eBayBucks: eBay moves from buyer coupons to rebate program

May 7, 2008

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Phishing or buyer loyalty program?
Buyers are reporting what they first thought was a phishing scheme (note to ebay: you guys have to get better at this type of communication), but appears to be a real test for buyers.

Here’s a sample of the text:

Earn eBay Bucks for your purchases*


— then get 30 days to splurge!


Dear XXXXX,
(NOTE: this would be USERID, but I blanked out to protect identity)
 

You’re one of a select few invited to try out a new program we’re testing to reward loyal eBay shoppers.

 

What do you have to do? Just sign up. It’s fast, easy and absolutely
free. We’ll track your qualifying purchases* from May 15 to August 14
and rack up your eBay Bucks. Then you get 30 days to spend* them on
eBay on something you love.

 

Hurry, participation in this test program is limited so sign up soon!

 
 

* Some restrictions apply, see terms & conditions for details.

Some of the emails offer a $3-5 spiff just for joining and some seem to have higher percentages cash back.  The note then points to this Terms page that points to : “www.rewards.ebay.com” which 404’s, but rewards.ebay.com works and seems to be how you link your eBay account to the program.

I did the linking (even though I didn’t get an invite) and was admitted into the program (note to sellers, why not send this information to your buyers as an FYI?). Note to buyers: sign up today before eBay realises this program is wide open!

I was then presented with this offer of 4% back (that’s almost half eBay’s take rate!)

Ebay_bucks

There are some exceptions I didn’t capture in the screen shot:

What’s excluded?
Qualifying purchases exclude: all eBay Motors categories except Parts
& Accessories, Classifieds, Giving Works, LiveAuction, Business
& Industrial Capital Equipment, Real Estate and all items listed in
foreign currency.

How do I redeem eBay Bucks?
You may only redeem your eBay Bucks voucher using PayPal and eBay checkout on eBay.com or motors.eBay.com, not Express.
Your eBay Bucks voucher will be valid from Aug 22 – Sep 21.
The voucher is valid one time for a single transaction with a single
seller. If your voucher value is not completely used up in that one
transaction, the balance will be forfeited.

There’s also a list to a FAQ here. With more content. My personal favourite is:

May anyone participate?

eBay Bucks is currently invitation-only while the program is tested and
refined.

This funny because I was able to sign up with out any invite so this isn’t being verified at all.

eBayBucks proves eBay’s communication problems aren’t fixed.

So here we have what looks like a pretty interesting program.  ChannelAdvisor is one of eBay’s largest partners and I learned about it from a buyer emailing asking if it is phishing or not.

I guarantee eBay hasn’t talked to any sellers about this as well.

I’m also willing to bet the redemption of this isn’t thought out at all and probably won’t work with third party checkout systems, I’m working to figure that out.

eBay rewards dashboard
Once you sign in, you are presented with a pretty nice dashboard that you see here:

Ebay_bucks2

I imagine it will keep track of purchases and anything under $1k will be a 2% reward and anything over will be 4%.

Who is Kondra Systems?
In the Ts+Cs a company, Kondra Systems, is mentioned.  I checked their site and they appear to be an embedded C virtual machine company so I don’t get how they could possibly be involved here.  Any readers have any ideas here?

Bottom line
The bottom line is:

  • If you buy on eBay sign up for this program and save money – do so before they close the bug that doesn’t check to see if you have an invite.
  • This could be a viable program if…
  • eBay worked with their customers and partners to make it so.
  • If eBay continues to work randomly in a vacuum with things like this program, these types of programs will continue to fail and eBay will continue to lose share in ecommerce as they constantly overlook and ignore their most valued assets (sellers and partners).

SeekingAlpha disclosure: I am long Google.