Sunday, September 21, 2008

Its Sunday, Do You Know Where Your eBay Listings Are?

If you launched any CORE listings after 8:55 pm on the 19th, you "probably" don't need to worry that they are available in eBay search, but if you listed any items between the morning of the 17th and 6:30 pm on the 19th, that is another matter
During that period of time Medved showed an increase of 2.3 million CORE listings and it is unclear how many of those listings were not indexed in search, eBay's announcement just stated "some listings".
I know of several sellers that launched upwards of 50K listings during that period of time, and though eBay states they will refund listing fees for those listings that were affected, sellers are just going to have to take their word for it, because there is no way to determine how many of their listings didn't show-up.
We are going into the busiest time of the year for online sales and eBay is rolling out a new search, new listing formats and soon several new Diamond sellers, so it is not unreasonable to question managements judgement -- this is not the time of year for these types of changes.
It really makes you wonder, why Rajiv Dutta, President of eBay Marketplaces and Matt Carey, eBay's CTO have left the company this year. I think it is a safe assumption that they had a difference of opinion with the boss John Donahoe.

Update: According to the eBay Announcement board, the technical issue mentioned above has been resolved

Just my 15%

16 comments:

nadine said...

Nothing like normal planning procedures have been in place all year, much less any regard for providing sellers with a stable platform.

The problem is that ebay still commands a lion's share of business in my area, so even though they are degrading the service I can't ignore their marketplace. If I sold media like you do I doubt I would still bother with ebay.

Anonymous said...

I cut and pasted in here a direct quote from Scot Wingo, CEO of Channel Advisor. This is from his ebay stratagies blog posting from Friday, September 19:


"Search (ok, Finding) Finding on eBay just seems systemically broken. They are changing so much so frequently that I can't get a consistent result day after day. For example, yesterday I was trying to show a reporter how the catalog is integrated in eBay and I literally could not find a single catalog item in the new or old finding experience. Where the heck did that go? We're constantly seeing weird things like TES upside down, FP's at the back of search, etc. While I think Jeff King and co are very sharp, something is going on behind the scenes that looks to have destabalized things to the point where Finding has turned into a new search each day.

Some days the deduping is on, others it's off.
Some days things are inverted
Some days the 10 listing/seller/page is on, others its off.
DSRs seem to count sometimes and others they don't
Sellers that create multiple IDs see a new ID with 1/4 the inventory have 2-3X the conversions of those that are multi-million/yr long-term accounts with eBay. Nobody knows why.
Indexing of the new fp30's seems to be 6-12hrs behind so it might as well be a fp29

The bottom line:

Search chaos results in seller chaos- Search is the Yin to the seller's Yang. Sellers can't settle on a strategy with search changing. If you want to learn more about this, just go to this forum and spend about 20hrs here reading all the problems people are reporting with search. It's easy to take the position that these are a bunch of wackos and there is definitely some noise/signal ratio problems here in the eBay forums, but peel that away and you find many many reports of finding just plain 'broke' as we say where I'm from.

I sincerely hope eBay can get this resolved or at least stable to some degree before the holidays or we'll (continue to) have complete chaos."

Scot has access to alot of insider data, so his opinions on these things are very, very educated and relevant....I think right now, alot of sellers listings (and fees to ebay) are just going into a "black hole".....

David said...

One thing I've noticed is that in most categories it seems like auctions are heavily favored in Best Match which is surprising because I've thought for the past year that eBay was trying to get rid of auctions.

I will go through a category and on the 50 listings per page, see 47 auctions and 3 fixed price.

I don't know if this was on purpose but I'm starting to wonder if auctions is the best way to go.

nadine said...

This is what happens when you make too many changes too fast in a system that was already complex before you started added whole new layers of complexity.

This is when your CTO tells you that you have to delay the rollout or he can't answer for the results, and you override him. Then he leaves.

Then you have an IT department up to its ass in alligators and much too busy to ever drain the swamp.

No, I don't have any special window into ebay's IT department. Just enough experience to read the tea leaves.

Once ebay does its next round of layoffs, we should have a hundred new ebay blogs blooming and we'll know more.

nadine said...

david, BM has a time compenent (I think it's still true for fp). Because of the announcements of the new fp30, I would expect there to be relatively few fp listings with time left < 7 days, as people waited to list in the new format. So the auction 'advantage' may just be a temporarily anomaly.

