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EBay's Bid To Go Beyond Auctions Disappoints 83

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "eBay is having trouble attracting online shoppers with its new fixed-price sales site, the Wall Street Journal reports. From the article: 'Jonathan Garriss, executive director of the Professional eBay Sellers Alliance, an independent group of eBay sellers, estimates eBay Express accounts for less than 1% of sales for the group's more than 1,000 members, who together sell more than $1 billion a year in merchandise. And while eBay's main auction site attracted more consumer visits than any other online retailer in November, eBay Express was at No. 87 on the list of top shopping and classified sites, according to research firm Hitwise Pty. Ltd.'"
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EBay's Bid To Go Beyond Auctions Disappoints

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  • by Thansal ( 999464 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:38PM (#17326634)
    I never did get why eBay express was instituted.

    If you want to sell an item at a specific cost, just put in a buy it now option. I admit, I don't use eBay, but couldn't you just place the buy it now and reserve at the same point?
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      I use ebay but not often so correct me if I'm wrong. When I signed up I couldnt use the Buy It Now option because I didn't have enough feedback. You need a certain amount before you can use it. I believe that ebay express allowed the new seller to sell items at a fixed price at zero feedback and a lower fee than the buy it now option.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Thansal ( 999464 )
        I actualy just did a quick check, you need 100 feedback and it has to be 98% good (Link [ebay.com])
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          That's definitely not right. I set a buy-it-now price on an auction a few months ago, and my feedback, while 100% positive, was only about 22.

          At least I think I set a buy-it-not price. If not, it never told me otherwise.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Thansal ( 999464 )

            Just did a bit more searching.

            To do buy it now you do not have any requirements, to use a fixed price listign there are some reqs, but they seem lower then express. (Link [ebay.com])
          • by zenslug ( 542549 )
            The Buy It Now option is available to sellers, but the requirements mentioned refer to getting listed in eBay Express. Otherwise, you'll be stuck on the regular eBay.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I use the buy-it-now button when I am picking up something cheap, like wifi pigtails and such. It is far easier than fighting for a couple of days over a few cents on a $5 item. I didn't hear about this expres function. Isn't that a duplication of function?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MindStalker ( 22827 )
        ebay express worked like half.com or amazon where you actually pay ebay directly they then pay the seller. This allows you to purchase multiple buy-it now items through a "cart" like system and pay once.
        • My understanding of eBay Express is that it is supposed to feel more like a traditional shopping cart. eBay is trying to reach shoppers outside of the eBay community. In my opinion, the main problem for its adoption is all the shipping charges that add up when you buy from multiple merchants.
        • With Paypal you can pay for multiple winning items at once. I did it quite often the past few weeks. Bought about 12 things on eBay .. all Buy It Now. Didn't even bother with eBay Express.
      • >> is that a duplication of function.

        sounds like it
        I'd bet that's why no one has ever heard of this eBay express.
        I know I haven't.

        geez, you'd think they could advertise or something...
        why the hell are they duplicating a feature that eBay already has, and that I already like and use?
        Of course I'm not going to know about this "express" thing...

        They should fire their marketing department. Wow.
    • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:58PM (#17326900) Homepage Journal

      You could, but people would think you were a complete jerk. You should just do a fixed-price auction. That's what they're for. This, however, appears to be targeted towards eBay stores. As such, prices seem comparable with eBay stores, i.e. not very good. And as someone else mentioned, this hasn't been advertised well at all.

      One of the biggest reasons I wouldn't shop here, however, is paranoia. I don't trust eBay merchants when it comes to large purchases. I haven't been burned, but I've gotten close enough to make me uncomfortable. I'd rather deal with a known brick-and-mortar store. If the seller has spent real money setting up a web storefront, they're less likely to turn out to be some child selling stolen goods....

      For anything over about $100, I get nervous buying on eBay, and over about $300, I won't touch it. For products under that $300 limit, an eBay merchant has to undercut the best price from a real merchant by at least 15-20% for it to be worth the added risk of buying it from a zero-initial-cost merchant. Since that almost never happens, I almost never buy from eBay merchants. A quick perusal of the eBay express pro microphone category showed Froogle beating their prices on everything but the Peluso, and the eBay Express price was only $4 less on a $1600 mic. A quarter of a percent price difference is inconsequential when weight against my peace of mind.

