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EBay Deal Irritates Individual Sellers 382

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-fish dept.
Dekortage writes "EBay's recent deal with Buy.com appears to be seriously irritating its veteran individual sellers. The deal allows Buy.com and other large fixed-price retailers to list millions of items on eBay without paying listing fees, and appears to be the direction that eBay will follow in the future. Understandably, individual sellers are outraged. 'I've paid eBay many hundreds of thousands in fees over the past several years and believed them when they talked about a level playing field. And they just plain and simple are going back on their word.' This comes after the dire prediction that eBay is losing its popularity."
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EBay Deal Irritates Individual Sellers

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  • No competition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by N8F8 (4562) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:16PM (#24183341)

    With no real competition in the online auctions and micropayment system, I don't see things getting better. Craigslist auction anyone?

    • Re:No competition (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ciscoguy01 (635963) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:22PM (#24183437)
      Google auctions, more likely. Craigslist's business model is ridiculous.
      • by Shakrai (717556) * on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:26PM (#24183503) Journal

        Craigslist's business model is ridiculous

        And just what alternative do you suggest that provides all of the listing of a normal classifieds section and the "value added" services of casual hookups and marijuana dealers? ;)

      • Re:No competition (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Notquitecajun (1073646) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:26PM (#24183515)
        Many of the hard-core ebay whiners on its website are practically BEGGING google to open up an auction site, mostly because it will have practically millions as a buyer base overnight. Ebay's other competitors can't match that yet.
        • by sjbe (173966) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:54PM (#24184013)

          Many of the hard-core ebay whiners on its website are practically BEGGING google to open up an auction site, mostly because it will have practically millions as a buyer base overnight.

          Google doesn't want the liability. If anything kills eBay it's going to be getting sued by every luxury good maker on the planet. EBay claims they want to ensure authentic goods but is unwilling to take the steps needed to ensure authenticity - namely physical inspection of items and their paper trail. Such physical inspection is completely outside Google's business model so they would be in the same boat eBay is liability-wise.

          All that of course assumes Google could take marketshare from eBay where Amazon and Yahoo failed. That's a BIG assumption.

          • by torkus (1133985) on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:15PM (#24184335)

            Well the big difference is that eBay tries to act like wal-mart. Making everything fit their ideals, extra safe, family oriented and nicey nice ... as long as they can squeeze out the extra .01c per transaction.

            Is it me or has the size of eBay become the other half of the downfall. I hate searching for something and finding a million junk auctions or ubsurd shipping (which ebay is mostly to blame for anyhow) on many others. People that list 1000's of items simultaneously all for 'buy it now' aren't auctioning anything - they below in a store. Perhaps part of a larger, searchable multi-store "online mall" but still.

            Ebay is trying to move away from 'auction' and towards 'online store front'. Meh.

            Give me a google auction site and maybe i'll start doing online auctions again. Or better, convince Visa, MC, AMEX, or anyone to offer a realistic e-payment system that supports micropayments and fees somewhere close to reality. Seriously.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by stewbacca (1033764)

              Ebay is trying to move away from 'auction' and towards 'online store front'. Meh.

              I stopped using eBay two years ago once the online stores overtook the individual sales. Try searching for used drum gear, and IF you can get past the 50 or so posts from stores listing their "auctions" for retail price, you "might" find a deal in the form of used gear from a fellow drummer.

          • Google doesn't want the liability. If anything kills eBay it's going to be getting sued by every luxury good maker on the planet. EBay claims they want to ensure authentic goods but is unwilling to take the steps needed to ensure authenticity - namely physical inspection of items and their paper trail. Such physical inspection is completely outside Google's business model so they would be in the same boat eBay is liability-wise.

            But what's the difference? Google already offers a fixed-price marketplace called Google Product Search, powered by Google Base and Google Checkout. How does this incur any less liability than giving buyers 7 days to name their own best offer?

          • by EdIII (1114411) * on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:40PM (#24184721)

            All that of course assumes Google could take marketshare from eBay where Amazon and Yahoo failed. That's a BIG assumption.

            A big assumption? Hardly. Amazon and Yahoo were competing with eBay when is used to be viable. That was very hard to do, VERY HARD. Amazon was really only good for literature and music anyways and they seem to be moving in that direction still.

            I used to search eBay for items FIRST . I would get an idea of what the prices were, how much I could bid, how long to win, etc. I got many a laptop at 60-70% off retail prices for my clients doing this. I sold my cars on eBay, even though I never actually completed a sale. I just got leads.

            Once eBay forced to me to offer PayPal I instantly canceled my account and told them why. I have not even used eBay as a buyer since then at all. In fact, I don't remember even visiting their website in quite some time. I now use Google Shopping quite a bit to locate good prices on the equipment that I need.

            Google could have a user base millions strong overnight, and not by taking active eBay users either. They would have those millions that are waiting in limbo for the next big auction site to service their needs better than eBay.... like me. As soon as another company comes along that offers anything close to eBay I will give them a shot. I doubt that I am alone.

