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EBay Sellers Seek Management Change 386

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the off-with-her-head dept.
BlueCup writes to tell us that even though some seem willing to let eBay's Chief Executive Meg Whitman slide on recent problems, many eBay sellers are calling for a change. From the article: "'EBay's core (auction) performance is suffering tremendously,' says Steve Grossberg, a longtime videogame seller on eBay. He says he now lists an item four times on average in order to sell it, up from two listings two years ago. Adds Andy Mowery, an eBay seller of home and garden gear: 'It is time for new leadership at eBay.'"
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EBay Sellers Seek Management Change

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  • by Pitr (33016) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @01:33AM (#15953832)
    Ebay's management is in serious need of a kick in the pants. More for customer service, support, and the way it deals with fraud (which is all part of the same thing really).

    Just because it's more difficult to sell on Ebay does NOT mean the problem is management, it means there's more traffic (buyers and sellers), so you have more competition. It may take twice as long to sell a game as 2 years ago, but I'm willing to bet there's well more than twice as many video games on Ebay now, as there were then.
    • by DoorFrame (22108) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @01:38AM (#15953846) Homepage
      You are contending that there are twice as many sellers but the same number of buyers? That doesn't seem likely.
      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @03:01AM (#15954019)
        Obviously seller growth has outpaced buyer growth. I've seen that in some items I sell as well.

        Furthermore there are other alternatives to eBay now, especially for video games. When they guy started on eBay I'll bet a lot of people were not picking up used games at the EB, since they didn't stock them as they do today. eBay made that happen.
      • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:21AM (#15954301) Journal
        Why ever not? It's clear that supply has increased significantly, but demand hasn't kept pace.

        That's how a market works - the fact that sellers need to list something multiple times now on average is a bloody good signal that there's massive oversupply in that market, and the seller should try flogging something else. It's how a market works, and sellers kvetching about it won't change the fact that there's massive oversupply.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by laffer1 (701823)
          Not only that but people are paying higher gas prices and have less money to spend on crap on ebay. Sure everyone is selling as they need money for gas!
        • by Pharmboy (216950) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @08:44AM (#15954930) Journal
          the fact that sellers need to list something multiple times now on average is a bloody good signal that there's massive oversupply in that market

          or their asking price is simply too high based on simple supply/demand. Capitalism works and is quite simple: If supply rises higher than demand, the price will go down or you won't sell anything.

          After all, isn't that why people BUY on ebay, to save money? The sheer volume of people who are trying to sell new goods for the exact same price (or higher) than I can buy on NewEgg or other sites is amazing. Same for used goods, where sellers are reserving the price at 80%-90% of new price. The market is simply catching up and normalizing.

          We have been selling on ebay since 1998, and have seen and dealt with all the problems, fixes, etc. in real time, but when it comes right down to it: If you have a widget for sale, don't expect to get more for the widget than the current market value. Management can't do anything about market forces, they can only make sure the site always works, is easy to use, and everyone has a fair shake at displaying their wares.

          Getting pissed because a game that sells for $10 at EB will only bring $10 on ebay is rather silly.
        • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @08:49AM (#15954969) Journal
          the fact that sellers need to list something multiple times now on average is a bloody good signal that there's massive oversupply in that market, and the seller should try flogging something else.
          That's not the only possibility. I'm sure increased supply on EBay is an issue for a lot of sellers, but there are at least three other distinct problems:

          (1) Competition outside of EBay. EBay is no longer a market unto itself, the sellers there are in direct competition with other discount sellers and auction sites. I find that I can often do better by buying elsewhere.

          (2) Visibility of product. I've noticed that EBay's search is no longer nearly as effective as it used to be. I tire quickly of paging through 200 items for the 2 or 3 listings that I'm looking for. Sellers have become very savvy in terms of making sure their product comes up in as many searches as possible, and this decreases the utility of search.

          (3) The sheer volume of crap. It isn't about oversupply of goods that most would people actually want to buy, it's that the marketplace (not the market) is flooded with junk. I recently furnished a new condo, and looked to EBay for a lot of accessories. A colossal waste of time. Would you go to the dollar store to redecorate your kitchen?

          So, what can EBay do to fix the problems?

          I think the best thing they could do for themselves would be to fix their search engine. This would fix the problem of product visibility, the problem of good product dilution, and these would help solve the problem of shrinking market share for EBay.
          • by Pharmboy (216950) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @11:28AM (#15956237) Journal
            I tire quickly of paging through 200 items for the 2 or 3 listings that I'm looking for.

            Exactly! Ebay IS allowing people to put garbage in catagories it doesn't belong. If I am looking for engine parts, I don't need to see auctions for antique books and memorabilia that is remotely connected to the brand of car that I am trying to find parts for. This is one area I agree that ebay has fallen down, by diluting their catagories so that it is harder to find what you are actually looking for.

            Another example is the deception in the title. Try seaching for a "Fender Telecaster" and see how many auctions you get with the phrase "not Fender" or "like Fender" in the topic, where the guitar is obviously NOT a Fender, and the topic is simply misleading to get more traffic. This should be made against the rules, with a penalty. You might find 200 items, and over half are NOT "Fender Telecaster" related on any given day. Or someone selling stick-pins that "look" like Fender guitars (see above paragraph...)
      • by Pollardito (781263) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:35AM (#15954447)
        it could easily be the case that high-volume sellers have moved onto EBay where it was mostly small inventory sellers before. each high-volume seller offsets lots of new buyers, so even if the number of new buyers was a lot larger than the number of new sellers it might be becoming a tougher market to sell in.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Lumpy (12016)
        IT highly likely. Most people know someone that was screwed on ebay. That reputation severely limits the amount of new buyers as people avoid it.

        Second smart shoppers buy elsewhere, Online shops underprice ebay auctions regularly. Newegg pricing is far better than some dimrods auction on ebay any day in price, shipping (shipping gouging on ebay is rampant) and quality. Hell my 42" LCD HD tv was $300.00 less from ecost than the lowest seller selling it USED on ebay. I got it new and with a warrenty becau
    • I'd say Ebay sellers are definitely more a victim of market dynamics than Ebay management problems. (Yes, I do support the market, except when it is taken to a "profits over humanity" extreme.)
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @03:22AM (#15954056)
        Don't listen to parent! Parent has bad ratings and doesn't pay for auctions! Seller beware!

