Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

eBay revisited.

Posted Monday, November 3, 2008, at 6:12 PM
View 12 comments
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  • I am still right there with you. I have adjusted a lot of what I sell, and am trying to make it work as best I can. Sales are down slightly, but not enough to cause alarm. I have always had a slowdown in November that lasts until the second week in December. I am surprised there has not been an alternative to appear yet that even compares to Amazon.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Mon, Nov 3, 2008, at 8:59 PM
  • We sell a lot of "unknown" value items, which translates to using the auction feature. This lets the market determine the value. With international bidders, this can often be a nice surprise.

    Does Amazon have auctions? I am uncomfortable with the control they take in the sale. I felt the same about Half.com. We listed some books there and they collected the money and controlled shipping. With books that was not a problem but when your item deviates off their "normal" you can get burned.

    We moved them back to eBay and did better. Of coourse Half.com IS eBay, but....

    I have looked long and hard at OLA.com (Online Auction) but they require sign-up fees and I can not see that they are getting the traffic to justify the expense.

    Anyone out there have a suggestion? I have a growing list of wannabees, but nothing has come to the top yet.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Nov 4, 2008, at 8:53 AM
  • I HATE the new Pay Pal rules. I'm still waiting on a payment to be released to me, after 10 days. It was an expensive item with expensive shipping that I sold. I usually use the payment to offset shipping expenses. I just think that I'll start selling to folks I know, and skip the whole e-bay, Pay Pal process.

    -- Posted by cherylrichardson on Tue, Nov 4, 2008, at 5:11 PM
  • cherylrichardson, I understand your frustration and the added strain of shipping before the payment is received. My son is having almost all of his payments held, but I have not had any held yet. Do you know what the conditions and requirements are regarding the holds?

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Tue, Nov 4, 2008, at 6:38 PM
  • I would like to respectfully suggest that you check out an up and coming new alternative in online selling that though it is not per se an auction site it does give the ability to the seller and buyer to bargain live in a one on one capacity right within their booth (store).

    Although my husband and I were successful Trading Assistant's at the Silver Power Seller level at eBay, the many changes that have occurred there over the last several years had us searching for a fresh way to market our goods and buy the items we were searching for, we have tried many marketplaces as we searched for one that had the good-hearted feeling and functionality of 'old eBay.'

    Now, we have finally found the grassroots marketplace we had been looking for: it's called Bonanzle. It's top goal is to make it easier to sell stuff online than eBay or Craigslist. If you're looking to buy stuff, Bonanzle is like a street fair where you can talk to (or bargain with) the sellers in real time.

    It's also totally free, unless your item sells which is nice, but even nicer is the fact that the final value fees are extremely reasonable. Sellers are given the freedom to decide on the manner in which they prefer to accept payment. Bonanzle is already integrated with Google Checkout as well as Paypal. Paper payments are not banned, and feedback is a two way street.

    Bonanzle is growing by leaps and bounds since its' premier out of beta on September 1, 2008. We are so thrilled with the personalized support from founder Bill Harding, and his right-hand man Mark Dorsey, the friends we've made (both sellers and buyers)within it's community and, most importantly the actual sales we've made that we are now calling Bonanzle our permanent home and recommending everyone we encounter in online sales do the same. Bonanzle has a great mix of seasoned e-commerce sellers, new sellers, self represented artists, eBay refugees (buyers & sellers alike) that I feel comfortable in saying with wholehearted enthusiasm.. There IS something there for everyone... I urge anyone reading this post to check it out for yourself at www.bonanzle.com you'll notice the difference the minute the homepage comes up.


    Robin (aka ZiggyZool on Bonanzle)

    Scott (aka masonictreasures on Bonanzle)

    P.S. We'd welcome your visit and hearing your comments at www.bonanzle.com/booths/ZiggyZool

    or www.bonanzle.com/booths/masonictreasures

    -- Posted by ZiggyZool on Tue, Nov 4, 2008, at 7:39 PM
  • I became a full-time ebayer as a means to supplement my [loss of] income after an accident left me injured and unable to return to work four years ago.

    In that time I have grown my profit margin from an average $500 monthly net intake to my current $2,000+ monthly profit. I have been a Powerseller for nearly four years, but I recently expanded my sales into other market areas, including Amazon, in hopes of transitioning away from eBay as my primary selling base. Why?

    Simply put, ebay is no longer 'seller friendly.' In their efforts to make shopping safer and more pleasant for consumers, they have compromised the rights of their millions of registered sellers. I will highlight the most impacting of those changes below:

    1) As everyone else has pointed out, sellers can no longer leave negative/neutral feedback regarding a transaction. Think that's not a big deal...well imagine a buyer making a purchase for an item and then deciding they no longer want it. You basically have no choice but to refund their money and accept the item back, otherwise you risk negative feedback to your account. This is extremely unfair for sellers such as myself, whose primary goods are items like software, informational and graphic art DVDs/CDs, etc., since the buyer can simply download and/or duplicate your product and send it back for a full refund.

    2) Sellers have to maintain a 4.5 or better in all rated selling categories (item as described; communication; shipping time frame; S&H charges) in order to maintain Powerseller status, and a 4.3 or better in order to sell on eBay at all.