      I buy from auctions a lot more often than from eBay stores because I'm much more likely to actually come out ahead. That said, if an auction isn't at least 30% off Froogle, I won't touch it. With an auction, you have the added risk of having to trust the seller to accurately represent the condition of the product, and I build that added risk into the purchase price that I'm willing to pay.

      The combination of those factors is, IMHO, the reason that frugal buyers have largely ignored eBay Express. It's the same products at the same prices as everybody else (plus or minus a tiny percentage), but from eBay---a free seller storefront that has a reputation for representing shady sellers and a history of not recouping people's losses when transactions go wrong. Buying online is all about trust, and eBay doesn't have mine.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PingSpike ( 947548 )
        I agree with everything you've said. I cannot understand why so much stuff sells on ebay at prices higher then prices from a more traditional online stores, or even brick and mortar outlets. I used to buy stuff from ebay around 97, 98 quite a bit. I usually bought computer parts, they has some hard to find obscure stuff and no one wanted an arm and a leg for things that were sitting in garage collecting dust. There was an added risk buying on ebay, and the lower cost served to offset that risk for me.

        A few
        • I only pop in occasionally to see how much people are getting gouged on the latest consoles.

          Don't worry the PS3 market on ebay has already imploded. Yesterday in just 5 minutes of looking I saw an auction end for $600+25shipping for a $599 PS3 plus two games. HAHA :)
          People are dumping them for a loss because no one is buying.
          Most auctions end with reserve not met though.
          • I actually checked the same thing yesterday as I was curious. I was surprised to see some Wiis going for a pretty high price.
            • by zCyl ( 14362 )
              I actually checked the same thing yesterday as I was curious. I was surprised to see some Wiis going for a pretty high price.

              Supply and demand. Try buying a wii from a local store right now. See if you can find one before Christmas.
        • I've been buying and selling periodically on eBay since late 1998, and have been watching them almost since since the site began. My focus has been on computers and peripherals, so I can only speak clearly on that. What has been obvious since almost the very beginning is that for some reason, a lot of people at eBay will pay far too much for older EIDE hard drives and later-model used laptops, to the point that even looking at these auctions is a waste of time and energy. I've never quite understood it.


          • by hurfy ( 735314 )
            "besides older EIDE hard drives"

            Yup, lots of em, a particularly bad example being MFM hard drives, hehe. I think i paid more for a 10M drive than a 10G one :(

            Don't even think about all the stores, they had 10M drives at like $50 and up, clear upto several hundred. I guess you only need one sucker but still...

            I suppose ebay express is probably mentioned in a mail from ebay but i haven't heard of it either. I thought half.com was ebays regular type store, now there is another, plus a zillion ebay stores with
        • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @07:44PM (#17331720)
          I use Ebay frequently, but almost always for used and obscure items. I too do not see the point in buying brand-new items there; the auctions usually end at higher prices than I could get it from Amazon or Newegg for, and the sellers always gouge on shipping.

          However, for some of the items I purchase, Ebay has been a boon, although I really wish Google would make its own auction site to compete with them, because I hate their high fees, and Paypal's high fees and terrible reputation.

          For instance, I recently bought a used iRiver H320 digital audio player which I've been very happy with. It needs a new battery (which I can get for $20 from newertech), but considering how little I paid for the player that's not a problem.

          I've also bought and sold some old (20-30 years) electronics test equipment on Ebay, such as Tektronix 400-series oscilloscopes and old function generators and power supplies. Items like this can be found easily for under $150 (and around $50 for the power supplies), and are great for hobbyist-level electronics projects. Furthermore, they're rugged and dependable, even at 25 years old, and simple to fix by someone with a little electronics knowledge when they do fail (usually the problem is a bad electrolytic capacitor; electrolytics have a finite lifetime unlike most other components).

          I've also bought and sold various auto parts.

