I know that I have been very negative lately in my eBay posts. I am angry about a lot of things that they are doing as are a lot of people. But I wanted to take a quick moment to look at the other side of the coin. After all, I have a tendency to only blog about something when I am all worked up about it so its logical that, in this blog, I dwell more on the bad than the good.
And, not to get stoned, but, so far, my eBay business is going just fine, changes or no. Most of my anger and fear is not a reaction to what they are doing so much as it is me afraid of what I think they might do in the future, based on the direction they are going.
I was ready an article about eBay today where a commenter was saying that “eBay has become a joke and no one uses it anymore.” This could not be more wrong. I have still been listing just as many items as I ever have and prices are actually up, particularly for this time of year which is usually pretty dead. There may be a few people who have left eBay, but they aren’t as many as they think they are.
Honestly, other than the 4 star rating appearing to the buyers as a good thing but penalizing sellers, nothing else has been all that bad. (My husband had a great way of putting this. With the current system, if you description is accurate, your shipping time quick, your shipping costs reasonable, etc, you will be penalized. I wish someone would say that to eBay in that way so that they would “get” it.) Most of my fears are based on the worst case scenarios which, luckily, haven’t happened to me yet.
As a buyer, I am not experiencing any better customer service from the people that I am buying from as far as I can tell but, as a seller, I know that I am making a more conscious effort to write better descriptions, answer questions faster, anticipate questions and put that info in the listings and just generally make the shopping experience better since I am living in fear of less than 5 star ratings. However, one could argue that I should have been living in fear of the customer’s happiness all along and I know it is making mine a better business for it. Let’s just say I am working my butt off for those 5 stars, but I think my buyers appreciate it.
Discount. As for the actual changes, so far I have been earning the 15% discount regularly. I haven’t sat down and figured out if that discount cancelled out the raise in fees but for the sake of argument, let’s pretend it does. I am not worse off than I was before in fees from that standpoint.
Feedback. I have had two people threaten to leave me negative feedback unless a I gave them a refund. The first lady was for something utterly ludicrous. It was one of those, what I like to call, “Nice plate, but I wish it could fly!” scenarios where the buyer was blaming me for a something out of my control. If you purchase a copy of Soul Plane from me and don’t enjoy the film, that is not my fault. (Don’t get excited. I am not actually selling a copy of Soul Plane.) Once I showed her the feedback extortion policy link she was suddenly happy with her purchase. The second scenario is still going on so I will have to let you know how it ends up.
However, while I still think it is wrong that there is not way to penalize non-paying buyers or mark them, it certainly is easier this way. I just automatically leave positive feedback for everyone as soon as their item ships and then let the chips fall where the may. I suppose, in a way, it forces you to do feedback damage control before you even sell the item instead of after the fact which is how it was happening before.
I am still really ticked about this four stars business, though, so I will have to get back to you on that. Apparently, they promised to look at it by the end of the year so I will have to see what changes.
Search placement. For the majority of the time since they introduced this, I have been in raised search placement. However, 2 weeks ago, one buyer left me a lesser rating and I dipped low enough that my search standing went down to “Standard.” Now, the volume of sales I had that week was such that I was literally only under the mark for about 48 hours or less before new feedbacks brought it back up. However, I was apparently unlucky enough to have that dip occur right when eBay calculated the monthly stats. So even though it was for less than two days, I was stuck with lesser search placement for a full two weeks. I am, however, gratefully that they didn’t make me wait the full month, though the fact that I had to wait any longer than 2 days is still a little silly to me.
Reduced Store Item Visibility. I cannot get too upset about this one either, mainly because I drive most of my traffic to my store from outside the site so I am not sure there has been a difference.
Protection for Unconfirmed Address. Luckily, this hasn’t come up where I have needed to use it yet but I think the idea of it.
I guess what the point of this post is is that, while, yes, there are some changes going on that are not necessarily loved by everyone and the future is up in the air, please don’t get the impression that eBay is some sinking ship or fad like some drama queens are saying. Far from it. It is still a thriving marketplace where there is still a lot of money to be had. People, like me, get worked up an upset about it because they care about and want it to succeed and sometimes that makes us a little dramatic.