        Grandparent is A+++++ first poster. Will recommend to all. Will read grandparent's post again
        • Yeah, Feedback (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ackthpt (218170) *

          Don't listen to parent! Parent has bad ratings and doesn't pay for auctions! Seller beware!
          Grandparent is A+++++ first poster. Will recommend to all. Will read grandparent's post again

          Is there anyone who think eBay's feedback system is truly useful or even fair? I get slammed when people don't pay and think they are funny. People ignore terms of auctions and think I'm unprofessional for not bending over backward. People don't ship my stuff because they found out the postage is way higher than they

          • Re:Yeah, Feedback (Score:4, Interesting)

            by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @09:38AM (#15955327)
            Is there anyone who think eBay's feedback system is truly useful or even fair?

            You're bang-on. Most sellers won't leave positive feedback until they in turn have received positive feedback - So as a buyer I'll never leave negative feedback as it will turn around and slam me. One simple solution would be to REQUIRE sellers to leave feedback to get their Paypal money. Once they've gotten paid I've held up my end of the bargain.

          • Re:Yeah, Feedback (Score:4, Interesting)

            by jdhutchins (559010) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @09:51AM (#15955427)
            One change that would help the feedback system (at least I think so) is that you can't see the feedback someone left for you until you leave feedback for them. That way, you can't have tit-for-tat feedback (if you leave a negative, I'll leave a negative).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chanc_Gorkon (94133)
      This is true, however I wanted to move my e-mail address to gmail and they said I could not do that unless I paid a "service fee". I told them that having a e-mail from a non-free service is something very easy and cheap to do and trivial and they did not care. They told me that it was for my own protection.....ooook. They are screwed up. One thing that is very much needed is a fraud department. How many times do we have to hear about horror stories of eBay purchases gone wrong? When they try to do som
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Or it could be that all of the people who used to shop at ebay finally got fed up being overcharged for shipping.

      Waddya mean $24.95 to ship a PS2 game first class USPS?!?!?!?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    it's not our fault that nobody wants to buy your mint copy of Superman 64 that "you found"
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @01:40AM (#15953848) Homepage Journal
    They are going to have to get rid of fraudelent auctions. The last time I bought anything off ebay was a year ago, and the only reason I did that is because it was an uncommon item(English-Chinese electronic dictionary) that is hard to find elsewhere. If I search for anything that isn't eclectic, at least half of the items are fraud, if not more. I have to do a lot of slogging through(usually by sorting by highest price first and then trying to find the items I want) just to get to legit auctions. No, I don't want a "free xbox 360, powerbook and more!!!!!!!!!!" which just turns into a bid for "information that is 110% legit on how to find free items online!". I end up having to do a lot of work just to find the item I want. If you can't be bothered to get rid of fraudelent auctions, then I can't be bothered to bid.
    • by raehl (609729) <raehl311@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @01:49AM (#15953872) Homepage
      Ebay needs a 'list auctions by seller rating' or some such. Or any other method to make it easier to find what you're actually looking for. Maybe even add a UPC field to auction listings - so if you find one auction for an item you want, you can search by UPC for *ALL* of the auctions for EXACTLY that item.

      Amazon is good because it's easy to find exactly what you want, and lots of things similar to exactly what you want. You can really drill down categories.

      Ebay is tough to find what you want, but, cheaper to buy it and cheaper to sell it. EBay doesn't rape you on shipping charges (to BOTH buyer and seller) like Amazon does, and the % of price that goes to EBay is much lower than the % of price that goes to Amazon.

      The biggest reason I rarely buy off of eBay anymore, though, is that I rarely find anything on there that is priced low enough to make the risk/hassle of doing an auction purchase worth it. Usually costs the same or only a little bit more to buy directly from a specialized online retailer, which is easy enough to find with google (or froogle).
      • by dfn_deux (535506) * <datsun510@noSPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:12AM (#15953923) Homepage
        Ebay needs a 'list auctions by seller rating' or some such.
        This is a terrible idea. The core seller rating and reputation system of ebay is greatly flawed. Sellers will not give buyers a positive feedback until after they themselves have received one, seems in cases where the purchaser uses paypal to complete the transaction that ebay should automatically positive feedback/reputation points as they have successfully confirmed that the buyers has fulfilled their part of the transaction. Instead sellers hold the positive feedback out as a carrot to buyers whom are forced to leave positive or no feedback in order to protect their own rating. In the end you get sellers with artificially high feedback scores.

        Furthermore ebay gives no additional weight to people who complete high dollar transactions with positive feedback; such that a seller can do 1000 transactions for a dollar each and have a crazy high rating for when they decide to run a scam and screw someone out of several grand for a car or a piece of real estate.

        A serious revamping of ebay is needed to increase buyer seller relations. My first recommendation would be to introduce a meta-moderation and abitration system whereby in cases of transactions gone bad both sides would have an opportunity to write a short summary of their view of the events (maybe 500 words or so) and then those stories would be available to be viewed side by side by random third parties who could declare fault and/or present an abitration suggestion which could then be presented back to the original parties, if the parties are able to resolve their issues through the arbitration suggestion the suggesting party might be given some additional positive feedback... In this way there is a benefit to all involved parties to act above board and behave responsibly, and even in cases which do not end with positive feedback the damaging effect of wrongly issued negative feedback could be minimized.

        any how that's just my .02 I suppose their are others out there with more/better suggestions. In the meantime I'll stick to my mix of Brick & Mortar/Craigslist/Amazon shopping and only veer to ebay for items for which I have historically experienced little drama, such as used car parts with significant value and very low price (read 1972 pinto hatchback hubcaps)...

        • I like your analysis. I'd appreciate it if you'd take a look at mine [slashdot.org].
        • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:59AM (#15954014) Homepage
          I agree completely that one of the biggest, most fundamental and most easily fixed problems is the feedback machanism.

          The sellers should be required, without exception, to leave feedback prior to the buyer leaving feedback. Sellers don't do anything until the buyer upholds their end of the deal (payment), and while issues can still arise (bad addresses, fraudlent claims of loss), the vast majority of issues come from sellers not upholding their end of the bargain, or providing lousy service and communication.

          This solution is so obvious and so easy, and I've seen it suggested so many times over the years that I've come to the conclusion eBay actually prefers to be a den of thieves allowing sellers to threaten retribution on any buyer who dares complain about bad service. The one time I honestly had a problem with a seller and reported it (should it take 5 weeks to ship something that was paid for within 45 minutes of auction close?), I instantly got a negative feedback accusing me of all sorts of horrible behavior. What a bunch of con artists.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by muftak (636261)
            Sellers have more to lose by getting bad feedback, so with your system buyers could blackmail sellers into giving them refunds or whatever when they are not due. A lot of buyers treat ebay like a shop and bitch when it takes you a week to post an item or doesn't fit them, etc. What they should do is keep the feedback private untill both sides have left it, and feedback from newbies with 0 feedback is worth less than feedback from someone with 200 feedback.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TheRaven64 (641858)
            There's a more obvious solution. Require both to leave feedback before anyone can see it. If one doesn't leave feedback after n days, then the other's feedback becomes public. This would make it completely impossible for either party to force the other to leave good feedback.