          For items where you're specifically looking for used/discontinued/obscure items, ebay is wonderful (aside from its horrible fees, shipping price gouging, etc.), because it gives buyers and sellers a way to meet that they just can't otherwise. Before the internet and ebay, if you wanted to buy, for instance, a 1935-model Weston voltmeter (something I bought a while ago for a little project), you'd have to hope to find one in an antique store somewhere, maybe. Good luck with that. But I see them all the time on ebay, and they're dirt cheap. Want a 1975-model oscilloscope? You can buy them from test equipment dealers for very high prices, but good luck finding someone with one in serviceable shape, maybe needing a few bulbs replaced, for less than $100. Looking for a 60V power supply, and you don't mind if it's dead because you intend to fix it in your spare time and just want it cheap (like $10)? There's no store for that kind of thing. Need a seat bracket for your car? Have fun calling all the junkyards for it. With ebay, all these things are easily available from all over the country, and depending on demand, usually quite cheap. Want to sell some old junk? You could waste your Saturday setting up a garage sale, and getting $0.25 for each item (if anyone even wants it), or you can sell it on Ebay to a collector in Maine for far more because he's bidding against some guy in Wyoming. None of this was possible before Ebay came along.

          Ebay was really great back in the late 90s because of all this. Lately, however, it's been turning to crap. The main problem I see is that they're a publicly-traded company (which I generally hate), and as such, seek to continue "deliver more shareholder value" by constantly expanding. Of course, you're only going to make so much money by being a venue for buyers and sellers of used and obscure low-cost items. So it seems they cater far too much to the high-volume sellers who inexplicably sell brand-new stuff for just as much as Newegg.com. However, I think this is eventually going to fail as people slowly but surely wise up to this idiocy. But this seems to be making the site not as good for the small-time sellers who are also frequent buyers, such as myself. It also makes it harder to find what you want because it gets "lost in the noise" of all the brand-new crap. The second problem is all the sellers who have low starting bids but pad their profit margin by charging ridiculous shipping charges. This adds up to turning people off of ebay altogether. Finally, the other big problem is the high (and increasing) fees that Ebay/Paypal charge for their services. By charging too
          • I forgot to add; I'd like to mention that I've been a regular user of Ebay since 1996, so I do think I know what I'm talking about with them.
          • I see I'm not the only one that had fond memories of ebay. Thats what appealed to me as well. I got into PC hardware pretty heavily back in 1996. I also used to enjoy the ability to find all kinds of obscure computer parts. There's a lot of items that are still useful, but technically obsolete...and ebay was pretty much the only source.

            I never tried to sell anything until after I met my wife. I say tried because I gave up half way through the process of setting up an auction. It was just to much of a hassle
      • Buying online is all about trust, and eBay doesn't have mine either. The eBay feedback system is so broken. When the system for ensuring trust is not trustworthly - you know there is a problem.

        Very few people leave negaitive feedback. And not without great fear of retaliatory feedback. A lot of people don't leave feedback at all anymore.

        I know that the feedback system has to balance the buyer and the seller. Right now it's tilted far to the side of the seller. And that has helped to drive the increas
    • by zenslug ( 542549 )

      I never did get why eBay express was instituted.

      If you want to sell an item at a specific cost, just put in a buy it now option. I admit, I don't use eBay, but couldn't you just place the buy it now and reserve at the same point?

      eBay Express was designed to target the Amazon shoppers who just want to get in and get out. One major change was the addition of a shopping cart. It sounds basic, but consider that the cart must be able to contain items from any number of different sellers and still allow selle

  • Advertising? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tonsofpcs ( 687961 ) <slashback.tonsofpcs@com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:38PM (#17326638) Homepage Journal
    Ever think it may be because of advertising? This is the first time I'm hearing of eBay Express [ebay.com].
    • Re:Advertising? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:44PM (#17326724) Homepage Journal

      This is advertising.

      • Me too never heard of it, and I don't think I will act on this info. Those pesky Buy-now items are bad as it is now, but I'd really like them to be siphoned off to where I won't see them.
      • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )
        And this is the first time he hears about it.
    • close. Ebay is nothing more than an open air flea market. People who try to sell regular goods on ebay become frustrated because ebay is a flea market not a regular store front.

      The only two people who really make money off of ebay is Ebay, and the people who sell books on "how to make money off of ebay" Notice those people rarely ever shop or buy on ebay themselves.

      • I haven't checked eBay for a while. The UI just irritates me too much. The 'keep me logged in on this computer' feature has been broken for a couple of years (in Safari and FireFox, anyway. It might work in IE...), and they have Javascript that periodically spikes my CPU to 100% and freezes my browser for a few seconds. Oh, and they still have no good search function. This isn't helped by people supplying incorrect meta-data, but in some categories they just don't allow you to.
      • The only two people who really make money off of ebay is Ebay, and the people who sell books on "how to make money off of ebay" Notice those people rarely ever shop or buy on ebay themselves.

