eBay glitch locks out large sellers, discount listing day and more eBay news.

April 22, 2008

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Catching up on some general eBay items that I haven’t seen blogged about yet:

eBay glitch locks out large sellers
I don’t know the impact, but it seems to be widespread that yesterday (4/21), eBay locked many large sellers that list hundreds/thousands of items out of their accounts with this message:

Attention Seller


We’ve noticed an unusual spike in activity on your eBay account. As a
routine precaution, we’ve placed a temporary hold on additional
listings pending further review. This hold is not visible to buyers and
will not affect your current listings. This action is part of our
ongoing efforts to monitor and preserve the safety of the eBay
marketplace. We will contact you within 24 hours if we need more
information, and will notify you by email when the hold is lifted. ”

 One ChannelAdvisor customer was able to get their account manager to admit that the bug was caused by the system looking at the absolute number of listings vs. a percentage so if you listed hundreds of items, BOOM you were locked out.

Discounted (ten cents) listing day for powersellers on 4/22 in the USA
eBay announced a listing promotion for powersellers only.  To my knowledge this is the first time they’ve offered a listing promo like this to powersellers only.

Reading the announcement details, I was also suprised to see that this promotion was sponsored by monster.com.  This is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that as well.

I wonder what it costs Monster to sponsor a .10 listing day for powersellers?

eBay stock down on analyst’s comments
When checking the market while here in the UK, I noticed an unusual drop in eBay’s stock price. After some research, some articles referenced Jeetil Patel at Deutsche Bank’s weekly eBay update.  I read the piece and wanted to share some of Jeetil’s findings.

First, Jeetil’s overall thesis is that the price changes made in Q1 are hitting diminishing returns.  This is based off of two data points: listings and pageviews.

On listings, Jeetil had some disturbing data showing that UK listings are down 19% y/y (I don’t know if that’s due to a tough 07 comp from a listing promo or just plain listings being down).

Secondarily, Jeetil references the comscore pageview data for the US and globally for US vs.  Amazon as shown here:



As these charts clearly illustrate eBay’s pageviews are declining rapidly and Amazon’s are increasing.  It’s important to note that while pageviews are a generally good way to view activity on websites, there can be underlying changes that may decrease pageviews, but are not a negative.

A good example of this is with search engines.  Very frequently with search engines, the best user experience is to actually reduce pageviews (users hunting for items vs. finding them quickly).  It could very well be that eBay’s pageviews are down because of the introduction of BestMatch and users are finding what they are looking for in a fraction of the pageviews vs. before BestMatch.  My guess is that both decreased demand and BestMatch are at work here, but only eBay knows the contribution each is making to that 17% y/y decline.

SeekingAlpha disclosure: I am long Google