Sunday, February 14, 2010

How I Am Coping with the New eBay

I am not sure exactly when it happened, but my search results now contain all store items, all fixed-priced items, all international items, and all auctions mixed in together in an untidy mess. I think it has been a gradual process that has occurred over the last week. I noticed an increase in my results last weekend, and around two days ago, I realized that it was taking me forever to scroll through the items that close in the next 24 hours. That was when I realized that eBay has now fully integrated all items into the search results. It is quite aggravating to say the least.

Even the searches with relatively low results are now rather difficult to navigate. The larger searches, such as "Nancy Drew," are a nightmare. I have decided how I will cope, so I am sharing this information for those of you who still sell on eBay.

When I run my searches, I immediately sort by "newly listed" to see whether any of the newest items are good deals. I have used this strategy for a long time in order to troll for good Buy It Now items. This strategy will not change.

I have to make a change for the other half of my searches. In addition to sorting by "newly listed," I like to search by "ending soonest" so that I will not miss any of the good auctions. This is where I have the problem. The number of fixed-price items included in the results makes it next to impossible to search just the items that close in the next 24 hours.

My solution is to click on "auctions only" when I run my "ending soonest" searches. This way, the fixed-price items are missing, and I will not fail to notice any good auctions that are ending soon.

When I run a search for "Nancy Drew," nearly 10,000 items show up in the search (Note: This is a search with restrictions such as the maximum allowable number of blocked sellers. Over 16,000 results show with no restrictions.). This is impossible to navigate. When I search for "Nancy Drew" and limit my results to auctions, I get slightly under 1,000 results. This makes all the difference.

Think about what my decision to limit my "ending soonest" searches to auctions means. If you sell on eBay and use the fixed-price format, you have one narrow opportunity to make a sale to me, which is when I run my searches that are sorted by "newly listed." I will see your item the day it is listed, and I will never see it again.

What if other buyers decide to use my method? Think of how hard it might become to sell a fixed-price item. On the other hand, most buyers may just go with eBay's default, but if that happens, then the auctions will suffer. We will only know after a few months of this format how the changes will affect fixed-price items and auctions.


Jennifer White said...

More thoughts:

For the smaller searches like "Betty Gordon," the fixed-price items will unquestionably receive a boost, and the auction items will not suffer. I have noticed in the past that sometimes books with dust jackets, such as Betty Gordon, in eBay stores that are priced decently will not sell while auctions of the same books do fine. For the smaller searches, buyers will now notice the store items.

As already stated, the large searches such as "Nancy Drew" are the problematic ones. Sellers already have much trouble getting noticed, which is precisely why some of them resort to yelling at buyers that their books are the rarest, most fabulous books available. This behavior does not occur in the smaller searches. We only see it for Nancy Drew and the other major series.

stratomiker said...

I manipulate the searches by using keywords; I'm usually looking for oddball stuff. I wouldn't dream of searching through all the Drews or Hardys, but when I do check them out I'll use titles and keywords. Of course I'm missing stuff because a lot of sellers don't know to use these terms, but there still is plenty to see.

I have noticed an increase in buying since the beginning of the year, especially Nancy Drew, and bidding seems to be better. I still sell almost everything I list on eBay. I have yet to make a sale on Bonanzle.

None of these changes at eBay really bug me that much, other than you can't make as much $$$$ as in the past. The higher fees are annoying but they are not that much higher because my selling prices are not so high.

I think a lot of these big mondo-dealers are eventually going to collapse because they can't possibly be making enough money to pay off their huge loans to eBay for getting set up and in product. Perhaps eBay will eventually go back to what it used to be. Most other big business is collapsing and downsizing.

I had another neg-basher last week, about the fourth one in a year. These buyers want their book like tomorrow and start emailing about it with two days after payment. All of them are supposedly dads who are buying cheap Drews or Hardys for their sons or daughters. I usually mail the books the next day, and media mail takes at least a week, sometimes longer. They are so antsy for the book that they go crazy emailing over and over again, and then they give me a negative because the book hasn't arrived - all four within a week of payment! I think it's ridiculous that they can do this and a seller can't give a negative in turn to a buyer.

But, it's just become a part of dealing with eBay!


Jennifer White said...

Towards the end of when I still sold all of my books on eBay, I noticed that my buyers were more needy than they were a few years previous. I know exactly when it started, which was at the time of the release of the 2007 Nancy Drew film.

From 2007 on, I found that many of my buyers had very high expectations, and sometimes due to their lack of knowledge thought that I was misrepresenting books. It really tried my patience. For instance, I had a buyer complain that a Nancy Drew book that listed to #18 which had a jacket that listed to #19 was mismatched. The buyer thought they should always match exactly. That buyer left me a one DSR on the description star, which destroyed my search ranking.

It's going to be interesting to see how the changes shake out. If a number of buyers decide to look only at auctions like I plan to do, then the auctions may really thrive. You may find that your books do quite well.