        Umm, wrong. I am both a buyer and a seller on ebay. People who sell on ebay and make money are those who sell something that is not easy (or easier) to find in regular stores. That's ebay's major business, that's how people perceive ebay, (and that's why express is doomed to fail.) I sell things on eBay that you are unlikely to find anywhere you shop regularly - world coins in lots. Unless you go to coin shows, it's very unlikely you'd buy something like this around your area. Similarly for the thing

    • I heard about it a while ago. I buy tons of ps2 games off ebay, so I get bombarded with their ads every other time I log in. Frankly, I was just confused. It just seemed to needlessly duplicate the Buy-it-Now feature and/or reserve. Near as I can tell, it was purely a marketing thing, meant to position ebay to compete with Amazon and what not.
  • by Billosaur ( 927319 ) * <wgrother.optonline@net> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:46PM (#17326746) Journal

    ...attracting scammers, cheats, and frauds. My wife has had so many problems with eBay, and I'm so unimpressed with them anymore, that I wouldn't bother with their Express site. I can certainly get stuff cheap enough off of Amazon.

    • I'm DONE with ebay entirely. The fraud, their policies, and paypal crookedness makes it clear my money is better spent elsewhere.
      • eBay always sides with the seller, when they can be bothered to look into anything at all, because the sellers are who eBay makes their money from.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by stile99 ( 1004110 )
          But that's just false. Well, not the siding with the seller thing. I won't bother relating my story because it is exactly the same story as so many others post daily all over the net. Actually, technically speaking, the eBay makes their money from the sellers thing isn't false either, it just isn't the full story.

          When eBay screws the buyer, that buyer doesn't return. That's where the sellers make THEIR money, so you'd think eBay wouldn't be so casual about pissing on the buyers. This whole "you have th
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by od05 ( 915556 )
          Not true. Paypal will not always side with the seller, even those who have 100+ feedback.

          Here is how Ebay ripped me off, scam artists take notes:

          I had an iSight that I had sold for about $100. The buyer sent me payment via PayPal and I promptly sent the item via regular US Priority Postal mail. The buyer said they never received the camera and filed a complaint with PayPal. Even with my perfect feedback, Ebay assumed I was guilty until proven innocent. PayPal deducted the money and said they wil

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            PayPal deducted the money and said they will only return the money if I provided a tracking number. Because I sent it regular mail without a tracking number I could not prove that I sent the package, and so they kept my money. [...] I was a good honest seller and still got burned. Ebay is not safe at all for the seller.

            Delivery Confirmation on USPS packages amounts to a whopping $0.50 to $0.60, and tracking is free from UPS, FedEx, etc.

            It escapes me how one could not apply tracking to an eBay pack

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I'm selling a Dell E1505 on eBay. Lowest end model. I picked it up for $800 last spring and now I got a MacBook Pro (After starting a full time job).

      The highest 6 bids are between 3 people for: 1200, 2000, 2500.

      Immediately I got a SEND TO NIGERIA letter. I figured I'd have some fun so I extended second chance offers to the other bidders. I've been going back and forth with them a few days via e-mail.

      Some pretty good fake PayPal e-mails have come through. I keep checking my account and sadly it's at $0.00. (
    • I stopped using eBay years ago. All their bullshit shenanegans with PayPal, security, fraud, customer service, and the overwhelming amount of brand-new buy-it-now garbage was too much. Whatever corporation bought them has totally ruined them.
  • USA Only (Score:5, Informative)

    by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:51PM (#17326802)
    I'm in Canada, and the pool of online retailers here is still fairly small, so one of the first things I do with an eBay search is look for items 'located in Canada' (no duties, no customs brokerage fees, no incorrectly filled out waybills etc.). It's a great eBay feature which allows me to find things I might not otherwise locate from a Canadian e-tailer.

    However, eBay Express doesn't support transactions outside of the USA, so I visited the site once and never went back.

    • Well, the German eBay Express does German transactions quite well. I don't know if there are separate eBays for .ca and .us, though.

