Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More on eBay's Folly

I found an article from InternetRetailer.com about eBay which is worth reading. This article contains statistics provided by eBay, so it partially explains away some of what people like me have noticed.

Transforming eBay

The article quotes Stephanie Tilenius, senior vice president and general manager of eBay North America. "Change is hard for everyone, but we are committed to making sure there are no bad experiences for buyers.” That is not possible! I just had a bad experience. I still do not have that book that I very much want that I purchased on January 23. Yes, eBay was quick about suspending the seller's account, and I am certain that the claim will be found in my favor. Even if my $8.00 is ultimately refunded to me, I will not be happy. All that I want is my book. EBay needs to figure out a way to force the seller to mail the book to me. Perhaps eBay should hire some bounty hunters to hunt down wayward sellers and strong-arm them into forking over the goods.

Internet Retailer mentions how eBay has lost ground to Amazon:
Sales at eBay are taking a hit, too. Merchandise sold on eBay declined for the first time in history in the third quarter, falling 1% to $14.28 billion from $14.40 billion a year earlier. And in the fourth quarter of 2008, sales of merchandise, excluding vehicles, fell 12% year-over-year from $13.10 billion to $11.47 billion. Amazon’s third-quarter sales increased 31%.
Isn't it odd that eBay wants to emulate Amazon, yet as eBay puts this plan into motion, eBay's sales decrease while Amazon's increase? EBay seems not to know that one should never try to transform into one's top competitor. It usually never ends good.

Internet Retailer also states, " 'One of the key themes emerging in the e-commerce industry over the past two years is the shift of marketplace momentum to Amazon from eBay,' says Colin Sebastian, an equity analyst at Lazard Capital Markets." EBay little understands that the shift from eBay to Amazon is because eBay has destroyed what it once was.

Internet Retailer mentions that eBay's strategy is to entice sellers to list at fixed-prices since eBay believes that is what shoppers want. The article concludes that eBay's plan seems to be working because at "the end of the third quarter of 2008, fixed price listings accounted for 46% of total listings, up from 41% a year earlier. What’s more, the new fees appear to have encouraged merchants to list more items: new listings were up 26% in the third quarter of 2008 from a year earlier."

I can answer why the fixed-price listings increased so much. EBay signed deals with the new diamond powersellers who dumped hundreds of thousands of fixed-price items onto the site. It does not necessarily mean that people like me have switched to fixed-price listings. Instead, people like me have decided to flee.

Did you know that one of my Bonanzle items shows up near the top of a Nancy Drew search on Google? Bonanzle's items are given a higher ranking than eBay's items on Google. EBay is past its glory. Okay, back to the main point of this post.

Check out Medved's 2008 item counts for eBay:

I drew a line through the graph at the level the listings were at in September when the diamond powersellers began to come onboard. Notice the huge jump that occured in the number of listings. That jump is not because people like me decided to list a bunch of stuff. It is because eBay signed sweet deals with retailers to list their items for free. They do list for free, you know, and pay eBay only when their items sell. This is even mentioned in the Internet Retailer article, and the article also suggests that the fees paid when items sell are probably lower for the diamond powersellers.

Internet Retailer states that Buy.com CEO Neel Grover believes that Buy.com should receive higher exposure than it does on eBay:
Grover would like to see diamond merchants like Buy.com given more prominence on eBay. Today, Buy.com is listed as an eBay store called Buy and easily lost in the shuffle of the thousands of other shops. “The overall benefit of what shoppers get with the diamond tier and the advantages of such merchants could have some branding around it,” Grover says.
How horrifying that would be! Buy.com is already hogging the books category, and Grover does not think that Buy.com is getting enough exposure? Please! The day that eBay allows Buy.com to receive even higher exposure than it currently does is the day that eBay will become completely unusable. Thank goodness we can block sellers. I hope eBay does not take that away from us.

Here is one last quote from Internet Retailer:
EBay’s own statistics do not suggest a big exodus of sellers. The number of eBay stores at the end of September 2008 was 534,000, up 3% from 520,000 a year earlier, eBay says.
This is kind of like those statistics in which eBay claimed that 90% of us were already happily using the "new and improved" My eBay. I'm not buying it. So the number of stores has increased. What does that prove? That 3% increase is probably from the stores of the new diamond powersellers along with various people who do not know that other venues exist. I never had a store in the first place, and I know of others who are no longer selling on eBay who never had a store. The number of eBay stores is unimportant. It is a fact that fewer good series books are listed on eBay. They have disappeared.


Anonymous said...

I wish e-bay could be kept the preserve of individual sellers with eclectic stock and with areas of expertise like your own.
I'm researching British girls' fiction and can't find any equivalent of the series you list. Do you know if there are any British equivalents of the Nancy Drew novels written about the same time? Were there English editions of any of the American series you know about?

Jennifer White said...

I'm researching British girls' fiction and can't find any equivalent of the series you list.

I'm not sure whether you mean British series books or British editions of American series books.

If you mean British editions of American series books, there are British printings of Nancy Drew, the Dana Girls, and Cherry Ames.

You can learn about the British printings of Nancy Drew on this site:

Around the World with Nancy Drew

If you want to learn about British series books, I have a few listed on my website:

Series Books for Girls

You have to scroll partway down the page to get to them. The British series that I have mentioned are Kit Hunter, Sally Baxter, Shirley Flight, Sara Gay, and the Chalet School series.