The ebay boycott story

Many of us in India might be unaware of the turmoil which developed and played out in ebay during the course of the last 2 weeks. Being someone who has been with ebay since its Bazee days and used the site on numerous occasions for both selling and purchasing I tend to follow anything ‘ebay’.

In a nutshell, powerseller’s asked for a week long boycott on listings post ebay announcing major policy amendments, which were:-

Fees: While front – end costs have come down, ebay is increasing cost in the backend which would have higher final value fees as a consequence and thus lesser margins for the sellers.

      Feedback: Sellers are not allowed to leave negative feedback on buyers. This change has possibly aroused the most passions and is clearly skewed to protect buyers and raises the chances of sellers being ‘exploited’ by fraudulent and non-serious buyers. Having had experience on both ends I know for a fact that there are as many bad buyers and there are sellers and fail to see the “functionality’ aspect of this policy and tend to agree with the powerseller’s that it is preferential in nature.

      While going through the FAQ I noticed what may appear to be ebay’s , irrational , logic behind this. They wrote “buyers will be more honest when they are not afraid of receiving retaliatory negative feedback”….which is in my opinion total BS….. Combine this with the change in the algorithm and buyers have the power to essentially bury a seller from results by giving negative results…and at the same time get away with not adhering to the buyer-seller policies laid down.

      Search / Ranking feature: Possibly the most lease publicized change is to the “best match” feature. Starting next month the logic will prefer sellers with high and detailed customer ranking ratings while essentially burying listings of sellers with lower volumes.

       

        The impact on India is slightly less, and given the small brand value and volumes it commands as compared to the US, UK the uproar, if any, went unheard. As per the site announcement section the changes that are going to hit us are 2 & 3 of the points listed above.

        The feedback change has been clearly announced, and the change to the ‘best match’ feature will be universal of course. There is no mention of the listings costs as such except that Indian sellers listing in the international markets might come under the preview of the new fees structures. All that the site states is ‘.will get same pricing benefits’

        What was the impact of the boycott however? Spokesmen from ebay have downplayed the entire week long boycott stating that there were next to no repercussions because of other than a drop in listings (which ebay claims was made up by the surge they saw post that). I however read an interesting calculative article here which suggests the following

        On a conservative drop of 2 million listings, with each listing lowest fee being 20 cents the total loss just from this drop comes out to be 400,000 USD , on the conservative side. If one takes a more realistic look at the insertion prices i.e which are as high as 4.80 and takes a more realistic average of 1.20 USD per listings….the total losses are 2.4 Million USD a day. This does not additionally include extras such as stores, or fees etc.

        Stating that a surge in listings to 16 million does not help. Ebay had to undertake 2 promotions to get those volumes back into the system. One of these was a 20 cent day listing… this translates into ebay effectively loosing upto 4.80 per listing. The overall impact thus is substantial….

        What is also important to consider is that the boycott was largely unorganized and thus lacking “efficiency” …but the support and the bonding between the community is clear to see and can serious pose to be a big risk to ebay the next time it happens, because it would involve more people and be more organized as well.

         

         

         

        Ebay makes Listing Fees and Paypal compulsary

        Hey everyone, a very happy new year to all of you!

        My first post this year will be an update on ebay India. I had done a small write up on them post them having introduced a new seller policy on the site i.e listings fees. Fees that would be charged for simply listing an item but would be reversed if the item was not sold.

        I use ebay often enough and was surprised to see an invoice for them for an amount of approx 50INR even though i had failed miserably in being able to sell anything. Upon talking to the CCE through chat i was surprised to find that my invoice comprised mainly of listing fee’s, which according to research done earlier should have been credited back. I was informed that this has now become compulsory and will only be credited if the item does not sell the 1 st time but sells on a re-list. Absolutely illogical but nevertheless a small amount to pay if one ends up selling something (fees range between 1-10INR depending on category etc)

        What i was peeved about was the fact that Ebay had once again done this without any prior intimation. I did not get any emailers, nor any alerts on my dashboard for the same. I , after squabbling , with the CCE manager to get a full refund but was disappointed with the website on a whole as such.

        Another policy which has become mandatory is that all sellers now need to use Paypal. One cant list any item, and possible even re-list an existing or unsold item without creating an account with Paypal. While this ensures a lot of accuracy in fee’s and to some degree buyer protection it is , in my opinion, a privacy issue at certain levels. Users might not be happy sharing this info. Additionally, it now brings in another process which might slow the recovery or credit of fees to sellers who have ended up with a buyer who did not complete the transaction. Sellers are now dependent , additionally,on Paypals payment policies and procedures.

        One wonders if Ebay is doing the right thing. Classifieds is set to take off in India and all the other bigger players such as craiglist, kijiji , olx, click.in etc are offering services for free. I think its only a matter of time before 1st time sellers switch to alternatives and regular users also start looking at the other sites as additional avenues and if they do well then ebay might be looking at a steady user decline.

        Ebay charging Sellers Insertion Fee

        I use Ebay off and on to sell stuff which i no longer use. I was a much more active user when it was still Bazee. The transition was a bad experience for me personally with accounts getting held up, feedback being lost and so on.

        Anyhow, i went to post a few items on the site today. Ebay’s model is easy. They charge a certain commission on each sale , percentages are defined on the categories and if one opts for any of their visibility services then there are fixed charges as well. If one did not want any of this , once could out up a free posting and pay only if the item was sold.

        I posted the first item under Consumer electronics today without any hitch. 5 minutes later i logged back to post the second item and i noticed , on the summary, page a 3 Rs insertion charge. I spent about 10 minutes trying to figure it out and finally decided to chat online with one of their Customer executives.

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