      I recently bought something off eBay Express for two and a half reasons:
      1.) I was looking for decent sound-reducing earphones and they had the ones I was looking for.
      2.) The seller had a good reputstion (not conspicously perfect but not bad either) and the item was sold quite a bit below the regular price.
      2.5.) eBay is vurrently running a promotion campaign, "buy something
  • Ebay will be fine. They'll just raise the fees for sellers again. And the sellers will pay it. Because for all their whining, it seems pretty clear they'll put up with anything ebay does to them just to get access to that critical mass of buyers. There's definately a lot of people fed up with ebay, buyers and sellers...but ebay has such a wide reach, its a household word with people that barely use a computer, that sellers just don't want to give up that customer base. And potential competitors see to much
    • And the buyers? Well...I really don't know what their problem is, ebay prices are usually like %15 higher then retail these days. They must just like clicking on things.

      For some items (usually computer parts and other electronics), buyers on Ebay have always been stupid, even back in 96-97 when I first started using it. I remember looking for used computer parts back then and the final bid amounts being so high that I might as well spend 5-10% more and get a brand-new item with 4x the capacity/speed/etc.

  • This comes as no surprise. After all, it's far more difficult for criminals and scam artists to rip people off when the price is fixed.

    eBay owes its existence to (a) collectors of various obscure items and (b) the criminal element.
  • by Salvance ( 1014001 ) * on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:54PM (#17326840) Homepage Journal
    eBay works because people are always looking for fantastic deals, and the auction format provides a sense of urgency. eBay express is really only a buy-it-now subsection of eBay, except the products don't have an expiration date, and aren't displayed prominently in searches.

    Search seems like the express product's major downfall. Most eBay users don't want to shop by store, they want to shop by product (and typically via a search). eBay express only comes up at the very bottom of main eBay searches, or if nothing was found during the search. Sometimes eBay express items also come up as "related items" when clicking on an auction item. But this really isn't going to drive significant traffic ... it's seems more like an afterthought.

    Also, for some reason the express site seems SLOOOOWWW. It took about 1 minute for the main page to come up just now (from 2 different locations on 2 different networks), ugh.
    • Also, for some reason the express site seems SLOOOOWWW. It took about 1 minute for the main page to come up just now (from 2 different locations on 2 different networks), ugh.

      It's the slashdot effect. Their sales have been doing so poorly that they've cut down on the bandwidth resources to lower costs.
  • ... there's a Professional eBay Sellers Alliance?

    what the hell is that?!
  • Given that so, so many auctions already have minimum bids and buy-it-now prices set within one dollar of each other and close to retail prices, what's the use of this express? I've been looking for games for my Nintendo DS and Gamecube (to play on my Wii) games. If they aren't at retail prices, they want higher than retail prices when you add in the $15-25 "shipping and handling" fees.
    • by whoop ( 194 )
      Sorry, I just hit the ebay express website. They had a link to Playstation 3s right from the front page. They have such bargains as a PS3 bundle of 6 games, extra controller, and a FREE Elmo TMX for only $1550. Why are you people not buying stuff like this?? It should be a mega-super winner. Heck, even the Elmo TMX's are ranging from $59 to $200 in there. Craziness is the only way to explain it.
  • eBay doesn't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Electric Eye ( 5518 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:56PM (#17326860)
    The problem with eBay (and it being a public company) is that it is under constant pressure to drive more and more revenue its way. eBay was successful at ONE thing: online auctions. Now that shareholders demand more, it has to keep looking for more and more businesses. PayPal was a great buy. But the rest? Eh. If they had done all this 8 years ago, that would have made sense. But eBay is synonymous with auctions and nothing else. Same reason why Amazon isn't associated with auctions. The brand has been defined in stone.

    They've also done a piss poor job of keeping their sellers happy. They raise fees twice a year, regardless of what people say and always say it's being done for the "health of the marketplace." Their spokesman Hani Durzy says the same shit over and over. yet, eBay is FLOODED with goods and sellers The marketplace is so diluted on eBay now that it's very difficult for sellers to make money anymore.

    I don't know what the solution is, but eBay certainly doesn't have it. eBay Express is a dog. They threw in the towel in China (which was a HUGE initiative for them the past two years that has failed miserably), their stock is flatlined and every initiative outside of auctions has essentially failed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by badasscat ( 563442 )
      But eBay is synonymous with auctions and nothing else. Same reason why Amazon isn't associated with auctions. The brand has been defined in stone.