But then, you can the same the same about every aspect of ebay Search right now.

Johnny Doom said...

John Donahoe needs to go. (Say it 5 times fast.) He has ruined tens of thousands of business's and of course people's incomes and their quality of life. In the good old days (last year) on a sunday like today, i would be listing auctions and preparing shipments for mondays. Instead i spent all day to the flea market dumping all of my vintage "eBay worthy items" for 20% of their former eBay value. Oh well at least I didnt have any paypal fees today.

Randy Smythe said...

Nadine,

Yep, in a couple of weeks there will be quite a few more eBay bloggers out there. eBay will not be able to enforce non-compete and non-disclosure agreements against laid-off employees. That provides an interesting dynamic.

Johnny Doom,
JD doesn't have any rope left. If Q4 is a bust there will be new management come the end of Q1

David said...

I'm getting lots of sales in Fixed Priced 30 on a few low priced test items.

I still think time ending soonest should be a factor in certain categories for Fixed Price, as I think people often wait until the last day to decide whether they want to buy an item.

ms.pat said...

I put a couple of things in fixed price....would you believe they have few hits but they're getting watchers! What purpose is it putting a fixed price item on watch - you either want it or you don't (shrug). I spent an hour reading 110 reviews of ebay by employees and former employees on a site called glassdoor.com - I was amazed to see the majority has the same view of ebay and its management as we do!

Anonymous said...

Well, I must say it takes most CEOs years to bring down a huge corporation. What John Donahoe did in less than 12 months is quite a feat.

He can cry in his McMansion secure in the knowledge his golden parachute will probably sustain him and his family for the rest of his life.

All us sellers, we'll just have to trudge on, paying higher taxes for corporate bail outs and working long hours into the night.

What a waste of a year.

Alan Macomber said...

I'm just too tired to understand the impact of eBay changes, errors and bugs anymore. I will not lose anymore sleep over figuring how to adapt to eBay. My business development efforts are being 100% invested in non-eBay channels. Too bad, I've always have been a big eBay fan.

tula said...

Donahoe is indeed the pointy-haired boss of Dilbert fame. Nadine is likely spot on with the big problem with these rapid-fire rollouts. Too many management types think they know better than their IT and development staff how long it will take to properly roll out changes of this magnitude. Sure, you can probably cobble something together, but it will be kind of like those bits tied to your car with chewing gum and baling wire - they'll work okay for a while, but put them under any stress and the whole car will fall apart around your ears. It's no wonder the real experts are all hitching rides elsewhere rather than being in that vehicle when it finally gives up the ghost.

nadine said...

pat, thanks for the tip about glassdoor.com. The employee reviews read just as I suspected! bloated, political, dysfunctional, with senior management flailing and middle management saying "yes, boss, great idea!".

Meanwhile, the marketers think it's an engineering company and the engineers know it's a marketing company. (That made me chortle. Quick, somebody describe for me ebay's current marketing campaign. Is there one?) Plus, everybody wastes 15 hours a week in meetings. While anybody who is in touch with the sellers or buyers knows it's going down the tubes.

Yup, Donahoe is the pointy-haired boss straight out of Dilbert. Meg didn't have a vision either, but she didn't seem to wreck the place the way Donahoe is doing. She can always say in her defense that she bought Paypal.

Q3 reporting should be interesting. Wall Street is in no mood for fairy stories; they will want to see results.

Randy Smythe said...

Nadine,

Some of those comments from Glassdoor.com were very revealing. Employees have as much disdain as we do for MBA's

This is the problem with Corporate America - Too much book knowledge and not enough practical knowledge. The company that can combine the two will be successful.

ms.pat said...

I did a review on my own company so I could see the complete reviews on Ebay. If you read the Ebay reviews from oldest to newest you can actually see the growing disenchantment with the way Donahoe and his team is running the company. Very much the same views us Ebay users have had all along.

ListEasy said...

Timing, however, is at least as important as the content of an auction listing when it comes to selling effectively on eBay. Like nearly all websites, eBay doesn't experience traffic in smooth, continuous flows. Instead, there are peaks and valleys to eBay use that can be measured by day, by week, and by season. Listing so that your auction spans or closes on a visitor traffic valley can mean that you don't earn what you could have.