Wednesday, November 19, 2008

e-Commerce Growth Screeches to a Halt


permacrisis said...

Randy I don't care if you or anybody else think I'm crazy for saying this... ebay gets 50% or more of the blame for this economic collapse. By which I mean, the one out there in real life.

If Hurricane Katrina has taught us anything, it's that financial impacts take 1 calendar year to set in nationwide. With the exception of gasoline, that's how long it tool prices to go up and stay up.

2004- things get a little tight, so more people start selling on ebay.

2005- a little worse, but ebay's numbers are great- the joint is hopping.

2006- still no light at the end of the tunnel (remember, the Gov't cited 2006 as the year of the turnaround in 2001). By now sellers are dependent on that extra, and in many cases unreported, ebay income.

2007- ebay implements preliminary round of changes. Sellers have no idea what's about to hit.

2008- DSR's, best match cause instant ebay collapse. Mortgages, the number 1 use of ebay proceeds, shortly follow suit. The economy dives not long afterward. Gas hits $4.00 a gallon. JD just revolves in his spinny chair with that "The name's Bezos, Jeff Bezos" look on his face. He's not.


p.s., I couldn't help but notice that the capthca verification for this post was 'winers' -no kidding!

Mike said...

Did those wise businessmen say;

"Ebay has pissed off all the sellers. They certainly have."?

Randy Smythe said...


I would never thing you were crazy. :)


Yeah, that was funny. I did notice that they said there is nothing structurally wrong with Amazon, but that eBay has some structural problems (in addition to pissing of their sellers)

ms.pat said...

Can any of you please explain to me why Ebay is keeping Best Match and DSR's if its only losing sales? Are they keeping them simply to "thin the herd"? If so, isn't it costing them revenue too? I have never before heard so many sellers complain they cannot make sales on Ebay anymore.

Anonymous said...

More like 'pissing away their sellers...


(obigatory coupla shakes)


John of said...

Yep, I am glad they are reporting what we have seen all year. Consumer spending has been down all year. We retailers know that this train did NOT come to a screeching halt, this train has been slowing for months.

So now eBay hits a "perfect storm". The plan they had planned all this time since the begining of the transition, that was scheduled launch just before 4th quarter ends up launching in a recession. And to make matters worse, they don't even bother explaining the plan until 6 weeks later AFTER all the sellers hate it.

I hear the horns playing that "I Love Lucy Music" after Lucy and Ethel mess everything up.

OH LUCY! Womp, womp...dud.

john (colderICE)

David said...

permacrisis, the housing market crash and gas prices are what has killed the economy. The results of the collapse of the housing market poisoned the stock market, and has made it very difficult to borrow money.

To blame this on eBay is ridiculous.

I don't know anybody besides myself that has ever depended on eBay for a full time income.

DSR's has very little to do with getting advantaged in best match. Recent Sales is the biggest factor.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that eBay would have been one of the few companies positioned to withstand the crisis, because it was built on the concept of consumer-consumer selling of 'used' goods at reduced prices.

By retooling itself to concentrate on featuring new retail goods available elsewhere, it missed the bus.

Randy Smythe said...


Yep, can you say "bad timing" Of course John Donahoe will use the consumer climate as cover for his failure.

ms.pat said...

I can't believe I just heard an Ebay commercial on the radio. Its probably the first time this year I heard an Ebay ad.

No doubt Ebay is suffering from the economy but mainly because they drove out the very sellers they need right now. People are looking for used items - cheap items...and these are generally from the small sellers. More and more, the small seller cannot do business in Ebay's present environment. This is why I asked about Best Match...why purposely drive off business? It makes little sense to me. Also limiting small sellers because Ebay choses to use a very narrow window of 30 days worth of feedback is so stupid its not to be believed! My idea has always been "you never know where your next sale is coming from". Ebay needs to learn that lesson. They are so far off track I doubt they can ever recover.

nadine said...

ms. pat, the one silver lining to the mess is that if new management does come in to try a turnaround, they will have a free hand to advertise their new direction, as eBay has never bothered to inform the public of its current direction, whatever you call it.

I am really not sure what the public image of eBay is now? Not its image with the sellers, we know how bad that is, but with the public at large? Still an auction house, I suppose, but no longer new or cool, just sort of there like a utility.

permacrisis said...

Probably still "auction house"... they milked that Pontiac GTO story for all it was worth.

ms.pat said...

I'm really thinking JD never divulged his plans for the future just so he could save face if they fell thru. Well, the direction he seems to be going surely is falling thru. After this quarter I think its going to be apparent that Ebay is kind of a rudderless ship being tossed on the high seas. JD has to go. Hands down.

David said...

Ms. Pat the way SNP is forced is ridiculous. Last year it was, if over 90 days you get 5% neutrals and negatives you are gone. That was a fair policy.

Now they count 1's and 2's and I'm seeing lots of good sellers get suspended over a single negative

permacrisis said...

In the end, they are only suspending themselves.

ms.pat said...

@David - I never had a negative in all the 10 years I've been selling on Ebay. My feedback is 100 percent with perfect DSR's - BUT I haven't sold anything in a month - I've listed...nothing sold. So, I'm buried in the listings now. They are throwing good sellers out by using this narrow 30 day window for feedback. That's so stupid.

I know its not the economy that's bothering Ebay because now I'm listing on Bonanzle, Etsy, Overstock and my own website and doing much better then the dismal sales I've been getting on Ebay this year. I would just like to know their thinking behind this limited view of feedbacks that determine placement in best match because it certainly isn't getting rid of the "bad" sellers as Donahoe said back in Jan. - its simply getting rid of small sellers!

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat.

We want to start selling on too. We are media seller. Is it possible for you share contact details who can get us started. Please email me at ergode at gmail dot com.


Anonymous said...

eBay Page Views Drop Off Dramatically in October

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008

ms.pat said...

@anonymous - wish I could be of help but I sell only my own artwork and its quite a different category from anything else. I do have a small following that I keep tightly to myself. I suggest you go give Overstock a whirl...its a bit more like ebay used to be a long time ago. Yet they've got a huge retail side too.

Anonymous said...

I was not looking for any customer email. I was only looking for Compnay contact information as I could not find a link that says start selling on Thanks for taking care though.

Randy Smythe said...


Overstock has two separate selling options. One is auctions which you can sign-up for on their auction page the other is the retail side which you have to be approved for and requires deep inventory and wholesale pricing.

If you are just looking for an auction venue just go to the Auctions tab on the site.

Anonymous said...

Randy. Thanks for information. I'm eagerly waiting for your comments on this blog post.

"eBay Page Views Drop Off Dramatically in October

eBay Traffic Drops throughout 2008"

Is it really a breaking news or just one more indicators of bad state of ebay ?

ms.pat said...

@anonymous - sorry I misunderstood you. Just go to and click on the Auctions tab. Its much like Ebay.

Randy Smythe said...


The eBay page view decline is pretty easy to explain. The community aspects of eBay are in decline big time and that means that users are spending their time on eBay on specific tasks and then moving on.

The unique visitor traffic decline is significant because soon Amazon will be equal to eBay's traffic and may even pass it this Christmas.

I will do a blog post on this next week.

permacrisis said...

Would LOVE a head to head Nash vs Gupta comparison as well!