      Well, it's probably worth remembering that at one time, Amazon.com was "defined in stone" as an online bookstore. That's all they sold, and they were by far the largest book seller online. It was to the point where when Barnes and Noble announced they'd be creating a web site, a lot of analysts wondered why they'd bother - despite BN having dominated the offline
      • You make some good points. I guess my point is that eBay has essentially failed at every attempt to change its business model.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      yet, eBay is FLOODED with goods and sellers The marketplace is so diluted on eBay now that it's very difficult for sellers to make money anymore.

      I disagree. It's only difficult to make money if you bought the product on eBay. I still regularly see computer parts selling on eBay for more than the lowest Pricewatch price. In fact, if it weren't for listing fees, if you really wanted to play the system, you could set a reserve price for an auction that's the same as the Pricewatch price and wait for the

      • by rcastro0 ( 241450 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:08PM (#17327796) Homepage
        I'm even more amazed at eBay sellers that sell for more than the best prices on Froogle or other search sites. The shocking thing, though, is that people actually buy this stuff at those higher prices.... Apparently, there are still plenty of suckers out there.

        Well, there are a lot of suckers out there for sure. But plenty of people in the other end of the sucker scale are paying those higher prices you are talking about. For instance the smartest Brazilian buyers will pay higher prices to eBay sellers because they will ship to Brazil, and be flexible on what they declare to the post office as the package contents. Oh, and before you get too imaginative, it just needs to be declared as worth less than US$ 50 so that it goes through customs without the 60% import taxes. How smart is that ? Well, an unlocked Treo 650 will cost, shipping included, less than 50% of what you would pay at a Brazilian cell phone store.

        Even if I could convice pricewatch and froogle stores to ship to Brazil, they certainly would not be flexible on what they declare for customs, and the "Sender" label not being "John Smith" would also be a magnet for customs inspection/taxing.

        I do not really know how much this "international consumer arbitrage" is a factor compared to regular suckers, but I can tell you it is a factor that will only grow over time, as people get used to it.
    • You're right about pissing off their Sellers. I'm a pissed off PowerSeller myself. They've jacked the fees so high it's hard to make a profit. I only sell things on ebay because people won't buy things from my website because they go to eBay first thinking they'll get a good deal. I'm waiting for the day that someone comes up with a free open marketplace, an open standard for online commerce that anyone can jack into. No fees, no restrictions, no BS.
      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        You mean like this?

        http://www.google.com/base/help/sellongoogle.html [google.com]

        Search results show up in Froogle. These days, that's the first place that I look when I'm looking for a good price. Oh, and eBay results show up in Froogle, too, eliminating almost any reason to go there directly....

        Okay, so if you use the Google checkout, I would assume that there are fees associated with that, but there aren't any listing fees, etc. So it competes with PayPal and eats eBay's lunch.

  • Half.com? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hal2814 ( 725639 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:56PM (#17326866)
    Isn't this why eBay bought out half.com? I remember before eBay got their grubby mits on half, they actually enforced that something sell of 50% of its sale value. Sure the site didn't have as many items but just about everything on there was a deal. Back to the point, why have an eBay Express at all? They already have a fixed prices sales site.
    • Hey, you must also remember that they tried to close half down [auctionbytes.com] in 2004. The user base rallied to keep it open, and it is still going strong.

      Half is unique in that it handles credit card payments for you, has an item catalog that looks up titles & ISBNs, has no listing fee (just a percentage of cost), and is a good way to get positive feedback, as every purchase is lumped into ebay's system. It's out there, just under the radar.
  • by Channard ( 693317 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:08PM (#17327014) Journal
    Even with fixed price auctions on normal E-Bay, the seller has the option of offering a 'best offer' feature so you can try and wangle the price down. It looks like even that feature's been omitted from this site - so why the hell not buy using froogle.com which actively lets you search for best prices? This is just a stupid idea.
  • by mrshowtime ( 562809 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:31PM (#17327348)
    The reason why ebay express was created was that ebay faced a very distinct possibility that they were going to lose the buy it now feature from their auction site, as the company that won the patent infringement lawsuit sought not only damages, but a permanent injunction against ebay. So ebay was trying to steer the "buy it now" portion to ebay express AND attempt to legitimize the tainted image of high profile "buy it now" auctions. Fortunately for ebay, the Supreme court ruled in favor of ebay, and it happened to be a landmark blow to "patent trolls" everywhere.

