Komli to serve ads on Ebay India….. so?

Komli get’s eBay – one too many blogs were buzzing with the signing of the deal which allows Komli to serve ad’s exclusively on the Ebay India website for a year. Congratulations and wishes were pouring in from everywhere and people referring to it as a deal which will shake up the Indian internet scene and a move which was long overdue. One would have easily missed the few comments posted which spoke about having apprehensions on the tie-up.

What do i think? …..simply..what’s the big deal?

The fact that ad networks would be looking at signing exclusive rights to publisher inventory in this market is not an insight, its common logic. The problem has always been on the projections and the deliverables.

From Komli’s point of view they get a big brand to boast about in the market. Their transaction category gets a face lift and seemingly the ability to negotiate higher rates within that. ..at least that’s what they think. But i don’t see it happening that way. Ebay India is a very very poor cousin of its parent company or other regional specific sites , anyone who knows the domain would know this. The transaction volumes going through ebay here would be nothing compared to those in the US or the UK, and hence that many less unique visitors / registered members on the site. Ebay India quotes its community size in India at 2 million. I think it would be safe to assume that a good 20% or so would be inactive members , one time transaction type of members which would then leave it with around 1.5 million.

1.5 million is not big , its in fact pretty small and Komli would probably have sites within their kitty which exceed this size. 1.5 million visitors in turn does not translate into a huge number with respect to impressions. Couple this with the fact that the Indian side is not a very strong brand and what is one left with ? Continue reading

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 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.

        Continue reading