            It is completely broken though, I agree. There's someone selling about 30 MacBooks on ebay.co.uk at the moment. He has 10 feedback, all for items that sold for about £1 to other accounts with 0 feedback. If he had just wait

            • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @04:33AM (#15954186) Homepage
              You're correct on both counts!

              A blind feedback system would be vastly preferable to both the current one and my suggestion of seller-first feedback. I'd even heard the blind system suggested before and somehow forgot!

              And yes, there should be some account of monetary value and buyer's reputation when a seller gets a feedback score. I've sold several thousand dollars of expensive electronics and photo gear on eBay to other eBayers who've been there for years, yet have a feedback rating in the double-digits. Scammers can come on with new accounts and sell bubble gum to each other for high feedback in a single day. Similarly, the buyer should get more credit for a good high-value transaction with a longtime seller.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by antic (29198)
                +1

                My story - bought some electronics in the vicinity of $200-250. Item was specified as brand new and in the box. Arrived scratched with dog hair attached - obviously second-hand and/or stolen - seriously, no doubt about it. When I suggested that it was not a new product as promised, I was given a bait and switch routine for another second-hand product ("pay a bit more, and get this upgraded model which is second-hand" - that sort of thing). I refused and asked for a refund. Thought it was important to leav
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Andrewkov (140579)
              You're assuming that E-Bay wants to to fix this .. I tend to think that the rules favour sellers by design, since they are the ones paying E-Bay for the auctions.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                Sellers might be the ones DIRECTLY paying eBay... but the root of the money trail starts with the buyer. Where else do you think those sellers got money to pay for the auction listing (heck most of them include the eBay fees in the shipping costs). If eBay's management has so much as half a brain they'll realize this.

                As someone who frequently buys as well as sells on eBay (about 50/50) I can completely agree with a BLIND feedback system.. Leave feedback within 30 days of auction end until both parties ha
          • by aussersterne (212916) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @08:39AM (#15954903) Homepage
            I am an eBay seller, and I can tell you as someone who used to work at eBay that this would drive sellers off of eBay. There are an awful lot of buyers (maybe 20% of them) that hold THEIR feedback back until sellers give them perks, realizing that a seller who has 2,000 feedbacks that are 100% positive is going to go to great lengths to protect that. They demand free accessories, issue credit card chargebacks after receiving the item, demand that sellers accept a return (after they've swapped half the parts out to fix their own possessions and send you back a non-working item that has clearly been tampered with), claim that the $1,000 digital camera they bought doesn't work and then demand a replacement--while REFUSING to return the original "broken" one... They sue, launch Internet campaigns against specific sellers or against eBay, and all because they didn't get something for nothing.

            There are even cases in which after failing to get free item(s) by demanding "no ship replacements" or other perks, such buyers have pulled the seller's contact information and proceeded to stalk them, traveling several states in order to be threatening. If seller's were to lose their ability to even leave a negative about such people once they'd made the initial payment, eBay would lost most of its major sellers who, let's not forget, actually pay eBay's bills.

            Fraud is rampant on both sides, and nothing short of government regulation limiting just who is allowed to buy and sell in a society, period, is going to stop it. eBay doesn't do themselves any favors when they screw legitimate buyers or sellers, but to assume that sellers are responsible for all the fraud is to make a very incorrect assumption.
        • by Sircus (16869) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @03:33AM (#15954070) Homepage
          The feedback system is definitely flawed. My solution to this: neither side sees the other side's feedback until both sides have left feedback. Nobody will currently leave negative feedback for a seller because the seller will then leave negative feedback for them. If the seller doesn't see what you've left before he leaves his feedback, a more honest feedback climate should prevail.

          One potential disadvantage I could see to this system: sellers might find it convenient not to leave feedback if they fear that the buyer's feedback could be negative. This could easily be worked around by automatically turning "no feedback left by seller within 30 days" into "seller left positive feedback", with no comment (and vice-versa if the buyer's not left feedback).

          A system for both sides to leave their view of a failed transaction might also be useful.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by reflector (62643)
          Sellers will not give buyers a positive feedback until after they themselves have received one, seems in cases where the purchaser uses paypal to complete the transaction that ebay should automatically positive feedback/reputation points as they have successfully confirmed that the buyers has fulfilled their part of the transaction.

          this is a terrible idea.

          if a buyer has received a feedback from a seller, and it can't be changed, a buyer will feel free to leave negative feedback for any reason they feel like
        • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:52AM (#15954351) Homepage
          Furthermore, the most prominently displayed number on Ebay is the sellers "score", which is simply the number of different people who gave a positive feedback, minus the number of different people who left a negative feedback.

          This tracks activity, not customer-satisfaction. Who'd you rather buy from, a seller with 1000 transactions, all with positive feedback, or a seller with 2000 transactions, 1600 of them with positive feedback, and 300 of them with negative ?

          Thougth so !

          Guess which of the two sellers will have the highest number attached to their name, get the nicest "star" etc ? Why, the ony lining Ebays pockets the most naturally ! Which would be the one with most transactions, not the one with highest customer-satisfaction.

          Some simple improvements:

          • Give stars etc based on *percentage* of positive reviews rather than number of reviews.
          • Make feedback invisible for everyone until both parts have given feedback (or until the time-limit for doing so, a month or whatever is past) This prevents retaliation against honest customers in the form of negative feedback.
          • Let us know how many % of all transactions the seller receives and gives feedback. (A seller that consequently gives and receives feedback, with a high score, is preferable to one that tries to discourage feedback)
          • weight the feedback by moneyvalue of transaction. A person who has sold 98 $10 items with positive feedback, and 2 $1000 items with negative feedback should not be listed as 98% positive. By money-value he is 33% positive.
          • Give people the possibility of rating auctions entered by the seller. Random people rating random auctions, similar to slashdots meta-moderation-system would work best. (it'd prevent people from getting sockpuppets and using those for rating their own auctions up) Make it possible to sort search-results and listings by sellers average auction-rating, or by auction-rating.
          • Actually police the categories. Delete auctions, and warn sellers, that improperly spam obviously wrong categories. Cancel their accounts if they repeat the behaviour.
        • by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot@NOspam.nexusuk.org> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @07:42AM (#15954656) Homepage
          seems in cases where the purchaser uses paypal to complete the transaction that ebay should automatically positive feedback/reputation points as they have successfully confirmed that the buyers has fulfilled their part of the transaction.