    I am curious though, how long ebay can continue to raise it's fees and continue to offer LESS features and service and still maintain it's business model. Personally, I think the worst thing ebay ever did was to go public. It never needed to go public, it was a cash cow and was one of the few initial Internet businesses that actually made a LOT of money by doing essentially nothing, but hosting servers. Now ebay's future is dictated by the stockholders.
  • Is that sometimes you can get things for a good deal (even after shipping) and sometimes you can get something for a reasonable price when you can't find it anywhere else.

    This service offers nothing that you can't get anywhere else, and usually at higher prices.

    Seems like a no brainer why this is failing, (plus the buy it now option fills this niche somewhat).

  • Inevitable... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crossmr ( 957846 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:35PM (#17327434) Journal
    Ebay's glory days are long since passed. There came a point where they went from being the cool little niche pseudo-yardsale, to being some clearing house for every piece of crap some wholesaler from hong kong can get a hold of.

    They do everything they can to screw the buyer, and are surprised when a new initiative fails? Issues I've spotted, reported and gotten bullshit form letters in response to:
    1)Sellers charging too much for shipping - They give an example of someone charging $20 to ship a DVD as bad. I found someone charging $60 to ship a USB Thumb drive via the slowest cheapest USPS method possible.
    2)Sellers setting their "handling" fee as a percentage of final sale - I found a fellow who'd listed all his auctions stating that the handling fee was 4% of the final sale price or something of that nature.
    3)Keyword spamming - How many times have you seen an item listed as: DLink NOT Linksys
    4)Misrepresenting items - A linksys befsr41 is not a modem. Funny how that descriptor appeared only in the title and nowhere in the description.
    5)Listed multiple entries for the same item - I once came across a seller who had about 30 of the identical item, carbon copy listings, all listed at once all ending at the same time. Their ToS either limits to 5 or 10.

    These are just some of the things that I've seen in violation of the ToS, but all from "powersellers". Each time I get a bullshit form letter about how they trust their sellers to do the right thing.

    I've also seen numerous examples of abuse of the feedback system. "Powersellers" hold it hostage until you leave yours to ensure they can retaliate if they mess up. I've seen constant entries like this:
    Buyer leaves: "Item took 3 months to be delivered from 1 state over. Item was broken, not even the the right item and I think the seller urinated on it before sending it. Seller doesn't respond to e-mails."
    Seller leaves in response: "Bad ebayer stay away!!!!!!!11!!!omg."

    Ebay was supposed to be a buyers market, but its turned into a wholesalers market where they rule the roost. More and more people are realizing that and when a solid replacement comes along I think you'll see it pick up quite a bit. Hopefully it won't fall prey to the same issues Ebay did.
    • by mopslik ( 688435 )

      I found someone charging $60 to ship a USB Thumb drive via the slowest cheapest USPS method possible.

      In a case like this, you have to look at what the item's price is. A number of sellers jack up the shipping, but drop down the item price, so that they don't have to fork over as much "royalty" fee to eBay when it sells. For instance, your $60 thumb drive might end up selling for $2 + $60 S&H = $62. If they set shipping at $20, the item might sell for a higher price, say $42. In this case, you'd pay th

      • by crossmr ( 957846 )
        I know WHY they do it, it doesn't make it any less against Ebays ToS though, and yet Ebay still wouldn't do anything in that case because he was a coveted powerseller. Even though they are getting screwed out of fees, they still wouldn't dare risk offending him. Ebay is even willing to take it themselves to keep them around, if they don't care that much about themselves, they care even less than the buyer who they make nothing off.
  • by owlnation ( 858981 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:42PM (#17327508)
    It's interesting to watch eBay slowly die.

    They announced a few days ago that they were going to relaunch their China operation, due to the fact that this market has failed for them. Desperate measures. It's taking a little longer than Japan, but surely dying nonetheless. Pretty much every day since their Eachnet purchase they've been bleeding customers.

    Their stock price is less today than it was the same time last year, which is less again than the same time the previous year. It is slowly and surely sliding downwards.

    The talented Jeff Jordan is gone, Meg Whitman has seemingly been conspicuous by her absence from the media spotlight all year, and externally seems to have done very little to change the companies' fortunes. Growth overall is stagnant or negative, and this Express site is obviously just one more failure.

    I think the fundamental issue is one of completely failing to either listen to, or even make a token attempt to understand the needs of customers. They've completely failed to address a number of fraudulent behaviors - especially of Power Sellers - in the name of profit. They're like the anti-Google. 1...2...3... let's do eVil!