    This can be challenging if an unforseen situtation occurs, such as a sick child or hospitalized family member, that prevents you from being able to answer emails right away or ship right away. Or in the case like mine where I suffer from an auto-immune disorder and have days where I cannot log in to my account to answer emails right away. And even when you make every effort to fullfill all requirements in a timely manner, you still have people who will rate you less than 5 stars just because they have the power to do do.

    3)Ebay's fees have become incredibly high. While you save on listing fees in comparison to what they used to be, you now pay much higher final value fees when your item sells. In some categories you can even expect to pay 15% percent or greater compared to the 5-8% we used to pay. My monthly fees to ebay range between $325-$475. While on Amazon I sell the same products and pay far less in overhead...$39.99 flat monthly rate, no listing fees, and a low percentage when the item sells. My sales on Amazon average about $500 monthly, and I pay out approximately $60 in fees (Keep in mind I am just starting out on Amazon, and eventually I expect my sales to top eBay, which much lower overhead costs).

    4) Buyers no longer have the option to pay with checks or money orders. Why is this important? Because many customers still do not feel comfortable entering and/or storing their credit card information online, even through Paypal. That means sellers will loose that market base. I estimate that between 8-12% of my customer base paid by check or money order. I can expect to lose at least half, if not the majority of those customers because they will not pay by credit/debit card. That means a potential drop in my overall sales.

    I could go on with other issues, but I believe I made my point in stating that eBay is pro 'buyer,' not seller. It's true you can make money on ebay, and were it not for eBay my family would loose a large source of its income, however, if you are not careful you can find yourself losing money on eBay by ineffectively investing in promotional services for additional fees, and marketing in the wrong categories, or targeting the wrong consumer base with the wrong product, during the wrong season, etc. My advise is start out slow selling items you already have on hand to save on overhead expense. Pull out old items in the attic, basement, bedroom closet and see how that goes. You can also market a talent or skill for greater seller power, such as sewing unique items for sale, or drawing/painting a customized portrait...there are many opportunities on ebay for those with a talent for creativity.

    I wish you all the best of luck, and I am always willing to lend advice for those of you just starting out, or even seasoned sellers looking to expand. Just drop me a line at joneslo@united.net. Happy Selling, EmJ

    -- Posted by Clichic on Wed, Nov 5, 2008, at 2:53 AM
  • "cherylrichardson, I understand your frustration and the added strain of shipping before the payment is received. My son is having almost all of his payments held, but I have not had any held yet. Do you know what the conditions and requirements are regarding the holds"

    They said they will hold until November 15, 2008 or upon delivery confirmation through their mailing label process. I don't use their mailing labels, since I don't have a printer at home, so I'm still waiting!! FRUSTRATING!!

    -- Posted by cherylrichardson on Wed, Nov 5, 2008, at 7:40 AM
  • "Do you know what the conditions and requirements are regarding the holds"

    It is my understanding that if you have fewer than 100 feedbacks, Paypal will hold the funds up to 30 days, or until such time that they verify delivery confirmation (which usually takes 30 days anyway whenever Paypal "reviews" anything). I have over 1,900 FBs so that's not really an issue with me, so please don't hold me to this, since I haven't invested the time to verify the information yet, but I did see it posted in an ebay forum last week.

    Happy Selling (and apparently waiting), EmJ

    -- Posted by Clichic on Wed, Nov 5, 2008, at 3:29 PM
  • Thank you both for your answer. While I do appreciate getting instant access to payments, I am not sure that is a fair way to do business. To me, it is arbitrary and discourages new sellers or those that sell less and really does put those sellers at a disadvantage.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Thu, Nov 6, 2008, at 12:27 AM
  • Big time discouragement to new sellers.

    Verbally I have been told the 100 feedback threshold, or 4.5 DSR ratings and certain categories that are more prone to rip offs like electronics and designer items. They would not be specific because that falls into the deep fog of "Trust and Safety".

    The release timing is 24 hours after a positive feedback, or 3 days after delivery receipt confirmation or if neither of those occur it could be 21 days after payment. When I asked PayPal for a link for printed documentation they told me it was an eBay requirement and that I would have to contact them.

    I went to eBay and spent close to an hour following links only to get to the pot of gold and get a message that THIS PAGE WILL NOT LOAD PROPERLY. I tried Live Help but the wait time was over 1 hour and I gave up and took some blood pressure medicine.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Nov 6, 2008, at 7:42 AM
  • They do not want to give clear and specific answers to search result priorities either. I have not invested anywhere near the time or frustration you have though. You really should try not to get so involved as to need medication. I find myself never going to other pages that I am not accustomed to. For example, I just checked into Amazon having auctions, and they still do not, as best as I can tell anyway. I never go to the home page or anywhere else that are not "my pages". Amazon does hold all payments though and control shipping charges and payments completely. They always have as far as I know, but have not been there long.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Thu, Nov 6, 2008, at 8:42 AM
  • Yes, I am not comfortable with holding payments, but new eBay folks are going to face that unless they buy a heck of a lot before hand.

    I get so involved because I teach eBay and actually was trained by eBay to do so, but after this spring all h*ll broke loose and the education arm of eBay was about as clueless as the instructors. That is why I put it on the shelf for a while.

    I am having folks wanting me to resume but I am not ready just yet. Currently all I do is help the students that have already come through and sometimes I can not even help them with CONCRETE answers.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Nov 6, 2008, at 9:56 AM
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