Friday, February 01, 2008

The New Ebay Policy - wrong, wrong, wrong

ACTIVISTS ARE GEARING UP against the new Ebay "no feedback for sellers" policy.

The New Ebay Policy is Shortsighted – and Where some Sellers are Going Now

Plus: News about an Ebay Boycott

Well, Ebay has again raised fees again. I guess I can expect that – prices on everything are going up. Many sellers can live with that, although the smaller sellers may not like it. But I REALLY don’t agree with the new Ebay policy that buyers should be allowed to give feedback but sellers must only give POSITIVE feedback to customers. What good is a feedback system if a person is not allowed to be honest? It doesn’t make sense to me. I must admit, I was very surprised.

Here is a link of this recent announcement by Bill Cobb, the President of Ebay North America.

WHAT ARE THE REASONS BEHIND THIS?
Several people have suggested that perhaps Ebay wants to only help large sellers, because a bad feedback response would not hurt large sellers as much as small ones. Although I understand the logic behind this opinion, why would Ebay want to help paying customers leave?

I AM A BIT CONFUSED ABOUT THE REASONS BEHIND IT...
I admit I am a little confused as to why taking away feedback privileges from sellers will help Ebay. After all, there are going to be people who are dishonest, whether they are buyers or sellers. Like the Ebay premise, I think people like that are in the minority. But they DO exist. And taking away the choice of leaving honest feedback – well, it’s a big mistake.

SO WHAT ARE SELLERS TALKING ABOUT NOW?
I have been online and to the Ebay message boards to see what people are saying. The gist of most posts is, “I can’t believe it! This is SUCH a bad idea!” But the fact that the new CEO has made the pronouncement makes it pretty much set in stone. Will he decide to change his mind? That would be great, but it would also be admitting that he made a mistake – and being new at the job, that wouldn’t be in his best self-interest. So I don’t think he will change his mind anytime soon.

MANY SMALL SELLERS ARE LEAVING
And yes, it’s true that some sellers already were on their way out. They said so on the Ebay Message Boards. But the new policy (plus some fee hikes) make it easier for some loyal Ebayers to start looking around for new venues.

SOME NEW SELLING SITES
There have been many selling sites that are eager to take Ebay sellers into the fold. Some places have been and gone, but these sites are still going and growing. In my next blog, I plan to list all my favorite auction and selling sites. I will be researching them this week to put here.

SOME CHANGES ARE GOOD
I have to give Ebay credit – some of the changes they mention are good ones – like upping their oversight on things going on there. That’s a good change, and I hope it succeeds. And erasing negative feedback from buyers who never paid for an item is great, too. The only thing is, the unfairness of the feedback standard now is really going to make people wonder about Ebay and whether or not selling there is a good idea for them.

IN THE MEANTIME...ACTIVISTS ARE GEARING UP.
Ebayers and others can sign a petition here for Google to start an online selling service. Plus, “Just a Modern Guy", who sells on Ebay, writes an Open Letter to Ebay that explains why he thinks the new policies are “a reversal of the Ebay values.”

He gives many good points to explain his point of view.

A separate comment by somebody else who read his blog states, "Ebay will be raising their fees as of Feb 18th and thousands are getting involved in "No Listing Week" on eBay from Feb 18-25th."

I wonder how many people will boycott Ebay that week. And will it really make a difference to Ebay’s management?

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