eBay Announces Major Changes for Sellers in US/UK/DE

January 29, 2008

***These are the US changes only, I don’t have UK/DE yet, but will circle back on those as I hear they are different in interesting ways and may point to other changes that could make their way to the US.  Also I’m typing really fast here so apologies on typos, will circle back on those as time allows.  Live blogging of Donahoe’s keynote will be forthcoming.

Today at 9am ET, eBay announced changes  in three areas: fees, seller standards/incentives and feedback (well finding too, but they lump that in seller standards)

HEADLINES:

  • Fees – insertion fees going down some (.05 at lowest, .60 at highest tranche), FVFs going up, take rate decreasing slightly – rebalancing the listing/FVF mix to be more back-end loaded vs. front-end.  GALLERY IS FREE!!! WOOO!!!
  • PowerSeller program now really matters and you have to have 4.5 DSR (12-month) to get in.  If in, you can get some fees back if you have 4.6+/4.8+ DSRs (30-day rolling) and you are advantaged in…
  • Finding – BestMatch rolls site-wide in the US in March – low DSRs have reduced exposure, high increased.
  • Feedback – eBay is eliminating seller’s ability to leave a buyer a negative (doesn’t impact large sellers much as they don’t have time to neg), in exchange eBay will eliminate negs on sellers for UPI’s and suspensions.  Some other feedback changes such as moving the window from 90 to 60 and increasing blocked bidders to 5k.

Initial thoughts:

  • Overall, a positive step in the right direction.  The new team is all ears seem to really value their sellers as partners/customers and not only listen to their feedback, but react to it as well.
  • I think the messaging @earnings was that we’d see more change on the fees, but this could just be an ‘easing’ into it to cause less revenue/marketplace chaos.
  • DSRs – Even before these announcements, sellers were worried about their ‘stars’, especially shipping+handling, it will be interesting to see if today’s news causes sellers to worry more or roll up their sleeves and really try to improve them in a more material way.
  • BestMatch – I’m not sure the old-school auction guys are going to like BestMatch and it will be hard to know/measure the impact until it rolls.  BestMatch will definitely change listing strategies very dramatically.  Lots of seller discussion on this already as we all knew it was coming and this will increase through March for sure.
  • Some of the advantaging in the PS program will be interesting to do the math on.  Will 5/15% FVF credit move sellers to change their policies to yield higher DSRs?  Only time will tell on this one.

Details on all the announcements follow:

Fees:

  • Decreasing insertion fees – .05 for < $24.99, $.20 for $.25-$49.99, etc.
  • Gallery is free!  Yippee!
  • FVF increases –
  • < $25 goes to 8.75% from 5.25% (This translates to $2.19 on first $25 sold vs. $1.31 or a $.88 increase/item sold
  • $25-$1k goes to 3.5% from 3.25%
  • > $1k no change
  • Store listing fees go from $.05 to $.03 and the FVF is increased some (details TBD)
  • Reduced featured plus (yawn)
  • eBay’s take rate reduced slightly

Reminder: DSRs – Detailed Seller Ratings (this is for all the readers that yell at me about my acronyms – TLAs).

Seller standards/incentives

  • Bad sellers (based on DSRs) will suffer decreased listings exposure in search
  • If you have > 5% unhappy buyers in last 30 days or you are in the lowest DSRs for S+H charges, you will get less exposure
  • PowerSeller program getting a revamp
  • Effective 7/08, must have a minimum of 4.5 on all DSRs over a 12-month rolling period to be in the program now.
  • If you make the cut you get discounts!
  • If your 30-day DSRs are at 4.6+, you get 5% FVF discount (based off of 30-day rolling DSRs)
  • If your 30-day DSRs are at 4.8+, you get 15% FVF discount (based off of 30-day rolling DSRs)
  • Also PowerSellers are getting more seller protection (via PayPal)
  • Eliminating the confirmed address req for seller protection (yeah!)  Unlimited now (double yeah!) as well.  Also extending to all PayPal markets
  • In BestMatch search (rolling site-wide in March), PowerSellers will  receive more exposure.
  • To help with all of this eBay is rolling out a Seller Dashboard that will give seller’s transparency on DSRs, advantaging/disadvantaging and some other trust-and-safety areas (SNAD/INR, etc.)  This looks pretty cool.  They showed a mock-up and it seems to have all the information you would need to know about how you’re doing with the various TnS initiatives.

Feedback changes

  • Sellers can only leave positives for buyers.  In other words, no more neg’ing buyers and no more retal feedback (big buyer concern and according to eBay has become a very big problem – increased 4x from 04-07 and really turns buyers off – I can see that point).
  • To ease the pain of this change… (and valid reasons why you’d neg a buyer – usually to get mutual withdraw going for ‘good’ sellers IMO):
  • eBay will remove negs from buyers that don’t enter UPI process (yippee)
  • eBay will remove negs from suspended members (yeah!)
  • eBay will prevent negs within 3 days of transactions – this will encourage more buyer/seller comm. (positive)
  • Decreasing feedback window from 90 to 60 (good, nothing worse than a random 85-day old transaction getting side-swipped with a neg)
  • Increasing the block bidder list to 5k from 1k (good)
  • Credit for repeat buyers (outside of a 2-4 day window)
  • Feedback %’s will now be based on most recent 12 months vs. life of the account

Well there you have it, that’s a lot to digest and as the day goes on, I’ll be gathering seller feedback and posting it as time allows.  eBay Strategies readers, what’s your feedback?  Let me know and I’ll get it right to the folks at eBay here in D.C. that are eager to hear your comments and ideas.