As eBay’s user growth has slowed, I’ve been getting lots of questions from sellers, wall st. and other folks in the eBay ecosystem asking why I think buyers are not activating or de-activating. Like anyone in the eBay ecosystem, I travel a good bit and meet lots of online shoppers in my travels. I always like to ask if they buy/sell on eBay and then dig in based on their answers. In the last 2-3 years, the overwhelming number of people I’ve talked to fall into two camps:
1. eBay is too time consuming, I’d rather shop from amazon or somewhere vs. bidding.
2. I used to buy on eBay until…
And then the … after until turns into a sad story that runs the spectrum from a bad seller/item experience all the way to out-right fraud.
Personally, I think that 50-70% off ebay’s problems are not the finding experience, slow-shipping sellers, high-shipping sellers, etc., it is the perception of fraud on eBay.
In the last year Trust and Safety (TnS) has made some good moves on these problems with SMI, etc., but there’s still a lot more room for improvements. For example, there’s a continuing account takeover problem on eBay that could very easily be solved. Much of the phishing could be eliminated through some simple changes as well.
I was reminded of the problem today by this excellent post by a UK eBayer, Trevor Ginn, titled – 15 ways to avoid fraud on eBay.
This post is interesting to me for a number of reasons. First, it reminded me that fraud associated with eBay is still a major problem and I believe the number one reason buyers are leaving in droves. Secondly, it shows that as eBay hits a success point in any of the newer geographies, that fraudsters will come into that market in droves. Finally, it reminded me that everyone in the eBay ecosystem needs to continue to push eBay to fix these problems for the greater good of the community and ecosystem.