            As for sellers, eBay just committed the final act of suicide. I cannot understate that. Inking a deal with a major outfit like Buy.Com is a big move, and without listing fees, a fatal one. The Power Sellers will not stand by and "compete" with Buy.Com in a one-sided unfair fight. That's ludicrous. How could they? Buy.Com could compete with volume alone and with the savings that no listing fees represent it force regular sellers to destroy their own profit margins to stay afloat.

            No, I don't think it is a big assumption at all. I think you underestimate just how pissed off people are, both buyers and sellers alike. eBay is losing market share to the VOID . People would rather be doing anything but eBay, even if that is nothing at all.

            eBay is losing both buyers and sellers at a pretty fantastic rate. Only they really know, but I bet they are being tight lipped about it. Probably even lying to themselves that they don't need those people or that they will be back. eBay is becoming less and less relevant as an online auction site for the common man. That is how they started it, and they have forgotten their roots. Perhaps they want to push to become something bigger and new, but they can't do it without the people that started it. When Joe Blow can't sell his stuff on eBay anymore, I don't see how he will continue to buy stuff either.

            Personally, I thought eBay was going under after the PayPal scandal. With this new development.... start the death watch today, July 14th, 2008.

            • by sjbe (173966) on Monday July 14, 2008 @02:01PM (#24185097)

              As soon as another company comes along that offers anything close to eBay I will give them a shot. I doubt that I am alone.

              You aren't alone but I think we are both going to be waiting quite a while. EBay for better or worse is going to be very hard to displace.

              No, I don't think it is a big assumption at all. I think you underestimate just how pissed off people are, both buyers and sellers alike.

              Underestimate? I have over 10,000 feedbacks and sold literally millions of dollars of merchandise through eBay. I no longer sell anything through eBay because eBay policies ended up costing me tens of thousands of dollars.

              EBay basically made it impossible to do business with them and choked the life out of a company I worked very hard to build. You think I don't understand how pissed off people are? I understand better than almost anyone you'll ever meet.

              eBay is losing both buyers and sellers at a pretty fantastic rate.

              Really? You know that for sure? Because there is almost no financial data [yahoo.com] I can find to support that hypothesis.

              • by EdIII (1114411) * on Monday July 14, 2008 @02:18PM (#24185429)

                Well I guess you are pissed off and rightly so. As for the financial data, well... that is a little naive. I am not insulting you or flaming you either. Those bastards LIE. LIE, LIE, and LIE some more. It's always worse than what they are telling you, and I am sure some pretty fancy "Arthur Anderson" type accounting can hide how many users they have lost.

                Of course that is easy for me to say and not a very strong argument. However, you WERE a big seller, and I WAS a dedicated buyer. Does the financial data even reflect the amount of user base you would have expected to have disappeared by now?

                Everyone I talk to does not visit eBay anymore now. Your the first big seller that I have personally heard that left eBay. It would seem logical that based upon my limited experience, which is 100% of people leaving eBay, that eBay has to be suffering serious losses and most likely hiding it.

                They recently increased their fees substantially. Perhaps the people that are still left are keeping the numbers afloat giving that the increased fees allows less users to achieve the same cash flow. Give it another 18 months and look at the financial data. I expect a meltdown to occur inevitably as eBay cannot operate without buyers and sellers and I don't see a reason to stay.

                • by sjbe (173966) on Monday July 14, 2008 @04:07PM (#24187381)

                  I am not insulting you or flaming you either. Those bastards LIE. LIE, LIE, and LIE some more. It's always worse than what they are telling you, and I am sure some pretty fancy "Arthur Anderson" type accounting can hide how many users they have lost.

                  Again, nothing surprising to me here since professionally I'm a degreed industrial engineer and a certified accountant. When I'm not trying to be an entrepreneur I'm in the business of operations consulting so I need to know every sort of problem I'll run into including cooked books. I know all about the games that can be played with the numbers as well as the operations.

                  If you want the the short version of my opinion on eBay's prospects, I think eBay is on the verge of some serious problems but they aren't there yet. It's sort of like Microsoft in a way. Few people really love them but they haven't quite pissed everyone off enough to really torpedo their business. I think the biggest threat to them actually is litigation from luxury goods makers. That has the potential to drastically increase their costs and open the door to other marketplaces. But I don't expect anything in the near future. I expect eBay to remain a cash cow for the next several years at least.

                  But hey, here's to hoping eBay goes down like the Titanic...

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by hairyfeet (841228)
              Same here,although I never bothered to sell on eBay,I always went to eBay FIRST for my used computers and parts. After they started forcing the scam that was Paypal down everyone's throats I haven't been there since. I will pretty much shop anywhere BUT eBay. They have just become a haven for scammers and thieves,with eBay as one of the worst offenders with Paypal. So I would be happy to move my business to Google. But as always this is my 02c,YMMV
            • by IdahoEv (195056) on Monday July 14, 2008 @05:18PM (#24188407) Homepage

              One feature alone would instantly pull me from eBay to whatever competitor there is: search and filter by "used item" vs "new item" and also "individual seller" vs. "large retail outlet".

              When I go to online auctions, I'm looking for a deal on something used. I'm tired of living in a society where paying full priced new is the only option: it means individuals who'd be happy with a used widget have to spend more and our landfills fill up with still-useful widgets.