          This is a terrible idea - there are many cases where _after_ the buyer has paid they cause trouble. For example, on one of my auctions I clearly stated that if you paid by cheque I wouldn't dispatch the goods until _after_ the cheque had cleared. The buyer posted me a cheque and then left negative feedback against me just 2 days after the cheque had arrived because they hadn't received the item yet.

          I mean I don't know where to start:
          1. they ignored the conditions stated in the auction for paying by cheque (they could've used paypal and avoided the problem)
          2. they didn't give it enough time for the item to make it through the post even if I'd sent it as soon as I received the cheque
          3. they didn't even bother to contact me to discuss the "problem" before dropping negative feedback on my account.

          In this case I would've been very annoyed if the system had forced me to leave positive feedback for a buyer who caused nothing but trouble after "fullfilling their part of the transaction".

          FWIW, I think feedback should be left by the buyer before the seller - that way by leaving positive feedback the buyer has confirmed that they have received the item with no problems. If there is a problem then it can be resolved before either party has left feedback. Remember that negative feedback should be fairly rare for legitimate sellers and noone should be leaving negative feedback without first trying to resolve the problem. (Maybe it would be worth publishing the communications that occurred between the two parties when leaving negative feedback so people can read the whole story and make their own minds up who was responsible for the bad transaction).
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by boingo82 (932244)
          Serious question:
          Why should buyers get feedback AT ALL?
          Buyer feedback means nothing* - you bid, you win. Sellers aren't sitting there comparing buyers A, B, and C and deciding who to go with.
          *Unless it's negative, and you're blocked.

          Call me crazy, but I don't think that buying feedback and selling feedback should be on the same system. I've seen too many cases of a person joining eBay, completing 50 or so low-price transactions as a buyer to build up FB (score 50! 100% positive!!) and then putting up a

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Amazon is good because it's easy to find exactly what you want, and lots of things similar to exactly what you want. You can really drill down categories.

        I've never bought anything from Amazon's auction business. I have bought from their "resellers" and I've had real mixed results. I suspect that some of this may apply to the auction side of the house as well, so it may be worth sharing. Over 2 years ago, I bought an unlocked GSM phone from a reseller at Amazon. The phone was a Nokia model and Nokia's
    • by mgblst (80109)
      The feedback system is a great idea, and one of the reasons for ebays success, but needs improvement.

      You often get see the more sophisticated fraud attempt, were people build up their feedback with cheap crappy items, and from mates, then try to sell 5 or 6 top of the line IBM laptops when they hit 50 positives.

      The feedback system should also have the sale price of the item (or at least the option to let you have it) Then you can better judge the value of that positive feedback.
    • Fraud needs to stop (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @04:57AM (#15954251) Homepage
      As a hobby, I sell some selfmade software through my website. On EBay, people are selling my software on compilation CD's (they even advertise it as such) and I have tried contacting EBay on this multiple times, ranging from simple e-mail complaints to registering as a vendor and followinging the official complaint channels explicitely setup by EBay for this very purpose. Not ONCE have I even so much as had a reply, even though I included all kinds of clear evidence and not ONCE did they ever take any action.
      As long as EBay keeps willingly and knowingly cooperating with these fraudulent sellers, EBay can count on my "F**k y**!" anytime. If I could help destroy EBay, I would.
  • what's the problem? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by klaiber (117439)
    The article was pretty scant on detail, especially exactly *what* the merchants are complaining about. Has the system gotten inefficient? Are buyers having a hard time finding items? Basically, what faults do the merchants feel can be fixed by a new CEO? Anyone here at Slashdot have any educated guesses?
    • by Jetson (176002) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @03:08AM (#15954037) Homepage
      The article was pretty scant on detail, especially exactly *what* the merchants are complaining about.

      Judging from their online town-hall type meetings, most of the vendors are complaining because EBay is reducing the number of storefront advertisements and paid placements shown when people search. Of course, as a potential buyer I'm really not interested in the store's retail products. The reason I'm shopping on EBay is because I want to get used stuff dirt cheap. If I wanted retail I'd go to the mall...

    • by King_TJ (85913) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @09:49AM (#15955421) Journal
      As a long-time eBayer myself (both buying and selling), I see several glaring flaws, and a few smaller nit-picks. In (basically) an order of importance, I'd say:

      1. Fraud is *way* too high! In some categories, it's not really a big issue. But for customers shopping for higher-ticket, more desirable goods, it's a severe problem! If, for example, you're shopping for new Apple products (from iPods to Macbook Pros), you can find obviously fraudulent auctions practically EVERY time you do a search. Worse yet, there are a lot of not-so-obvious frauds out there. EG. I recently tried to buy a used iPod 20GB from a guy that appeared to own a used book-store of some sort. He claimed he had something like 50 used 20GB iPods for sale, as well as 40-something shuffles. By the look of the photos he displayed, it appeared he had used them as loaners for some kind of audio-book rental program his store ran, and these were just being auctioned off since they were older units. I placed a bid, as did many other people. But then the auction got terminated at the last minute, and his account was suspended for fraud.

      2. Too costly to sell some items! If you're trying to use eBay for its intended original purpose (sort of a flea market or garage sale to "recycle" your stuff you'd otherwise throw away), the fees usually eat up all your profits. If, say, I want to auction off a broken CD player for spare parts value - I'm only going to realistcally get maybe $5 or so out of it. That would be fine, except if the buyer pays me via PayPal, PayPal (owned by eBay) gets a chunk. eBay charges me both the listing fee and a final value sale fee too. Not to mention, re-listing fees if the thing doesn't sell the first couple times I put it out there. (And on something like this, heck - it probably won't! It's just something you want to relist until you luck into finding that person who happens to need exactly what you've got.) If you make a small mistkae on estimating your shipping costs on top of that, you can easily end up paying someone to win your auction!

