eBay’s surveying like crazy and an anecdotal story…

March 6, 2008

Marketplaces ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

I’ve received many reports about recent eBay surveying activity that is very interesting.

At Duke recently, eBay paid students (I heard from the MBA folks there) $75 to take a survey. Evidently during the survey they asked many selling questions, specifically asking students what they thought sellers would do with “prominent competitive ads right on listing pages”.  They also asked from a buyer perspective if the buyer would find this more or less helpful.

I’m sure 99% of things eBay surveys don’t become reality, but this one was kind of scary sounding.  Let’s hope it stays in the ‘Survey says: Don’t do it!!” bucket.

Then in Seattle, I’ve heard they are looking for the ‘recent mom’ demographic to do some buyer survey’s.

Finally, I’m hearing from sellers that evidently Bain and Co (Donahoe+Meg’s alma matter) is calling and doing in-depth Q+A (takes about an hr).  Bain won’t identify who they are representing, but the questions are all things like:

“Which channel drives more margin for you?  eBay, Amazon or website?”

Most seller’s think it’s pretty obvious that eBay has retained B+C to do some kind of strategic analysis on what eBay should do about Amazon.

Finally, an anecdotal story. (Disclaimer: Yes I know this is one random person, but that’s the point).

About 2yrs ago, I decided to stop telling people that at ChannelAdvisor we help seller’s sell on eBay because I was always hit with some sad tale of fraud.  Given all the changes eBay is making, I’ve been testing the waters recently to see what the vibe is out there again.

I rented a car earlier in the week and upon seeing the company name on my CC, the very nice rental car lady asked me what we do and I gave her the ‘we help people sell on eBay’ line.  I could tell the way her eyes popped and nose flared that I was in for an eBay story.

Turns out she bought one time on eBay.  She purchased some expensive perfume at a 10% discount and when it arrived it was a bad knock off.  She said she’ll, “never buy anything on eBay again – it’s all fakes and frauds.”  She was pretty intense on this last part and I tried to break the ice by saying, “oh come on Marilu, we need you back.” and she reiterated, “no, never ever again – I learned my lesson.”  Where are the active buyers going?  If you talk to enough ‘people on the street’, you quickly realise there are a LOT of Marilu’s out there and they seem to outnumber the people I meet that like buying on eBay 2:1.

While I applaud the increasingly bold changes eBay has taken on the Finding and Fees, I’m still worried that only the tip of the fraud/trust iceberg has been addressed so far.