    Buying on eBay is relatively easy to accomplish technically. Of course, you have to hope and pray you've not sent money to a fraudster, and you are most likely going to be paying through the nose for shipping. But technically it's not too time consuming.

    Selling, however... is by no means easy. You have to jump through a lot of hoops to sell one item. It can take an hour or two list something, and once you do, you will be paying eBay and Paypal a significant percentage for your hassle, so you'd either better be very dedicated, have no wholesale costs, or as forementioned, scam the buyer with extra shipping charges to cover the eBay fees. When something goes wrong, you are on your own.

    Economies of scale and listing tools may help pro sellers, but are way too much hassle for someone that just wants to sell some old piece of crap they found in their garage. Selling on Amazon is considerably easier. Selling on Craigslist is easier. Selling is easier pretty much anywhere else.

    Up until 2003 every Christmas period was one of fantastic growth and revenue for eBay. Their stock price shot up every quarter. Since there is still demand for Internet traded goods, the only explanation for their current predicament that any reasonable person can conclude is "Management Failure".

    What happened to Google's Base thing? I've heard nothing about it for months. My feeling is that the only reason eBay (and actually Amazon and a few others) are still around is because: 1. we still have no good Internet Micropayments system, and 2. Search engine technology still has much room for improvement.

    If I were an executive at Walmart, or Microsoft, or Google or one of the many other 452 Fortune 500 companies more successful than eBay, I'd be watching them closely. I'd expect these executives to be circling like sharks or vultures. eBay looks as though it is in trouble for sure, maybe not bottomed out yet, but thoroughly on their way down.

    "Buy it Then"...
    • I think that, like a predator chasing a much larger but wounded beast...other companies are waiting for ebay to bleed out before moving in to deal the killing blow.
  • We do about half of our sales through eBay, and we've been there since close to the beginning (1997). This isn't necessarily because we want to do business through them, it's just easier to find buyers through them than through our normal websites. eBay is very good at getting our items pushed to the top of search engines.

    For a while, we were the largest eBay Store in our category, with about 12,000 items. We also ran about 1,000 auctions every week, mostly to drive people from the auctions to our store
  • I browsed eBay Express over the past month or so, and I was not impressed. It seemed I was seeing the same sellers over and over again in specific categories, and the prices were not great. I wanted to browse for some fishing gear, and my search returned pages and pages of rod building parts, but very little of what I wanted. The Buy It Now feature works for auctions because it assumes someone is already out there looking for a specific product. When it comes to browsing for merchandise, most online sto

  • it would help if people knew what "eBay express" was...
    I've never heard of it. no wonder.

    I'd totaly shop there.
    I HATE bidding....
    Buy it now rules.

    of course, maybe I hadn't heard of "express", since I've been simply using eBay and their Buy It Now buttons...
    No reason for another site.
    especially if you haven't heard of it! :)
    • Me either. I've been an eBay user for eight years and this is the first time I've heard they have a fixed-price site... seriously. Did they ever advertise it? If so, did they just say 'EBay Express' or give something that mentions 'a fixed price site'. And what's wrong with the workings of 'By It Now' anyway?
  • Flame me all you want. EBay sucks. There's rarely any $avings and too often you have a problem with getting ripped off or having some spastic asshole in your face.

    I try really hard to avoid it. I'm at the point where I just throw it away than try to sell it. It's too much trouble dealing with the weirdos.

  • There's been some complaining here about eBay feedback ratings. What's good? eBay provides a "feedback score" and a "positive feedback percentage". How would one translate that into, say, "Good", "Medium", and "Bad"?

  • It's not as if this is the first time a successfully focused corporation tried to grow by expanding its brand into areas it doesn't specialise in and diluted its brand in the process. It's a text-book recipe for long-term mediocrity. Diet Coke, anybody?
  • I have an account there since 1996 and thing are in some areas better than before, but in others, it is worse. Let me explain.

    1. I'm in Canada. Too many listings are "Will ship to United States Only" there should be some incentive for sellers to sell to other countries. Ebay Canada is really bad, and the variety of items there is not up to par with the USA eBay.

    Keep in mind that it used to be worse. We were a long time with no PayPal in Canada, and back then, many sellers refused Canadian Money Orders outr

The absent ones are always at fault.