      3. Too much abuse in the feedback system. I really like the idea someone else posted here, where a positive feedback (with no comment) would get posted by default after X number of days, unless someone made an effort to do otherwise. I'm tired of the people who email, begging for feedback, or getting upset that you're "taking too long" to get around to it. I'm tired of the retaliation stunts people pull, where leaving a legitimate negative feedback guarantees you'll get an undeserved one in return. And I'm tired of feedback comments only being 1 line long. (On a positive, what are they gonna type anyway? May as well make a macro that says "A++++ Would do business again!" It's always something like that.) You don't get enough space to explain the reason you're giving a negative either. It's hard not to just look like a jerk with only 80 chars. or less to explain yourself.

      4. eBay stores are a joke. I looked into them once, for a former employer, and they were *so* unattractive an option for us compared to practically anyone else offering e-commerce web sites with shopping carts. They just look too much like the rest of their site. Sure, the items come up in everybody's regular auction searches - but so what? That's sort of like me starting my own line of new cars, and instead of building my own showrooms, I negotiate a deal with Chevy to sell mine in a portion of their showroom space. Yeah, I get a lot of "exposure" that way - but it still makes my business look "second rate" compared to Chevy. eBay stores look like someone just had a bunch of normal auction listings, and paid to get them put under a different "eBay stores" heading. You can't even really customize the presentation of your listings.
  • Whiners (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GomezAdams (679726) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @01:43AM (#15953859)
    Looks to me like these losers need to learn new marketing techniques, not whine about ebay. If you have a product that used to sell in two listings and now it takes four you need to ask yourself is there more competition? Better copy writers for the same products? Better prices from other sellers? Fewer buyers for the product?

    These people need to put more effort into selling rather than blame someone else for their shortcomings.

  • by dfenstrate (202098) * <<moc.liamg> <ta> <etartsnefd>> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @01:45AM (#15953861)
    Ebay has been around long enough that everyone knows about it, both buyers and would-be sellers.

    Competition is fierce between sellers, especially any twits who bought a 'how to make money on Ebay kit' and are trying to do it full time- and buyers will jump sellers to save a buck or two- there is absolutely no loyalty on ebay.

    I'm an occasional seller and very occasional buyer on ebay, and I like to be sure to be able to sell my stuff. Since I'm not trying to turn a profit on new items, just unload stuff I have and don't need for a few bucks I can be pretty cheap.

    What do I do?
    Put the starting bid waay under the going price (but at a price I'm willing to sell it at), and the buyout slightly under the going rate for an item. Usually it gets bid up close to the buyout/going rate, I sell my item, and everyone is happy.

    I cannot imagine trying to run a normal business this way.

    That being said, Ebay is soaking their sellers for more fees lately and this cut in profit margins isn't helping them at all.
  • What ebay needs. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frogbert (589961) <frogbert@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @01:47AM (#15953868)
    What ebay needs is for people to stop selling stuff on it as if it was their own store. I go to ebay to pick up a bargain not to pay RRP for something I could get from the store for the same price. ebay needs to get back to what it used to be, a place to pick up rare items for a premium or second hand items for cheap.

    Try searching for mobile phones on ebay, it's become a joke. There are people trying to sell new phones with plans included. Why bother, there is a shop near by that can do that and not charge me for postage.

    Don't even get me started on items that are clearly in the wrong category. I don't want to sift through 18 pages of leather cases for PDA's before I find the cheapest listed actual PDA.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by KDR_11k (778916)
      That last bit is what really annoys me. Ebay needs to introduce a policy that gets people banned for listing in the wrong category twice.
    • Re:What ebay needs. (Score:4, Informative)

      by reflector (62643) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:14AM (#15954286)
      Don't even get me started on items that are clearly in the wrong category. I don't want to sift through 18 pages of leather cases for PDA's before I find the cheapest listed actual PDA.

      sounds like you're not using your search filters, on the left side of the search results page.
      they are very effective.

      for pda, make sure youre browsing the HANDHELD UNITS category, not ACCESSORIES, and not PDAs which includes both of these other 2 categories.

      also, put in a minimum price, say $20, that will cut out almost all the crap like leather cases that you're not looking for.
  • Not her the problem (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @01:52AM (#15953877)
    I have the feeling that it's not her the problem, the reason for that is that it was her who scaled eBay from a company of 30 lazy workers to the eBay we know today with its 200 million eBayers. I don't know the problem very well but I'm sure that one could hardly find a replacement for her as she knows and has managed eBay so well so far, and fix the problem at the same time.
  • by loomis (141922) * on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @01:52AM (#15953878)
    I have been selling on ebay for 9 years now, since the beginning. Anyhow, what I see as the problem with ebay is this: eBay created, and then refused to truly govern this glut of "power sellers" who, more often than not, majorily illustrate exactly what is wrong with eBay.

    Shoppers are tired of trying to buy, oh say a used or NOS laptop hard drive, only to be bludgeoned with auctions that consist of nothing but shipping overcharges after shipping overcharges after scams and more scams. Just trying to find a working computer or computer part sold by an average honest Joe at a decent price is nearly impossible. It's nothing but NYC camera store-style scam power sellers (now with used items too), if you know what I mean, and ebay turns the other cheek.

    In fact, ebay continues to turn the other cheek even though they are losing money in these fee-circumventing, high-shipping auctions. It's strange. I guess they only care about insertion fees, and care little about maintaining happy buyers.

    However, the system falls apart without the buyers, so therein lies the problem that I see.
    • by dbc (135354) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:23AM (#15953945)
      Damn straight. I don't frequent E-Bay anymore. Too hard to find what I want. Way too much fraud. The feedback system is a joke.

      E-Bay has had this crazy idea that their customer is the seller. Well, their direct customer is the seller, but the seller's customer is the buyer, so E-Bay needs to start focusing on making buyers happy. If the buyer is not happy, the buyer will not come back. The whole system then colapses in a smoldering heap.

      E-Bay keeps trying to police the buyers, and gives the sellers a free pass when ever they can. Thus, they have created the first planet-wide den of theives.

      It's pretty damn simple. Follow the money. The buyers are the only ones feeding money into the system. How can E-Bay be so blind to that?

