when they don't realize they are giving the seller a unacceptable rating that could potentially suspend his/her account from e bay as so many has been suspended in the last 3 months because of improper data that has been now used as the bible of e bay to rate seller performance. It should also be noted that a flaw in the data of the 5 star DSR is that if a customer is happy, they fell that leaving positive feedback served its purpose and they have caused a positive vote to the seller, e bay has not educated the buyer, so they do not leave a star rating at all, and are not required to and a large % do not, but leave a positive feedback as it is not required. But the buyer who is mad and is leaving hasty feedback will be more than motivated to leave a 1 or 2 for all stars. For this reason, good sellers offering great service and products are being suspended from e bay by record numbers, this cuts the life cord of the seller as well as core business at e bay and the reason buyers come to the site and investors invest in the company.

Ebay may have ruined their market flair for both buyers and sellers forever. Too many restricting rule changes, increased charges, paypal demands, seller ratings. This has ultimately destroyed their bottom line.
Don't think eBay and its payment system engage in unfair, at the very least unethical or even illegal business practices? Retailers are asking for congress to crack down on organized computer crimes, but eBay, said "they would be unfairly targeted in the proposed legislation" Read article from link below:

http://news.moneycentral.msn.com/ticker/article.aspx?Feed=3 DAP&Date=20080922&ID=9174700&Symbol=EBAY

Many sellers, buyers and investors alike have a dedicated special interest and hope they turn themselves around, but it is going to take some quick and correct policy change back to the system that worked to undo what has been done in what would be considered by many as well as a powerseller account manager in a telephone conversation said that this is "the most aggressive change e bay has ever done" it is costing sellers there business and driving buyers away from the site. The Best Match search is fatally flawed and $0.35 listings are not going to fix that.

Sellers of the unique items that made eBay famous (and who paid listing fees) are leaving in droves, while eBay brokers deals with corporate sellers of new stuff you can get anywhere who don't pay listing fees deteriorate the profits. And their buyers are following them. Watch the Q4 and Q1 figures. A company of this size can keep up appearances for some time, but its customers, its customers customers, that is sellers and buyers, are speaking up and cannot be ignored in the long term, the leader of these policy's are and continue to drive away the core business of e bay and investors are taking notice.

E bay bought Bill Me Later, I would have been surprised just 6 months ago, but I am unhappy to report that I am not at this time, the reason is this management has taken down the tread that holds e bay together as can be seen by its buyers and sellers everywhere complaining about the flawed aggressive policies that have taken place over the last few months, maybe you have heard some of them or are one of them. Every comment citing that the previous system was not broken. E bay has had community and trust, this 13 year trust has been violated and has failed both sellers and buyers in just a few months of unfair, faulty policy change that has taken a ship this size and turned it so fast that it is out of control and is facing a challenge to bring the ship back to course as it was before in the core business, although still ignored by management at this time, this is just in the core business, this shows the danger of a lateral move like credit right now. Take into account there could't be worse timing as the world economy will not view this favorably given recent events. This policy change was over a short aggressive period, but the negative impact will make it difficult to navigate back in position, if this venture is not successful, it will be even worse for ebay, its investors, and20the management that follows. The core business has taken a great hit world wide, now it is committed to a market that is new. A new market during the time when its core business is in jeopardy due to flawed policy and a slowed economy with management proven only to drive away customers. This will prove a challenge that may take years to repair relationships of its sellers and buyers when it has been realized by investors concerned on top of unpopular credit service. Migration back to the system with effective proven 12-15 record, built by previous management over 12-15 years, seems to be the only way to save the future profits and stability the company once enjoyed.

So, e bay wants its investors to trust it in a huge risk buy, when the investors are clearly concerned and most can see that e bay can not run its core business in a way that is satisfying to its customers, causing them to leave, look for other suppliers that will eventually be able to meet demands of the once complacent sellers and buyers. Sorry, it would be hard for anyone with basic knowledge of the problems with recent policy of the core business to buy this, having been a seller and buyer for 10 years, it makes it even harder to buy. I can say, I am happy to report my family, who bought stock when they=2 0seen my success on e bay, sold there stock when I explained the new managements flawed, unfair, and aggressive policy handed down. The stock has followed since this and many are betting with there dollars fell it will continue to fall. Maybe Jim Cramer, hyper as he is, has a point when he said he could not get behind the company, and that someone should buy the company "and put them out of their misery." It is hard to argue with him, stock sold back in march, when these policies were being talked about, not yet implemented agressively, sold ebay seems to be the smart move. Stock was $30-$32 per share at that time, March 2008, it dropped every since as can be tracked from any stock quote chart. Yes, the economy took the abrupt hit, stock price had already plummeted by 1/3, $19-$22 per share, before it happened that our country was in trouble from bad credit/debt. Some say they wouldn't want to touch this a credit market at this time. I would also not want to answer to shareholders when they learn what long time sellers and buyers have seen in the past few months. Good thing for golden parachutes I guess, maybe that will soften the fall?
I think this report on NYtimes has some good in site of the problems facing the company with the current buy:

Maybe enough people will sign to make it worthwhile?

blarneystone said...

I just joined Bonanzle.com, and have never seen such a Buyer AND Seller friendly community. I sold on eBay for years, and was a Power Seller there until the unfair and arbitrary DSR's took care of that. Seems Shipping the same or next day just isn't fast enough, and just exactly how much communication is the right amount?? I quit selling on eBay in September, and just had to prove to myself that I made the right decision, went back, and listed a few of my sure sellers as an experiment. So far I have proven to myself that Bonanzle is the right move. I still have a seller account, but have closed my store.

Jojo KInkaid said...

There is a forum I found on the internet that is free, and helps with Ebay, PayPal, business and the law. Just post any question, the experts will answer it if it has not already been answered!

The forum has a lot of expert advice on it. http://www.modeeworld.com/forums I found advice there about how to avoid EBAY suspensions, get past PayPal limitations, also lots of detailed help on creating your own business, getting past trademark violations, VERO and lots more. Plus general advice on how best to sell on EBAY, what sells the best, how to get the best price for your product, really everything related to EBAY and internet business.

Also advice about how EBAY really works and how PayPal really works. The inside scoop.

Beautiful forum. I was made a moderator of the forum and I love it!

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