              When I search eBay now for (tools/computers/whatever), I get 90% listings from large businesses selling new, usually crappy knock-off, items. I don't want a cheap chinese $20 wood router that barely functions. I want a used porter-cable router from some hobbyist who is downsizing his garage or upgrading to a newer tool. But the floods of cheap chinese crap are all I can find on eBay!

      • by mr_mischief (456295) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:29PM (#24183565) Journal

        I think Craigslist's business model is fine. Although they're registered as a for-profit business, they have no desire to become a large commercial enterprise [craigslist.org]. They're doing very well at not becoming a large commercial enterprise, I think.

      • You must work for Oracle? ;) I've not seen anyone describe the CL model as "ridiculous" so can you elaborate?
      • by Wister285 (185087) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:33PM (#24183649) Homepage

        They have a business model? What is it?

        • Re:No competition (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Gewalt (1200451) on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:01PM (#24184135)
          Their model is to *not* sellout. They are doing quite well at that.
        • Re:No competition (Score:5, Informative)

          by harrkev (623093) <kfmsd@h[ ]elsonfamily.org ['arr' in gap]> on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:11PM (#24184277) Homepage

          They have a business model? What is it?

          From Craigslist Factsheet [craigslist.org]:

          Q: How does craigslist support its operations?
          A: By charging below-market fees for job ads in 10 cities, and for brokered apartment listings in NYC.

      • Re:No competition (Score:5, Informative)

        by EdIII (1114411) * on Monday July 14, 2008 @02:03PM (#24185117)

        Not only their business model. Their staff are mentally challenged too. Craigslist has the MOST restrictive mail servers I have EVER SEEN. I think military email servers on the edges of their networks are less stringent on who they receive email from. If you have an ISP email account or a free email account from one of the big providers, you don't have a problem. If you operate your own mail server, you may have a problem.

        Craigslist requires that you have a ReverseDNS on the connecting IP address that matches the domain in the FROM HEADER, not the HELO/EHLO. That's insane. Only large corporations can do that in the first place.

        I bugged those people for over a month and they would not budge on anything. Their policy does not even make SPAM impossible either. It just makes it impossible for any small business with their own domain to email Craigslist at all. You can only get through on the Postmaster account, not even staff accounts. The funny part, that their staff is not smart enough to understand, is that SPAMMERS can hijack whole network address spaces and add any ReverseDNS that they want. They actually think ReverseDNS is some sort of super shield they can hide behind to eliminate all SPAM.

        The frustrating thing is that even businesses offering hosted email services cannot communicate with Craigslist since they are demanding a wholly separate IP address with a corresponding ReverseDNS for EVERY domain that you service. So it is legitimate people that get hurt, not the SPAMMERS.

        Craigslist is aware of the problem. Their solution? Get a free email account at Google. What I love about that little gem of customer support wisdom, is that the user then calls me up and asks why I am so incompetent that I cannot even deliver an email to Craigslist. I have to carefully explain to them that Craigslist is refusing their email and why.

        Maybe I am just ranting here, but I seriously doubt Craiglist is going to scale up in the future when they have people like this running their networks in the back rooms.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by cleverhandle (698917)

          Craigslist requires that you have a ReverseDNS on the connecting IP address that matches the domain in the FROM HEADER, not the HELO/EHLO. That's insane. Only large corporations can do that in the first place.

          Wowee zowee... I never realized that my half-dozen computers and my big, lazy butt qualified as a large corporation. But since I've had proper reverse DNS on my mail server for that last 5 years, that's obviously the only explanation.

    • by sjbe (173966) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:24PM (#24183497)

      I don't see things getting better. Craigslist auction anyone?

      You do know that eBay owns a stake in Craigslist of over 20% [portfolio.com] of outstanding shares? Craigslist will not get you away from eBay.

    • Don't think that to be possible... mostly because I doubt that it would fit all to well with CL's local feeling.

      I can however see someone like Google (as sibling mentioned) or one of the until-now-unknown competition sites growing a pair and doing something that captures enough attention to draw away eBay's customer base.

      /P

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by i.r.id10t (595143)

      Well, there is gunbroker.com which lets you buy/sell things fleabay won't (anything gun related, etc). And they have several domains pointing to them as well (forthehunt.com, a few others). No listing fees for basic listings, they do picture hosting for you, and if you don't "upgrade" your listings, you only pay when the item sells.

    • Re:No competition (Score:4, Informative)

      by Waterppk (1009237) on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:07PM (#24184225)
      There are lots of auction services out there - Reviews from 2008 of reasonable eBay competition [toptenreviews.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by N8F8 (4562)

        The trouble is that eBay is the "market maker". They provide the best market for selling used goods on the internet. Sure you could use another service, but you probably won't make as much money since their market is much smaller.

  • First post (Score:5, Funny)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:16PM (#24183347)
    Even though, this being about eBay, having the LAST post is the only one that counts.
  • Bottom Line (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hyppy (74366) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:16PM (#24183351)
    Unless it is in a binding contract, with severe penalties, you should never expect a company to "keep its word." This is especially true when keeping said word affects the almighty Bottom Line. Cash is king, peon.
    • Re:Bottom Line (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:30PM (#24183597) Homepage Journal

      You hear that kind of excuse a lot, just like when a politician does something particularly egregious (e.g. Obama's FISA vote) you hear people explaining, "Oh, that's just a compromise to get more votes. He can't do anything if he isn't elected."