      My formula for turning E-Bay around:
      1. Stop treating buyers like thieves, treat them like valued customers.
      2. Stop treating sellers like customers, treat them like sub-contract employees.
    • by reflector (62643) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @04:40AM (#15954208)
      these fee-circumventing, high-shipping auctions. It's strange.

      it's not strange at all, ebay themselves created the situation, by trying to squeeze every penny they can from sellers, and by only charging the sale cost, not the shipping fee.

      consider, if ebay final value fee is 5% (for the sake of argument), then would you rather have a seller charge $0.01 and $10 shipping, for a total of $10.01? or charge $10.50 for the item and $0.01 shipping, for a total of $10.51?

      the seller makes the same amount of money in both cases, but i would guess (call it a hunch) that buyers would prefer to pay $10.01 rather than $10.51.

      the seller who moves as much of the cost over to the shipping side as possible, is able to sell the item for the lowest total price.

      sadly, many ebayers are not very bright and dont understand this basic concept.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by boingo82 (932244)
        Yes, the buyers don't realize that paying $10.01 totally screws them if the item is defective and they have to get a refund of a whopping $.01.
        Total price isn't the only thing that matters.
      • Visibility (Score:3, Informative)

        by phorm (591458)
        It's also about visibility. While ebay has modified their search+listing system to show the shipping costs, for many of the auctions I see this is still blank, and the little box at the bottom says "see item decription" wherein the shipping cost is hidden within a mass of tables, coloured text, and pictures.

        The first thing that the buyer sees is "item X" at a low cost. It's enough at least to get that first viewing, and sometimes enough to snag an unwary bidder who doesn't notice the immense shipping cos
  • The scaling problem which eBay is encountering is not limited to sellers. The core problem here is that a smaller fraction of the auctions are coming to a successful completion. If we assume that the ratio of sellers to buyers has remained fairly constant (an assumption which must be confirmed), then that means that more buyers are bidding on auctions but losing--or not bidding at all, fearing they will lose. In terms of products, there are two different categories: specialties, which are rare and specif
    • Reading other peoples' comments, it seems that eBay's biggest technical problem in implementing this strategy is learning more about the items being auctioned: how do their capabilities and qualities differ? are there hidden fees? is it likely to be delivered in tact? do they include features which the buyer doesn't want (hence driving up cost)? While better clustering and search algorithms can help, richer user feedback and (cheat-resistant) collaborative filtering is also important. A completely diff
  • Too Much Fraud (Score:5, Informative)

    by chromozone (847904) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @01:55AM (#15953888)
    I find more and more sellers are phony. They can even have a high "positive" rating and they burn you. There are so many bogus electronic sales its amazing. Laptop auctions come with emails inviting people to make end around offer. A Google search shows email addy on long list of phonies kept by private groups concerned with ebay fraud. You can find lots of interesting items with no bidders even in the last minutes. Why? Because people know they are phony. I got burned twice on ebay for cheap DVD's for sale by sellers with high positive ratings. Then I get notices from ebay warning me about seller. Oh it seems people, can hack/fake accounts. Haha too late for me. Getting burned gets almost no action from ebay, Paypal etc. Ebay went from interesting auction to flea market full of high prices, phony hustlers and junk. A friend bought big collection of all Buffy DVD sets. They were meant to be in excellent condtion. Then big box of broken plastic arrives and seller listing is gone. Lots of people figured out the deal and ebay. Amazon is much better. "How Amazon and Google are taking eBay's Business" http://slashdot.org/articles/05/06/22/2154201.shtm l [slashdot.org]
  • by John Miles (108215) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @01:55AM (#15953890) Homepage Journal
    One of the popular refrains from eBay's management is that they don't have the resources needed to police auctions on a proactive basis. They can only respond to complaints from users.

    From personal experience, it takes eBay anywhere from three to eight hours to kill a series of bogus scripted auction postings created with a phished account. That's more than enough time for the phisher to reel in multiple victims, all the while making the whole eBay marketplace look like a Romanian gypsy fair.

    eBay needs to do two things to combat fraud. First, add a prominent, one-click "Report this auction" button to all listings. Right now the report link is buried at the bottom of the page. It leads you through the typical maze of customer-support options before dropping you at a page where you have to click yet another link to bring the auction to eBay's attention.

    Second, when a user clicks "Report this auction," the notification message it creates should be transmitted, simultaneously, to several participants in a large network of trusted volunteers. These users would be recruited based on factors such as experience, feedback, and a history of accurate fraud reports. They would not have the ability to terminate auctions unilaterally -- they wouldn't be quite that "trusted" -- but they would have the ability to vet the violation report for legitimacy and forward it via a private channel to eBay, where an employee would be able to terminate the offending user's auctions immediately without a lot of additional reviewing overhead.

    Formalizing the concept of community policing is the only way I can see for eBay to maintain credibility, in light of the undiminished volume of idiots who keep turning their accounts over to phishers on a daily basis. I agree with eBay management when they claim they can't police the site on their own. It's time they harnessed some of the outrage that's out there in the community, and put it to good use.
  • by also-rr (980579)
    He says he now lists an item four times on average in order to sell it, up from two listings two years ago.

    This could have as much to do with the number of sellers going up as it could be about the number of buyers dropping due to being put off by being scammed by either a seller or, more likley, eBay/Paypal.

    The number of duplicate items listed for just about anything you care to name is staggering nowadays, so it's rare to get into a bidding situation over anything even slightly common. There were, for
    • by bstone (145356)
      Actually, I think the sellers are under the impression that it's "their" store, and they're driving away the buyers by trying to make the rules in their favor. eBay listens to the sellers too much, and actions like this will only make it worse. You have sellers trying every trick in the book to pull one over on the buyers ($0.99 items with $87.50 shipping, allowing feedback to be hidden, things buyers want like "eBay Negs" not being adopted because they upset the sellers, etc.). The sellers want to make
  • Did anyone else notice that the guy who sells garden gear's last name was mowery?
  • "'EBay's core (auction) performance is suffering tremendously,' says Steve Grossberg, a longtime videogame seller on eBay. He says he now lists an item four times on average in order to sell it, up from two listings two years ago.

    And four years before that, it was only once if you had something of actual value to sell. Why the change? Because eBay is constantly flooded with new sellers who are ever willing to undercut the existing sellers - which brings buyers to eBay and keeps them coming back. So long

  • by AriaStar (964558) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:44AM (#15953991) Journal
    He says the company is taking "aggressive steps," such as a fee increase for store listings to "reinvigorate" the auction marketplace.

    Increasing fees to the sellers results in sellers charging more for shipping, on which eBay does not charge fees, in order to recoup the costs. If a seller is charged a couple dollars in listing and selling fees on a low-priced item, why bother lisisting? eBay has lost its reputation as being a place for buyers to find bargain and sellers to get the highest price. Bargains are few and far between these days. No longer is it feesible to buy a book or new keyboard on eBay when the fees charged are so high that buyers are deterred due to the "shipping" fees and sellers are hesitant to list without a near guarantee of a sale.

    Lower the fees and the market will have a new breath of life. Better to make $1 in fees on 10 auctions than to make $1.50 on five.

