Saturday, February 09, 2008

Who's being eBilked?

In case you have not been paying attention to what is happening on eBay, there have been changes. Can greed damage a great idea?

Changes to eBay's charge structure and other things have deflated the enthusiasm of many old-line eBay merchants.

The good news is that listing charges have been reduced. The "badder" news is that fees on sales have increased dramatically, taking a big chunk out of the sales revenue of any seller on eBay.

Another change that has eBay sellers aggravated is that buyers can continue to give neutral or bad feedback about sellers. But sellers can no longer leave negative feedback about errant buyers.

It all adds up to revolution in the trenches.

If you are an eBay buyer and not an eBay seller, you may be saying to yourself,
"What's the difference? It doesn't affect me."

Here's how it may.

Many eBay sellers are leaving eBay to sell on competing auction sites. That means fewer opportunities to find what you are looking for on eBay.

Here are a few new sites you might be interested in: reports that roughly 7,500 new sellers have joined the site in the last week. claims 33,000 active sellers and more than 1 million items up for sale. is a similar arrangement but different in that it is not an auction site per se. Rather, it has sellers state an asking price and invites buyers to make an offer. After that, they negotiate interactively until both sides are happy. They claim 75,000 sellers and about 1 million users since they started in 2002.

Then, of course, you can go directly to each online merchant. Our web sites, for example, at,, and are always ready to consider and offer. We don't accept them all but we do accept many, as long as they are reasonable. And we are never offended by any.

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