      The problem with the stock explanation is that it's very often just wrong. Ebay's current emphasis on big sellers at the expense of individuals is losing them money, just like Obama's FISA sellout is losing him votes. Piss off your core market to chase some other potential market, and odds are you won't do well with either. By all means, businesses should try to expand their customer base and politicians should try to appeal to more voters. But when you abandon the people who got you where you are in the first place, you're almost guaranteed to suffer overall.

      Businesses that do well are those which build a steady, loyal customer base that keeps coming back for more. This is particularly true in the online world, where changing to a competitor is very, very easy; the few success stories to come out of the dot-com mania of a decade ago show how to do it right. Amazon, for all its evil, still does a damned good job of selling books. Google, no matter what else it does, remains far and away the best general-purpose search engine. Until a couple of years ago, I'd have counted Ebay among those success stories, but now it looks as though they were just as flaky as any HowFastCanWeBurnVentureCapital.com site; they just took longer to show it.

      Suits and their sycophants love to talk tough about how they serve the bottom line ... but in the real world, the suits are wrong more often than not, and here's a sterling example.

    • While in general that's true, there is a concept known as promissory estoppel. IANAL, so I can't say it can be applied here or give legal advice to those who feel wronged by this turn of events.

      The basic concept is that if someone promises you something and you act in good faith based on that promise, then they are bound to keep the promise. I seriously doubt that people can[t hold eBay responsible for past auctions or auctions they haven't listed yet. Auctions listed before this announcement that have yet

    • Unless it is in a binding contract, with severe penalties, you should never expect a company to "keep its word." This is especially true when keeping said word affects the almighty Bottom Line.

      But there are no listing fees. As you note, "Cash is king"--so how is Ebay making money off this deal? I don't know the aswer to that question. But even though there aren't listing fees, Ebay is certainly charging buy.com money. It might be, for example, a monthly sum--this would be the equivalent to purchasing listing fees in bulk. Divide whatever Ebay does charge buy.com and divide that by the number of listings it posts, and that is it's listing fee--it isn't really $0.00. So the playing field isn'

    • On the other hand, you shouldn't just let it go if they break their word just because there's no binding contract with severe penalties. A company should keep their word, and if they break it, pointing that out to people and trying to convince them to take their business elsewhere is fitting punishment.

    • I disagree, at least with the spirit of the post. Most market-leading companies will do very well keeping their promises for a while, then they'll build a user base, refine on their core business model, and become very good at what they do. At some point, they'll fuck it up (like ebay's doing now, like google's nearly done with privacy many time) to the point where a large portion of the user base leaves. EBay's done very well for its sellers for a long time now, and it's only in the past year or two that i
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:17PM (#24183365)
    Ebay has name recognition. That's all. Everything else they do can be done by another business following a similar model. It's not like they invented auctions, after all.
    • Natural monopolies (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sjbe (173966) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:31PM (#24183603)

      Ebay has name recognition. That's all...

      Sadly that is not all eBay has. EBay has network effects working for it which makes it VERY hard to displace them no matter how much money and talent is thrown at the problem. Buyers go where the sellers are and vice versa. Amazon and Yahoo both tried to take market share from eBay and both failed miserably. There are lots of other auction and e-commerce sites out there but none of them are likely to displace eBay anytime soon.

      That's not to say eBay won't cut their own throat (they might) but that's pretty much what it will take to make a real dent in eBay's market share. Ebay's business tends towards a natural monopoly [wikipedia.org] as do many marketplaces.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Lumpy (12016)

        REally? I am buying moreand more from Amazon.com than Ebay lately. I've been looking at items and what they sell for on ebay and then snap them up for 5-15% less on amazon. and this is for electronics, cameras, etc.. not just books.

        I've noticed recently that ebay has become rather expensive with lots of dumb bidders bidding things up past a sane price (sane being what I can get it for at an online retailer.)

  • but what alternative is there when it comes to actual auctions? I can see the buy-it-now categories being replaced by other online retailers, but there simply is no better website (by better, I mean with as much variety and as many different purchase options) out there at the moment for people to sell each other things on an individual level. So maybe due to things like this buy.com deal, the era of the eBay power seller is over, but a lot of people, including myself, sell at least a handful of things on eB
    • by Wister285 (185087)

      I'd be interested to find out if eBay is losing popularity or if online auctioning is losing popularity. Remember that that has been a crackdown by some state governments to collect taxes. This could discourage people from continuing their activities.

  • by cptnapalm (120276) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:18PM (#24183371)

    Where are these former eBayers going?

    Or is it a case of a fad (ooh, I got it from eBay!) settling down and it becomes just one way to get something (I could have gotten it cheaper on eBay, but if I need to return it, it would be a big hassle)?

    • Not far. There are some sites that are decent, but the buyers are mostly staying with ebay. There are a few good non-auction sites like iOffer or Blujay that are decent, but ebay doesn't have a serious competitor with a similar model.
  • Ebay on the way out (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WillDraven (760005) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:18PM (#24183383) Homepage

    Things like this, creeping fees, attempting to wrangle everybody into using paypal, and their generally horrid customer service is driving ebays userbase away in droves. Even my dad has commented on how the volume of craigslist ads has been increasing lately. Naturally it will take quite a while for such a juggernaut to die out, but my personal suspicion is that the age of ebay has ended.