    Also, acquiring Paypal hurt eBay in a way. They outright forbid vertain other payment services, such as Google's payment system, and by trying to force payment down a certain channel (for which they make more in fees), eBay is gaining more of a feel of someone standing over us beating us into submission rather than a comfortable play to spend time browsing and breathing easy and having options.

    Not to mention both buyers AND sellers are being ripped off left and right these days and eBay seems to lack the inclination to do anything about it. If they're making their fees either way, why not let it continue?
  • Craigslist (Score:5, Interesting)

    by abscissa (136568) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:45AM (#15953993)
    I use craigslist now. You don't have to register your fake details and remember useless passwords, you can sell locally and get cash instantly, usually within a day. Unless you're selling obscure shit, it's the way to go. AND IT'S FREE, GODDAMNIT!! Just like the good old days of the Internet. When I was a boy, the internet was a free place and playboy.com had free porn... and the girls had nice titties and they were all respectable looking. But I digress. USE CRAIGSLIST! You'd be surprised how many people want to buy your totally weird shit ... and how many of those nutty people live in your city. Doesn't work well if you live in the middle of nowhere, though, I guess.. :-(
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by owlnation (858981)

      I use craigslist now...

      I do too. But just a few words of caution though...

      1. It is partly owned by eBay. And has no obvious source of revenue generation. So, and assuming eBay in its current form stays in business long term (not at all certain IMHO), you should expect to see changes at Craigslist eventually - like fees for example...

      2. Craigslist has a significant, and growing, spam and fraud problem too. Which, as far as I can see, they are not really on top of right now. For example, take a look a

  • by tod_miller (792541)
    Oh you think I am being tetchy?

    If you think about it, stop whining about wanting new management, if all you do is keep adding auctions to sell something, and complain about new management, why should anyone change anything?

    If you do sell somewhere else, and they get less wodge, then they may listen.

    Vote with your money. Not with your whining.
  • by PhantomHarlock (189617) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @03:02AM (#15954026)
    I second some of the more well thought out community policing ideas brought up here. Ebay cannot employ paid staff to adequately monitor the zillions of auctions that get listed every day, that does not compute as any kind of business plan. But overseeing an army of community volunteers...that's the way to go, as long as abuse can be curtailed. (people falsely reporting their competitors) some of the suggestions above seemed to mitigate that problem.

    I've been selling on Ebay since almost the beginning - but I haven't bought anything ordinary in a long time for precisely the reasons people have mentioned here. The one time I tried to buy a piece of electronics, it turned out to be stolen. (A laptop, I returned it to the rightful owners) The lesson I learned was never buy any sort of portable electronics or anything that's easily fenced, because that's where it ends up.

    I've had great success as a seller of unique items. The most interesting and high value was a 1963 Corvette Stingray Convertible. We got a far, far higher price than what locals were offering us. Ebay is almost always a better option than anything else.

    On Ebay, the entire world of internet connected citizens really IS your marketplace, if you have anything of value to sell. this is the best thing Ebay has going for it right now. Everybody checks ebay by default to see if the thing they want is on there, even if they don't plan on initially buying from there, just price shopping. Many change their mind along the way.

    My selling tips are:

    * Sell something unique or at least semi-rare

    * Be completely honest and up front about everything, and you will have perfect feedback, unless you run into a total nutjob buyer. (I've had some close calls, so now I put more disclaimers on the auctions about things like "customs duties and tariffs are not included" etc.) Include LOTS of documentation for something that could be suspected of being stolen.

    * Go way out of your way to make people happy after the auction is complete. A good business transaction is a voluntary transaction between two people who are both satisfied with the outcome. If they get the item and it's damaged, fixed the situation as quickly as possible.

    * Start your bidding at $1 (or $100 for high priced items) with no reserve, no matter what the item is. If you don't believe you'll get market value or what you want from the item then you should ask yourself if you should really be putting it on ebay, or if you really want to let go of it just yet. Do your homework and research completed auctions. Low start bids drive large numbers of bidders, which will increase the chances your item will become a 'hot item' and will get people to notice it in general. The Corvette started at $100 no reserve and ended at $27,000.

    * make liberal use of the bold/highlight features for any item that costs over $100. it's the cost of advertising / doing business on ebay...no big deal. If your margins are that bad, don't sell on ebay. If you don't like their fees, don't sell on ebay. They are a lot cheaper than running a brick and mortar store or selling on consignment.

    * your excellent feedback will increase bidding confidence in your buyers, it works. Work hard to keep it perfect. Don't sell anything you yourself wouldn't buy at the price you are expecting for it. BE HONEST.

    * despite accusations to the contrary, Ebay is still a SELLER'S MARKET. The audience you reach by listing your item on there is INSANE. Now that everybody knows that, the competition for commodity items is also INSANE. I see nothing unpredictable about their current situation - the market is finally saturated with sellers to meet the demand of the buyers. Natural forces balancing out. It was very skewed in the beginning, almost comical. Unfortunately now the sellers include all of the scum of the earth, particularly folks who make a steady living scamming people. Buyer beware. Ebay needs to take steps to keep up with this situation, or th
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Eivind (15695)
      The complete honesty works wonders.

      Describing in minute detail *all* faults in the product actually makes people trust you more and consider the product *better*.

      It may be counterinituitive, but I think it's just human nature.

      People will prefer: "Book is like new, except there is a clearly visible stain (not affecting readability) on the lower left margin of page 35" over "Book is in a perfect condition".

  • by ThePhilips (752041) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @03:06AM (#15954032) Homepage Journal
    He says he now lists an item four times on average in order to sell it, up from two listings two years ago.

    Google Froogle anyone? You can list there for free. As customer I in fact use it quite often.

    Sticking exclusively with eBay was guarantied to screw you someday. It seems that day is nearing. And as customer I find it pretty stupid for vendor being eBay-only anyway. Now PayPal have eased most of the problems, but I just feel myself uncomfortable being so much in eBay's land.

    Get real people. eBay provided you with the "shelfs". But it still owns the shelfs and can do pretty much anything with the shelfs. (Just like ordinary public market.) eBay after all has to make money too. With many crackers' attacks, tightened security and audit, eBay I expect has pretty high operational costs. What I'm getting too: you have to pay for better security higher price.

  • There are several. (Yeah, that'd be no sympathy) It's ebay's job to make the shareholders rich.