    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:39PM (#24184703) Homepage Journal

      Yes but Craigslist is far from perfect.
      It is hard to search nationally. Suppose I need a gas tank for a 78 CB750K. I don't care if it is local or not. Craigslist isn't as good as Ebay for that kind of thing.
      As to BUY.com and other companies putting products up I just don't see that hurting to many people
      I hardly ever look on Ebay for new stuff. I look for stuff I can not find any place else.

  • Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:19PM (#24183389) Homepage Journal

    I know several people who used to do a lot of business on Ebay who are rapidly becoming disgusted with it because of its clear preference for giant sellers over individuals; I'm not at all surprised to hear that this is a general trend.

    Why is it that so many executives feel the need to destroy a successful business model? Ebay started as an online auction house where individuals could find a worldwide audience for cool, quirky stuff, and it was wildly successful as such. If its executives want to start a site for selling commercial products with free-floating prices -- which is essentially what they're turning Ebay into -- then fine, but why are they abandoning the business that made them successful in the first place? Ebay was one of the few real success stories to come out of the dot-com boom. It's really sad to see them throwing that away now.

    • by sjbe (173966) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:48PM (#24183929)

      I know several people who used to do a lot of business on Ebay who are rapidly becoming disgusted with it because of its clear preference for giant sellers over individuals; I'm not at all surprised to hear that this is a general trend.

      The only sellers that should be disgusted are ones with their head in the sand. EBay's costs mostly fixed so they grow through volume. You get volume through larger customers who can provide that volume. Economic inevitability.

      EVERY non-regulated company I'm aware of besides eBay provides volume discounts in some fashion for larger customers. I was an individual seller as well as a high volume power seller. One of the (many) reasons I no longer sell through eBay is precisely BECAUSE they provided no incentive for me to bring additional business to them. They kept raising rates instead of providing incentives to bring additional volume. Basically they priced me (and lots of others) out of their marketplace. It was too expensive as an individual or a business to continue to sell on eBay.

      but why are they abandoning the business that made them successful in the first place?

      The short answer is that they decided a long time ago to become a publicly traded company and the growth demands of being public is the deal with the devil you make to get equity funding. That's why companies don't really want to go public unless the owners are either cashing out (private equity) or they have no other choice. Had eBay remained a privately held company they could have chosen to stay their present size.

      Businesses out grow their original business model all the time. Some businesses simply do not scale beyond a certain point. Amazon started as an online bookseller that had no warehouses of their own. That only scaled to a point. IBM got out of the personal computer business not long ago. That particular niche of the industry just didn't hold enough growth/profit potential for them anymore and was more of a distraction than an asset. When you are a publicly traded company shareholders demand growth and eBay has hit a wall with being the world's premier online flea market.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        The IBM and Amazon examples don't really work here: Amazon still sells books (whether they have their own warehouses or not is basically invisible to the customer) and the PC, no matter how huge its impact may have been, was never more than a small fraction of IBM's revenue stream. If Amazon stopped selling books entirely, or IBM abandoned their mainframe business, then their shareholders would be up in arms, and rightly so.

        • Missing the point (Score:4, Informative)

          by sjbe (173966) on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:04PM (#24184163)

          The IBM and Amazon examples don't really work here:

          You are missing the point. The point is that companies often exit businesses that they were successful in. Even if they keep them they become a much smaller piece of the pie. I can come up with other examples if you like. How about Nintendo [wikipedia.org] which started as a card company? Or 3M [wikipedia.org] which originally sold corundum for grinding wheels? The point is that lots of businesses exit particular marketplaces all the time.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:20PM (#24183413) Journal
    ... entirely on a single corporation with major incentive to see me succeed, and now it turns out that they aren't acting in my interests!

    Some people really make me wonder about humanity.

  • by Notquitecajun (1073646) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:20PM (#24183417)
    I'm getting a little more and more irritated about this stuff with ebay, and I would honestly jump ship if there was another decent auction-style competitor that is close to the ebay of the early 2000s.

    Ebay is doing some SERIOUS wrong by the small seller (mostly through their fee issues, I don't think the feedback issues are as bad as some sellers try and make them out to be), and despite their platitudes, is turning into Amazon-lite. I have no huge problem with this, but they really need to make a decision on who they want to cater to and either split into two divisions or send the small-time buyers and sellers somewhere else.

    I completely understand that businesses need to make money, and the buydotcom route may be one way to do that. However, ebay is WIDELY opening a door for another company to undercut them in the small seller market, and those of us who collect, buy, and sell anything used on a small scale and aren't interested in just shopping online for new stuff that we can get down the street at Wal-mart or wherever.
    • by Skapare (16644)

      So here is your big business opportunity to start that small seller auction site you've always wanted to do. This way you can get rich off the smaller sellers for a few year before you, too, wander on over to the fixed price markets to move beyond the millionaire level.

  • Why I quit EBay (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Skapare (16644) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:23PM (#24183457) Homepage

    I no longer use EBay because of the increased risk of dealing with people that don't keep their end of the deal (e.g. sellers that don't deliver the product or don't deliver a product that was described in the auction), and the fact that EBay was taking no steps to effectively deal with the issue.

    Since then EBay has begun pushing PayPal harder, and that might also have been a reason for me to not use EBay.

    The dilution of the auction space with fixed-price retailers is a big annoyance. Maybe it might also be a reason to quit.

    If EBay wants to be in the business of aggregating retailers, then maybe it should register a new domain name and set it up, and provide links between it and the EBay site.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mark72005 (1233572)
      I agree with this. Formerly there were lots of great deals to be had on Ebay.

      Now, the discounted items you used to be able to get from private sellers have given way to hyper-volume sellers with more or less fixed prices.

      Ebay is not really an auction site anymore. It's really nothing more than a circular where any questionable web merchant can post advertisements.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ejecta (1167015)

      I find their public paypal statements absolutely fascinating. They claim it offers additional security for you as a buyer yet if you using paypal;

      - You don't have the persons name or company name (ala Bank Deposit)
      - You don't have a contact point to start investigating from (ala Bank Deposit)
      - If they are a fraudster they aren't going to leave the funds in their paypal account which makes paypals buyer protection useless as there a tiny small print item which says if the money isn't in the account even if t

  • by m0nkyman (7101) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:24PM (#24183477) Homepage Journal

    Their anti gun policy [ebay.com] made me stop using ebay years ago....

  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:24PM (#24183479) Journal

    Anecdotal, I know, but even in the past few months, some of the not-so-mainstream stuff on auction (e.g. computer parts) have seemed to dry up.

    My missus used to be able to buy (and occasionally sell) a lot of antique and classic toys on eBay as a hobby. There were literally dozens of pages of auctions for the stuff at any one time for her to pick and choose from. Nowadays, there's only a handful of pages in motion at best, and little is selling (not just on her part, but in most of the auctions concerning antique and classic toys).

    Poking around, I see similar patterns for other, similar things.

    I don't think it's just recent policies, either (though they certainly don't help) - eBay is (just IMHO) getting one hell of a reputation as a giant fence for stolen goods, a hotbed of scams, and a place where you can't quite get the deals that you used to get.

    Recently, they've tried to boost things by having $1 listing fees for certain items, and I'm sure they've been doing some offline marketing (but again, not like they used to).

    I dunno... these are just personal observations, but I strongly suspect that they are indicative of a larger shift away from eBay... and the Buy.com deal kinda shows me that the company is getting a bit nervous about its long-term prospects.

    /P

    • by Trojan35 (910785) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:48PM (#24183927)

      I agree, although have a slightly different opinion of why it is.

      So many reasons I believe ebay is not going to continue to grow at its current pace:

      1) Everyone already cleaned out their garage junk on ebay.
      2) Diminishing quality control on products makes easy exchanges an important retailer feature (frys)
      3) Used prices on ebay are just way too close to new prices. (what happened to half.com being half price?)

      And, most importantly for me:

      4) It's too freaking expensive. By the time you pay 10% to ebay, 10% to paypal(ebay), 20% to USPS, 10% to gas, selling that $40 item for $20 in "profit" just wasn't worth the hour of your time. There's businesses out there where you can drop off your product and they'll take care of all the hassle for you, but then is giving up your $40 item for only $3 or $4 even worth it?

      It's not just the $40 items either. I look at ebay and the cheapest (barely used) macs I can find are only 5-10% off getting a brand new one at Fry's. I haven't used ebay in a long time because their listings, fees, and policies suck. Maybe that's why they are going with Buy.com stuff; they know it.

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:24PM (#24183485)
    From vaporware to $7.6B in revenue in 2007(a $2B increase from 2006), basically done within a decade. I think the word I'm searching for is 'quitcherbitchin'. On it's way out? Not likely.
    • Question is, where is that money coming from? Is it growth in PayPal, income from the Buy.com deal, income from external investments, stock issues... what?

      It also doesn't augur for eBay's future growth.

      Not saying that it's going to die tomorrow, but eBay (as in, the auction site) isn't quite the hot buzz-worthy item it used to be...

      /P

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jandrese (485)
        Ebay has always had a solid financial base in taking a cut of every sale and not spending it on customer support or anything else. It's one of the few dot coms that was a smart investment way back in 2000, because they had a solid revenue stream that wasn't dependent on online advertising or other such voodoo sources.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:29PM (#24183567) Homepage Journal
    It has been a den of thieves for all but the most esoteric items for a while(try searching for xbox or iPhone, I bet you will come up with more scams than normal auctions) and ebay has shown that as long it collects fees it doesn't really give a rats ass about anything else. This is just further icing on the cake. Ebay thinks that people will not go anywhere else, so they don't have to police their network, they don't have to treat their sellers fairly and they can force paypal down our throats and we will just sit there and take it. Its been a looooooooooong time since I bought anything off ebay and I would have to be pretty desperate to find something before I would even consider using it again.
  • I rarely find anything on EBay cheaper than at a normal etailer, addin the worry of dealing with a shady seller and there is little motivation in buying anything _NEW_ on EBay. EBay needs to focus on what its good for, USED, CLOSEOUT, or RARE items. I have saved thousands of dollars getting great deals on close-out or nearly new items, of course they are hard to find due to all the new item listings.