     
  • Ebay Upgrade (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ryty (527886)
    I have inside information that Ebay is adding a multi-million dollar location in the upper Sacramento area. Perhaps along with this they may be making some other changes.
  • I don't spose people are too upset about google purchase being outlawed either.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @04:24AM (#15954165)
    You know you have a problem when you're self-employed and you seek a management change.
  • Issues (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:56AM (#15954364) Homepage
    Some general thoughts on the issue:

    1. July-August is the traditional dead-time for many kinds of sales, especially electronics. This year is no exception. Whining about slow sales in August is, well, stupid.

    2. Things aren't selling as quickly because they aren't priced to sell quickly. Sellers have started to treat eBay like a storefront rather than an auction house. The starting bid and reserve prices reflect that and the sales pattern does too.

    3. There are far too many 97% feedback powersellers. Old hands know better than to buy from such a seller but newbies get screwed. eBay policies should discourage the continued presence of folks who can't maintain a 1% or less complaint rate.

    4. eBay is tolerating auctions where the seller does not actually have the product in question, may not be able to get it in a timely manner, and does not say so in the auction. This discourages buyers.

    5. There has been a proliferation of "insane" sellers who don't bother to check the competition before posting an item on ebay. Take for example focus_technology. He has a Cisco 2509 listed for $450. 2509's have been selling for around $75. No 2509 has sold for more than $200 this year. Such behavior results in a lot of effectively invalid listings that clutter a potential buyer's view, discouraging them from continuing the search. eBay encourages this behavior by allowing sellers to relist an item cheaply or for free.

    6. My personal pet peeve, they've tweaked paypal so that you have to go out through a bunch of "are you sures" if you want to pay by credit card instead of a bank draft. Its anti-customer.

  • by sjonke (457707) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:34AM (#15954445) Journal
    It's time for ebay to end the ludicrous two-way rating of ebay members. Only sellers should receive feedback ratings, not buyers. That buyers can receive bad feedback is why so many sellers have ludicrously good feedback ratings - fear of reprisal. Even when a buyer has a bad experience, they'll often either not provide feedback, or give good feedback anyway, for fear that they'll otherwise receive "payback" from the seller. If a person only buys, this is of little consequence, but most buyers are also sellers and feedback ratings affect this type of user far more than it affects big time ebay sellers because 1 bad feedback rating in 5000 is of no consequence whatsoever, while 1 bad feedback rating in 10 does have a substantial impact. What good does rating a buyer do? A seller isn't going to ship something to someone who doesn't pay up first unless they are a complete fool. Rating of buyers is a ruse.
  • Grow Up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot.keirstead@org> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @07:35AM (#15954629) Homepage

    He says he now lists an item four times on average in order to sell it, up from two listings two years ago.

    Well duh, of course it does, there are about 10 times as many listings on eBay as two years ago.

    eBay has exploded in popularity, and that means competition. *OF COURSE* it's going to be harder to sell your stuff when there are 10 times as many people selling the same thing today, often cheaper, than 10 years ago. It's called competition in the marketplace, and it's the very concept that makes eBay so popular.

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@@@aol...com> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @08:32AM (#15954861) Journal
    Having to list an item 4 times on ebay to sell it is not indicative of a management lapse at ebay, but rather that either the seller has a misguided idea of the value of their product, or the economy is not as good now as it used to be. I vote option B.

    What our government is trying to hide from us is that the world economy is in the beginning of a horrific collapse, which will go down in history as being sparked by the depletion of our energy resources and resulting price spike. Our government lied to us all throughout the 1990's about how great the economy was, and the resulting crash left many people penniless. Then, the government "fixed" the problem by creating another artificial boom, this one in housing. For the past 5 years, people have been hyper-extending themselves on adjustable mortgages to buy houses they couldn't really afford. Now that the economy has seen all the benefit it can from the second artificial boom, the housing market has crashed (not in terms of value, but in terms of peoples' monthly payments on their ARM), the government has nowhere to go.

    We are about to see an implosion in the housing market that is going to make the dot-bust of the 1990's look like losing a quarter in a slot machine. We are at a point where we can no longer control inflation because we have sent enough money overseas that foreign governments now control the supply of US currency in the world. We BORROWED the money we sent them against the hyper-inflated housing values we created artifically in the early 2000s. Now, all the foreign governments like China and Iran have to do is flood the world with those borrowed US dollars to drive hyper-inflation in the US. Combine that with a crash in the only assets in the US that have real value, and the rest of the world will simply be able to buy us out.

    Scary... truly scary... so your ebay problems are a lot bigger than you think...
  • by vorpal22 (114901) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @09:47AM (#15955398) Homepage Journal
    I'd like to propose, too, that eBay take the ratio of sales completed to sales listed into consideration for feedback scores for sellers. This would definitely quickly identify sellers who list items at overinflated prices that do not sell, and those who list "BUY INFO TO GET FREE XBOX360 AND POWERBOOK" auctions, which rarely sell as well.

    I'd much rather do my business with someone who's listed auctions in which most of the items have sold.
  • by vitaflo (20507) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @09:56AM (#15955473) Homepage
    "He says he now lists an item four times on average in order to sell it, up from two listings two years ago."

    Here's a tip, set the auction price at $0.01 to start, and let people bid it up to what *they* think it's currently worth. You'll sell your items the *first* time.
  • by ChrisA90278 (905188) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @11:41AM (#15956346)
    I can tell you why sellers have to list the items multiple times to sell it. All the smart buyers have gone gone gone.

    eBay knows that it is the sellers who pay the bills so they set things up to favor them. This has the effect of chasing away buyers. Almost everyonr I know agrees that ebay is a good place to sell because you can take advantage of dumb buyers who will over pay just so they can "win" But no one I knwo would buy anything there. So what you have is an army of sellers all chasing a limimited number buyers

    Me and I'm sure most people concider eBay a "high risk" market place. You have a good chance of fraud or otherwise getting ripped off. If you do find something being sold by a "real person" not some shoe string reseller then some other buyer will over bid. Good for the buyer but a pointless waste of time for me. The other total waste of time is "reserve price" Why don't they say what the minum price is? Total waste of my time

    The bottom line is that thee are few good deals on eBay I figure half the sellers are people unloading crap out of their pawn shops while posing ast private party sellers

    If the sellers want to sell on eBay they will have to figure out how to attact a more buyers. Here is how: (1) Make it easy for buyers to REALLY find out who they are buying from. Require EVERY seller to have a VERIFIED Name, street address and phone number. That is the only way to get rid of fraud. (2) Eliminate secret reserve prices. A minimum bid is OK. (3) spot check a higher percentage of the item descriptions (4) Base fees on the total transaction amount

The first version always gets thrown away.

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