    If you are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees then you have no business being on EBay. You sh

    • by mweather (1089505)
      That's what my company did. We got fed up with FeePay, built a shopping cart and never looked back. Sales dropped off initially, but the lack of listing fees more than made up to it, even with PPC ads factored in.
  • Excellent (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:33PM (#24183655)

    EBay degenerates into an alternative, inconvenient way to buy from major retailers (WHY would they list on eBay instead of their own websites anyway?) and somebody will set up a real auction site where you can buy used stuff from individuals and small companies. You know, like eBay used to be.

  • It's interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:37PM (#24183757)

    How far eBay has strayed from it's original purpose of being the "garage sale of the Internet" to now just essentially being an outlet mall. Perhaps it's just an inevitable result of gaining too much popularity; regardless something tells me there's money to be made in picking up the slack.

    There's your entrepreneurial idea for the day kids. I'm sure garagesale.com is already taken (and isn't a Web 2.0 name anyway), but just go read a Klingon dictionary and I'm sure you'll find a good alternative. Your tagline is "What eBay used to be", at least until you pop up on their lawyers radar. Market it as specializing in collectibles, unique trinkets and such, and in your literature equate eBay with Wal-Mart.

  • Why buy on eBay and go through the auction hassle when you can get the same thing for cheaper from Amazon.com ? And often with free or discounted shipping?

    If I was a seller I would seriously be moving to Amazon as fast as my legs could take me. everyone I know has moved from buying on eBay to buying on Amazon. The recent fee hikes only made things worse. eBay really needs to cut its base fees and get back to its roots or else it will become obsolete.

  • by Jason1729 (561790) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:42PM (#24183823)
    I used to do about 150 ebay auctions/month all in the $5-20 range, but I stopped a couple of years ago. They kept raising prices to the point I was making them more money than me (especially after paypal fees), and even then they were pushing aside the individual seller. They've raised fees since I stopped using them too. Just recently I wanted to sell some computer equipment, and found their fees to be so high I'm better off not wasting my time listing it. They've priced themselves out of the market and alienated their core customer base at the same time. And they're surprised they're losing popularity?
  • by CowTipperGore (1081903) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:42PM (#24183833)
    eBay was wonderful back in the day, but has been on the decline for years. They've made decisions that increasingly shut out the individual reselling used items, which once formed the core of their business. The eBay of today hardly resembles the place where I bought a used guitar in 1998. I looked through a few hundred guitars each week, nearly all of which were used instruments listed by an individual. Now you're likely to find ten times the number of guitars but 90% or more will be listed by a wholesaler or huge pawn shop. Some of it was to be expected - as eBay succeeded it attracted more businesses that could do more volume than any individual, and directly tying an individual's reputation to the number of transactions benefited those large sellers.

    However, the seller policies were modified over the years in ways that benefited the larger sellers. For example, many small sellers left when eBay wholesale surrendered to big business efforts to ignore the legal rights protected by the first-sale doctrine. My smart-card programmer listing was pulled without explanation, which I finally figured out was apparently due to DirectTV claiming that it could be used to "hack" their equipment.

    Unfortunately, each time I looked, I found no viable alternative. There are plenty of small auction sites, but none with a fraction of the buyers and/or the buyer and seller protections offered by eBay. Has the Web simply been too commercialized now for someone to make a new eBay that caters to individuals again?

  • Their anti-fraud measures seem inadequate. My account was hacked a year or so ago. I hadn't used to sell in over a year and I hadn't used it to buy anything in almost as long. All of a sudden someone posted several hundred iPods on my account. I'd never sold items on my account in this manner. Just a few, different items here and there, like most individuals. I was surprised that a company like eBay wouldn't have fraud prevention software. Anyway, I canceled my account and I'll never use eBay again.

  • by pecosdave (536896) on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:33PM (#24184609) Homepage Journal

    One thing eBay seriously needs is an individual blacklist. Set it up so that you can mark certain sellers (or buyers) as Bozo's and never see their auctions again. There's certain sellers I've never done business with I would like to blacklist for various reasons. 30 point blinking font in all caps on a contrasting background and excessive use of the word "rare" would be some valid reasons I can think of, along with working in names of completely different items into a description. If I could just eliminate sellers who do this serially one by one it would make searching a lot easier.

    A nice addition to this would be a notation field that shows up next to people you have done business with that quickly links you to feedback you left for them in the past so you know who's good or who you may not want to mess with again if you can chose someone else.

    More shipping info would be nice. Who the heck does "ground based shipping provider" mean? If it's (certain types of) DHL or USPS that has to go to my PO Box in my case, if it's UPS or FedEX it has to go to my house. The fact these retards don't read notes half the time doesn't help matters.

    Instead of preventing sellers from leaving retaliatory feedback, there should be a seller review option. If you get retaliatory unexplained feedback check the retaliatory button, both feedbacks get removed temporarily, after the seller gets 10 or so checks, an actual eBay employee takes time out of their day to investigate. If it turns out the seller (or possibly buyer) is a serial feedback abuser they lose their right to leave bad feedback for a while, maybe even their account.

    Identity verification needs to exist. Something to prevent any one person from having more than one account.

    Make a few changes to get rid of the common dipshit, or at least filter them out, and eBay may be worth using again.

  • by bill_kress (99356) on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:34PM (#24184633)

    There is absolutely no point in bidding before the last 5 seconds of any auction. This makes it really irritating.

    I'd really like to see them say "Bidding will continue until at least (some time) plus up to 24 hours (randomly set).

    Paying them as much as they want is also kind of silly--craig's list gives you the ability to meet the person you are buying from and examine the product. You can also avoid shipping.

    Ever notice how a bunch of stuff on ebay is $0.02 + $5.00 shipping?? Honestly that's got to be a scam--someone is getting a cut of that shipping cost. Another nice policy would be that a buyer always has the option to arrange all shipping himself--(For instance: Just put it in an envelope and drop it in the mailbox, I'll take the responsibility, or "I'll have UPS show up at your door" or "I'll pick it up myself").

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Bidding will continue until at least (some time) plus up to 24 hours (randomly set)

      I've used auction sites that did a variety things to extend the auction time, including what you suggest as well as adding time past the last bid. They sound great when you have lost an auction to a sniper, but in reality they have much more severe drawbacks than Ebay's system. Ebay's fixed end time is by far the best online mechanism I have run into. Online auctions really are not the same as outcry auctions, and work much b

  • Fraud-friendly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phorm (591458) on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:36PM (#24184657) Journal
    I had an item which I was bidding on, but got a bit too pricey for me. About a week later, it popped up again in a second-chance, offer, so I snagged it.

    Now, apparently the second-chance offer was a scan wherein somebody hacked the seller's account and was trying to get people to pay with an alternate email address. However, I paid through the proper channels (pay by paypal button) etc and the money went to the *correct* seller's account.

    Of course, about an hour or two later the seller's account was temporary closed, and the auction removed. So I called the seller, who indicated that his ebay account had been hacked. I pointed out that I had paid to *his* (not the hacker's) paypal account, which was not hacked, and he offered to refund my money.

    2 days later, no refund

    So I had to go through hell with a bunch of the morons at paypal (who will thoroughly disclaim that they work with the same company, though ebay owns them now), pointing out that *EBAY* had closed the auction due to the hacked account. They told me that I could only file a 'did not receive' or 'not as expected' claim, but if I filed did not receive and then something arrived (even if it was a load of bricks), I could not later put in a "not-as-expected" claim. I also couldn't put in a "did not receive" claim yet because I had to give the seller time to send the item (which came from a bad listing, go figure).

    So time goes by, and finally after days of calling them, they put the damn dispute in. Another several weeks I spent waiting while the seller simply ignored the dispute and didn't respond at all, and then it went in my favor. I got my money back - actually, less than my money back, did you know that on both a purchase and refund Visa will service-charge your ass for changing currencies, that's another story though - and was able to look laptop shopping *outside* of ebay.

    The sad thing, that seller's account is still active, and he's happily still selling laptops. I couldn't even leave negative feedback because the auction I had been screwed on had been taken down by ebay.

    So maybe the seller's account wasn't hacked, so he didn't commit fraud that way. He sure as hell did by keeping my money though, and forcing me to fight to get it back.

    What does that tell me? Ebay, and paypal, support fraud, and they support fraudulent sellers. Screw them.
  • by C_Kode (102755) on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:37PM (#24184675) Journal

    I don't know about you guys, but nothing makes me feel more warm and fuzzy on the inside then finding an item I'm looking for at a great price on Ebay then seeing that the seller is charging 10x the actual shipping.

  • by BenelliShooter (714065) on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:45PM (#24184785)
    I am the technology products seller mentioned in the article. I have a BS in Comp Sci. from the University of Maine, 95', and have been a Software Engineer at several .com's until I wrote the code that is running my website (http://www.teckwave.com/#showMostViewed [teckwave.com]), eBay Store (http://stores.ebay.com/TECKWAVE [ebay.com]), Amazon, and Google Base accounts. It's written in Java using the Google Web Toolkit for the website and several Web Service API's for integration with the various marketplaces, distributors, and warehouses. It runs on Amazon's EC2 compute cloud and uses S3 for image hosting. My intention from the start was to create a scalable software platform to make selling online easy, and I think I've about done it. Buy.com coming into eBay and getting their backroom deal has accelerated my plans. No hard feelings though, business is business. If anyone's interested in helping me scale this platform please email me... tlibby *at* TECKWAVE.com
  • e-wants it anyway. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fish_in_the_c (577259) on Monday July 14, 2008 @02:32PM (#24185657)

    I started lossing intrest in e-bay as soon as they stopped being a place for normal people to sell thier junk and became a place for 'business' to make a killing (driving up the price and complicating the search). I want to buy online for stuff that is cheaper then I can get it for in the store , because buying online requires greater risk ( identity theft, shipping , getting shafted,inability to easily return, etc.). So if I can't get it cheap because it's basically something someone is trying to get rid of or it is something so hard to find I can't get it in my area, why would I buy it on e-bay.

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